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Flash From The Past - 1896

Oconto County Reporter
Jan. 3, 1896

Miss Haines of Sturgeon Bay; who was drowned one day last week, while skating, was a cousin of Edith and Grant Birmingham.

Will Ladraw, who was shot through both legs some time ago, is gaining rapidly.

Mr. and Mrs. Bert Bovee, who have been living at Green Bay, are spending the holidays with their parents.

Mrs. Gould and daughter Sarah, who have been visiting relatives here have returned to their home, Lowell, Wis.

Mr. and Mrs. Sloan have gone to Coleman to live.

Maple Valley

James Elison has completed the new church at Frostville. It is a fine looking building.

Briefly Mentioned

As Mrs. James Farrell was crossing the railroad bridge, near the Oconto Company’s mill, Sunday morning, she fell, breaking her left arm near the wrist.

L. A. Longrie, who has been farming in Oconto a few years, has moved to St. Ann, Sheboygan county, for a time, under an arraignment with his wife’s parents to care for them and their farm at the latter place.


Myrtle Crimm, aged 9 years, while standing by a fire upon the ice, her cloak caught fire, and for the presence of mind of a bystander she would have perished. He caught her up, and running to an open place in the river, doused her up and down until the flames were extinguished.

William Doherty was badly scalded by boiling soap in a factory in which he was employed.

Oconto Falls

Howard Macrobie spent New Years with his parents at Milwaukee.

George Runkel is now doing business in his new store, which presents a very attractive appearance.

Oconto County Reporter
Jan. 10, 1896 Historic 


My wife, Grace M. Fitzpatrick, having left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, all persons are hereby cautioned against trusting her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date.
Eugene Fitzpatrick, Abrams, Wis., December 17, 1895

Oconto County Reporter
Jan. 17, 1896 

There have been reported to the register of deeds, for the year 1895, 127 marriages, 256 births and 72 deaths. The number of marriages are the same as reported for 1894, but the birth and death list were much smaller.

Two divorce cases have been decided by Judge Hastings since the adjournment of court in November; L. I. Rollins vs. Agnes Rollins, in favor of plaintiff, and Laura Pahl vs. Charles Pahl – granting the divorce and giving the child into the custody of it’s mother.

The Balance Sheet

Population and Wealth of Oconto County, 1895

Where the People were Born –
Extent of Our Manufactures –
Proportion of Improved and Unimproved Lands and Value of Equipment and Products.

From advanced sheets of the state census of 1895, received from the office of the secretary of state, THE REPORTER is enabled to present interesting statistics of population, manufactures and agriculture in Oconto county, as follows:


Total, 18,339; male, 9,842; female, 8,497; ex-soldiers and sailors, 227; militia, 3,426. Nativity of population – United States, white, 12,795; colored, 14; Germany, 1,978; Great Britain, 144; Ireland, 296; France, 143; British America, 1,109; Scandinavia, 838; Holland, 131; all other counties, 846.

Defective classes – insane, 2, deaf and dumb, 6; blind, 6; idiotic, 7.

Number of people to the square mile, 16.

Brief Mention

Ole Larson, who for shooting John Olson in the leg, was bound over to the circuit court.

Oconto County Reporter
Jan. 24, 1896
researched by - Cathe Ziereis


Judge Hastings Has Decided Against The Town.

He holds that the Organization was Illegally
Effected County Board Changed Boundary Lines Taxes of 1894 Cannot be Forcibly Collected

Judge Hastings, in circuit court at Marinette, declared the town of Waupee, Oconto County, illegally organized, on the grounds that the people of the territory set off did not vote according to the requirements of the statues And the county board even changed the boundary lines when the measure was laid before that body.

The case was bought before the judge at Marinette for the purpose of obtaining a speedy decision, for should the town be declared illegally organized it would prevent the forcible collection of taxes.

The result will be that orders on the town of Waupee will lose their case and all property included in the territory set off escape taxation for 1894.

Oconto County Reporter
 Jan. 31, 1896 


County Board Had No Power or Authority

Defendant Must Pay Costs of Suit
Town Treasurer Johnson Had Collected About Four Hundred Dollars
Didn’t Know What to Do With the Money

The decision of Judge Hastings in declaring the town of Waupee not organized according to law, stripped of its legal verbiage is that the ordinance is invalid, and adopted by the county board without power or authority; and that plaintiff shall receive of defendant the sum of $23.30 for costs of suit.

Treasurer Johnson’s Dilemma

Nels P. Johnson, treasurer of the defunct town, was in this city this week and called upon County Treasurer McAllister with about $200.00 which he had collected in taxes in the territory set off, which the county treasurer would not accept, as the town in which the collection was made was not now in existence, hence no town to which to credit the funds. Mr. Johnson was advised to retain the money until directed by proper authority what disposition he should make of it. The entire amount collected is about $400.00.

Patrick Curley Insane Taken to the Hospital at Winnebago on Wednesday

Patrick Curley, for many years proprietor of a hotel at Stiles, was on Tuesday adjudged insane by physicians in the presence of the county judge and sheriff, and on Wednesday the unfortunate man was taken to the hospital for the Insane.

Another Big Load

From John Shores’ camp comes the news of a two-horse team hauling, over a snow road and landing in the Peshtigo brook, a ten-log load of pine scaling 4,000 feet, where 2,000 feet loads are a scarcity, NEXT!

Oconto County Reporter
Feb. 14, 1896 

Briefly Mentioned

Robert Burke and family have moved to Sturgeon Bay.

The two-year-old child of George Rattelle, car repairer of the Lake Shore road, fell from a chair, Tuesday, and broke his arm.

The Oconto Land Company, of which George Beyer is president, sold land to the amount of $3,000. Last month, which may be said to be a good beginning for a dull year. The Company has lots of good land left, which are offered to settlers upon their own terms. Spread the good news to the thousands who want good farms in the most promising agricultural county in Wisconsin.

Fred Wilson is dangerously ill at the home of his mother, Mrs. Quinn.

Edwin Ferguson of Suamico has been awarded a pension.

Oconto County Reporter
 Feb. 21, 1896 

Personal And Social

Walter Elliott and C. F. Yeaton are seriously ill and both confined at the residence of the former.

Wants More Time

Joseph Williams Wants His Brother’s Assistance –
Now in Jail

Wednesday afternoon, Joseph Williams, arrested on suspicion of having stolen goods from a hotel in Lena, was arraigned before Judge Jones for examination, but asked for an adjournment that he might write to his brother in Michigan for funds to use in employing an attorney, which appeal was granted. Next Wednesday the case will be called up again.

Albert Ruelle and K. J. McIver recently formed a partnership to carry on a wholesale lumber business at Stiles. Mr. Ruelle recently returned from a sojourn of a couple of years in the state of Washington, where he was engaged in the lumber business, and his acquaintance in the great west opens excellent opportunities to the new firm. They will handle all kinds of lumber.

Jacob Ullman will leave for Chicago, Sunday night, to purchase another carload of horses. He has barns in Oconto, Pound and Wausaukee, and two men traveling the country with horses and is doing a flourishing business.

Old Mrs. Davis is very low with pneumonia. It is not expected that she will recover.

Al. Baling has sold his saloon to a relative of Mr. Chatell of Abrams. The new owner expects to put up a large hotel here next summer.

Last Saturday night, the Sturgeon Bay covered stage, with five passengers, went through a large crack in the ice on Green Bay, and the passengers narrowly escaped drowning. The ice on the bay has not been very thick this winter, and many accidents have been reported.

Oconto County Reporter
Feb. 28, 1896 

Briefly Mentioned

Mr. Colburn has accepted the position of millwright at the F. M. Co.’s pulp mill.

Jos. Curtain, late of Chicago, has again taken up residence here, having assumed charge of the digesters at the sulphite mill.

Jimmie Smith was quite badly injured in the woods, while employed by Fred Butler, loading logs.

Oconto County Reporter
 March 6, 1896
 Researcher.- Cathe Ziereis

Will North and family have moved to Sheboygan, where he has obtained a situation in a chair factory.

Joseph Williams will be arraigned before Justice Jones next Monday on another phase of the charge for stealing clothing.

A girl baby, without eyes, nose, fingers or toes, was recently born to a woman of the First ward.

A carriage containing five occupants was run over at the railroad crossing of the Peshtigo road near Marinette last Saturday night. The horses were killed and the carriage demolished, but only one person was severely injured.

Stanislaus Dazkowski, who had been in jail several months awaiting trial on charge of murdering his wife, was discharged from custody on Monday, on motion of District Attorney Cady. Mrs. Dazkowski disappeared on the third of January, and all efforts to find her dead or alive, have been futile. Dazkowski was held for trial on an alleged confession of the murder, but evidence secured up to the time of the trial was not deemed sufficient to convict.

Oconto County Reporter
March 13, 1896 

Mrs. S. C. May returned home during the week from a three months visit with her parents in Milwaukee.

John McCrae moved the first of the week to Green Bay, where he will conduct a barbershop and restaurant.

Mrs. Caroline Smith of Gladstone came down last week in response to a summons notifying her of the serious illness of her sister, Mrs. J. Messenger.

Mrs. Tuttle is visiting her sister, Mrs. Curtis, at Oshkosh.

Municipal Court

Joseph Williams, recently released from custody on the charge of having stolen certain clothing from Buckberger’s hotel at Lena, for want of sufficient evidence, was soon re-arrested, as the result of a clever bit of detective work by Sheriff Whitcomb, and is again in the toils of the law, on another charge of the same character. This time the evidence was deemed so good that Judge Jones bound him over to circuit court, and in default of $300 bail he is stopping at the Whitcomb house. After the judge announced that he should be held for trial, Williams (whose name is believed to be Mitchell) offered to plead guilty to petit larceny and take the penalty for that offence. Sheriff Whitcomb having spent considerable time and money to apprehend Williams the first time, and believing he had proper subject for Waupun, adopted a successful ruse to recapture him. Williams wanted to go to Green Bay and the sheriff was anxious to help him thither, and did so. He then kept watch of him, had him spotted on arrival of the train on which he went, traced to his lodgings, where stolen goods that could be identified were found; and so Williams or Mitchell or whoever he is will have to answer for some of his supposed crookedness.

Oconto County Reporter
March 20, 1896 

The family of Mr. Schultz are out of quarantine, the health authorities concluding danger from diphtheria over.

Casualties in Life
Serious Accidents with Narrow Escapes from Fatal Results

Last Friday as Lots Brandiland and Lots Lindberg were driving to their home in the town of Little River they were struck by a C & N W train at the crossing about a mile north of the city and severely injured. The men were thrown a distance of more then twenty feet from the track, both being rendered unconscious. Brandiland received several cuts and bruises that are likely to lay him up for some time. His companion fared better, though considerably hurt. One horse was killed and thrown on the other side of the track from the men, while the other animal escaped injury of any kind. The train came to a halt and taking the men aboard backed down to the city where medical services were secured, and later the same evening they were conveyed in a carriage to their home.

His Ribs Broken

John Carr had a serious experience with his team of broncos on Wednesday afternoon that will confine him to his house for some time. He had driven out to W. P. Cook and Bros’ farm, and was returning to the city when the metal loop at one end of the neck yoke broke, letting the pole fall against the legs of one of the ponies. This startled the animals and they dashed off at full speed, soon getting beyond control of the driver. John Herald, who was in the buggy jumped out safely, and in attempting to do the same Mr. Carr tripped on the lap robe and fell between the wheels, and his fur overcoat becoming fastened to the seat of the buggy held him in that position for some time. He finally succeeded in lifting himself back in the buggy when he was immediately thrown over the dashboard onto the ground between the whiffletrees and the heels of the horses. He was unconscious for a time. Herald soon obtained help and brought the injured man home. The sum of his injuries is a severe contusion on the right side of his head and several broken ribs.

