After landing at Fort Michilimackinac in 1816, Solomon Juneau worked as a clerk in the fur trade before becoming an agent for the American Fur Company in Milwaukee. Juneau settled an area east of the Milwaukee River called Juneautown (present day East Town) in 1818, which later joined with George H. Walker’s Walker’s Point and Byron Kilbourn’s Kilbourntown (present day Westown) to incorporate the City of Milwaukee. In 1831, Juneau began learning English and set in motion the naturalization and citizenship process. By 1835, he was selling plots of land in Juneautown. He built Milwaukee’s first store, first inn, and was recognized for his leadership among newcomers to Milwaukee. In 1837 he started the Milwaukee Sentinel, which would become the oldest continuously operating business in Wisconsin. He was the first mayor of Milwaukee from 1846 until 1847 and its first Postmaster. In 1820, Solomon Juneau married Josette, the Metis daughter of Jacques Vieau, a fur trader who had built a trading post overlooking the Menomonee Valley years before. Josette was the oldest of 12 children, and was Menominee and French by ancestry. Through her alliances to the tribe, and the relationships fostered through Juneau’s business in fur trading, it is reported that he was popular with the Menominee. After the treaty of 1848 between the United States and the Menominee, Juneau registered his wife and children as half-breeds of the Menominee Nation.
In 1854, Solomon Juneau and family relocated to Dodge County, Wisconsin, where they founded the village of Therese, named after Juneau’s French-Canadian mother. Josette died there in 1855; Solomon died one year later in Keshena, Wisconsin, on a visit to the Menominee tribe. He died in the arms of Benjamin Hunkins, his “faithful friend and constant nurse.” Six Menominee chiefs served as pallbearers at his funeral. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Juneau’s grandson Paul O. Husting would become a member of the United States Senate. The property that is believed to have once been the site of Juneau’s residence is now the site of the Mitchell Building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- August, 09, 1793
- Repentigny, Montreal, Quebec
- November, 14, 1856
- Keshena, Menominee, Wisconsin
- Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin