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The following article was taken from the book "Wisconsin Lore, Antics, and Anecdotes of Wisconsin People and Places" by Robert E. Gard and L.G. Sorden.
Told to Robert (Bob) M. Dessureau by Mr. Larzelere"
" 'Back in '78,' my old friend Mr. Larzelere said, "we floated millions of feet of good pine down the Wolf to Shawano and Oshkosh. They called Oshkosh 'the sawdust city' then. Right here, Bob, the logs jammed sky high. I happened to be at the Cabins then. It was a tricky job to get the mess untangled. The water was backing up and raisin' a ruckus. Now there was a hardy river rat working on the drive. He came here from Maine state. His name was Jean La Pierre. We all called him Frenchy. Now I saw Frenchy crawling up to the top of this log jam with my own eyes. They planned to set some sticks of dynamite in the jam, but before the blast went off the logs broke loose of their own accord. They made a terrific noise. They turned over end on end like matchsticks before settling down below in the river. Now just after the roar and a moment before the top logs gave way, we heard a voice. It was the bellowing voice of Frenchy. I looked and heard him roar from the top of those logs, "Timbaire! Theyaire she goes!" That was the last we ever saw of Frenchy. No one who watched can forget how he threw up his arms and in an instant tried to steady himself with a canthook. His body was not found. It upset us all-Jennie Hill, Horace Rice, Seymour Mills, John Corn, and several others stood with me watching this tragedy, Bob."
"Yes, Mr. Larzelere, I have often heard that many rivermen lost their lives on the drives during the spring months."
Mr. Larzelere continued: "But this is the funny part of this story, Bob. Three Years later in the same spot in the month of April, 1881, I was standing almost in the same path with Dick Healy, Sr. Of Antigo, Squire A. Taylor of the Lily, Fred Dodge of Hollister, and I think Arthur Janes and Amessey Smith were in the bunch. The spring drive of logs was in full swing. There was trouble again in this same bend in the Wolf River. The foreman of the drive was Hank Edwards. News had gotten around that this jam would soon be dynamited. We were watching. Suddenly there was a cracking of plunging logs, and the spray of water and confusion forced us back somewhat. Just as the whole pile was about to collapse we saw it-it all happened so fast we were speechless. High up on top of that crumbling log jam, just as I had seen him three years before, stood Frency Pierre. We all recognized him. He was holding a long peavy as if he tried to balance himself. Then all of a sudden his great voice burst out in one great shout, "Timbaire! Theyaire she goes!" and that was all. Was this a vision? We had heard of things like that. None of us had been drinking. None of us believed in ghosts. Each was glad someone else was on hand and saw it to corroborate his story. Well, Bob, we were pretty much shaken up and talked about this many times after that. But the payoff was this: Three days later down the river near Otter Slide the body of Frenchy La Pierre was found. There was a fresh deep gash in his forehead near an older scar close to the right temple. The body was otherwise in a good state of preservation.
"Now Bob, figure that one out, will yeh? If Frenchy had just been killed, where had he been the past three years? Some said he had lost his mind and was living as a ("oldtime term" deleted) on the reservation; that he had been pulled out of the river and saved three years before. No one really ever found out. Some even said the body found near Otter Slide was that of one Gideon Cromber, but old Indians on the north end of the reservation always told the children to watch for the ghost of Frenchy La Pierre 'over the river after the geese fly north and the logs go down.' "
Fishermen plying the Wolf in early May when morning mists arise before the sun gets high sometimes in a confidential yet sheepish manner have been heard to say to wives or men companions: "You know something? Up around that bend by the Log Cabins this morning I saw the funniest thing. The mist. . . it looked like a man walking on the water. Drinking? Not me. I never do! It looked like he had his hands in the air and he was carrying a pole or something. It gave me the creeps, but of course I forgot it because I don't believe in ghosts."
And so the ghost of Frenchy La Pierre lives on and on . . ."
Webmaster Note: In recent years tourists occasionally report seeing a naked man in and along the Wolf River. The authorities have never been able to find him. You don't suppose it could be Frenchy???
