Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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HISTORY OF NORTHERN WISCONSIN
1881

OCONTO COUNTY 

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Oconto Turnverein was organized in June, 1871, and a hall, costing $4,ooo, built in 1876. The Verein is fifty members strong, and Fred Schedler is first speaker. 
 

MANUFACTORIES. 

The Oconto Comtany.-This was incorporated in the Fall of 1878, under the above name. Its present saw-mill was built in the Spring of 1867. It has a capacity of 120,000 feet ofl umberperday,and 25,OOO lath. A shingle mill and a planing mill were erected in 1872. The former has a capacity Of 130,000 shingles per day. Since the Summer of 1868, the company has also operated a flour mill, which turns out eighty barrels per day. In the Summer of 1881, the construction of a foundry building, to be operated connection with its machine shop, was also commenced. A large general store and a boarding-house in Oconto, and two farms, one up the river a few miles, and the other at Brookside, do not complete the possessions of this rich corporation. It also owns and runs a box factory and a barrel factory in Chicago. The material for the latter is manufactured by a mill in Defiance, Ohio. A very large saw, shingle and tie mill, at Big Bay de Noquete, on Sturgeon River, is in course of erection. The capital stock of this company is $250,000, but fully $500,000 is invested in the business. Its interests are so diversified, and extend in so many directions, that to enter into detail would be an almost endless task. Its present officers are: President and General Manager, George Farnsworth; Vice-President, Nathan Mears ; Superintendent, 0. A. Ellis.

Holt & Balcom.-Their mill was erected in 1856. The firm of Holt & Calkins was established in 1863 and remained the same until the latter part of 1865. Mr. Balcom was at the time a partner, although his name did not appear in the firm title. A. C. Calkins, of Chicago, disposed of his interest to Messrs. Holt & Balcom, both now of that city, in the Fall of i865, and from that time on, dates the exist- ence of the present firm. In 18'72 a partnersh;p was formed with James C. King, and the firm remained Holt, Bal- com & King until 1874. Additions and improvements to the small mill of 1856 have since been made, until now it has a capacity of 125,000 feet of lumber and 40,000 lath per day. This season's manufacture will amount to 20,000,000 feet of lumber. 

The 100,000 acres of land owned by the firm are situated in Oconto and Marinette counties. In addition to the mill, a large general store and a feed mill are in active and profitable operation. Four farms are worked, three of them near the city, and the fourth, and largest, in the town of Maple Valley, thirty- five miles up the river. Upon this farm is a hotel for the accommodation of the men and teams going to the pineries, and the company has a large boarding house connected with the mill in Oconto. Messrs. Holt & Balcom have $300,000 in their business enterprises, and employ 250 men. The members of the firm reside in Chicago. The manager of their interests at Oconto, and who has held that position since 1866, is Augustus Cole. The Holt & Balcom mill is one of the most profitable in the county. Mr. Balcom, during his residence in Oconto, from 1856 to 1866, was among the foremost and most active of its business men in opening up the country of the pineries and connecting it by way of good, passable roads with Oconto and the Green Bay region. He was for a number of years a member of the Board of Supervisors, and when the county lost him, it lost one of the most useful of citizens. 


S. A. Coleman's Mill.-The mill was built in 1871, and has a capacity Of 40,000 feet of lumber, 15,000 lath and 75,000 shingles daily. His lands are in Marinette and Oconto counties. 

Jacob Spies' Mill.-This mill, one of the oldest on the river, situated just cast of the city, was built in 1850. Its proprietor, Jacob Spies, also operates a good general store in Oconto. The saw mill turns cut 40,000 feet of lumber, besides manufacturing lath and shingles. 

Albert Halbach's Foundry and Machine Shop.-The building was erected in the Fall of 1871 by Lister, Carson & Co., who continued in charge of the business for three years. Mr. Lister then retired, and Carson & Co. operated the manufactory from 1874 to 1878. Mr. Carson's interest was then purchased, the firm becoming Halbach & Noonan. The latter sold out in the Summer of 1881, and Albert Halbach assumed entire control. With the exception of the works connected with the Oconto Company, this is the only establishment of the kind in the city. Mr. Halbach does a business amounting to $15,000 per annum, and employs about a dozen men. 

Besides the above manufactories, there is a small planing mill owned by A. W. Gray, and built in 1878, and a post and tie mill operated by T. A. Chisholm. 

ELDRED'S MILL BURNED. 

On August 16, 1881, one of the three most complete mills in Oconto, owned by A. Eldred & Son, of Fort Howard, burned to the ground. The mill was built by Messrs. Mix & Orr in 1869. The firm had been running it but a few years. Two scows loaded with lumber near the mill were also burned. The total loss was estimated at $60,000; insurance $25,000; 130 men were thrown out of employment. As the mill is not to be rebuilt in Oconto, the conflagration was a blow to the city's business. The firm will at once commence the erection of a saw-mill in Fort Howard. 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 

HAMILTON ALLAN, M.D., County and City Superintendent of Schools, was born in Ottawa, Canada, Nov. 8, 1844, the son of James and Jane Allan. He received his preliminary education in the public schools and the Kemptville Grammar School. In 1862, he became principal of one of the ward institutions. He then entered the Ottawa Collegiate Institute, graduating in June, 1865, with the honor of being awarded the Brough gold medal, for superiority in classics and mathematics. Being appointed a teacher of the classics, he remained in that capacity until January 1868, when he entered the office of Dr. James A. Grant, as a medical student. Removing to Montreal, he entered McGill University. and, taking the full four years' course, graduated in the spring of 1872. Dr. Allan retired with the highest honors, receiving The Holmes gold medal for the best examination in all the branches, both primary and final. Having  obtained his  diploma,  he  settled  in  Smith's  Falls,  near  Brockville,  Central  Canada, and took charge  of  Dr. Anderson's  practice,  that  gentleman  being  absent  in  the  Old  Country, After  practicing  his  profession  successfully  one  year, in  the  Spring  

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