"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.

Chapter X: The City of Tomahawk

   St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church had its beginning in services held here by the Lutheran pastors Rev. W. Bergholz of Naugart and Rev. J. Dejung, Sr., of Rhinelander, starting at a time when only a very few houses had been erected in the city. April 6, 1886, the congregation was formally organized under the leadership of Rev. W. Bergholz, five other Lutherans, as follows, being active in the work of organization: William Lewerenz, W. Bohn, Louis Gerke, Robert Tillman, and R. Krenz. The new congregation was at once affiliated with the Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States, and on April 13, 1886, it was incorpor-ated under the laws of the state. The first services were held in the homes of the members, but within a few years after organization a church edifice was erected at the corner of Sixth Street and Somo Avenue. Pastors from neighboring churches, particularly Rev. J. Dejung of Rhinelander, served the congregation until 1897, when the first resident pastor, Rev. C. Voges, now of Mindoro, was called. Rev. Voges served until 1901 and was followed by Rev. G. Voss, now of Plainfield, Ills., who remained until 1906; Rev. Leo Kirst, now of Beaver Dam, Wis., was the next to fill the pulpit, and he was succeeded in 1911 by Prof. E. Kowalke, now president of Northwestern College, Watertown, Wis.; Rev. A. P. Sitz, now of Rib Lake, Wis., came in 1912 and remained until 1918, and in the latter year Rev. M. Glaeser, the present pastor, took the charge. Though having had a resident pastor since 1897, the congregation was not sufficiently strong in finances to erect a parson-age until 1902, when a building of this nature was put up near the church at Sixth Street and Somo Avenue. The original church was not large enough to meet the needs of the growing congregation, and it was decided in 1903 to begin gathering funds for a new building. In 1904 the Baptist congregation offered for sale their church property, located at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Fourth Street, and this church, with its fine location in the heart of the city, was purchased by St, Paul's Lutheran congregation in the same year for an amount less than the erection of a new building would have required. In 1914 the congregation provided for the future by buying an extra lot next to the church. In 1920 the Ladies' Aid Society and the Luther League financed the excavation of a basement under the church, the installation of a modern heating system, a kitchen, and an assembly room for the meetings of these societies. In the same year, through the untiring efforts of one of the young women of the congregation, a large bell was purchased and dedicated. On Feb. 26, 1923, the last debt of the congregation was paid by the Ladies' Aid Society; this society has done most praiseworthy work from the beginning and much of the financial prosperity of the church is due to them; the present officers of the society are: Mrs. R. Manthey, president; Mrs. E. Whitmore, vice president; Mrs. August Krueger, treasurer; and Mrs. J. Boheim, secretary. Officers of the Luther League are: Miss Emma Bolz, president; Miss Ruth Kind, vice president; Edwin Marquardt, treasurer; and Lyle Seefeldt, secretary. Two members of the congregation, Mr. Herman Bartz and Mr. Leo Martz, have served as elders for between 15 and 20 years. The first marriages solemnized in the church were those of Ed Jaques and Anna Crass, May 12, 1895, and John Scheffner and Minna Lewerenz, July 2, 1896; the first baptism was that of Jessie Anna Kopplin, born April 12, 1889, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kopplin, and baptized Oct. 26, 1890; the first confirmation class was that of June 6, 1892, the members being Maria Lager and Robert Schuelke; the first funeral services were those held for August Bude on Oct. 16. 1893. The Sunday School in connection with the church has a membership of 87, with 11 teachers. Church services are held in English and German every Sunday, and the pastor also conducts services at Tripoli, Highland Flats, and in various country school houses. The present officers of the church are: Herman Bartz, president; Leo Martz, treasurer; William Berger, secretary; and William Kleinfeld, Allen Spencer, A. H. Bahr, trustees.

