Green Bay Gazette
Village — Large Lumbering Interests --
Early Settlement --
Schools and Churches - Business Houses and Building -
Extensive Lumber Mills & c.
But a few persons had ventured as far
west as Oconto. In 1837, Robert Jones passed
finding nothing but rough and savage wilderness, but returned, and
here in 1846 — tbe first settler. He located about
two miles from
tho mouth of the Oconto river, the present site of Oconto where he
a water-power, and erected saw-mill ; about the same time another mill
was erected sixteen miles further up the stream on another
at the falls. These mills manufactured lumber and shipped it
Chicago; running down to the mouth of the river on scows and In rafts, thence by sail vessel down the lake—the Iinitiatory stcp to what has come to be the vast lumber business on theOconto River.
The first residence was erected by David Carr engaged In fishing. Thomas Lindsey came in 1843, and erected the second building on what is now the site or this village. In 1852, Edward Hart came and purchased of Robert Jones, who owned most of the land on the river in this vicinity - the doackage, which he now owns and occupies, as will appear hereafter. At this time there were but 415 inhabitanta in Oconto county, which then included trerritory of almost unknown extent; but four or five families were on the river where the village now is, and all supplies were obtained from Green Bay in sil boats. Mr. Hart started the first store. William Brunquest and Thomas Milledge put up the first store and engaged in trade on a larger scale. The chief attraction at the time was the lumber interest - the vast pine forests had a charm that nothing else possessed. Col. David Jones, sutler at Mackinaw and Fort Howard, with his brother, before mentioned, and Col. Leavenworth, built mills on the Peshtigo, a few miles from here, in 1836 - the first in this section, and if we are correctly informed, the first on the west shore of the Bay. In addition to those already mentioned as first settlers, Paul McDonnel, S.B. Guilkey, Joseph Hall, Geroge Smith, and two or three others came, and most of them are still here. The place grew gradually, though the principal improvements have all been made within the last eight years. A large amount of Chicago capital is invested in the lumber business here. The first steam mill on the Bay was put up in 1850 - the engines are still in use.
On the Pensaukee and Peshtigo rivers, and some points on the Oconto, excellent farmlands are found, and much of it are under a high state of cultivation — many New England farmers among the number of farmers. There are extensive tracts of maple, beech, and other hard wood; swamps and meadow lands. On the latter, an excellent article of blue-jolnt-grass is cut in abundance for use in feeding stock and in the logging Camps. Hundreds of tons could be cut if it was needed. When cultivated they produce the best tame grasses. The hardwood timber will some day be valuable for manufacturing purposes — when the country is opened up by railroads and more fully settled; which is not far in the future. Lands may now be had very cheap — either under the Homestead act, or by direct purchase, and invite the emigrant to the occupancy of its thousands of acres.
The largest single manufactory is that of the Oconto Company — George Farnsworth of this place, and Meyers, Bates & Co., of Chicago who operate two steam mills, with a capacity of 140.000 feet of lumber per day of 24 hours. They have about 40,000 acres of pline lands. In their large mill are two gang saws - one slabbing and one stock; one circular, two gang edgers, one splitter; a lath mill that will cut 40,000 per day, one picket mill with capacity lor cutting 30,000 per day ; machine shops, etc. Engine 125 horse power, and all the modern improvements and most perfect machinery that can be obtained. They have, including 3,000,000 left over from last season, about 28,000,000 feet of logs, and purpose to cut the entire amount before closing the mills. The second mill is of small capacity—about 5,000.000 annually. Foreman in mill, Peter Shufolb ; outside superintendent, Moses Thompson. Employ 375 men in summer, and about 450 in winter. This mill (as are all of the better class) is lighted by gas manufactured in the mill.
The next mill in extent is that of Holt & Balcom—Chicago men—which is one of the most complete in all of its appointments of any we have ever seen. Its capacity is about 13,000,000 of lumber annually—100,000 feet per day. The machinery is about the came as the above mentioned mill—manufacturing lumber, lath, and pickets. The engine is 200 horse power, one of Gates', Chicago, and the machinery run entirely by friction — `with less noise than the belt process. The arrangement for handling logs, carrying off sawdust, and the entire mill, in short, is complete; the mill in neat in appearance, and has every convenience to save the labor of men — everything done by machinery, where it can be brought to bear. Employ about 200 men in mill and on the river. Superintendent. N. Emery, one of the oldest and most successful lumbermen on the Bay. Outside superintendent, A. Cole ; financial manager, T, Goodrich; book-keeper, O. A. Ellis.
Mix & Holt's mill has a capacity of about 12,000.000 annually.
McDonnel & Brunquest, a water power mill about two miles up the river, a capacity of 9,000,000 per year.
