"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.


Dudley, Henry after whom the village of Dudley in the town of Russell, Lincoln County, was named, is a typical pioneer of Wisconsin whose personal history is well worth considering, as in various things it had a more or less historical significance, at least with reference to this region. Mr. DUDLEY, who is still living, and hale and hearty for one of his years, was born in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, near Watertown, Aug. 13, 1848, son of Anthony and Sarah (TELYEA) DUCHEIAN, the parents being French-Canadians. When Anthony DUCHEIAN was young his father died, and he went to New York to living with an uncle (by marriage) whose name was Dudley, which name he took for himself when he went out into the world to make his own living. It was in Rochester, N.Y., that Anthony DUDLEY was united in marriage with Sarah TELYEA. Not long after, some 15 or 20 Rochester families emigrated to Jefferson County, Wisconsin, and Mr. and Mrs. DUDLEY joined them, settling on a piece of heavy timber land in the vicinity of Watertown. There they remained for a number of years, or until the beginning of the Civil War period, when they moved to Berlin, Green Lake County, Wis., where for ten years they kept a hotel and boarding-house. They next moved to Centralia, Wood County (now part of the city of Wisconsin Rapids), but later settled on a farm in the town of Rudolph, that county, where Anthony DUDLEY died in December, 1878. His wife Sarah died in Merrill about 1913. they had a family of 16 children, among whom were: Amelia, born in St. Catherine, Canada, who is still living, and who has a son, Frank, in Oshkosh, Wis.; Sarah, Modeste, Sophia, Pauline and Ellen (first) are deceased; Ellen (second) living in Dakota; Olive, now Mrs. George BOYER of Dakota; and Frank of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Henry DUDLEY, the direct subject of this sketch, had but small educational opportunites. He lived with his parents until arriving at the age of 20 years, and then in the winter of 1868-69 went to the pineries on Wolf river to work for Reddick & Wellington of Winneconne. For the next 15 years was engaged in the lumber industry in one branch or another, working in the woods and on the river for the same firm. Then for two years he was with John KERN at Eagle River, and subsequently worked a year in a saw mill at Merrill. for some years in the early 80's he was accustomed each spring to take the horses of the lumber camp from Eagle River to Wausau for summering, and returned on foot, packing blacksmith's small supplies, such as bolts and hasps. It took him five days to make the trip. In the fall of 1886 the company with whom he was employed asked him to establish a camp or station as a stopping-point for the "tote" teams coming to Wausau or returning again to the camps in the north woods. Accordingly on Dec. 1, 1886, he established such a place on Prairie River, about 40 miles northeast of Wausau and 20 from Jenny, which latter place is now known as Merrill. The station consisted of several log cabins with trough roofs, very crudely built. At that place the heavy timber had already been cut and carried off. This station was the site of the present village of Dudley, which was later established and named after the subject of this sketch. The country from Merrill to Green Bay was then an almost unbroken forest. Above Dudley the next station was Pelican and the next after that Eagle River. Soon afterwards Mr. DUDLEY established a supply store for woodsmen and Indians, there being many of the latter in the vicinty, and son of the Indians he employed in various kinds of word, such as log driving on the river, cutting roads, etc. The log buildings comprising the original station consisted of a cook shanty, sleeping-room, stable, store and saloon, and one of the five is still standing, having gone through various mutation since serving its original purpose, at one time having been used as a schoolhouse, at another as a town house, and now as a storehouse. It was through Mr. DUDLEY'S influence and exertions that the first school was started here, as the place was not then in any organized district and there were no public funds available for such a purpose. He was also the first postmaster, keeping the office in his log store. The equipment was some that had been discarded by the village or city of Merrill, and Mr. DUDLEY still keeps it as a relic of pioneer days. The post office was maintained at Dudley until 1911, since which time the mail has some by rural route from Gleason. After conducting his log store for a number of years Mr. DUDLEY erected a new store building. He was finally succeeded in business by a Mr. BLANCHARD and the latter by a Mr. HAYMAN, who sold to Jacob J. CALLSON, the present proprietor. Mr. DUDLEY later builts a large residence and hotel, where he made his home until December, 1921, when he built a fine bungalow house with complete modern appointments, opposite the old home but on the other side of Prairie River. Soon after coming to his locality Mr. DUDLEY homesteaded 160 acres of cut-over land on the site of the present village, and he was the first homesteader in the territory now embraced in the town of Russell. His pioneer experiences were many and varied. For years he drove logs from Eagle River to Jenny (Merrill), and at the latter place made up lumber fleets wich he floated down the Wisconsin and Mississippi river to St. Louis. The lumber delivered, the men returned to Eagle River or Jenny by train to Berlin, Wis., and if lucky, journeyed the rest of the way by stage, though they were often obliged to make it on foot, a distance of over 80 miles. While he was Dudley's first postmaster his daughter Olive acted as his assistant, taking take of the office while he was working on his farm. He was, and still is, a Republican in poltics but held no public offices except that of president of the school board, in which position he served for many years. He built the present frame school building of District No. 2 at Dudley. He also planted the first trout fry in Prairie River, the fry being supplied by the government, and trout now abound in the stream, attracting sportsmen from many parts of the country, some of them men of note in business or professional circles. Mr. DUDLEY has been particularly happy in his domestic life. He was united in marriage at Jenny (Merrill), Wis., Dec. 9, 1873, to Augusta RISTOW of that place, who was born in Germany March 26, 1854, and came with her parents to America in 1858, the family settling in Marathon County just south of Jenny. The father died in the army while serving as a soldier in the Civil war, his wife surviving him nearly half a century and passing away in 1913. Mrs. DUDLEY is still living and in December this year (1923) she and Mr. DUDLEY, if they are still preserved, will celebrate their golden wedding. They have had six children, Olive J., Walter E., Francis R., Sarah A., Pearl, and Harris. Olive J., born Aug. 1, 1874, is now Mrs. Edward HALL of Canada. Walter E., born Oct. 9, 1876, is the head of a stock company interested in the timber business in the west, and having its headquarters in Boston, of which he was the promoter and organizer. Sarah A., born Dec. 16, 1878, is now Mrs. Elmer KRITCHFIELD of Wheatson, Ill. Francis R., born Oct. 3, 1880, who is living in the old family home in Dudley, married Millie LORGE of Merrill, Wis. and has three children, Edith, Loraine and Delmer. Pearl, born Aug. 8, 1888, is now a trained nurse in Chicago. Harris, born March 29, 1894, resides in the old home in Dudley, and so far has not married. He and his brother Francis purchased their father's farm and are now operating it, engaged in general farming and dairying. They have about 100 acres under cultivation, and their cattle are pure-blooded Brown Swiss, with a pure-bred sire at the head, one of whose grandmothers was the first Swiss cow owned in Wisconsin, having been imported from Europe. during the winter the two brothers followed logging. Mr. DUDLEY, with his wife and children are members of the Lutheran church. There is a tradition in the Dudley, or Ducheian family of royal blood, and one of Mr. DUDLEY'S great grandfathers served under Napoleon.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 519-521 (with picture); History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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