   The Methodist Episcopal Church here was established in 1889 by the Appleton district of the Wisconsin Conference. The present building, at the corner of Third Street and Somo Avenue, was erected in 1891. The first pastor, Rev. O. H. Berry, left Dec. 30, 1889, and the following ministers have since filled the pulpit: Rev. J. A. Powers, Jan., 1890-Oct., 1891; Rev. H. L. Williams, Oct. 1, 1891-Aug. 8, 1892; Marcus DeLand, Oct. 27, 1892-April 2, 1893; John T. Strettou, April, 1893 -Sept. 19, 1893; Robert S. Ingraham, Sept. 25, 1893-Sept. 30, 1894; Charles J. R. Bulley, Sept. 30, 1894-Oct., 1896; W. W. Edmondson, Oct., 1896-Oct., 1897; William Clark, Oct., 1897-Oct. 2, 1899; Thomas W. Sprowls, Oct. 2, 1899-Oct. 3, 1900; John Milton Judy, Oct. 8, 19O0-Oct. 15, 1901; Andrew A. Bennett, Oct. 15, 1901-Sept. 16, 1903; W. J. Ward, Sept. 16, 1903-1904; Robert McKim, Sept. 18, 1904-Sept. 17, 1905; J. U. Woodward, Sept. 25, 1905-Sept. 26, 1906; Oliver Saylor, Sept. 26, 19O6-Aug. 3l, 1907; Irving H. Lewis, Sept. 1907-Sept., 1917; Vernon C. Switzer; T. W. North; Herbert F. Heilig, Jan., 1919-Sept., 1919; Ira W. Ellis, Sept., 1919-Sept., 1920; George W. Verity, Jan., 1921-Sept., 1921; and L. E. Jones, the present pastor, who came Oct. 30, 1901. Rev. Switzer, mentioned in this list, gave up his life in the service of his county during the World War. Among the members of the congregation at its first services may be mention-ed the following: Mrs. W. D. Stewart, Mrs. Mary Goodman, Miss Elizabeth Wiley, Mrs. C. C. Lincoln, and Mrs. Angeline Harrington. The congregation now number about 100 members; the Sunday School has an enrollment of 130, with nine teachers; there is an active Epworth League with a membership of about 25, a Junior League of 55 members, and a Ladies' Aid Society having 40 members. A Boy Scout troop, which was organized by Rev. Jones, the present pastor, in March of 1922, is also in active existence and has 22 members.

   St. Mary's Catholic Church of Tomahawk had its beginning in a mission known as St. Mary's Congregation, attended from 1888 to November of 1889 by the Rev. Father July, then resident priest of the Rhinelander parish. Services were held at stated intervals in the frame building now used by the Foresters as a meeting place, which was erected in 1888. On May 23, 1892, at a ceremony presided over by the Right Rev. S. G. Messmer of Green Bay, the cornerstone of the present church edifice on Seventh Street was laid, the site for this building and for the hospital in connection having been donated by W. H. Bradley on the sole condition that" suitable and substantial buildings be erected thereon." The church, built of brick, is 50x115 feet in dimensions and has a height from floor to ceiling of 32 feet; substantial and artistic furnishings and decorations were installed, and here the congregation now has a beautiful and commodious home. A parsonage 36x40 feet in dimensions with an 18x22 foot addition was built just north of the church the same year; conservative estimate places the value of the church property today at $70,000. The building up of this fine property was brought about largely through the untiring efforts of the Rev. Father Hoogstoel, and this great work he accomplished while severely handicapped by ill health. Father Hoogstoel was born in Flanders, Belguim, Dec. 1, 1856, and pursued his studies for the priesthood there, taking courses in philosophy at the College of St. Troud and theology at the American College in Louvain. He came to the United States in 1884, arriving at Green Bay, Wis., in November of that year, and his first mission was at Stiles, Wis. Though his work at Stiles a parsonage was erected and the church building enlarged and furnished throughout. Later he built the Church of St. Charles at Maple Valley, Wis., St. John's Church at Gillett, Wis., and the Church of St. John the Baptist at Coleman, Wis.; besides serving at these places he conducted missions at Beaver, Ellis Junction, and Pembine. Father Hoogstoel is now chaplain of Mercy Hospital at Milwaukee. His first period of service at Tomahawk was from 1890 to 1894; Rev. Father P. S. Dognault then served until 1895, when Father Hoogstoel returned, this time remaining until 1900. Rev. Charles Caron was the priest from that time until 1904, being followed by Rev. J. Looze, who served the congregation from January to October of 1904; Rev. Father Geo. Pesch was then here until 1906, when he was succeeded by Rev. Father Scheyer, who remained until 1912; Rev. Van HeIden was the next priest; he served for five years, and his place was taken by Rev. Father Siboth, who was here from 1917 until Father Habraken came in 1919. The latter remained until Oct. 5, 1923, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Father Smits. The congregation now num-bers 350 families, and the following societies are represented, all having good memberships: The Altar Society; Catholic Knights of Wisconsin; League of the Sacred Heart; Catholic Order of Foresters; St. Joseph's Union; Confraternity of the Holy Face; and the Young Ladies' Sodality. St. Mary's School, operated in conjunction with the church, was founded in 1916 under the administration of Rev. A. J. HeIden as priest. The present two-story brick veneered building, with five school rooms, was erected at that time, at a cost of $10,000, and school was opened in September of 1916 with 205 pupils. Five teachers from the Teaching Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother organization at Marshfield are employed, and eight grades are taught; the average attendance is 250.