Elton/Wolf River District No. 4, (Wolf River Graded/Langlade)
The state of Wisconsin was first a French territory, until the fall of New France in 1763. Then it came under British control. At the end of the Revolutionary War the state became a part of the Northwest Territory. This was afterward divided into four states and Wisconsin was annexed to the Michigan territory.
When enough people settled in Wisconsin, Morgan L. Martin, a resident of Green Bay introduced a bill in the house of Representatives to let the people of Wisconsin form a constitution. Then they formed a state government and Wisconsin was admitted as a state in 1848. This state was divided afterward into seventy-one counties. One of these was Langlade County. This was named after Charles Langlade.
The town of Langlade is beautifully situated on the east bank of the Wolf River, in the southeastern part of Langlade County. It is located about half way between Antigo and Shawano and has railway connections with both places. The town has an excellent, opportunity to carry on commerce. The C.&N.W. Ry., as well as the Wisconsin and Northern, have railroad stations about one and one-half miles from here. The town is also favored with excellent farm and timber lands. It has two good stores. Langlade is one of the earliest settled towns in Northern Wisconsin. Charles Langlade was a pioneer fur trader here about sixty years ago. The village as well as the county and town were named after him. At present the Langlade family reside at Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Military road, which runs through Langlade was built from Green Bay to Lake Superior. It was started in 1863 and completed in 1868. The purpose of this road was to transport troops to Canada in case that England joined the Confederate States in the Civil War. Most of the road was built by Mr. Hadler of Milwaukee and S.A. Taylor, who later became a lumberman in this vicinity. The government gave them every even section of land for five miles on each side of the road as a compensation for their services. The road, however, was never used for military purposes.
The first settler in this town as well as the first settler in Langlade County, was Charles Larzelere, who came here for the purpose of fur trading. He became a fur trader in Michigan and Wisconsin 1864. He settled here in 1870. He built the house recently occupied by R.J. Wunderlich. During the same year, George Gardener built the first house in Markton, on the place now occupied by Clancy Dempster. With the exception of Mr. Ackley's house in the town of Ackley, these were the first houses in Langlade County. Mr. McFarland settled here a few years later and Frank Dodge also settled at Nine Mile Creek.
These settlers received their mail from carriers, who brought on foot the mail from Shawano to Lake Superior, by what was called the "Old Lake Superior Trail." At intervals along the trail stations were established for the accommodation of the carriers. Traces of the old trail may still be seen west of the Wolf River, in the vicinity of White Lake. A box near the door of the old Larzelere residence still marks the place where Mr. Larzelere kept the first Langlade post office, for a period of twenty years.
During its early history, the town contained forty-four and one-fourth townships and formed a part of Oconto County. Some people had to travel a distance of forty miles to vote. The present city of Antigo was in the town. Later this part of Oconto County was set off into a separate county, known as New County, with the county seat at Lily.
After Mr. Deleglise settle in Antigo in 1876, Langlade County was discontinued. This part of the county still wanted the county seat at Lily, but it was established at Antigo. The State Legislature gave this town the option of joining Langlade or Shawano County. They refused to join Shawano County, because the reservation is located between here and the city of Shawano. They also refused to organize a town government as part of Langlade County because the County seat was not nearer the central part of the town.
For the next few years this was known as the Lost Nation and had no town government at all. Then the court decided that this town would be compelled to organize or become a part of the town of Polar. Of course they did not want to do this so the next spring the town of Elton organized with a territory of five and one-fourth townships. The first town board was composed of three men, Charles Larzelere, John Springer, and Mr. Buckstaff. Later this town was divided and now contains three and one-fourth townships.
Other early settlers of this vicinity were the Gibson family from Antigo, who resided on the Wm. Wood farm, John Springer, who lived on the George Shannon farm, O.A. Yates, who lived in the A.J. Wood residence, Mathew Dazinski, P. Novak, Classas Farrow and Saul Stevens, whose memory we still preserve by his namesake "Saul's Pond."
Besides lumbering and fur trading, many people were engaged in logging on the Wolf River. O.A. Yates built the house now occupied by A.J. Wood in 1873. He did not have a regular store, but kept some grocery supplies.
