"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.


Gross, Ernest J. a prominent member of the agricultural community in the town of Russell, Lincoln County, was born in Owatonna, Minn., Dec. 11, 1870, son of Calvin and Frederica (HELM) GROSS. The father was a native of Ohio, born April 3, 1829, and the mother of Germany, born June 9, 1840. At an early day Calvin GROSS worked with his father, who was an overland freighter, making trips by wagon between Owatonna, Minn. and Green Bay, Wis., these trips sometimes taking four or five months to make. He was married to Frederica HELM at Balck Wolk, near Oshkosh, Wis., on Aug. 31, 1854. She had come from Germany with her parents at the age of 12, the latter making a homestead in the town of Nekima, just outside of the city of Oshkosh. Previous to the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. and Mrs. Calvin GROSS moved to Owatonna, where their son Ernest was subsequently born, and where Mr. GROSS died May 3, 1875. His wife died in the same place nearly 30 years later, on Oct. 28, 1909. Ernest J. GROSS was taken to Oshkosh when an infant of four years and grew up there. At the age of 13 he left school and began working in mills and factories, and at 18 he became connected with the lumber industry, being employed in the woods and on the river until the year 1900. In 1898 he bought his present place in Section 27, town of Russell, a mile and a quarter east of Gleason. It consisted of 80 acres of land, with a log barn and house, ten acres of the land being cleared. Onto this place he moved in the year 1900 and since then he has spent his time in improving it. Forty acres are now under the plow, the rest being in pasture and timber. Mr. Gross has a good operating equipment and keeps his place in good shape, not only with a view to practicaly results but also in appearance. He milks ten cows and has a pure-bred bull in his herd of good grade cattle. The orginal log dwelling has given place to a good two-story, eight-room, frame house, which he completed and moved into in the winter of 1904; and he also has a good frame barn, with a full-stone, eight-foot basement with cement floors, and steel equipment, besides other necessary buildings. Besides carrying on general farming and dairying, Mr. GROSS keeps bees and is numbered among the honey producers of the county. On April 12, 1898, on the breaking out of the Spanish-American War, Mr. GROSS enrolled as a member of the Second Infantry, W. N. G., and continued as a member of that organization for three years subsequently. In politics he inclines toward the doctrines of the Republican party but in casting his vote is guided chiefly by the merits of the respective candidates. He stands well with his fellow citizens and was for two years a supervisor of the town of Russell. On Nov. 24, 1892, Mr. Gross was married to Emma STEINFEST daughter of Frank and Mary (HALTER) STEINFEST, the parents being natives of Bohemia, who met and were married after they had come to this country and settled at Brillion, Calumet County, Wis., where Mrs. GROSS was born Aug. 24, 1873. The children in the Steinfest family were: Adolph, now of Brillion, Wis.; Blanche, who is Mrs. Michael LACKMAN of Antigo; Joseph, deceased; John, of Brillion; Emma, wife of the subject of this sketch; Katherine, now Mrs. Joe DEMASK of Sault Ste. Marie; Elizabeth, wife of Ed. CLIFFORD of Antigo; Mary, deceased; Sarah, who married Charles ROSS of Antigo, but is now deceased; Charles of Antigo; Carrie, wife of Alvin REED of the town of Russell, Lincoln County, and Frank of Antigo. Mr. and Mrs. GROSS have been the parents of four children, William E., born May 24, 1896; Alvin E., born Jan. 18, 1898; Carrie, born July 24, 1901, and Vernon, born Oct. 14, 1904, and who died April 6, 1912. William E. is engineer for the Curtis & Yale Manufacturing Co. of Wausau. He served in the U.S. navy while this country was engaged in the World War, enlisting as soon as hostilities were declared. The vessel on which he served was engaged in lying mines in the North Sea. Alvin E. is a mechanic in the Gleason garage. He was married June 6, 1923 to Susan ECKLUND of Bloomville, Lincoln County. Carrie is now the wife of Cleo MILLENBACH, cashier of the Gleason Bank in Gleason, who also is a merchant. She has two children May June and Jack. The family are affiliated religiously with the Presbyterian congregation at Gleason.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 611-612; 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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