Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 392-393.
Many useful activities are connected with the name of Jacob Borchardt, for over forty years a resident of Portage County. In early days he worked for the Wisconsin Central Railroad, was employed in sawmills and other lines of business, but more substantially has been identified with farming and apple growing. He has reared a splendid family of children and two of his sons are now in the army.
Mr. Borchardt was born in Poland April 30, 1848. His parents spent all their lives in Poland, and in that country Jacob grew up and had his early training both in school and in the duties and responsibilities of life. On June 18, 1873, he landed in New York City, and in the same year came to Stevens Point. For about five months he was employed with the construction forces that were building the Wisconsin Central Railway. The next four years he spent as a worker in the saw mills of McMillan Brothers. For a time he was engaged in the saloon business at Stevens Point where the Kuchnowski grocery store now is. He was in that location eleven years, and then bought forty acres of land in Hull Township, working it but keeping his residence in Stevens Point. He also owns eight lots of ground which have been highly developed as an apple orchard, and it is said that Mr Borchardt raises more apples than are grown in all the rest of Stevens Point put together and is probably the chief apple grower in the county. Out of the proceeds of his land and active career he has provided liberally for his family and given his children ample educational advantages. Mr Borchardt is a democrat and a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church.
February 10, 1879, he and Miss Annie Donda were married in St. Peter's Church by Father Walon. Mrs. Borchardt was born in Poland in November 1854, daughter of John and Rose Donda who came to Princeton, Wisconsin, about 1876 and the following year located at Stevens Point, where her father died in October, 1896 and her mother on April 27, 1907.
Mr. and Mrs. Borchardt became the parents of ten children: Frank B., the eldest, born October 2, 1879, was educated in the parochial and public schools, also the normal school, and then entered the railway service as an operator, his first assignment being at Witte, Wisconsin, from which point he was transferred to Abbottsford. He was with the Wisconsin Central for twelve years at different locations, spent two years at Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is now employed by the Northern Railway Company at Limon, Costa Rica, Central America. He is unmarried. The second child, Mary, born December 5, 1880, was educated in the parochial and public schools, is a skilled dressmaker by trade, and is the wife of Albert Sowke. They have two children, Irene and Albur. Jacob, who was born September 8, 1882, was educated in the parochial and the high school of St Point, and is now a photographer at Chicago. He married May Potter and has four children, Paul, Harold, Kenneth, and Dorothy. Joseph, who was born March 10, 1884, was educated in the parochial and public schools, and is still at home working for his father. Alexander, born February 13, 1886, was educated in the public and parochial schools and normal school, is now a resident of Chicago. For some time he was employed by the Wisconsin Central or Soo line but is now with the Western Electric Company. He married Marie Johansen, and has two children, Melvin and Raymond. Leo A., the sixth of the family, was born March 21, 1889, and had his education in the public and parochial schools. On April 20, 1917 he enlisted at Stevens Point and is now with the Expeditionary Forces in France employed as a cook at one of the general staff headquarters. Wanda, born June 20, 1891, was educated in the parochial schools and the high school and by her marriage to Christ Korup has one child, Christ. Emil, born March 18, 1893, was educated in the parochial and public schools and was employed by the Western Electric Company in Chicago until his number was called in the army draft. Lily, born May 24, 1895, is still at home and has been well educated in the local schools. Edward, the youngest of the family, was born January 3, 1897, had finished his education, and is now employed in the Express Company at Stevens Point.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 395-396.
Many of the most prosperous and substantial citizens of Wisconsin come from the further side of the broad Atlantic, and to the country of their adoption have brought those habits of industry, economy and thrift that have won for themselves positions of prominence in the business world. Noteworthy among this number is Daniel Corlett, of Steven's Point, who has accumulated much wealth through legitimate channels of endeavor and now occupies a place in the front rank of the many successful business men of Portage County. He was born June 20, 1845, on the Isle of Man, that little strip of land lying in the Irish Sea. There his parents, Daniel and Margaret (Quail) Corlett, spent their entire lives, the father, a farmer by occupation, dying in 1867 and the mother in 1848.
At the age of sixteen years, having acquired his early education on his native isle, Daniel Corlett came to the United States, and for a while was variously employed in Cleveland, Ohio. Leaving that city, he made his way to Sussex, Waukesha County, this state, where he became interested in the mechanical arts, and was also employed as boatman on the Lakes. In 1873 he received his license as an engineer, and during the five years that he subsequently remained in the lake service he worked his way upward until becoming chief engineer on a large boat. Resigning the position in 1878, Mr. Corlett was for five years successfully engaged in the meat business at Edmore, Michigan. Coming from there to Portage County in 1885, he located in Eau Pleine Township and engaged in the lumber business, becoming a partner of his father-in-law, Thomas Petty, who had erected a saw mill there in 1875, and had lived there for twenty-seven years. Mr. Corlett continued in the lumber business until 1909, when the mill was destroyed by fire. In the meantime he had acquired title to several large tracts of land, including one farm of 450 acres, which he sold in 1912. As an agriculturist Mr. Corlett showed excellent judgment and ability. He made substantial and valuable improvements on his farms, and in addition to carrying on general farming had a large dairy and kept many sheep, in each line meeting with success.
Mr. Corlett married, April 14, 1880, Elizabeth Ann Petty, who was born in
England, October l0, 1853. Her father, Thomas Petty, emigrated from England
to Canada in 1855, and for several years resided with his family in Hamilton.
Coming to the States in 1862, he was engaged in fruit growing at Grand Haven
for quite a while. Lured westward by the glowing accounts of the rich and
rare minerals to be found in the Rockies, Mr. Petty made an overland trip
to Idaho, going by teams from St. Joseph, Missouri, to the gold fields. Stopping
en route, he was in Salt Lake City when the foundation for the Mormon Church
was laid. Returning to Michigan, and then to Wisconsin, Mr. Petty located
in Portage County, where he became an extensive land owner. In 1875, in company
with Charles Segelke, he built a saw mill at Eau Pleine and engaged in the
lumber business as junior member of the firm of Segelke & Petty. He moved
Pleine in 1880, and was there a resident until his death in 1907, at the age of seventy-eight years. Mr. Petty married, in England, Mary Ann Thompson, who preceded him to the world beyond, dying in 1892. They had but one child, Mrs. Corlett. Mr. and Mrs. Corlett have no children. Politically Mr. Corlett is a republican, and for several terms served as township treasurer. Fraternally he is a member of Evergreen Lodge No. 93, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; and is also a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight Templar. Religiously both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 402-403.
