"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.
O'Day, John formerly a member of the Wisconsin Central Assembly from Lincoln County, in which he served two terms, and who has been a resident of Merrill since 1881, was in early days distinguished chiefly as an experienced worker in the lumber industry. A writer in a history of Wisconsin published in 1914 says: "The lumber interest of Wisconsin have produced many able figures in the commerical and civic activities of the state, and one of these is John O'DAY, who for years has probably done as much as any other individual to uphold the prestige of Merrill as an industrial business center." John O'DAY is a native of England, where he was born June 28, 1856, a son of Bartholomew and Mary (MCNAMARA) O'DAY. When he was baby nine months old his parents emigrated to America, and when he was four years old they located on a farm two and a half miles from Grand Rapids (now Wisconsin Rapids), Wis. It was on that farm that John O'DAY grew up and received the influences and training which shaped his character and abilities for his varied accomplishments. Both is parents died in Grand Rapids, the mother in April, 1883, and the father in January, 1900. The country schools near his home at Grand Rapids were the source of his education, and when still a boy he took to the woods to earn his living. As a day laborer he followed the trails and the lumber camps of northern Wisconsin until 1881, and then located at Merrill, which city has since been his residence and headquarters. He came to Merrill to become foreman for the T. B. Scott Lumber Co., but on arriving refused to accept the proposition they made him and instead took up work as driver of an ox-team in the employ of that company. He did that kind of work during the winter of 1881-82, and in the spring of 1882 the company accepted his terms and made him foreman. Later he was promoted to the rank of walking boss and filled that responsible position 13 years. He then entered into partnership with the late John DALEY of Grand Rapids. He bought the logging outfit of the T. B. Scott Lumber Co., and the firm of O'Day & Daley became one of the live and enterprising factors in the lumber business of northern Wisconsin. Its association and business were continued prosperously until 1908, when the partnership was dissolved through the accidental death of Mr. DALEY. Though his lumbering operations covered a large scope of territory, Mr. O'DAY made his home at Merrill through all these years. In 1900 Mr. O'DAY organized the Merrill Iron Works Company, became president of that industry, owning practically all its stock, and conducted it until the fall of 1912, when he sold out. Both in business and public affairs Mr. O'DAY has had a large part in the history of Merrill. In 1907 he served one term as mayor. He has been vice president and director of the Merrill Railway and Lighting Company almost since the inception of that company 20 years ago; is vice president and director of the Grandfather Falls Paper Manufacturing Company of Merrill, a large concern which he took a prominent part in organizing in 1905, and which has a capital stock of $400,000, and is a director in the Citizens National Bank of Merrill. In 1882 Mr. O'DAY was married to Mary STILLWELL of Grand Rapids, Wis., a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver STILLWELL, and of this union four children were born: Ethel M., Guy W., Leslie J., and Pearl. Guy W. and Pearl are deceased. Mr. O'DAY and family are communicants of the Catholic Church. He is active in the order of Knights of Columbus and up to Jan. 1, 1913, served as Grand Knight of Merrill Lodge. In politics he is a loyal Democrat.
Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 680;
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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