Mr. Yates sold his residence to Peter Grattona and Robert Gilray of Lily. Mr. Wood bought the place in 1880. A.J. Wood came here from Clintonville and started logging operations in 1886. ...???
Mr. Wood moved his family to Langlade in 1890. Although he did not start a regular store in 1895, Mr. Wood sold supplies from his camp stock as early as 1886. The camp was located on the farm owned by Anton Dymaczinski. Mr. Wood built his present store in 1903. This store carries a supply of all general merchandise, making a specialty of men's winter clothing.
W. Wood was born in the town of Larabel, in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, in 1870. He moved from Larabel to Clintonville and lived there ten years, moving to Langlade in 1880. He was married to Clara Jagla in 1902 and he has since resided on his farm near Langlade.
Mr. James Peters was born in Calise, Washington County, Maine, in 1863. He came to Wisconsin in 1881 and was married to Miss Veinie Larzelere in 1897.
Hugh Shannon was born in New Brunswick, Canada. He moved to Rustic County, Maine, when he was a small child and resided there until he came to Wisconsin in 1870. Mr. Shannon was located in Marion County to his present home at Langlade in 1898.
Joe Kaplanek was born in Chicago in 1871. He moved to Antigo when a boy. He married Miss Frances Jagla in 1895. Mr. Kaplanek lived in the place now occupied by Brad Freeborn until his death in 1910.
Anton Dymczinski was born in Prussia, Germany, and moved to Langlade in 1881.
Mr. Brad Freeborn was born in Oshkosh in 1859. He spent the last years of his life in Langlade.
Mr. Andrew Jagla was born in Germany in 1845. He married Miss Katherine Domaboski in 1872. They moved to Berlin, Wisconsin, in 1876, and from there in Antigo in 1879. They lived there for eleven years and moved to Langlade in 1893.
Mr. Peter Jagla was born in Germany in 1873 and came to Wisconsin in 1876. He was married to Miss Katherine Szkodzinski.
Mr. Carl Arndt was born in Germany in 1867. In 1890 he moved to Canada, where he stayed a few years. In 1900 he moved to the United States and resided in Milwaukee until 1911, when he moved to Langlade, where he lives at present.
Mr. Thomas Grimes was born in Poland, Russia, in 1854. He was married to Miss V. Hocinski in 1888. He moved to Chicago in 1892 where he resided for four years. He moved to Langlade, Wisconsin, in 1897.
Mr. Simon Dazinski was born in Poland in 1872. He came to Brooklyn, New York, in 1889, where he resided for one year. He came to Langlade in 1900 and was married to Miss Helen Dazinski the same year and lived in Langlade until his death in 1914.
George Shannon was born in Kingman, Maine, and came to Wisconsin at about the age of twenty-one. He came to Langlade in 1886, but did not move his family here until 1900. He was married to Miss Nellie Wood in 1887.
H. Spencer was born in Utica, Harkermere County, New York, in 1873, and came to Wisconsin in 1890. He was married to Miss Nellie Wood in 1903. He has since resided in Langlade.
Arthur Basely was born in Illinois in 1888. He moved to Wisconsin when he was only a small boy. Then he moved back to Illinois in 1892, returning to Wisconsin in 1904. Eight years later he was married to Miss Lottie Shannon. He now resides on his farm at Langlade.
Fred Hoffman was born in Wisconsin and came to Langlade about 1905. He was married to Frances Kaplanek in 1914 and has since resided on his farm near Langlade.
Mr. Joe Klomoski was born in Poland in 1874. In 190 he was married to Miss Rose Dazinski. In 1900 he came to the United States and to Wisconsin in 1908.
Mr. Simon Brennan was born in Canada in 1861 and moved to Wisconsin in 1864. He was married to Sarah Greon in 1888.
Other residents of this district are Harry Shannon, Dan Jagla, Homer Lincoln, Hart Partridge, Wenzel Dazinski, Adam Switak, Andrew Dazinski, Alex Grasavage, John Skagenski, Henry Hoffman, John Smith, Enoch Wilson, William Mitchell, Ed Antoniewicz, Albert Wolf, August Buettner, Otto Rumlow, Alex Mashiewicz, Mike Skic, Frank Miller, Emil Soick and Fred Hoeff.
