Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Oconto County
Wisconsin

ABRAMS

Formerly named "West Pensaukee". The community's first settler was a blacksmith named Richard Yeaton. The village was renamed "Abrams" by the railroad in 1881, after Winford ABRAMS, who had sold them land for the right-of-way. Information provided by Gary Truckey.

Actually, Abrams was named after Winford’s father, William J Abrams. (see:  http://www.ci.green-bay.wi.us/mayors_past/mayor_abrams_wj.html ).  Both of these men served as mayor of Green Bay and each was involved in some aspect of railroading, but William J Abrams was the person honored.
contributed by: Bob Reim


The original village was set along a five mile strip of the finest pines in the county. The first name used was"Pumpkin Pine", the "West Pensaukee. Letters to friends and relatives by the first settlers to the area brought increasing numbers by boat up the Pensaukee River from Lake Michigan, where trees measuring four to five feet in diameter were a common sight. Richard B. Yeaton arrived in 1857 to make the tools necessary for the influx of new farmers as well as those needed by the local Native Americans. Levi Sargent owned the property next to the blacksmith and for many years had the only other home in the area. Mail was brought by snowshoe, horseback and, later, stagecoach between Stiles and Green Bay. The first post office was in the home of W. Hale. The road used was an ancient Indian trail, also commonly used by the Native Americans of the area. With the coming of the railroad in 1881, a school and Methodist Church as well as boarding houses and private homes began to appear along the tracks. John Chatell built the first hotel and by 1887 there were about 30 homes, two hotels, three stores, a drug store, a train depot and three sawmills. Most of the earliest settlers were from New England and had the surnames of Barker, Dutton, Powell, Minick, Birmingham, Bent, Task, Knowles, Parkinson, Sargent, Rowell, Busch, Lowell, Tuttle, DeLano, Rifenberg, Brooks, Wilson, Bellingham, Betts, Rice, Orr, Whitcomb, Ames, Bovee, McKinnley, Waldron, Whitney, Lince, Bell, Ruchie, Winans, Peters, Leonard, Fitzpatrick, Bauder, Farley, and Dunton. Initially, these settlers wanted to name the town after their Massachusetts homes of "Lowell" or "Portsmouth". A large number of local men enlisted in the Civil War Northern Army either directly from Abrams or from their original homes in Massachusetts. Dr. Violet was the first doctor, followed by Dr Faulds, who practiced over 50 years and attended more than 3,000 births. By 1911 there was a bank and a telephone service. Fires twice slowed the progress of Abrams, first the Peshtigo Fire of 1871 and later a local fire in July of 1923. The mystery of the murder of a tavern keeper named Baumgartner in the early logging days still haunts town history and defies solving.

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