"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.


Chauvin, Eugene P. whose name is prominently associated with the history of the manufacturing development of the city of Merrill, was born at Hull, Canada, Aug. 26, 1876, son of George P. and Rose D. (MARQUETTE) CHAUVIN. The parents were of French descent and were both born in Canada, the father in 1855 and the mother in 1859. The mother is now deceased, having passed away at Merrill on March 16, 1900, and the father is making his home with his son, subject of this sketch. Eugene P. CHAUVIN removed with his parents when he was seven years old to Essexville, a suburb of Bay City, Mich., when, in 1883, the city of Hull was wiped out by fire. He attended school at Essexville until he was 12 years of age and then went to work in the shingle mill of the J. R. Hall Lumber Co. as a packer, jointer, and sorter; after remaining with this concern for about one year he took employment as delivery boy for J. R. WHEELER, a grocer, in which work he continued until 1893. In 1892 the father had come to Merrill, and after spending eight months here he was joined by his family, including Eugene P., who was then 17 years old. Financial panic conditions prevailed at the time and work was very scarce, but on the first morning after his arrival here our subject set out to find employment, and on the following day he was hired by a kindling-wood mill at a wage of 62 cents per day. After three months with his concern he went to work in the yard of the Foster Lumber Co. at $1.35 per day, but this work proved too heavy for him and after four months he left and took employment at tying lath in a lath mill. After four months in this capacity he came to the conclusion that his aptitude and likings were along other lines than mill work, and he went to work as a clerk in the store of the Wenzel hardware company, with whom he remained for the following two years. He was next employed in the dry goods store of Michael O'ROURKE for one year at a monthly wage of $40, and was then with Charles HOFFMAN, a jeweler here, for three years at $60 per month. After the death of his mother in 1900 he left that position and went to work in the dry goods store of Max BERLOWITZ at $75 per month, and next he worked as a clerk in the dry goods department of the store operating by the Heineman Lumber Co. at Heineman. While at Heineman he also looked after the interests of the C. M. & St. P. Railway there. After a year at that place he moved back to Merrill and worked for a short time in a grocery store, after which he went to Wausau, where he entered the employ of the Livingston Mercantile Co. as clerk in their dry goods department and as window trimmer and decorator, remaining with them for two and a half years. He then entered the awning manufacturing business in partnership with a Mr. LIPKE of Wausau, the latter carrying on the manufacturing end of this enterprise while Mr. CHAUVIN travelled and did the selling and installing. He sold his interest in this concern to Mr. LIPKE after a short time, however, and then went to work in the store of the Heineman Mercantile Co. of Wausau. After serving his connection with that company he returned to Merrill and entered the employ of the Livingston Mercantile Co. here at a big advance in salary. After he had been so engaged for about two years, however, he received an injury and was advised by physicians to follow some outdoor occupation for a time. He accordingly took a position as traveling salesman for the Badger Candy Co. of Milwaukee, and after spending three years with them he worked in the same capacity for the Peth Candy Co. of Wausau for three years. During all these yars he had been acquiring a very thorough training in the commercial field, and had gained the confidence and esteem of those in the community in which he lived. In 1912 he resolved to capitalize his experience for the mutual benefit of himself and his city, and with A. P. SCHEWE he promoted and organized the Merrill Candy Co., which has developed into one of Merrill's strongest business concerns and has done much to spread the fame of this city as a manufacturing center. Mr. CHAUVIN was made president of the company upon its incorporation, but he resigned after a short time to devote himself to the sales end of the business. In 1922 he was active in organizing the Wisconsin Valley Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of sweeping compounds, household chemicals, janitors' supplies, etc., and he has been president of this company since its incorporation. By every trait of personality and character he is a typical executive and organizer, and his presence here is one of the factors that are carrying Merrill forward from year to year as a commercial and manufacturing center. On May 28, 1900, Mr. CHAUVIN married Carolyn E. PORTRAS, who was born at Green Bay, Wis., daughter of Jerome and Margaret PORTRAS, and who had come to Merrill with her parents in 1891. Mr. and Mrs. CHAUVIN have been the parents of nine children as follows: Bernice M., born March 10, 1901; Gereva L., Aug. 6, 1902; Luciele K., Sept. 30, 1903; Basil J., Oct. 5, 1905; Ione T., March 7, 1907; Beatta, Dec. 13, 1912; Marie, Aug. 10, 1908, who died in infancy; and Eugene P., J., born Dec. 30, 1917. The family are members of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic congregation. Mr. CHAUVIN, who is a trustee of this church, is affiliated with the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Foresters. Though not active in politics, he casts his vote with the Democratic party and takes a keen interest in public affiars and the general welfare of the community.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 557-558, 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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