Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by  RITA
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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




L. C. Delano

          L. C. Delano was born at Oak Orchard in 1853, in a house that stood back of the present school house site. A plum tree planted in front of the dwelling still flourishes. It was the same year that Jesse Birmingham arrived in Oconto county.

          When he was six years old his parents moved upon a homestead, remaining there till 1877. The property is now occupied by William Folque.

          After the death of his father, L. C. (then married) purchased a house and lot at Brookside leased and worked a farm adjoining and run his mother’s farm on shares.

          After a time he abandoned the life of a soil-tiller and engaged in the butcher business, and for two years furnished meat to the railroad company while the Milwaukee & Northern road was building through Abrams, north. For the past ten years he has engaged in the mercantile business, run a sawmill, bought and sold products of the soil, is doing a nice business and the proverbial wolf is a long way from the door. OCR 1/1896



          John H. Peters

          When John H. Peters of Abrams first came to Wisconsin his parents settled in on Indian land near Portage, on the Fox river – living among the redskins five years. Little Suamico was his next home, settling upon a homestead. His father and he engaged in lumbering many years, assisted by his brother-in-law, Chester Winans and George Olson.

          After the death of his father, and he had sons of his own, the business was continued, and although Mr. Peters has retired from that vocation, two of the boys still pursue it.

          For the past three years Mr. Peters has conducted a livery stable at Abrams, and last July he embarked in the mercantile business. OCR 1/1896



          A.L. Dunton

          A.L. Dunton, in 1856, came to Oconto from Jefferson county, N. Y. From Manitowoc to DePere the journey was made by team – in fact, two teams were required to bring the party through the wilderness. There were ten children and his mother, and two or three men- his father a short time before having come to the new home. Proceeding on their journey, they passed through Green Bay and came to Oconto, where Mr. Dunton Sr. was employed as a millwright.

          In 1864, Lacy went into the service with the hundred-day men. Returning, he ran a barbershop in Quinnesse, Mich., one tear, thence back to Oconto, and in ’83 moved to Abrams. He runs a drug store, is a veterinary surgeon, has been deputy sheriff about 6 years, can repair a clock, fix a gun, paint a house and manipulate a violin. He is left-handed, yet uses a right-handed violin. Jacob and Joseph Dunton of this  city are his brothers. OCR 1/1896



          Felix Belanger

          "The high price of land in that portion of Canada in which I resided, and glowing tales of fertile soil and homes within reach of all, is what brought me to Wisconsin and into Oconto county," said Felix Belanger, of the town of Chase.

          Mr. Belanger arrived in Oconto in 1880, and for two years was employed by Oconto Company as a carpenter. He then purchased of W. A. McKinley, eighty acres of wild land, three and a half miles south of Oconto Falls, and today has it all cleared and cultivated.

          He has been supervisor, and while overseer of highways about 3 miles of new road was laid out and completed. His two sons each have an eighty of land in the neighborhood, and a brother – Francis – resides at School Section. OCR 1/1896



          Frank LaPage

          Frank LaPage, sr., of the town of Oconto, near the Little River church, came to New Hampshire from Canada in 1860. He was born in Canada in 1835. He worked for Holt & Balcom till 1865, living in a little house near where the city hotel now stands. Oconto wasn’t much of a city in those days. He then moved to the farm, which he has since made one of the brightest spots in the county by clearing up eighty acres and putting up comfortable buildings. Miss Celestine Hanron became his wife, in Oconto, in 1860, and nine children born to them are yet living, the youngest 14 years of age. Four children are married – two daughters and two sons: the daughters, Mrs. Alfred Greenwood in Florence, and Mrs. Martha Jeffer in Waushara county, and the sons, Frank and Gilbert, in Little River, have contributed fifteen grandchildren to the family tree. Another daughter, Sarah, lives in Menominee. Mr. LaPage has been supervisor of his town and is now school district clerk and treasurer of the local creamery company. Before deciding between the political parties of this country, he made a study of the issues between them, and in 1860 cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln and has been a zealous and influential republican ever since. He is elder of the Little River Presbyterian church. OCR 2/1896



          B.B. Barker

          B.B. Barker of the town of Pensaukee, born in New Hampshire in 1829, came west in 1857, first settling at Stiles, where he worked three years for the Eldred company. He then moved upon the farm in Pensaukee which has since been his home. He has been twice married, first in 1857, in New Hampshire. After the death of his first wife he married Charolette A. Whitcomb, a native of Boston. Mr. Barker has but one  child, a daughter, who lives in Superior. He was a member of the 12th Wisconsin infantry and was three  times wounded at the battle of Atlanta; he also participated, with his regiment, in the battles of Ezra church and Bentonville. He has been a member of the Pensaukee board of supervisor’s 14 years,  chairman 5 years of the time. He is republican "of good cloth and full yard wide." OCR 2/1896





          S. F. Everhart

          Northern Michigan was once the home of S. F. Everhart, which he left in 1874 and came to Oconto county, locating in the town of Pensaukee, one half mile south of Brookside station. The first three years he labored in the woods – a portion of the time for E. S. McKenny, who manufactured charcoal for the A. B. Meacher company in Menominee.

