"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.


Gospill, James G. proprietor of a good homestead in Section 29, town of Merrill, Lincoln County, and one of the leading citizens of that town, now serving on its board of supervisors, was born in Checkasaw County, Iowa, May 3, 1858, son of John and Jane (WATSON) GOSPILL. The father was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1836, and came to this country at the age of 19, settling at Sturgis, Mich., where he met Jane WATSON and was married to her in 1856. He died there about 1912. She was born in the West Indies, her father, an Englishman and a skilled florist, having been sent there by the English government to take charge of the botanical gardens at Salon Pardina. He died there and Jane then returned with her mother to England, subsequently coming to the United States. Almost immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. John GOSPILL settled in Iowa, in which state they resided for 25 years, at the end of that time going back to Sturgis, Mich. They had seven children: James G., the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth now Mrs. Byron COLE, of Sturgis, Michigan; Frank, who is in California; John, James (1st) and Emily, who are deceased, and Walter, who lives in Sturgis, Mich. James G. GOSPILL grew to manhood in his native state of Iowa, where he attended the common school for a limited period, for, he being the eldest child, and the family large and not well to do, he had to begin industrial life at an early age. In 1881, at the age of 24, he came to Lincoln County, Wisconsin, locating at Jenny (now Merrill), where he found employment in the lumber mills, and for 35 years thereafter, or until 1916, he was connected with that industry in its different branches, working in the woods, on the river, in mills, as scaler, cruiser and in other capacities, for a number of years being in the employ of the A. H. Stange Lumber Company. It was during the early part of that period that he married and established a home. In 1900 Mr. GOSPILL bought 80 acres of timbered land in Sec. 29, Township 32 north, Range 7 east, which lies in the town of Merrill. For awhile he did nothing further in regard to it, but about 1912 or 1913 he decided to improved the property and accordingly began logging off the timber. He also built a log house on the land, in which he and his family began spending their summers, in winter residing in town. In 1921 he built a good two-story frame house as an additional and necessary improvement, having previously erected other buildings, such as a good barn and sheds for various purposes. He has gradually accumulated all necessary tools and machinery and now has 40 acres of his land under the plow. He is making a specialty of dairying and has a good herd of cattle, which he is breeding more and more into the Guernsey type. About two years ago Mr. GOSPILL began to take an active part in the affairs of local government, and was not only elected a supervisor but also chairman of the Merrill town board, in which position he is still serving, and which gives him a seat on the county board also. In national politics he favors the Republican party but exercises individual freedom in casting his ballot. He has been a hard worker all his life and his career has been ever upward and onward until he has reached a position where he is well known and respected by his fellow citizens. Mr. GOSPILL was married June 2, 1887 to Augusta ROTTINGSHAUSEN of Merrill, who was born in Germany Sept. 2, 1864, daughter of Frederick and Amelia (RAETHER) ROTTINGSHAUSEN. Her family came to the United States in 1870, settling in Milwaukee, there the father followed his trade of shoemaker. In 1875 they moved to Merrill (then known as Jenny), in which place he established a shop on Main Street, which he conducted for a number of years subsequently. Both he and his wife died in Merrill. Mr. and Mrs. GOSPILL are the parents of four children: Hazel Lorene, Alethia, J. Gordon and Dorothy Emily. Hazel Lorene, born Aug. 23, 1888, is now Mrs. W. H. BOYERS of Toledo, Ohio. Alethia, born April 2, 1890, is a teacher. J. Gordon, born May 19, 1893, who is assisting his father on the home farm, was married Jan. 1, 1923, to Laura BOWMAN of the town of Merrill. Dorothy Emily, born July 2, 1897, was graduated as a professional nurse, registered, from the General Hospital at Madison in the class of 1921, and is a member of the Visiting Nurses Association of Milwaukee, in which city she resides. All Mr. and Mrs. GOSPILL'S children passed through the Merrill High School, except J. Gordon, who took three years of the four-year course. The family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 611; 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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