   St. Barnabas Episcopal Church had its beginning about 1890, Archdeacon Jenner conducted the first services here. The church edifice was erected in 1892, funds for the purchase of the site and for much of the work of construction being furnished personally by Bishop C. C. Grafton of the diocese of Fond du Lac. W. H. Bradley was very active in the project and furnished the material for the construction and part of the funds. Following his ideas a church very large in proportion to the needs of the congregation was erected, having a seating capacity of about 400. The first regular priest was Charles Trask Lewis, who was ordained in St. Barnabas Church and who served the Tomahawk congregation in addition to his church at Merrill. Nov. 4, 1900, Rev. Frederick Waldo Barker took charge of the Merrill and Tomahawk congregations, resigning the Tomahawk charge in 1906. Rev. Floyd Keeler was then sent here as the first resident priest, taking charge July 29, 1906; his wife and little girl died here and he resigned his charge Nov. 20, 1906. Following this, services were held occasionally by Father Barker of Merrill until Oct. 13, 1907, when Rev. Henry Gibbs was sent to take the charge. Father Gibbs had been a missionary among the Seminole Indians in the everglades of Florida for some time; in many ways he was unsuited to the charge here and his service was attended by many difficulties. He resigned May 30,1909. The church was served from Merrill by Fathers Webber, Herman F. Ahrens, and J. Russell Vaughan in turn. The last named resigned the Tomahawk charge in June of 1912, and the church was then vacant until June of the following year, when Rev. Claude Crookston was ordained as resident priest. June 13, 1915, Father Crookston resigned on account of illness, being succeeded by Father A. E. Pflaum, who remained about one year. Father Vaughan then served the church from Merrill again, as did his successors in the Merrill charge, Father Claude B. N. O. Reader and Father Joseph Crookston. The latter, who is now in charge of the Merrill and Tomahawk congregations, is mentioned above as Father Claude Crookston, who served the Tomahawk charge from June, 1913, to June, 1915. After recovering his health Father Crookston became a member of the Order of St. Francis, receiving the designation of Father Joseph. He became vicar of the parish in May of 1918.

   The Scandanavian Lutheran Church here was organized April 27, 1893, by Christian J. Hansen, Gustave Newborg, Martin Erickson, Erling Ness, Ole Thorsen, Simon Hansen, Nels Robertson, Hans Moe, and Rasmus Johnson. The church edifice was purchased from the German Evangelical congregation. The following pastors have served here: Rev. Mickelson, Rev. Loftus, Rev. Knudson, Rev. Snartemo, Rev. Madland, Rev. Hougstad, Rev. Helland, and Rev. Horeland.