Oconto County Reporter
March 27, 1896 

Mr. Burgess, living near here, had his house destroyed by fire Tuesday morning. It probably caught from a stray spark of fire lighting on the roof. They were able to save most of the household goods. During the progress of the fire old Mrs. Burgess entered the cellar, to save some canned fruit, and came very near losing her life. As she opened the cellar door the smoke poured out in volumes; entering the cellar, she became lost, as the smoke blinded her, and could not make her way back again. Charley Betts, knowing that she had entered the cellar, rushed in and rescued her. The loss is about $1,000; no insurance.

Maude Callan, after having spent the winter at Hickory, has returned to Sheldon, N.D.

The Reporter welcomed Sheldon Cook into its sanctum, the other day, but was sorry to note that he limped not a little, a thing he didn’t do when he made the twenty miles between Oconto and Marinette last summer on his bicycle. Mr. Cook has been quite closely confined to his farm home four or five weeks on account of a game foot, caused by having run a rusty nail into it, but he has put in a busy winter just the same. He has built a new barn, a new chicken house, a series of new hog pens, and sundry other new things on his farm, besides making some improvements upon his house. His place is now the best in the country.

Oconto County Reporter
April 10, 1896

Briefly Mentioned

Charles Schmidt’s son Louis is at a hospital in Milwaukee, to have an operation performed on his hands.

Mrs. Thomas Ryan and children, and Misses Bert and Lulu Runkel, of Oshkosh, are visiting relatives in the city.

Mrs. Rosa Lemorand of Marinette is visiting her daughter, Mrs. Dell Foster. Mrs. Lemorand and Miss Gilbo had lived in Oconto till about thirteen years ago.

Mrs. E. Hunter, of Hickory, accompanied her niece, Miss Maude Callan, as far as Oconto on the way to her home in North Dakota. She visited with the family of C. H. Thomas.

Oconto County Reporter
 April 17, 1896
 In Memoriam – Lehner

In order to show honor and respect to Alice, wife of John Lehner, who died at her home in the town of Spruce April 5, 1896, after an illness of short duration, I feel obligated to publish in your valuable paper a few words of lasting importance to her bereaved husband and friends. The deceased was born Feb. 6, 1865, at Oconto. She was a daughter of James A. Glynn who now resides at Hickory. As a girl she was loved by all. She received her education in the little school house at Couillardville, which fitted her for the noble occupation of school teaching, which she so grandly performed. Her voice resounded through the walls of the school house of Jones Creek, Comstock and Halstead districts, and many boys and girls, now men and women, will cherish with fond love and remembrance thoughts of their departed teacher. Among her scholars was Judge David G. Classon. She was married to John Lehner in 1887. As a wife and mother she was kind and loving and did much for the training of her family. Her memory will be cherished by family and friends and the deeds of kindness she did will remain through the countless ages of eternity.

The Circuit Court

Lawe vs. Lawe divorce granted.

Caution My wife, Minnie Meyer, has left my bed and board without cause or provocation. I therefore hereby caution any and all persons not to trust or harbor her on my account, as I will not pay any debt contracted by her after this date. W.A. Meyer Dated at Oconto, Wis., April 17, 1896 ***** Daniel Hall, who had been elected town clerk, being ineligible, Ed Cisar was appointed clerk at the first meeting of the board, last Tuesday. Mr. Hall, a few years ago, leased his farm for five years, and went to Menominee, Mich. He remained there a couple of years ago, and becoming a voter, exercised the right of suffrage. He came back to Little River less than a year ago, and had therefore lost his right to vote or to hold office. He did not, however, vote at the town meeting, but was a candidate for town clerk, and was elected.

Sad news was received from Charley Couillard of Sagoia, Mich. last week. He had his leg broken in two places below the knee while unloading logs. His mother at once left for Sagoia.

Oconto County Reporter
 April 24, 1896


Christina Jacobson, the unfortunate women who was afflicted with leprosy, is dead.

Ed Cardinal received a disagreeable injury last Friday, in Oconto Company’s sawmill. While feeding a trimmer the saw struck a knot which precipitated a sliver against his face, knocking out several teeth and carrying off a bit of his upper lip.

Next day, Saturday, a similar misfortune befell August Mercier, from a similar cause. One of his eye lids was severed, only temporarily wounding the eye itself, however, and one side of his face was badly wounded.

The wounds of both were successfully dressed by Dr. Atwood, and both were doing well. Mr. Cardinal recovered so quickly as to be married on Sunday, according to previous arrangements, to Miss Josephine Lambert, the Rev. Fr. Vaillant tying the knot.

Circuit Court Calendar Cleaned Up, and Court Adjourned Thursday

Following is the disposition of the cases entered for trail at the spring term of circuit court, which adjourned last evening;

Burdick v. Phillips – Motion for a new trial to be heard at chambers May 1st. Huebscher v. Weigelt – verdict for the plaintiff. Saunders v. Ullman- verdict for plaintiff Conniff v. Beyer- verdict for plaintiff Wilcox v. Hall – change of venue to Shawano County Flatley v. Phoenix Ins. Co. – testimony taken; to be argued by brief. Farwell v. Hoeffel – Joannes garnishee proceedings dismissed. Larson v. Phoenix Ins. Co. – testimony by deposition; argued by deft. Plaintiff to have fifteen days to file brief, and defendant to have five days to reply. Holt Lumber Company v. Washburn- under advisement. Devereaux v. Ingram – judgment affirmed Vye v. Ingram – judgment affirmed. State v. Jensen – guilty State v. Larsen – guilty; one year state prison, first day solitary confinement. State v. Delphone – guilty; one year state prison, first day solitary confinement. State v. Joyce – eighteen months state prison; first day solitary confinement.


1¢ buys a paper of pins, a lead pencil or a spool of thread 2¢  20 pieces of lace and embroideries will be placed on sale next week, per yard 3¢  Elastic web, 7/8-in. wide, per yard; 150 page tablet; 1 pair ladies hose. 4¢  30 pieces of light colored prints suitable for aprons and children’s dresses 5¢  will buy any one of these articles; A straw hat; a pair of men’s socks; a pair of ladies hose; 1 ladies ribbed vest; 1 pair child’s hose; 1 set corset steels; 1 set dress stays; 1 yard bleached cotton; 1 pair boys suspenders.


Mayor Sherman is the oldest continuous resident of Marinette. He came here in 1853, to find it an Indian village. He was Marinette’s first school teacher, having 10 pupils. Now there are 3,000 pupils and 63 teachers.

Oconto County Reporter
May 1, 1896

Mike Rokouski, the young Polock who was charged with a heinous crime, appeared before Judge Holgate last week and pleaded guilty. He was given a year in Waupun. He is but nineteen years old but his crime was a revolting one and merited severe punishment.

George Drown of Oshkosh renewed old acquaintances here last week while looking after the interests of his late brother’s child, over whom he was appointed guardian.

Gus. Ahrens, a resident of the West side, jumped from a second-story window at the Howard House Wednesday night and received injuries to his back and limbs that will inconvenience him for some time.

Oconto County Reporter
May 8, 1896

Stiles - Mrs. Dan Connell and son Charles left on Monday for Eau Claire, where they will reside in the future. Town of Pensaukee The errand of the sheriff, the doctor and the judge was to inquire into the sanity of Henry Gallaher, aged 27 years, son of Roger Gallaher, near Abrams, an old and worthy resident of the town of Pensaukee. Dr. Hanson assisted in the inquiry and the young man was adjudged insane and by Judge Classon committed to the hospital at Oshkosh. Sheriff Whitcomb conveyed him thither last evening. He has been a victim of epilepsy for several years and recently became violently insane. The afflicted family have the sympathy of all their neighbors.

Mrs. A. J. Bradley, who has spent the winter here with her mother, has gone to Denver, Colo., where her husband is located.

Miss Minnie Burke, who has spent the winter with her sister, Mrs. Chas. Beck, at Sturgeon Bay, returned to this city Monday.

Wm. Urquhart is welcomed back from his home at Ballard, Wash., for the summer. Appreciating a good thing, he is again a guest at the Beyer House.

George Thompson and another brother and Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Weld, the latter a sister of the late Claude Thompson, all of Marshfield, attended the funeral of the deceased in Oconto.


John Leseck Missing From Town of How

Albert Swanson Suspected of Knowing Much Pertaining to His Disappearance
Body Thought to Have Been Cremated Warrant Issued

On the 23rd of April, John Leseck, of the town of How, hired out, with his team, to do some plowing for Albert Swanson, a farmer residing two miles distant, since which time he has not been heard from. Three days later, he not having returned, the woman with whom he boarded called at Swanson’s place to make inquiry for the man, when she was told by Swanson that Leseck had gone to the neighbors to work, but afterward informed her that he had left the country and would not return until autumn, Swanson explaining that he had purchased Leseck’s team and had afterward sold it. Foul play was suggested, resulting in a warrant being issued for Swanson’s arrest. Investigation disclosed a hollow stump on Swanson’s farm, which contained ashes, in the midst of which were found bones, teeth, shoe buckles, buttons, and a key which fitted the granary door of the missing man.

The woman with whom Leseck had been stopping, since the burning of his home, told of a button which she had noticed on the man’s shirt, peculiarly “chipped”, which was discovered and corresponded with her description.

At the time of going to press the officer has not returned t the city with his prisoner.

Oconto County Reporter
 May 15, 1896



Under-sheriff Conners Explains How the Act Was Accomplished –
 He chased Through Brush and Brier, and With a Posse, Surrounded Him in a Barn

   Albert Swanson, suspected of being able to throw much light upon the sudden disappearance of Jacob Lesechk, a resident of the town of How, is now behind bars in this city, Under-Sheriff Conners arriving with the man on Saturday. Arraigned before Judge Jones, he pleaded not guilty, and in the absence of witnesses the case was adjourned until next Monday. Rumors having gained circulation pertaining to the capture of the prisoner which were not in accordance with the facts, a representative of this paper called upon Mr. Conners for an accurate narration of events. He said: “One week ago Tuesday I was sent by Sheriff Whitcomb to the town of How to investigate a rumor that Jacob Lesechk had been murdered, or had mysteriously disappeared. I was instructed to make a thorough investigation, and if I discovered a murder had been committed, to notify him (the sheriff) by telephone and he would hurry to my assistance and assist in ferreting out the criminals. Before my departure, Mr. Whitcomb informed me there had been no warrant issued, but that if sufficient evidence was found against any person he would bring the warrant when he came.

Albert Swanson Suspected

“The man suspected of the murder – circumstances pointing strongly to the fact that a murder had been committed – was Albert Swanson, a farmer residing on the South Branch of the Oconto river, at a point known as the Butler bridge. “I arrived in the town of How on Wednesday morning and met Swanson on the road. I stopped him and informed him that he would have to go back to his place with me, as I had some business which I wished to talk with him about. Swanson replied, ‘All right, I will go back with you.’ Arriving at Swanson’s, I told him that I was searching for a man by the name of Jacob Lesechk, who was murdered and that this was the last place he had been seen, and I asked him if he knew anything concerning his whereabouts. He began to tremble violently, but managed to tell me that Lesechk has gone away. Questioned further, he said Lesechk had gone to Shawano.

Conners Suspected Foul Play

Swanson’s actions convinced me that there had been foul play. Turning to Mr. Gilmore, who was present, I requested him to go over to Peter Lundquist’s and to tell him to come over to Swanson’s and to bring some men with him, if there should happen to be any nearby. Soon Mr. Lundguist and a Mr. David arrived. He told them to get a crow car and a shovel, for I believe that Lesechk has been murdered, and buried in the vicinity. We searched in various places, and finally came to a large stump which had been burned and hollowed out, in the middle of which we discovered ashes containing bones, teeth, a shoe buckle, pants and shirt buttons. The shirt buttons were identified by Mrs. David as the buttons she had sewn on the front of Lesechk’s shirt. The missing man had made his home at Mr. David’s and Mrs. David had done his washing and repaired his clothes.

Swanson Arrested

“Swanson was taken to the home of Mr. Lundguist, and when dinner was announced the former refused to eat. Close guard was kept upon him, all the afternoon and evening, but while I was in the act of reaching for a drink of water, and for an instant had removed my eyes from the prisoner, he leaped through the doorway and ‘ran for his life.’ I struck out after him, but he soon distanced me. Calling two men to follow me, with the aid of a lantern we tracked our man to Peter Peterson’s place, where Swanson tried to conceal himself in a loft over a hogs pen. Detecting the light from the lantern he left his hiding place and struck across the fields and into the swamp.

