HISTORY OF WAUSAU, WISCONSIN (1913)

Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens (1913) written by Louis Marchetti, pages 256-292 (Transcribed by Marla Zwakman)
History -- See Also:
History of Wausau Wisconsin from 1878 - 1913 & its Mayors
History of Northern Wisconsin 1881 - Marathon County (Wausau)
History of the Town of Wausau (1913)


WAUSAU

The city of Wausau is practically in the center of Marathon county, as the county is in the center of the state. It covers an area of 6 ½ square miles, being three miles from north to south, two miles from east to west, with an additional half section of land on the southeast side of the parallelogram. The Wisconsin river traverses it from north to south, dividing it into two nearly equal parts. From the southeast corner of McIndoe park, the width of the city is exactly one mile east and one mile west. The city is finely located in the valley of the river; there are few, if any, cities which have so nice or picturesque a location. The river banks are high, keeping the stream within its shores, even at high floods. It spreads out for nearly a mile on each side of the river over a plateau, then gradually rising hills encircle it like a garland on the east and west.

Many elegant residence and buildings are scattered over the hillsides; the eye rests with pleasure on these elevations with their beautiful soft verdure in the summer, with swelling fields of golden grain, mixed with green fields of corn in the distance, with the placid sheet of water of Lake Wausau in the center, while the dark green of the needle trees which crown the crest of the hillsides when the ground is covered with snow make it a beautiful landscape in the winter.

To the southwest, only two miles from the city limits. Rib Mountain, covered with dark green foliage during the whole year, rises gradually from the shores of the Rib and Wisconsin rivers to a height of 1,811 feet above the level of the sea, the highest elevation in the state.

Standing on the top of the eastern hills at the end of Franklin or McIntosh street, or on the town line road, or on the end of Callon or Elm street on the west, the landscape presents an admirable view, and in the early fall when the leaves begin to turn, the beauty of the scenery must be seen and felt, because the pen fails to do justice to its magnificence.

The dam at the Rothschild paper mill creates a very large reservoir, called Lake Wausau, which when cleaned out of the unsightly flood trash, which will be done in a short time, gives a fine chance for water sports, boating, yachting, and fishing, allowing steam or gasoline boats to run up to and land on the shores of the river at Wausau.

The city is built up in compact from the center. The original plat as laid out by the founder, W. D. McIndoe, is still the center in every direction, with the court house as the heart, with fine substantial business blocks fronting it on every side: the banks, Hotel Bellis, McCrossen Block, the Federal Building with the post and United States land offices, the Wisconsin Valley Trust Company, and offices of the gas company. Other substantial and fairly fireproof buildings stretch in every direction, from the court house north to the spacious and elegant quarters of the Young Men’s Christian Association building and the Methodist church and the majestic St. James church, and south to the city hall, interspersed with the Nicolls, Livingston, Gensman, Kickbusch, Ruder, the Paff, Baumann, and Mueller buildings, and west to the the Widmer College and the McIndoe park and public library, covering almost the entire original plat from Main to Fifth and from Forest to Franklin street, which territory is rightly included in the fire limits of Wausau. In good substantial buildings which have a claim to architectural beauty this city compares favorably with any of its size, and many much larger ones.

Three bridges span the river, the so-called Leahy and Beebe bridge, in the north, the Falls bridge in the center, and Stroller’s bridge on the south, so called presumably because of the picrturesque walk to and from the same, which invites promenading in the cool river breeze after a hot summer day.

The growth of Wausau has been slow, very slow, indeed, comparing it with the mushroom-like growth of some railroad towns, but unlike many others, it has been permanent.

It owes it growth not to railroads, nor to the speculative spirit of foreign capitalists, but to its natural advantages and its pioneers, foremost of all to Walter D. McIndoe, who better than anyone else foresaw its great feature, but whose life was cut short by fate, before its high, but reasonable, expectations could be realized.

This city and county is only 200 miles from Milwaukee and less than 300 miles from Chicago, soon the center of the population of the United States; the next generation will see the whole county occupied by prosperous farmers and hear the hum of industry throughout the River valley with electricity as the motive power, and who can fail to foresee a still greater future for Wausau? The city is easily accessible from all parts of the country, with it 40,000 people who live outside of its borders now, on the thousands of profitable farms and in industrial villages, and who all have more or less business to transact at the county seat.

It has large, comfortable hotels and a hospitable people, who take pride in entertaining visitors and visiting societies, and Wausau has become the convention city of this state next to Milwaukee.

From the time that the first railroad struck Wausau in 1874, the city has entertained guests by the hundreds, and as early as 1887, the state turn “fest” was held here, where over 1,000 visitors were cared for for three days. The next year brought here the grand lodge of the I.O.O.F., and since that time not a year has passed but when some association or society held the annual session of its grand body or annual picnic in this place. Mercantile travelers make it a point to so regulate their trips to spend the Sunday at Wausau in preference to any other place except home, because of hotel accommodations and sociability.

The business men of Wausau, its manufacturers and merchants, live here, which makes them equally interested in the welfare of the city with the workingmen. By far the largest majority of our laboring men own their homes; many of their residences are models of family dwellings, combining comfort with sanitation, having water service, electric or gas light and bath room. A reasonably low street car service brings them to the mill or factory, giving quick and restful transportation from and to their homes where the distance is too far to be traveled comfortably afoot.

With good schools, play grounds, with parks and a good water supply and lighting system, with street cars to places of amusement, Wausau has all the advantages of a modern city without the drawbacks of a congested population in overcrowded tenement houses and districts. A modern hospital, excellently conducted by the Sisters of the Divine Savior, with a staff of eminent physicians and surgeons and carefully trained and educated nurses, provides home treatment at low rates for the unfortunate sick. The men who conduct large business enterprises in Wausau have learned the lesson that there is virtue in co-operation, in working together for each other. The large capital invested in mills and undertakings is nearly all furnished by people who live here, not by any one man or by a few men, but by the association of many, which brings not only the means together for conducting the enterprise, but also the business capacity, the mental energy, and the combined wisdom flowing from the experience of them all, which leads to success, divides the gain among many, and distributes the losses to lighten the burden. Business men in Wausau have ceased to quarrel, have ceased to look upon a rival as an enemy, and have adopted as their motto: “In union there is strength.” Only on that hypothesis can be explained the erection of the Brokaw, the Rothschild, and the Mosinee paper mills, the growth of other industrial concerns which started with a small capital a few years ago, the alteration of the immense water power of the fall at Wausau, much of which passed down stream unused, into an immense volume of an electric current which furnishes power and light to factories and the household.

Social amenities are not neglected, intellectual life is fostered, recreation is furnished for the mind as well as for the body. For more than a score of years, the Ladies’ Literary Society has provided a winter lecture course entertaining as well as instructive. The university extension lecture courses on American history, on popular astronomy, and on literature have been heard, and the excellent travelogues of Colonel Sanford; two of the foremost women of America, Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, have appeared on the rostrum, and lectures by Will Carlton, Theo. Tilton, Colonel Watterson, Rev. Nugent, and William J. Bryan (the last one under the auspices of the Young Men’s Christian Association) were provided for our people. The best of music has been brought here to entrance our music loving population. The first opera house, a jewel of its kind, unfortunately destroyed by fire, was opened by the Emma Abbott Company with two evening performances and a matinee, and in the same house was heard Camilla Urso, the unparalleled mistress of the violin of her time and the great masters of the bow, Remeniy and Jacob Reuter. Lula Jane Abercrombie, the renowned American prima donna, sang here often in the high school quartet and her first operatic role as Arline in the “Bohemian Girl,” which opened the way to her to the operatic stage, upon which she has a triumphant career, and F. W. Kickbusch winning laurels as the national American baritone. The German singing societies, notably the “Liederkranz,” has brought here twice the “Sangerfest” of the northern district of Wisconsin with its choir of hundreds of male voices and Gust. Mueller of Wausau acting as conductor of the combined choirs. Christoph Bach, the master conductor and composer of the West, has been heard here with his symphony orchestra.

It was always the pride of Wausau to have good schools; its temples of learning are supplied with proper apparatus and improved furniture; its staff of teachers is competent, and Supt. Silas B. Tobey and his predecessor, Carl Mathie, a Wausau man born and bred, have worked in season and out of season to raise the standard of education, and in this labor were supported by the board of education, which in its personnel is with no other change in the last ten years except such as death has brought, and which has aided superintendent, teachers, pupils and parents to the best of their ability.

The different men’s clubs and societies, the Merchant Association, the Ladies’ Literary Club, Tuesday Musical Club and Singing Societies, notably the “Liederkranz,” not to forget two orchestras and brass bands, all combine to make Wausau a city of commercial importance where the industrious man can make a living, and where it can be made attractive and pleasant, removing as much as possible the dullness caused by a life of labor without intellectual refreshment and recreation.

A great number of edifices with lofty spires pointing to the sky, some grand in appearance, are evidence that the people here believe in the doctrines of Christianity and endeavor to practice its teachings.

But it was not always thus. The present appearance of Wausau is the growth of over sixty years, counting only from the organization of Marathon county as a political entity in 1850, remembering, however, that the pinery here was invaded in 1839 and saw mills existed and had their beginning in 1840. The slowness of the growth of Wausau in the first twenty years from 1840 to 1860 is apparent from the vote cast for president in the last year mentioned, which was only 247 in the whole town of Wausau, which included the village, the Little Rib mill settlement, and the farmers in the present town of Wausau.

