"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.


Oelhafen, John W. proprietor of the Oelhafen Daylight Corner Department Store in Tomahawk, Lincoln County, and a prominent and successful business man of the city, was born in Milwaukee, Wis., May 11, 1866, son of John and Annie Sophia OELHAFEN. In 1872 he accompanied his parents to Wausau, this state, where he attended the grade school, and later assisted his father, who kept a store there. In 1887 the family moved to Tomahawk, then a small settlement not long started, as the store that he opened here was the first in the place. John W. worked in that also and with other members of the family acquired an interest in it, the business being conducted under the style of "John Oelhafen Co.," and incorporated as such in 1914. He was connected with the concern for the long period of 37 years, working in the store until Jan. 1, 1922, and during the next 12 months being engaged in settling up the lumber interests of the company. In August, 1922, he began the erection of the business block he is now occupying, a handsome two-story brick and tile structure on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and E. Second Street, having a frontage of 50 feet on Wisconsin Avenue and a depth of 142 feet on E. Second Street. On the lower or ground floor he is conducting a first class, modern department store with suitable surroundings and a fine equipment. The interior is finished in walnut and the cases and counters are among the finest products of their kind to be obtained in Grand Rapids. In a spacious balcony extending over the rear part of the store is the office of the concern, an elegantly furnished ladies' rest room and a fire-proof vault for the firm's books. The cement-floor basement under the entire building is occupied by the vapor-heating plant and is also used for surplus stock, while the upper story contains office rooms occupied mostly by logging, land and lumber firms. The building in fact, in view of its purpose, is one of the largest and best fitted out of its kind to be found anywhere outside of the large cities, and the store itself is stocked with the most up to date goods of various kinds, retailed in various departments, such as groceries, ladies' ready-to-wear, men's furnishings, dry goods, trunks and valises, etc. The practical experience of a life time in the person of the proprietor, Mr. OELHAFEN, is plainly visible in the result obtained, and is proving a potent factor in making the enterprise successful. He also has the capable assistance of his two sons, Fred M. and Edward G., who, like their father, have grown up in the mercantile business. Mr. OELHAFEN was married June 23, 1888, to Catherine ZANDER of Milwaukee, who was born in that city Jan. 21, 1867. To him and his wife have been born seven children, Fred M., Adelia, Edward G., Alma, Norma, Katherine and John W., Jr. Fred M. was born in Tomahawk, Dec. 2, 1890, and was educated in the public schools of this city and in the Spencerian Business College in Milwaukee, being graduated from the latter in 1898. He was married Dec. 28, 1914, to Glada J., daughter of A. E. and Jane SUTLEFF of Tomahawk, and they have two children, Marjorie Jane, born oct. 27, 1915, and Wayne Robert, born Oct. 21, 1919. Fred M. is a member of the Elks Lodge in Merrill. Edward G. OELHAFEN was born in Tomahawk Nov. 27, 1892, and was educated like his brother Fred, being graduated from the business college in Milwaukee in1909. He was married July 21, 1915, to Helen A., daughter of William and Jennie (RUDD) FOOTE of Oshkosh, Wis., she having been born in that city Nov. 8, 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. OELHAFEN have one child, Helen Sherry, who was born Aug. 1, 1917. The family are members of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Edward G., being also a Knight of Columbus. John W. OELHAFEN is a member of the Cohassett Lodge, No. 11, K.O.T.M., of Tomahawk.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 678-679; 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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