In His Stocking Feet

“Thinking he would return to his barn to secure a horse and some shoes- for he was in his stocking feet – I sent two men to guard the road leading toward Breed post office, while I returned to the barn where Swanson had his horses. This cut off his retreat. The next morning I sent men out to notify settlers, railroad men, river men and Indians to be on the lookout for Swanson, but no one had seen him. I was then convinced he was in the woods, near by, and arming men with Winchesters and instructing them to guard all houses in the vicinity, I knew it was a matter of come out or starve. Coming out of the woods he re-entered the barn, which was quickly surrounded by armed men. Calling two men to accompany me, we entered the barn and found Swanson in one of the stalls, lying under the manger. I covered him with my revolver and told him to put up his hands. He implored me not to shoot, and when I told him ‘hands up’ he obeyed, when I slipped the hand cuffs on and he was again a prisoner.”

Says He Is Innocent

Swanson, interviewed in his cell, told the following story; “Lesechk came to my place, with his team, and inquired for work. I did not need help, but told him he might do a few days plowing. He worked three days, and I bought his team, under the following circumstances: I paid him $65 in cash, the balance to offset a theft which he had committed against myself and a neighbor. On the day of the sale he said he was going to Shawano and that was the last I saw of him. The fire which burned the stump occurred the day before Lesechk came to work for me. “Why did I try to escape, if I was innocent of the charge? Because I didn’t care to be taken to jail without first making an effort to defend myself, and I wanted to find H.W. Gilkey, whom I thought would be able to help me in my difficulty. “I never had any trouble with anybody and no man can truthfully say that he ever saw me intoxicated. I have worked in Oconto in Larsen’s livery stable and at Holt’s boarding house, and now own two forties of land in the town of How, where I have a home and a wife. Of late years we have both worked in the woods and on the drive – my wife as cook. She came home the same day I was arrested.

Another Suspect

In a cell, in the upper portion of the jail, August Pole was confined, suspected of being implicated in the supposed murder of Jacob Lesechk. He protects innocence. Under-Sheriff Conners, while skirmishing about the country on his chase for Swanson, learned that the latter, the day after Lesechk’s disappearance, had sent a boy to the Indian reservation, instructing him to tell Pole that he (Swanson) wished to see him at once. This, with other information, was telephoned to Sheriff Whitcomb who procured a warrant for the arrest of Pole, and left immediately for the reservation. The arrest was made by an Indian policeman, and when once off the domain of the redskin the sheriff took possession of the suspect and brought him to Oconto. He will appear in court next Tuesday.

Run Away Accident

In a runaway at Pensaukee, Monday, Mrs. Meinecke, nearly sixty years of age, was thrown from a carriage, sustaining injuries which may prove fatal. One leg was broken in three places, one shoulder severely bruised and she was injured internally.

An Off Color

A Black fox Makes It’s appearance In A Litter of Red Cubs

Carl Schoenebeck of Lena is possessor of a black fox, a specimen whose rarity makes it very valuable. The fox was captured a few weeks ago near Oconto Falls, and with it a full brother of the conventual red color. The animals are confined in a commodious cage, have become quite tame, and are apparently as happy as though enjoying the sweets of freedom. Mr. Schoenebeck was offered $50. For the black fox a few days after it came into his possession, but he declined the offer. Mr. C. is an expert taxidermist, and in his saloon has several large cages of quadrupeds, birds, insects, bugs, etc. which he has himself stuffed and handsomely mounted.

Oconto County Reporter
 May 22, 1896


We are called to mourn the untimely death of our esteemed friend, Henry Bellingham, which occurred on May 11. He had spent the winter in the woods, and returned in March not feeling as usual. Calling upon Dr. Hanson he learned that he was stricken with sugar diabetes. Medical aid was sought, also in other directions, but the same inevitable answer fell upon anxious ears and all hope of recovery was abandoned.

Henry Bellingham was born in England, Oct. 27, 1865, and came to this country when five years of age. He had lived here many years, and was universally esteemed by all who knew him. He was an honest, hard working young man and leaves a reputation worthy one one’s emulation. He died in the belief of future life, as was manifested during his last conscious moments, when he said he was going home to see his child and brother. The burial services were conducted by Rev. J. C. McLean, the funeral being held at the Methodist church, the large number of people in attendance, and eyes filled with tears during the service only imperfectly attesting to the high esteem in which he was in the community. He leaves a father, mother, wife, brother and four sisters to mourn his early departure, though they can but feel that their loss is his gain, yet a true husband, son, and brother has been ushered into immortal life by a just creator. The relatives have the sympathy of the entire community.

Our cup of sorrow has again been filled to overflowing, as we record the death of Frederick G. Worthing, who died Tuesday morning, after an illness of ten weeks. Mr. Worthing was born in Maine, Feb. 23, 1833, and for the past thirty-three years had been a citizen of Wisconsin, and nearly all these years a resident of Oconto County. He died with a brain disease which kept him in a dazed state much of the time. Mr. Worthing was step-father to Mrs. J. I. Bovee, Mrs. A. L. Dunton, Mrs. E. H. Brooks and Frank Morrison. He also has two daughters by his first wife, one of whom is Mrs. Frank Morrison of Abrams. He also leaves four brothers to mourn his loss. The funeral services were held at the Methodist church, Wednesday afternoon, and were attended by a vast concourse of friends and neighbors. He was a loving husband and a true friend, ready at all times to grant an accommodation or extend a sympathetic hand to the unfortunate. He leaves a wife, five daughters. A son and four brothers.

While Miss Ella Flatley, Mrs. John Flatley and Mrs. Hall of Oconto and two children were returning from visiting with Mrs. James Farrell at the Oconto Company’s farm, the horse became frightened at an Indian and his pony, and ran away, upsetting the buggy and throwing them all out. Injuries not serious.

Mrs. C. A. North visited her husband at Sheboygan over Sunday.

Charles Windross is to erect a store 25 X 50 on a lot purchased of Jesse Birmingham. The cellar is dug and the foundation walls are being laid this week.

His Life Insurance

The late Charles B. Alford had life insurance to the amount of $13,000, most of it obtained not long before his death. It was all payable to designated beneficiaries, as follows: $1,000 in the Northwestern, to his wife; $3,000 in the Royal Arcanun and $3,000 in the Northwestern, to his six children, and $6,000 in the New York Life, to the six others of his children. Of that in the New York Life, $2,000 was made payable at his death, $200 each year for ten years, and the remaining $2,000 at the end of the eleventh year. His policies in the New York Life were under a new plan, inaugurated by the company little more then a year ago, and is called its registered bond plan. The deferred payments bear interest at 3 per cent per annum. The Reporter learns from Mr. Trudell, attorney for Ernest Funke, guardian of the minor children, that the New York Life has made its first payment in money and delivered its obligation. A. J. Caldwell is guardian for the wife, who is a minor.

A.H. Luckenbach has been appointed administrator of the Alford estate in place F. X. Morrow, who failed to file a new bond, as required by the county court. The estate apart from life insurance is merely nominal.

On The Salty Sea

Oconto People to Visit the Scenes of Their Childhood Days

On the second of June, Mr. and Mrs. Sol. Hirsch and son will leave Oconto for New York city, and on the 9th proximal take passage on the ocean steamer Lahn for Bremen – but ten days on the water, should they meet with favorable weather.

It has been sixteen years since Mr. Hirsch left the old country, where his father is engaged in the cattle business. While away, Mr. Hirsch will investigate the feasibility of shipping horses over there as a regular business.

Oconto County Reporter
May 29, 1896

Signed For Poison

Swanson Tires of Prison Life and Courts Suicide
He preferred the Route Usually Taken by the Festive Potato Bug –
 His Appeal Did Not Touch the Cord of Sympathy –
Fears the Law.

Albert Swanson longs to snap the tie that binds him to things terrestrial and has signified his preference of a route.

Saturday night he asked one of the women confined in the jail if she would get him some poison, such as they sprinkle on potato vines. Upon her refusal to comply with his request, he remarked that he would kill himself in some way – that he would never stand trial.

Everything with which he could do himself injury has been removed from his cell.

This morning, before Judge Jones, Swanson has his preliminary examination and was committed to jail to await appearance at circuit court. The charge against Pohl was dismissed, but he was held under $100 bonds to appear as a witness against Swanson.

Pohl testified that Swanson told him he had killed Leschk with an ax and burned his body in a hollow stump. And asked him (Pohl) to tell the people with whom Leschk had boarded that he had seen the missing man since the day of his reported disappearance, which request he compiled with, fearing violence from Swanson by a refusal.

Pohl is at liberty and Swanson behind bars.

May Be Zuelke

An inmate of the county jail at Wautoma, arrested for burglary, answers the description of the murderer of Edward Davids at Markesan on April last.

Misses Allie and Minerva May took their departure, Tuesday, for their new home in Milwaukee, accompanied by the regrets of the many friends with whom they mingled during their residence in Oconto.

James Hall, absent two months in Florida, has returned to Wisconsin and is now in the city visiting his brother, Robert Hall. His home is in Garden Mich.

Mrs. D. E. Whitels has returned to the home of her parents in Spring Green for another visit, Mr. Whitels accompanying her as far as Milwaukee.

Oconto County Reporter
June 5, 1896

Mrs. J. B. Atwood has returned from an extended visit at her former home in Illinois.

Charges Not Sustained Guardian of Minor Heirs Not Guilty of Misconduct

In county court, Tuesday, charges were presented against Hardin Gilkey, for alleged misconduct in the guardianship affairs of the minor children of Alberta Weinholdt, of the town of How, but the charges were sustained.

Mrs. Minnick, who was seriously injured a few weeks ago, is recovering slowly.

Antonie Jennsen and Frank Haley, strangers in this city, Sundayed in jail and were ordered to leave town within the hour by Justice O’Keef.

John McDonald has completed his new and large hotel in Brookside and will open it with a grand ball on next Monday evening,

Edward Battin, for a number of years shoemaker for D. O’Keefe, has leased the building one door east of Links Hardware store – Robert Burke’s old place – and will conduct a general shoemaking business and repair shop.

‘Neath The Waters'

Joseph Prickett Drowned At Little Rapids, Saturday.

Became Adventuresome and Did Not Heed Caution –
Body Recovered Six Hours Afterwards –
Another Oconto Man Met Death There Over Twenty Years ago.

Joseph Prickett was drowned at Little Falls, on the north branch of the Oconto River, at 9 o’clock last Saturday morning and the body recovered at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, two miles below the spot where he disappeared from view.

He was engaged in breaking the center jam at an island near the foot of Simpson rapids, and when the jam started he was standing on a log. In the excitement he lost his peevy and having nothing to balance himself with he fell in and went over the falls, logs striking him in the back and upon the head.

The body was brought to Oconto by team, arriving early Sunday morning, and the funeral was held on Tuesday, from St. Peter’s church.

He was the eldest son of Paul Prickett, besides whom; there are two brothers and a sister in the family. His mother died about two months ago.

Wednesday, of the week previous, Mr. Prickett nearly lost his life at Loon Rapids, near the Eldred’s farm, by being too venturesome, and going unnecessarily, into dangerous positions. He got in under the wing and was missing a half-hour, his companions finding him lying in the water beside a log, exhausted and helpless.

Death of Two Men

Little falls can now be pointed out as the spot where two men, both residents of this city, have lost their lives – Jeremiah Corboy, the first victim, away back in the 70’s.

Mrs. Solway, Ralph and Grace, are with relatives in Menominee.

S. S. Banta of Pembine, a former resident of Oconto, was here on Wednesday.

Oconto County Reporter
June 12, 1896

Eliza McNamara of Menominee, aged 18, committed suicide last Saturday by eating Strychnine from a handkerchief, in the presence of visitors. Grief over the death of a sister is believed to have been the cause.