All told this district has a population of about one hundred and fifty, representing about thirty states of the union and about five foreign countries. During the first three years of existence of Langlade a private school was supported by people.
The first district school had an enrollment of about seven pupils. Ida Wesely was the first, or one of the first, teachers.
The first school was located on the west side of the bridge and the next near the dugout. Mr. Shannon's blacksmith shop was one of the old school buildings.
The present school was built in 1908. This is a fine building, having two school rooms, a work room, a play room and a furnace and all modern school conveniences.
Published in Dessureau's 1922 "History of Langlade County..."
The first settler in the Wolf River district was Charles H. Larzelere, who came down from Lac Vieux Desert on the newly constructed military road in the winter of 1870. He had a short time previously driven north from Janesville with a yoke of oxen to the state line. Mr. Larzelere settled on section 3, township 31, range 14 east (correction made, Dessureau had T32). O.J. yates was the next early settler. He came from Maine in 1873 and settled on section 10. Isaac Farrow, came at the same time from Oshkosh. He also settled on section 10. John J. Springer, a Canadian, settled on an adjoining section No. 3, about that time, John Gibson came from Littletown, new Hampshire, with the first settlers and took up a claim on section 3. Thomas Hutchinson, who later moved to Price township, settled on the banks of the Wolf river in section 10, this district, in a very early day. Charles McFarland, pioneer writer and timberman, settled on section 10. Mr. McFarland was from Racine, Wis. Other early settlers were: Frank Derinski, who came from Poland, settling on section 3; Peter Novak, Poland immigrant, who cleared out a home for himself on section 10; Michael Baker came from Chicago and began farming on section 10; Robert Gilray, Canadian native, settled on section 10. H. McConley came from Bell Plaine, Wisconsin, settling on section 3. These settlers were all here very early.
The first school in the county was erected in this district on section 3. It was taught by Mrs. C.H. Larzelere, Addie Wescott, Annie Nolan, Wealthie Doolittle, Francis Churchouse, Orville Pulcifer and H.B. Kellogg, all early teachers. A second school was later erectd on section 10. Both of these pioneer school buildings were frame structures. A third school followed. The fourth building was erected in 1908 by Kraisin Brothers of Tigerton, Wisconsin, at a cost of $4,233.00. The contract was let July 6, 1908. The 1921-22 teachers were: Lulu Livingston and Anna Cusick. The 1921-22 school officials were: Mrs. M.E. Spencer, Clerk; George Shannon, Treasurer and Mrs. A.J. Baseley, Director. The average enrollment is 45 pupils.
The village of Langlade, named after Charles De Langlade, is located in this district. Langlade, as platted, contains all that territory in the southwest 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of section 3, Township 31, Range 14 East. The streets were designated on the plat as A, B, C. D, E and F streets, with avenues from First to Third Avenues inclusive. The village plat was recorded October 16, 1906. W.C. Webley was the surveyor. Kielczewski's plat of Langlade is in the NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of section 10.
J. Yates had the first store, located on section 10. He ran it from 1874 to 1879 with success. He moved to the State of Washington from Langlade County before the city of Antigo was dreamed of by any one, (except F.A. Deleglise). Olaf Morgan ran a saw mill on section 27 and section 14. He came from Morgan's Siding, a place below Neopit.
The district has one church, a Polish Catholic church. There is a Protestant and Catholic cemetery on section 10. On section 3 a polish Catholic cemetery is located.
In this vicinity are found many private cemeteries, where in early days, when the pioneers passed away, they were laid to rest near the old homestead or log cabin wherein they had spent so many days during these first momentous years.
The Wolf River district has thirty-five families. The principal occupation is agriculture. J.L. Whitehouse and H.A. Shannon are proprietors of general stores at Langlade.
The district has the following territory: Sections 3, 10, 15, 22, 27, 34, of Township 33, Range 14 East and sections 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 35 of Township 32, Range 14 East and sections 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16 of Township 31, Range 14 East. It was once an important part of the famous Lost nation.
