THE HISTORY OF THE

VILLAGE OF CAMERON

From the "History of Barron Co., Wisconsin, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co., 1922"
pp. 1115-1119.

Donated by Vic Gulickson
 

Please Note:  This page is information intense!  Please be patient while some portions are loading -- it will be worth your wait!  Thank you.

 

CAMERON VILLAGE

Cameron is situated in Sections 20, 21, 28 and 29, Stanley Township (Town 34 N., Range 11 W.). It is at the junction of two railroads, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie, usually referred to briefly as the "Soo,", and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, in like manner known as the "Omaha". Twelve passenger trains arrive and leave daily, and direct market facilities are afforded with Duluth and Superior at the head of the lakes, and with the Twin Cities, as well as with Milwaukee, Chicago and Sault Ste. Marie. In addition to the railroads the village is traversed by the Yellow trail and trunk highways No. 14 and No. 11.

The village is accessible to one of Wisconsin's best agricultural and dairy sections, the soil being well adapted to the raising of small grains, corn, potatoes and clover seed, and dairying is extensively practiced. The numerous lakes and trout streams in the vicinity, together with an abundance of game,
attract many sportsmen. Close by is a tract of low-lying marsh land, 1,000 acres in extent, and known from early days as Cranberry swamp, through which runs a stream called Cranberry Creek.

Cameron is supplied with all the necessities and most of the conveniences of a fair-sized city. It has waterworks, a 24 hour light and power service and a well equipped fire department, one of the finest high schools in the county, four churches of different denominations and several strong fraternal lodges.
Its business interests include a well-equipped and substantial bank, a telephone company, two hotels, a real estate company, a creamery, cheese factory, cheese storage warehouse, flour and feed mill, three general stores, two hardware stores, three or four garages, a drug store, lumber yard, implement company, four restaurants, a meat market, tailor shop, two blacksmith shops and a tire vulcanizing shop. There are also two physicians and a dentist. The population of the village in 1921 was about six hundred.

In the sixties the Knapp-Stout people built a logging dam at the outlet of the Cranberry Marsh, thus making a large artificial lake. The demolishing of this dam left the lake bed in its present condition as a marsh.

The village was started a mile and a half south of the modern village, at the locality now called Holman's Crossing. It was started in 1879, when it became known that the Chippewa division of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was about to be constructed and pass through that locality. The road was completed as far as Cameron in 1882, and a station was built which was formally opened on Sept. 25, that year. After a suspension of work for four weeks the rails were laid north to Rice Lake, which place was the terminal until the following spring, when the construction work was carried as far as Spooner.

The site of the village was owned by L. C. Stanley, who platted it in the spring of 1882. The settlement grew quickly and flourished for several years, or until the construction of the "Soo" road in 1884, which passed a mile and a half to the north. This caused a general exodus to the junction, which began in the spring of that year, and continued until practically everything had been moved to the new site, including the postoffice, schoolhouse, store and hotel buildings and residence houses. Thus the village had a new birth and began its second and more permanent stage of existence. The early settlement is now referred to as "old Cameron." Among the buildings moved was the Omaha station, which was enlarged and made into a joint station, the two roads dividing the expense. The first train on the "Soo" passed through the village in the latter part of the year, the line then extending between Turtle Lake and Bruce.

The first general store at old Cameron was opened by J. B. Shipman, who for a while operated it alone and then took George H. Rapley as partner. Another store was soon opened by Lancaster & Parker in a building owned by L. C. Stanley. Henry Radermacher started a blacksmith shop, Stephen A. Soost had a saloon hotel and butcher shop, Elias and August Nelson - conducted a saloon, Nelson also being proprietor of a hotel. The village had one physician, Dr. Leonard, who left, however, before the general removal.

One of the principal industries of old Cameron was a large flour and grist mill, which was established by Hayes & Witter, and was operated by steam power. They later sold it to Jared W. Taylor, of Barron, and the latter made a motor mill of it, steam power having been found too costly.