When a citizen of any community has lived to the age of more than three score and ten years, maintaining through all vicissitudes an unblemished character, faithfully meeting the obligations incident to his lot and discharging with manly fidelity the duties incumbent upon him in all the relations of life, it is a pleasing task to place the story of his career in an enduring form. The possession of such a record by the family which he has toiled to rear, and its transmittal to their posterity, is not only a boon to them but the narrative of his worthy life, preserved in the permanent characters of a book, serves as a wholesale incentive to all others who may chance to peruse the pages containing it. The foregoing lines pertain with obvious pertinence to George L. Barrows, one of the highly respected residents of Stevens Point, now living in retirement after many years passed in railroad work.
Mr. Barrows was born at Calais, Washington County, Maine, August 23, 1845, a son of Allen and Sarah (Faunce) Barrows, who passed their lives in that, their native state. He was reared in Maine, where he received his education in the public schools, and when he left home went to Massachusetts. His father was a minister of the Baptist Church and held a number of pulpits in Maine, working faithfully as a preacher of the Gospel until his death in 1870, Mrs. Barrows surviving him for about two years. They had six children: Aurilla; William and Sarah, who are deceased; Harris, who is a Baptist minister; Frank, deceased; and George L.
George L. Barrows was variously employed in Massachusetts without making much headway and eventually decided to try his fortunes in the West. Accordingly, in 1872, he came to Wisconsin, and at Stevens Point secured a position as a brakeman on a freight train. He was industrious, faithful and efficient, performing his tasks in an orderly and systematic manner, and won a firm place in the esteem and confidence of his employers who in 1882 advanced him to conductor. Soon thereafter he was again promoted, this time to passenger conductor, and during the thirty-three years that followed he continued with his daily duties, becoming one of the best known and most popular conductors on the line. He was widely known to the traveling public, and because of his unfailing courtesy and obliging spirit made friendships that have lasted and strengthened with the passing of the years. In 1915, after forty-three years of devoted and loyal service, he was pensioned by the company and retired to his comfortable home at No. 1109 Shaurette Street, which he erected in 1903, and which has been his home since that year.
Mr. Barrows is a republican in politics, but the nature of his employment made it impossible for him to ever engage in public affairs as a contestant for honors. He belongs to the Baptist Church. In 1882 Mr. Barrows was married to Miss Olive Bancroft, who was born at Ashland, Wisconsin, a daughter of Warren G. Bancroft, one of the pioneers of Ashland and a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Barrows died in the faith of that church, having been the mother of six children, of whom three survive: Leda, who is the wife of Smith Murrish, principal of the Stevens Point High School; Georgia, the wife of Fred Pitsch, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and the mother of two children, Robert and Martha Louise; and Frank, who is proprietor of the Palace of Sweets at Stevens Point.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, page 405.
Rev. James Blake is one of the distinguished Baptist ministers of Wisconsin and has proved his ability not only as an eloquent preacher but as a successful organizer and executive. He is very popular in Stevens Point, where he has been head of the Baptist Church for a number of years, and has brought his church to a point where it is at once one of the most prosperous and most influential in the entire county.
Rev. Mr. Blake is a man of wide experience and has seen a great deal of the world in his life. He was born in Suffolk, England, May 20, 1863, and commenced his literary and theological education in Hulme Cliff College in Derbyshire. His first important work in the ministry was as a missionary to Africa. After that he returned to England, and in 1893 came to the United States, where for a quarter of a century he has been identified with the work of the Baptist denomination. On coming to America Rev. Mr. Blake entered the newly established Divinity School of the University of Chicago, and was the forty-fifth to register as a student in that school. He graduated in 1895, and his first pastorate after leaving university was at Kendall, Wisconsin. In March, 1898, he took up new work at Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where he remained until August 15, 1899. The next five years he spent at West Allis, Wisconsin, in April, 1904, went to Plainfield, Wisconsin, and on December 5, 1904, became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Stevens Point. His first pastorate here continued until 1910, when he accepted the pastorate of Grace Baptist Church of Milwaukee. On April 15, 1912, Rev. Mr. Blake returned to Stevens Point and has since been active head of the First Baptist Church. His congregation has made wonderful progress, especially in the last five years. A fine new brick edifice was dedicated October 29, 1916. Mr. Blake is very popular in the city, a man of liberal views, and has been able to exert a great influence for good in the community. On December 27, 1899, he married at Kendall, Wisconsin, Miss Thema E. Dunlap of Kendall. They have two daughters, Frances Ethel and Florence Guinness.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 548-551.
Charles Bion Baker is a veteran railroad man. He has been a passenger conductor with the old Wisconsin Central and the present Soo Line for thirty-five years. Children who rode with him free or at half fare when he was new to the business and the role have many times in recent years been on his trains with their own children and in a few cases with grandchildren. Mr. Baker is not only a trusted and honored servant of the railroad and the general public, but is one of Portage County's leading citizens and has been a resident of Stevens Point and surrounding country most of his life.
He was born in Portage County July 27, 1858, a date which indicates the pioneer residence of the Baker family in this section of Wisconsin. He is a son of Asahel Henderson and Calista (Winslow) Baker. His father was born at Rochester, New York, June 18, 1835. The mother was born at Rutland, New York, August 25, 1834, and was a descendant of Richard Warren and Eliza (Juatt), his wife, of the Mayflower. Asahel Henderson Baker moved to Michigan when a young man, and at Fairfield in that state, on December 30,1855, was married. In 1857 he moved to Portage County, but soon after the birth of his son Charles B. returned to Michigan. In 1868 the family resumed residence in this county, settling on a farm in Stockton Township. Asahel Henderson Baker made a record of service as a Union soldier. He was a resident of Michigan during the period of the Civil war and enlisted and served in Company B of the Sixth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. In addition to farming in Portage County he frequently took contracts for railway and other construction. He had some contracts for the Wisconsin Central when it was built through Portage County, with the Green Bay Railway Company, and got out some large contracts for timber and ties. Later he went to Minnesota and took up land at Ada in Norman County and was also engaged in the agricultural implement business. In 1891 he left Minnesota for a visit back to his old home in Michigan, and died in March of that year. He was a republican in politics, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of the Masonic order. He was a man of wonderful experience and had come to know nearly all phases of western life and people. After the war he went to the far West and was at Salt Lake City at the time the Utes went on the warpath in that section. His wife died at Knowlton, Wisconsin, January 30, 1873. Their children were: Ella, Charles B., Frances A., Minnie, Ozite and Jessie. Ella, Minnie and Ozite are now deceased, all of them passing away in Portage County, victims of a smallpox epidemic.