          In July, 1876, he was married to Miss Ella West by Rev. B. J. Minnick, the Methodist clergy man at Brookside, nine children – four boys and five girls all living at the parental home, blessing their union.

          He has 127 acres of land, 70 of which is under cultivation, is in prosperous circumstances, and an enthusiastic republican. OCR 2/1896





          H. F. Ohswaldt

          Next to the oldest in years and experience in the county as a practicing physician is H. F. Ohswaldt of Stiles. He was born in New York City in 1857, and after graduation from medical college, and two years practice he came west; was stranded in Green Bay, by reason of a great snow storm, during winter of ’80 – ’81, and located in Stiles in May, ’81, where three children have since been added to his household and an extensive practice and acquaintance acquired. He is an active member of the K. P. and M. W. A. lodges of Stiles. OCR 2/1896





          Erwin Cleveland

          Erwin Cleveland of the town of chase, born in New York in 1841, came to Kewaunee county, this state, in 1870, and thence to Chase in 1880. Was a member of the 1st independent battery of New York artillery. Isa farmer, with wife (Catherine St. Peter) and six children at home. As he expressed it, Mr. Cleveland "is a terrible distant" relative of Grover C., but unlike Grover, votes the republican ticket every time he gets a chance to do so. OCR 2/1896





          Frank Cheffings

          Frank Cheffings of Lincolnshire, Eng., was attracted to Oconto in 1875 by the fact that a cousin, Mrs. Hardin Gilkey, now of Maple Valley, had preceded him and written encouragingly of the new country. After a visit of a few weeks, Mr. Cheffings engaged to work for Isaiah Post, in Maple Valley, and remained with him and L. Lord a couple of years, when he took up a homestead, to which he has since made additions and improvements, among other things building a handsome dwelling house a couple of years ago. His farm consists of 160 acres, fifty acres under cultivation. Miss Minnie Cooley, united her fortunes with his  in 1857, and a son and daughter have been added unto them. Mr. Cheffings is not politically ambitious, has never held an office, and is not a candidate for one. He is an active member of the Disciple church. OCR 2/1896





          Nels Hougaard

          Nels Hougaard, until long after he had arrived at man’s estate, was a resident of Denmark, but like many other of his countrymen who had learned of the country across the waters – America – he bade adieu to the home of his childhood, and twelve years ago landed in New York, and later became an employee in the Blatz brewery in Milwaukee. Six months afterward he came into Oconto county and for about a year and a half worked for Anson Eldred. He took up a homestead and after he had proved up sold it to John Carlson and bought a quarter section of land of Banker Mittelstedt of Seymour, and later an eighty adjoining, and in the past five years he and his boys have cleared forty five acres out of the heaviest kind of timber. He is a resident of Maple Valley. OCR 2/1896



          A.C. Lovell

          A.C. Lovell of Abrams, when a lad of 14, left the parental home in the state of Maine and entered upon the life of a sailor, which he followed for several years. Returning to the scenes of this youth he was importuned by his father to remain upon the farm, but western fever had settled upon him and in 1856 he became an employee in the water mill of Jones and Whitcomb in Oconto, and for three years had charge of their log boom. When the war cry was sounded and men dropped their plowshares and answered the call to arms, he became a member of the "Oconto River Log Drivers," which afterward became so well known, and fought for Uncle Sam for a period of three years and six months and received numerous scars of honor upon the fields of battle.

          He has a farm of 160 acres, near the village of Abrams, and is one of the most prosperous residents of the county. OCR 2/1896





          Edward Cota

          Edward Cota was a subject of Great Britain, twenty-five years ago, and when he first came to Oconto county he assisted his brother Joseph in logging woods and upon the farm. He resides upon a farm three miles from the city. "I have been married twenty-two years and have a family of fourteen children, all living at home, the oldest twenty years and the youngest five months," said he, with a feeling of pride, "and I am a republican till I die." OCR 2/1896



          B.C. Waldron

          B.C. Waldron, of the town of Chase, came from Boston, Mass., to the town of Pensaukee in the spring of 1867, and embarked in farming. In 1882 he bought a farm in the western part of Pensaukee, which has since been set off as the town of Chase. Twice he has had his earthly possessions swept away by fire, but has preserved against fate until success has finally crowned his efforts, and he now has a good cultivation. Mr. Waldron enlisted in the 13th Massachusetts Infantry July 16, 1861, and served three years and one month in the army of the Potomac, during which time he participated in twenty-one battles. He votes as he shot, and has always been an active supporter of the republican party. OCR 3/1896





          George Ross

          George Ross of Pensaukee first came to Oconto county before it had county organization, in the summer of 1856, and found a Fremont flag floating over Gardner’s sawmill. He was one of the signers of the petition for the organization of the county. Remaining about one year in Pensaukee, in Mr. Gardner’s service, he then went to work in Menominee for a short time. Returning to Pensaukee in 1857, he bought the land which now constitutes his farm. He owns also a half-mile frontage on the bay and has followed farming and fishing, but of late years leases his fishing property.