As soon as the "Soo" railroad began the construction of their tracks, Edward C. Coleman and Ole Frederickson, with a partner named Gates, built and opened a general store on the site of the new village. The early arrival of the stores and other buildings from the first settlement created a scene of
bustling activity which lasted until they had all been permanently located. A sawmill was built here by F. H. Fay, and was conducted by him for two years, when he sold it to other parties who moved it to Poskin Lake. The hotel of August Nelson now forms a part of the Travelers' Hotel opposite the railway station, while that moved here by Mr. Soost is now known as the East Hotel. Henry Radermacher, who had likewise moved his blacksmith shop, operated it here for two or three years. He was then elected clerk of court and went to live in Barron, where his wife opened a millinery store. Later they both operated a general store there. R. A. Burton was depot agent in Cameron, as also in old Cameron, and the first postmaster was R. A. Wheeler, J. P., who had also been postmaster at old Cameron. He continued to serve until the spring of 1883, and was succeeded by W. H. Snashall, a Democrat who opened the first regular hardware store here. Mr. Snashall continued to handle the mail until the fall of 1888, when, fearing failure in business, he left town abruptly, giving out that he was going to St. Paul to hear ex-President
Cleveland, then running again for the presidency against Benjamin Harrison, deliver a speech. He did not return, but his postoffice accounts were found in good order. He was succeeded as postmaster by Andrew Stacy, who held the office until the second administration of President Cleveland, when Malcolm
McNaughton was appointed and served somewhat over four years. The next appointee was George H. Rapley, who held it less than three years. C. E. Bartlett, the next postmaster, continued as such for fourteen years, and was succeeded by J. P. Samson, who passed the office on to Wayne Beggs. Mr. Beggs
was succeeded by Homer Samson, who is still serving. The building now in use is leased by the government and was first occupied four years ago.

From time to time other stores and places of business were started and the village continued to develop until it assumed its modern aspect. One of the principal merchants here for a number of years was Frank Swanson.

The present village site was platted as North Cameron, May 5, 1884, on land of Ole Frederickson by Lewis W. Leete, surveyor. An irregularity having been found in the plat, it was replotted Jan. 31, 1885, the owners then being Isabella J. Coleman and the Sault Ste Marie Land and Improvement Company.
Washington Bird was the surveyor.

Cameron was incorporated as a village in 1894. A petition signed by J. H. Dunham, M. McNaughton, D. C. Locke, S. W. Coville, G. H. Rapley and M. C. Howard was favorably acted upon by the court on Sept. 25, that year. At the election held Nov 20, 1894, all of the 39 votes cast were favorable to the incorporation, which accordingly became effective on that day.

The city hall was built about eighteen years ago. The fire department occupies the front part, while the council room is in the rear. The fire department was organized in the fall of 1902, the equipment at the time consisting of a home-made hose cart (still in use and in good condition) and 500 feet of hose. Three years later another hose cart was purchased and also a hook and ladder truck. Still later a chemical engine was added. The department has now 32 members. J. F. Drost, after serving a full term of three years as chief, is now in the first year of his second term. The, assistant chief is John Dryland, the secretary C. C. Allen, and the treasurer Magnus Larson. All these officials have proved efficient and Mr. Allen has held his post as secretary for about nine years.

A water supply system was installed in Cameron twenty years ago, consisting of a tank, well, mains and hydrants, the power being furnished by gasoline engines purchased from the Fairbanks-Morse Co. In or about the year 1912 an electric system was put in, since which time the power has been obtained from what is now The Bank of Cameron was established Wisconsin-Minnesota Light & Power Co. The use of gasoline engines was abandoned. The present system is one of direct pressure, the tank not having been used for five or six years. Auxiliary power is obtained when needed from two compressed air cisterns
operated by an electric motor.

The first schoolhouse in Cameron was a frame building erected in "old Cameron" in 1882, which was moved to the present village in the spring of 1884, when the "Soo" railroad came through, being placed on the lot south of that on which the Catholic Church now stands. After being in use for about ten
years a new and larger building was found necessary, and a two-story frame schoolhouse was accordingly erected on the adjacent lot north. This latter building was in use for school purposes until 1906, by which time the number of pupils had so increased that a new building had again become necessary. In
the fall of that year, therefore, a two-story brick building with basement was erected on a two-acre lot several blocks east. It contained four rooms in addition to the class rooms. The frame building was sold to the Catholics and has since been used by them as a church. In 1913 the schoolhouse was enlarged
by a considerable addition, which doubled its former size and provided eight rooms in addition to the class rooms. This enlargement, including the installation of the heating plant, involved a cost of about double the original outlay. In 1920 a new heating plant was put in at a cost of $8,102. In December, 1921, there was an enrollment of 156 pupils in the grades and 64 in the high school, nearly all of whom were residents of the village. Seven teachers are employed, including the principal. In addition to the usual high school courses, instruction is furnished in domestic science, manual training and agriculture, and the school takes high rank among the best in the county, or, indeed, in this part of the state.

