"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.


Persohn, William a man of means and respected citizen now living retired at Eagle River, Vilas County, after a successful career in several lines of industry, was born in Germany, Sept. 2, 1848, son of Charles PERSOHN. At the age of six years he was brought to America by his father, who located at Waukesha, Wis., and there he attended school. Then he accompanied his father to Appleton, in the vicinity of which city the latter bought a farm on which William resided until he was 19 years old. Preferring a mechanical trade to the life of a agriculturist, he then applied himself to learn that of shoemaker, in Appleton. After working at it there for some time he established himself in the shoe business at Shiocton, Wis., and later at Manawa. In 1888 he came to Eagle River and established a similar business here, also dealing in harness. He built up a good trade which obliged him at times to employ as many as five men, and conducted the business until 1921, in which year he sold out. A few years after coming to Eagle River, or in 1892, Mr. PERSOHN bought 40 acres of wild land on Loon Lake, subsequently adding other land until he had 200 acres, of which tract he cleared 75 acres, also building a residence and out-buildings, the barn being 40x56 feet, with 20-foot posts and an underground stable. The family resided on the farm, which the son managed, Mr. PERSOHN driving to and from his store in town. In 1917 he sold the farm and bought a residence property. Subsequently, however, he sold the latter, bought three lots and built his present bungalow residence. In addition to these activities, in 1911 he established a general store, including hardware and meat departments, for his son Robert and son-in-law, Joseph T. NEMACHEK, which was conducted under the style of the Persohn Co. until 1920, when it was sold to Adams Bros. For several terms Mr. PERSOHN served as supervisor on his town board, and showed himself a competent and painstaking official. He was married Feb. 26, 1874, at Shiocton, Wis., to Sophia Augusta GRIER, who was born in Germany, Jan. 18, 1847, and came to the United States with her parents in 1874, the family locating in the town of Freedom, Outagamie County, Wis. To Mr. and Mrs. PERSOHN four children have been born: Minnie, Helene, Robert and Arthur W., the last mentioned of whom died in infancy. Minnie, who married Louis PHILLIPS, is now a widow and resides in lower Michigan; she as eight children, Maude Augusta, William Arthur, Ruth, Relva, Erving, Margaret, Claire and Lena. Helene, who is the wife of Joseph NEMACHEK, now lives in La Crosse and has six children living, namely, Lula Helen, Ruth E., Marion A., Josephine, Janet, and Loraine; two other, William and Joseph, died in infancy. Robert is assessor of Eagle River village and resides at home. Mr. PERSOHN and his family attend the Congregational Church.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 490-491, 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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