"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.


Lytle, Alexander J. well known as a prominent business man of Rhinelander, Oneida County, of which city he has been a reisent for many years was born in Oshkosh, Wis., May 30, 1873, son of James and Angeline (ANNIS) LYTLE. The father was a native of Quebec, Canada, and the mother a descendant of the Winslow family, the first American progenitor of whom came to this country on the Mayflower in 1620. Alexander J. LYTLE spent the first nine years of his life in Oshkosh, where he attended school. In 1882 he came to Rhinelander with his Uncle, Louis ANNIS, who was a foreman for Tolman & Conro, in operating the first sawmill in Rhinelander, which was a portable mill. At that time, no public school having as yet been established in Rhinelander, young Lytle attended for awhile what was known as the Curran School, located below the junction of the Pelican and Wisconsin rivers, but in the following year, 1883, he went to the first public school, which was opened that year in a little shack located near the site of the present Central schoolhouse. His education was not continued much longer, however, as he soon entered the employ of the Tolman & Conto Lumber Co., going to work in the shingle department. After a short experience there he started lathing and shingling, and at the early age of 15 began lathing and shingling on contract, receiving a contract from the "Soo" Railway to lath and shingle all their hotels and stations on the line from St. Paul to Sault Ste. Marie. This kept him busy for some time, and then, work in that line being slack, he became a brakeman on the Lake Shore Railway, in which occupation he was engaged in 1891, 1892 and a part of the yar 1893, running between Ashland and Antigo. He left the road on June 30, 1893, the day that the Lake Shore was taken over by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, in the same year re-entered the contracting business, doing lath and shingle work for different companies at Tomahawk, Flambeau, McNaughton, Arbor Vitae and Star Lake, on their new stores, boarding-houses and dwelling-houses. This work however, occupied him only during the summers and during the winters he ran the compass for cruisers. In the fall of 1895 Mr. LYTLE entered the employ of the Rhinelander Iron Co., and was with them until 1898, when he became an employee of the Rhinelander Light Co. With this concern he began as a common laborer and rose in six years to the position of superintendent. This was great a step in advance and shows that he was devoting all his energies to increasing his stock and useful knowledge and paying close attention to his work. It was followed by several other important steps, as when he left that concern in October, 1904; it was to go to Norway, Mich., as manager of the municipal lighting plant of that city. The latter position he resigned in 1906, going to Iron River, Mich., where he obtained a franchise to build a light plant. This work having been successfully accomplished, he sold his interest in it in 1907, and, remaining in Iron River, went into the abstract, general real estate and timber business, in which he was engaged until 1910. In June, that year, he returned to Rhinelander, Wis., and for some years thereafter was engaged in cruising and surveying. It is here that his military record becomes an important part of his life history. In 1898 he had becom a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, having enlisted in Company H, Fifth Regiment as a private. In 1899 the Guard was reorganized, when his company became Company L, Second Regiment, and with this organization he remained until 1917, at which time he held a commission as second lieutenant. The United States had now entered into the World War, and on May 25, 1917, Mr. LYTLE enlisted for service, being appointed first lieutenant and assigned as aide-de-camp to Gen. C. R. BOARDMAN, then of the First Brigade W. N. G., but later the 64th Brigade, 32d Division. He was in France nine months, and on June 30, 1918, was promoted while in action to the rank of captain on the staff of Maj. Gen. LA JUNE, an intelligence officer of the 64th Brigade. After the close of hostilities he was discharged Dec. 13, 1918. After his return home Mr. LYTLE was appointed state inspector for the Wisconsin Conservation Commission and assigned special duty; but this work occupied him but a short time and he subsequently followed cruising and surveying until August, 1922, at which time he and E. O. BARSTO conceived the idea of the Wisconsin Land O' Lakes Association, to which he has since given his entire time. From Aug. 14, to November, 1922, he called on 250 resort keepers in 11 counties and covered a distance of 7,700 miles, and he also made personal surveys and gathered data for use of the Association. Captain LYTLE is also active in civic and social affairs, in which his aid and influence are a useful factor. He was one of the state organizers of the American Legion, and is a member of the Abner Dahlberg Post, No. 7 of Rhinelander. He is also a charter member of Lodge No. 598, B. P. O. E., of Rhinelander, and of Lodge No. 457, A. F. & A. M., of Iron River, Mich. On April 11, 1895, Alexander J. LYTLE was united in marrigae with Nellie M. DAVIS, daughter of Joseph and Victoria (TARBOX) DAVIS. Her parents, who were natives of Maine and Vermont respectively, came west in 1873, first locating at Rosendale, Fond du Lac County, Wis., and later at Antigo, Langlade County, where they were engaged in farming for the remainder of their lives. Captain and Mrs. LYTLE have been the parents of two children: Loraine, now deceased; and Alexander J., Jr., who is attending the Rhinelander High School.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 322-323 (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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