Many years ago a co-operative creamery was started in Cameron, in which quite a number of people took stock. After being operated for about a year, through poor management, or otherwise, it got into bad shape, and the stockholders, having lost their money, gave up the enterprise and sold the building to other parties, who moved away. Later, about 1894 or 1895, J. A. Breitenbauch erected a wooden building in the west end of town and started another creamery, the citizens giving him a bonus. This was on the same site as the first building, there being a difference of but a few feet in exact position. Mr. Breitenbauch conducted it for some five or six years, and then gave it up, being unable to withstand the competition of the more modern and better equipped factory which was then established here by the Eau Claire Creamery Co., and which is still in operation. In 1920 this creamery turned out half a million pounds of butter. For the last live years John Hanson has been the manager.

The Bank of Cameron was established and incorporated in 1901 under its present name, with a capital of $10,000, the incorporators being M. C. Howard, Geo. G. Bartlett, L. I. Roe, S. 0. Mauseth and G. E. Soli. The first officers were: M. C. Howard, president; L. I. Roe. vice president. and G. E. Soli, cashier. About 1912, M. C. Howard resigned as president and was succeeded by L. I Roe, S. 0. Mauseth becoming vice president. In 1903 C. H. Museus became cashier and so remained until 1910. when, on account of ill health, he temporarily retired and Ingval Egstad was elected cashier. In September, 1919, the capital of the bank was increased to $25,000 and the bank was reorganized. The new officers were: C. H. Museus, president; A. Gulickson, vice president; Ingval Egstad, cashier, and W. W. Pieper and Ragna C. Romsos, assistant cashiers. These officers are still serving. The Cameron Farmers' Telephone Co. was organized in 1907 as a Cooperative concern. It purchased the exchange and lines at Cameron from the Chippewa Valley Telephone Co., which in turn has purchased them from the Barron County Telephone Co. There were about 150 stockholders, 0. K. Olson being manager. In 1912 the company was incorporated as a private concern, which it has since remained. The territory covered includes the village and the surrounding country and the company has about 280 phones. Connections are made with the Barron County Telephone Co. and the Bell (long distance) lines. In December, 1921, the officers were: Christ Holmen, president; S. E. Severson, vice president; Miss Odie E. Romsos, secretary-treasurer, and 0. K. Olson, manager. The directors were Herman Lemke, Ole Erickson, T. 0. Malum, Ed Erickson and Charles Elmlinger. Martha Romsos is chief operator, the other operators being Clella Hoff and Myrtle Bombarger.

The Cameron Flour Mill was built and the business started by Edward Ludwig, a man who had over twenty years' experience as a miller and who constructed the mill for flour manufacture and feed grinding. The building measures 30 by 54 feet, with a height of 50 feet, and is equipped on all floors with machinery operated by electric power, the roller process being used for grinding wheat flour, rye and buckwheat flour, and cornmeal, the capacity being 26 barrels a day. There are four strands of rolls, all compact, with a good feed mill in connection having a capacity of one ton of feed per hour. Mr. Ludwig conducted the mill until September, 1921, when through a business deal it came into possession of C. J. Holman, and it is now owned and operated by C. J. Holman & Son, who are doing a general milling business.

The C. A. Carlson Co. of Chicago, operates a wholesale cheese warehouse at Cameron, occupying a building just east of the railroad depot, and measuring 30 by 60 feet, with two floors. It has a capacity of several carloads. Both brick and American cream cheese are purchased from the cheese factories and
handled in large quantities, being shipped in car lots to Chicago and afterwards distributed to the cheese trade throughout the United States. The business was established at Cameron nearly four years ago. The local manager is Julius Olson.