From the time of organization as a village in 1861 up to 1867, there was some growth, of course, but the old original buildings were then still standing, only a few new ones, mainly little houses or shanties, were added.

The whole population was still depending on work for the four mills, the cutting, hauling and driving of logs to the mills, running the lumber to market, and the few workers in the original trades, the blacksmiths, wagon and sleigh makers and shoemakers, without which business could not exist.

The following is a fairly accurate pen picture of Wausau in 1867, as it appeared to an observer:

On Clarke’s Island was situated J. C. Clarke’s saw mill and boarding house, a very primitive building, occupied also by Clarke’s family; on the north side of the road coming up the hill from the slough bridge, was the blacksmith shop and residence of Charles Klein, one of the original Pittsburg settlers; he sold his shop to Otto Schochow in the fall of that year, and moved back to Marathon City; next to him was the house and shoemaker shop of Charles Wiskow, next a grocery and saloon kept by a Braun; further north lived the widow of Gottlieb Gritzmacher with her family, and still further north was the farmers’ boarding house and stable, kept by Christlieb Berwald, an excellent stopping place, where farmers could eat their lunch and get a cup of coffee for five cents, paying ten cents for stable money. A very light cheap bridge connected Clarke’s Island with McIndoe Island. At the end of the dam was the flour mill of Thayer & Corey and on the little island above the dam was the residence of N. Thayer; this house was broken up and washed away by the flood of 1881 with all the top ground, leaving the bare rock exposed, on which stands now the cooper shop of the McEachron Mill Company. At the road (it was not a street) from Main street to the slough bridge, which was down a very steep hill, there was on the north side of the road the blacksmith shop of Frank Mathie, next the wagon shop of August Lemke, then the blacksmith shop of John Schneider. On the south side of the road was a barn and stable owned by W. D. McIndoe and the wagon shop of Louis Storch. On the east side of Shingle street were two houses, both owned by John Schneider, one occupied by him, and one by a Norwegian by the name of Andrew Iverson, and on the west side of the street were the three houses occupied by Louis Storch, William Berwald, and Fred Berwald.

On Plumer’s Island were the two mills owned by B. G. Plumer, one supplied by water power from the mill pond by a conductor, which mill was operated by Brown & Fellows until 1869; the other mill was operated by B. G. Plumer until his death in 1886. Each mill had its boarding house for the mill hands, and the Plumer boarding house was in charge of Mrs. Aug. Gotchy, a kind, good soul, whose culinary skill was high above par, who set a table for the men unexcelled even at the Forest House. The property line between the Plumer and McIndoe was marked by a tight board fence; close to the fence and in close proximity to the Plumer boarding house was the boarding house for the McIndoe mill hands, in charge of Augustus Gotchy, with a gate between them.

The fence extended down to the river and was used as a backing to the rafting shanties of the two mills, which were of the simplest kind, where rivermen slept while rafting the lumber. Of course, people having homes at Wausau slept at home.

On Plumer’s Island sloping down from the boarding house to the river, was a vegetable garden in fine cultivation with two shanties, one occupied by John Miller, the other by Fred Schultz, both for years employees in Plumer’s mill. A little to the north where now the St. Paul railroad track strikes Plumer’s Island, was a log house with a little space of ground surrounding it and fenced with slabs, the home of the widow Philbrick, mother of W. B. Philbrick. This house was unceremoniously torn down in 1874 when the big high rock which blocked the track was blasted out of the way to make room for the railroad track.

Main street was then the principal street and remained so for several years more; it was called the Jenny road, being at that time the only road leading out from Wausau to the north and the supply road for Jenny and the camps above. On the south end was the McIndoe mill, still in operation by the Heineman Lumber Company now, and a road from there down to the flat where there were two houses, one occupied by J. Meuret and his family, and the other by the parents of August Kickbusch and their daughter Caroline, dec. Radant. North from the mill was the large store building of W. D. McIndoe. The road was four rods wide and as high on the west as on the east, the biggest part of it used as a piling ground for oar stems, spring poles, and grubs.

Crossing Washington street (or road rather), there was the Lake Superior House (John Le Messurier), the biggest hotel at that time in town, then came the residences of W. D. McIndoe, and Hugh McIndoe. On the next corner was the B. Whitacre house, and further up on the same side lived John Peters, William Gowan, August Hett, and then a house owned by Judge Ringle and one by C. A. Single. Beginning on the other side south, there was the Riverside Hotel, the Jolly saloon across the street on the corner (office building now), next was the saloon building then owned by William Ziemer and his half brother Ziebell, who were also loggers, next was the R. E. Parcher store, next the little hardware store and warehouse of Kickbusch Brothers, the upper story being occupied by F. W. Kickbusch and family; next was the store building of Aug. Kickbusch. All these buildings from Riverside Hotel up were in existence for some years and are still standing, and with the mills in close proximity the principal shops and stores on this, the only road north to the camps, it is easy to see that the business was concentrated on Main street between Washington and Jackson streets.

The corner of Main and Washington streets opposite the Kickbusch store was unoccupied, but north towards Jefferson street were two little houses still standing owned by the Stackhouse estate, one occupied by the heirs and one by Charles Clarke, and a house on the corner, occupied by H. L. Wheeler; across Jefferson street was the home of M. Stafford, next the house of Dr. George E. Clark, then a vacant space, and the further corner of Scott street was the house of Fred Tyler on the lots now occupied by the Anderes Hotel and other buildings. Further north lived the widow of Thomas Single, then two other small houses, one of the occupied by Alexander Stewart and wife beyond McClellan street; then a house owned by Dan Sullivan, next the house of Fred Neu and across from him the house of Dr. Wylie; still further north a house or shanty occupied by William Homrig. That was as far north as Franklin street, and there were no more buildings on either side; the road then slanted down to Stiensfield creek, crossed it and ran to Merrill, Grandfather, and incidentally as far as Eagle river.

At Stienfield creek vacated Indian tepees were quite numerous. There were also two Indian graves, marked by poles indicating that Wausau was a sort of regular camping ground for the Chippewa tribe.

On the south side of Forest street, beginning at the west end were the houses of James Single, E. B. Stoddard, and Thomas Youles, the city hall ground was vacant, then the house of Mrs. Lyman Thayer on corner of Fourth street; across Fourth street was the house of Cyrus Strobridge (owned by the Schultz estate now), who was in business at that time in Merrill; next was the house occupied by Dallmann and one by Charles Cramer; the road then turned diagonally through the last block and connected with Grand avenue more than one block further south than at present. On corner of Grand avenue was the house of Mich. Lemere, and on the next lot east, lived Peter Crochier, a river man and pilot.

There were two small buildings on the alley running south of Forest street from Second up to Fourth street; on the end of Fourth street lived Carl Hoeflinger, and across from him was the house of D. W. Fellows, still standing. Fourth street was not open further than to the alley just mentioned.

On the end of Fifth street was the little building put up in the same spring by C. H. Mueller and next to him in the alley another little one owned and occupied by Julius Quade.

On the north side of Forest street beginning on the west was a blacksmith shop of Hinton, then crossing Second street, there was the home now occupied by Charles Wagner. This house is one of the oldest with the exception of the Stackhouse buildings, probably the oldest now standing in Wausau, and was quite pretentious at the time it was built, about 1852. It was erected By Kraft & Wilson for Taylor, the brother of Mrs. W. D. McIndoe, but it seems he did not occupy, at least, but a very short time if he did. Going east passing the Forest House there was vacant ground, until one came to the home of Conrad Bernhard on corner of Fourth, next the little house of Heppner, then the Seim boarding house, then the houses of Mrs. Haase and Levy Gennett, on corner of Fifth; on the other corner were the houses of F. H. Morman, next that of Tuttle and a house occupied by J. W. Chubbuck; further east were some small buildings, one of them occupied by old man Ziebell who had abandoned his farm in township 30, range 4 east, after making quite an improvement thereon. On the south side of Jackson street was the house of Mrs. Thomas Hinton, the Mich. Duffy grocery store, the Winkley House and Forest Hall, then across the street was the little tinner's shop of John Egeler, then the residence and hall of Judge Ringle (now occupied by O. C. Callies), further east the house of A. Lee; and some shanties further east towards the edge of the marsh. In Fifth street, nearly opposite the Northern Hotel, was the cabinet shop of Joseph Hildensperger.

On the north side of Jackson street beginning on the west, was the saloon of Joseph Noiseaux, on the next block the house and barber shop of Ch. Poor, next the Winkley House barn, next the house and store of Jacob Paff on corner of Third and Jackson; on the next block was the Althen store, the butcher shop of John Merklein, next the Henry Dern saloon, next the B. William saloon on corner of Fourth; on the next block east was the house of Aug. Lemke, and next the house of Mrs. Adam and her son John Adam, which was the last one on this side.

On south side of Washington street was the barn of August Kickbusch, on corner of Second the one-story store of William Barteld, next the Frank Wartman building, next one of John Dern, next Charles Woessner's clothing store and tailor shop, and on the corner the office building of George W. Casterline, fronting Third street. Across on the corner was a one-story store occupied by August Engel as a watch repair and gunsmith shop, and on the other corner was the house of Gerry Judson, part of it now attached to the Washington Hotel. Further east were some shanties, but Christian Osswald commenced the erection of his bakery shop the following year.