   The Christian Science Society of Tomahawk was officially recognized July 1, 1921, and the present home of the society on Fourth Street was erected during the same year, the first services conducted in it being held on Christmas Sunday, 1921. The society had met in the homes of the members for a number of years previously, however; Mrs. J. S. Griffith and Mrs. A. J. Olson were active in bringing about the organization. The present officers of the society are as follows: J. S. Griffith, first reader; Mrs. J. S. Griffith, president; Mrs. Mary Parker, vice president; Mrs. L. W. Osborne, clerk; and Mrs. Margaret Klade, treasurer.

   The Scandanavian Congregational Church was organized July 13, 1922, with the following charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hamrin; Mr. and Mrs. John Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. Edvin Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Selander; Mr. and Mrs. Gust Kall; Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Nyberg; Mr. and Mrs. O. Ehn; Mr. and Mrs. John Hauglund; and Mrs Anna Johnson. A church building was erected during the same year, services meanwhile being conducted in the homes of the members. The congregation is served by the Rev. J. Albert Peterson, resident pastor for the church of this denomination at Merrill.

   Among the fraternal organizations of Tomahawk, several date from a very early period in the city's history. The Blue Lodge of the Masonic order, No. 243, celebrated its 30th anniversary during the summer of 1922; this lodge holds regular meetings in the Gesell building and has about 90 members. The Masons are also represented by Forest Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Lodge No. 30 of the Independent Order of Oddfellows is also about 30 years old; its 62 members hold their meetings at Koth's hall; in connection with this organization there is also Rodah Rebekah Lodge, and Lincoln Encampment No. 80, the latter having 42 members and having been organized Sept. 3, 1898. Aerie No. 752 of the Eagles is about 20 years old and has 152 members. There are also active branches of the Knights of Columbus, the Equitable Fraternal Union, the Catholic Foresters, the Maccabees, and the Woodmen of the World. The Knights of Columbus organization is Council No. 2066 and has over 100 members; it was organized about three years ago. The Equitable Fraternal Union has about 130 members here, and the Maccabees have 73.

   The Women's Literary Club has been organized for 30 years, and the Tuesday Club, another prominent women's organization, for about seven years. Both of these clubs have been very active in civic work, and many movements which have been of permanent benefit to the city were brought about directly through their efforts. The Tomahawk Helping Hand Society, an institution for charitable purposes and the greatest of its kind in the county, was established March 9, 1911, at a meeting held at the home of Mrs. James Smith. Mrs. Mabel Oelhafen was active in bringing about the organization, and she was permanently appointed to the office of president by the then charter members. Other appointments made at the first meeting were: Mrs. Hulda Smith, vice president; Mrs. Elizabeth Drever, secretary; Mrs. Katherine Oelhafen treasurer; and Mrs. Elizabeth Zastrow and Mrs. Carrie Lambert, investigating committee. Incalculable good has been accomplished by the society. Funds are raised by subscription and by means of various enterprises, including bazaars, moving picture entertainments, suppers, dances, etc., and these are expended in philanthropic work of the most helpful kind. As an example of what is being done, the records of the society show that during the first year of its existence, from March 9, 1911, to March 9, 1912, 29 needy families were relieved, nine being furnished groceries and fuel; 31 children were clothed; shoes were furnished to 15 children; the services of a physician and nurse were provided in the case of several afflicted families; and at Christmas time 18 full Christmas dinners were sent to families who would otherwise have been deprived of this symbol of the Christmas spirit and Christmas cheer. During the Christmas season of 1921, 31 boxes were sent out, each containing provisions for two meals for a family; 226 sacks of candy, nuts, and fruit were dispensed, bring Christmas joy to the hearts of as many children of needy families; and three boxes of clothing and many individual gifts were distributed. The membership of the society has been increased, there being as many as 88 members in 1919. The present officers are: Mrs. Mabel Oelhafen, president; Mrs. Elizabeth Drever, first vice president; Mrs. Henry Hildebrand, second vice president; Mrs. Charles Siedel, secretary; and Mrs. A. J. Olson, treasurer. In purpose and accomplishment the Helping Hand Society is one of the institutions that go to make the world a better place to live in, and in its work one sees reflected the ideals of the noblest type of womanhood.