In the summer of 1919 the C. A. Carlson Co. built a cheese factory in the village and began its operation in August, that year. They make American and Swedish style cheese, and in 1920 turned out between 500 and 600 pounds a day, which called for a supply of 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of milk daily. Since
January, 1920, Joseph Leisz has been the manager.

The Methodist Episcopal Society originated about 1890, the members holding services, for a while in the old frame schoolhouse which had been moved from old Cameron, and which was also temporarily used by other denominations. Later they met for service in a store near the center of the village. By 1894 they
had become strong enough to build a church edifice, which was accordingly erected in that year under the direction of the Rev. L. Bigger, who was the leading spirit in the enterprise. The building is now being remodeled and furnished with an outside coating of magestone stucco. A basement is also being put underneath, one room in which, 25 by 36 feet and 12 feet high, is designed for a gymnasium and for community meetings by the societies connected with the church. These improvements, when completed, will cost about $4,000. For a number of years in its early period this church was an outpost of Chetek, and later of Rice Lake, being served by pastors from those places. The Rev. J. W. Charitan, who was pastor here about four years, took an active part in building the parsonage, the building, erected in 1910, costing $2,000. The subject, however, had come under discussion during the previous pastorate,
that of the Rev. J. P. Franklin. Other pastors under whom the church made considerable progress were the Rev. Charles P. Keast, who was here in 1906, and Rev. M. C. McKibben, who served four years at a later period. The present pastor, Rev. J. B. Johnson, came here March 1, 1921. The present membership of the church is 45; the Sunday school enrollment 110, while the Epworth League has 45 members. There are also two other active societies, the Ladies' Aid and the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society.

The German Lutheran Church of Cameron. The earliest members of this church first worshiped with the congregation at Sumner in the schoolhouse on Sumner Prairie. This was about thirty years ago or more, and, among the earliest Cameron members were William Pieper, William Schultz, Frank Spikerman, Herman Pieper, Ludwig Tonn, Carl Kreclow, Carl Lucht. Julius Reese and Julius Voight, with their families. The first preacher was the Rev Answalt Lugenheim. After a number of years the two branches of the congregation separated and the Cameron members bought the old schoolhouse which had been moved from old Cameron and converted it into a place of worship. It served as such until the present
church edifice was erected in 1901. This is a neat-appearing building with bell and belfry and cost $1500 to build. The lot on which it stands was bought for $75. Twelve years ago the building was remodeled and slightly enlarged. The old school building previously used is now a residence next to the
Catholic Church. The pastors who have served the Lutheran Church in Cameron are the Rev. Johannas Friend, Rev. C. C. Hartenstein, Rev. Fred Motzkus and Rev. Walter Motzkus. The Rev. Fred Motzkus, father of the present pastor, died while serving here three years ago. The parish now contains 32 families. The auxiliary branches of the church are the Sunday school and a Ladies' Aid Society.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Cameron was organized in 1908, by the Rev. P. Schmidt of Rice Lake, who served the congregation on a few occasions. The first members were Henry Hassel, P. H. St. Louis, Martin Gass, Mrs. Louisa St. Louis, J. A. Breitenbach, Mrs. Veasey, J. P. Drost, Louis Wilkins, Wenzel Beranek, Henry Reaux, Joe St. Louis, Andrew Finley, Joe Vachleda, Wayne Bartlett and Robert Kleve. All the men mentioned in the foregoing list were married, except Joe Vachleda, and their wives and families were included in the membership, as also was Joe Vachleda's mother. The two-story frame
schoolhouse, which had been discarded for educational purposes in 1906 on account of not being large enough for the increased school enrollment, was purchased by the Catholics and consecrated as a church and has been since used by them as such. After being purchased it was provided with a steeple and the
property in general was improved by the laying of cement sidewalks. After the Rev. F. Schmidt other priests ministered to the congregation from time to time, Including Father Jos. Pilom, of Spooner, and Father Beaudette, assistant priest at Rice Lake. During the last few years the church has been served from Chetek, as it was also for a while formerly. The congregation now numbers about fourteen families.

A number of years ago a few people in Cameron tried to form a Presbyterian society but their efforts were unsuccessful.

