"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.


Bonack, William an early settler in Three Lakes, where he is still living, and who has built up a reputation as one of the leading contractors and builders of Oneida County, was born in Germany, Sept. 13, 1860. He attended school in his native land, where also he learned the carpenter's trade and took up architectural work. In 1884 he came to the United States, first locating at Antigo, Langlade County, Wis., where he remained for one year. The next two years were spent in following his trade in Shawano during the summers, and logging in Oneida County, with headquarters in Three Lakes during the winters. In 1887 he settled in Three Lakes as his permanent home, buying land and building a dwelling-house. His land was a 60-acre tract just south of where Henry Gagen now lives, and he developed some of it and farmed a little in addition to his contracting; the farming, however, he soon gave up and gave his entire attention to his contracting and building. When he came here the only building was the section house, so that he has seen Three Lakes develop from an almost naked site to a thriving little village. In this development he has himself had a large share, having erected nearly all the business blocks and residences. One of the early residences was a house that he built for himself in the center of the village, and in which he lived for several years, but in time, finding it too small a place for a comfortable home, he bought his present property of about eight acres of land on the east side of the village plat, and in 1901 built his present residence, which he has since occupied with his family. Mr. BONACK likes to tall the story of early day events and his personal reminiscences are historially interesting. Though his business kept him active, he found time to render public service. For several terms he was chairman of the board of supervisors of Three Lakes Township, both when it was in Forest County and since it became a part of Oneida County, and by virtue of that office he served also as a member of the county boards of both counties. He was also for many years treasurer of Three Lakes village and township. Mr. BONACK was first married Jan. 25, 1887, at Pella, Shawano County, Wis., to Emelia STEGE, who died in 1897, leaving four children, Elizabeth, Lena, Paul J. and Minnie. Elizabeth is now Mrs. William FEDERER of Three Lakes; Lena is the wife of John AHRENS of Wausau, Wis.; Paul J., who married Eliza BLUNNERICH, lived in Rhinelander; he served two year in the World War with Company L, 32d Division and was in some of the hardest fighting across the seas and returned home unhurt. On Jan. 22, 1899, Mr. BONACK was married secondly at Seymour, Outagamie County, to Emma KARROW, who was born at that place Sept. 29, 1876, and of this union seven children have been born, William, Jr., Edna, Mabel, Alma, Christian, Frederick and Velma. William J., Jr., who married Edith BELL, resides in Three Lakes; Edna, who is a graduate of the Rhinelander High School, is a clerk in the F. H. DOBBS store at Three Lakes and resides with her parents, as do all the younger children. Mr. BONACK and his family are affiliated with the Lutheran Church; he belongs also to the local camp of Modern Woodmen of America and Mrs. BONACK to the Royal Neighbors. They are people with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances and occupy a good social standing.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 264 (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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