"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.


Oxley, John proprietor of Camp McKinley, on Wolf Lake, Vilas County, was born in England, Jan. 15, 1859, son of Phillip and Elizabeth (HAYHOE) OXLEY. The family came to the United States in 1872 and located at Ontario Center, Wayne County, New York. Mining was the principal industry at that point, and Phillip OXLEY followed that work for four years, after which the family removed to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives. John OXLEY attended school in England and in New York State. From April to September, 1874, he was at Hamilton, Canada, and he then returned to Wayne County, New York, where he remained for a year and a half, working on farms during the summer months and attending school winters. He next went to Detroit, Mich., and after staying there for some time he pushed on westward, locating at Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin, where he followed carpenter work and also worked for two winters in the woods. In 1882 he bought land in Marathon County and proceeded to develop a farm, building a log house and two log barns, with other necessary out-buildings, and going ahead with the clearing of the land. In 1919 he built an eight-room house. In conjunction with his farming operations he bought timber land from time to time and logged it off. After remaining in Marathon County until 1893, he came to Vilas County and with Oliver GOFF established a resort on Clear Crooked Lake. He has continued in the summer resort business in Vilas County ever since that time, about 30 years in all. He established his present resort, Camp McKinley, in 1901, buying five acres on the south shore of Wolf Lake in Lot 8, Section 31, Township 43, Range 7. Today Mr. OXLEY'S place is one of the finest in this vicinity. His main lodge is 22x36 feet in dimensions, with office 18x22 feet and kitchen 16x32. There are 12 cottages for the use of the guests, besides a cottage for the help and Mr. OXLEY'S private dwelling house; with the exception of the home and two of the cottages, these are all log buildings of rustic design. Eighteen row boats and four canoes are maintained, and there is a fine boat landing and bathing beach. An excellent table is set, with an abundance of pure cream and milk and fresh vegetables, and with the luxury of a continual supply of pure home-made maple syrup. The location is at the very heart of the great lake and forest country of northern Wisconsin; in all directions from this center the clear, sparkling lakes radiate out, dotting the great primeval forest which stretches away on every hand, inspiring in its beauty, awesome in its solitude, soul-satisfying in its peace. There is excellent fishing in all these lakes, and they afford opportunities for canoe trips that will ever afterward be treasured among the pleasantest memories of a lifetime. Here at Camp McKinley health and glorious fund and peaceful respite from all the care of life await the visitor, and the hand of welcome and hospitality stretched out to him will round out his satisfaction to the fullest. Mr. OXLEY is a gentleman of the old school, and his guests are his friends, to be treated in the way of Christian love for all mankind. In addition to his resort interest Mr. OXLEY owns 120 acres of land near by, which he uses for pasturage and cultivation. The resort is now conducted under the firm name of John OXLEY and Son, and Ralph OXLEY, the junior member of the firm, has also proved very popular with the guests. In November, 1889, John OXLEY was united in marriage with Albertine GOFF, of Schofield, Wis. Mrs. OXLEY died in 1902, leaving five children: Phillip, Ralph, Evelyn, John, Jr., and Norma. Phillip married Aneta ROSS of Antigo, Wis., and he and his family are now living at Woodruff, Wis.; his children are Ross P., Robert L., Raymond M., Russell J., Albertina A., and Eugene V. Of the other children of Mr. and Mrs. John OXLEY, Sr., Ralph married Clara WAHL of Oconto Falls, Wis., and, as previously mentioned, is now associated with his father in the ownership and management of Camp McKinley. Evelyn is now Mrs. Fred J. SCHMIDT of Evanston, Ill., and has two children, Ralph and Betty. John OXLEY, Jr., is living at Pekin, Ill., having charge of the extensive yards of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway there; he married Marie PURCELL of Belvidere, Ill. Norma is working as a school teacher at Woodruff, Wis., and has made an excellent record in that profession.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 484, 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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