Charles B. Baker was educated in district and village schools while living in Michigan and Wisconsin. He was about fifteen years old when his mother died, and he then went back to Michigan and worked on a farm until 1879. In that year he returned to Stevens Point, and soon afterward went to Minnesota and took up a pre-emption and homestead of 320 acres in Norman County. He acquired title to this land, and hired a man to improve it. He had acquired and developed considerable property, looking after it while following his regular vocation as a railroad man.
In the spring of 1880 Mr. Baker went to work as fireman on the old Wisconsin Central, running out of Stevens Point. A year and a half later he took a position as brakeman, and in 1883 was promoted to conductor and has been handling trains on the Wisconsin Central and Soo Line now for thirty-five consecutive years, being one of the oldest conductors in the service of that company. Mr. Baker owns one of the fine homes in Stevens Point, at 621 Strongs Avenue, and he also owns a residence at 620 Elk Street. He is a member of the Order of Railway Conductors, is affiliated with Evergreen Lodge No. 93, Free and Accepted Masons, Forest Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, is a republican in politics and he and his wife are active members of the Episcopal Church.
On December 5, 1883, the same year that he was promoted to the responsibilities of railway conductor, Mr. Baker formed a most happy and congenial alliance with Miss Edith June Lawrence. Mrs. Baker is one of the prominent women of Stevens Point. She was born at Mayville in Dodge County, Wisconsin, June 29, 1860, a daughter of Newcomb Cushman and Helen M. (Rogers) Lawrence. Her father was born at Henderson in Jefferson County, New York, March 9, 1828. Her mother was born March 25, 1832, in the same county, a daughter of Saul and Eliza (Adams) Wilbur. When Helen M.Wilbur was about a year old her father accidentally lost his life, and a year later her mother married James M. Rogers. After that she was always known as Helen Rogers. Her stepfather, James M. Rogers, was born November 11, 1808, and died in Dodge County, Wisconsin, November 22, 1890. Her mother, Eliza Adams Wilbur Rogers was born June 25, 1809, and died at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, March 3, 1890. Both are buried in Stevens Point. The Rogers family, including the mother of Mrs. Baker, came to Dodge County, Wisconsin, in 1848, and about 1866 they removed to Stevens Point. Newcomb C. Lawrence also arrived in Dodge County, Wisconsin, June, 1848, and on April 4, 1854, he and his wife were married at Mayville. Mrs. Baker's parents moved to Stevens Point in 1892, and her father died here April 18, 1909, and her mother on March 12, 1902. Her father was a carpenter and machinist and bridge builder, and did a great deal of work as a contractor for bridges and constructed them in many states of the Union. He was an honored member of the Masonic fraternity for forty-nine years, held all the offices in the lodge, and was affiliated with Vesper Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, at Mayville and Horicon Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, at Horicon, Wisconsin. His wife was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Baker was one of four children: Elson and Ida May, both of whom died in infancy; Eva Isabel, now Mrs. C. A. Lamoreux, of Ashland, Wisconsin, and Edith June.
Mrs. Baker was educated in the Union School at Mayville, and prior to her marriage was a successful teacher for five years. Outside of her home duties at Stevens Point she has taken the lead in many movements and organizations that express the interest and public spirit of the community. For the past ten years she has been president of the Portage County Humane Society. She is also a former president of the Woman's Club and was secretary of the Hospital Association at the time St. Michael's Hospital was built. Through virtue of her old American ancestry she is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, served four years as worthy matron of the Eastern Star Chapter, and was secretary of the Parish House Association when the Episcopal parish hall was built. Both she and Mr. Baker have done much to forward the Red Cross work in the city and county and she is a member of the board of directors of the local Red Cross. Among other offices held in the interests of the public she is a member of the Stevens Point Board of Public Health and has the distinction of being the first and so far the only woman appointed to that board.
For many years Mr. and Mrs. Baker's thought and plans and cherished interests have centered in their only child and daughter, Frances Helen, who was born July 12, 1890. She graduated in June, 1909, after the full course at the Stevens Point Normal, and with two years at Carroll College received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1911. She won a scholarship in that institution and used it at the University of Wisconsin, from which in June, 1912, she received the high scholastic honor, the Master of Arts degree. During the following year this cultured young woman was a member of the faculty of Bethel College at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, but at the end of that time in June, 1913, one of the leading business men of Hopkinsville, Robert M. Fairleigh, claimed her as his bride. Mr. and Mrs. Fairleigh have three children. These three grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Baker are: June, born in March, 1914; Ann, born in October, 1915; and Thomas, born March 13, 1917.
Referring again to the father of Mrs. Baker, Mr. N. C. Lawrence, he too made a record as a Union soldier, having enlisted in September, 1864, in Company E of the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry. He was with Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, was in front of Petersburg while the Confederacy was making its last stand, and after the evacuation of that stronghold and of Richmond he was with the troops that pursued General Lee up to Appomattox. He was also present at the Grand Review in Washington, and received his honorable discharge in July, 1865. He was an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was affiliated with both the Subordinate Lodge and Encampment of Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Politically he was a republican and for several terms served as supervisor. He was the builder of the first schoolhouse at Mayville, Wisconsin. His father, Amos Lawrence, served in the War of 1812. His grandfather, Amos Lawrence, Jr., was a soldier in the Revolution, as were also his two great-grandfathers, viz., Amos Lawrence, Sr., and Jonathan Eggleston. Amos Lawrence, Sr., married Sarah Webster of Hartford County, Connecticut, June 2, 1757. Jonathan Eggleston also fought in the French and Indian wars, 1757-58-59 in companies from Hartford, Windsor and Farmington.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 405-407.
Any individual with sufficient money can, if he so desires, dispense charity and thereby secure public applause whether his alms are really beneficial or, as sometimes, quite unwise. How much more, however, to be commended is the man who bravely struggles through early handicaps and later misfortune to succeed in estab1ishing industries which give profitable employment, not charity, to hundreds of self-respecting workers. This thought comes in considering the career of one of Stevens Point's enterprising and successful business men, John J. Bukolt. His has been an interesting, busy and useful life and illustrates the value of supplementing natural talents with persistent effort and unfailing courage.
John J. Bukolt is a native of Wisconsin and was born January 20, 1869, at Northeim in Manitowoc County. His parents are Ignatz and Tekla (Frosina) Bukolt. They were born in Prussia and after coming to the United States reached Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in 1865 and have lived there ever since, first clearing up a farm and slowly improving it, but since old age has come upon them they have been comfortably established in the Village of Northeim. Although octogenarians, the father being aged eighty-two years and the mother eighty-four years, they have preserved both physical and mental health, enjoy neighborly life and are faithful attendants to the services of the Polish Catholic Church. They have had five children, namely: Anna, John J., Lucas, deceased, Ladislas, deceased, and Rosa.