Three alleged post office burglars are in Marinette jail, in default of $2,000 bail, to await trial at circuit court at circuit court. They pleaded not guilty and gave their names as George Wilson, G. R. Gill, and Joseph Meyers.

Bert Ogden and wife were arrested this week, more stolen property having been bound at their resort. Hearing next Tuesday. Bail $100. Furnished.

Gilbert Morrow is adding a lean-to to his place, into which he will move his store goods. He expects to rent the front room of the main building for a saloon.

Mr. and Mrs. K. J. McIver will leave Monday for Walker, Minn., where they will make their future home.

Mrs. James McGuire has received $1,000 in full payment of her claim as beneficiary named in the certificate held by her late husband in the Modern Woodmen.

Rev. W. W. Soule of Oneida and his mother, of Waupaca, made a short visit at his brother’s, Rev. A. B. Soule’s, last week.

Zuelke Is At Large

John Cusick Met Him in the Woods Recently A Desperate-Looking Man –
He Still Clings to His Winchester –
Presumably Forages on Railroad Camps and Farm Houses at Night –
Cusick Invited to Move On.

Zuelke, the Green Lake county murderer, is, without doubt, roaming aimlessly about over sparsely settled portions of Oconto county.

John Cusick, while walking through the woods in the town of Armstrong, saw a man standing near a tree with a Winchester rifle resting in the “hollow” of his left arm. The gun was cocked and the man’s forefinger lay upon the trigger.

He asked Mr. Cusick to procure him food, the latter replying that he was six miles from home and that it was out of the question for him to comply with the request, but that if he would accompany him to the house he should be well fed and given a comfortable night’s lodging. The invitation however, was refused. When Mr. Cusick told him of the railroad camp some three miles away, suggesting that nourishment might be procured there, his kindly offices were rewarded by a peremptory demand from the stranger to “move on”.

From his description of the man it is believed that he encountered Zuelke.

Lightening Plays Pranks J. E. Nelligan’s House Struck

During the storm of one week ago tonight, the residence of J. E. Nelligan was struck by lightening, but little damage resulting, compared to the usual record of this mysterious visitor. The big chimney was somewhat shattered, a few shingles lifted from the roof, plastering scattered about in one or two rooms, and the blast went down the chimney that blew the fire-place out and scattered soot over the sitting room carpet. Members of the family were sitting in the room and their fright maybe more readily imagined then expressed.

Relatives of an Oconto Lady

Mrs. Clark, mother of Mrs. Henry Fox, wife of the engineer of the railroad extension from Gillett, was a sufferer by the St. Louis tornado. The roof of her residence was blown in upon the contents and her furniture was almost completely destroyed by the wind and rain. Her son and his wife and child were in the house at the time, but only the child was injured, receiving a cut by a broken glass.

Oconto County Reporter
June 19, 1896

Gone To His Reward

Death of a distinguished soldier who once lived in Oconto.

The Reporter is indebted to Mrs. J. R. Underwood of Aurora, Ill., (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Snover of this city), for copies of the News of that city containing particulars of the death and funeral obsequies of General Nicholas Greusel, on April 25, aged 79 tears – a native of Bavaria, but for more then sixty years a loyal adopted citizen of the United States, a veteran of both the Mexican war and the later war for the Union. He raised the 36th Illinois infantry for the later war and rose to the rank of brigadier general, taking active and conspicuous parts in the battles at Corinth, Pea Ridge and elsewhere under Gen. Siegel. The News pays just tribute to his memory and extols him highly for the maximum of many virtues. The following, from Mrs. Underwood’s letter, will explain the special interest of Oconto people in the announcement of the General’s death:

“I met the widow a short time ago, and she told me they once-about forty years ago-lived in Oconto. Her daughter, who is a friend of mine, had told her that my parents and sister live there. The widow also told me they kept a store there.

I said, ‘Oh, yes; then you must have known the Harts, the Joneses, the – etc.’ She answered ‘Oh yes, are the old people – for they must be aged now – living there yet.’ And just as I was about to answer my car came along and I had to leave her.

“I thought then that a notice in your paper might catch the eye of some one who had known Gen. Greusel, and be of interest.”
J. E. Johnson has succeeded Olaf Lombard as postmaster at McAllister, Marinette county.

Charles Rice, brother of Mrs. L. C. DeLano, and son-in-law of Henry Russell of the town of Oconto, has purchased the store, with contents, of Harry Lord at Hickory and will occupy it soon.

Oconto County Reporter
June 19, 1896

Tigerton John Dick of Tigerton has moved his earthly possessions to this town and proposes to take up his abode in a progressive community.

Underhill John Ludwig, while returning home on Tuesday evening, in a cart, was kicked in the face by the horse he was driving. His jaw was broken and his throat badly cut. He is in a serious condition as he can eat nothing and can not talk.
Oconto County Reporter
June 26, 1896


D. Hickok of Underhill has taken V. John’s place in the depot during the illness of the latter.

Mountain F. Otis Runkel, who intends to erect a store in Mountain, has hired E. George Gale to haul the lumber up there.

Gillett E. H. Greenthal is back in Gillett, where he intends to visit friends and relatives a short time, and then to return to Milwaukee, where he has been working the last six months. Mr. Greenthal receives a warm welcome from his many friends.

M. F. Whitney and wife are visiting relatives in the southern part of the state.

A.C. Frost of Round Lake met with rather a singular misfortune last week, which his two horse team and its belongings were cremated. It seems that he, in company of a fishing party from Seymour, started for a point on the Waupee, where angling was good, and left their team and outfit at an old logging camp near by, while they proceeded to the stream on foot. In about an hour they noticed smoke arising in the direction of the place they left their team. Hurrying back with all possible speed, they discovered the camp in flames and their whole equipage destroyed. Having built no fire at the camp, or even lighting a match, their suspicions were naturally aroused. Upon making diligent search for the cause of the calamity they discovered that some one had been at the camp during their absence, on horseback, and either accidentally or maliciously caused the disaster.

Oconto County Reporter
July 3, 1896


Pulcifer People Drowned in Shawano Lake
The boat struck by a gale and capsized three miles from shore –
Two men and a child clung to the craft five hours and were rescued.

Last Saturday evening on Shawano Lake, a yacht containing nine person’s overturned in a gale and six of the party perished – Mrs. O. A. Risum, Mrs. Herman Druckery, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Gokey of Pulcifer; Miss Emma Garbrecht of Shawano and Miss Margaret Crowe of St. Nazianz, Manitowoc County. Mr. Risum, Mr. Druckery and a little child were saved after being in the water five hours.

They had all started from Cecil for a few days’ outing on the north shore of the lake and the boat was three miles from the shore it capsized. As the party was precipitated into the water, Mr. Risum and Mr. Druckery seized the rail of the boat, the latter holding the child with one arm. They were rescued by parties from Cecil, who heard their cries for help. When rescued Mr. Risum was very weak, and for a tie it was thought he would not recover, but he is now out of danger.

Bodies Are Found

All of the bodies, with the exception of that of Mr. Gokey, have been recovered, and had drifted east from where the boat capsized.

Mr. Risum is a prosperous merchant at Pulcifer, Louis Gokey was proprietor of a hotel there, Herman Druckery is engaged in the hardware business, and Miss Crowe was principle of the school of that village.

Albert C. Kuhnie of Menominee, a brother of Mrs. Risum, passed through this city, Tuesday, on his way to join in the search for the bodies. Nearly all of the parties were well known in Oconto.

Personal and Social

F. N. Morrow was a guest of his uncle in Brown County this week.

Mrs. R. P. Smith and little Mabel returned, today, from a visit with relatives at Oshkosh, Watertown and Janesville.

The following Oconto people attended the funeral of Miss Maud Magee at Peshtigo last Sunday; Mrs. Goodrich.

Lemuel Gardiner of Chicago, a former resident of Oconto, is in this city greeting old time friends. He will manage the lumber business of Perley Lowe at Peshtigo.

Oconto County Reporter
July 17, 1896

Surprised in A Boat

The Clever Capture of Two Thieves

It was done by the Sheriff of Door county and members of the Life-Saving crew.
Broke into Oconto Business Houses, Spoils Identified

The men who surreptitiously entered Charles Hall’s Hardware Store and Anderson & Co. meat market on the night of June 4 are in retirement behind bars in the city of Sturgeon Bay.

Stole A Boat On the 23rd day of May two men stole a two-spar boat from Benjamin Robinson of Detour, Mich. And at some other point along their course they secured another craft, which they took in tow. At Escanaba they robbed a hardware store, at Gladstone a general merchandise store, at Menominee a millinery establishment, then came to Oconto and practiced their calling. Crossing over to Ahnapee they blew open a safe at one place and purloined eight pairs of shoes from another.

Took to the Water The sheriff of Door county, upon being notified by the authorities at Ahnapee that suspicious characters were out on the bay and to keep an eye on the rouges, called four of the life saving crew to his assistance, the quintet jumped into a boat and the suspects were discovered asleep on their improved man-of-war, and by their sides were loaded revolvers. Considerable plunder was found  and the fellow jailed.

Oconto Officer Investigates Sheriff Whitcomb and George James, learning of the arrest, went to Sturgeon Bay, where the latter identified the revolver which he had loaned Henry Barlement, and it was one of the articles taken from Hall’s store on the night of the burglary.

Owners of stolen goods from above mentioned cities have identified merchandise taken, and the trial of the thieves is set for fall term of circuit court for Door county.

Thirty-Odd Years Ago

The City of Oconto and the Big World Outside – This Will Interest You

The editor of the Sturgeon Bay Advocate of last week was in reminiscent mood, as follows:

Among Advocate callers on Monday last was our old friend and former taskmaster, Jos. W. Hall, proprietor of the Oconto Lumberman. It is now nearly thirty-four years ago that Joe took charge of the mechanical department of the Advocate, which was then the property of Joseph Harris.

Less than two years afterward the writer assisted Joe in launching the Lumberman on the story sea of journalism, and a desperate struggle it was to place the paper on a paying basis, as Oconto already had one public journal, the Pioneer, which had what little business there was in those early days. The office was located on Section street, in what was then known as the Newton & Royce building. This was the principle thoroughfare of the town at the time we speak of, and it isn’t saying a great deal.

Main street west of Section had only a few buildings. Of these the hotel owned by Ernest Funke was the principal one. The leading hotel was the Empire, then the property of Mr. Gilkey, Sr. This was situated on the southeast corner of Section and Main street. The Empire was a great, rambling frame building, which was subsequently destroyed by fire. Between the hotel and the bridge  were located a meat market, a restaurant, a saloon, the residence of Wm. B. Whitcomb, and a general store owned by the mill company of which Mr. Whitcomb was the head. On the opposite side of the street was the store owned by Thos. Millidge, and between the latter and the Newton & Royce there was a shoe shop and tailor shop. One or both of these were owned by the Davis Brothers, if we are not mistaken.

The only method of communication with the outside world was by means of steamer or sail craft during the season of navigation and by stage in the winter. What was known as the Pony express carried the mail six times a week between Menominee and Green Bay. The distance was about sixty miles and a change of teams occurred at Windross’ in the village of Pensaukee. The fare to Oconto was $2 and double that sum to Menominee or Green Bay.

It was almost a physical impossibility to make time in the spring and fall when roads are broken up, and it was nothing unusual for a team to be on the road two whole days and part of the night in making the trip going one way. As soon as the boats began to run the mail was carried in that way,  being transferred to the little steamer Miner at the mouth of the then tortuous Oconto river. The stage proprietor was Captain John Sanders and the name of the passenger boat was the Queen City, Capt. John B. Jacobs owner and master. The craft made a round trip every two days, going down one day and returning the next. The fare was $3 and meals extra.

Longevity of Life

Health-Producing Climate of Oconto County

Some of the People Who Have Passed Far Beyond the Half Century Mark


Hickory has a number of old people who seem to hold their own quite well, Squire Glynn and Grandpa Mills are up in the eighties and both are hale and hearty and able to do considerable work. Harrison Cooley is considerably past the three-score-and-ten, and thought not rugged or sure-footed as he used to be, is still well preserved for a man of his years. Grandpa Moore is able to walk to church nearly every Sunday and to all appearances has still a long lease of life. James and Pat Kelly show but little signs of wearing out. They are among the first settlers of this county and it’s many a tale they can tell of the early days when wolves and bears and wildcats were the only neighbors they had.

