"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.


   Lincoln County has as yet no incorporated villages, though incorporation of the village of Gleason has been under consideration for some time.

   Gleason is located on a spur line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, 16 miles northeast of Merrill, in Sections 28 and 33, Township 33 north, Range 8 east. It is named in honor of Salem Gleason, whose homestead was one of the earliest here. Other early settlers were the families of John Flynn and Andrew Bascomb. Bascomb's son-in-law built the first store here, where Conrad Strobel's blacksmith shop now stands, moving it across the street a short time later, where it burned down after five years. C. A. Berkman conducted a small store here in 1884, but the development of the village began with the coming of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul in 1901 and the establishment of several enterprises, includ-ing a bank. by W. H. Bradley of Tomahawk. The site was surveyed by direction of Salem Gleason, William P. Levia, Fred Beyer, Val. Josten, Nettie Fellows, and the Farmers Lumber Co. (Edward Bradley, president) in 1903, the survey being recorded April 11th of that year. A postoffice was established through Mr. Bradley's efforts in 1902; it was located in what is now the store of A. W. Manthey, and Miss Anna Babcock was the first to have charge of the office. Previous to this mail was carried on ponies for the most part; John Scott, who at that time had a livery stable at Merrill, was one of the early carriers, and at a later period mail was brought to Dudley by Henry Dudley, who was operating a stage line from Merrill to that point.

   The present school house at Gleason was built in the fall of 1914 on the site of the previous frame structure which had been used for the same purpose and which was erected in 1886. The original schoolhouse was built of logs, and was located where George Patterson's residence now stands. Among the early teachers were Alice Haynes, Mrs. Francis Teasdale, and Mary Howarth, who had charge of the school in the order named; Miss Howarth later became the wife of John Woodlock.

   The Gleason Telephone Company, a co-operative enterprise, was started in 1914 by C. A. Silkworth of Milwaukee, a promoter. The central office was es-tablished in the .residence of H. A. Behrens and is still located there, Mrs. Behrens being the operator and also secretary and treasurer of the company. Other officers are R. H. Smith, president and manager; and Alfred Hurlbutt, vice presi-dent. There are 83 subscribers and the company has 3S miles of pole lines with 55 miles of wire in Lincoln County, besides seven miles of line in Langlade County.

   The chief manufacturing enterprise of the village is the sawmill of Smith Bros., which was moved here from Dudley in 1911. This mill, operated by William and Robert H. Smith, employs about 2S men in season and saws from 20,000 to 30,000 feet of hardwood and hemlock per day, besides manufacturing lath in considerable quantity. The proprietors also operate a large Deleo lighting plant which furnishes electric light for part of the village. The present postmaster is E. H. Lang, who received the appointment in 1915; the office is located in the Gleason Mercantile Co.'s store, of which Mr. Lang is manager. Change from a fourth class to a third class office was made in 1922; there are two rural, and the establishment of a third is under consideration. Albert W. Manthey was postmaster for the eleven years prior to the administration of Woodrow Wilson as president.

   The Gleason State Bank was organized May 24, 1920, and opened for business on Sept. 6th of the same year. It was capitalized at $15,000, with Dr. William H. Bayer (now of Merrill) as president, Jacob G. Callsen and R. H. Smith, vice presi-dents, and John King, cashier; the original board of directors was made up of these officers with the addition of A. W. Manthey. The personnel has since remained the same except that there is now one more director in the person of William D. Rice. The bank has had a very successful career, and was the only bank in Lincoln County to attain a position on the roll of honor made up of banks which during 1922 had no overdrafts in either their checking or savings accounts. The bank now has 450 active accounts with total deposits of $100,000, and its surplus is $3,000. It is quartered in a building which has been remodeled and furnished as a completely modern banking house.

   The American Legion is represented at Gleason by Guy F. Rice Post No. 360, of which the present officers are as follows: Robert W. Manthey, commander; Ralph S. Hopper, adjutant; Harris Dudley, finance officer; William H. Mellin, historian; William Cross, sergeant-at-arms; and Conrad Strobel, chaplain. Riverside Presbyterian Church at Gleason was organized in 1897 by Rev. Brown, a Sunday School missionary from Marshfield, who had carried on religious work here previous to that time. Rev. C. C. Hamilton was the first resident pastor. Rev. C. A. Parker served from 1908 to 1910; Rev. H. J. Nelson came about 1914 and served for approximately two years, and Rev. W. J. Martin, the present pastor, was the next to be called, taking office in May of 1922. During the various interims the church has been served from Merrill. It now has a membership of 82, and an enrollment of about 60 in its Sunday School. There are two active Ladies' Aid societies, one being composed of ladies from Dudley, and a ladies' club known as the Riverside Club.

