"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.


Chafee, Charles, one of the very earliest settlers in the village of Rhinelander, of which place he was an actual pioneer, was born in Hulberton, N.Y., Oct. 27, 1839. When a mere lad he accompanied his parents to Winnebago County, in which region he spent some of his early years. Later he moved to Waushara County, where he was united in marriage with Margaret WILLEY, and of this union two daughters were born, one of whom survives. The family moved to Stevens Point, where Mr. CHAFEE engaged in the furniture business, continuing in it until the right of way was being laid for the Milwaukee, Lake Shore, & Western railroad to Rhinelander. This enterprise aroused the pioneer spirit in the breasts of some of the residents of Stevens Point, among them Mr. CHAFEE, who in September, 1882, left there to settle in the new town, coming from Monico by team, for the railroad was not yet completed. After his arrival on the site of Rhinelander he and Giles COON laid the foundation for the first frame building here, the "Rapids House." While this hostelry was being constructed a barn was built in the rear which served as a hotel until the main building was completed. In the following year Mr. CHAFEE was joined by his wife and daughter, and he continued in the hotel business at the same location, with his brother-in-law, W. B. LASELLE, until 1904, in which year Mr. LASELLE retired; a few years later Mr. CHAFEE also retired from the business. In 1890 Mr. CHAFEE also helped to organized the First National Bank and was made vice president, which office he held until 1901; he then became president and served in that capacity until his death, which occurred March 13, 1913. He was also president of the Chafee Land Co. and treasurer of the Rhinelander Power Co. Always having the welfare of Rhinelander at heart, he was ever ready to aid in any practical enterprise for its advancement; he built the Commercial House, the Shepard block and the Chafee block on Stevens Street. He was also an active member of the Masonic lodge. Besides his wife and daughter, Mr. CHAFEE left a brother, Henry CHAFEE of Rhinelander; two sisters, Mrs. TYCE of Wace, Wis., and Mrs. SCHOFIELD of Racine, Wis., and many nephews and nieces. He was a very popular citizen and a great friend of the children, seeming to know almost every child on the streets, and there were few who did not receive pennies from his hand. For these things and as one of the pioneer builders of Rhinelander, his memory will long be preserved. His daughter Mabel was married June 5, 1901 to D. F. RECKER, and has had two children: Val Chafee, born March 7, 1903, who died Sept. 12, 1906, and Lois L., born March 14, 1907.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 231 (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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