City of Green Bay
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Mayors of Green Bay
W.C.E. Thomas
Francis X. Desnoyers
H. E. Eastman
Burley Follett
E. H. Ellis
Henry S. Baird
Nathan Goodell
M. P. Lindsley
C. D. Robinson
James S. Marshall
Anton Klaus
Alonzo Kimball
Dr. C. E. Crane
F. S. Ellis
J. C. Neville
J. H. M. Wigman
W. J. Abrams
Charles Hartung
Arthur C. Neville
James H. Elmore
Frank B. Desnoyers
Simon J. Murphy, Jr.
J. H. Tayler
Dr. Robert E. Minahan
Winford Abrams
Elmer S. Hall
Wenzel Wiesner
James H. McGillan
John V. Diener
John S. Farrell
Alex Biemeret
Dominic Olejniczak
Otto Rachals
Roman Denissen
Donald Tilleman
Harris Burgoyne
Thomas Atkinson
Michael Monfils
Samuel J. Halloin
Paul F. Jadin
James J. Schmitt





Burley Follett
(1806 -1877)

Mayor Burley Follett
Mayor Burley Follet 1858, 1863

Burley Follet was born in Otsego County, NY, December 30, 1806. His parents were Ezekiel and Elizabeth Follett, both natives of New England. Burley was the third of eight children. Because of his father's death when he was quite young, he lived with the family of David French. In 1822, Mr. French, with his family, moved to Detroit, making the journey in wagons. There, in company with Elisha Eldred, he established a carding and cloth manufacturing establishment. It was there that Mr. Follett acquired a knowledge of that business as it was carried on in those early days.

Subsequently, he engaged, in company with a friend, in the mercantile business in Detroit and later disposed of his interest to his partner. About this time, Mr. Newberry, "Uncle Oliver", as he was familiarly known from one end of the chain of lakes to the other, received the appointment of sutler (One who follows an army and sells to the troops provisions, liquors, and the like) to the garrison of Fort Howard and Fort Winnebago at Portage City. He forwarded supplies and commissioned Nathan Goodell as superintendent and Mr. Follett as clerk and dispatched them to Green Bay. They arrived on the schooner Napolean on June 1, 1830. When the four companies were ordered to Lake Winnebago, Mr. Follett accompanied them. In 1832, during the progress of the Black Hawk War, two companies were ordered to Lake Koshkonong in Rock County. Mr. Follett was sent there with the necessary goods. After disposing of them, he returned to the garrison. The journey, which he made alone on horseback , was not without peril, lying across almost open prairies, he knowing that hostile Indians were lurking the entire distance. Friends recalled the anxiety and the graphic account he gave of his solitary ride and adventures.

1863 Panoramic Drawing of Green Bay & Fort Howard

Artist conception of Green Bay in 1863. Click on the image for a larger view.
Neville Public Museum of Brown County

Afterwards, he took up permanent residence in Green Bay and in 1835 built a portion of what was known as "Follett Block" and established himself in general mercantile business. He continued in this endeavor until about 1842.

On August 21, 1836, Mr. Follett married Elizabeth Arndt Ward, the ceremony taking place at the residence of H. S. Baird and performed by Rev. Richard F. Cadle. Burley and Elizabeth had eleven children, Mary Ward, born May 2, 1837; David F., born May 13, 1839; George B., born Dec. 10, 1841; Henry S.B., born Sept. 18, 1842; William Ward, born March 7, 1845; Camillia, born June 7, 1847; Celinda, born August 26, 1849; John Ward, born June 21, 1851; Lizzie, born June 13, 1854; Frances C., born June 6, 1856; and James E., born Sept. 26, 1859.

He moved to De Pere where for a short time he carried on the old "Brush" farm and for about two years kept the "American House" in the village.

In Green Bay, he held a clerkship in the store of Frank Desnoyers for a few years. In 1849, he was elected Register of Deeds and was re-elected the next term, relinquishing the office in 1858. He served as Borough Treasurer, and upon the incorporation of the City in 1854, was elected the first City Treasurer. He served as alderman in 1857. In 1858, he was chosen as mayor and held the same position in 1863.

About the year 1853, he succeeded Henry Sholes as agent in a book store for Oliver G. Steele, of Buffalo. Following a fire which destroyed the stock, Mr. Follett obtained new stock and continued in the bookselling business until his death. He died at 11:00 p.m. on February 21, 1877, after being stricken with apoplexy followed by a stroke earlier in the month.

An interesting note: In the 1870 US Census he lists his real estate value at $8000, which in 2006 dollars figures out to $127,494.07 and his personal estate as $800 which would be $12,749.41 in 2006 dollars.