"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 Town of Tomahawk

   The honor roll of those from Tomahawk and vicinity who gave up their lives in the service of their country in this great conflict is as follows: Fred A. Berkland; Henry Bronsted; Louis Jorgenson; Frank Liberty; Fred Martinson; William Mor-ris; Leon Paradise; Patrick A. Robarge; Vernon C. Switzer; Gordon Tozer; Edward Trimburger; Hiram Woodruff; William Wurl.

   The paper mill industry was started in Tomahawk in 1890, when Mr. Newton, of Sparta, and A. M. Pride built a pulp mill on the east side of the river at the dam, and in 1895 a paper mill was added to the plant. Mr. Newton subsequently sold his interests to C. B. Pride of Appleton. A second paper mill was built in 1904 and 1905 at the west end of the dam, and is now known as Mill No.2 of the Tomahawk Pulp & Paper Co. Anson M. Pride, the founder of these mills, died in 1916 and his interests in them were acquired by his brother, Charles B., who con-tinued their operation, together with that of another pulp mill which is located at the King dam. The latter dam was constructed by the Bradley Company in 1909 or 1910 about three miles east of the city at a place called King's, owing to the fact that a station or tavern was kept there at an early day by a man named King. The old military road running north to Eagle River and Marquette crossed the river by a ford at this point. The Tomahawk Pulp & Paper Company was a pioneer in the process of paper manufacture, using large quantities of old news-paper and wood-pulp. During the year 1920 another paper mill was built and styled the Pride Pulp & Paper Company but was in no way a part of the Toma-hawk Pulp & Paper Company. The Tomahawk Pulp & Paper Company, then manufacturing catalog paper could not supply as much paper to their customers as they consumed and required, and the president of the Tomahawk Pulp & Paper Company, C. B. Pride, agreed to establish another independent paper mill, the company to be called the Pride Pulp & Paper Company, and the mill to be large .enough to furnish as much paper as the Montgomery Ward & Company consumed. Montgomery Ward & Company, Seaman Paper Company, and Mr. C. B. Pride agreed to furnish the necessary capital for the development of this new company's plant. This plant was all completed and put into operation a short time after the war was concluded. At that time there was not such a great demand for catalog paper and it was decided to sell the interest of the new Pride Pulp & Paper Com-pany to the Mosinee Paper Company, which was done, and the new company is now styled the Tomahawk Kraft Paper Company, and is in no way a part of the Tomahawk Pulp & Paper Company institution, each being entirely independent of each other. The Pride Pulp & Paper Company was incorporated for $700,000 but the investment was increased to about $1,300,000.

   According to the plans of its builders, the plant was ultimately to represent an investment of $3,500,000, and to include three paper machines, sulphite mills and a ground wood pulp mill. and to derive the power to operate these plants from water power developed at Nigger Island and Grandmother Falls on the Wisconsin River. Neither of these water powers were improved, and the company only installed one paper-machine. These added improvements, which were first intended, are now being made by the new company, which when finished, will make a complete well developed paper manu-facturing plant, and the same as was first outlined by the officers of the Pride Pulp & Paper Company.