Until he was eighteen years old John J. Bukolt remained at home and gave his father assistance on the farm. In the meanwhile he attended the public schools. In 1888, realizing that a knowledge of business methods should be very useful in whatever line of work he should engage, he came to Stevens Point and took a course in the Stevens Point Business College, and worked through the summer for the Stevens Point Manufacturing Company. Finding himself possessed of mechanical talent, Mr. Bukolt selected a vocation in which this could be utilized and developed. For one year he worked in the wood turning department of Rice Brothers' foundry and then went with Calvert & French and remained two years.
From boyhood Mr. Bukolt had shown inventive genius and in 1893 he built a shop of his own and continued his experiments together with his foundry and manufacturing business and carried on work in his own shop until 1896, when he went to Buchan, Michigan, where for one year he was superintendent for the National Manufacturing Company. The failure of this company in the following year was one of the misfortunes that business men must steel themselves to meet, although they often must suffer considerable loss. In 1897 Mr. Bukolt returned to Stevens Point. He had invented an automatic cradle and was determined to manufacture it himself, hence he invested his own means and interested others and the manufacture of this invention was continued until 1904 under the manufacturing name of the American Novelty Company, the plant being at Stevens Point. Business had become congested in the first factory and Mr. Bukolt realized that with the prosperous outlook he would be justified in large expansion. Hence incorporation came about, new capital came in, the manufacturing name became the Automatic Cradle Manufacturing Company, John Jozefkowig became president, Frank Derezinski, vice president, and Mr. Bukolt, secretary and treasurer of the company. To accommodate his business enterprises Mr. Bukolt has erected immense buildings, one of these being 100 feet wide and 132 feet long, three stories, and another, four stories in height, of brick construction, has dimensions of 80 by 200 feet.
The Bukolt Tire Protector Company, for the manufacture of another of Mr. Bukolt's inventions, was incorporated in 1917, and of this company he is president and general manager. The Automatic Cradle Company affords constant employment to 140 people and the Bukolt Manufacturing Company employ sixty, therefore fully 200 individuals, all fine workmen, are in the employ of Mr. Bukolt in his industries at Stevens Point, contributing not a little to the city's prosperity. These valuable inventions have a wide sale and a busy section of the manufacturing district is Mr. Bukolt's plant at Nos. 231-235 Third Street, Stevens Point.
Mr. Bukolt was married in 1894 to Miss Philomena Glinecke, of Stevens Point, and they have children as follows: Othillia, Edmond, Roman, Victor and John J., Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Bukolt are members of the Polish Catholic Church.
While Mr. Bukolt is recognized as an able business man, he is also acknowledged a good citizen. He is independent in politics and has no desire for public office, but he is interested in the affairs of his city and endeavors to have a reliable city government and substantial reforms when they are needed. He belongs to the Elks and is also a member of the Rotary Club.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 409-411.
In business circles of southern Portage County there are few names which are better or more favorably known than that of Orestes A. Crowell. Successively as merchant, banker and agriculturist he has been identified with the interests of this locality, and particularly at Almond, in such a prominent and honorable way that there are few enterprises with which he does not come into touch. Not alone in business matters is he a leader, but also in the public life of the community, having been twice a member of the State Legislature and filled other offices with honor and ability. In both financial and civic affairs his record is an exceedingly creditable one, and he is justly accounted as being representative of the highest type of useful citizenship.
Hon. Orestes A. Crowell was born at Almond, Portage County, Wisconsin, October 5, 1872, and belongs to a family which has been located here far more than half a century. His father was George G. Crowell, who was born in Maine and came as a single man to Almond, Wisconsin, in 1867, in November of which year, in partnership with John M. Smart, he started a general store at this point under the firm style of Smart & Crowell. The partnership was a successful
and mutually agreeable one, both men being industrious, progressive and possessed of modern ideas, and the association continued until 1888, a period of twenty-one years, when it was dissolved. Mr. Crowell from that time forward carried on business alone, and was active almost until the time of his death, in 1891. Mr. Crowell was an active republican, but was more of a worker for his friends and his party than in behalf of any personal ambitions, his business activities occupying his attention to such an extent that he did not care for the added responsibilities of public position. He was a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Almond and continued to be connected with that order during the rest of his life, taking much enjoyment in its meetings and features. He was married at this place to Miss Hannah Louise Achilles, who was born in Canada, a daughter of the late Alvaro Copp Achilles, a sketch of whose career will be found elsewhere in this work, and they became the parents of five children: Orestes A., Edna L., Lula, Elbridge G. and George, of whom Edna L. and Lula are deceased.
Orestes A. Crowell attended the public schools of Almond, from which he was duly graduated, and then took a course of two years in the University of Wisconsin, pursuing a classical course. His college career was brought to a sudden termination by the death of his father, and he at once gave up his studies to return to his home, where with his younger brother, Elbridge G. Crowell, he took charge of their father's business. The young men made a success of their operations, both being possessed of much of the elder man's ability and following out his policies of honesty and straightforward dealing, and continued the business until 1915, when they disposed of their interests therein. In the meantime, in 1901, Orestes A. Crowell had became definitely interested in finance, having been one of the organizers in that year of the Portage County Bank at Almond. He was elected at the time of the organization of this institution and still continues to direct its affairs and polity from that position, having succeeded in making this one of the substantial institutions of the county and one in which the general public has every confidence. In 1908 the institution erected its present banking house, an edifice which does credit to the thriving little city in which it is located. Mr. Crowell's abundant energies and fine abilities also find an outlet in general farming and stockraising on his well-cultivated and valuable property located not far from Almond, but across the line into Waushara County. For a number of years he has been interested in politics and has been one of the most influential men of the republican party in the southern part of Portage County. He was the first president of the Village of Almond, serving in that capacity for three consecutive terms, during which time the community grew and prospered and benefitted by a number of greatly needed improvements. From 1896 until 1901 he served as postmaster, and for thirteen years he demonstrated his friendship for advanced educational facilities by his work as a member of the school board. In 1908 he was elected to the State Legislature, and in 1910 succeeded himself as a member of that distinguished body, his work in which was decidedly beneficial to the interests of his district and his constituents. He is now acting as a member of the local exemption board. Mr. Crowell is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a thirty-second degree Mason. With his family he attends the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Crowell was married in 1899 to Miss Genevieve Webster, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, daughter of Charles E. Webster, and at her death she left one child, Webster. Mr. Crowell was again married in 1906, when he was united with Miss Anna Bell McGregor, of Hancock, Wisconsin, daughter of Donald McGregor. Mr. McGregor, who was a pioneer of Michigan, died in 1917, at the age of eighty-two years. Mr. and Mrs. Crowell are the parents of two children, Kenneth and Kathryn.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 411-412.