On the north side of Washington street was the barn of the Lake Superior house, on the corner of Second was the house of John Cramer, next the residence and shop of Ernst Felling, next the little toy store and house of Jacob Kolter and parents, and on the two lots up to Third street stood the house of Frank Mathie. Across from him was the house of Dr. Smith, now on Fourth street, and the rest of the block on this street was vacant, and so was the next block, until near Fifth street, where there was the house of Mrs. Henry Paff, who furnished the yeast for the housewives, and next was the St. Paul church.

Only a few shanties were east from the church towards the marsh.

On Jefferson street, coming from Main street, was the house of J. Burns (now Fingerhut), the house of Bradford on corner of Third street, Corey's house on Third and Jefferson and the Slosson house on corner of Fourth and Jefferson, with some shanties further east, occupied by the brothers George and Jacob Stelz, who had removed to Wausau from a farm in the town of Stettin a few years before.

On the north side of Jefferson street beginning west, was the house of George G. Green and another small building near the corner of Third; the court house block was unfenced, and Herman Miller's house occupied the place where the gas company building and opera house now stand.

On Scott street were no buildings at all until Third street was reached, where George Lawrence had a building on the site of the Bellis House, and where the McCrossen store now stands, was a building owned by Slosson; well towards Fourth street was the home of Ely R. Chase and the postoffice. This postoffice building was later removed to Main street and served as an office for W. D. Mclndoe and the Stewart Lumber Company and was later moved to Second street near Forest street.

Where the Federal building now stands, was the house of W. Wilson, occupied by him until the site was chosen for the present postoffice. On McClellan street lived J. Dobbly, Louis Lenneville, and next to him was the St. John's Episcopal church, and opposite the church the residence of R. P. Manson, one of the most prominent buildings at the time.
On. Second street from the south, was the house of Ernst Schultz, next one belonging to Luedke, both shoemakers, and further north passing Scott street, lived Mich. Rouseau; also Shaughnessy which place is now owned by P. O. Means; further north was the house of William Dodge.

On Third street was the Forest House, the Paff store already mentioned, the hardware store, and the tin shop of Richard Baumann, the Casterline and Bradford buildings already referred to, and opposite the court house was a one and one-half story building, "the Bank of the Interior," owned by J. A. Farnham. On the east side of Third street was the Forest House barn, in the next block north the grocery and lumbermen's supply store of E. M. Mott and Herman Miller, the J. Gensman's residence and shoe shop, which is now on Second street; on the corner Was the August Engle watchmaker's shop already referred to, and on the corner of McClellan street was the home of Babcock. No buildings at all were on Fifth street.

There were other small houses and shanties scattered through this territory here and there; the streets were not graded, and only in the business portion of the village had the stumps been removed; very few and narrow sidewalks existed. The end of Washington street at the Kickbusch store and Main street were much higher than at present, the slough bridge was much lower than now, and consequently so steep a descent down as to make it impossible for one team to haul up a heavy load. On Washington street was a well near the sidewalk at Kolter's toy store, which was well patronized by the neighborhood. This is mentioned only to show the rural character of the streets at that time.

In the northern end of the town as far north as Grant street lived John Haines, Benjamin Thomas, and Lawyer J. P. West.

W. C. Silverthorn, district attorney, occupied the second story of the Strobridge building on Fourth and Forest streets. On Grand avenue was the house of Mich. Le Mere, one block further south the house of Lamereaux (Edee estate), and still further south the house of M. Walrad; then came the property of Plumer and Walton, unplatted, and cultivated by B. G. Plumer as a farm.

The Ruder brewery was the only building on the west side of Grand avenue and a saloon with a small dance hall was standing in Columbia Park with the residence of Edw. Kretlow, father of Ed. C. Kretlow, who had come from Milwaukee to take charge of the newly organized Wausau concert band and teach and conduct its practices. That park was and remained for thirty years and upwards, the recreation ground of the working population of Wausau.

Opposite the Brewery park was the house of Adam Young, whose business was to haul freight from points below.

The marsh stretched out from a little south of McIntosh street to somewhere up to Franklin street and extended west to Seventh, and in the spring even to Sixth street. The roads leading out from Wausau were the Jenny road, the road to Little Rib, Stettin, and Marathon, the road on the west side through the town of Main to Berlin, the Whiskey road, so-called, branching off from the Jenny road at the three-mile boom, a corderoy road across the marsh at the head of Jackson street and slanting up east hill to the settlement in Wausau and Easton; the town line road to Eau Clair and Hogarthy, the south line road to Mosinee, and a road branching off at Scholfield to the Kelly mills. No other streets except on the original plat had been platted, and only half of them were worked; for instance, Fourth street east of the court house had only a wagon track winding around the stumps.

On the west side of the river were two or three shanties close to the river bank, and further down was a house on the Kennedy farm (now Chellis), then occupied by the widow of Judge Kennedy who had married Peter Gifford, a saw filer, and the place became known as the Gifford place; the forty acres owned by the Aug. Kickbusch estate, was in a good state of cultivation, owned at the time by John Kopplin and sold to Aug. Kickbusch in this year, and Anton Schuetz had commenced clearing on his farm on the hill joining the Kickbusch place.

On the road leading north in the settlement, there was the H. Daniel's shingle mill, the house of Mrs. Poor, and a farmer by the name of Hoffmann, father of William Hoffmann, who with his sons engaged some in logging. Up towards the north, on the west side of the road, the land where now are located the fields of John Egeler, the fields enclosing the George Jung slaughter house, the S. M. Quaw and Herman Hartel farm, and other well cultivated smaller tracts, was termed the "Brand," meaning burned district. The timber had been cut, then a high wind threw down the remaining trees, the fire ran through and gave it a desolate appearance; the whole tract was supposed to be sterile and worthless.

To summarize: There were in Wausau in 1867 - The original four saw mills, seven general merchandise stores, one hardware store, one toy store, four blacksmith shops, three wagonmaker shops, four shoemaker shops, three hotels, and one boarding house, and seven saloons.

The hotels and boarding houses were crowded except in midwinter and midsummer.

The lumbermen in business at Wausau were: First the mill owners W. D. McIndoe, B. G. Plumer, John C. Clark, and Brown & Fellows, J. and A. Stewart, R. P. Manson, Kickbusch Brothers, R. E. Parcher, Lawrence & Peters, Mich. Stafford, Jacob Paff, and Herman Miller.

Of the men who operated portable mills D. B. Wylie and Gerry Judson only lived in Wausau. J. D. Gray lived at Scholfield, and so did William Callon, and the brothers William P. and N. T. Kelly operated two mills on Eau Clair river and resided there.

The Trappe mill was operated by M. D. Courcey, the Pine river mill by Ed. Armstrong, and the mill in Jenny by Combs and Andrews. William McIntosh had a mill on Sandy creek. The mill on Little Rib owned by B. Single sawed a large amount of lumber annually for years yet to come.

The Scholfield mill probably cut the largest amount of lumber about that time, doing a large amount of custom sawing under the management of D. B. Willard. Nearly all the trade from these mills came from Wausau. J. E. Leahy had come to Wausau in 1866 and commenced logging operations in 1867 and lived at the Forest House until his marriage in 1872 to Miss M. D. McCrossen.

The question may arise in the minds of some readers: Where did the hundreds of river men stop or sleep until the lumber was rafted and was on its way down stream? Many of these young men came after the ice had gone out and rafting had commenced; they slept in the rafting shanties at each mill in bunks until the fleet started down, when they made room for others. Wausau was the place where they congregated, and from here they went to the mills at other points, to Scholfield, to Kelly, to Little Rib, Big Rib and Trapp, Pine, and Jenny, and to the points in the Wisconsin where the lumber sawed at the portable mills was piled or stacked.

The capacity of the mills after the introduction of circular saws had immensely increased, still it was small when compared to the output of a modern mill.

In 1867 the largest output on record in one day's run of twelve hours less the time consumed for dinner, was a little over 30,000 feet, and was made in Plumer's mill, but it was only made by selecting the best of logs from the crop of good, fine logs at hand, and much of it was sawed into 1 1/2 and 2 inch stuff.

The small capacity of early mills accounts for the holding out of the pine supply as long as if did; and only the best of logs were taken; such as showed some ring rot, and punk knot were left in the woods on the ground to rot. And it cannot be said that it was willfully wasted. Such were left in the woods simply because to cut, haul, drive, and saw them would have entailed actual loss to the lumbermen. No such loss occurred later with better prices for lumber and cheaper and better transportation facilities, but in early years this loss was unavoidable. With the great number of young men, especially in the spring, street brawls were not uncommon, but had no serious consequences; such crimes as shooting and stabbing did not occur. Indeed the carrying of a pistol was very uncommon. Women and girls were safe from molestation as much and more so than now, the dude or masher was an unknown being.

Mail arrived daily, but the roads left much to be desired. It often happened that passengers had to walk a distance where the horses could only get through with the empty stage, or over a hill, or lift it out of the mire.

The village marshal kept, or attempted to keep order. Indians were still numerous, but inoffensive. No gambling or sporting house existed, and the community was a peaceable one. Mills stopped running during the day on Sundays, but not rafting, when the freshet was on. The churches having regular services on Sunday were the Methodist church, the St. John's Episcopal, and the St. Paul's Lutheran church.