Elton/Wolf River District No. 5, (Markton)
In the year 1860, Mr. S.A. Taylor and some more men from Chicago received a contract from the United States Government to build a military road from Green Bay to Lake Superior. As the work developed the other men dropped out leaving Mr. Taylor to finish the contract alone. For services rendered, Mr. Taylor was to receive every other section of land for a certain number of miles on each side of the military road.
The country at this time was a vast wilderness through to Lake Superior.
Mr. Taylor kept a land and law office which was at that time called Dobbston. Since then the name has been changed to Markton. This country at that time was a part of Oconto County. Although Mr. Taylor having his office in this county, did not claim this as his home, he spent a great deal of his time here looking after his lands.
Mr. L.H. Taylor, a brother of S.A. Taylor came here also in the early seventies. He started a general store and kept post office, but did not keep up his store long.
Silas Pendleton built the log house which was known as the Wheeler home. This was situated in front of what is now the C.S. Dempster farm. Mr. Pendleton kept a stopping place for the traveling lumbermen who came up from Shawano and other places.
Mr. Taylor gave Mrs. Chris Wheeler a deed of the forty, so Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler took possession of the place.
Mr. McDowell kept a blacksmith shop just across the road from the log house.
Mr. Dobbs kept a sawmill down at the foot of the hill, known as the land and law office.
Mr. Rice built what was known as the "Log Cabins," now the home of William Alft. The log houses were one story high and a great stepping place for lumbermen. Mr. George Roix later kept a post office here.
Afterward Mr. Roix and Mr. Hill bought the place and later L.W. Whitehouse. Since then the cabins have disappeared except one, the home of Mr. Alft.
The nearest physician at that time was thirty miles , it now being only eight. Trips had to be made on horseback, in wagons or the people would walk.
About that time there were forty acres of land cleared is all, what is now known as District No. 5. In the early days before the school district was formed, Mr. S.A. Taylor and T.M. Dobbs furnished lumber to build a school house. The neighbors which were very few, turned out and put it up. It was also used for a Sunday School. The school house at that time was not painted, nor were there any clapboards on, just plain boards upright.
Most of the early settlers came here in the latter part of 1860 and the early part of 1870, before the district was formed. Mr. S.A. Taylor and a few others paid a teacher for school work. The school today is a one-room rural school, well equipped and costing the district $1,750.00.
The Melvin children walked two miles to school every day. Now they are transported in a bus furnished by the district.
We now have nine families in the district with about 320 acres of land cleared.
District No. V is now a part of Langlade County and not of Oconto County as it was in former days.
Published in Dessureau's 1922 "History of Langlade County..."
This district is located in southeastern Langlade County and was one of the first regions to be settled. Pioneers were Christopher Wheeler, who settled on section 30, Township 31, Range 15 East in 1871. Mr. Wheeler came from Embarrass, Wisconsin, and followed the military road north. H.N. Bell settled in the district in 1877 on section 30. He came from Chicago. Thomas M. Dobbs settled on section 30 in 1873. He erected a saw mill, the first in Langlade County. (See chapter on Industries 1873-1923). The Melville family came to the district in 1877 settling on section 30. Christopher Hill and Horace Rice settled on section 30 in 1877. They conducted the first stopping place north of the Menominee Indian Reservation for years. An account of this place is given in the chapter on old stopping places, hotels and taverns, found elsewhere. The district was one of the most active lumbering regions in Langlade County during the famous Wolf river log drives. Daniel McDowell of Embarrass came to this district in 1876 settling on section 30. S.A. Taylor, the dominant factor in county organization had much land and timber interests in the district. L.H. Taylor erected a store and also conducted the first Post Office on section 30. The Taylor people came from New York state. Allen Taylor came to Dobbston, as Markton was named by Thomas M. Dobbs, in 1874. William Schroeder of Shawano, Markton Roax and George Roax of Shawano and James L. Whitehouse, all of Shawano, settled in the Markton district in a very early day. George Roax re-named Dobbston after his son, Markton Roax. H.N. Bell is the last of the old settlers still in the district.