Among the men who came to Portage County during the ‘50s there were to be found many of sturdy and venturesome nature. The condition of a large part of the county at that time was not encouraging to those who were not willing and able to furnish hardships, and the necessary labor for a man to win success did not prove attractive to any save the ambitious and industrious, who were glad to accept the opportunities offered for the hewing out of a home and the establishment of a business or starting of a farm. Those who were not willing to work hard and to face conditions with courage and faith soon found that this was no place far them and accordingly withdrew and returned to the more settled communities, to await such time when their more sturdy and industrious brothers would have effected changes more to their liking.
Prominent among the men who came at that period in the history of Portage County, who came to remain, and who had the courage, strength of character and industry of spirit to assist not only himself but those about him and the community in general was the late Alvaro Copp Achilles. Mr. Achilles did not come here in the untried flush of early youth, but as a man who had much experience and whose life had known well much of hard work. He was born in Canada, in 1824, and was only eleven years of age when his father died, so that he was early called upon to fend for himself and his education was somewhat limited, although he attended the public schools and later, through observation and intelligent reading, managed to make himself a well informed man. He was married in his native country to Miss Drusilla H. Traver, also born there, and for some time was engaged in farming and other pursuits, with but indifferent success. When gold was discovered in California in 1849 he contracted the fever and was one of those to make the weary, perilous journey across the burning prairies to the promised Eldorado. Mr. Achilles spent several years in the Golden State, but like many others found that it was a land of largely unfulfilled promises, and he accordingly sought his Canadian home again, making the return journey by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Upon his arrival he resumed his farming operations, but became dissatisfied with his lack of progress, and accordingly decided to seek a new field in which to center his activities. In 1855, therefore, he came to Portage County, Wisconsin, making the journey principally by ox-team, and short1y thereafter located on a farm on the Stevens Point wagon rood in Almond Township, which he purchased from the United States Government. Here he set to work to make improvements, and after many hardships and discouragements eventually managed to clear up and cultivate his land, to the successful operation of which he devoted the remainder of his life. His death occurred in 1902, after he had rounded out a worthy, honorable and useful career. Mrs. Achilles, who was born in 1826, passed away on the farm when sixty-eight years of age. They were the parents of seven children, namely: Winthrop, whose death occurred before the family left Canada: Harrison, who died in Portage County; Ezra, who passed away on his farm, which just adjoined that of his father in Almond Township; Hannah Louise, who became the wife of George G. Crowell, and was the mother of Hon. Orestes A. Crowell, the Almond banker and former member of the Legislature; Emma J.; Almira E.; and Ella Luella, deceased.
During the early days Mr. Achilles did the greater part of his trading for merchandise at the store of a Mr. Samuelson, who conducted the establishment at Almond where later Mr. Achilles’ grandson was to be so successful as a merchant. For the most part Mr. Achilles was a general farmer, although during the great boom in hops, and until this boom ended in disaster, he, like many others, planted his land to this product. While he was a man always busy with his own important affairs, he could always be relied upon to assist movements for the general welfare, and much of the rood work during the early days in this section was the handiwork of his strong and capable muscles. He was a republican, and while he did not care to pose as a public figure, he did his share in shouldering the responsibilities of service and acted as township clerk and school officer on several occasions. He was a charter member of Plover Lodge of Masons, and as a religious man he belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which his worthy wife was also a consistent member and generous supporter.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 412-413.
A life of distinctive usefulness to Portage County was that of the late William L. Arnott, who for many years was one of the most influential citizens of this community. One of the villages of the county bears his name. He was a member of the Legislature, filled other official stations, and was a highly successful farmer.
He was born in Yates County, New York, September 5, 1832, and died at his home in Stevens Point in 1907, at the age of seventy-five. He was educated in public schools in his native state and in 1856 he married at Bath, Steuben County, New York, Miss Mary J. Walker. She was born at Bath, March 25, 1832, and now attained the venerable age of eighty-six years.
In 1864 Mr. and Mrs. Arnott came to Portage County and in Plover Township located an a farm. Later a railroad station was established there and a little community grew up which was named Arnott. Mr. Arnott in 1876 was elected a member of the Legislature, and for a number of years served an the county board. He was an active republican.
Mrs. Arnott, though in advanced years, has many interesting recollections of early days in Portage County. She was well educated, attending school at Bath in Steuben County, New York, and for some years was a teacher. She and her husband on coming to Portage County traveled by stage coach from Berlin, Wisconsin, there being no railroad in those days. She went through many pioneer experiences and did her part as a housewife and mother toward the building up of the community. The Arnotts are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Arnott had two daughters, Lillian and Grace. Lillian was educated in the public schools, graduated from the Stevens Point State Normal School and for many years was a successful teacher. She taught in the eighth grade of the Stevens Point schools for seventeen consecutive years. For a number of years she has been a member of the Progressive Club of Stevens Point. The daughter Grace attended high school and the State Normal School, taught for some years, and for five years she took personal management of the homestead farm, which was later sold. After that she did office work in Minneapolis, but her home is at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with her mother and sister at 120 Reserve Street. The mother and daughters erected one of the comfortable homes of the county seat in 1914.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 413-414.
One of the families that is well and favorably known in agricultural circles of Portage County is that which bears the name of Anderson and which has been represented in Alban Township for more than a half a century. One of the present generation who is representative of the class that has spent its entire life on the farm it now occupies is Henry Anderson, a general farmer and stock raiser and a man of broad and comprehensive knowledge of agricultural matters.
Mr. Anderson was born on the farm which he now owns in Alban Township, Portage County, Wisconsin, November 24, 1869, and is a son of Hans Peter and Dorothea (Klinkee) Anderson, natives of Denmark. His paternal grandparents were born in that country, and as they never came to the United States but rounded out their careers in the land of their birth he knows but little of them, save that they were fruit growers by vocation and honorable and upright people. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Anderson, Hans and Bodil Klinkee, were also born in Denmark, and had been married for some years when they came to the United States in 1857. From New York they made their way to Gills Landing by boat, completing their journey by foot and team to Scandinavia, Wisconsin, but remained at the latter place only a short time before continuing on to Alban Township, where they settled among the Indians. Here they went through the usual experiences and hardships incidental to the life of the pioneer upon the front, and Mr. Anderson's mother, who was then a child of nine years, well remembers her father setting off with his butter and eggs to market at Scandinavia, making the journey on foot and returning with a sack of flour on his back. For the family's first clock, a huge, old-fashioned affair, he walked to Stevens Point and back, twenty miles distant. Mr. Klinkee passed the remaining years of his life in agricultural pursuits. In his later years he went to live with a son at Neenah, with whom he spent two years, then returning to the farm, upon which he died. Their daughter Dorothea was the first white female child to reside in Alban Township.
