"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.


Lawler, Finn the best known pioneer of Vilas County now living, and how for nearly half a century has taken a leading and effective part in the development of this region, in particular the village of Eagle River, where he resides, was born in Douglas Town, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, May 8, 1845, son of John and Sarah (LANDY) LAWLER. His paternal grandfather was Patrick Lawler, a native of Queen's County, Ireland, where he married Margaret FINN. In 1824 they emigrated to Canada, settling in Northumberland County, New Brunswick, where they passed away many years later, Patrick in 1877 and his wife Margaret 1880. For some 30 years they were employed in the Marine hospital which was established in Northumberland County by the British government. Patrick and Margaret LAWLER were the parents of 17 children, the names of but six of whom are now remembered--John, James, Mary, Margaret, Jane and Elisha. John LAWLER, father of Finn, was educated at St. John N. B., and became a school teacher, being highly competent in his profession which he followed for many years. Some of his pupils became members of parliament and others attained high positions in the governments of Canada and the United States, respectively. In 1862 he was appointed register of deeds for Northumberland County, and in 1863 received a royal appointment as magistrate, his commission being signed by Queen Victoria. On Nov. 6, 1844, he was united in marriage with Sarah LANDY, who was born on the ocean, daughter of John and Sarah LANDY. Her parents were natives of Ireland, and the father, who worked in the shipyard at Douglas Town, N. B., was drowned in the river Miramichi. Their children, in addition to Sarah, were John, Ann, Mary and Betsy. John and Sarah LAWLER had 13 children, namely, Margaret, Jane, Finn, Richard A., James, Rogers, John (deceased two years ago), Eliza, Mary Ann, and four that died in infancy. The family resided at Newcastle, N. B., four miles from Mr. LAWLER'S birthplace. On Nov. 6, 1894, Mr. and Mrs. John LAWLER celebrated with Golden Wedding. They survived that event a number of years longer, John LAWLER passing away in July, 1906, and Mrs. Sarah LAWLER in August, 1908. Finn LAWLER acquired his education under the able tution of his father, and when the latter became register of deeds he took his son Finn into the registry office with him. There the lad remained for about three years, or until October, 1865. He then went to New York City, where he entered the employ of a lumber company, but after working three days as a common laborer, his employer discovered his aptitude for figures and at once promoted him to the position of tally-keeper. In Feburary, 1866, he came to Wisconsin, spending a few months with relatives at Shullsburg, Lafayette County, then in the spring moving to Chicago. In that city, however, he remained but a short time, returning to Wisconsin and locating in the then village of Oshkosh, where he was employed for 16 months in a clothing store. the proprietors of the store, having decided to open a branch establishment at Neenah, sent young LAWLER there for take charge; but in 1867 he left that place and business and went to Shawano, Wis., where during the winter he was clerk in a hotel. The next spring he took up his residence in Portage, where he was onace more employed by the clothing firm that he had previously worked for. At the end of 18 months the firm dissolved and Mr. LAWLER then turned his attention to the Wolf River Valley, in December, 1869, settling out via the military road for Rice Lake (on the Wolf River), a place at that time of but one house. There in association with William JOHNSON he began trading with the Indians, an occpation of which he continued for some two years. During that time he had considerable experience as a woodsman, and in 1875, in company with Charles L. PERRY, nicknamed "Kentuck," came to Eagle River, which place has since been his home. He has been closely identified with almost every phase in the development of this part of the country, and especially of the region now known as Vilas County, for a number of years following such occupations as prospecting for timber lands, estimating, surveying and the handling of hardwood, pine and spruce timber, estimating the timber and selling it on commission, paying the taxes for non-residents. In this last mentioned occupation he was in partnership with A. A. DENTON, under the firm name of Denton & Lawler, and they had large interests in Wisconsin and Minnesota lands. During his pioneer and Indian trading days Mr. LAWLER learned to speak the Chippewa language and acquired an accurate knowledge of Indian character and customs. A Democrat in politics, at different times he rendered good service in public office; he was the first chairman of the old town of Eagle River, and the first school clerk, and in the spring of 1895 he was elected assessor. He also served for several years as deput county surveyor. In the fall of 1900 he received the nomination for county clerk on the Republican ticket and was elected to the office by a large majority. He has voted the Republican ticket ever since. He held the office of county clerk for two years; during that term he compiled a complete new abstract of title for Vilas County and organized the Vilas County Abstract Company, a corporation, on dec. 30, 1901. He was appointed deputy register of deeds and deputy clerk of the circuit court in the years, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910. During those years and up to the spring of 1914, he held his office in the court house, when he moved down town. He is still in the harness, doing an extensive real estate and abstract business, and may be found daily at his office. He has an intimate knowledge of history of Vilas County and there is no citizen within its borders whose name is better known or so frequently quoted in matters concerned therewith. On June 18, 1902, Mr. LAWLER married Mary E. WIEGAND, who was a school teacher. They have had three children: two of them boys who died in their infancy, and one a girl named Ruth, who is living and will be 12 years old on March 24, 1924. She attends school in the village and is in the eight grade.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 394-396 (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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