"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.


Lacau, Edward who is well known as chief guide in the wood and lake territory extending for 100 miles around Eagle River, was born in Flintville, Brown County, Wis., May 2, 1869, son of Samuel and Sarah (SMITH) LACAU. When he was four and a half years old his parents separated and for the next two years he was put out to board with different families. While still very young he sold papers and shined shoes and at the age of nine was employed in a railroad hotel at Ashland where he peeled potatoes for his board. He then became a bell boy but was in that position only two weeks, after which he was employed by the hotel company as guide to take tourists out fishing and sight-seeing on the trout streams and Madilan Islands. In 1882, at the age of 13, he left Ashland and went to Fifield, Wis., where he spent the following winter. From there he went farther south, doing various kinds of work as he went along, until on March 16, 1884, he reached Eagle River, where he has since made his home. In the year in which he arrived here, having saved a few dollars, he and John BLODGETT started a small resort, but this partnership lasted but a short time. Mr. BLODGETT went away and Mr. LACAU, having derived no benefit from the association, found himself penniless. He then took up the work nearest at hand, trapping during the winter and guiding tourists in the summer; sometimes in the winter he also worked in lumber camps. Mr. LACAU has worked as guide in Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada, though of late years he work has been on the lakes within a radius of 100 miles of Eagle River, every square mile of which territory he knows thoroughly. Since 1906 he has operated a boat livery in Eagle River, having for rent 11 canoes and 17 row boats, and he is also agent for the Rhinelander Boat Company, and Elto outboard motor. In addition to these activities Mr. LACAU locates sites for summer homes for tourists, and it was through his efforts that the Everett Resort was developed, which was one of the first in Vilas County. He owns several cottages on the Wisconsin River, within the village limits, which he rents out during the summers. He is now erecting a building on the bank of the river just west of his home, in plane dimensions 26x50 feet, and two stories in height. The lower floor is to be used for boat storage and as a repair shop; the second floor for a boat display room, also curio room, old-fashioned tea room and flower room, which will be in charge of his daughter, Mrs. Jacob VAN DERHEYDEN. Mr. LACAU was married May 28, 1890, in Washburn, Wis., to Mary SALVAY, daughter of Sebastian and Caroline (BROWN) SALVAY, the parents being natives of France and Germany respectively, who, on coming to the United States in 1869, settled in Trempealeau County, Wis. To Mr. and Mrs. LACAU two children have been born: Emma, now Mrs. Jacob VAN DERHEYDEN of Eagle River, and Elise, who is a pupil in the junior class in high school. In thus sketching Mr. LACAU'S career it is worthy of note that he is what he has made himself. Starting out in life with almost every disadvantage, deprived at a very early age of his parents' care, and obliged while yet an infant to work for his living, also unsuccessful in his first business venture, he has yet in spite of all discouragements succeeded in making his way in life to a position where he is practically independent, enjoys the respect of his neighbors and has all the comforts of a happy home. His life shows once again that success depends chiefly upon the inherent qualities of the man and very little upon outside circumstances, and that with good health, intelligence and perserverance any man may win a worthy place in the world.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 458 (with picture), 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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