County consists of 936 square miles, with 24 townships, 8 villages, and
County was originally named Gates
County in 1901, when it was formed out of the northern part of Chippewa
County. In 1905 it was re-named by the Legislature in honor of Jeremiah M.
Civil War hero, Wisconsin Congressman, 3-term Governor of the State and
the first United States Secretary of Agriculture under President
1840, almost all of Rusk County was covered with six million acres of
white pine and hemlock, and loggers made their livings harvesting these
trees. Logging was the industry that opened up the territory in 1884
and the Chippewa River, Weigor and Thornapple Rivers were a solid mass
of logs being floated down river. In 1884, the Soo Line was
completed from the west to Bruce.
Small towns developed in a line
east of Bruce as the Railroad developed. The logging industry fell off
sharply after 1915, and farming then rose to take its place. Farming
developed slowly in the county, lumber-jacks would acquire 40 or 80
acres, buy a cow
or two, and raise food for their own use and fodder for their stock.
is the county seat.
city was founded at the intersection of the Railroad Soo Line with the
Flambeau River in 1885, named "Flambeau Falls" after the Ojibwa name
for the area Gakaabikijiwanan "of cliffed rapids". Robert Corbett, a
logging and lumbering entrepreneur, held the dominant influence on the
in its early years, first renamed as "Corbett", then to "Warner" in
1891, and then to the present name on July 1, 1900, after the bride of
Charles R. Smith, head of the Menasha Wooden Ware Co.