The first school house was erected on section 30 in 1873. It was a frame building and the lumber was bought from T.M. Dobbs. This lumber was some of the first ever manufactured in the county. In those days the entire number of settlers "chipped in" to pay the teacher's wages. (See the Lost Nation section in Langlade township.)
Mayme Kellogg was one of the first teachers. The old school was used from 1873 until a splendid brick building was erected in 1915 by C.F. Dallman. It is now preserved by the H.N. Bell family.
The old Gardner dam is located on section 25. Ruins of it are still visible.
Matt Heins has operated a saw mill in the district on section 7, Township 31, Range 15 East for the past twenty years. He came from Milwaukee.
In pioneer days the village of Dobbston hummed with the labors of the pine me. Philetus Sawyer, Republican leader in Wisconsin politics for many years, often visited in this district, during the pinery regime.
Henry Sherry, who operated a mill at Kent, ran several camps near Markton. The original Dobbs mill was moved to Lily in 1882.
Remnants of the old Lake Superior Trail are visible in this vicinity.
Wm. Alft, chairman of Elton township, lives in the district on the site where the old Hill & Rice log cabins once flourished.
Elton/Wolf River District No. 6, (Hollister)
Squire A. Taylor, Founder of New (Langlade) County, dominant pioneer in the historic Wolf river country and leader of the Wolf River county seat proponents, came into eastern Langlade County in 1860. He was a timber and real estate dealer and as a sub-contractor aided in the construction of the United States military road. Nine years later, 1876, Leonard Marsh, the second permanent settler moved from Omro, Wisconsin, to this district, settling on the SE 1/4 of section 18. The same year extensive logging operations were inaugurated by Oshkosh lumbermen, more prominent of whom was C.B. Hollister, who had camps in this district. Thus the region became known as the Hollister district.
Robert Gilray and Fred Dodge followed as the next pioneer settlers. They both became proprietors of stopping places on the military road. The Dodge place was on the site of the Ehlinger Brothers mill, section 18.
Education of children was not overlooked by Leonard Marsh, Robert Gilray, Fred Dodge and the others who followed. In 1878 a humble frame school building was erected on section 19. It still stands a monument to pioneer progress. Meanwhile the district flourished. Men riding horse back took the place of the oxen and "man packed" mail from Shawano north into this district on the military road. Settlers received mail twice a week.
S. Moldrawski and family, Walter V. Dorszeski and family of Chicago moved into the community in 1884. Mr. Dorszeski later became actively identified with Langlade County's interests, serving as an official from this township many times. Frank Kielcheski settled in the district on section 7 about 1886. He came from Chicago. Antone Kielcheski now occupies the farm his father settled on. J. Schutte moved from Langlade into the Hollister district a few years later and J. Bombinski, who served as a town official many years, came here from Chicago at that time.
The second school was erected on the Dorszeski farm in 1890. Anna Kelly, Antigo, was the first teacher in the second school. After eighteen years this school was discontinued. The district developed its agricultural potentialities and the logging and lumbering industries flourished meanwhile. With the approach of the Wisconsin & Northern railroad in 1913 and now its purchase by the Soo Line (1921) the future of this region is exceptionally promising. Two years later, 1915, The Military Road Telephone Company erected a telephone line in this district.
In October, 1916, Michael, M.F. and Nicholas Ehlinger of Suring, Wisconsin, erected a mill at Hollister on section 19. It brought in settlers and employment. It operated until May, 1920, when a fire completely destroyed it. The Ehlinger Brothers re-built in June, 1920. Thirty men are employed on an average. Four million feet of lumber is the average annual cut.
In 1918 a post office was established known as Ehlinger. The Soo railroad station is known as Hollister. A third name for the district is "Nine Mile Creek" by which it is referred to by the settlers. George Burger of Suring erected a hotel at Ehlinger in November, 1921. He also conducts a supply store at the hotel.
The present modern brick school was erected on an acre of land donated by M.J. Wallrich, Shawano, Wisconsin, in section 18. This school is one of the best in the eastern part of the county. About thirty-eight families reside in the Hollister district. Another school will be erected to accommodate the increased school attendance.
The Campbell Lumber Company and the Weber, Anderson & Wallrich Lumber Company interests are cared for by C.A. Anderson.
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