Oconto County Reporter
July 24, 1896

Elisha Burdick, a pioneer resident of Wisconsin, who died at his home in Madison last Saturday of cerebral hemorrage, was an uncle of Dr. J.B. and District attorney Atwood. Mr. Burdick was born in Brookfield, N.Y. in 1822. In 1842 he came to Wisconsin, and two years later went to Madison as clerk of territorial court. In 1854 he engaged in the real estate business with the late Geo. P. Delaplaine, and then partnership continued till Mr. Delaplaine’s death. For a quarter of a century he was a member and officer of the Madison school board, and was devoted to the interests of the public schools. His wife and four sons and two daughters survive him.

The home of Will Regal was destroyed Tuesday by fire, between 11 and 12 a.m. No insurance.

Wednesday E. McKenzie and family and E. Gale and family attended the wedding at Keshena of Bert Cox, brother of the ladies. The bride, Miss Mamie Colvin, is of Couillardville, and the groom of Keshena.

Mr. and Mrs. Neils Jorgensen have returned from their wedding trip.

Mrs. Regina Newald swallowed some poison. We are glad to hear she is in no danger.

Miss Clara Scholm of Waupaca, a sister to Mrs. Walter Jersild, will return home tomorrow. She has been in the city about 6 weeks.

Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Spencer and two daughters from Wichita, Kansas, are guests of the Campbell’s and Germonds.

Patrick Pidgeon, a soldier of the 4th Wisconsin cavalry, who was born and raised in Oconto, now a resident of Wausau, visited Oconto relatives and friends this week.

James E. Glynn and wife drove down from Hickory on Tuesday and returned Wednesday. The Reporter correspondent at Hickory last week placed Mr. Glynn among the octogenarians, by mistake, of course. He will not be eighty for some years yet, but is sure to pass that point if the wishes of his friends can prevail.

Oconto County Reporter
July 31, 1896

The Sad Returning James K. Crooks killed by the cars The Resident of this county for over thirty years – Oconto city his home for a time – Funeral held at Brookside and largely attended.

James K. Crooks, a resident of Oconto county since 1865, was instantly killed at Sagbridge, Ill., one week ago Wednesday, by being struck by a locomotive while crossing the track to enter the depot for the purpose of procuring a ticket for Lemont. On the 10th of last February he left Brookside, where his family reside, and assumed charge of canal work for a company about twenty-eight miles south of Chicago. The job had been completed, and he, with four or five others, were on their way to the railway station to take the train for their respective destinations. His companion crossed the track in safety. At the inquest the railroad company – the Chicago & Alton was exonerated from all the blame. The body reached home Saturday night and the funeral was held the following day, interment in the Brookside cemetery.

Well known in Oconto

Mr. Crooks, before coming to this county, resided in Restigouche, N. B. Upon arrival here he entered the employ of Holt & Balcom in superintending logging operations, in whose service he continued several years, and afterwards he put in logs by the thousand for other parties. He next became foreman for an iron mining company, which vocation he followed three or four years. Sixteen years ago he removed to a farm at Brookside – his sons working the farm – his own employment, however, keeping him away a greater part of the time. He had expected to return home in early part of July, and his family earnestly watched for his coming, but business had delayed him. It was certainly a sad home-returning. He was 55 years of age Feb. 12, last, and leaves a wife, three sons, and one daughter, all living at home, besides one brother –George- in Oconto, another brother and two sisters in the east. He belonged to the Maccabees.

Card of Thanks

The wife and sons and daughter and other surviving relatives of the late James K. Crooks, the particulars of whose sad death are recounted above, wish to make public acknowledgement of the service and sympathies of their friends and neighbors, in their sudden bereavement. Mrs. Augusta Crooks and Children. Brookside, July 28.
Briefly Mentioned

Ullman will soon ship horses to Europe.

August Suketerhunt met with a painful accident, Monday, by which he lost the end of one finger by getting it caught in a pulley. The injured member was amputated and dressed by Dr. Grant.

Oconto County Reporter
Aug. 7, 1896

A funeral procession consisting of over fifty carriages laden with citizens of Little River, Oconto and other points and led by Pastor D. T. Bordeau of Marinette, passed through our town the 5th inst., paying their tribute of respect to the remains of Mr. Joseph Vaes, that were deposited in the Oconto cemetery. The deceased was an enterprising young man, aged 29 years, 8 months and 17 days, whose quiet, modest and peaceable disposition, enterprise, honesty and habits of industry and economy had won him the respect and esteem of all who knew him. He was the son of Mr. Christopher Vaes of Little River, a man of sterling integrity who had reared a respectable family of children and made life a success. He was brought up to fear the Lord, cherished the hope of Salvation through Christ, retained his consciousness to the last; and his last week were: “Christ has a place for me, There is a crown of gold for me.” The funeral service was preformed in French and in English in the commodious house in which he was born and died, which was more than filled with sympathizing and respectful bearers.

Words of Appreciation

We would hereby express to our neighbors and friends our heartfelt appreciation of their sympathy and assistance in our late affliction caused by the sickness and death of our beloved son, Joseph Vaes; in all of which our surviving children do heartily concur.

Christopher Vaes Angeline Vaes Little River, Wis., August 5, 1896


Rev. and Mrs. McLain arrived home from Florence Friday, whence they were called to attend the funeral of an old friend, Mr. King, who was killed in the mines at that place.

C. W. Halstead was called to Chilton, Monday, by the death of his father-in-law, Mr. Granger.

Stiles Miss May Kinney, while driving through the village, a Sunday, was thrown from the carriage – the horse taking flight – sustaining a broken collar bone.

Eugene Wescott broke his leg, Tuesday after the raising of James Lince’s barn, while playing with a rope.

Oconto County Reporter
Aug. 14, 1896 Death

Mrs. Darrow, whose death occurred in Marinette last week, was the wife of W. A. Darrow, formerly of Oconto. They were married in 1883 and had resided in Marinette ever since, where Mr. Darrow held the position of cashier in C & N W depot. The death of the latter occurred in 1887.

Oconto County Reporter
Aug. 21, 1896

Mrs. Marcia of Sturgeon Bay was called here by the serious illness of her sister, Mrs. Frank Ruelle, and is anxiously waiting a change for the better of her conditions.

The four year old son of  E. J. Johnson, who was badly scalded on the 6th instant, that for a number of days death seemed imminent, is slowly recovering and in fair condition for ultimate recovery.

Oconto County Reporter
Aug. 28, 1896 Death

Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Pike have been called to mourn the loss of three daughters within a year. First was the death of little Jennie, August 24, 1895, at the age of eight months. Then followed Mary (commonly called Minnie), October 7, in her twentieth year. She was the oldest daughter. She died of consumption, after a lingering illness of nearly two years. And now, the second daughter, Emily (usually known as Amie) has fallen asleep in the Lord, August 25, 1896. Like her sister, she experienced great spiritual benefit from her long and often painful illness – consumption.

Until thirteen months ago, she was the picture of health, and even after she had been for some months confined to the house she retained a robust appearance. On her eighteenth birthday – (July 22)  she was apparently near death, but she lingered to suffer intensely most of the time for more then a month longer.

She was an earnest Christian, a faithful communicant, a regular attendant  and teacher in the Sunday School, and was possessed of remarkable ability to maintain a cheerful countenance while suffering great pain, which she bore many weeks past she had been hoping and praying for death, and she made all the arraignments for her funeral, even to many details. The numerous measures she left for those whose souls were dear were very touching. She was especially anxious to see every member of her fathers family numbered with the regular and devout communicants of the church she loved so well, and her attachment to the young lady friend who so faithfully nursed her for months past was very ardent.

Her father and mother are to be condoled and congratulated at the same time. Their friends grieve at the loneliness made intense by a third vacant place in the family, but they rejoice that Emilie has left such a bright example behind her. May God comfort her family and friends who desire to express their sincere thanks to all who have showed them kindness in their great affliction.

The funeral took place at the Episcopal church, yesterday morning, at 10 o’clock, when the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist was offered by the priest in charge, for the benefit of the departed, at her oft-repeated request. “May her soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon her.”

News & Notes

Mrs. A. H. Griffith has returned from a protracted visit with friends and relatives in Waupun, Milwaukee and Sauk County.

Edward Menge, brother of Louis, who spent several weeks in Oconto, returned to his home in Missouri, Thursday evening, where he will resume the barber business.

Miss Mary Graham of the town of Spruce has been taken to the hospital for the insane at Winnebago.


 Rumors of Drowning Fill All Hearts With Dread and Searching Parties Work Diligently,
While the Boys Enjoyed the Hospitality of Relatives at Brookside

Sunday evening, report gained rapid circulation, that the two youngest sons of Adam Kadlec – Luke, aged 14, and Eddie, 12 years old –were missing, and as they had been seen a short time previous on the boom, both above and below Superior street bridge, fears were entertained that they dropped in among the logs and had drowned. Diligent search was made and the river dragged up to Tuesday night, when the little fellows turned up well and hearty, having spent their “vacation”  with the family of Joseph Highland at Brookside. Feared Arrest

It appears that they had been fishing among the logs in the vicinity of Superior Street bridge during the early part of Sunday, and at about 2 o’clock went home to lunch, afterward attending a ball game, and on their way home stopped at the Delaney mill. While there the younger lad imagined that he saw an officer peering around a building, and fearing arrest, he skipped across the river on the logs. Still thinking that, should he return, he would be put in jail, he induced his elder brother to accompany him to Brookside. This was about 6 o’clock. Taking the railroad track they arrived at their destination about 9 p.m. informing their relatives that their visit was sanctioned by their sister, Mrs. John Highland, with whom they were living in Oconto – their mother being dead – and it was not until Mrs. Highland’s arrival, Tuesday afternoon, in her search for the boys, that the Brookside relatives were aware that they had been entertaining runaways. As the river had “given up” no signs of the boys’ disappearance, in floating caps or drifting fishing rods, the thought accrued that the little fellows might have started out to visit their uncle, Joseph Kadlec, in the town of Spruce, but a messenger latter announced that they had not been there. Thus procuring a conveyance, Mr. Kadlec sent his daughter to Brookside, and joy again permeates the hearts of relatives over the safe return of the wanderers. *

Forest fires, Fanned by Winds, Invaded the Town and left Scarcely a Dozen People Resided There

Fifteen hundred people are homeless and destitute, as a result of the fire, on Tuesday, which swept from the face of the earth the bustling little city of Ontonagon. Scarcely a dozen buildings are left to mark the site of the thriving town.

Origin of the Fire

A farmer residing about two miles southwest of the city had been burning brush, and the flames had  fanned them until the blaze had obtained great headway sweeping onward with restless fury until the city was reached and the work of destruction began. People were panic stricken and sought safety in every direction. Extra trains carried them beyond the danger point and to where ever they wished to go, and when the news became generally known to the outside world, provisions, and tents for shelter, were sent to the unfortunate people.

Some of the Losers

The Diamond Match Company’s property was valued at $1,000,000, upon which it had an insurance of $447,500. This company was the mainstay of the town. Sargent, Jennings & Gilkey’s stock of lumber, about 2,200,000 feet, was insured for $17,500. The superb coin collection of John Combstock of the Diamond Match Company, formerly of Oconto, was valued at nearly $30,000 and insured for $20,000. It was regarded as one of the finest in the country.

Ex-Residents of Oconto

Nearly 100 people who suffered loss at the fire were one time residents of this city, among whom are Alfred and Frank Hazen, William Gothard, Thomas Millen, C. Hollopeter, Amos Conrad, George Perkey, James Daly, Mrs. D. Hall, August and Albert Johnson.

