Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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OCONTO COUNTY PIONEERS

The series of biographic information found on this page was published
in the Oconto County Reporter starting in 1895.
It was then picked up and carried in the Milwaukee Journal later that year, and contain short sketches about successful citizens from all walks of life.
Researched and prepared for posting by - Cathe Ziereis


  "The Oconto County Reporter is printing short sketches of Pioneers of the county that will be valuable to future generations, as well as interesting to the present".......... Milwaukee Journal Sep/1895


W. W. Whitcomb

W. W. Whitcomb is a native of New York, was born thirty miles from Buffalo in the county of Erie, and arrived in Oconto county in 1861. He is a brother of Sheriff Whitcomb. Residence was made in the town of Pensaukee, midway between Brookside and Abrams.

The subject of the sketch served of his country with the 12th Wis. Regiment, Co F, remaining about two years, and among other engagements he was at the siege of Atlanta, and received not a scratch. During his absence his father had taken up a homestead in the town of Little Suamico, with whom he resided a short time after returning from the war. Two years later he married Miss Lizzie Barker, a niece of B. B. Barker of Pensaukee, and is comfortably situated upon a farm of 60 acres, hauls his produce to Oconto and does his trading here. He was constable for the town of Little Suamico, which is the extent of his office holding. OCR 1/1895



John Loranze

Belgium was once the home of John Loranze. In ’67 he accompanied his parents and three sisters to this country and located in the town of Little River, three miles from this city, where his father purchased 160 acres of land, one half of which he presented to his daughters. Mr. Loranze is a firm believer in democrat doctrine and does not attribute the present hard time to the machinations of his party. OCR 1/1895



August Schroeder

August Schroeder has lived twenty-two years in the town of Chase. He has 80 acres of land; one half cleared and sells his products in various markets. He bought his farm of John Rymer, and believes that Oconto county soil cannot be excelled in any other locality in Wisconsin. Settlers are coming into the town of Chase and the future looks much brighter for the agriculturist. OCR 11/1895



F.R. Green

In ’67 F. R. Green came to Wisconsin from Kentucky and into this county in 1885. In the town of Gillett, he leased a farm of Alex. Young, residing upon it for one year, moved nearer the village and rented some land from J. L. Dyer and remained there two years. He had become a resident of the town of How – now Waupee – and bought 160 acres of land of Frank Mabram. Two years later he burned out and removed to Mountain and secured forty acres of land from the government. He is pathmaster, clerk of School District No. 5, fire warden and health commissioner. OCR 11/1895



John H. Goddard

John H. Goddard is a native of Massachusetts and came into Oconto county with his father and sister when he was about nine years of age. That was in 1856. Later, his mother joined them. They settled upon a spot of wilderness in the town of Pensaukee, now embraced in the George Sargent farm, and Mr. Goddard, senior, superintended the erection of a saw mill for W. H. Sawtelle and James P. Davis – the latter residing afterward in Oconto.

John resided at home until the war broke out and during the last two years of that memorable struggle he was a member of Co, F, 12th Wisconsin, and was with Sherman from the beginning of the siege of Atlanta until mustered out at the close of the war. For a number of years afterward he followed the vocation of Cruiser and located lands in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Twelve years ago he purchased fifty-four acres of land and resides upon it today. He was chairman of his town last year and for seven years in succession, town clerk. OCR 11/1895



John Matravers

Forty-two years ago last July, John Matravers sailed from England for America. Arriving in Oconto he became an employee in Hubbell’s mill and the next spring went to work for George Smith in the sawmill in Little River. He now owns two farms – at Couillardville and town of Oconto – was married two days before leaving old England and has seven children living. He is a great lover of everything American and not inclined to return to the land of his birth. OCR 10/1895



Thomas McKee

Thomas Mckee is a native of Canada. Coming to the county of Oconto in ’68 he purchased of the state 120 acres of land from which he cut 108,000 feet of timber and sold the logs to Hunter Orr – the best quality at 6.00 a thousand. He has cleared 60 acres. In ‘80 – ’81 he was chairman of the town board. OCR 10/1895



William T. Walsh

In 1867, William T. Walsh left Canada and came westward. For twenty years he worked in the woods and upon the drive, and eight years ago he bought of Frank Whiting eighty acres of land, fifteen of which were cleared. His farm now embraces sixty-five acres under cultivation. His marriage with Miss Ellen Nolan was solemnized in Oconto by the Rev. Fr. Sweibach, then resident priest. OCR 9/1895



