"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.


Podeweltz, William E. a well known and respected farmer of the town of Merrill, Lincoln County, was born in Portage County, March 25, 1864, son of Charles and Albertina (PENING) PODEWELTZ. The parents were typical pioneers of the Northwest, coming from Germany to this country in 1861 and settling in Portage County, Wisconsin, after residing for one year in Milwaukee. The journey from Milwaukee was made in a covered wagon drawn by oxen and which contained, in addition to themselves, their few earthly possessions. On arriving at their homestead of 40 acres they found it a piece of wild brush land. There were no roads but plenty of Indians. Many times Mr. PODEWELTZ left his wife and children there while he went to other places seeking a chance to earn money on which to live and with which to improve his place, and sometimes he was away four months, but the Indians did not trouble the family. The mother used to mend their clothes with strips of slippery elm, as they had no needles or thread. Charles PODEWELTZ first built a one-room log house, later connecting a small barn to the house, in which they kept their one cow. He cleared the farm and later built a frame house and barn, gradually becoming prosperous, and there he and his wife spent the rest of their lives, both being now deceased. They had a large family of children, some of whom died in infancy, and among those deceased are Charles, Sophia and Minnie. William E. PODEWELTZ, who is the only member of the family now living, went to school in Portage County, and resided with his parents until he was 15 years old. He worked on their farm and subsequently went to Port Edwards, Wood County, where he worked one year in the sawmill of John EDWARD. From there he went to Biron in the same county and ran the edger four summers in the sawmill, working in the woods in winter. For the next two years he conducted a saloon in Wisconsin Rapids, then gave it up and coming to Merrill, ran the edger in the Comstock sawmill one year, after that worked in the Lincoln mill for Mr. FOSTER three summers, and subsequently ran the edger 13 years in the mill of Gilkey, Anson Company. At the end of that period he began farming on his own account, buying 20 acres of land in Section 36, town of Merrill; and later he bought 80 acres more from his brother on Lake View, built a good frame house, barn and other buildings, and carried on general farming and dairying there until he sold the place to his son Wilbert. He then bought 40 acres in Section 6, town of Merrill, where he now lives, putting up a frame house and other buildings, and is now doing general farming and dairying. At one time he kept a herd of from 25 to 28 Guernsey cattle. Mr. PODEWELTZ was married at Wisconsin Rapids in 1884 to Mary HAGER, daughter of Charles and Mollie (JACKS) HAGER, her parents having been early settlers of that place, where the father is still living, being now 84 years of age; Mrs. HAGER is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. PODEWELTZ have four children, Wilbert, Lillian, Hazel and Zoie. Lillian, who married Walter KING, lives at Black River Falls, Wis,; Hazel is the wife of Frank MATTIS of Wausau, and Zoie is the wife of Walter MAAS of the town of Merrill, Lincoln County.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 691; 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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