   There is one other church at Gleason, the Evangelical Lutheran; the following account of the Gleason parish of this denomination has been prepared by Rev. T. C. Appelt, the present pastor: "The work of the Evangelical Lutheran church in the towns of Russell and Birch had its beginning in the early missionary activity of Rev. H. Daib of Merrill. As early as the year 1893 Rev. Daib conducted divine services in the town of Summit, in Langlade County, at a place eight miles northeast from Gleason in Town Russell. The first divine service conducted by Rev. Daib in Town Russell was held Sept. 30, 1900, in the school house of School District No.6. Later on congregations were organized, the first one being the St. Pauls Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Town Summit, Langlade County. On May 13, 1906, the following persons adopted and signed a" constitution, thus forming the St. Pauls Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Gleason, Wisconsin: Edward Schmidt, George Gerbig, William Prueser, Otto Hintze, Karl Kegler, F. Beyer, and J. H. Gerbig. Soon after its organization, the congregation purchased two acres of land adjoining the premises of the Gleason Public School. The house on this tract of land was included in the purchase and served as parsonage. In the year 1912, the present church building was erected and dedicated to the service of the living God on the 22nd day of December. A new parsonage was built in 1919. The first baptism recorded in the register of the congregation is that of Amanda, laughter of Otto Hintze. The members of the first class of catechumens confirmed :m the 20th day of March, 1910, were Samuel Frick, Jr., George Frick, Erna Frick, William Klein, Max Fehlberg, Greta Fehlberg, Martha Von Loh, and Elsie Schacht. The first marriage recorded is that of John Hipke and Anna Gerbig. The first person buried was Otto, child of Otto Hintze.

   "St. Pauls Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Town of Birch was organized on the 3rd day of June 1906, by the following charter members: Richard Schacht, Eduard Lueck, and Fredinand Hintze, Sr. The services of this congrega-tion were held in the town hall till 1914. In this year the congregation purchased the building of the Union Sunday School Society, two miles west from the town hall. In 1922 this building was remodeled and painted inside so as to present a more church-like appearance. The first baptism recorded in the register of the congrega-tion is that of John, child of Christoph Von Loh. The first confirmation registered is that of Fredinand Hintze, Jr. The first marriage ceremony performed was that of William Breivogel and Elisabeth Hansen. The first person buried was Hedwig, wife of Gustave Lange.

   "The above mentioned congregations, together with the preaching stations of Parrish, Elm City, Irma, Tug Lake, Dunfield, and the Lettonian Martin Luther Congregation in Town Schley, form the Gleason Parish. The following resident pastors served the parish: Rev. J. Destinon (1906-1908), Rev. C. Hesse (1909-1911), Rev. O. F. Engelbrecht (1911-1917), Rev. T. C. Appelt (1917- )." Irma, with a population of approximately 100, is located on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, in Section 7, Township 33 north, Range 7 east, 14 miles north of Merrill. It was formerly known as Courtland, having been officially laid out under that name by survey made Oct. 1,1887, and recorded Oct. 11,1887, at the direction of the Milwaukee Land Co. With respect to this village the following article has been contributed: entitled" The Irma School District."