   The Tomahawk Iron Works, predecessor of the present Tomahawk Steel and Iron Works, was also one of the original industries of the city, having been estab-lished by Alexander Rodgers in 1888, as related in a subsequent portion of this work. The Tomahawk Shoe Company was founded April 1, 1913, by J. W. Quance, the people of Tomahawk subscribing $4,000 to assist in financing the project. During the early period of operation infants' shoes exclusively were manufactured July 14, 1913, the business was taken over by a stock company and incorporated at $20,000, with R. B. Tweedy as president, J. W. Froelick, vice president and treasurer; F. P. Werner, secretary and assistant treasurer, and E. C. McNaughton, assistant secretary; Mr. Quance received. 74 shares of stock in the new concern in return for his previous holdings. Oct. 20, 1914, H. C. Freeman, James W. McHenry, and F. J. Larkin, all of Milwaukee, purchased a controlling interest in the company, Mr. Freeman becoming president, Mr. McHenry, vice president and treasurer; Mrs. McHenry, assistant secretary, and Martha Piske, secretary. Mr. Freeman withdrew on June 21,.1921, and since that time the officers have been as follows: James W. McHenry, president; W. H. McHenry, vice president; R. T. Reinholdt, treasurer; and A. C. McNaughton, secretary. The industry has grown to very large proportions. On March 11, 1918, the capital stock was increased to $75,000, the citizens of Tomahawk subscribing for the amount of the increase; and on Dec. 5, 1922, another $25,000 was added, making the present capitalization $100,000, of which $50,000 is paid-in stock. In July of 1918 a branch factory was established at Merrill, and the cutting and fitting has since been done there, the uppers being sent to Tomahawk for the bottom and finish work. Metallic-fastened dress and work shoes for boys and men are manufactured, and 900 pairs of these are turned out each day. When first established here the company employed only 20 persons and the plant was operated on a part-time basis; now 140 people are given steady employment. The plant is equipped with 200 shoe making machines; the building at Tomahawk contains 13,000 square feet of floor space, and the Merrill plant is a three-story brick building 43x75 feet in dimensions. Burt Richey is manager of the Merrill branch, while the Tomahawk plant is under the personal supervision of Mr. McHenry. The product is distributed throughout the central states.

   The Tomahawk Steel and Iron Works were established as the Tomahawk Iron Works by Alexander Rodgers, of Muskegon, Mich., in 1888, the plant erected at that time being located in the milling district. W. H. Bradley became associated with Mr. Rodgers a short time later, and the business was conducted by Rodgers and Bradley in partnership for a number of years. Upon the death of Mr. Bradley about 1904 the Bradley estate purchased the entire interest, and later in 1904 ownership passed from them to William Drever. Mr. Drever had been employed by Mr. Rodgers in a shop at Muskegon, and when the latter came here and established the plant he brought Mr. Drever with him as an employee; when the Bradley interests acquired the concern Drever was made manager of the plant, and he continued as such until he purchased the business as above mentioned. In the operation of the plant he associated himself with J. H. Knaggs, a boilermaker who had come to Tomahawk from Wausau in 1889. In 1911, however, Mr. Drever purchased Mr. Knaggs' interest and a reorganization of the business was effected; incorporation was carried out under the name of the Tomahawk Steel and Iron 'Works, with William Drever as president and treasurer, R. E. Ashley of Muskegon as vice president, and J. F. Callan of Tomahawk as secretary. Previous to this reorganization the business had been laboring under a handicap and had often undergone a severe struggle for existence; with the new capital made available by the reorganization, however, a healthy growth began at once, and in the years between 1912 and 1920 the business of the concern was doubled and many improvements were made in the plant and equipment. In 1920 Mr. Callan withdrew, his interest having been purchased by William G. Bauman of Chicago; the present officers of the company are: William Drever, president and treasurer; William G. Bauman, vice president and general manager; and Lenora Larsen, secretary. April 21, 1921, the company's entire plant was destroyed by fire, the loss amounting to $60,000 on the plant and equipment and $25,000 on work under process of con-struction or repair in the shop. Nothing daunted by this severe misfortune, however, the concern at once began the erection of a new plant; a site was purchased on Somo Avenue, near the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul tracks, and the present structure was erected; this is a thoroughly modern plant, of steel and cement construction, furnished throughout with the best equipment obtainable; in it anything in the line of iron work, either machinery or boiler construction, can be carried out with complete efficiency and with the highest quality of workmanship. The building has a frontage on Somo Avenue of 100 feet and a depth of 190 feet; a portion of it is two stories high and the balance one story. The business is one of Tomahawk's leading industries, and the plant is widely known as the largest and best equipped in this entire section of the country. Under normal conditions from 35 to 40 men are given employment.

