"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.


Sprague M.D., John P. proprietor of Camp Minocqua and Pottawattomie Lodge, near Minocqua, Oneida County, was born at Easton, Me., Nov. 2, 1874. He graduated from the Ricker Classical School at Houlton, Me., with the class of 1894 and then entered Bates College at Lewiston, Me., from which he was graduated with the class of 1898, receiving the degree of A. B. He worked for one year as a teacher in private schools. He next matriculated at the National Medical School in Chicago; after studying for two years at that institution, in 1901 he entered Northwestern University, and was graduated from its medical department with the class of 1903. He then took up the practice of medicine and surgery in Chicago. In 1914 he went to Grinnell, Iowa, was professor of hygiene and sanitation in Grinnell College. He continued in this capacity and as college physican until January, 1917, when he enlisted in the government service as medical officer in the United State Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation. He was given charge of the hospitals and dispensaries in the 200 ship yards operated under government supervision, having his headquarters at Washington and Philadelphia. Later he was transferred to the United State public health service as scientific assistant. After the close of the war he was discharged June 1, 1919, with rank as major. Following the termination of his army career he returned to Chicago, and has ever since been engaged in orthopedic surgery there and at Evanston, Ill. He is attending surgeon at the Illinois Masonic Hospital and the University Hospital, both of Chicago, and is assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in the college of medicine of the University of Illinois. Dr. SPRAGUE is a member of the Chicago Medical Society, the Illinois State Medical Society, and the American Medical Association. He is also a member of the Chicago Orthopedic Club and the Midwest Orthopedic Society. He is grand president of the Alpha Kappa Kappa medic fraternity. He is a member of the Masons, belonging to their lodge at Evanston, Ill., and socially is a member of the University Club at Chicago, the Evanston Club at Evanston, Ill, and the Minocqua Heights Golf and County Club. Dr. SPRAGUE was married on May 18, 1904, to Myrtle Belle MAXIM, of South Prarie, Me.; Mrs. SPRAGUE is a graduate of Bates College at Lewiston, Me., having been a member of the graduating class of 1898 at that institution; prior to her marriage she worked as a school teacher. Dr. and Mrs. SPRAGUE have two children: Grace Maxim, who was born at Chicago, Nov. 25, 1905, and who is now a student in Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill., having graduated from the high school of that city with the class of 1923; and Helen Estes, born at Grinnell, Iowa, Dec. 31, 1916. Dr. and Mrs. SPRAGUE are members of the First Congregational Church at Evanston, Ill., and Dr. SPRAGUE is chairman of the boys' committee of the Men's Club of his church. Dr. SPRAGUE took the first steps toward the establishment of his camp for boys in Oneida County in 1904, when he came here and rented a piece of property on Bolger Lake, establishing a camp that summer. In 1905 he purchased 65 acres of wild timber and brush land on the west shore of Tomahawk Lake and transferred the camp to this property. He has since added to the size of the grounds from time to time until today Camp Minocqua's grounds consist of 240 acres with two miles of shore line. The camp accepts boys between the ages of nine and 17 inclusive, the quota of the junior camp being 30 boys, the intermediate camp 40, and the senior camp 30. Dr. STRAGUE personally devotes his entire summer to the management of the camp. Direction of all the affairs is through a corps of experienced councilors. Each councilor is assigned to a group of five boys; the small number under the charge of a councilor makes it possible to give individual instruction in all the branches of athletics, woodcraft and water sports and to act as "big brother" to each individual boy. The camp has a large main building, a senior club house, a boat house, a bath house, six sleeping cabins, and a hospital cabin. The main building contains the junior club room, the library, the office, the laundry and store room, the councilors' room, the dining room and kitchen, and along its front it has screened porch 10x96 feet. There are two cabins which are used as club houses for the intermediate group. The senior club house has a large living room with fireplace, reading and writing tables, a small library and two screened porches. The second story of the boat house contains the manual arts shop. Juniors and some intermediate occupy the sleeping cabins, while the senior and other intermediate boys sleep in 16x19 high-wall army tents which are provided with board floors, cot beds, and mattresses; the tents accommodate four persons each. In establishing and carrying on this camp Dr. SPRAGUE has done a splendid work, and a summer's outing here will mean much to a boy in the years which lie ahead of him. the self reliance taught by life in the open, the adaptability to social conditions gained through the companionship of other boys in this forest environment, the health of mind and body generated by the outdoor life and wholesome food--these things mean a training for the battle of life such as can be gained in no other way. On coming to the camp each boy is given a thorough medical examination, and throughout his stay his welfare is guarded with the same watchfulness that it would be if he were at home with his parents. Zest is added to his enjoyment of the sports by the competitive element brought about through the system of awarding certificates and badges of three different grades, according to the individual's attainments in athletics, woodcraft, and certain other fields. Fishing, canoeing, hiking, and all the other recreations offered by the great outdoors made the camper's summer here one long delight. In 1912 Dr. SPRAGUE established Pottawattomie Lodge in conjunction with Camp Minocqua; this lodge is operated for the accommodation of parents of boys stopping at Camp Minocqua, and such others as the management may wish to receive. There are three main buildings, situatred about 50 feet apart. One, built in 1922, is used exclusively as a living room; this building is 38x24 feet in dimensions, has a hardwood floor and contains a fireplace and piano. The second building contains the dining-room, with two fireplaces, kitchen and store rooms. The third building is devoted entirely to sleeping accommodations and contains 14 rooms with two bath rooms. In addition to these main buildings there are three attractive cottages with large screened porches, running water and other attractive features. A boat house, cement tennis court, garages, and a power house complete the equipment. Pottawattomie Lodge is truly an ideal summer resort. There is hot and cold running water in the main lodge and cottages, and the equipment and service is perfect in every detail. The location in the heart of the great lake and woods region, with over a mile of frontage on beautiful Tomahawk Lake, and with fishing, bathing, boating, and all other outdoor sports at their finest, leaves nothing to be desired. When Dr. SPRAGUE acquired the sites of these camps no development whatever had been made on the land; today the place is one of the most beautiful spots in this region, with some 27 buildings, fine walks and driveways, athletic fields, tennis courts, and many other improvements. He may well feel proud of the success the camps have achieved, for this success is due solely to the fact that he has spent every effort to make them what they are.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 399-401, 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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