Business conditions in the year 1867 were exceptionally good. Lumber brought good prices and cash pay. Mills prepared for a greater output, and the mill owners for an enlargement of the boom to hold the greater quantity of logs, which was expected to be manufactured next season. B. G. Plumer, with the keen foresight which was characteristic of him, had obtained the Baetz Island, and the land adjoining the river for the boomage of his logs, and in the coming winter he put in the piers and the Baetz Island boom, which while put in for his own use, nevertheless were of immense advantage to the other mill owners, in that it at least doubled the capacity of the boom, besides making a safe boom, able to withstand high freshets easily. Another event occurring in that year, needs mentioning.

Mr. August Kickbusch, the senior member of the firm of Kickbusch Brothers, was another one of the business men who saw the advantage which this county offered to the industrious poor man, who was willing to undertake the cultivation of the land, in other words, go farming. In the spring of that year, he made a trip to his old home in Pommerania, a province in the kingdom of Prussia. He had left his home just about ten years before, a comparatively poor man, and when he returned, a wealthy man, his coming created a mild sensation. In speaking of this country, he had to tell only the truth without exaggeration, to induce many people to emigrate and cast their lot with the new country. He was able to assure them that they could find employment at paying wages, and could with their earnings purchase good land and become independent men, and being willing to work, a great many took his advice and came to Marathon county.

He did not spend much time in Germany, having to hurry home to give his attention to the firm's business, and returned about the end of June. A number of families came with him, among them, John Marquart and wife, August Laabs and wife, Carl Goetsch, John Grochow, John Bartz, Henry Hintz, Ludwig Marth, Otto Schochow, Ferdinand Kickbusch and family, Ferdinand Laabs, August Buss and wife, and August Borchardt and sister, and some young unmarried men and women.

They made their home first in Wausau, but most of them took up land after one or two years and became prosperous farmers. But they were only the first ones of the large emigration of low Germans which followed them year after year until about 1880, and which built up the towns of Main, Berlin, Stettin, Wausau, Easton, and Hamburg.

The first settlement in Wausau, which was the first settlement in Marathon county when it was part of Portage county, has already been referred to, and how the growth of the village made it necessary to organize a village government, which was effected in the spring of the year 1861.

The principal village officers were:

1861 - F. A. Hoffmann, president of board of trustees; Thomas Single, village clerk.
1862 - B. Ringle, president of board of trustees; Thomas Single, village clerk.
1863 - B. Ringle, president of board of trustees; M. H. Barnum, village clerk.
1864 - R. P. Manson, president of board of trustees; M. H. Barnum, village clerk.
1865 - Aug. Kickbusch, president of board of trustees; William Wilson, village clerk.
1866 - Aug. Kickbusch, president of board of trustees; R. P. Manson, village clerk.
1i867 - Jacob Paff, president of board of trustees; J. W. Chubbuck, village clerk.
1868 - -Jacob Paff, president of board of trustees; J. W. Chubbuck, village clerk.
1869  -Jacob Paff, president of board of trustees; J. W. Chubbuck, village clerk.
1870 - C. Hoeflinger, president of board of trustees; J. W. Chubbuck, village clerk.
1871 - C. Hoeflinger, president of board of trustees; J. W. Chubbuck, village clerk.

All these names were familiar as the names of old residents at the time, except F. A. Hoffmann, whose career was rather meteoric and not lasting. The proceedings of the county board mentioned in a former chapter show him as the power in that body for a space of time at least. Thomas Single was one of the four brothers Single, who were among the first comers into this county.

In the last years of the war and after its close, the lumber business was profitable, mill owners made improvements to increase the capacity of their mills, and there was a general good and secure feeling as to the future. Lumber was in demand and advances on lumber in piles could be procured before it was rafted. Nevertheless some unforeseen events occurred from time to time which retarded any sudden advance in prosperity.

In April, 1866, there was a high freshet which swept away the bridge (at the falls), went over the guardlock, and people living on Shingle street removed with their goods in time to escape destruction. The east end of the guardlock was swept away, the wall of water coming down washed out the street, tore away the pier under the slough bridge and also the conductor between the Clarke and Plumer's mill, a part of Clarke's mill, and some lumber and logs. The carrying away of part of the dam of the mill pond between the Clarke and Plumer mill delayed all mills in their work until the damage was repaired and gave rise to some hard feeling between the owners, it being claimed that repairing the damage was unduly delayed.

During the summer and until the bridge at the falls was rebuilt, a communication with the western settlements was established by running a ferry boat from the eddy above the dam to McIndoe's Island, which was connected with a light bridge with Clarke's Island. To raise some cash, needed for the building of the bridge at the falls, the county board ordered an issue of county orders, sufficient to realize at a sale of them the sum of $1,000.00, the orders not to be sold for less than seventy-five cents on the dollar at their
face value.

When the county board fixed that value on county orders, it could not be expected they would bring more, and they did not.

The portable mills closed sawing in April, 1866, with an output estimated at 16 million feet.

No calamity of any kind befell Wausau in 1867 and 1868; but in 1869 a fire consumed the built-up portion of the north side of Washington street between Second and Third streets. It broke out in the night time in the house of John Cramer on corner of Second street, and with only water pails to fight, it spread to the next, the residence and harness shop of Ernst Felling, then to the residence and toy store of Jacob Kolter, then to Kolter's music hall, the finest hall then in Wausau, completed in the fall of 1868, and threatened to fire the house of Frank Mathie, which was saved by tearing down the addition nearest the burning music hall and keeping wet blankets on the roof of the main building. The buildings on the south side of the street, the residence of F. Wartman, the house of John Dern, and the house and store of Charles Woessner were saved by the same methods, nearly the whole population being in line from the river up to handle water in pails to the fire.

All these buildings were substantially new buildings, especially music hall, which was quite a pretentious one for the time, and as the insurance companies in which they were insured turned out wholly or partly insolvent, the loss was severely felt by the owners; but with pioneer grit they all went at once to work to rebuild.

The fire was an object lesson to the people, which the village board was not slow to comprehend. The night of the fire was still, hardly any air stirring, else had there been only a moderate wind, increased by the heat of the flames, all the portion of the village within the sweep of the wind would have been swept clear by the fire. A hand engine was promptly purchased, which arrived on the 22d day of July, 1869, which was named "W. D. Mc-Indoe" by the village board. No holiday was proclaimed on the day of its arrival, but there was an impromptu celebration nevertheless.

Wausau Fire Company No. 1 was already organized, and this company with that hand engine, for nearly twenty years worked voluntarily, that is, without any pay, attending meetings, fire practices and working at fires, protecting the property of the citizens from heavy losses, and on more than one occasion saved the village from destruction. It proved its efficiency in the same year when on October 8th, the Clarke mill caught fire in the night time, and in spite of the immense inflammable material in and all around it, through the efforts of the fire company, aided, of course, by the citizens, the conflagration was confined to the mill proper, no other building or lumber piles being consumed. B. G. Plumer, whose property was in greatest danger, gave to the Wausau company a silver speaking tube as a memorial of good service. Another instance was the burning down of the large Forest Hotel, a three-story building, standing close to Forest Hall and the Winkley House, on the 2d day of August, 1878. In spite of heat and falling sparks, the fire was limited to the Forest House, and the adjoining buildings escaped destruction, although not more than twenty feet distant from the burning one. The streets from Main up to Fourth between Forest and Washington streets had then been built up very compact with only two or three exceptions, all light frame buildings, and more than one had caught fire and burned down, and in each instance the fire was confined to the burning building, a record of which any regularly paid company might justly be proud.

The engine house with an alarm bell stood first on the southeast corner of the Court House square; in 1880 it was removed on the corner one block further east. When fire broke out somebody ran to the engine house, rang the bell, the firemen dropping everything in hand, ran to the engine house, pulled out the engine and two hose carts, each with five hundred feet of hose and hurried to the fire. In most cases the fire could be reached with hose from the shore of the slough or from platforms erected on convenient places on those shores; later cisterns were built at the intersection of streets to furnish water. No time was lost waiting for horses, the fire company always responding promptly. This engine house is now the property of Mr. Charles Burke on Scott street and used by him as a barn and stable.

The following named gentlemen were foremen at different times of this fire company, but it is barely possible that one or two names may have been overlooked, the names being cited from memory, the records of the company having been lost. The first foreman was George Werheim; others were: B. G. Plumer, W. C. Silverthorn, Jacob Paff, F. W. Kickbusch, Valentine Ringle, C. H. Mueller, Henry Miller, and Louis Marchetti.

During the whole of its existence, excepting only the first two years, Mr. August Lemke was hose captain, and no man ever rendered more efficient and patriotic service than he. When he died in February, 1901, the survivors of the extinct company, feeling that such a mark of respect was due to his memory, assembled, and under the lead of Louis Marchetti, the last foreman of the company, escorted his remains to the grave.

Before the casket was lowered Judge Marchetti said: "We stand at the bier of a dear friend, whom we have known long and well. With him is gone from our midst another of those generous, daring and whole souled pioneers, who have opened up a wilderness for thousands of people to follow them, who profiting by their toil, have found homes and comfort, and happiness, and many of them even wealth. Few men are living yet, who, like the deceased, have seen Wausau grow from a mere trading post to its present proud position among the sisterhood of cities of our proud state. Nearly his whole life was spent here, from early youth to his ripe old age. His life was an open book that everybody could read.

