NAVARINO-- From Shawano County Centurawno
Logging attracted the early settlers to the section that was to become
the Town of Navarino. The "Wolf" and "Shioc" rivers were natural outlets
for the river drivers to float the logs down stream.
Anders Hoien operated two camps—one near the banks of the Wolf, the
other south of Hilda on Highway 156. Then came A. Vang, who built a sawmill
on the banks of the Shioc river in Galesburg.
Many of the first homes were logging camps, or even sand dugouts, until
the families could establish themselves. Houses as a rule were made of
The logging roads and town roads with stretches of corduroy were rough
and bumpy. Settlers traveled mostly on foot, skiis being used in the winter.
Oxen were used to draw the sleigh or wagon.
Many lost their way in the dense forest with its stretches of thickets.
Many a "Yoo-hoo," a lost call, sounded through the woods and helped bring
the lost one back to safety.
Navarino was first known as the Town of Mayville. However, by action
of the County Board in 1874, the Town of Mayville was changed to Navarino
and a postoffice by that name was established. The postoffice was in what
is now the Lester Knutson home. The first postmaster was Truman Hilliker.
A stage coach line operated between Shiocton and Shawano, leaving Shawano
at six o'clock in the morning, and returning at night. The stage coach
carried mail as well as passengers.
When the Township of Navarino was officially formed in 1876, the first
officers elected were Truman Hilliker, chairman; Soern Peterson, supervisor;
O. J. Hoien, clerk.
The first school was built of logs at a cost of $341.69. The first school
meeting was he'd August 2, 1869. Miss Cronks was the first teacher in the
Town of Navarino and she received $200 for two terms of four months each.
Miss Lamberts taught there in 1873-74 and Miss MacWilliams in 1874. She
received $75 for three months of teaching.
Settlers, attracted by timber, worked in the woods in the winter and
cleared land in the summer. Indians worked in many of the lumber camps,
coming mostly from Keshena. They were good workers and very friendly people.
They buried their dead on the river banks and in th spring came for ceremonial
rites and dances.
The sawmill and flour mill built by Andreas Vang brought new settlers.
Navarino was a stopping place for travelers. A large barn was built
to accomodate the horses. Traveling was slow and difficult. Shawano was
the home of the nearest doctor. The settlers used home remedies and one
neighbor helped another.
The most dreaded of the wild animals were the bear and the wolf. Deer
were very plentiful. Since game laws were unknown, whoever was a "good
shot" had plenty of venison. The rivers abounded in fish.
Sam Peterson relates that an unwelcome visitor came to the school one
Sunday afternoon. During a church service, which was held in the schoolhouse,
the congregation noticed a huge pine snake making its way down the wall
near where the pastor stood. When someone called out to warn the pastor,
he calmly stepped aside while Peter Christianson, Anders Johnson and Albert
Knutson killed the intruder, and the pastor went right on preaching.
There was not much entertainment for the settlers, who were a devout
church people. Later, husking bees became popular.
The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Navarino was organized
November 26, 1874, with pastor E. J. Homme presiding at the meeting.
The early settlers were immigrants from Norway and Sweden; the John
Holmes family being the first Norwegian settlers who came to the township
in 1867 from Norway. Other early settlers were Nels Knutson, Anders Hoien,
Ole Anderson, Lars Amundson, Andreas Ness, Peter Larson, Ole Johnson, Peter
Galesburg, a small unincorporated village, is located in the Town
Information contributed by:
C. L. Wahlforss, Clerk,
Town of Navarino;
Anniversary booklet of First Norwegian Lutheran Church, and Norwegian
Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.