Outside Aid Necessary

W. L. Porter, billing clerk for the Holt Lumber Company, put in the telephone system at Ontonagon and later was in the employ of the Electric Light Company. He said; “I was familiar with almost every inch of the city and can scarcely conceive of the present devastation. The rebuilding of the city, in my opinion is doubtful, unless the Diamond Match Company should decide to erect mills to cut out its remaining timber; or, perchance some other manufactories might locate there and utilities and water shipping facilities. “Two miles back from the city, and extending fifteen miles or more, is a good hardwood forest, covering excellent farming land.” “I think everyone should give such aid as they can to those deprived of home and everything they possessed. I have telegraphed for two families – whom I know well, and comprising eight persons – to come to Oconto. I shall endeavor to find something for the heads of families to do. If anyone can give them a job I would be pleased if they would communicate with me.”

No Quorum Present

 The mayor (of city of Oconto) issued a call for a special meeting of the council for Wednesday night, to see what could be done, locally, for the destitute people of Ontonagon, but a quorum failed to respond to the summons.

Like Banquo’s Ghost Rumors of Finding Zuelke Will Not Down

Evidence of his Whereabouts Plainly Shown in the Search for the Much-Wanted Missing Man –
Missing Finger Not Mentioned in Published Description

When Under-Sheriff Connors was roaming over the wilds of Oconto County in a vain search for Zuelke, the man who murdered Farmer Davis of Green Lake county, he communicated a description of the criminal to a bookkeeper in a railroader’s camp, and instructed him relative to the rewards offered for his capture. Monday morning Mr. Connors received the following communication;

On July 8, I went to Boot Lake, finding unmistakable proofs of habitation in a shanty, also that a kind of root house in the rear of the shanty bore signs of having a recent occupant. I remained there three days waiting the man’s return, having fixed things so that if he entered, he would have to “give in”. No one came however, and as my food was running out, I went back to camp.

On the 15th of July, I met two cruiser’s who declared they had seen, four miles north of Boot Lake, a man answering the description I gave them. I asked if they could bring him to me, which they agreed to do, and knowing them well, I placed confidence in their story. They returned in one week, without having seen him.

Has Traveled a Thousand Miles

On the 23rd of June a man named John Robertson was held up five miles north of McCauslin brook, and the description he gave of the man was precisely the same as that given by the cruisers. I then thought I had, without doubt, established the fact that Julius Zuelke was up in this country, and with caution I might get him. I have visited, besides Boot Lake, Birch Lake, Maiden Lake, Long Lake and Wheeler Lake, but without success, after a fruitless search of a month and riding nearly 1,000 miles. I am under the impression, now, that he has got away in the distant woods by the way of Cavour.

Mr. Connors recently conversed with a resident of Beaver Dam who at one time knew Zuelke, who informed him that the forefinger on Zuelke’s left hand was missing at the second joint, But as the sheriff of Green Lake county did not mention that very important point of identity in his letter of description Mr. Connors is in doubt about that mark as a “spotter” in assisting in the capture of the criminal.

Oconto County Reporter
Sept. 4, 1896

Rendered Homeless August Schroeder, Town of Morgan, Burned out The Accumulations of a Lifetime Swept Away, Including Grain and Live Stock, and Not a Penny of Insurance


August Schroeder of Morgan, one of our oldest citizens, met with a streak of bad luck last Sunday morning – losing all his property by fire, and has not a cent in the world. He had just built a new house and had fine buildings around his farm all of which were destroyed, and no insurance. All of his grain and 10 nice hogs were burned. Lets all in and help him, so that he can keep his family through the winter. He has worked thirty years for his home and has lost all. Don’t forget to help August Schroeder, and vote for McKinley. **********************

Dan McDermid is building a new house and will move his family here soon from Wausaukee.

Misses Bessie and Mabel Campbell of Two Rivers are visiting relatives here.

R. Gould has moved his family to Clintonville.

Frank Smith has moved his restaurant to Mountain, where he has gone into partnership with Charles Watts.

Hazel Delano left for her home at Manitowoc, Monday, after a long visit with relatives here.

Mrs. Pluner, who has been visiting her daughter, returned to Cooperstown, Saturday.

Thomas Leigh and sons Harry and Charley have returned home from Ontonagon where they were employed by the Diamond Match Company. All lost everything except the clothes they had on in the great fire.

Oconto County Reporter
 Sept. 11, 1896

Died of Whooping cough, Wednesday, Sept. 2, Annie May, infant daughter of Fred and Mina Terwillegar, aged three months. The funeral was held from the M. E. Church at Flintville by Rev. McMullen. Very appropriate music was rendered by Miss Emma Ames, with singing by the choir. The bereaved parents have the sympathy of the entire community in their sorrow.

Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Whittaker, aged four months and twenty-two days, at Marinette, Sunday, of cholera infantum. Funeral from St. Joseph’s church, this city, Monday. Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker resided in Oconto up to June last, Mr. W. being employee of the Holt Lumber Company.

In the town of Freedom, Brown County, Monday, infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Schuh, aged five months. Mr. Schuh is a brother of Mrs. John Young, this city.

Mrs. Boutot died suddenly at her home in the West ward, Wednesday. The funeral was held today.

Oakey Sutherland, aged nine years, was accidentally killed by his playmate, Walter Hall, thirteen years of age, at Peshtigo, by the discharge of a gun.

Oconto County Reporter
Sept. 18, 1896

Grip of the Law

Henry Bolt, for selling liquor in the town of Armstrong, in which town no licenses are issued, was arrested and brought before Judge Jones, fined and liberated. The complaint was made by John McAllen.
Last spring Marshall Colburn was the recipient of a pair of alligators by a Florida friend. About a month ago one of them escaped and no trace of him could be found until the other day, when John O’Neil ran across the escaped retile on the bank of the river about a mile west of town. It was feeding on the carcass of a mink which it eventually had just killed. On Mr. O’Neil’s appearance it became alarmed and disappeared under the water.   
Oconto County Reporter
Sept. 25, 1896


Mr. and Mrs. A. C. John mourn the loss of their little daughter Alfreda, aged 8 years, who died Sunday evening, Sept. 13, of diphtheria, after an illness of about two weeks. The sorrowing parents have the sympathy of many friends in their sad bereavement.

Oconto County Reporter
Oct. 3, 1896

An eight year old lad, George Smith, is in critical condition from burns received while lighting a fire with kerosene.

Mr. and Mrs. C. McKenzie returned home last week from Michigan, where that had been visiting friends and relatives.

Circuit court will convene next Monday and will open with forty-two cases, thirteen of which are criminal. The cases against the famous Coulters and McCaun murder case are among the latter.

Our Mail in the Old Days

They Moved Slowly and the Letter Postage Was Very High

“In Washington’s first term an effort was made to speed the mail’s – to move them at the rate of one hundred miles in twenty-four hours, or about four and a half miles an hour.” Write Ex-President Harrison in his “This country of ours” article in September Ladies Home Journal. “This would have been a notable advance, for the carriers were then taking nearly thirty hours between Philadelphia and New York. The roads were bad and there were many slow ferries.

In 1776 there were only twenty-eight post-offices in the Colonies; in 1795 there were four hundred and fifty-three, and in 1895 there were 70,064.  The rates of postage when the department was organized under the constitution were high; for thirty miles, six cents for one letter sheet; for sixty miles, eight cents, for one hundred miles, ten cents, and so increasing with the increased distance to the maximum, twenty-five cents for distance of over four hundred and fifty miles. Stamps were not in use in those days, nor was the sender of the letter required to pay the postage in advance. The postage, six cents or wenty-five cents, as the case might be, was written by the postmaster on the letter, and if the sender paid the postage the word ‘paid’ was added; if he did not the postage was collected of the person to whom the letter was addressed.

Oconto County Reporter
Oct. 9, 1896

Oconto Falls

Geo. B. Maurer spent Sunday in Appleton, having accompanied his mother-in-law thus far on her journey to her home in Massachusetts.


In the case of Chief of Police Sellevold against Watchman Mahoney, for saying that the Chief had stolen apples from the orchard of Fred Carney sr., the jury, in circuit court, has awarded Sellevold six cents damage.

Charles Armstrong, an employee of the Stephenson company, was assaulted on Sixth street, Monday night, and would have been robbed of $200 to $300, if not killed, but for the opportune assistance of George Walker. Armstrong is a frugal workingman and always carries a considerable sum of money on his person, being afraid that he will lose it if he leaves it anywhere. "Hold-up" in the city are rather more frequent than they ought to be.

Briefly Mentioned

James Ramsey, captain of the tug Balcom, had one of his hands seriously crushed between the dock and scow at Peshtigo.

J. G. Anderson of the town of Gillett is building a public house on McCaslin brook, near Mountain, and will soon have it ready for business.

Pounded a Swede

P. C. Murphy of Lake Mills is behind bars in the county jail, this city. It is claimed that he enticed a Swede named Swan Larson into the woods, near Three Lakes, for the purpose of robbery, and pounded him nearly to death with a club. Under-Sheriff Connors found Murphy at Stevens Point. Murphy is also charged with having shipped twenty tubs of butter from the Maple Valley creamery, where he was employed as butter maker, and appropriating the money - $150.53.


Assailant Must Suffer For the Crime

Sad Termination of an Unprovoked Assault of a Ruffian upon a Peaceable Homesteader –
Skull Cracked and Brains Visible
 Grenion in Jail Awaiting Trial

Hormidas Baribeau died at the home of his sister, in the West ward, last Friday night, from injuries inflicted by David Grenion on the night of September 17.

A farmer by the name of Meron resides about four miles northeast of Oconto Falls, and near him Baribeau lived upon a claim. On the evening mentioned,  Meron gave a dance, which Baribeau attended. Also among those present were Grenion and a man named McLean. The two engaged in a fight and  Grenion was ejected from the building.  In his abrupt flight he stumbled over an axe, which he seized and started for the door. At that moment Baribeau and another man came out of the building.

In the darkness  Grenion mistook Baribeau for McLean and dealt him a terrible blow just back of the right temple with the blunt bit of the axe, making an incision in the skull two inches in length and deep enough to admit of the brain being readily seen. Baribeau first dropped to his knees and then fell over on his back, when  Grenion again sought to attack him, but was frustrated in his murderous intention by those who by this time had been attracted to the spot, Baribeau being taken into the house and given the best care possible.  Grenion, when his passion had subsided, offered to send for a physician but was informed by Baribeau that if he did not leave the locality in five hours that he would cause his arrest. The next day  Grenion was conveyed to Oconto Falls by the Merons, where he took the train for Oconto, and later for Menominee, as it afterwards developed.

Baribeau remained at the Meron house one week, when he was moved to the home of his sister in this city. As his condition became alarming an effort was made to locate Baribeau’s assailant, and he was found in Menominee, brought to this city and place in the county jail to await the outcome of the assault.

The Merons came to this state from Canada. As they were about to embark upon their journey they were joined by  Grenion, who was also coming westward, and he became their companion.

Oconto County Reporter
Oct. 16, 1896

Bound Over

David  Grenion, before Judge Haines, was bound over to the circuit court to await trial on the charge of causing the death of Hormidas Baribeau. The four principal witnesses for the state were required to give bail in the sum of $100 each for their appearance at the trial.

Well Insured

George C. Sheldon, who was recently shot by his coachman at Houghton, Mich., was known in Oconto. He was born in Walworth county, Wisconsin, in 1843. He was educated at Ann Arbor and served in a Michigan regiment during the war. Sheldon was one of the principal characters on the range. He had $34,000 life insurance and $25,000 accident insurance and leaves a widow and two daughters, Mrs. S. J. Bowling of Detroit and Mrs. B. T. Barry of Houghton.

Stole a Ride and May Lose a Foot

Yesterday afternoon, as the Northwestern freight was pulling out from Menominee, John Taylor, a tramp boarded it. He was put off at Marinette, and again at Peshtigo; but on the arrival of the train in Oconto, as the engine was being detached to run out for water, a man’s cry was heard. Investigation showed that the cry had proceeded from Taylor, who had suffered severe injury to one foot. Sheriff Whitcomb took charge of him and procured the aid of a surgeon. Taylor May lose the foot.