R. R. Davis

R. R. Davis was once a resident of New York. Forty-eight years ago he entered a homestead in the town of How. That portion of the town has since been set off and now becomes a part of the town of Waupee. Mr. Davis is justice of the peace, and previous to coming to Oconto county he held a similar office in Caledonia, Waupaca county, and in Lessor, Shawano county. His son Archie married Miss Lizzie Huntley of the town of How and his daughter Eleanor became Mrs. Louis White – the latter ceremony performed in this city. OCR 9/1895



Thomas Caldie

Thomas Caldie, in 1861, landed in this country from bonnie Scotland. Two years later he arrived in Oconto by boat, from Port Sarnia. Making his way to Stiles he entered the employ of Balcom & Eldred, who owned two saw mills – one of which burned in 1865. Mr. Caldie worked their farm one year, conducted their halfway hotel two years on the north branch, and afterward assisted in making rafts of lumber at the mill. Six and eight rafts per day were put together, containing 16,000 to 24,000 feet of lumber to the bay and loaded upon ships. Desiring a home of his own he secured eighty acres of wilderness and hewed one out. His son Edward married Miss Maggie Butterfield in Oconto, and is employed as tallyman for the holt Lumber company; Lizzie became Mrs. Azro Williams, Rev. Kerr the clergyman; Thomas chose for his bride, Miss Mary Duame, their marriage solemnized in this city by Rev. Mr. Cox; James married Miss Annie Hodgins at Stiles, Rev. S. W. Ford performing the ceremony. Andrew remains at home. "I have resided at Stiles thirty-three years, and have never raised better crops than my land produced this year," said Mr. Caldie. OCR 9/1895



Martin Delzer

Martin Delzer resides in the town of Chase, five miles from Oconto Falls, where he has a farm of 120 acres, thirty-five of which is under cultivation. The towns of Oconto Falls, Chase and Shawano, all corners near is residence. This year he will raise 500 bushels of potatoes, "for which" said he, "there is no sale," and 871 bushels of small grain has dropped into his granaries. "Crops," said he, "are good, but prices demoralizing." He is present treasurer of School Dist. No. 2, Decontown. OCR 10/1895



William Plain

William Plain came into Oconto county from Green Bay with his parents when he was but ten years of age and resided many years in this city. He married Miss Bertha Casson of Gillett, where his parents now reside, and owns a farm of 200 acres. OCR 10/1895



Cyrus Wardwell

Cyrus Wardwell resides upon a farm near Lena, and for more then thirty years was engaged in fishing in the waters of Green Bay and near Waukegan, Ills., associated, during those years, with Barzelus O’Hara. During his piscatorial occupation he resided at the bay shore, south of the Bostedts. Eight years ago he took up his residence on the farm, which comprises over 200 acres, and where he has become a most successful tiller of the soil. OCR 9/1895



Nels Johnson

In the mid winter, 1880, Nels P. Johnson landed in New York from Denmark. He had a brother who had formerly resided at Seymour, Wis, but when he arrived there he discovered that his brother had removed to the town of How. He remained with a farmer at Seymour until spring and then joined his relative. In ’81 he entered a homestead of 80 acres and has since followed the occupation of a farmer. His land is most fertile, and this year produced 300 bushels of potatoes to the acre, 100 bushels of corn, 50 bushels of oats, and of wheat, about 30. He has the foundation laid for a dwelling house and will complete the structure this fall. When the town of Waupee was created from portions of the towns of How and Armstrong he was made treasurer of the new town. OCR 9/1895

Leon Rock

Leon Rock came from Canada to Oconto in 1856, went to work for Holt & Balcom, afterwards and now the Holt Lumber Company, and continued with that institution till about three years ago, when he began farming, near the city limits. Besides the 40 acres there he farms an 80 in the town of Stiles. He has six children, the two eldest being settled in life, one of them the wife of W. A. Fish, bookkeeper of the Armour Company, in Chicago. Mr. Fish is the brother of Judge Fish of Racine. OCR 9/1895



