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Flash From The Past - 1952
Oconto County—
July 1, 1952
Attic Treasures Richard La Brosse

The calendar was turned back one hundred years on Tuesday morning in Oconto County. A meeting that transpired exactly 100 years ago—on July 1, 1852.  The century-old event which was honored was the very first meeting of the Oconto county board of supervisors.  It was the beginning of local government in the new county which had been set apart in the northern wilderness by the Wisconsin legislature on February 6, 1851.  

The new county had the distinction of being the largest in the state then.  It was twice its present size.  Not until 1879 did it lose that distinction when the legislature cut it in two and set up Marinette county.  At the time of the first board meeting there still had been no townships.  However, it was anticipated that there would be three towns so three supervisors had been elected at large at the first election of county officers in June 1852.  They were Charles Windross, Philip Frank and Jonathon Hale.  Edwin Hart had been named clerk of the board.  Hale had been named chairman of the board previous to the meeting.  He, however, didn’t put in his appearance on time and Windross was appointed chairman in his absence.  Hale arrived later on, according to Hart’s well-preserved minutes. 

Preliminary business of the meeting was to authorize procurement of books, stationery and maps for the county officers and a seal for the county board.  William Brunquest had been elected register of deeds and he was authorized to procure records of all deeds, mortgages, and transfers in the new county from Brown county.  Hale had arrived by this time and on his motion, five election precincts were designated as follows:  1st—the home of Moses Woodworth at Peshtigo; 2nd—the home of Edwin Hart on the Oconto River; 3rd—the home of Eldred and Murphy on the Oconto River; 4th—at the mills of Leavenworth Mills at Peshtigo; 5th—the house of John Jacobs on the Menominee river.  The board resolved that a tax of 3 ½ mills on a dollar be raised for state tax, five mills for county tax and two mills for school tax. 

Supervisor Frank “Felt aggrieved at his assessment” and the board reduced it to $ 500.  The minutes did not state what the original figure was.  The board agreed to grant grocery and saloon licenses to any persons applying who complied with the requirements of the law, for $ 10 per year.  Evidently there were no bridges of any kind in Oconto at that early date because the group granted Edwin Hart a ferry license for a term of three years.  The supervisors also set his “forage” rates.  The cost for a one-person crossing was set at six cents.  If more than one person the rate was four cents each.  A “double team” cost 30 cents to ferry across.  The ferry was required to be in operation from sunrise to sunset with Sundays excepted.  The rest of this article is missing due to a mouse that ate it.  However, some of the words refer to F.S. Tucker and others to survey a road from the mouth of the river to the “fall”.