"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.


Curran, John C. generally regarded as the original pioneer settler of Rhinelander, was born in Huntington County, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 22, 1838, son of Patrick and Julia (FINNEGAN) CURRAN. The father was a native of Ireland who emigrated to the province of Quebec in 1798, and it was there that he married Julia FINNEGAN, who had come to Canada with her parents when a child. John C., who was one of 13 children, acquired a limited education in district schools. He became industrially active in the lumber business, and, coming to the States, worked in the woods of Essex County, New York, until 1855, when he came to Wisconsin. He made his first western home at Jenny (now Merrill), Lincoln County and worked in the woods and rafted lumber on the river until 1857. In that year he went up to Eagle River to a little above the site of the present village of that name, and there he prospected in land, made hay and engaged in other pioneer occupations. He also acted as camp superintendent for Helms & Co., lumbermen. In the fall of 1859 he returned down the river to the site of Rhinelander and built a house within the present city limits. All this section at that time was included in Marathon County. Mr. CURRAN was the first settler on the site of the present city, and conducted a trading-post for the Indians which was also a stopping-place for travelers on their way up or down the river. The nearest railroad station was Berlin, 170 miles distant, whence Mr. CURRAN had to haul his goods. He continued in that business until 1864, about which time the land came into the market, and he then commenced logging, buying the land from the government, in the meanwhile continuing his lumber business and farming. He eventually cleared 150 acres, which he sold in 1883. He also conducted a store, where he first settled until 1882. He took a leading part in getting Oneida County organized, was the first chairman of the Pelican town board and also served in that capacity at a later period, in politics being a Democrat. In 1883 he became a member of the school board, on which he served for a number of years. In 1890 he platted an addition to Rhinelander, which is known as Curran's Addition. On Sept. 27, 1870, Mr. CURRAN was married in Canada to Lizzie SLOAN, who was born in that Dominion in 1850, daughter of Patrick and Julia (ATKINS) SLOAN, the parents being natives of Ireland who came to Canada when children. The children born of this union were Julia M., Thomas B., Lizzie Pearl, Muriel J. and Frances M. Mr. CURRAN was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith but was liberal in all things pertaining to the general social welfare, being the organizer and patron of one of the first ward schools in Rhinelander, which was named in his honor, the "John C. CURRAN School." About 15 years ago he went west with his family and after stopping for a while in several places, finally settled in Everett, Wash., where he at last accounts was still living. Since leaving Rhinelander, however, he has suffered severe misfortunes, having lost an eye, and also two daughters, who were both burned to death when their clothing caught fire from a chafing-dish which was being used at a party.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 493, 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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