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Lorenzo Janes was a prominent figure in that notable group of sterling men from New England and New York who pioneered Racine, city and County, and gave to the settlements, the villages and the cities a tone and character that have survived the lapse of three-fourths of a century of time, as well as the influence of the flood of alien peoples that has poured into this section during the last forty years.
Mr. Janes was born in Washington County, Vermont, September 18, 1801. He married in Albany, New York, and practiced law and became a judge there before moving to Racine in August, 1836. After coming to this city he continued the practice of law for some years, but became interested in real estate and began early to deal in it and to sell insurance. In 1839 he was associated with Gilbert Knapp and Gordon S. Hubbard in the ownership of the original plat of Racine. Since his death, which occurred June 13, 1873, the business has been successfully conducted by his son, David G. Janes.
Mr. Janes was a public-spirited man, identified with most of the big enterprises of his time, and was one of those who contributed largely, from the beginning, to the substantial upbuilding of the city. He was one of the proprietors of Racine’s first newspaper, in 1838, the Racine Argus; in 1839 he was elected a member of the Wisconsin territorial council; he was a colonel on the staffs of Governors Henry Dodge and James D. Doty; he gave to the city the land on which the original fourth ward school was located. Later, when a much larger school was built on the site, it was named the Janes school, after the donor. Mr. Janes was one of the founders and a consistent member of the First Baptist church of Racine.
One of his sons, George S., was a member of Company K, Eighth infantry, during the Civil war, and gave his life for his country.