Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by RITA
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WOMEN of EARLY OCONTO COUNTY

Please click on the name below to go to that entry.

Women Who Shaped Oconto County History 

 Biographies and photographs of the women, from all walks of life,

whose lives left a timeless mark on the history 

and the people of early Oconto County. 

BLANCHE TIELKE BROETZMAN

ANNA HOLL


KATHRYN HARVEY

FRANCES KNOWLES HOEFFEL

GERTRUDE LANETTE SCHAAL

GRANDMA DINSE

JOSIE M. COOK

HELEN LADURON JANSSEN JELINSKE

MARY M. MURRAY

ERNESTINE MUTH SCHINDEL

THERESA FLATELY

PAULINE  LaBUDDA

EVANGELINE BELONGIA La BROSSE

ELIZABETH (SUSIE) MECHAQUETTE

ANGELIQUE COURCHAINE (PECOR) 

MARINETTE CHAVALLIER (JACOBS, FARNSWORTH)

AGNES POTTER (SCOFIELD)

BLANCHE COOK

The DesJARLAIS Women

DR. MINNIE HOPKINS


 
 

ELIZABETH (SUSIE) MECHAQUETTE

Susie Mechaquette was born near the Indian Village that is now the site of the city of Oneida, in 1831. She was referred to as "Oconto's true daughter" since she was only a young girl when she moved to the Menominee Indian Village that is now the city of Oconto. She had come before any lumber was cut or mills were built, and knew the land as it originally was. She married John Mechaquette (meaning "covered by clouds" in Menominee) and lived in the old Astor trading post at Oconto. Later they lived in a small frame cabin near the site of the first sawmill, which was called "water mill". This spot was at the top of a sand hill that became , and still is known as, "Susie's Hill". From there she saw the beginning through the end of the lumber boom, the growth of the city of Oconto from remote jack-knife outpost, to small mill settlement, to lumber boom-town, to farm community. Susie also watched the vanishing of the Menominee Indian village, and the waxing and waining of various ethnic cultures and political groups. After her husband's death, she lived on, alone, on Susie's Hill and was known and treasured by Oconto's population. She was still vigorous and self-supporting during WWI (1917-1918), and lived until 1940, passing away at age 109 years.

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ANGELIQUE COURCHAINE (PECOR)

Angelique Courchaine was the daughter of the last Menominee Chieften to hold counsel in the ancient Indian Village that was on the site of present day City of Oconto, Wisconsin. She was born into status in that community in the late 1820's or early 1830's, and showed a gift for skillful negotiation and a natural aptitude for business transactions at an early age. As a child, she began life when the area was nearly totally Indian, with only a few French traders travelling through. Angelique saw the first dams and mills to be built, and logging take the place of fur trade as the predominent source of local income.

As a young woman Angelique was much sought after as a marriage partner by both native men and new settlers, due to her intelligence, work ethic, and gracious beauty. She concented to marry Peter Pecor, a third generation French-Canadian who had migrated to the area in the 1840's to seek his future. He was tall and dark; considered handsome by even Indian standards, which most European men were not. At first the marriage did not have the approval of her father. Angelique was certain that their union would be a success and won over her father's approval for the hard working and skillful suitor. The marriage was considered to be one of mutual love and respect, in which Angelique was a full partner in business as well. Upon her death, she was buried among her Menominee people and Peter left the City of Oconto to live with her family. It was his wish that he be buried with her and when he died, the Menominee fulfilled this request, despite considerable pressure from the white community to have him buried in the City of Oconto. The exact location of his grave remains a secret to this day, but he is near his beloved "Angel".

 

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MARINETTE CHAVALLIER (JACOBS, FARNSWORTH)

Born at Post Lake in 1793, Marinette Chevallier, was the daughter of French voyageur, Bartelemi Chevallier and a Chippewa mother who was a tribal princess. Marinette lived in Green Bay as a child and travelled extensively on frequent visits to villages and posts thoughout the area, including Oconto. She first married John Baptise Jacobs and together they ran a successful trading post along the Menominee River at the site of the city of Marinette, which was named after her. She continued to run and expand the post and later married William Farnsworth.