   The Tomahawk Old Settlers Association was established in 1908 with the following members, each of whom came to this section of the country in the year indicated: Mr. and Mrs. Germaine Bushard, 1863; Mrs. M. L. Parshall, 1885; Mr. and Mrs. O. K. Welty, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. J. Oelhafen, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. R. Dawson, 1887; F. A. Larson, 1887; Mrs. C. C. Stiff, 1887; J. O. Seth, 1887; . Mrs. V. Sager, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Hildebrant, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Stevens, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. Martin Thieler, 1887; Mrs. Thomas Murphy, 1887; J. W. Gahan, 1888; Martin Deering, 1888; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Olson, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. J. L. McCarthy, 1888; J. McCarthy, 1887; Ed Evenson, 1887; Mrs. Johanna Gigler and husband, 1888; Chas. E. McComber, 1887; Mrs Chas. E. (Gertrude) McComber, 1887; H. H. Johnson, 1887; August Lasbreau, 1887; Mrs. Moyer, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. T. Toomey, 1887; Mrs. J. Joyce, 1888; Mr. J. W. Oelhafen, 1888; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Trimberger, 1887; B. D. McCarthy, 1888; William Oelhafen, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. B. Gahan, 1887; Alex Robarge, 1882; Mrs. Fred Copes, 1887; Mrs. Paul Laton, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. Jerry McCarty, 1888; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Russell, 1887; Mrs. Martin Deering, 1888; William Schmitt, 1887; John Eklund, 1888; Mr. and Mrs. Anton J. Olson, 1889; Mrs. O. M. Smith, 1889; Mrs. Tobin Ball, 1887; Dr. and Mrs. J. D. Cutter, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. John Lambert, 1894; Mr. and Mrs. Herb. Cronkrite, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. Howard Burrington, 1887; Mr. and Mrs. John Lambert Sr., 1887; Mrs. Jennie (Dibbs) Cronkrite, 1887. Of these, the following are now deceased: Mrs. M. L. Parshall; Mr. and Mrs. R. Dawson, Martin Deering, Albert Olson, Mrs. Moyer, Alex Ro-barge, Mr. Jerry McCarthy, Mrs. Anton J. Olson and Mr. Herb Cronkrite. The association ceased activity in the fall of 1917.

   The Tomahawk Commercial Club and the Tomahawk Agricultural Society both had their origin in the Council of Defense which was organized among the citizens of Tomahawk during the World War. This institution was reorganized at the close of the war as a commercial club, with A. S. Griffith as president, Victor Labbe, secretary, and J. A. Olson, treasurer, and it has continued to exist as such down to the present time, performing all the useful functions of an organization of this nature. The present officers are: F. P. Werner, president; Williain Bing-ham, secretary; and A. J. Olson, treasurer. In 1919 the club appointed a committee of three on agriculture, consisting of H. A. Atherson, A. E. Sutliff, and John P. Lee. The purpose of the committee was to further the agricultural interests of the vicinity and thereby aid in the welfare, growth, and development of Lincoln County. The society was launched in 1919 as a private concern, with John P. Lee as chair-man, H. A. Atherson secretary, and A. E. Sutliff treasurer. It held fairs at Toma-hawk in 1919 and 1920, no admission being charged, and in 1921 it was incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin. Yearly membership dues were fixed at $1.00 and life membership at $10.00. In 1921 it received an appropiation of $1,000 from the county, and in 1922 $1500 was received from this source. The present officers are as follows: H. L. Brooks, president; Ray Atherson, secretary; and Harry Herman, treasurer. The activities of the society extend over the 10 northern townships of Lincoln County, and the work has done much to stimulate scientific agriculture and to promote community spirit. The project has been successful financially and the society now has $3500 in its treasury.