"At his bier the injunction to speak only good of the dead becomes useless for there is nothing else to say. No man could ever say that August Lemke did him wrong, not even in thought, much less in deed. In his prime of life, his body was that of a giant, yet his soul was that of a child, harmless, guileless, innocent. He never harbored malice, never knew what it was. Like all human beings, he had his joys and his sorrows, but he was never boastful in his success, never bitter in his grief.

"He was an intensely loyal and patriotic citizen. He loved his family and brought up his children to be honest, useful citizens, not drones in society. Next to his family he loved this city, and gave his best thoughts and many months and even years of his life to the service of this community without pecuniary compensation. Who is there that has done more than that; how many are there that have done as much as that?

"For twenty years or more he was an active fireman in the voluntary fire department and second in command during the whole time, his modesty preventing him from taking first place, which he would have filled with credit to himself and benefit to the community.

"Often have we seen him surrounded by smoke and flame drenched through and through in the cold of a winter night, and never flinch. He never sent a man to a place of danger where he would not go himself. He served his city and county well in other places, but he was one of those silent, modest men, who would rather shun than seek publicity. It all the more becomes the duty of those who knew him well to speak of his many merits at his grave and point out to the younger generation that they might well emulate the example of our honored friend. August Lemke was a thorough disciple of Christ. His life was regulated by the rule 'As you would that others should do unto you, do you even so unto them.'

"Like most other pioneers he did not accumulate great wealth; he does not leave riches to his children, but something of more value than that; he leaves behind him a name honored and beloved for good acts and deeds done in life, for his civic virtues, for his spotless character, for his unflinching integrity, and a name which will be remembered in the history of Wausau along with those other good and noble men who have gone before him, and with those who will soon follow him, as the founders of our city.

"Let us now reverently and tenderly return his earthly remains to mother earth, and may he rest and sleep sweetly in her bosom, like a child in its mother's arm, until the day of resurrection."

Of the many saw mills erected between 1840 and 1850 the B. Single mill on Little Rib was the first to quit operations. It burned down in 1871 and was not rebuilt.

In the winter of 1871 there was established the first public library. A number of gentlemen contributing to the purchase of books, adopting a constitution by which the society was named "Pine Knot Literary Club." The books were kept for some years in the office of the "Wisconsin River Pilot," and later given in charge of the "Ladies' Literary Club" and became the nucleus around which grew up the Wausau Public Library. The founders of this club were W. C. Silverthorn, John Ringle, Valentine Ringle, D. L. Plumer, Orson Phelps, John Patzer, and a few more.

In 1871 a lumber pile on J. C. Clarke's yard, standing close to the river, caught fire, communicating it to another pile, but by the prompt arrival of the fire company aided by the mill crew, the fire was put out without doing much damage.

Jacob Kolter had now erected and completed a building on the corner of Washington and Third street called music hall, a large two-story building covering the entire lot, 120x60 feet. On the first floor were two stores, fronting Washington street, the corner store occupied as a drug store, the next one was occupied as the banking house of Silverthorn & Plumer. On the north side of the building was a saloon, and above the saloon was a dining room, the saloon and dining room being separated from the stores and the hall on the second floor above the stores, by the stairway, landing, and ticket office.

That hall was the scene of many festivities and celebrations. Theatricals, lectures, concerts, political meetings, and society dances were held in that hall for a score of years, reflecting the social, intellectual, and political life of Wausau. The hall was hardly completed with stage and some scenery, when an amateur theatrical club gave some performances, with Mrs. Dr. Wylie as leading lady, Miss Mary Jane Coulthurst as ingenue and other ladies, and W. H. Barnum, Charles W. Nutter and George Lenneville as the main support of the venture. The leading lady had all the qualifications of a great actress, but the club was short lived; after a few good performances it broke up.

A little later the German Dramatic Club began its career and for many years entertained the German-speaking population with its performances in melodrama, tragedy, and farce, and it may be truthfully said that their acting was often superior to the performances of some of the wandering troups that come with great pretensions and big advertisements. In the German club, Mrs. H. J. Lohmar was the leading lady; she had the mimic, the verve, the correct pronunciation and appearance of a great actress. Her "Jane Eyre" was a piece of great acting, both as the poor, oppressed orphan and the great lady.

Mrs. P. A. Riebe acted the parts of the ingenue, supported by the Misses Caroline and Louise Ringle, and others. Dr. P. A. Riebe was equally at home in comedy as in tragedy, while J. W. Miller played the villain to perfection. When Riebe sang his song, in the "Songs of the Musician," and J. W. Miller acted the part of the respectable innkeeper, who, caught as a poacher, treacherously kills the game warden and is tortured by his conscience into his grave, when at last he confesses, a hush fell over the assemblage and many eyes were moist.

H. J. Lohmar, as the loving young man, would have been perfection had he better memorized his lines and relied less on his extemporizing. Many others assisted, but they cannot all be named. In later years B. Riebe took the place of P. A. Riebe, but the void left by the removal of Mrs. Lohmar was never filled.

There was a Choral Society, too, in the seventies, and they gave the oratorio "Esther" in costume, with Miss Alice Bradford in the title role, which she sang in fine voice and good effect.

Will Carleton recited his poems in that hall, and lectures on popular astronomy followed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony both lectured in Music Hall, and a few words on the appearance and lecture of these, probably the most noted American women on the lecture platform, may not be inappropriate.

The name of Cady Stanton was not unknown even in the pinery, and attracted a full house, more probably from curiosity to see her, than from any sympathy with her work. It was on a Saturday evening and the hall fairly well filled. As she walked up to the stage, an elderly, grandmotherly looking woman, simple and very becomingly dressed, all eyes were fixed on her. Without much of an exordium, she started on her subject, "Women's Rights," in a clear, conversational tone that could plainly be heard everywhere, her pronunciation being slow and very distinct, and in a very short time the audience gave her their closest attention. Speaking of the advance made by the movement, she spoke a little reprovingly of the young reporters, "Hardly dry behind their ears," who in former years referred to her and her co-workers as the cackling geese; she did not fail to weave into her lecture some humorous episodes, even when the joke was on her; as, for instance, when she told of how she and other ladies of her inclination had made up a purse to enable a bright boy to make his way through college, to become a minister, and after having graduated with honors, having received his degree and having been ordained, was invited by the ladies to preach his first sermon in their church; how the church was filled by a pious assemblage to listen to the words of the new minister; how after the introductory hymn was sung, the young minister mounted the pulpit, opened the good book and read from the epistle of St. Paul: "Let the women be silent in the congregation," and made that the text for his sermon in the spirit of St. Paul. "And," said Mrs. Stanton, with a sly twinkle in her eyes, "we women made up our mind right then and there, never to pay for the education of another boy to the ministry in that denomination." Speaking of her experience before legislative committees and political conventions, she told how she appeared in behalf of her co-workers before the committee on resolutions of the national Republican convention in 1864, which gave Abraham Lincoln his second nomination, and asked for the incorporation of a woman's suffrage plank; how the committee graciously permitted her to address them, and after having spoken but a short time, was impatiently interrupted by the chairman, Horace Greeley, with the tart remark, "Madam, the ballot goes with the bayonet," and her instant reply: "Very well, Mr. Greeley, I have furnished two substitutes to fight for me, my two sons; how many have you ?" which was rather a little unkind on Greeley, he having no son. At the end of her lecture she announced that on Sunday afternoon she would speak at a church (Universalist) and in the evening again in this hall on another subject. Sunday night Music Hall was crowded to its full capacity, even all available standing room was taken up.

Mrs. Stanton took up for her subject, "Domestic relations; husband and wife; parent and child," and treated it in a masterful way. And she could speak with authority on these subjects, for hers was a most happy household, and she was in position to give advise; and the whole large audience was in complete sympathy with her discourse, she having so enraptured it, that not one was seen to leave the hall during the whole lecture of full two hours' duration.

The following winter Susan B. Anthony delivered her great lecture, "Woman wants bread, not the ballot," to a large appreciative audience; the idea carried out, of course was, the ballot is a means to earn the bread, having particular reference to the army of women working in industrial pursuits and factories. Like Cady Stanton, she appeared plain and simply dressed, though in good taste; and she, too, was eagerly listened to by the assemblage.

When she feelingly mentioned the oppression that women were frequently subjected to in factories, and the starvation wages received by them, her face lit up and gave her a commanding appearance. She laid bare existing wrongs; and no doubt it is through the labor of these two women that many abuses have been corrected in later years, though it was done without resorting to woman suffrage. Susan B. Anthony was a really eloquent woman, and some of her utterances will not suffer in comparison to be placed side by side with the best of American oratory.

There were also the travelogues of Colonel Sanford, unrivaled as a word painter. Leaving the port of New York, he took his audience over the old continent, showing and explaining the great historical sights there to be seen, and never failed to close with a peroration of the grandeur, political and geographical, of our own country, the east, and of his own home, the beautiful Mississippi valley.

There were other lectures, concerts, Abby Carrington and others of her and of a higher class, and there were. the political meetings with good speakers.

