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Oconto County


Originally called Maple Valley, but changed because there was already another settlement by that name. Oconto Postmaster George R. Hall (in 1879) was asked to provide the government two suggestions for a new name. Both were rejected, so he gave them the name of his girlfriend Lena (later Mrs.Hall). Information provided by Deana Hipke.

Samuel King was one of the pioneers of Lena, having gone there in 1871 from Quebec, Canada.  He homesteaded 160 acres of land east of Hwy 141 and Main St.    He also donated the first parcel of land for the Lena gradeschool. 

The year 1877 saw the beginning of the settlement expansion, when various families from Pensaukee came to live after the Peshigo Fire of 1871 and the tornado of 1877 had caused tremendous damage there. By 1880 the first church was built. The Catholic Church was built in 1882 and burned in 1898. It was rebuilt only to burn again in 1940. It was again replaced on the same spot. 

A large number of Methodist families moved to Lena in 1888. Over the years, fur trading gave way to lumbering, which in turn gave way to farming and dairying. Mr. Halstead was the first postmaster followed by other prominent local businessmen, Alex Pelkey, N C Netzer, Mr. Hale and then Mr. Gidney had the post office moved from the various shops and stores to the Village Hall. The railroad came to Lena in 1882 from what was then called "Stiles Hill" to the former "Maple Valley". Nick Nezer and Levi Hale built and operated the first mill and store in the late 1880's next door to the blacksmith shop of Mr. Harley. The first home was built by the Payantte family. Information given by Anton Mathey, Charles Feak, and A H Dionne in 1939.

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