   Tomahawk Branch of the Lincoln County Chapter, American Red Cross, was organized in 1917 under the leadership of Mrs. G. R. Baker. The society maintained an office in the city hall during the war period, and invaluable work was accomplished. Though the organization here is still in existence the only branch now active is the home service section, of which Mrs. H. L. Brooks has been chairman from the beginning. Dr. W. I. Macfarlane is chairman of the Toma-hawk unit, Mrs. G. R. Baker, vice chairman; F. P. Werner, treasurer, and Margaret Gesell, secretary.

   Bronsted Post No. 93 of the American Legion at Tomahawk was established in 1919; it now has 125 members, and meetings are held in the Forester's hall. William Nick is commander, Dr. A. R. Houns, vice commander; L. W. Osborne, adjutant, and James Kopplin financial officer.

   The city is justifiably proud of the record she established during the World War, both at home and abroad. At the front she was represented by Company A of the 119th Machine Gun Battalion, 32nd Division, which was made up of men from Tomahawk and vicinity and was organized here by John B. Fosnot in the spring of 1917. Mr. Fosnot, who was appointed captain and was the only man in the company with previous military experience, worked untiringly to build up the organization and inculcate in its members the principles. and spirit of military practice, and these efforts together with the excellent material of which the company was composed resulted in a thoroughly efficient military unit with splendid esprit de corps. The company was mustered into the Wisconsin National Guard on May 10,1917, as the machine gun company of the 4th Regiment; it was mobilized July 15, 1917, and mustered into the Federal service Aug. 5, leaving Camp Douglas for Waco, Texas, Sept. 25th. Oct. 15, 1917, at Camp McArthur, Waco, it was made Company A, 119th Machine Gun Battalion, 32nd Division. On leaving Tomahawk it numbered 84 men, including noncommissioned officers, and its officers were: John B. Fosnot, captain; Jens Munthe, first lieutenant; and Roy T. Lyons and Eugene Meunier, second lieutenants; Ira 1. Henry was first sergeant, Charles Stem, supply sergeant, and Ray M. Atcherson, mess sergeant. Upon being reorganized at Waco the company received 98 men and two officers from Stanley, Wis., the officers being First Lieutenant Francis Phillips and Second Lieutenant John Galvraith. The company left Waco for Camp Merritt on Feb. 7, 1918; Feb. 18th it embarked at Hoboken for overseas duty, and it landed on Euro-pean shores on March 4th. A short time after arriving in Europe the unit was ordered into the Alsace sector, and it subsequently took part in all the activities of the 32nd Division throughout the war. The 119th Battalion was decorated as a unit for the services it performed, and two local men, Orville Scheffner and Robert Coey received individual decoration for the bravery they displayed in going through a heavy barrage on the Soissons front near Rhiems to appraise the American artillery of the fact that its barrage was falling short and was causing casualties among American troops. Some of the high lights in the history of the 32nd Divi-sion as summed up by the joint war history commissions of Michigan and Wisconsin in "The 32nd Division in the World War" are as follows: Six months under fire-from May to November, 1918-with but 10 days in a rest area; fought on five fronts in three major offensives-the Aisne-Marne, Oise-Ainse, and Meuse-Argonne; met and vanquished 23 German divisions, from which 2,153 prisoners were taken; gained 38 kilometers in four attacks and repulsed every enemy counter-attack; marched 300 kilometers in four attacks and repulsed every counter-attack; marched 300 kilometers to the Rhine as front line element of the Third U. S. Army and occupied for four months the center sector in the Coblenz bridge-head, holding 63 towns and 400 square kilometers of territory; were the first American troops to set foot on German soil; fought in the Oise-Aisne offensive as the only American unit in General Mangin's famous Tenth French Army, breaking the German line which protected the Chemin des Dames; twice in the line in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, fighting continuously for 20 days, penetrating the Kriemhilde Stellung, crossing the Meuse and starting the drive to flank Metz; left Germany homeward bound in April, 1919; arrived in the United States and was demobilized in May. The local company was discharged at Camp Grant June 2, 1919. Three of its members from Tomahawk, Henry Bronsted, Fred Martinson, and Fred Berkland, were killed in action.

Chapter X: Part B continued on next pagePart C

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