Municipal Court

P. C. Murphy, charged with embezzling $150. From the Maple Valley Creamery Company, will have his hearing before Justice Jones on October 17, at 9 o’clock.

Three men, named Harrington, Grady and Boldt, were arrested on complaint of Chairman Anderson of the town of Armstrong, on October 13, and brought before Justice Jones, this city, for selling liquor without a license. Harrington and Boldt were fined $10 and costs, each.

Mrs. H. C. Reynolds is visiting her parents at Shiocton.

Louis Bratz, accused of assaulting Annie Loucks, near Peshtigo, with a knife and following her with a revolver, has been bound over to circuit court in a bond of $250. He denies both allegations. Mr. Reinhart of Oconto is his attorney.

Is our Neighbor Jealous?

Green Bay Advocate: Oconto county does not propose to be lost in the shuffle when it comes to committing murders. Two men are now in the county jail awaiting trial for having killed their fellow men. The murderers of Baumgartner of Pensaukee have not yet been arrested, and it is possible that this horrible crime will never be avenged (note: it never has been solved).

Mrs. Lusk of Wyoming is visiting her son, who has made Gillett his home the past summer.

Mr. and Mrs. H. J.  Watts have gone to Kewaunee to visit his mother, who is in critical condition.

Oconto County Reporter
Oct. 30, 1896

Killed by Lightening

Thunder and Lightening and Heavy Rains Late in October

Thunder and lightning regaled the inhabitants of this section of the country about three o’clock on Wednesday morning, D. Dexter, postmaster and owner of a saw mill at Deer Brook, in Langlade county, was killed by the lightening, and others were seriously shocked. A heavy rainfall followed and Wednesday was warm and bright. An all day rain was out portion yesterday.

In Oconto, lightening struck the O’Keef house, but did little damage. Two horses belonging to Samuel McDowell, in Little River, were killed by the lightening on Wednesday morning. Four horses were standing in separate stalls, side by side. The first and third were killed.

Oconto County Reporter
Nov. 6, 1896

They Seek Justice

Court Cases

Robert J. Moore vs. Leah J. Moore

Criminal Cases

State vs. Frank Prickett. Assault with intent to do great bodily harm
State vs. Anton Radzweicz
State vs. Albert Swanson. Murder.
State vs. John Leson
State vs. Samuel Dodge. Rape.
State vs. C. D. McArthur. Appeal .
State vs. David Grenion. Murder

Oconto County Reporter
Nov. 13, 1896

A would be fire bug bored holes through the walls of the dwelling house of J. J. Dekeuster, in Amberg, last Saturday night, then poured kerosene and turpentine between the lath and set fire. Mrs. Dekeuster was awakened by the smoke and but for the timely discovery the family would have been cremated and fire extended all over the little village. No clue yet to the perpetrator.

Mrs. Taylor of Oconto and Mrs. Smith of Gillett has opened a millinery and dress making store in the Kelly building.

Mrs. Hoar is recovering slowly from her severe illness.

Fire at Brookside

Tripp’s Large Store Building and Contents Entirely Consumed

Mrs. David Tripp was awakened from sleep a little before midnight, on Thursday night of last week, by the smell of smoke and the crackling of fire. Arousing her husband and other members of the household, the fire was soon located in their store, close to the house, by the wild flames that enveloped it. The building was of wood and some of its contents like tinder, so that the destruction was soon complete. The origin of the fire cannot be traced to any particular thing, but of course was accidental.

Mr. Tripp estimates the loss at about $1,000 more than the insurance, which was $600 on building and $1,000 on stock, with the Phelps agency, this city. This does not take into account the loss of time and of the best part of the year’s business, as sequences of the fire.

The store will be rebuilt as soon as practicable.


Of Green Lake County Farmer in Jail

In this city, arrested by policeman Roddy on Tuesday –
Cold and Hunger drove him from cover and his peculiar actions betrayed him.

Monday afternoon, out in the town of Oconto, a seedy-appearing individual called at a farm house and wanted to borrow a tin pan, in which to cook potatoes out in the woods. Instead of complying with his request the farmer invited him to dine with him, but he refused, and accepted a luncheon which he ate in the shed.

He told his benefactor that he had been wondering about through the woods all summer and the cold weather had driven him from his haunts, but he would not divulge his identity. His eccentric deportment and dilapidated wardrobe suddenly gave rise to a suspicion that the wayfarer might be the missing Julius Zuelke, wanted in Green Lake county for the murder of a farmer in whose services Zuelke had been employed, so when the stranger had departed, the man who had fed him came to Oconto and notified Sheriff Whitcomb, who sent Constable Cummings into the country to hunt the fellow down, but he could find no trace of him.  Returning to the city, he left word at the Richard House to keep an eye out for the man, and he informed policeman Roddy that he might have headed for Oconto. Tuesday morning Mr. Roddy arrested the man and took him to jail.

The man is non-commutative, except to give brief evasive answers. When arrested he was clad in a slouch hat, pea jacket, overalls, one rubber and one shoe – all much worn. A photograph of the suspect has been sent to the sheriff of Green Lake county for identification. There is a large reward offered for Zuelke’s capture.

Found with a rope around his neck

Feared to be confronted by Swanson, who is supposed to possess a secret, the revelation of which would made it unpleasant for Pohl

August Pohl, wanted as a witness in the case of State vs. Albert Swanson, charged with murder of Lescheck in the town of How last April, on Tuesday was found dead at the home of Ole Johnson, with whom he was living. He was hanging by the neck and lifeless when discovered by Johnson. It is reported that Pohl and a companion hired Swanson to make way with Lescheck and the former feared that Swanson might betray him should he appear as a witness against the letter.      

Court Cases


State vs. Samuel Dodge. Rape. Jury still out as we go to press.

Oconto County Reporter
 Nov. 20, 1896

The engagement of Miss Mamie Bedore to Eugene VanLaanen has been announced.

Not Zuelke

The man arrested and jailed last week was not Julius Zuelke, the murderer of David Edwards of Green Lake county, as supposed, but John Burke, a homeless wanderer, who was adjudged insane and taken to the hospital for the insane at Oshkosh.

Fred Ellis and Paul Scofield went down to Madison today to enter the university law-school.

Tossed By a Bull

Frank Fisher and Matt Kerwin Roughly treated by the Brute

This morning Matt Kerwin, while endeavoring to lead Fisher’s bull from Ullman’s stable to Fisher’s barn, was knocked down and attached by the vicious animal. Frank Fisher, coming to Kerwin’s assistance, was tossed into the air several times and would have been gored had the bull been in possession of a pair of horns. Frank was “butted” about the head and received and ugly gash over the right eye, besides being badly shaken up. The bull was finally secured and Frank Deimer sent a bullet crashing into it’s brain.


Verdict of Jury in Grenion Murder Case About as much time consumed in securing a jury as was necessary to try the case – Swanson case now in progress – Samuel Dodge is guilty.

The usual delay in securing a jury in murder trials was experienced at the present term of court, and in the case of the state against Grenion the trial consumed two days and the jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter in the fourth degree. David Grenion and Hormidas Baribeau attended a dance at a farm house in the town of Stiles on the night of September 16. They were friends, and Grenion had even “taken his part” when Baribeau had been assailed by a guest. Boisterous conduct, induced by drink, caused Grenion’s abrupt removal from the building. In his drunken fury he seized an axe and struck the first man who approached, which chanced to be his friend. On the 2nd of October, Baribeau died, and Grenion was held to the circuit court to answer to the charge of murder.

The penalty for manslaughter in the fourth degree is not more then two years nor less then one in the penitentiary; or by imprisonment in the county jail more then one year, or by fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.

After the exhaustion of the regular panel, two special venires had been issued and two days’ valuable time devoted to the securing a jury in the Swanson murder case; the trial began yesterday afternoon. Physicians testified that the bones found in the hollow stump were the bones of a human being, and Mrs. David, with who Lescheck boarded, identified a button that she had sewn upon his shirt, the button being peculiarly marked. The case will consume the week.

Case of State vs. Samuel Dodge for rape, defendant found guilty.

Sentences in cases of Grenion and Dodge to be announced at close of term.

One John Lantz has been arrested on the charge of forging checks on the local banks. The prisoner has also worked Oshkosh Banks.

Oconto County Reporter
 Nov. 27, 1896

At Waupun For Life

Swanson’s reward for the Murder of Leseck

The first day in solitary confinement- Enters his cell with a smile
Grenion much affected over his two-year sentence
The last week of court

The criminal calendar of Oconto county for the present term of circuit court was an extensive one and tedious in the selection of juries – the case of Albert Swanson, on trial for the murder of Leseck, consuming two days in securing twelve men whose opinions had not been crystallized, and two days and a half longer had elapsed when the case was given to the jury. This was Saturday night, and the verdict was rendered at 9:30 – guilty of murder in the first degree – and on Tuesday at 1:30, sentence was pronounced; Imprisonment for life, with solitary confinement the first day. Following is the substance of the testimony:

At the trial Mrs. David testified that Leseck had boarded with her and he had left her place April 21 to go to work for Swanson with his team, and that he remained there until the 23rd. She saw him on the afternoon of that day and spoke to him. He said he would be back in a day or two and seed his farm.  She noticed that the shirt he wore contained the button she had sewed on the week before, and she also observed that he had on a pair of rubbers which buckled. These relics were shown her on the stand, which she identified.

On Monday, April 27, she learned that Leseck’s team was at Peter Peterson’s but Leseck had not been there. She then called upon Swanson and inquired for Leseck. He told her that he was at Peterson’s. She replied that he was not there. Then he told her that Leseck was on the reservation, next he located him at Shawano and finally he remarked that he was a queer fellow and had probably “skipped the country.” Swanson’s agitation arousing suspicion of fowl play. He said that he had bought Leseck’s team for $65.00 that Leseck might be back in the fall and that he might never return.

His Wife Was Not at Home

When the murder was committed Mrs. Swanson was not at home. She was cooking in a lumber camp – Mrs. Messersmith, a neighbor, preparing meals for Swanson, her son Frank assisting Swanson with his plowing the ground being stumpy and rough.

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 23, Swanson told Mrs. Messersmith and the boy that it was too wet to plow and that they could go home. As they were about to depart, Leseck came out of the house and asked the boy where he was going. He replied that Swanson did not need him any longer and that they were going home. Leseck requested him to remain with him that night, but instead he accompanied his mother home.

The next day – Friday – Jonas Hamburg was at Swanson’s to dinner. (Hamburg, so far as it is ascertained, saw Leseck last.) Leseck was also there. Hamburg wanted to borrow Swanson’s horse and buggy, but the latter declined the accommodation, as he said he was going to take Leseck to Shawano, but he immediately cautioned Hamburg not to say anything to Leseck about the proposed trip.

Witness Saw the Fire

Frank Witzke testified that on Thursday afternoon his attention was attracted to a fire in Swanson’s field, and he wondered why he should have kindled a fire at such a time, for it had been raining all week and each day afterward, up to Sunday, he noticed the fire brightly burning.

(The Linquist family, nearest neighbors, were away fishing on the day of Leseck’s disappearance, and it is thought that their absence decided Swanson to commit the deed on that day.)

Mrs. Linquist testified that she did not notice the fire until the next week, as there were woods intervening between the field and her house. She saw Swanson go up to the fire and shortly afterward it burned up still brighter, as though he had rekindled it.

Friday evening, the 24th, Swanson went to Peterson’s place. The latter was not at home. To the chore-boy Swanson said the Peterson was going to buy his team and he told the boy to come down that night and get it. At about 10:00 the boy arrived, Swanson had the team harnessed and the boy drove it to Peterson’s. According to Peterson’s testimony, Swanson had previously spoken to him about selling Leseck’s team, and upon one occasion remarked that he was going to put Leseck out of the way. Peterson did not remember whether Swanson said that he had bought the team, or was going to purchase it. Peterson agreed to pay Swanson $50. for the horses. He was not at home when they were there, and they were taken away before he returned, but he admitted that they had been at his place.