It was in Music Hall that H. S. Alban made his first political speech here in reply to a speech made by Gen. E. S. Bragg, and his appearance on the rostrum was a most pleasing surprise to his friends, because he showed himself not only as an able speaker, but as one who was a student of political affairs. And there was the joint debate between Thomas W. Nichols and Robert Schilling on the greenback question.

Many of the entertainments given in Music Hall came up in excellence to any given in the opera house at later dates. That hall was, of course, the scene of all society dances, concerts by the singing societies, the Harmony and later the Liederkranz, and lastly the meeting place of the social German society, "Frohsinn," the best interpretation of which would be "good cheer."

The decline of Music Hall began with the opening of the Opera House, which was much larger and better equipped. During the last years of its existence it was not improved; on the contrary, even repairs were neglected, and when J. M. Smith and C. J. Winton became the owners and existing leases expired, it was torn down, because the realty on that corner would warrant the erection of a new and better building. On its place now stands the Livingston block, the finest commercial emporium in the city.

Nevertheless the satisfaction felt by the tearing down of this building in the expectation of something worthier of the time and place was not wholly without some regret. It was in this building that the firm of Silverthorn and Plumer, although having done a brokerage business before, started out as a full fledged banking house; after this firm had put up a building of their own on the land owned by the Millard estate, J. M. Smith occupied their former quarters as a real-estate office, from which Marathon county was populated as never before.

Around Music Hall clustered many of the most pleasing, humorous and enjoyable memories of the past; it seemed as if with the demolishment of Music Hall went down the good old Wausau of olden times, to make room for the new. When built in 1870, and completed in 1871, it was the best and largest public building, and in a quarter of a century it was no longer good enough for the times. So passes the glory of the world, and how many of the buildings which are today the pride of Wausau may still be so in fifty years?

Why take so much space in writing about old Music Hall? Because there was the focus of the social and intellectual and political life from the beginning of the city, in distinction from the village, and these references serve to give an illustration as to what that life really was.

From 1861 to 1871 the village had enjoyed an unexampled, thereofore unknown growth. Several additions had been platted and the village stretched out south, east and north; more than two hundred buildings had been added in a few years, and the time had come to organize a city government.

A CITY CHARTER.

was obtained in 1872 and sections 36, 25, 26, and 35, in township 29, range 7 east, were set off as a city.

The territory is four square miles in extent, exactly one mile in each direction from the northwest corner of Main and Washington streets, yet the settled portion covered only a part. The marsh still existed, one corduroy road at Jackson street crossed it, but during the summer Henriette street was opened and a road cut out, from the end of which a corderoy road was built to connect with McIntosh street, which was also made passable.

No new buildings had been added on the west side to those already mentioned, but good residence buildings were put up on Fourth and Fifth streets as far north as Franklin, and south on Grand avenue as far as the breweries.

At the presidential election in 1872, the total number of votes cast in the city was 425.

The charter election was held on the first Tuesday in April and resulted in the election of August Kickbusch as mayor.

With its organization as a city, the great work of improvements began, which has been continued ever since, more prominent in some years than in others, but never at a standstill.

Street grading was undertaken; a new bridge across the slough was built much higher above the water than the old one, and the street to the bridge from Main street west was filled in from three to five feet in some places to reduce its steepness. About three thousand dollars was spent in that year on street improvements alone, which was a large sum at that time, but it was a paying investment.

The inauguration of Mr. Kickbusch was quite a solemn affair, and evidenced the fact that the officers as well as the people were conscious that a change had taken place in their political status, which deserved special observance.

The outgoing village board was in session, presided over by Carl Hoeflinger, its president, when the mayor and new city council appeared in the meeting room of the engine house, which served as a village and city hall for many years. Mr. Hoeflinger then made a short address, referring to the changed condition, congratulated the people upon the advancement and the mayor and aldermen upon their election, and then the old village board vacated their chairs, and the city council took their places.

The council was called to order, the mayor delivered his inaugural, brimful of good common sense, and the new government was installed and proceeded to business. The administration of August Kickbusch was a great credit to the city, which took a decided step towards municipal progress, and gracefully and successfully passed through the metamorphose from village to city.

Two years afterwards he was again elected as mayor, and in 1889 was appointed by President Harrison as receiver of the United States land office at Wausau. The duties of this office were not congenial to him and he voluntarily retired in 1891, for the following reasons, which reflected credit upon his character:

On the 20th day of December, 1890, there were made subject to homestead entry about 200,000 acres of land, situated in Lincoln, Vilas and Oneida counties, which had theretofore been withdrawn for entry and settlement, and much of it was valuable pine land. These facts, and that the lands became subject to homestead entry on that day, had been very widely advertised and described as worth thousands of dollars each 80-acre tract, and consequently thousands of people came to Wausau from all parts of the United States to take up these lands under the homestead act. On the afternoon of the 18th day of December some ten to twelve men were seen running to the window in the courthouse, where according to advertisement publicly made by the register and receiver of the United States land office, the applications for homestead entry would be received on December 20, 1890, from 9 o'clock A. M.; and in less than an hour hundreds of applicants were standing in a line from that window to the street east, and across the sidewalk, with many hundreds of others on the courthouse square, coming too late. It took three and part of the fourth day to dispose of these applicants one after another, who were waiting out there in the cold all during these days, standing up or squatting on the snow and freezing, while hundreds of others hastened to the lands to take possession of them by settlement, as the legal phrase is, immediately after midnight of December 19, 1890, and thousands of others left the city, disgusted by being fooled to come hundreds and some over one thousand miles for a homestead, at great expense and with no certainty of being able to get one.

The men who went to the land after midnight of December 19, 1890, claimed a preference right over the men who filed their application and paid for their entry at the land office, and contested the rights of the filers (the men who filed for their land at the land office) to the lands. Mr. Kickbusch was not a lawyer and not familiar with land office practice, but he had a strongly developed sense of what was right and what was wrong. There was a difference of opinion even among lawyers as to who should have the preference right, the men who filed or the men who settled after midnight.

These conflicting claims had to be settled first of the local land office by suits, called contests. When hundreds of contests were brought by the settlers who had no papers from the land office, against the filers, who had the papers, and August Kickbusch was given to understand by the register of the land office, who had been in office for sixteen years and who was familiar with the United States land laws, that all things being equal, the settler had the best right to the land and the filer would lose it, Mr. Kickbusch said: "No, that is not right. I have taken from these filers their money and they have stood there in line for days and frozen, and now I should decide against them? That I will not do, even if it is the law; rather than do that I will resign," and he did resign before the first contest was brought on for a hearing. He followed the dictates of his conscience, preferring to resign the high office than do that which he deemed a wrong.

His name has often been mentioned as one of the pioneer businessmen in former chapters; many years his general store was the largest commercial house in Wausau, and he also dealt in lumber. He was a keen judge of human nature, but warm-hearted and accommodating. Always ready to help his countrymen, not only with his counsel, but with giving credit when others refused, he was deservedly popular with all classes of people. For years he was one of the most powerful political factors in Marathon county, first as a Democrat, then as a member of the Greenback party; later still, as a Republican until his death, in May, 1904, which caused widespread mourning. He was the founder of the Aug. Kickbusch Wholesale Grocery Company, and one of the directors of the First National Bank of Wausau from its organization until his death, and also a director in the Ruder Brewery Company.

In 1873 Jacob Paff was elected mayor, under whose administration another important problem concerning the future development of the city came up for solution. The annual agricultural products of Marathon county were then far from supplying the home demand, and as the farming industry at that time practically ended on the north line of township 30 the deficiency had to be hauled up from the nearest railroad station, which was still Stevens Point, while the export of lumber depended on the caprices of the Wisconsin
river.

The first railroad was secured in this year, though not finished until 1874, and the mayor of Wausau, Jacob Paff, was an important personage in inducing the Wisconsin Valley Railroad to enter Wausau.

In this year was also made the contract for the first large schoolhouse, the first brick building in Wausau, heated by hot air, the Humbolt Schoolhouse, slightly enlarged since that time. The contract price was $18,000, and L. S. Hayne, a stranger, was the contractor, but when it was completed it came to $24,000. To pay for this building, Wausau bonded itself for the first time, issuing $10,000 in bonds and paying 10 per cent interest thereon. The high rate of interest paid on these bonds issued by a city who had no other indebtedness at all at that time, shows another instance of the prevailing scarcity of money at that time.

Buildings nevertheless increased; over one hundred houses were erected that year.

Jacob Paff was one of the earliest German settlers in Wausau; he came about 1851, and for seven years worked as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, having a shop on Jackson street, later built a store on Jackson and Third streets, where he carried on a general merchandise business and also engaged in lumbering. He demonstrated his belief in the permanency of Wausau by erected its first solid brick building, where his first store building stood, and following it up with the building of more brick stores on Third street, which made it the principal business street in the city. He was one of the founders of the First National Bank and its vice-president from the time of its organization until his death, on the 6th day of May, 1895, often acting as president.

Much of the prosperity of this bank was due to the confidence which the people of all classes of society had in his business capacity and personal integrity, for he at all times enjoyed the respect and esteem of the business world and the people generally.

He was county clerk of Marathon county, and for more than a decade one of the principal merchants and lumbermen of Wausau.

In 1874 August Kickbusch was again called upon to preside over the destinies of Wausau. The Wisconsin Valley Railroad was expected to reach Wausau, and he having taken a prominent part in the conferences which culminated in the contract for the building of that road, it was thought proper that he should be the official head to welcome the iron horse. The day of the arrival of the first train was duly celebrated, as has already been related.

