"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.


Mattoon, Alonzo residing on Franklin Lake in Forest County, is probably one of the best known guides in northern Wisconsin. He was born at Beaver Dam, Wis., April 6, 1856; when he was two years old the family removed to Ogdensburg in Waupaca County, and he was reared and educated there, remaining at home until he was 20 years old. He then went to work in the lumber woods, and he followed the lumber industry in various capacities for 15 years. It was in 1887 that he came to this locality, first residing at Three Lakes (then in Forest County), where for two years he was in the employ of the Webster Lumber Co., scaling lumber for them during the winter months and herding their oxen during the summers, and also caring for various dams in this locality. In 1898 he took up guide work on the lakes and streams, and since that time he has resided on Butternut Lake. Mr. MATTOON knows every nook and corner of all the lakes and streams for many miles around, and his services as a guide are always in demand. It is a pleasure to listen to his varied reminiscences of the early and wild days, and the jovial face and interesting stories of "Lon" as he is called by his friends, are known to fishermen from Maine to California. Mr. MATTOON is the oldest guide in northern Wisconsin in point of service; he uses no automobiles or launches in his work, preferring the less temperamental row boat, and his knowledge of fishing grounds and the favorite haunts of the finny tribe is a byword among the disciples of Isaac WALTON. The article following this sketch was prepared by Mr. MATTOON himself, from his great store of interesting reminiscences. One of the stories he tells (this one of himself) concerns an experience of his with a young bear. It seems that a certain man had offered ten dollars for a live bear cut, and Mr. MATTOON essayed to furnish him with the object of his desire, and, incidentially, reap the reward. He was not long in finding a young bear in the woods, and he at once began operations to dislodge him from his perch. In the encounter which followed, however, he rapidly altered his opinion of his physical superiority over the bear, and when the dust of the battle had settled Mr. MATTOON was not only without any bear cub, but was also minus practically all of his clothes and a good portion of his skin. Sadder but wiser he wended his way homeward along lanes far removed from the public gaze; on approaching his domicile, however, he received still another shock; more while ladies than he had thought there were in the entire region were visiting at his house! Awaiting a favorable moment, he dashed into the barn, and there, thankful for even this privacy, he remained until he could attract his wife's attention and secure such garments as would make his return to society a conventional one. Mr. MATTOON in partnership with two other men, owns a tract of lake frontage on Lake Franklin, and he is interested in other land holdings with Mr. UNDERWOOD, for whom he is compass man. For the past 15 years he has had charge each winter of one and sometimes all of the summer resorts and private homes on Butternut and Franklin lakes. He has built or helped to build nearly all the buildings around these lakes. He has just completed the erection of a fine log cottage on the shore of Lake Franklin, and this is now his home. Mr. MATTOON was first married in 1882 to Jennie BAKER, and by this marriage he is the father of one child, Hope MATTOON, who is now principal of school at White, Brookings County, South Dakota. Mr. MATTOON was again married in 1911 to Lillian UER; his second wife passed away in 1915. His fraternal affiliations are with the Odd Fellows, and he was one of the first members of their Ogdensburg Lodge No. 211.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 745, 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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