Finding the Bones

Under Sheriff Conners told of appearing upon the scene, and accompanied by Peter Linquist, Louis Buckman and Joseph David, went into the field where the fire had been seen and saw ashes in the stump. Swanson was with the party, and it was noticed that he tried to turn their attention toward another part of the field where he said he had had another fire, and wanted them to go there, his anxiety being so noticeable that Linquist examined the ashes more closely and detected a small piece of bone. Calling the others to him he took up a double handful of small bones and fragments; also finding pants button and tooth. Then the officer arrested Swanson, placed handcuffs upon him, and they took the prisoner and the relics with them to Linguist’s house. This was on the morning of May 7.

Swanson did not touch food at dinnertime, but he ate a little supper, his handcuffs having been removed. While Conners was in the act of taking a drink of water Swanson bolted through the open doorway and succeeded in eluding capture until two days afterward, when he was discovered in his own barn, at about 8:30 p.m.

Conners asked Swanson how he came in possession of Leseck’s team and he said he bought it off of Leseck for $165. - $50. To be applied on an old debt, $65. Cash and $20. Which Swanson should give to Peterson in payment for a steer which Leseck had shot.

Upbraided Her Husband

It devolved that after Swanson’s capture in the barn, and they were all in the house, and Mrs. Swanson saw her husband under arrest that she asked him why he had hired Leseck to come and do that small amount of plowing, when he had a team of his own, and she was working out to get money.

James Armstrong testified that Leseck was much attached to his horses and that they he gave $225 and another horse for the team, which was the best in the country. Leseck had a farm of 120 acres, worth between $700 and $1,000, clear of debt, but there was a mortgage upon the team. Four or five years previous, Leseck hand come to him (Armstrong) and told him that when he (Leseck) died he wanted Armstrong to have his property, and he insisted upon giving him a deed of it, but he was told he had better keep the deed, which he did, and it was burned when Leseck lost his house by fire last spring, and Armstrong never made any claim for the property.

Armstrong, in alluding to the fire said the ashes were of hard wood, and the latter must have been brought from the house, as there was no hard wood out in the field, and Lindquist saw small pieces of hard wood near the fire.

In condition with the stories afloat about Swanson telling of Leseck going to Shawano and the reservation, Thomas LaBelle and John Tucker, who reside upon the reservation, testified that he had not been seen there. Armstrong, to show that Leseck had made no preparation for leaving home, told of clothes, which he would naturally take with him, being found in the barn; also a fresh plug of tobacco.

Frank Messersmith testified that on the 25th of April, Swanson came to their place and wanted him to go to LaBelle’s place on the reservation and get August Pohl to come down from his house the next day – Sunday. Pohl was working for LaBelle, and according to the story of the latter had been at his place all the week. Pohl went to Messersmith’s that Sunday, but not to Swanson’s, but the Sunday following he went to Swanson’s. The latter said he was in trouble and wanted Pohl to help him out”. He said that he had killed Leseck with an ax and burned the body in a stump. He wanted Pohl to tell the people that he had seen Leseck on the reservation, going toward Shawano, and he gave out that information to one person – Mrs. David – but afterward admitted that it was a lie.

Pohl was arrested and placed under bonds to testify in circuit court. He told a number of people that he would never appear as a witness, threatened to take his own life and tried to induce the Messersmith boy to shoot him, promising him his farm in payment for committing the crime. The finding of the body, cold and in death, at Johnson’s, before the trial of Swanson came off, showed that he has executed his unnatural desire.

Annie Told What She Knew

When Swanson and Pohl were behind the bars, Annie Anderson was also an inmate of the county bastile and she had often conversed with Swanson in the Swedish language.  One day Swanson asked why Pohl was there, to which she replied, “For the same reason that you are.” Swanson then said that Pohl had nothing to do with it, that he had killed Leseck with an ax, placed brush and kerosene upon the body and burned it, and said he was a fool that he had not gathered up all the bones when he picked up the larger ones, and buried them all together.

She referred to Swanson’s attempt at self-destruction while in jail, by soaking matches in his coffee, and of his threats to end his life in other ways should the dose of brimstone fail of its desired effect, and she communicated her knowledge to Sheriff Whitcomb.

The latter, on the stand, testified that there were 135 matches soaking in the cup; that Swanson asserted that he would never go to trial and that he would save the nicotine from his pipe and poison himself.

Drs. Atwood and Stoelting, of this city, Dr. O’Keef of Menominee and Dr. Jones of Marinette testified positively that the bones which they examined in court were a part of human skeleton. Dentists D. E. Wilcox of Oconto and Clapp of Marinette pronounced the crown and root of the tooth examined to have belonged to a human being.

He Denied Everything

The defendant, placed upon the stand, made a flat denial of everything, except a few minor points which had no particular importance in the case.

Grenion Gets Two Years

 For inflicting injuries upon Hormidas Baribeau on the 16th of September last, at a dance in the town of Stiles, which resulted in his death, David Grenion received a sentence of two years at hard labor – the first day to be spent in the dark cell.

The Sheriff and His Charges

 Sheriff Whitcomb took his prisoners - Swanson and Grenion – to Waupun, Monday afternoon. Grenion seemed much broken down, and was told that his sentence might be somewhat lessened by good behavior, but “Swanson,” said the sheriff, “marched into the penitentiary with a smile upon his face and seemingly as light-hearted as though he were going to a dance. He wanted to know if he would not be let out in ten years, to which I replied that he might be liberated sooner should Leseck turn up alright, to which he answered with a shrug of the shoulders and a significant grunt.”

Oconto County Reporter
Dec. 4, 1896

A Fatal Runaway

Untimely Death of George Teche of Spruce

His crop of peas had been marketed and he was homeward bound with the proceeds when the awful accident occurred

The tragic death of George Teche, a Bohemian residing in the town of Spruce, Tuesday afternoon, has cast a gloom over the community in which he resided. He had been at Lena with a load of peas – the last of his ’96 crop – had received his money for the product and had reached within three miles of his home, when, in turning out to pass a team his horses became unmanageable and ran away, the wagon box overturning upon him, and in this way he was dragged a long distance, sustaining injuries from which he died fifteen minutes later.


He has entered upon his long term at Waupun

Samuel Dodge, convicted of criminal conduct toward a young girl which covered a period of several years’ duration, and sentenced by Judge Hastings to eighteen years in the penitentiary, was taken to Waupun by Sheriff Whitcomb last Sunday night. Between his pathetic appeals for “Maggie,” his wife, from whom he had, by his own volition, become separated possibly for life, and his abusive conduct, the sheriff was obliged to slip on the bracelets.

After Dodge had been consigned to his new home, Mr. Whitcomb, while passing through the shoe department, saw two men in conversation – one a new arrival from Washington county, and the other man who had accompanied him from Oconto – the latter, with his closely trimmed beard and new suit of gray, scarcely recognizable. Dodge will learn to make shoes.


At the time of finding the body of Pohl, the Swanson case witness who hung himself, a letter was discovered in his pocket, written in German, from which these expressions are copied – the names of persons being omitted: “I have got to die, on account of the bloodhounds. * * If I had been in company with - - - - I could do everything that I pleased. * * You all will get your payment when I die, as a German soldier on the field, for those who have condemned me will get their payment. * * I am tired of life. * * I have got to close; my time is short. Farewell all my friends.”

Oconto County Reporter
Dec. 11, 1896


Oconto County Furnishes Another Inmate for the Asylum

Ellis Gonyou, 21 years of age, who has resided with his parents in the town of Oconto, was taken to the asylum Sunday night by Sheriff Whitcomb and Under Sheriff Connors.

Lon Magray, whose ninety-days’ sentence for assault has expired, is another boarder less at the “Whitcomb House.”


The Summons of Death Close Lives of Activity

Sketch of the life of James Don Levy, Who passed away at St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay, on Dec 3

James Don Levy, sr. who died in St. Vincent hospital last week, was a member of a family of soldiers. His father was an English soldier, two brothers fought for the same cause and still another brother was engaged in the Mexican and Crimean wars, and during the struggle in this country, between the north and south, in the 60’s he helped recruit five companies that went out from Oconto to do battle for a just cause. To one so imbued with patriotism and love of country it is a disappointment not easily over come to be obliged to remain at home and comparatively in active, when the call of men was urgent and companions all about were rushing to the from, but an injury to one of his ankles, when he was but a youth, precluded his being accepted as a soldier.

He was born in Swineford, county of Mayo, Ireland, May 12, 1819 and came to America in 1839. By trade he was a shoemaker, and in New York City he found employment at the bench. From there he went to Rochester, where, in 1840, he married Miss Elizabeth Morton, and in the early ‘50’s he began business for himself in Geneva, N.Y. In 1856 he came to Oconto, upon representations advanced by a friend who had preceded him, and this had been his home up to the time of his death.

His first business venture in Oconto was in conducting a shoe shop on the bank of the river, near the slide of the Holt Lumber Company’s mill – then Norton’s where he reined until 1865. He then moved t Main Street and occupied the corner building in the “flat-iron” block, which afterward burned, and which he replaced with a new building extending from Rasmussen’s store west to the corner, and resumed business in his former location, from which he retired about ten years ago.

He was almost constantly identified with public affairs. He had been a member of the village board, of county board, an alderman, member of the school board, and held various other offices.

The cause of his illness dates back to the World’s Fair, when he contracted a severe cold which developed onto consumption, and it was thought he would receive better care in the hospital, in which he died.

Oconto County Reporter
 Dec. 18, 1896

The Water Tainted

School children made ill by its use.

A physician sent a quantity of water to a Madison Chemist, who pronounced it to foul for domestic purposes - Two children dead.

The recent diphtheria epidemic in the town of Little River, which claimed two children as its victims, is thought to have originated from water used from the school house well in District 3, located six miles from Oconto.
  About a pint of this water was recently sent by a local physician to Prof. Daniels of the state university, for analysis, and in his report, received on Monday, he said the sample contained soil water and scrapage from sewage from a barn yard, or other filthy surroundings; also excess of ammonia and nitrates, and saturated with undisorganized vegetable matter, and that it was unfit to drink or to be used for domestic purposes. The authorities of the town are to be notified and the well closed.
  Pure water is an essential to good health, and it would be well for school officers throughout the county to examine into sanitary condition of all school property.

Mrs. G. E. Bond and children have returned from an extended visit with relatives in Buffalo, N.Y.

J. B. Atwood spent a few days this week at his former home in Dane County.

Oconto County Reporter
Dec 25, 1896


Wm. Kensler, who is charged with adultery with Mrs. McDougal, the alleged murderess of her husband has been bound over to circuit court in $200 bail.


John Johnson found hanging by the neck

A resident of Maple Valley for over a quarter of a century and a well-to-do farmer –
 Mental aberration resulted in self-destruction Funeral last Sunday

Residents of the town of Maple Valley were shocked, on Thursday of last week, to learn of the death, by suicide, of John Johnson, a well-to-do farmer and one of the oldest inhabitants of the town.

It seems that Mr. Johnson had been in Oconto on the day previous, settling with an employee who had worked for him for three years, with the understanding that his board should be his only compensation, but conceiving the idea that he might receive money consideration for his long term of service the man brought suit against Johnson, for $14 per month for three years’ work, which resulted in the latter giving his note for $100, as compromise.

Returning to his home, Mr. Johnson worked around the premises during the afternoon, but it was noticed that he did not accompany the others to supper, although nothing unusual was thought of the occurrence at the time. When the “coast was clear,” it seems that Johnson took two pieces of rope which had been used on a hay press, and in a swamp about half a mile from his residence, hung himself to a tree, the body being discovered the next day about 10 o’clock in the forenoon by two men who were assisting in the search for the missing man.

That Johnson was mentally deranged was well known among his relatives, his affliction dating back several years, and complications of settlement with his employee, and subsequent annoyance, when he supposed that the debt, according to agreement, had been paid, no doubt preyed upon his mind and led up to the suicide.

He came to Oconto county from Denmark in 1869, owned a farm of 160 acres worth in the neighborhood of $4,000, and $200 would have paid all the debts that he owed.

The funeral was held last Sunday and internment made in Maple Valley church yard