Albert Dudden

Albert Dudden has been justice of the peace in the town of Little river eighteen years, and at various times held office of town clerk – some six years in all. Twenty years ago he came into Oconto county from New York, bought eighty acres of land from speculators forty of which has been made tillable. He has three children – Annie is teaching in Lena, Kate in the town of Peshtigo, and John remains upon the farm. Mr. Dudden was induced to come west by a friend, Charles Lingren – then residing in this county. OCR 9/1895



Lorenzo S. Lord

Lorenzo S. Lord, when 17 years of age, went before the mast as "a sailor upon the salty seas", and during his ten years of ocean life, visited England, Spain, Portugal, Italy, South America, and nearly all the West India islands, and he had been over the ground where the Cuban troubles now exsist. In 185 he came to Oconto from New Brunswick and for several years run on boats on Green Bay. The trip to Maple Valley consumed one day and a half. The journey now can be made in three hours. There were three family’s there ahead of him and by "changing work" considerable progress was made. Mr. Lord tells of cutting down a pine tree and shaving out shingles with a drawing knife to cover his log house, which stands there today, and in which he lived sixteen years. The first summer he cleared two in a half acres of ground from which he raised eighty bushels of potatoes and millet enough to keep two cows, and he dug a well and built a log barn. Previous to moving to maple Valley in ’71, he built a residence in the South ward, which he occupied for a time. He married Miss Lucy Overton in Oconto and three sons and one daughter blessed their union. Mr. Lord has been treasurer of the town of Maple Valley eight years. OCR 9/1895



Robert Telford

Robert Telford is a native of Canada. During the year of the Peshtigo fire he came into Oconto county and became a log jobber, securing a contract one winter from Hunter Orr and the following season put in timber for Carney of Marinette. Later he purchased a tract of land from Louis Rifenbergh, containing 67 acres and a quarter-section from Ernest Funke, and 125 acres are "under the plow". He is one of the most prosperous farmers of Oconto county. OCR 10/1895



James Badore

In 1866, James Badore bade adieu to his Canadian home and became a resident of Depere. Coming into Oconto county five years later he took up a homestead in 13-26-20, or purchased a squatter’s right to eighty acres, and two years later, when the land was subject to entry, he entered it. Now, one-half of the tract is converted into farm. He has been road commissioner for six years. He says he did not imagine, when he located there twenty four years ago, that so large an acreage of farms, and buildings of so modern architecture would materialize in the time that has since elapsed since then. OCR 10/1895



Peter Christian

It is all of forty years since Peter Christian of Abrams, accompanied by a young man companion, took passage upon a steamer from Hamburg for New York city. They had heard of the opportunities afforded upon this side of the ocean for getting along in the world, and as their ambition would not be appeased with the quiet , uneventful life depicted about them, they bade adieu to their childhood home in Denmark and came to America. Mr. Christian is still here – his companion remaining but one year.

Mr. Christian had no acquaintances in this country. At Milwaukee, where he next turned up, he secured employment doing chores upon a farm during the first winter at 5.00 a month. In the spring he obtained employment in a plow factory at Whitewater, where he remained a year and a half. He next drifted to Pensaukee and for nearly three years worked for F. B. Gardner among the pines, during which time he bought 80 acres of timber land from Louis Larsen. In ’61 he went out with the Third Wisconsin cavalry and served three years. Returning to Pensaukee he cleared his land, latter added another forty and today he has 120- acre farm under excellent cultivation. He married Miss Jane Bell at Pensaukee, whose parents now reside there; he had been treasurer of School District No. 4, for four years; voted for Lincoln for the presidency, and for the republican party ever since. He did receive a pension of 10.00 per month, "but" said he, "when Cleveland went in they skirmish around to discover how they proceed to economize and began on me by knocking off 4.00 a month on my pension!" OCR 10/1895



William Witt

Twenty-two years ago, William Witt, then a resident of Germany, sundered fraternal ties and sailed for America. For many years he resided in Milwaukee and helped to lay the first sewer pipe to drain that city. He came to Pensaukee seven years ago and now owns a farm of eighty acres. 10/1895

Christ Rasmussen

Christ Rasmussen resides in the town of Spruce. Twenty-six years ago he first stepped upon American soil, and has never yet returned to the land of his nativity. He is a farmer and thinks that Oconto county soil cannot be excelled anywhere in the state. For a few years he resided in Shawano county, but he would not exchange his present surroundings for the best farm within that territory. He’s a good republican and like nearly everybody else, takes The Reporter. OCR 10/1895