Eigbmy & Fisher, a steam mill of about 7.000.000 capacity. In this mill it is claimed, tho most rapidly cutting circular sawing section, is found.
Bosworth & Comstock's mill, about four miles up the river, cuts about 5,000,000.
The mill known as Eldred's, about nine miles from Oconto, at the village of Stiles, has a capaclty of 15,000,000. This is run by water power, and is one of the largest mills on the river. Who now manages it we were unable to ascertain; it has changed hands often recently.
John Lee has a mill on one of the tributarics of the Oconto river, with a capacity of over 15,000,000; about six miles from here.
We have given the full capacity of each mill in the above enumeration, though some of the mills have not the amount of logs to this season indicated by this capacity. The transportation of this lumber to market is a large interest on the bay and lake. The lumber is rafted from the mills to the mouth of the river, thence by vessel to market. As many as twenty-eight sailing craft are seen al a time anchored at the mouth of the river—all befog loaded with lumber. Formerly thew vessels run up the river as far as Oconto, but the entrance has been filled up with saw dust the channel obstructed. The people are alive to the necessity of clearing the channel and opening it to unobstructed navigation. The Government should make an appropriation for that purpose, and no doubt will.
Wheat & Flour - A considerable amount of first quality of wheat is grown in the section of country of -which this place is the center and market. A steam flouring mill, with three run of stone, is being erected here, which is to have a capacity for storing 25,000 bushels of wheat. This is an institution which has long been needed here. Now most of the floor is imported, and the wheat sent out to other markets.
C. S. Hart & Co., have a flour and feed store which supplies these articles to the community and country hereabouts.
The Green Bay & MenommeeTransportation Company's line connect here by tugs for all points on the Bay. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad is projected through here to Menominee on too Bay shore, and, it is expected, will soon be built. It has been surveyed, and Congress has given a valuable grant of land towards its construction. Last winter, the counties on the line were authorized by legislative act to vote aid to the road. When opened, it will encourage settlement and smaller manufacturers of various kinds on its line.
There are a number of stores which do
the general business
of the place and the county of which this village is the center. The
of these do an annual business of from $25000 to $30,000. Thomas
who keeps a good general assortment, commenced business here twenty
ago—the oldest merchant in the place. H. M. Royce
has a business
in the same line of about the same extent; both, do something in the
of jobbing. W. L. Newton, M. W. Patterson, and Charles
doing business of a considerable extent. There are nine stores of the
Drug Stores.—J. M. Adams and B. A. Coleman — both neat establishments — with an assortment of goods in this line; both practicing physicians.
Hardware.—Two stores; Charles Hall & Co., who have recently completed a new two story block, occupying one of the stores themselves; and W. B. Smith, who has recently commenced business. The trade to these stores include little more than the trade in this locality and surrounding country to ordinary hardware, exclusive of the vast amount of mill supplies, which are obtained direct from manufacturers. Hall & Co. sold two hundred and fifty stovels last season.
Boots and Shoes.—George Davis and Dunlevy & Hagerson are the only exclusive dealers in this line of trade.
Clothing.—Hoffman & Lewin, of Green Bay, have a branch of their extensive clothing business at this point, in charge of M. Rosenbaum; a first-class assortment of goods. S. Norton is also engaged exclusively to this line of business; most of the dry goods stores also keep clothing.
Porter & Lord have a neat little establishment known as the Oconto oyster and fruit store, where the luxuries always coveted may be had in the season of each, as well as a general variety of confectionery, &c. There are numerous other places of business which we will not enumerate in detail.
Brewery.—This seems to be an indispensable institution where there are any considerable number of Germans; and Americans, as well as nearly every nationality, are inclined to patronize them. Louis P. Paul has quite an extensive one near the village, built by A, Links; the latter has just erected & spacious billiard hall and restaurant.
Hotels.—Empire House is the largest hotel in the place, though Mr. N. Richards, the present proprietor, is building a new hotel of about the same capacity, and will complcte and occupy it soon. Funk's Hotel is popular with the traveling public, and liberally patronized. There are six to all.
It is worthy of note that there has
been but one failure
in business - that but for a small amount.
Attorneys - Three attorneys-at-law - R. W. Hubbell, A. Reinhart, and J.B. Fairfield. The first named is County Judge; the last, County Attorney.
Building - Considerable building is in progress and contemplated this season; Roste Brothers are about erecting a tannery and several others putting up dwellings andvarious other structures, indicating prosperity, enterprise and thrift.
The order of the Good Templars has a
here, of about one hundred and twenty-five. members; H. W. Gllkey,
Chief, and E. Tibbets,
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