"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.


Staffan, August proprietor of Major Farm in the town of Conover, Vilas County, and a pioneer settler in this locality, was born in Finland, Jan. 10, 1878. He received his education in his native land and subsequently worked on his father's farm there until 1899, in which year he came to the United States and located at Crystal Falls, Mich., where he worked in the mines for a year and a half. He next followed the same occupation at Hurley, Wis., until 1903. In the fall of 1903 he purchased 80 acres of wild land in the town of Conover, Vilas County, and in 1904 he came here and took up the great task of developing a farm from this unimproved land. He made a clearing and erected a log shanty to serve as a temporary residence, and set to work. Gradually under his efforts a modern, improved farm arose. At first the closest market was Eagle River, and to reach that he had to follow trails for 20 miles through the woods; later Phelps (then named Hackley) was started, but even this was ten miles away through dense forests, and both Eagle River and Phelps were purely local markets. Mr. STAFFAN well remembers the years when he carried butter and eggs to town on foot and returned laden down with groceries. As the clearing of his land progressed he built a barn and other outbuildings, and today his place is fully equipped and takes its place among the prosperous farms of Vilas County. He erected a fine frame residence, 28x32 feet in dimensions and with eight rooms, in 1920. Forty acres of his land are under the plow, and he is carrying on general farming. He has taken an active and useful part in the direction of the public affairs of his community, and served as school director for three years and as township supervisor for two terms. He and his family are members of the Swedish Lutheran Church in Section 23, town of Conover, and Mr. STAFFAN was one of the five men who organized this church in 1903, the full list being as follows: Michael LILLUND, Albert OSTERBERG, August OSTERBERG, Richard DAHL, and Mr. STAFFAN. Mr. STAFFAN was trustee of the church for several years, and was also deacon. Mr. STAFFAN was married in Finland to Mary DAHL, who was born in that country Nov. 29, 1875. Six children, as follows, have been born to this union: Gunnar A., born Feb. 18, 1900; John Einar, July 13, 1904; Ethel S., Oct. 12, 1905; Freda S., Oct. 9, 1907; Agda A., July 11, 1913; and Edwin R., May 10, 1916. All the children are living at home. The oldest, Gunnar, was born in Finland and came to America with his mother in 1902, Mr. STAFFAN having landed in New York Dec. 17, 1899. The family were reunited at Hurley, Wis.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 701-702; 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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