"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.


Cotey, John W. who holds a responsible position with the Merrill Water Co., of Merrill, Lincoln County, was born at Grand Rapids (now included in the city of Wisconsin Rapids), Wis., on June 17, 1863, son of Godfrey S. and Anna (FINNERTY) COTEY. The father was of French-Canadian parentage and the mother was born in Ireland. They moved to Grand Rapids at a very early day in its history, Gottfried S. COTEY following the occupation of logger and raftsman, working in the woods in winter and running lumber down the Wisconsin Mississippi rivers to St. Louis in the spring. In 1883 he and his family came to Merrill, where he entered the employ of T. B. SCOTT in the same line of business. In 1811 he moved to Spokane, Wash., where he is now living retired. His wife Anna died in Merrill in 1908. Of their seven children, four are living namely: John W., of Merrill; Anna, who married Elijah GOULD and is now a widow; Mary, wife of Julius POSEY, and Caddie, wife of Harold JOHNSON, of Chicago. John W. COTEY, whose birthplace stood on the site of the present Wisconsin Rapids cemetery, was reared in Grand Rapids, attended school there and subsequently worked for Francis BIRON in his sawmill at Biron. He soon became active in other branches of the lumber industry, working in the woods and rafting lumber to St. Louis. It was in the year 1884 that he came to Merrill, going to work for the Central Manufacturing Co., makers of sash, doors and blinds; he also worked again in sawmills. Joining the volunteer fire departments, he remained a member of it for nine years, during two years of which he drove the hose-cart, for four years holding the position of chief. In 1898 he entered the employ of the Merrill Water Co. as outside foreman and collector and is still with the concern in that capacity. Since settling in Merrill he has bought land and erected 42 residences, and has also remodeled 39 others, all of which he has sold on the installment plan, and he is still engaged in that line of enterprise-one that is directly concerned with the improvement and development of the city. He is fraternally affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. COTEY was married in Grand Rapids in 1883 to Minnie LUETKEY, daughter of August and Wilhelmina LUETKEY, her parents being natives of Germany who came to the United States some 50 years ago, settling on a farm in the town of Sigel, Wood County, Wis.; they are now living on a farm in Marathon County. Mr. and Mrs. COTEY have had eight children, of whom eight are now living, namely: Mae, wife of Charles KUHN of Milwaukee; William, a mail carrier in Merrill; Harry, of Chicago; Frank of Merrill; Stella, wife of T. O. BOGAWAY of Los Angeles, Calif.; Edward, of Milwaukee; Helen; and Leslie, who is attending school. The one who died was Harold. In 1917 William enlisted for war served, trained at Camp Grant, and went to France as a plumbers in the mechanical department of the army, being connected with the refrigerating service. Harry was inducted into the service and was in camp for a short time in this country, not going overseas.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 581; 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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