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The  Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by RITA
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Early Oconto County Photographers
The years they took photographs in Oconto County,
along with some examples of their work when available,
to help researchers in identifying antique family pictures
buy putting them into a time frame.

an ongoing project with your help

George W. Wilcox & Frank Wilcox
City of Oconto 1872 - 1888

George W. Wilcox owned the photographic studio in city of Oconto and is remembered as a photographer, but in reality, his son Frank Wilcox, was the first photographer in the family. They set up a partnership in city of Oconto after George learned the skill from his son. The photographers produced a full range of images, including funeral processions, studio portraits, logging camp scenes and individuals, farm families on site, stereo optic images, natural disasters and postcards.
Examples of their work in Oconto, Wisconsin
unidentified originals owned by

Please click on photos for full size view

Views, by G. W. Wilcox, of the Gardner Hotel in Pensaukee, Oconto County, that was part of the nearly total destruction of the village on July 7, 1887

George W. Wilcox was born in New York 1826. He married Rebecca Beardsley and the couple moved to the frontier of Wapun, Wisconsin with her father, step mother and 2 half sisters. The Beardsley family had originally been from Connecticut and had moved to New York before Rebeccah was born.

In Wapun, George Wilcox worked as a carpenter, which included making staves for his father-in-law, who was a cooper, making barrel rings. Commodities were shipped and stored almost exclusively in barrels at that time.

The Wilcox couple had their first child, Deli, on October 7, 1850 in Wapun, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. George moved his family to the growing community of Prairie du Sac where he worked at general carpentry by 1860 and on to Fond du Lac where he was an insurance agent .  During this time, George and Rebecca raised 5 children, adding Frank, Delbert, Winton and finally Doctor Emerson (yes, that is his actual name given at birth).  While in Fond du Lac, son Frank became a photographer.

After the family moved to city of Oconto in 1872, Frank and George set up the photographic studio.
Oconto Times
May 6, 1874

THE funeral of Mr. William Riley, which took place last Sunday, was the largest one ever witnessed in this city. In the procession there were seventy-four carriages.

Since his arrival in Oconto some few years ago, in truth it may be said, he was an exemplary young man, sober, generous and affable by the citizens, irrespective of creed, on the day of his burial. In truth the procession was solemnly grand. He was a native of the State of New York but for years has resided in Dumbarton, Ontario, Co., Canada West. He leaves a loving mother, two sisters and five brothers to mourn his untimely end.

Our enterprising photographer over the way, G.W. Wilcox, photographed the funeral procession last Sunday. The sketch was taken from the steps of Funke’s Hotel and included the entire procession from that point down to the post office corner. He has printed quite a number of copies and has them for sale at his gallery in the rear of Don Levy’s block.

The cortege from the church attracted so much attention that Mr. Beverage was requested to photograph it on Section street and Mr. Wilcox from the corner of Superior and Main. At the cemetery the last rights were performed and the young man was laid by his friends in an untimely grave, whom only a few days before was of blooming form and promising hopes.

Oconto C County Reporter
July 14, 1777

Relic of Pensaukee
Our enterprising photographer G W Wilcox has taken some very fine views of Pensaukee as it appeared immediately after the Tornado. Call at the Codery and procure the best and only souvenir of this distressing event (A tornado had destroyed most of the city).

Son Delbert E. Wilcox had become a dentist and returned to city of Oconto to practice.

Oconto County Reporter 
December 14, 1877

Mr. Dell Wilcox, the dentist, arrived on yesterday morning and may be found at the photograph gallery.

Son Frank remained a photographer by trade into the 1880, however, he was gradually more occupied with other investments in near Green Bay and Menominee, Michigan in the upper peninsula. In 1882 Frank and brother D.E. Wilcox  had become partners in a milling business and later moved to Menominee, Michigan. 

George continues photography and the family also opened the Wilcox Music store. Victorian era Oconto County family members often learned and played instruments, with lessons being taught locally. Instruments and sheet music were required. George W. Wilcox not only promoted local recitals, he conducted some of them.

Oconto County Reporter
April 24, 1879
24th – Concert at Music Hall under the auspices of the Temple of Honor, and direction of G.W. Wilcox.

Son  Doctor Emerson (D.E.) Wilcox also became a dentist working in Menominee, Michigan. Daughter Delia married Albert Griffith and started a family. Later they couple lived in city of Oconto.

Oconto County Reporter
May 12, 1883

MRS. A. H. GRIFFITH, of Waupun, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. G. W. Wilcox of this city, presented her husband with a boy baby last Saturday evening. Mother and child doing well.

Papa George Wilcox, meanwhile, add Justice of th Peace title to his list of skills and occupations.

Oconto County Reporter
Femell – Helmerick
August 3, 1885, by George W. Wilcox justice of the peace, Mr. Michael Fernell and Miss Laura Helmerick, both of the city Oconto.

George passed away y June 3, 1886 in the city of Oconto and is buried there. Widowed wife Rebecca had boarders in her home at the time of a second story fire in 1888. She married a second time to Amos Nudd in 1995. By 1900 Rebecca was again widowed and living in city of Oconto with her daughter's family. She passed away in 1903 there.

George W. Wilcox Family Tree

George W. Wilcox
     born: 1826 in New York
     occupations: 1850 Carpenter in Wapun, WI; 1860 Carpenter in Prairie du Sac, WI; 1870 Insurance Agent in Fond du Lac, WI; 1880 Photographer in Oconto
 3 Jun 1886 in Oconto County, WI
     notes on George W. Wilcox: 1860 lived in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin; 1870 lived in Waupun North Ward, Fond du Lac County, WI;
+ Rebecca Beardsley
     born: 1828 in New York
     Father: Hiram Beardsley born 1794 in Connecticut - Cooper in Wapun, WI with George W Wilcox
     Mother:  born  in NY
     married: #1 George W. Wilcox c: 1849;  #2 Amos Nudd  
15 Jan 1895 in Oconto, WI
     died: 27 Jun 1903 in Oconto
     ( notes on Rebecca: two marriages, widowed second time by 1900 and living with daughter's family in Oconto
     children of George W Wilcox and Rebecca
             Delia L Wilcox
                born: Oct 7 1850 in Wapun, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
                married: 1874 Albert Griffith; born July 7, 1848; several children; 1900 living in Oconto

            Frank W. Wilcox
                born: June 1852 in Wisconsin
1870 Photographer in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; 1880 Photographer in Oconto; 1900 partner in brother's dental office in Menominee, MI 
                marriage: single in 1900
            Delbert E. Wilcox
                born: July 28, 1855 in Wisconsin

                occupations: Dentist in Oconto
                married: Divorced by 1900 and living with sister and widowed mother; married
1907 in Oconto to Anna (nee? born Ohio in 1884) 
                died: July 07, 1945
                burial: Evergreen Cemetery, Oconto WI
            Winton E. Wilcox
                born: March 1859 in Wisconsin
                occupations: Teaching school in 1880; 1900 teaching school; 1910 wholesale lumber dealer in Milwaukee, WI
27 Dec 1882
in Oconto County to Carrie F. Waters, born Mary 1859 in WI; two children Stanley 1885 and Wilton 1891
            Doctor Emmerson (his actual given name at birth was Doctor Emerson) Wilcox
                born: July 1867 in Wisconsin
                occupations: 1900 Dentist in Menominee, MI
                marriage: single in 1900

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