Union Camp No. 4028, M. W. A., of Cameron, was organized 25 years ago or more, its charter being dated July 9, 1896. The charter members were C. E. Bartlett, Hans Bottolfs, D. W. Dodge, M. C. Howard, Martin Larson, D. C. Neeley, Edward Peterson, George H. Rapley, W. H. Ross, Edward Veasey, Frank Samson, James Ward and W. M. Witter. The camp has proved itself a live organization and has now 112 members. It holds its meetings in a rented hall.

Pioneer Camp No. 985, Royal Neighbors, was organized in 1898, its charter bearing the date of April 23, that year. The charter members were E. A. Ward, Hattie E. Ward, Geo. H. Rapley, Louella J. Rapley, D. W. Dodge, Eunice L. Dodge, Jay Packard, Sadie Packard, T. R. Hawkins, Mollie Hawkins, C. E.
Bartlett, Annie C. Bartlett, C. D. Thurber, Bessie A. Thurber, James H. Packard, J. M. Ward, William W. Way, Julius E. Way, A. B. Arneson, Mannie Arneson, Elsie Witter, Richard A. Burton, Partha Burton, Fritz Schultz and W. M. Witter. This camp has now 60 members.

Cameron Lodge No. 237, I. 0. 0. F., has a charter bearing the date of Dec. 12, 1903, and has therefore enjoyed an existence of eighteen years. The charter members were Iver Forsythe, Elmer Washburn, H. D. Bartlett, A. L. Arneson, H. C. Swetland, K. O. Lofgren and C. H. Museus. This lodge has grown until its membership now numbers over one hundred. It uses the same lodge room as the Woodmen.

Camerondale Lodge No. 58, Rebekah Degree, I. 0. 0. F., is a comparatively recent accession to the societies in the village, its charter being dated June 2, 1920. Thereon are inscribed the names of Lucinda Bartlett, Mollie Hawkins, Martha Allen, Mabel Allen, Hattie Ward, Partha Burton, Lena Holman, Lottie Burton, Mary Kyle, Margaret Bion, Nellie Bartlett, Anna Dyrland, Elsa Hurlburt, Martha Egstad, Stella Thompson, Rosa Kissling, Marie Saastad, Josephine Martin, Irene Martin., Lillian E. Welch, Pearl McClellan, Veva Miller and Effie A. Giles. The present membership is about sixty.

Cameron Homestead No. 4201, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, was organized April 7, 1913, with the following charter members: C. H. Museus, C. E. Bartlett, F. A. Van Allen, Arnt Lyse, Peter H. St. Louis, Walter P. Erickson, Ray R. Burton, Iver E. Forsythe, Frank J. Pearson, Ole Simonson, Maud Worman,
F. J. Roch, Belle St. Louis, Andrew Hanson, M. McKee, L. H. Chafee and Edward Peterson. This organization has now 38 members and holds its meetings in the Odd Fellows' hall.

Some years ago a Beaver lodge was organized in Cameron and is still in existence, though it no longer holds meetings. There was also a lodge of Maccabees, which finally disbanded.

Bernard P. Pieper Post, No. 194, American Legion, was organized in Cameron in November, 1919, and started with 35 members, but, owing chiefly to removals, the membership has since diminished to about 26. Morton E. Hurlburt was elected as the first commander and has since remained in that office. The post was named after Bernard P. Pieper, who was born in Cameron in 1896, son of William and Ernestina (Schultz) Pieper. His service record was in brief as follows: Enlisted at St. Paul, Jan. 4, 1918, in the U. S. Marines; was sent to Paris Island, S. C.; later sailed for France with 144th Company, Third Replacement Battalion; landed at Brest; trained and received equipment at St. Aignan; saw service at Vierzy, Soissons sector; Nance; Marabach sector holding the front lines; Limy, the St. Mihiel drive, Toni and Mont Blanc Ridge and Champaigne sector, where he was killed by shell fire Oct. 10, 1918, during a
severe barrage which was being put over by the enemy.
 

 
 

Last Update Friday, 01-Apr-2011 00:56:39 EDT

 WIGenWeb State Coordinator
WIGenWeb State Coordinator:  Tina Vickery
WIGenWeb Assistante State Coordinator:  Marcia Ann Kuehl
Copyright 2011 by the WIGenWeb Team.  All rights reserved.  Copyright of submitted items belongs to those responsible for their authorship
or creation unless otherwise assigned