"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.


Wagner, Louis of Rhinelander, Oneida County, who has made a fine record as landscape gardener and fruit grower, was born in Germany, March 27, 1857. He was educated in his native land, where he learned the art of landscape gardening, which he followed there until 1896. He then came to the United States, locating first in Texas, where he found employment on a ranch. From there he went to Wyoming and to the Black Hills, S.D. In 1893 he came to Rhinelander, Wis., and for five years subsequently worked as hostler for Drs. DANIELS and BAKER. At the end of that time he got back into his proper grove, taking up landscape and orchard work for Paul BROWNE, for whom he worked 17 years. He then spent two years in the paper mill, subsequently resuming landscape gardening, this time for W. E. BROWN, with whom he has since remained. Mr. WAGNER'S 17 years as foreman on the Paul BROWNE estate were a notable period of his life. It was about 1903 that Mr. BROWNE bought 120 acres of rough and stoney land in Rhinelander, to all appearances by no means adapted for hardening or orchard work. The land had been cut over for its big pine but had much standing hardwood and a heavy growth of small hemlock. With the assistance of Mr. WAGNER, whom he secured as foreman, Mr. BROWNE proceeded to develop the property according to the most intensive methods of modern farming. The natural tree growth was carefully fostered on 108 acres not used for special crops, the undergrowth being cleared and the air let in, seeds planted and trees transplanted until the tract was covered with the finest growth of American trees to be found on any estate in the country with perhaps on exception, most of them being of unusual size and quality. About 1906 Mr. BROWNE set out a few apple trees, but it was not until the spring of 1910 that he went into orchard development systematically. Then he set out 400 trees, in the following year 300, and in 1912, 100, making 800 in all. Putting aside the idea of any immediate financial profit, he aimed to experiment with and test out different varieties of fruit to determine which was best adapted to the climate, and the picking and choosing, grafting and pruning which went on under Mr. WAGNER'S immediate direction and Mr. BROWNE'S supervision resulted in keeping the following varieties of apples: Wealthy, Duchess, Dudley Winter, Winter Famous (a late Snow apple), and for crabs the Transcendants, Chippewa, Hyslop and Whitney. The method of grafting on crab trees was particularly successful. In the cultivation of grapes the same general system was followed with equally gratifying results, the varieties under successful cultivation being the Campbells and Moores (both early black), the Brighton (a red grape), and Moore's Diamond (a white grape). About 100 vines of wild grapes were also transplanted, the fruit of which makes fine jelly. Among the other graden or orchard products successfully and profitably raised were plums, pears, strawberries, currants, cucumbers, rhubarb, horseradish and practically all kinds of vegetables. A most artistic flower and shrub garden was also laid out presenting a very pleasing appearance. The orchard covers about 12 acres. In 1901 Mr. WGNER brought a residence property at No. 316 N. Stevens Street and practically rebuilt the house, making a most pleasant and commodious residence of it. He is a member of the lodge, canton and encampment in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also belongs to the Independent Order of Foresters. He was married Feb. 23, 1897, in Rhinelander to Clara SCHLIPF of Rhinelander, who was born in Germany July 17, 1859. He and his wife attend the Episcopal Church. Mr. WAGNER is a man of wide acquaintance and many friends and is now serving in his second term as alderman of his ward-the Second.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 353-354; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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