          Mr. Ross was born in England in May 1834, came to America in 1854, stopping in New York City, where he obtained employment the day after his arrival in Fulton Market. Soon after settling at Pensaukee he married Louisa Hardwick. Fourteen children have been born to them, of whom eleven are living – two sons and two daughters married and seven yet at home. He is and has long been school district officer. His  farm improvements and standing timber, worth $3,000 were swept away by the Peshtigo fire and himself and family escaped with their lives, as did others in the vicinity, by fleeing to the water at the bay shore. He likes this country - thinks it is the best known world for people of industry and intelligence. OCR 3/1896




          Thomas McDougall

          Thomas McDougall of the town of Spruce came from Sheboygan county, where he was born, in 1856. He has a 60-acre farm, all cleared and well improved. For several years, at different times, he was boss on the drives for F. B. Gardner and run camps for the Holt Lumber company. He married Mary Ann Farrell, who’s mother is still living in Spruce, in 1878, and three boys, the oldest 17, have blessed their union. Mr. McDougall has been assessor and supervisor of his town and votes the republican ticket with fidelity, and  will vote it with greater earnestness on November next then ever before, knowing that republican policies will enhance the value of his labor and increase his prosperity, as they have done before. He will market considerable maple syrup this spring. OCR 3/1896





          Louis A. Longrie

          Louis A. Longrie was born in the town of Oconto thirty-seven years ago and is therefore entitled to a place in this column. He attended Jefferson school in Oconto and worked for Holt & Balcom and for the Oconto  company while he was approaching man’s estate, and after getting a life-partner run a boarding house for Whitcomb & Royce at Bagley, Mich., a few years. Returning to Oconto he bought 5 acres of land on the South side, which he tilled awhile, and three years ago bought forty acres of the Holt company, in the town  of Oconto. He has built a house on it and cleared twenty acres, and will build a barn this summer. About  the first of January of this year he moved down to St. Ann, in Sheboygan county, where he expected to remain a year or two under an arrangement to care for his wife’s parents, who are aged people; but  another arraignment was afterwards made about that, and last week Mr. and Mrs. Longrie  returned to their  own farm, glad to get back. The St. Ann settlement is German, and democratic, and the Longries talk english more easily and vote republican. OCR 4/1896





          Louiseer Geven

          Louiseer Gevin came to Oconto when there were but six business places here. This was forty-five years ago. He cooked in Lumber camps for local companies, ten years, built two houses here, and sixteen years ago purchased a forty of land in the town of Oconto, has thirty acres cleared and ten of hardwood. OCR 5/1896



          George Krisher

          Seven years ago George Krisher tilled the soil in the town of Prebel, Brown county. Coming into Oconto county he purchased 160 acres of wild land of John and Michael Leseck, in the town of Lena, for $800, and has cleared "patch" of ground embracing sixty acres from which he is raising good crops. He is a member of the school board of District #1. OCR 5/1896



          Coby Butler

          Coby Butler and wife of hickory did some shopping and other business in Oconto this week.

          Mr. Butler was born in Oconto in 1862, and when 11 years of age his parents settled on a farm in Maple Valley. He has since that time worked on the farm, in the woods and on the driving streams of the county. For the past eight years he and his brother Fred, the latter a foreman of crews, have put in and driven logs for the Oconto and Holt companies, and last Saturday carried the drive out to Peshtigo brook.

          OCR 5/1896



          John C. Johnson

          John C. Johnson of Kelly Brook had business at the courthouse yesterday. Like other good farmers on the highlands of Oconto county, he had his seeding and planting done early in the week and is now looking forward for good crops. Mr. Johnson has been in the county twenty-two years and settled on his present  80-acre farm, which was then covered by a dense forest, fifteen years ago. His farm is now all cleared up and improved by good buildings. He worked for Holt & Balcom, in Oconto, the first seven years of his residence in the county. He came from Denmark and is in the vigor of manhood. OCR 5/1896



          L. Kenney

          L. Kenney of the town of Oconto is one of the oldest as well as one of the jolliest of Oconto county pioneers. He settled near the site of his present home forty-two years ago, and for three years prayed for neighbors. "Now," he says, " I have thousands of them, and good ones too." He has a quarter section, with 40-acre wood lot adjoining, in his home-farm, and another quarter section near Leigh’s mill – all under good cultivation and as beautiful tracts of land as one may care to see. Three sons, grown to men’s estates, one of them married and living on the farm last mentioned, join him in his agricultural pursuits, and all are content. Mr. Kenney astonished The Reporter scribe by saying he had passed the three-score-and ten limit; he does not look a day over 60. OCR 5/1896 



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