   "If you will let your imagination wander ,back to 1880 and take a look at our school district, you will see only two families in an almost trackless forest. These families were those of B. W. Munro and Nicholas Jourdan. In the Munro family there were four boys and two girls; most of the boys took homesteads in the present district. The Munro family came here in 1880 to the site of the old Rock Falls Schoolhouse. At that time all Mr. Munro could see was large trees and bush. To make a home for his family he chose the site of the present West Irma Rock Falls Schoolhouse. He was forced to cut down trees in order to get room for his building. For the roof he brought his lumber from Merrill on sleighs by way of the river and the Grandfather Falls road. A stage route was soon established between Merrill and Tomahawk, with stations at Grandfather and Grandmother Falls. Mr. Munro had to depend largely on wild game for food; very little clearing was done during the first few years. In 1881 C. C. Munro with his family home-steaded the land where the village of Irma is. Standing on the main street at that time, the only thing that met the eye was a dense forest. Deer were shot where the Irma store now stands. Mr. Munro later built a sawmill and people could get lumber instead of logs to build with. He ran the mill for a time, then turned it over to his son Horace. Chris Kemp homesteaded the present Eli Johnson farm. In 1884 Mrs. Kemp sold the East Irma School District an acre of land on which a schoolhouse was built by Horace Munro, Ham Conner and William Gray. Charlie Jourdan homesteaded the Fred Pederson farm and Horace G. Chase homesteaded the Wadack home. In 1881 W. H. Middleton homesteaded the place north of Charlie Peterson's, where Swan Nelson lived. During the first few years Mr. Chase lived here he walked to Merrill and carried home his flour. Before the railroads came fur traders carpe in bringing needed commodities, which they exchanged for furs. Paul Hoffman homesteaded the Andrew G. Edmund home. Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Carlson, who homesteaded the John Samuelson place, built rude log houses. Samuel Nelson homesteaded the place where his family lived; he was a typical old settler. Walter Spails homesteaded the place north of the school house. In 1887 the railroad built to Irma and people rejoiced. Thomas Solomon homesteaded the George Curtis farm. In our district we find the work of many old settlers. Besides those already named we find Mr. Goodyear, Mr. Thorson, Mr. J. A. Johnson and Andrew Wilson. Of these old settlers Mr. Johnson still lives in the district in addition to the Munros."

   The Irma Creamery was established by a co-operative organization of the dairymen in the adjacent territory about 1900. It closed down for a time after about one year of operation, but resumed and at a later date was taken over by the bank which was its creditor. In 1912 it was purchased by its present proprietor, J. A. Newell, who has since successfully carried on its operation. During the first year under Mr. Newell's ownership there were 48 patrons and about 30,000 pounds of butter were manufactured; In 1922 there were 60 patrons, and over 70,000 pounds of butter were produced from the 294,414 pounds of cream purchased, the patrons receiving $21,742.50 for their product.

   The Swedish Lutheran Church of Irma, located one mile east of the station, was officially organized July 12,1907, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peterson by Rev. J. A. Carlstrom, then of Merrill. The denomination had been represented here for some time previously, however, its first religious services in this vicinity having been conducted at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hans Peterson in 1900 by Rev. Carl J. Maxell of Merrill. The charter members of the organization effected in 1907 were as follows: Mr. and Mrs. Hans Peterson; Mr. and Mrs. Gust Nelson; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carlson; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peterson; Mr. and Mrs. John Magnuson; Mr. and Mrs. Eli Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Gust Peterson; and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Peterson. Services were held regularly once a month in the school house across the road from the present church until 1915, when the congrega-tion mover!. into the building it now occupies. This church was dedicated Feb. 7, 1923. The present list of membership includes all the charter members with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carlson, who have moved away, and in addition the following: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Denetz; Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Edmund; Mr. and Mrs. John F. Samuelson; Mr. and Mrs. Otto Peterson; Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wahlbeck; Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Osterlund; Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Denetz; Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Johnson; Mrs. Fransilia Saarinen; Mrs. Julia M. Erickson; Enok Swenson, Carl Lind, and Mr. and Mrs. Nels Mickelson. The congregation has always been served by the pastors of the church of the same denomination at Merrill; record of

   Tripoli.--The village of Tripoli lies partly in Lincoln and partly in Oneida County, but as the post office and railway station are in Oneida County its history may be found included in the history of that county. Its founder and chief promotor, Mr. H. H. Stolle, was, however, the organizer of the town of Somo, Lincoln County, and for 15 years chairman of its board. Dudley was originally a station, or stopping-place for" tote" teams traveling between Wausau and the logging camps in the north woods. As such it was established in December, 1886, by Henry Dudley (after whom it was named) in accordance with instructions from the lumber company for whom he was then working. It consisted of several rude log cabins with trough roofs, comprising a cook shanty, sleeping-room, stable, store and saloon. The surrounding country was practically an unbroken forest. Mr. Dudley was the first postmaster, keeping the office in his store, and he also started the first school. The post office was discontinued in 1911, since which time the village has been on a rural route served from Gleason. Mr. Dudley also put up a new store building and a hotel. The mercantile business has since passed through several hands. Mr. Dudley still resides in the village, a hale and hearty pioneer of 75 years. The U. S. census for 1920 gave the population of Dudley as 68.