In this year were finished the fine residences of N. T. Kelly, Mrs. M. B. Scholfield, William Callon and many others. The Marathon County Bank erected its first solid brick building, (since torn down and replaced with its present structure) and James McCrossen built his big store on corner of Scott and Third streets.

Lincoln county, with one hundred townships, was set off from Marathon county in the legislative session of 1874.

The total vote in the fall election for the highest office voted for in that year, member of congress, in the city of Wausau, was 592.

The election of 1875 brought Mr. Carl Hoeflinger to the head of city officers. Wausau's growth had been comparatively rapid during the two previous years; streets had been laid out and graded, the new school house completed and was used, but it was soon discovered that instead of answering the needs of many years yet to come, it was just comfortably answering present needs and no more.

The railroad had brought many people, among whom were those that always follow railroad building and extensions; people whose acquisitions is of doubtful value to any place, and sometimes even a positive damage. The booms had been extended, lumber output largely increased, and Wausau became the center of the lumber industry on the Wisconsin river, which it has maintained to this day.

Merrill was then, and remained without a railroad until 1881. It had no large boom to hold logs; the Scott & Andrews mill the only mill there, boomed most of their logs in Prairie river. Only a few boarding houses were in Merrill, and the many hundreds of men who worked in the large number of camps in Lincoln county and all camps above Wausau, all came down here to be paid off, many remained here to go on the log drives after the river opened and returned again after the driving, or with the drive to Wausau. Wausau was their headquarters, as they called it, filling every hotel and boarding house to overflowing during the spring and early summer months, and had their earnings to spend. There were places willing to lighten them of their burden, even watching out for them, having runners to show them the sights, runners to show them to places where Dame Fortune might smile upon them, and incidentally relieve them of their hard-earned winter wages.

The police force consisted of a marshal and one night watchman, re-enforced for a couple of months in the spring by a special policeman. The fire department consisted of the unpaid voluntary fire company, with the hand engine, assisted by the hook and ladder company, also volunteers. There was enough for the mayor to do in those days, especially if one was inclined to be more than mayor in name only, or limit his official authority to the presidency over the city council. Mr. Hoeflinger was conscious that, although there was no salary attached to the office, still some duties were to be performed, not of a pleasing nature, or in connection with the merely administrative affairs of the city, but duties onerous and unpleasant, but he did not shrink from performing them.

Wausau being then on the end of a railroad line, and the last place of importance on the Wisconsin river, had a very large floating population, sometimes as many as a thousand, who spent a large part of their earnings here. It had assumed somewhat the airs and complexion of a frontier town, which in fact it was, and shady characters plied their trade almost everywhere. Livery rigs, whose occupants delighted in gaudy colored and highly scented dresses, paraded the streets, inviting the unsophisticated pinery boy to make acquaintance with the world, rather demi-monde. Mayor Hoeflinger undertook the heroic task of cleaning out the city. He made no pompous declaration of what he was going to do, did not begin this work by a bugle blast. He went at it in a most primitive way. One night he called to his aid his faithful adlatus, the city marshal, George Stelz, and - Harum al Raschid-like – they made a tour of the suspected parlors of Dame Fortune. No arrests were made on the spot, but next day it was said on the street that the mayor had delivered himself of some forceful speeches in some places. Some arrests followed and a number of business men in the wet goods line gave bond for their appearance in circuit court. After some terms of court these cases were forgotten, but the mayor's bold appearance as a social reformer had a good effect for more than his own term of office. Some of the professionals left the town, the bunco steerer disappeared, and the olfactory nerves of the
pinery boys were no longer termpted on the streets by the odors of musk or patchoulie with which the air seemingly had theretofore been impregnated. Wausau assumed its normal condition; legitimate enterprises prospered; the building of fine residences, especially in the northeastern part, continued, mainly the work of a new architect and builder, John Mercer, who had come to Wausau in 1872. The N. T. Kelly residence was his first work here, which to this day is one of the finest residence buildings in the city, and many others are of his conception and plans.

At this time the city began to spread out across the river, but nevertheless the hard times beginning with the fall of the banking house of Jay Cook begun to be felt in Wausau. Its effect had been retarded somewhat by the building of the railroad to Wausau in 1874, but lumber had fallen in price, collections were slow, and the municipality began to feel the downward trend of affairs about this time.

Mr. Hoeflinger did his best to keep city expenses down to a proper limit, but he could not prevent a large return of unpaid taxes, which in those days, at least so far as personal property tax was concerned, was nearly a clear loss. He was glad to relinquish the cares of office and devote himself to his private business as a real estate and insurance man.

Carl Hoeflinger came to Wausau in 1860, and was county treasurer from 1865 to 1873; he occupied the chair as editor of the Wausau Wochenblatt when it was founded, and at different times thereafter, being a fluent and racy writer in both the German and English languages. Alone and unaided by any society or organization, he organized and led the first procession on Memorial Day in honor of the departed soldiers of the Civil war, furnishing with a lavish hand, from his own garden, all the flowers for the occasion. The ceremony fell in disuse after this first procession, to be revived after many years by Cutler Post, G. A. R., at Wausau. C. Hoeflinger was a man of attractive qualities of mind and heart, always popular, generous almost to a fault. He died a victim to that dread disease, consumption, on the 21st day of September, 1880, only forty-eight years of age.

The office of mayor was purely an honorary one until lately, but there never was a dearth of candidates, many citizens not only being willing, but glad to serve their fellow citizens in that capacity, though they had to go through the ordeal of an election and take the chances of defeat at the polls. They considered it an honor to be the candidate of a portion of the people, the candidate of their party, and next to the honor of being elected, stood the honor of being defeated; at least that was the view taken by people in earlier days, and they brought forward good men in each instance, the community being the gainer by it.

The choice for mayor in 1876 was B. Ringle, who was then and had been for years, the county judge of this county. The election was very animated, not only as to mayor, but for every office from mayor down. The political parties were drawing the lines and marshaling their forces preparatory for the presidential contest of 1876, and each party put forward their best and most popular man.

Such men as D. L. Plumer and R. E. Parcher were contestants for the office of supervisor of the Third ward, which included all the territory north of Washington and east of Main street. Both of these men were excellent citizens, their reputation for competency, integrity and local patriotism as well established as now, but curiously enough their nomination, instead of bringing forth unanimous rejoicing, brought forth only bitter denunciations from their respective partisans. It was Archbishop Whatley who said that in a heated political contest it could easily be proven that Abel had killed Cain, and the truth of this remark was proven by the heated disputes of the partisans of these candidates.

The Republicans were bound to elect their candidate; the Democrats felt they could not afford to have their candidate defeated, and other wards took more interest in the election of the Third ward than in their own. When on the night of the election, D. L. Plumer emerged with a majority of three votes out of the contest there was a sigh of relief among Democrats, and the Republicans were satisfied, feeling that they had done their whole duty by their candidate.

The election in this year, including the presidential election of 1876, was the last one in which these two gentlemen were found in opposite camps. The exigency of politics brought them together in less than two years, and from that time on until the death of R. E. Parcher, they trained together in business and pretty much in the same political camp.

The administration of Mayor B. Ringle continued the established policy of street improvements, and in general kept a watchful eye on the interests of the city. But business was getting duller and duller, prices were still falling, and as taxes were bearing hard on the people the expenses of the city were curtailed as much as possible. Still one work worth mentioning was undertaken. The city had been spreading out and homes were erected all along and close up to the edges of the marsh. The miasma arising from this stagnant pool caused much sickness, especially among children, with an appalling death rate.

The drainage of this marsh was undertaken by digging a ditch at the southwest end of the marsh leading to a plank culvert, which ran underground through the property of Adam Young and P. B. McKellar, and underground across Grand avenue into the ravine which comes up to Grand avenue at Columbia park, leading to the river. That ditch and culvert served its purpose for a time, lowering the height of the pond and narrowing its limits, but in the nature of things could only be of a temporary character.

The pool on William's flat in the first ward, was also partially trained and the sanitary condition was greatly improved, though the cause was not wholly removed.

Few men, if any, filled the office of mayor who devoted more time to its interests and had more executive ability, a more thorough understanding and knowledge of municipal affairs. B. Ringle had been county clerk of Marathon county for six years, had served it five times as representative in the legislature and was county judge from 1864 until his death, on the 27th day of October, 1881. He was familiar with the needs of the city as well as the county.

When he took the office of county clerk, and found the county owing the state $20,000 for taxes, a very large sum in those days, when money brought one and one-half or two per cent interest per month, and lands were considered a burden, he was the originator and, with the aid of his intimate friend, Senator E. L. Brawn of Waupaca, succeeding in enacting a law by which the state accepted forty thousand acres of tax title land in cancellation of this debt.

These lands were sold by the state for 75 cents an acre soon afterwards, and thereby again returned to the assessment rolls, increasing to that extent the taxable property of the county. For this act Mr. B. Ringle received high praise from all parties at that time.