   The Mohr Lumber Company operates the mill which was originally established by W. H. Bradley as the Tomahawk Lumber Company. This plant was sold by the Bradley interests to the Tomahawk Veneer and Box Company, and it passed from the hands of this company to its present owners on Oct. 17, 1916. C. F. Mohr of Portage is president of the company, F. E. Burbach, also of Portage, is vice president; D. Danielson, treasurer, and John S. Griffith, secretary and mana-ger. For the past ten years this company has logged and sawed timber from its own holdings, and there are still many thousand feet on its tract near Tomahawk. Their product is chiefly hemlock and hardwood lumber. The capacity of the mill is 50,000 feet per day; 75 or 80 men are employed in the mill and a like number in the lumber camps operated by the company. The mill is equipped with a single band saw, two resaws, and one surface planer and matcher. The product has a distribution covering the greater portion of the United States.

   The Tomahawk Tannery was established by William Bradley in 1903, but was soon afterward taken over by its present owners, the Union Tannery Co. of New York. The plant was destroyed by fire in 1906, but was rebuilt by its present owners in 1907-08. The building is 64x560 feet in dimensions, and the industry is an extensive one. From 80 to 120 persons are given employment. The product, which is sole leather tanned from cow hides, is sold chiefly in St. Louis and Chicago; the hides are shipped in from points as far as South America. Both electric and steam power is used, and there are six rolling, fleshing, and hairing machines and two wringers. The feed mill of Herbert A. Acherson is another active factor in the industrial resources of Tomahawk.

   The Tomahawk Creamery was established by Godfrey and Sons, who conducted it. for a number of years subsequently. A co-operative association of farmers then purchased it and operated it for four years, after which it was taken over by Art Searl. It passed from Mr. Searl to its present owner, Anton Nerli, on March 1, 1922. The property was badly run down when acquired by Mr.. Nerli, but it has been built up by him into a first-class plant, and he is operating it along modern lines. During the flush of the season the creamery has as many as 150 patrons and buys nearly 400 gallons of cream per day; in the summer of 1922 the weekly output of butter sometimes ran as high as five or six thousand pounds, and during the winter it was about two thousand pounds. In 1923 facilities for the manufac-ture of ice cream were added to the other equipment, an expert ice cream maker being brought from the Sessions Ice Cream Manufacturing Co. at Fond du Lac to take charge of this branch of the work. The ice cream manufacturing equip-ment consists of a homogenizer for breaking up the fat and combining it with the solids, a glass-lined holding vat to age the mix, and a hardening room with a capacity of 500 gallons.

   The Raymond Lumber Company operates the sawmill erected by King and Weymouth in 1888, the first sawmill to be built in Tomahawk. Mark L. Raymond is the proprietor, and offices are maintained in the Mitchell Hotel. Besides con-ducting the mill, in which lumber and lath are manufactured, the company buys standing timber and logs it off, supplying logs to the mills at Merrill and other points.

   The feed mill conducted by Art Searl and Co. was established by Mr. Searl Feb. 1, 1920 The mill has a capacity of 10 tons daily and grinds all kinds of feed for stock and poultry. A wholesale and retail flour, feed, and hay business is conducted in conjunction with the mill. Five men are employed, and delivery service is furnished by means of a three-ton truck.

   The sawmill and woodworking establishment conducted by Robert Gillie was founded in 1910, when Mr. Gillie erected a building and installed saws, planers, and other machinery for the manufacture of frames, sash, and doors. In 1916 he added a sawmill to his equipment, moving it from place to place at first but later erecting a building near his original plant to house it. He now saws lumber for supplying his woodworking plant and for general distribution, and carries on gen-eral woodworking operations. The excellence of the banking facilities at Tomahawk has done much to promote and stabilize the city's industries. There are two banks, both ably managed and soundly financed.