   Bradley, in Sections 8 and 9, Township 35 north, Range 6 east, was surveyed June 4, 1887, by direction of the Sault Ste. Marie Land and Improvement Co., the order being signed by John S. Pillsbury as president of that company, W. D. Washburn, secretary, and Peter B. Champagne and Alice B. Champagne. The settlement formerly was known as Somo. The village has a postoffice, Lloyd W. Conant being the present postmaster.

   Harrison was laid out by survey made Nov. 1, 1899, by direction of the Wis-consin Homestead and Farm Co.; the survey of the site was recorded Jan. 8, 1900. The village lies in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 33, Township 35 north, Range 8 east; it has a postoffice, and is served by the Chicago & North Western railroad. It formerly was known as Gouda, and was the scene of considerable lumbering activity, but was practically deserted by the summer of 1898 or before.

   Jeffris, in the town of Harrison, on a spur of the Chicago & North Western railroad, was named after D. K. Jeffris, who built a sawmill there in the winter of 1891 and operated in the vicinity. The mill burned down Feb. 9, 1895, the owner suffering a loss of about $20,000. He rebuilt, however, and again suffered by fire, the second mill burning in October, 1897. The mill seems to have been again rebuilt, as Rev. Father Goepfert of Eagle River, wrote of the place in June, 1898, " a town of one mill, may run a few years more; then silence among its lovely hills." After Mr. Jeffris finished his operations there he sold out to the Bundy Lumber Co. and the latter in 1912 sold the town site and business to the Larson Lumber Co., who are now operating there.

   Doering, in Section 23 of Township 32 north, Range 8 east, has a Lutheran Church, two general stores, two hotels, and two cheese factories. R. W. Miller is postmaster. The site was surveyed in 1902, the survey being recorded under date of Aug. 26th of that year, by direction of William Doering and Therese Doering. William Doering had come to Lincoln County from Northern Illinois in 1897 and started a farm in Sec. 24 in what is now the town of Schley, but which was then in the town of Pine River. In 1900 Mr. Doering got the railroad built from Gleason to Doering station, donating the right of way. He built a hotel here, which he operated for five years, had the cemetery laid out, for which he donated the land, and was active in promoting the prosperity of the village. He also logged on an extensive scale and operated a saw mill. He died in the village Feb. 27, 1920. His son Frank P. organized the Doering-Merrill Telephone Co., built the line, and is now president and manager, besides being a majority stockholder in the company.

   There are also postoffices at Bloomville, Heller, and Spirit Falls; postoffices have been discontinued at a number of points including Pine River, Dudley and Bunker Hill, which places have declined in population with the waning of the lumber industry, like many other villages in the county which have flourished in the past. Among the villages which today have small settlements or are without population may be listed: Antigo Junction, Atkins, Bass Lake, Bellemeyers, Boehms, Caulders Spur, Chat, Clear Lake, Colburn, Combs, Conklins, Corning, Crandalls, Days, Downeys, Dunfield, Elm City, Foss, Fries, Gilbert, Greens Siding, Grundy, Hanover Spur, Heineman, Hosheks, Janes, Jersey City, Kingsleys, Lakes Marie, Larson, Lutz, McCormicks, McInnis, McKays, Meadow, Newwood, O'Day, Otis, Paulson Junction, Petersons, Quinns, Russian, Schultz, Somo Junction, Somo River, Spirit Falls, Stewarts, Tug Lake, Turtle Lake, Vachreaus, Welling, Wisconsin Dam, and Zimmermans. Many of these points were formerly lumbering settlements; Heineman, for example, throve upon the lumbering operations of Sigmund Heineman, whose mill was located there, and the decline of the village began with the destruction of the mill by fire in 1910; this point was originally known as Trout City and later as Earling.   Jersey City, adjacent to Tomahawk, derived its name from the fact that W. H. Bradley, the" father of Tomahawk," kept a large herd of Jersey cattle stabled there.

End of Chapter XI

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