Men of Progress. Wisconsin. (pages 115-149) A selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life. Together with short notes on the history and character of Wisconsin.
BARDON, Thomas, a prominent and substantial business man of Ashland, Wisconsin, is the son of Richard and Mary Roche Bardon, who came to this country from Wexford, Ireland, in 1844. The family, for a short time, resided in New York City, where the husband and father worked at his trade of shoemaker, and then went on to Maysville, Mason county, Kentucky, where Thomas, the second of seven children, was born October 22nd, 1848. In 1857 Richard Bardon moved with his family to Superior, Wisconsin, where he subsequently became clerk of the circuit court of Douglas county, which office he held for several years, and was county judge at the time of his death in 1889. He was a man of strong character, a temperance advocate, disliked everything mean and low, had a fine literary taste, and possessed one of the finest private libraries in Superior.
Thomas Bardon attended the common schools in Maysville and in Superior, and graduated from the high school in the latter city in 1866. After leaving school, he was, for a short time, connected with a local paper, and, in 1867, went out as chainman in an engineering corps to make a preliminary survey for the Northern Pacific railroad. This occupation he followed for four years, rising through all the grades of the work and finally reaching the position of division engineer. He has traveled on foot over the whole region from Lake Superior to the Red and Missouri rivers, both ways, several times. In 1871 he was tendered, but declined, an important position in the land department of the Northern Pacific company. In 1871 he resigned the position of division engineer of the railroad, and the next year took up his residence in Ashland, where he taught school the following winter. That he is a man of ability and character is shown by the fact that he was chosen chairman of the town board before the city of Ashland was incorporated, and was afterward president of the Chamber of Commerce and the Ashland National bank. He is a director and large stockholder of other banks, the street railroad, the Gas company, the Northern Grain Flour Mill company, and the Pulp Mill company. He is also a director in the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Ashland Railroad company. He is vice-president of the Northern Chief Iron company, a company owning the fee to valuable mines on the Gogebic range; and he is also president of the Pioneer Iron company on the Vermillion range, north of Duluth. This company is famous as having one of the largest highgrade ore deposits in the world. He is president of the Ashland Sulphite Fiber company; and is at the head of the firm of Bardon, Kellogg & Co., wholesale and retail grocers of Ashland. He also cultivates 240 acres of farming lands inside the city limits, and is one of the largest holders of real estate, both improved and unimproved, in Ashland. Mr. Bardon has traveled extensively in both the old and new worlds.
Politically, Mr. Bardon is what may be called a sound-money protective- tariff Democrat, advocating a moderate system of protection. Though taking a lively interest in political questions, he is not a politician. He was a member of the Democratic state central committee, but resigned before the expiration of his term. He has been a member of the city school board, was mayor of the city in 1896, and re-elected in April, 1897.
Mr. Bardon was married November 6th, 1884, to Miss Jennie Grant of Winona, Minnesota, and two children have been born to them--Belle and Thomas, Jr. Mr. Bardon's two brothers, James and John A., are prominent and wealthy business men and bankers of Superior. Business success seems to be a characteristic of the family.
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