"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.


Ray, Captain Stiles Walter one of the pioneers of Minocqua still residing in the village, and a widely known and respected citizen, was born near Hancock, Portage County, Wis., son of William and Amanda (MACMILLAN) RAY. When he was five or six years old his parents moved to Missouri, going down the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers on a raft to Keokuk, Iowa, the father being a pilot. The mother took sick and died at Kirksville, Mo., soon after they reached there and this misfortune caused William RAY to return to Wisconsin. He settled in Centralia, Wood County (now included in the city of Wisconsin Rapids), where he was not long afterwards killed in a sawmill. The subject of this sketch thus became an orphan at an early age. For six years he lived with a man named GIBSON, then with his grandmother at Evansville, during which time he attended school. At the age of 17 years he went to Ashland, where he spent a few years. He became a conductor on the "Soo" railway and later worked on the St. Paul, coming to Minocqua in the spring of 1888, when the road was built to this place. As even then quite a number of tourists visited these parts, he gave up the railroad and became a guide and in the following year put the first boat on the lake. This was a small steamboat which he ran from Lake Minocqua to Tomahawk Lake and it was owing to his circumstance that the title of Captain was conferred upon him. He also did cruising, helped surveyors and cooked in camps. He has done little guide work since his marriage. That even occurred at Appleton, Minn., in 1900 and united him and Sarah HARROLD, who was born near Stevens Point, Wis. He and his wife have been the parents of seven children: Vilas Harriett; Amanda G., who died at the age of two years; Gordon MacMillan; Harold and Alfred (twins); John Vernon and Naomi Charlotte.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 334, 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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