Levi Hale

Levi Hale came into the state from St. Lawrence county, New York, but when the war broke out he went to the front with the 1st Michigan cavalry and served three years. After the war was over and sabers were sheathed he became a resident of Pensaukee, and when the Milwaukee & Northern road penetrated Oconto county he built a saw mill and store at Jones' creek, now Lena, and engaged in business at that point. His was the first business house and he the first resident there. Now the town numbers 350 population. Then years ago he sold his interests to N. C. Netzer, and later entered into partnership with S. G. Pelkey and carried on a general merchandise business two years, when they burned out, but Mr. Hale is still engaged in selling farming implements, which he has made a '‘side line'’ for many years. He was chairman of Little River two years, clerk of that town one year, and has been chairman of the town of Lena since it was set off nearly three years ago. His wife died one year ago last summer. She was a Miss Stacy and they were married in Pensaukee.



C. J. Van Vechten

The ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic are decreasing rapidly and ere long naught will be left of this once gallant band save the memory of daring deeds for the protection of the nation.

C. J. Van Vechten of Shiocton has been in Oconto and at Abrams, of late, looking after the property of his brother Peter, who died at the home of the former a short time ago, death resulting from sunstroke. During the past ten or fifteen years he had followed the life of a peddler throughout the county, and had many friends and acquaintances.

Last July he left his home at Abrams and went to Shiocton to visit his brother, and it was while there that the final summons came.

He served three years in the civil war and was a member of the famous 8th Wisconsin, or eagle regiment, and of the gallant sixteenth corps that never was beaten on the field of battle. He was in twenty-eight engagements, experienced many close "calls" and came through unharmed.

He did many brave acts, which his companions had cause to remember. At one time the boys were without water and the only spring in the vicinity was watched by the rebs. Various attempts had been made to procure water, but of no avail, when Peter demanded the canteens and defying the rebel guards he performed his errand and returned in safety.

He was generous, warm-hearted, and loyal to his country and to his fellow men. OCR 10/1895



James E. Glynn

In the month of March 1849, James E. Glynn bade adieu to his native land – Ireland and set sail for America, and during the first four years in this country he followed farming in Dodge county. In the fall of ’53 he came into the town of Oconto, entered government land and built himself a home which years afterward he sold to George Beyer. For twenty years or more he was a log jobber, and had contract with Url Balcom, George Farnsworth and John Leigh. He was town treasurer eleven years, chairman of the town board in 1871, and has been justice of the peace ever since he became a resident of the county.

He was corporal in the 38th Wis. Vol. Inf. His regiment belonged to the ninth army corps and their badges were the cannon and anchor, forming a cross. At the charge on Fort Mahone, Sanford Perrigo of Oconto Falls, was shot down by his side. Mr. Glynn received a scratch on the middle finger of his left hand, that day, and, although he was in several engagements during his service with Uncle Sam, it was the only time that a bullet ever "found" him.

His regiment left Camp Randall on Thursday night, and the next Monday evening it was in the midst of a battle down in Virginia. As their boat neared the landing they could hear the sound of battle six miles away, and as they were unloading at the wharf a trainload of dead and wounded arrived at the station. When the cars were relieved of their ghastly freight the new arrivals were loaded in upon the bloody straw and sent to the front. The first sight that Mr. Glynn beheld upon alighting from the train was the bursting of a shell and the extermination of a mule, which had been quietly eating corn from a wagon box. OCR 11/1895



Peter Jamieson

In the summer of 1857, Peter Jamieson and a companion left their home in Canada East and wended their way toward the Ottawa river to work in the woods. Falling in with chance acquaintances who were on the way to Wisconsin, and learning from them that wages were much better here, they joined the party and came west. Mr. Jamieson went from Chicago to Green Bay by boat, thence to Oconto. His first job was with John McDonald at Little Suamico, rolling logs into the river and working upon rafts. He next turned up in Mosinee and made shingles for Ben Redlon, the next spring went to St. Louis on a raft of lumber, came back and entered the employ of Dodge and Judson at Wausau, in the mill and upon the farm, and afterward wandered out upon the prairies of Rock county and became a prairie farm-hand. He was in the army 33rd Wisconsin and at the close he settled upon the land which he owns and tills. He has been town clerk two years and supervisor for the like period. OCR 11/1895 

   

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