Hans Peter Anderson was a youth when he immigrated to the United States, coming here to join a sister, Mrs. Carrie Anderson, in Alban Township. After some years of work and saving he bought "Fox River" land, the same property that his son now lives on, this continuing to be his home from the time of his marriage until his death in 1906. Mrs. Anderson still survives and resides with her son the home place. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson had two children: Henry and Samuel J. The latter, whose death occurred when he was forty-three years of age, was always a resident of Alban Township, where was engaged in farming and was a successful business man. He also wielded influence in his community and held a number of township offices, including those of treasurer, chairman and clerk. His farm was located in the same vicinity as that of his brother.
Henry Anderson received his education in the home schools and grew up amid agricultural surroundings, so that when he came to man's estate he chose farming as his life work. He worked with his father, clearing and improving the home place and has to his credit the clearing of about what is now done in this direction. The farm is a tract of 160 acres, consisting of fertile and productive soil, which under proper scientific treatment yields large and full crops. Mr. Anderson is a farmer who understands his business and who is capable of combining scientific agriculture with good business management, the whole forming conditions under which he has grown prosperous. He is interested in the creamery at Rosholt, of which his father was one of the organizers, and has other interests. In business circles he bears the reputation of being a man of sterling integrity, while as a citizen he has shown himself to be public spirited.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 415-416.
Among the men of industrious habit and peaceful intent, who came with his family from Norway, to Wisconsin in 1873, no one is more kindly remembered in Portage County than the late Ole A. Brekke, the father of Isaac O. Brekke, who is one of Alban Township's substantial farmers and representative citizens.
Isaac O. Brekke was born in Norway, March 26, 1858. His parents were Ole A. and Mary (Hobelstad) Brekke, who were born, reared and married in Norway. Seeking better industrial conditions and wider opportunity for securing a comfortable and permanent home, they came to America in 1873, with the intention of settling in Wisconsin, where many of their countrymen were prospering. After reaching this state they came directly to Waupaca County, and after a short time to Sharon Township in Portage County. By 1874 Ole Brekke had found land that suited him as to location and price, and in that year he bought 160 acres in Alban Township, which is a part of his son Isaac's farm. The pioneer hardships that the family encountered they bore patiently, for they had been expected, and each succeeding year found them fewer and the time came when their industry and thrift were rewarded. Although the present scientific methods of farming had not been adopted, the persevering industry and natural good sense of farmers like Ole Brekke soon changed the wilderness into productive fields and comfortable homes. In many ways Ole Brekke was a fine character. Not only was he honest and upright in his business undertakings, setting an example of prudence and industry, but he was concerned about the establishment of schools and churches in this pioneer region, and was one of the organizers of the first church in Alban Township, one that is still in existence, and was one of the small body of leading men that worked together and secured the proper adjustment of school districts. He was the father of eight children, Isaac O. being the fourth in order of birth, the others being: Gertrude, who is deceased, Parry, Andrew, who is deceased, Mary, Anna and Peter, twins, the former being deceased, and Minnie.
Isaac O. Brekke was fifteen years old when he accompanied his parents to the United States. After the family settled an the pioneer farm in Alban Township, Portage County, he gave his father assistance but also endeavored to further his education and during the first years walked three miles in the morning in order to reach the nearest schoolhouse and three miles in the evening to his home, where, doubtless, tasks awaited him that would have discouraged many youths less ambitious and industrious. He has always lived an the old place and to its original 160 acres has added and now has 180 acres, a finely cultivated and well improved farm. Mr. Brekke has kept himself well informed as to the value of new methods, but his soil has needed little stimulating and under his experienced care is satisfactorily productive. He has taken much interest in the growing of good stock and makes a specialty of Guernsey cattle.
Isaac O. Brekke was married in 1893 to Miss Mary Iverson, who was born in New Hope Township, Portage County, Wisconsin, and is a daughter of Simon Iverson, who was an early settler there. Mr. and Mrs. Brekke have had three children: Alger, Myrtle and Irvin, the last named being the only survivor. Mr. and Mrs. Brekke are members of the Alban Lutheran Church that his father helped to found. While not particularly active in politics, Mr. Brekke is an earnest and intelligent citizen and at all times is ready to cooperate with others in sound and sensible undertakings that promise to be beneficial to all alike in the township, but has never accepted any political office except that of township assistant supervisor. When the project of organizing a creamery at Rosholt was broached Mr. Brekke considered it a wise movement, one that would be helpful to the farmers in this section, and he assisted in getting it started and is one of the stockholders.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 420-422.
After years of hard work in any industry it is very comforting to feel able to voluntarily retire from business cares when one so desires, and this state of ease is often a well earned recompense for a long period of both body and mental strain that was endured in order to secure a competency. Many of the retired residents of Portage County are old lumbermen who spent years of their early manhood in the woods. They were young men of physical vigor and endurance, else the logging industry could never have become such an important one in Wisconsin as it long has been and still is, although conditions are somewhat different in modern days. One of the well known retired lumbermen now residing in his comfortable home at Stevens Point is George Henry Altenberg, who is also an honored survivor of the Civil war.
George Henry Altenberg was born at Allegany in Cattaraugus County, New York, January 27, 1843. His parents were John and Isabel (Arthur) Altenberg. The father was born in Genesee County, New York, August 12,1810, and the mother in the same state in 1820. At an early day the paternal grandfather of Mr. Altenberg left Germany for the United States. He was accompanied by a brother, who died during the voyage and was buried at sea. The grandfather reached New York and later settled in Genesee County and reared his family there, the names of his sons being: George, William, Henry, Daniel and John.
John Altenberg grew up on his father's farm and later went to work in the lumber regions on the Allegany River. In 1856 he brought his family to Wisconsin. They settled in Portage County on a farm he bought in Plover Township, situated about two and a half miles from the village of Plover. It was wild land at that time but he was strong and industrious and in the course of time, despite many unavoidable pioneer hardships, he managed to clear his land and with the help of his sons subsequently put it under cultivation. He spent the rest of his life on that farm and died in 1895. He was an honest, hard-working man and was respected by all who knew him. Politically he was a republican and both he and wife were faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They had the following children: John, Isaiah, George Henry, James, Isabel, Daniel, Bragg, Worth, Scott, Ross, Charles and Frederick, the two last named dying in infancy.
