"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Conro, Abner, was born in Grant Isle, Vermont, on Sept. 10, 1829, son of Abner, and Lydia (THOMAS) CONRO. The father, of Scotch ancestry, was a farmer and lumberman by occupation. His wife, also of Scotch descent, was Lydia THOMAS. Five children were born to them: Frederick, James, Albert, Miles and Abner, subject of this sketch. Abner CONRO, Sr., died in 1831 and his widow subsequently became the wife of L.W. BORSDWELL, the family then moving to Clinton, N.Y. Of this last marriage were born three children, Walcott, Wallace and Walworth. The mother died in Champlain, N.Y. in 1846. The subject of this sketch was very small when the family moved to N.Y. State and, at the age of ten, was returned to Vermont and apprenticed to his Uncle James to become a farmer. At the age of 17 he returned to New York State and took charge of the home farm, at which time, he also began to learn the millwright's trade. This he finally perfected and, in 1850, took the contract to erect a large iron forge at Pilot Knob, Mo. Eight months later, he built a sawmill in the forests of Georgia, after which, he bought a grist mill which he operated for about 18 months. This he sold in order to return to New York and build a large iron forge at Dannemors, the contract for which his brother Albert had secured. In 1855 Abner came to Wisconsin and located in Oshkosh, where, in company with three others, he built and successfully operated a flour mill for five years. In 1860 he sold his interest in the flower mill and began the manufacture of lumber on the Fox River. Also, at this time he purchased an interest in a steamboat operating on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and operated it from LaCrosse, Wis. and LaSalle, Ill., to St. Louis, Mo. Three years later he took a government contract to build a dam at DePere, Wis., after which he returned to his lumber interests in Oshkosh. Later, he rented a mill across the river from his saw mill and began the manufacture of shingles, which was operated for three years, when, in company with G. C. GRIFFITH, he bought the mill and ran it successfully until it was burned in 1880. In 1882, Mr. CONRO came to Rhinelander and engaged in the lumber business. He erected the first sawmill-a portable mill-and cut the first lumber manufactured in the town. He then formed a partnership with J. B. TOLMAN and D. H. FORBES, both of Oshkosh under the title of Tolman, Conro & Co. The following year, this firm erected a large saw and planing mill, which was operated until 1889, when Mr. CONRO bought out his partners interests. Taking his sons into the business he operated under the title of Abner CONRO & Son until 1900 when the sawmill was sold to Geo. F. RICE. He retained the planing mill and lumber interests and operated same until 1902, when he retired from active connection with the business, transfering the management to his son Charles A. In early manhood, he was affiliated with the Whig Party but, later, became a Republican. He was a member of the Episcopal Church. Mr. CONRO was married in October, 1854, to Eliza C. MANN, who was born in Franklin County, New York State, in 1829, the eldest daughter of Judge and Cynthia (HADLEY) MANN. Mr. MANN was an extensive land owner and also operated a grist mill in New York. His father held a general's commission in the war of 1812. To Mr. and Mrs. CONRO were born three sons, James Mann, Samuel Abner, and Charles Albert.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from page 223 (with picture); History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.

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