In his private life, as well as in his official capacity, he was a man of unimpeachable integrity, plain-spoken in language, going always directly to the point, never deceiving friend or foe with phrases of doubtful import or double meaning. He was a powerful factor in shaping the destinies of Marathon county and the city of Wausau, and politically exerted more influence soon after his coming to Wausau than any other man. He was a native of the Palatine, Germany, where he was educated and worked in some minor official capacity. He emigrated to this county in 1846, and came directly to Wisconsin, settling first in Germantown, Washington county, but two years later took up farm life in the town of Herman, Dodge county, Wisconsin, where he remained until the spring of 1859, when he came to Wausau. He was postmaster, chairman and justice of the peace in Dodge county, and familiar with town, village and county government when he came to Wausau. The numerous German settlers who came to Marathon county about that time
and settled in the new towns, consulted him more than any one of the lawyers then here on town organization and the like, because he could speak their language, explain the meaning of the law and instruct them in their duties. They found him a reliable and willing advisor, and that in connection with his sturdy and honest character accounted for the strong political influence which he exerted until his death.

The census of 1875 and the presidential vote of 1876 showed a large gain over the previous years. Nevertheless business was suffering more and more, there was a disposition to find fault with the government of nation, state and municipality, and whenever a mayor had served his one-year term, he asked for no other, but was glad to retire and leave the thankless job to some other person.

In 1877 J. C. Clarke became mayor and the council which was elected with him was conspicuous in more than one sense, than any of its predecessors. Not only was the mayor one of the largest businessmen of the city, but so were most of the supervisors, who under the old charter were also members of the city council. There were B. G. Plumer, from the first ward; Jacob Paff, from the second; Carl Hoeflinger, from the fourth, and Alex Stewart, from the newly created fifth ward. They found an empty treasury, empty because a large amount of taxes was returned as unpaid, and in those
days the county treasurer did not pay the delinquent taxes on the return to him of the tax rolls. It took an order of the county board requiring him to do so after the tax sale, at which the county was usually the only bidder, and then county orders were issued to the city or towns for unpaid taxes. In 1877 the city had no less than $4,000 in county orders for unpaid taxes, but these county orders were not par, but stood at a discount of from 20 to 25 per cent. Of course the city kept these orders in the treasury expecting to pay the county taxes for the ensuing year, and tried to get along with the license money which was not to exceed $50 a year where it is now $200 until the next tax paying time.

There was not much change for improvements, and the best that could be done was to keep streets and bridges in some kind of repair. There was then no money for such luxuries as street lights or street crossings.

Still the administration managed to run the city without going into debt, and they had to exercise much wisdom in accomplishing it. The hard times had struck Wausau with full force; many men were out of employment, and wages were at low ebb. Yet one ray of hope penetrated the dark outlook. The Wisconsin Valley Railroad opened a real estate office at Wausau in Music Hall building, and put J. M. Smith in charge of the business. He as principal contractor of the building of the road had taken a large interest in that land in part payment and was directly interested in the sale; it was said at the time that he had a half interest. Certain it is that after a few years he purchased the interest of the railroad in the land, and owned it himself with his co-partner Thompson. In the spring of 1875 he made his first trip through the settled portion with a view of examining the land as to fertility of the soil and its adaption for farming. The season was unusually late that year, and he found the growing crops decidedly backwards and felt rather blue over the prospect of realizing much out of the land. About two months later he made the same trip again, and was then surprised to see the waving fields of grain and thick fields of timothy which greeted his astonished gaze. He knew then that his interest in the lands would turn out much better than expected, and he lost no time in endeavoring to get actual settlers. He advertised liberally, but judiciously, spending thousands of dollars in making known the agricultural richness of Marathon county, establishing a number of branch offices, and had hundreds of little frames made, boxes, in which the grains produced in Marathon county were exhibited, which were distributed at railroad stations and on all points liable to attract the attention of prospective purchasers. His energetic work began to tell in 1877; there was a large influx of strangers who settled on these lands, and they had to purchase their home and farm supplies at Wausau, as their nearest market. Their trade not only enlivened the extremely dull season somewhat, but held out great hopes for the future.

He was very successful in bringing settlers to this county, selling lands at reasonably low rates, even for that time and by giving such liberal terms as to payments that even the poorest was enabled to obtain a home; provided he would be industrious and honest. Nearly every one of these settlers became a well to do farmer, and to J. M. Smith's push and energy, and his honorable and fair dealing with the parties to whom he sold, was due much of the growth of agriculture in this county, and a corresponding growth of Wausau as an industrial and manufacturing center. This immigration helped Wausau over the worst of the hard times in 1877, and the careful management of city affairs saved it from running into debt.

The end of Mayor Clarke's administration was remarkable by the beginning of suits against city and county with a view of the cancellation of taxes which were sought to be declared illegal. This controversy was hurtful to the city more than to the county, but both passed out of it with no more damage than a black eye, for the time being, figuratively speaking, but the after effect was rather beneficial in that assessors were brought about to a better understanding and realization of their duties.

J. C. Clarke had often been mentioned as pioneer lumberman who came as a boy to Wausau in 1845. He was harder pressed than any other of the mill owners at Wausau during the time from 1874 to 1879, but he held up his head and succeeded in saving his property when other lumbermen went down. Fortune began smiling on him after 1879, and he was on the road to prosperity, when he sold out his mill property and standing pine to the McDonald Brother Company, a corporation in 1882, retaining only a respectable minority of the shares. But being used to the full and unrestricted control of his large business for so many years, which he was no longer allowed to exercise after the new corporation had taken possession, he sold his remaining interest in the following year and looked around for a new field of labor. In an evil hour he invested in a tobacco plantation in Virginia, and what it was that could induce him, a Wisconsin pioneer lumberman, to go down into old Virginia among the Southern planters with whom he could not have anything in common, remained a mystery to his friends until the end of his life. The venture turned out a complete failure and so was his next venture of farming in the state of New Jersey. He returned to Wausau after a few years, then took up a homestead near Bradley on the Sault St. Mary Railroad, cleared the title to some of his property at and near Tomahawk City, which was then being founded by a Mr. Bradley, and succeeded in getting means enough to build himself a decent and respectable home, the only property which descended to his children. He was an energetic and hard worker all his life; came as a boy of fourteen years into the pinery without any acquaintances or friends; he understood the lumber business thoroughly, and in his younger days was sought as a pilot, particularly to run Big Bull. He was honest and warm hearted, but he could not always read the signs of the times; his first error was in selling out at a time when remaining a few more years in sole control of his property would have brought him a little fortune; but his greatest error was his venture in going into the plantation country of Virginia which came nigh ruining him financially. When he returned, however, he was the same John C. Clarke, undaunted by reverses, beginning life anew, and to the end of his days had the respect and good will of all his many old friends and acquaintances.

He was sheriff of Marathon county in 1859 and 1860, and many years a very influential member of the county board. He was elected to the assembly in 1881, and was a very creditable representative. While in the legislature, it happened that the railroad construction company which was building the railroad from the city of Eau Claire to Superior City went into bankruptcy and the state was forced by sheer humanity to send provisions up the line of the road to save the working people of that road from starvation.

John C. Clarke with a few other honorable and far seeing members desired the state to take the land grant given for the building of the road and build and operate the railroad itself. That land grant was worth more than it cost to build and equip the railroad, but for the state to take the grant, as it had a perfect right to do, and get the railroad substantially for nothing and still have valuable land was, in the opinion of the great majority of the legislature at that time, looking too much towards socialism, and the grant was given to the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, which built the new line and organized it as the Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad.

There was a sequel to that land grant. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad also sought to get that grant, and the competition of these railroads endangered the success of either and worked indirectly in favor of the scheme of John C. Clarke and a few of his friends, who wanted the state to take over the grant and build the railroad itself.

Under the circumstances the two railroads made common cause; the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Company withdrew, leaving the field clear to Chicago & Northwestern Railroad under a secret agreement, letting the last mentioned railroad take the grant, and build the road, about 62 miles in length, in consideration of which the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad should have a one-fourth interest in the lands granted, and be allowed to run their trains over the newly built road on very favorable terms and other very important and valuable concessions.

When the Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad had obtained that grant, had built the road and operated it, it refused to stand by the bargain made with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, claiming that the contract was void as against public policy. In the litigation which followed the breach of the contract, the Omaha road made that their defense, and the supreme court could not but adopt the same view. In the language of later days, this agreement was "a gentleman's agreement" ("rogue" would be a better term), which is binding on gentlemen without any aid of courts, just as gambling debts are called "debts of honor" because no court in the world will enforce them, and in this instance the Omaha road did not play the part of the gentleman with the gentleman on the other side. In strict course of justice, the successful railroad should have been also deprived of the grant or the benefits derived from it, because obtained under a corrupt bargain.

See 75 Wis. 225, and Sec. 4482 R. S., cited by court.

Such and similar agreements of and between railroads and favored corporations and large shippers, and actions of this sort, have brought about the hostile feeling against railroads which manifested itself in unfriendly legislation in late years, under which railroading is suffering to some extent at this time, but for which they themselves are largely responsible.

Since his return to Wausau, John C. Clarke was elected justice of the peace, re-elected from term to term, and he died at the age of seventy-six years, after a comparatively short illness. The last years of his life were spent fairly comfortably at his home on Franklin street, a modest, unpretentious but neat little house. He was a native of north Wales and came as boy with some emigrant friends to Dane county in June, 1845, from where he wandered up in the Wisconsin pinery in the same year, a poor, friendless boy, and stayed here all his life, with the exception of the few years spent in Virginia and New Jersey after he sold out in 1883 before his return back home.
 

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