George Henry Altenberg was thirteen years old when he accompanied his parents to Wisconsin and he had some schooling after the home was established in Plover Township. He remained with his father until he was seventeen years old and then started out for himself, as there were other sons to give the father assistance on the farm. Being strong and sturdy, the prospect of working hard as a logger pleased him, for the wages were good and he was accustomed, as farm youths were then, to out-door life in all kind of weather. Mr. Altenberg worked for the Hutchinson Brothers in the lumber business in Eau Pleine Township, Portage County, and continued to work on the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers until 1875, variously engaged, however, and after leaving the employ of others was in a logging business for himself for some years, and in 1887 engaged in the manufacture of lumber and continued in business until 1911, when he retired. In 1871 he settled in Eau Pleine Township and worked with the surveying party for the construction of a branch of the Wisconsin Valley Railroad, and he and wife had the honor of being the first passengers that boarded the train that made its first trip out of Dancey.
Mr. Altenberg was married in 1866 to Miss Erminda Whittaker, who was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, in 1849. Her parents were Allen and Sarah (Snyder) Whittaker, who came to Portage County, Wisconsin, in 1863 and settled in Plover Township in 1864. The father of Mrs. Altenberg was born August 13, 1810, and died in Plover Township in June, 1895, the mother of Mrs. Altenberg dying in 1889. To Mr. and Mrs. Altenberg three sons were born: Miner H., Charles W. and Holmes A. Miner H. Altenberg is one of the leading business men of Dancey, Wisconsin, is the owner of the creamery there and a prosperous merchant and produce buyer. He was married to Miss Jennie Conoff, and they have the following children: Gladys, George John, Marian, Allen, Harold, Edith, Madge, Margaret and Lucile. The second son, Charles W. Altenberg, is a substantial farmer of Portage County and resides two miles south of Dancey. He married Miss Nettie Ryan and they have had four children: Fern, Earl, Bernice, deceased, and Doris. Holmes A. Altenberg, the youngest son, is a resident of Eau Pleine, where he has been more or less associated with his father in the retail lumber business and which he has continued. alone since his father's retirement. He married Miss Maud Calvert, and they have one child, Vivian.
In 1864 Mr. Altenberg became a soldier in the Civil war and continued in the Union Army until the close of the Rebellion as a member of Company B, Forty-sixth Wisconsin Infantry. He went through some of the hardships and dangers that face soldiers but was fortunate enough to escape all serious injury. He is a valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic and when possible attends the meetings of his post. He has always been a republican in his political views but has never been anxious to hold office. At one time, while living in Marathon County, Wisconsin, he was elected chairman of the Bergen Township Board. Mr. Altenberg has been a resident of Stevens Point since 1902 and owns his residence at No. 637 Strongs Avenue.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 422-425.
A resident of Stevens Point more than thirty years, and of Portage County for seventy years, since early childhood, in fact, James A. Bremmer would in many ways constitute an ideal representative both as an actor and a witness of the history of Portage County through all its varying changes and developments from pioneer days to the present. His own career has been an exceedingly creditable one, but much also must be said of other members of his family, including his parents, who were among the first pioneer settlers of this wilderness region and also of his brothers and of his own children, who are now bearing worthily their responsibilities in life.
Before the family came to Wisconsin the old home was Fort Covington, New York, where James A. Bremmer was born February 16, 1843. His parents were George and Nancy M. (Danforth) Bremmer. The father was born at Alburg, Vermont, in January, 1800, and the mother was born at Fort Covington in Franklin County, New York, in 1808. They married in Franklin County, and in May, 1847, came west to Plover, Portage County, Wisconsin. George Bremmer constructed the fifth frame building in Portage County. He built it at Plover and the old structure is still standing and today has the distinction of being the oldest frame house in the entire county. This old homestead, surrounded by twenty acres of land, was the home of George Bremmer and wife during all their remaining years and their children grew up in the same locality. He also took a claim in Stockton Township, pre-empting there before the land was put on the market and about 1848 he bought it from the Government. He was able to pay for this land from money he made as a surveyor. His farm comprised 133 acres in Stockton Township, and farming was his chief pursuit. Politically he was a whig and republican, and always took a great deal of satisfaction in having been able to vote for and help elect both Harrisons to the presidency. He was active in the Baptist Church, but late in life both he and his wife joined the Methodist Church. The first Sabbath school in Portage County was organized by Mrs. George Bremmer in her home. That was in 1849. The pioneer minister of those days was a Rev. Mr. Hyde. Mrs. George Bremmer was an exceedingly devout Christian, and while busied with the cares of her large family and with making a home in a new country she never forgot her obligations to the church. George Bremmer died in 1890, lacking only a few days of his ninetieth birthday. His wife passed away in March, 1884. Their oldest child, Delia, died when four years of age. The second, George D., became a pilot on the Wisconsin River and was drowned in August, 1856, at the age of twenty-four. Wallace was also a river pilot, and died in the spring of 1860, at the age of twenty-six, a victim of consumption. Sheridan, in 1861, enlisted in Company E of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry and was in active service till the close of the war, was captured at the Battle of Altoona Block House, and endured the hardships of a southern prison for seven months, and after the war returned to Wisconsin and died at Appleton in this state in 1912, at the age of seventy-two. Clara, who was born in 1841, died in Nebraska in the spring of 1912, at the age of seventy-one, the wife of B. F. Felch, a pioneer of Portage County. James A. was the sixth of the children. Helen Elizabeth died in May, 1906, at the age of sixty-one. The two youngest were Juliette and a son, twins, the latter dying in infancy and the other at the age of two years.
James A. Bremmer was just four years old when the family came to Plover, Wisconsin. Two or three years later he went to school at the first school established at Plover or in the entire county. His teacher there was Mary J. Wiley and he afterwards had instruction from Fannie Waterman. Later for one summer he was a student in the Township of Stockton and spent a winter term in the Town of Stockton. In the meantime he was developing his strength by work on a farm, his principal duties being driving oxen.
