OF BIRNAMWOOD-- From Shawano County
Birnamwood was given its name by an early Lake Shore railroad official,
when, in 1880, the railroad was extended from Eland to points north. A
student of Shakespeare, he named the village from the Birnam Wood of Macbeth.
Birnamwood was settled by homesteaders and Civil War veterans and their
families. The village was laid out in lots by Fred Porter and Dan Cady,
forty acres of land being designated for that purpose in 1881.
A man by the name of York built the first sawmill, which was destroyed
by a boiler explosion in 1883. Towle and Stacy, Van Doren and Andrews,
Roepke and Andrews, and the Fish Lumber Company were the early sawmill
operators. Schultz and Peterson operate the mill in this present day.
John Helvey, son of Peter Helvey, was the first white boy born in the
village, and Rose Zuehlke, daughter of August Zuehlke, was the first white
girl to be born there.
A one-room school was built in 1882 and Phoebe Narmore became the first
Mr. and Mrs. M. P. Cady, who came to Birnamwood in 1890, organized the
Birnamwood High school, creating a three-year course of study in 1892.
The four-year course was instigated in 1896, and the first graduation exercises
for the four-year graduates took place in 1898. M. P. and Myrtle Cady taught
in the high school until 1900. When they had first come to Birnamwood they
taught in the little one-room school for two years.
When he quit teaching, Mr. Cady enrolled in a Medical College in Chicago.
He returned to Birnamwood after he had completed his medical course and
practiced in that village until his death in 1921. Mrs. Cady died in September,
1952. She was 88 years old at the time of her death.
Isaac Hedges opened the first grocery store in Birnamwood. Later, about
1881, George Cole and A. J. Hunter operated the store.
The Village of Birnamwood was incorporated May 22, 1895, and J. H. Van
Doren became the first Village President and Bertsch Royer the first Village
Clerk. The first census was taken by Mr. Royer in 1894 when he recorded
388 persons living in the village.
The Congregational church was organized in 1889; Trinity Lutheran church
in 1892. St. Paul's Lutheran church in 1889: and St. Philomene's Catholic
church in 1905.
It is interesting to note that a G. A. R. was organized in Birnamwood
in 1890, and a W. R. C. :in 1893. One member still survives—Mrs. Mary Corning,
who is 96 years old.
A. J. Hunter became the first postmaster at Birnamwood when a postoffice
was opened there in 1881.
The telephone exchange and electric light and water systems were installed
Information furnished by:
Ellen Lyons, Birnamwood, Wis.