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The Centennial
History
of
Oconto County

Written by RICHARD HALL
Published in 1876
Oconto County Reporter

October 21, 1876

In 1851 Mr. GARDNER entered about 360 acres of land. At this time then the pine lands belonging to the property amounted 520 acres, or perhaps a little more pine land than most of his contemporaries.

It must be remembered that the mill cut was very small compared with what it is now. People did not know so much about pines as at present; surveyors and woodsmen had not grown inquisitive; for these and other reasons a little pine land went a grateway. Mr. GARDNER however seems to have imbibed more precise notions upon this subject than some of his brother lumbermen.

During and prior to 1855 he had entered over 7,000 acres of land for timber. Prior to 1860 about 10,000 acres; prior to 1870 about 19,000 acres and at present the property embraces in all about 32,000 acres of land. At the outset a good and commodious boarding house for his men, was built and in all his improvements, he has been fully abreast of his compeers.

The mouth of the river has been dredged out, and greatly improved. The property embraces a grist mill, plaining mill, shingle mill, tug and other valuable adjuncts for lumbering. Mr. DeLANO has already spoken of the enlargement of the mill and its increase in capacity. In 1871 I think Mr. GARDNER commenced a very fine brick hotel, at Pensaukee. This structure contains and its quests enjoy every convenience and comfort afforded by a first class city hotel. The enterprise and liberal spirit of Mr. GARDNER engaged him in large operations in other places. His work was every where thorough and as a result extensive. Values shrank and he found his load greater than he could carry and at present the Pensaukee property is in an unsettled condition. Mr. GARDNER has passed through very severe business trials, retaining the confidence of business men by his straight forward integrity. It is hoped that whatever the result of his present embarrassments may be, that he will not be lost to this region. PESHTIGO

In presenting the foregoing account of the settlement and growth of different places in Oconto county it has been purposed to begin with the earliest known arrivals of the whites, and to write of each place in the chronological order of its settlement.

Next in this order comes Peshtigo. I am obliged to premise, that with the material received and at my command little more than the merest outline of the interesting history of this place can be presented.

One of the first names we meet here is that of John LAWE, who traded successfully with the Indians. His widow, "Madam LAWE" afterward became, and is now the wife of Mr. Abraham PLACE. They long continued the Indian trade with good success.

Few of those who were here in early times will forget the old timber house four railes above Peshtigo Mills, so long know as "PLACE¹s"

Here a hearty welcome, warm hearth, and bountiful table awaited their many friends. Sleigh rides to Peshtigo were by way of PLACE¹s. The writer well remembers walking eight miles after school hours for a visit there, and back by the light of a lantern, braving the terrors even of the haunted hill, about half way from Menominee to Peshtigo.

Mrs. PLACE was of fine presence, and possessed more than ordinary force and intelligence. Her position and influence on the Peshtigo was some what similar to that of Marinette on the Menominee.

The house was supplied with game by Indian hunters; young and older Indians of both sexes were always at hand, rendering every needed service in a manner that reminded one of feudal times.

Here the writer first saw Edward WILSON since so noted as a woodsman and survey.

Lumbering began at Peshtigo in advance of the public surveys.

In 1838 as nearly as I can ascertain a saw mill was built on the present site of the (upper) Peshtigo Mills, by Mr. David JONES. As stated by Mr. DeLANO, Mr. Isaiah POWELL worked there as Mill-Wright.

We find upon record a document contain a schedule of the property and referring to transactions with Mr. JONES in September 1837. The improvements are described as consisting of a double Saw Mill, fifty feet square, a dwelling house of logs, a store house, a farm, a blacksmith shop and also a large amount of personal property.

Mr. Erastus BAILEY, a good mill-wright and with much executive ability was early associated with Mr. JONES, and indeed is generally supposed to have begun milling at Peshtigo.

In April 1840 the public survey of this Township was completed, but no entries were made prior to 1842. Early in 1843 a Canadian trader, J.B. PRIMEAU, entered the lots above PLACE¹s old place, and sold them to John LAWE. In August 1843 PLACE entered the lot whereon he first built and lived.


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