When he reached the age of seventeen, in the fall of 1861, he was not behind his brothers and other members of the family in taking up arms for their country. He enlisted in Company E of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry, and saw active service for one year, both of his officers being uncles, Captain Bremmer of his company, and Col. James S. Alban of the regiment. The captain was William Bremmer, who raised 112 men for the Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry and left Milwaukee at the head of his company in March, 1862, and was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The next seven months he spent as a prisoner of war, and on being released he returned to Wisconsin and raised another company for the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers. On taking the field he was again wounded at Sailors Creek and the war soon after closed and he returned home, one of Wisconsin's most honored soldiers. Captain Bremmer died in 1880. After a year with the Eighteenth Wisconsin James A. Bremmer re-enlisted and this time was assigned to Company G of the First Wisconsin Infantry. He was constantly on duty until May 30, 1864, when at the Battle of Dallas, Georgia, he lost his right arm, and in the same engagement eight of
his teeth were shot away. Thus it was by no means a light sacrifice he made for the integrity of the Union.
After this wound he remained at home at Plover for about six months and then took up the active life which he has followed far nearly half a century, buying forty acres of land in Stockton Township, and subsequently buying out the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead, which gave him a fine farm of 133 acres. There he took up farming, and despite his physical handicaps did much of his own work. Along with business affairs he has more or less continuously been identified with some public office. As soon as he came home from the war he was elected township treasurer of Stockton Township and filled that office eight years. He was also constable and was second deputy sheriff for two terms, at first under David Clemons and later under W. J. Baker. He also served on the school board, and was the first postmaster of the Village of Arnott, an office he filled seven years. In 1887 Mr. Bremmer resigned the post mastership and came to Stevens Point, where he has had his home ever since. In June, 1908, however, he went to Northwestern Nebraska, and in Cherry County took under the Kincaid law a homestead of 640 acres, which he has devoted to general ranching purposes, and which he still owns. On that land he has fed and pastured a large number of stock. Stock dealing and shipping has been a business with him for many years and he has shipped both east and west, according
to the changing situation in the stock industry. Recently he has been shipping horses from the West to Stevens Point. Many years ago he acquired a small tract of land of eighty acres in Nebraska, which he used at one stage in his stock business. Mr. Bremmer was also the first buyer and shipper of potatoes at Stevens Point, in which he was engaged for twenty years.
For thirty years his home has been at 136 Plover Street in Stevens Point. Mr. Bremmer is a republican in politics, is affiliated with Plover Lodge No. 80, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is present commander of Plover Post No. 149, Department of Wisconsin, Grand Army of the Republic, and is affiliated with the Modem Woodmen of America. He has always been active in politics and as a worker for clean government and progress along general lines. His family attend the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bremmer is still an enthusiastic follower of the chase and only recently returned from a successful hunting trip for deer.
In January, 1873, he married Miss Emma M. McMillan. She was born in Stockton Township of Portage County October 1, 1851, daughter of Peter and Miranda (Dimond) McMillan. Her father was born at Alburg, Vermont, September 20, 1824, and her mother was born in Canada, October 1, 1820. The McMillans have claims to pioneer settlements and activity in Portage County beginning only a year or two after the Bremmers arrived in this wilderness. In 1849 the McMillans journeying westward by the Great Lakes arrived in Wisconsin, and Peter McMillan walked from the lake shore to Oshkosh and thence into Portage County, joining the pioneer community of Plover, where for a time he was employed as a teamster. In June, 1850, he preempted 160 acres near the farm of the Bremmers and took possession when only three or four other settlers occupied that entire prairie. He built for his humble home a cabin 16 by 16 feet, and at once began breaking his land. He and his wife were married at Plover November 17, 1850, and their first child was Emma. Edith S., born May 18, 1855, was the second; William P. was born May 18, 1856; Sidney G. was born January 8, 1859; Annie J. was born October 4, 1860; and Carrie A., was born May 12, 1866. Peter McMillan died February 9, 1908, and his wife in 1902. He was a republican in politics, and was a man of prominence in Stockton Township, where he served on the school board and as side supervisor. He also made a record as a soldier, enlisting at Plover in November, 1861, in Company E of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Regiment. He was at the battle of Shiloh and then on account of physical disability was discharged at Corinth, Mississippi, in August, 1862. After that he returned to Portage County and toward the close of the war was drafted, but was exempted on account of ill health. For two years he served as assessor of Stockton Township. His wife was an active member of the Baptist Church. Peter McMillan had a very limited education, and perhaps for that very reason was keenly interested in the welfare and progress of the schools in Portage County. He was a member of Plover Post No. 149, Grand Army of the Republic. And in this connection it should be mentioned that Mr. James A. Bremmer has attended many national encampments of the Grand Army.
Mr. and Mrs. Bremmer became the parents of four children: Clara Edith, born November 8, 1873, was educated in the public schools of Stockton Township, is a graduate of the Stevens Point High School and of the State Normal School of Stevens Point and also of the local business college, and for some years was a teacher in the business school and is now teacher of commercial subjects at Hudson, Wisconsin. James, the second child, born March 2, 1876, died on May 7th of the same year. Charles A., born January 19, 1879, is a graduate of the Stevens Point High School and Business College, and is now private secretary to the president of the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company of Chicago, with offices in the Fisher Building. Charles A. married Laura Huntington, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and they have two children, Edith Louise and Geraldine Jane. The fourth and youngest of the family is Elizabeth M., who was born December 13, 1880, is a graduate of the Stevens Point High School, the Normal School and Business College, and is now employed as teacher in the commercial department of one of the oldest and best township high schools in Illinois, at Princeton.
Reprinted from "A Standard History of Portage County, Wisconsin" Volume II, pages 750-751.
Willard Dearing is one of the men who have seen the wilderness of Belmont Township cleared up and devoted to thriving farms and country homes, and his own part in that work has been a most creditable one. He is still living though retired from active work on his homestead in Belmont Township.
He was born at Orient in Aroostook County, Maine, March 30, 1837. Reared and educated in his native state, he came into the Middle West in 1857, lived for a time in Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin, in 1859 went to the Lake Superior region of Wisconsin, and in 1863 made permanent settlement in Portage County. Here he bought 160 acres of wild land in Belmont Township and cleared up and improved most of it. He still owns 120 acres. In 1864, the year after his arrival here, he left his new farm and his family to enlist in Company A of the Forty-Second Wisconsin Infantry. He was in service until the close of the war. He has always been a republican voter, but has aspired to no office. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
July 21, 1863, Willard Dearing married Miss Irene Collier. She was a native of the same county in Maine as her husband, born December 19, 1840. Mr. and Mrs. Dearing had eight children, two of whom died in infancy. George Hartley died in 1909. Judson Charles is manager of his father’s old homestead. Thomas Manley, Susan, wife of Fred Dopp, Vinnie, wife of Walter Sheston, and Hattie, wife of Reinhold Mathe are the other children.