She had children with both marriages and was the first to have a frame house, in 1846, along the Menominee River where the city of Marinette now stands. It was a large and gracious two storey home with full windows all around. An impressive sight for those travelling the river of that day. The following account of "Oueen Marinette", as she was generally known, was written by Richard Hall of Oconto, in 1876.

"Marinette possessed good natural business qualifications, was an excellent neighbor, kind and skillful in cases of sickness and ready to help the distressed. She died in June 1865, at Green Bay; her remains were carried to her home on the steamer QUEEN CITY, and laid with others of her family and children. From her the town takes its name."

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AGNES POTTER (SCOFIELD)

As a young woman in the Village of Oconto, little did Agnes Potter know that life would include being a "First Lady" of Wisconsin as the spouse of a two term governor. In 1870, Agnes married a Veteran Civil War Major originally from Pennsylvania who, after the war, had become a civil engineer in Chicago, and had worked his way to lumber plant manager in Oconto. Over the years she and Edward Scofield had two sons and a daughter. Agnes lived the busy life of a business man's wife, which included not only raising their children, but attending to many business and domestic details during her husband's numerous lengthy absences. She became competent in all manner of dealing with people from every walk of life on any number of issues. As a woman of Victorian times, it was also important that she "keep to her place" as a lady and not be seen as trying to "outdo" her husband while attending to these matters. She managed the delicate balance.

It was good training for her future experiences as a political wife of the time. The Schofield's focus was investing in mills and lumber companies until 1886 when her husband was elected to State Senate. Edward Scofield was an outgoing and popular man, which put considerable pressure on Agnes to compliment his political career by maintaining a constant welcoming, pleasant, and open atmosphere within their household to any and all comers. Social dictates of Victorian times were rigid and strenuous; demanding a person intelligent and experienced in protocol for a never-ending series of events, galas, sorees, tea parties, return visitations, entertaining, formal dinners and the like. There were also the daily responsibilities of keeping the budget and running a household of servants. All must be done with the continuous "grace and form" of a sophisticated woman. Her days often started with answering stacks of necessary written social correspondances at 5:30 am and frequently continued well past midnight, a minimum of 6 days a week. Clothing of the day was as rigid as the social structure and, for women "of means", could easily weight 50 to 80 pounds in winter. This was a time that gave birth to the manditory 16 inch waistline, smelling salts and fainting couches. Agnes survived and flurished.

Agnes and Edward Scofield lived in the Governors Mansion from January 4, 1897 to January 7, 1901. Years later, in 1948, they were guests of honor at the celebration of Wisconsin's Centennial as a State in Oconto.

 

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BLANCHE COOK

For years in early Oconto County as in the rest of Wisconsin, horse racing in many forms was not only legal, but tremendously popular. The professional riders of the late 1800's and early 1900's were heros to all ages. Prominent among the best of jockeys, and by far the most popular, was Blanch Cook from town of Oconto. She is credited with bringing capacity crowds to tracks all over the state. Her greatest achievement was winning the title of "World's Champion Bareback Rider" in races held in Milwaukee.

 

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DR. MINNIE HOPKINS

Among the early Oconto County doctors was Minnie Hopkins. She was a "homeopathic physician" who believed in treating the entire person, rather than just specific symptoms. Her patients were mostly women and children and she had a skillful knowledge of both production pharmacuticals and historic Native American medicines such as foxglove and white willow bark which we know today as heart stimulant, Digitalis, and pain, swelling and fever reliever, Aspirin. She was commonly seen walking determinedly, black bag in hand, to the homes of her patients. She was also an active supporter of the annual summer tent chataquas and revivals.

 

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