"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.


Bolger, A. Jay one of the best known pioneers of the village of Minocqua, an extensive land owner, and one who has taken an active part in the affiars of the village and town of Minocqua, and in those of Oneida County generally, was born at Buion on Grand River, Canada, Oct. 26, 1869. His parents were Andrew and Mary (COPPS) BOLGER, both natives of Ireland, the father born in County Wexford in 1841 and the mother in County Carlow in 1846. They came to Canada with their own parents when quite young children, grew up in the Dominion, and were married and spent the rest of their lives there, Andrew BOLGER being engaged in lumbering and in the mercantile business. They had a family of 13 children, of whom the five now living are Michael J., A. Jay, Thomas M., Loretta and Gertrude. Michael J., who married Mary KLENN, is engaged in farming and also operates a garage in Mincoqua village. Thomas M. is now (1923) chairman of the town board of Minocqua and also chairman of the Oneida County Board. He married Bernadetta GRACE of Canada and has six children, Victor, Loretta, Patrick, Jane, Mary, and Lillian. With him and his family reside his sister Gertrude and his brother A. Jay. Loretta is now Sister Mary Lucia of the Visitation Convent of St. Louis, Mo. A. Jay BOLGER was reared in Canada and acquired his education in a log schoolhouse, remaining at home until he was 14 years old. He learned and followed for a while the occupation of telegrapher and then went to work on the Canadian Pacific Railroad extension, for 17 months running from coast to coast and being employed as water boy and time keeper. In 1885 he located at Hayward, Wis., where for a year and a half he worked as clerk in a hotel. He was subsequently employed as bookkeeper for the Valley Lumber Co. of Eau Claire on the Coutera Indian Reservation, and from there went to Beef Slough, Buffalo County, where for one summer he was engaged in office work for the Beef Slough Lumber Company. At the end of the season he returned to Coutera, re-entering the employ of the Valley Lumber Co., with whom he remained until the fall of 1888, when the reservation was closed. The same fall he located in Tomahawk, entering the employ of the Tomahawk Lumber Co., owned by W. H. Bradley, as bookkeeper, scaler, and overseer of river drives, in which occupations he was engaged until December, 1890, when the water reserve lands were thrown on the market for homestead purposes. He then took a homestead of 147 acres on what is now Bolger Lake, two and a half miles from Mincoqua. The act placing Water Reserve land on the market was sponsored by Congressman Myron H. MCCORD, the bill bieng passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President HARRISON. According to its terms there were apparently two ways in which a homestead could be secured, but the language of the act was not intelligible to many people, who understood that it was necessary to file claims at the government land office at Wausau, and accordingly thousands of home seekers formed in line there in the cold December weather and so remained many hours till Saturday, the 20th, some of them having lunches brought to them by friends, but being unable to leave the line for fear of having their places taken by others. This experience was the more exasperating, as the next day it was reported that hundreds of the employees of Warren E. MCCORD, brother of the congressman, and a well known lumberman of Chippewa Falls, were busy making settlements after midnight of Dec. 19th. Many of the land seekers, among them A. J. BOLGER, made immediate settlement upon the land instead of filing claims, and these in the end established their claims, few of those who tried to steal a march on them being finally successful. The homestead fight lasted five years and during three years of that time A. Jay BOLGER was employed by the Brown & Robbins Lumber Co. of Rhinelander in their general office and as shipping clerk, and for five years he purchased land and timber. In 1898 he went to work as walking boss and superintendent for the Lac du Flambeau Lumber Co., owned by Fred HERRICK and Justin S. STEARNS, Mr. STEARNS at that time being secretary for the state of Michigan. Mr. BOLGER remained with that concern for ten years and since he left it has been handling his own land and timber business. He owns 500 acres of land having a lake frontage of a mile and a half, and also land in Vilas and Iron Counties, Wisconsin. He is also a stockholder in the Oneida National Bank of Rhinelander, and in the Woodruff State Bank, being a director also of the latter. He has served as chairman of the town board of Minocqua and also of the Oneida County board, thus taking a prominent part in the affairs of local government. Fraternally he belongs to the Elks and the Knights of Columbus. He has never married.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 771-772, 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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