|1877 Cornell Ownership of Wisconsin Lands (courtesy of WI Historical Society)|
While Eau Claire, Wisconsin's Henry Putnam, the respected head of the region's land office where all filings were processed, was a valued mentor to Ezra Cornell in his land dealings, Cornell made an ill-fated decision in hiring William A Woodward, a land broker, to manage the purchase, assessment, management and sales of the land for what amounted to an unreasonably high fee (the law suit came later).
In a letter to his wife, Mary on August 4, 1866, Ezra Cornell confidently proclaimed [spelling errors and all], "The struggle is over at last and I have just mailed 200 pieces of land scrip to Mr. Woodward and have written him that we will start for the west by Tuesday the 14th.... I now feel for the first time that the destiny of the Cornell University was fixed, and that its ultimate endowment would be ample.... and if properly organised for the developement of truth, industry and frugality, it will become a power in the land which will controll and mold the future of this great state, and carry it onward and upward in its industrial developement, and support of civil and religious liberty, and its guarenty of equal rights and equal laws to all men.
[Glad this wasn't chosen as the university's motto!]