Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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HISTORY OF NORTHERN WISCONSIN
1881

OCONTO COUNTY
PAGE 655

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county. This was the original plat of the city of Oconto, being lots comprising the present site of the court-house, and which were laid out in 1855.

 In 1847, Col. Jones had erected another mill near Oconto. It was wished away by the flood of 1881. In 1864, there were about 1,000 people in 
the county, and it became necessary to open up the lumber country more in accord with the ways of civilization.

 There was no regular road in tile county, only trails, which to the unskilled would lead from nowhere to nowhere.

In August 
of that year, William W. Delano, of Pensaukee, surveyed the first road, from Oconto to Stiles. At about the game time, the first bridge was thrown across Little River, where it enters the Oconto, near the John Doyle place. The builder was Duncan Cameron. The first bridge across the Oconto was built in the Spring of 1856.

 It is called the Patterson bridge, and situated near the Oconto Company's flour mill. 

Mrs. Effie A. Leigh, of Leighton, was the first white child born in the county. Her birth-place was seven miles up the Oconto River, and the date, July 25, 1851. J. M. CQuillard, her father, was the first white settler in thatportion of Oconto County.  

He came from Milwaukee, making the journey with an ox-team and being four weeks on the road.

At that time, Indians were constantly seen in large groups in the streets. 

July 4, 1859, was celebrated in great style. Joseph Loy, of Green Bay, was the orator of the day.  A. Lawrence read the Declaration of Independence. George B. Farnsworth gave the ball.  

In July, 1859, the Board voted $3,000 toward building the road from Green Bay to Menominee. 

On the 5th of June, 1859, the dam of  Jones Co. and R. W. McClellan was swept away. By July 30, it was restored, aud the mills were running. 

A destructive fire occurred on the 3d of August, 1859. The Brunquest Building was burned. S. W. Spencer, A. Aspinwall, John Remick and Mr. Mitchel were sufferers. 

In August, the Board of Supervisors voted $750 for road purposes. 

Judge Arnt built a saw-mill at Pensaukee in 1825, obtaining the privilege of doing so from the Menomonee Indians, on the annual payment of $15 a year and all the boards they wanted - which did not exceed six boards a year - to make coffins. 

In September, 1869, a sidewalk was built from the Empire House to Senk's saloon. 

In November, 1859, a Sunday-school was started in Hart's Hall. 

In December, the close of navigation stopped the daily mail - only once a week during the Winter. 

The new schoolhouse of the Second Ward was completed December 10, 1859. 

During the season of 1859, Bailey & Coulliard manufactured 23,125 feet of lumber. 

January 1, 1860, a new stage line was put on by  R. J. Bogart, to run between Green Bay, Stiles and Oconto. Wolves were reported as too plentiful for the comforts of civilization.   

The fact that 1860 was leap year, was celebrated in an enthusiastic way by a sleigh ride to Stiles.

In the sugar season of 1860, a very large amount of maple sugar was made in Pensaukee, Stiles and Peshtigo.  In 1860, there was $1,400,000 invested in the lumber business in the county. There were 321 saws running in Oconto, and 106 at Stiles. 

In 1852, there were 424 inhabitants in Oconto ; in 1855, 1,015; 1860, 3,598. 

The city charter was amended in 1861, cutting down the number of Supervisors to one. 

Census of the county in 1860 ; 
Marinette ----------------------------------------- 478 
Oconto Town ------------------------------------- 489 
Village 
West, 433 
East, 456  ----------------------------------total 889 
Pensaukee -----------------------------------------295 
Peshtigo -------------------------------------------- 566 
Stiles ------------------------------------------------- 654 
Swamico ----- -------------------------------------- 163 

THE FUR TRADE. 
In 1860, the amount of the fur trade in Oconto was @$75,000. 

Here are the prices at that time: 

Musk rat ------------------ ---------$0 10 to $0 20 
Mink --------------------------------- ----1 25 to 2 00 
Marten -----------------------------------1 50 to 2 50 
Otter ---------------------------------------4 00 to 6 00 
Fox ------------------------------------------1 00 to I 50
Fisher -------------------------------------4 00 to 6 00 
Beaver -------------------------------------             I 00 
Raccoon ----------------- -----------------            0 62 
Bear -----------------------------------------6 00 to 9 00
Wolf -----------------------------------------1 00 to I 50
Deer, undressed ---------------------0 25 to 0 30 
Deer, dressed ------------------------- 1 50 to 2 00 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION. 

Oconto County was formed in February, 1851, and attached to Brown for judicial purposes, being organized in April, 1852, into the town of Oconto. The first election for county officers was held June 10, of that year. The electors met at the house of Col. David Jones, and their balloting resulted as follows: Rufus Herald,  Treasurer; Merrick Murphy, County Clerk; Edward Hart, Assessor; William Brunquest, Register of Deeds; William W. Delano, Surveyor, Jonathan S. Hale was Chairman of the first Board of Supervisors, which  met July 5, 1852. The county was organized for judicial purposes in February, 1854, but the act was repealed, and it remained attached to Brown County untiI 1857,when a reorganization was effected. Oconto has remained the county seat from the first, it being originally fixed at "Jones' Mill." The Court-house was erected in 1860, and the county building in 1869-70. Col. David Jones, owner of the original city plat, donated the site for the latter. The present county officers are; Sheriff, Thomas McGoff ; Treasurer,  George Beyer; District Attorney, H. H. Woodman ; Clerk, B. G. Grunert; Register of Deeds, Huff Jones; Judge, A. Reinhart;. Clerk of Court, Charles Hall; Superin- tendent of Schools, Dr. H. Allan; H. M. Royce is Chairman of the County Board. 

OCONTO IN THE WAR. 

Company F, Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry, was raised in Oconto County, and, with its regiment, did efficient service during the war, taking part in all the battles

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