"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.


Sayner, Orrin W. one of the pioneers of Vilas County and the first settler in the town of Plum Lake, is one of the most popular and best-known resort men in northern Wisconsin. He was born at Aetna Green, Ind., March 8, 1861, son of George H. and Elizabeth (HALL) SAYNER. The father, whose ancestors came from Holland, was born in Indiana; the mother, of English descent, was a native of Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. George H. SAYNER and family came to Wisconsin in 1862, making the trip across country with a team of oxen and a covered wagon; they settled first at Menomonie, Wis., and after two years there removed to Eau Claire, spending the remainder of their lives at the latter place; the father died in May, 1898 and the mother in May, 1911. Orrin W. SAYNER received his education in the schools of Eau Claire and then worked with his father until 1883. For the following six years he operated one of his father's farms near Eau Claire, and in 1889 he came to Vilas County. After spending two years here in charge of a summer home for C. F. TATUM, in 1891 he settled at his present location in the town of Plum Lake. This was two years before any other settlers took up homes in the township; his nearest post office and trading point was Eagle River, and for two years he made the journey back and forth to this point on foot, carrying his provisions on his back. When the railroad came through in 1894 it located a station near his homestead, naming it Sayner in his honor, and on this site the village of Sayner as it exists today is located. A postoffice was established there in 1898 and Mr. SAYNER was appointed postmaster, an office which he held for 25 years, resigning in December, 1922; until 1917 the office was located at his resort. This resort Mr. SAYNER established in 1892, it being one of the very earliest establishments of this nature to be set up. Today he has one of the finest and best-equipped summer resorts in northern Wisconsin. His main lodge is 30x126 feet in dimensions, two stories high, with a modern kitchen 34x48 feet; there are ten finely furnished, all modern cottages, and the location, on one of the most beautiful spots on the shore line of Plum Lake, is ideal. Virgin timber 120 to 150 feet in height surrounds the place, Mr. SAYNER having preserved this timber in the face of numerous offers of large sums of money. The magnificent trees and the cool clear waters of the lake form a picture that brush and canvas cannot equal, of beauty that even Nature has attained in but few places. Mr. SAYNER is very popular with all his guests and does everything in his power to make everyone happy while stopping at his place. The fishing here is unexcelled, and is made available by a fleet of the finest row boats that money can buy; there are croquet grounds, a tennis court, etc., and there is little chance for a dull moment while stopping here. Mr. SAYNER was married at Eau Claire, Wis., April 9, 1883, to Cora VAN VALKENBURGH, and he and his wife have had five children, namely: George W., and Silas M., both residing at Sayner; Mabel A., who is now Mrs. A. V. DEWITT and also resides at Sayner; Richard F., who is operating Trail's End Resort on Plum Lake; and Clark, who was accidentally shot at the age of 12 years.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 483-484 (with pictures), 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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