   The Bank of Tomahawk was established as a private institution in 1895 by Charles E. Macomber, who was then engaged in the drug business at 124 West Wisconsin Avenue. The bank was conducted by Mr. Macomber at the same loca-tion as his previous business until 1904, in which year it was incorporated under the banking laws of Wisconsin and the present two-story brick building at 201 West Wisconsin Avenue was erected. The first officers were: C. E. Macomber, presi-dent; ]. A. Fitzgerald, vice president; E. W. Smith, cashier; G. M. Macomber, assistant cashier; directors, C. E. Macomber, ]. A. Fitzgerald, M. L. Fitzgerald, Edward Evenson, S. C. Jones, James Kelly, and Joseph Poutre. The capitali-zation was at $10,000. The bank has had a most successful career; its present deposits are $400,000, and the accounts of 1,000 depositors are carried. The capital has been raised to $30,000, and the surplus and undivided earnings now amount to $19,500. The bank is the depository for the city's funds and also carries funds of the town, county and state. The present officers are: C. E. Macomber, president;]. A. Fitzgerald, vice president; Edgar Welfley, cashier; Balnor Nelson, assistant cashier. These officers with Edward McDonald, Joseph Poutre, Edw. Evenson, and D. C. Jones, constitute the board of directors. Miss Helen Johnson is bookkeeper. The steady, healthy growth which this bank has had during the entire quarter century and more of its existence says much for the soundness of its financial policies.

   The Bradley Bank was first established as a private bank by William H. and James W. Bradley when Tomahawk was little more than a clearing in the woods. Business was begun in a small wooden structure at the northeast corner of Toma-hawk and Wisconsin avenues; this was replaced in 1900 by a substantial brick building, and on Jan. 15, 1923 the bank was removed to its present beautiful quarters, which had been erected during 1922 to accommodate the needs of the rapidly growing institution. The change from private ownership to incorporation was carried out in 1903, the capitalization being fixed at $50,000 and the first officers being as follows: J. W. Bradley, president; R. B. Tweedy, vice president; and J. W. Froelich, cashier. This arrangement continued until 1912, when the Bradley interests were acquired by local capital and reorganization was effected with J. W. Froelich as president, C. H. Grundy, vice president; F. P. Werner, cashier, and Katherine Veitch, assistant cashier. In 1917 Mr. Froelich resigned and moved to California, owing to ill health, and subsequently until 1921 the personnel was as follows: C. H. Grundy, president; F. P. Werner, vice president; Katherine Veitch, cashier; and J. L. Eckstrom, assistant cashier. Miss Veitch resigned in 1921 and Mr. Eckstrom was then made cashier, with P. M. Smith as assistant cashier. No further changes have been made in the personnel; the present board of directors consists of W. E. Brooks, Dr. J. D. Cutter, C. B. Pride, John Oelhafen, and V. E. Labbe, and the capitalization is now $60,000, the change in the latter having been made in 1922. The resources have increased from $300,000 in 1903 to nearly $1,000,000 at the present time, and the institution has enjoyed a steady and thoroughly satisfactory growth in all the branches of its activity. The present home of the bank is one of the most finely constructed and beautiful buildings in this section of the country. It is located at the comer of Tomahawk and Wis-consin avenues, directly across the latter thoroughfare from the previous quarters, and is constructed of tapestry brick with Bedford stone trimmings. It is single story with basement, and has a frontage of SO feet and a depth on Tomahawk Avenue of 66 feet. The interior is beautifully decorated and finished, the counters being of mahogany finish. The steel equipment is of the best and most modem, York safe and look equipment being used, and there are three vaults, one used as a repository by the bank, one containing safety deposit boxes for the accommodation of the patrons, and one for the safe-keeping of the books and records of the institu-tion. In the basement a large and commodious room has been finished and fur-nished as an audience room for the use of agricultural organizations and for other public gatherings. The architectural design of the entire structure is excellent in every detail, and the building commands the full admiration of the beholder.

   The Emerich Mercantile Company is conducting a fine store in Tomahawk which is a branch of a similar institution in Merrill. The officers of the company are: J. A. Emerich, of Merrill, president; Emil C. Keipke, of Merrill, vice presi-dent; Lyndon B. Emerich, of Merrill. secretary and treasurer; and Erwin R. Emerick, of Tomahawk, manager of the Tomahawk branch. From the parent store in Merrill, Lyndon B. and Erwin R. Emerich, sons of the president of the company, used to visit Tomahawk and the smaller towns and summer resorts of this section, carrying selected articles of stock in trunks, from which they sold. They enjoyed a good trade and from their two or three season's experience became convinced that at Tomahawk a successful business could be established. In keeping with this idea, on Feb. 28, 1921, the company opened a branch store in this city, beginning in a small way in the Mitchell building, which has a comer location. From the very start the venture was successful and the business grew so rapidly that in the spring of 1922 the company decided that larger quarters were necessary. Accordingly they bought a lot on W. Wisconsin Avenue and in that year they erected a strictly modem store building, one of the best in the city. It is of two stories, with a front of 25 feet and a depth of 100 feet. Early in Novem-ber, 1922 the company moved into it and the business has since enjoyed a steady and healthy growth. They carry an up to date stock of dry goods, ladies' ready-to--wear, clothing, ladies' and gents' furnishings, phonographs, records, and many other things, seeking to supply the best of everything for which there is a reasonable demand and to do so at a price that will appeal to the buyer.

   The excellence of the school system is particularly noteworthy. Attention was directed to this important feature at a very early date in the city's history, a school house being erected at the comer of Washington Avenue and Fifth Street in the spring of 1888; school was opened in this building with Miss Maud Tyner as the first teacher. The building is still standing and is now being used as a kinder-garten. Larger quarters were soon required to meet the needs of the rapidly growing city, and the Whittier school at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue was built, opening its doors in the fall of 1894. High school subjects were taught in the new school, and in 1896 it was made an accredited high school through the efforts of its principal, Julian West. The first commencement exercises were held on Friday evening, June 4, 1897; there were seven in the graduating class as follows: Alta Olson, now Mrs. F. P. Werner of Tomahawk; Voilet E. McMurphy, now Mrs. J. H. Floyd, also of Tomahawk; Anna Oelhafen, who is now Mrs. Siems of Wausau; Mary Marshall, deceased; Margaret McBride, who is now in New York City and is a prominent vocalist; Louis Bohn, an official of a large Western railroad; and Lester Clark, who is very prominent in newspaper work in Portland, Oregon. Under the first city charter, the school board, consisting of a superintendent and four members, one member from each ward. was elected at the spring elections. The first school board consisted of the following: Dr. J. D. Cutter, superintendent; Henry R. Bradley, member from first ward; Frank A. Larsen, member from second ward; William L. Marshall, member from third ward; and Adam Thrim, member from fourth ward. John O'Connell, now of Washington, D. C., was principal at the time the city schools were organized; following his resignation W. H. Crowley, now a civil engineer living in Denver, was elected, and under his management for three years the schools attained a high standing. Dr. Cutter was subsequently superintendent for four years, and he was followed by Oscar M. Smith. After the Whittier, the Longfellow school was the next to be opened, and one or two other buildings were used at various times to relieve congestion, one of these being an old store building which stood across the street from the Whittier school. The present high school building was erected in 1907 and cares for the sixth and seventh grades in addition to the four years of high school work. It is a large and thorough-ly modem brick structure, one of the finest school buildings in the county, and brings Tomahawk's educational facilities to a point of development of which she can well be proud. Frederick Ek is the present superintendent. During the school year of 1922-23 there were 210 students enrolled in the high school and approximately 500 in the grades; 10 high school teachers and 14 grade school teachers were employed.

The End of Chapter X.

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