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"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881"

Some Notable Persons, Deceased

(-as transcribed from pages 312 - 314)


The following biographies appear below in order as found in the book.  Feel free to browse through the whole page or click on the alphabetized name list to go directly to the bio of interest to you:

ALLEN, Fayette (Hon.)
ALLEN, W. W. (Dr.)
BARRON, John
BOWLER, Mary F. (Mrs.)
BROWN, Mary B. S.
BUEL, R. B.
CHAPMAN, Nelson C.
COBBAN, Robert (Rev.)
CONGDON, A. (Mrs.)
DANIELS, Martin
DENNISON, W. T.
ELLIS, Edmund
FELTON, Robert
HANSON, H. J.
HEYLMAN, Daniel W. (Capt.)
HORAN, Thomas
INGRAM, Mary (Mrs.)
LEHENTHALL, Charles
MASON, George W. (Mrs.)
MEGGETT, Mary Tabor
PALMER, Rodman
PORTER, Gilbert E.
ROSS, Friend
SHAW, Henry
TOLLES, Robert
VILAS, Ellen C. (Mrs.)
WILKINS, S. B.
WILSON, G. W.


GILBERT E. PORTER, who was long and closely identified with the prosperity of Eau Claire, was born in Freedonia, N. Y., July 6, 1828. His youth was passed in Michigan. In 1857, he came to Eau Claire, where he continued to reside. During that year he had charge of Chapman & Thorp's business. In 1858, he purchased and took charge of the Free Press, and conducted it with ability and success for about sixteen years. He was a ready writer, fearless and outspoken in the expression of his convictions. As senior member of the firm of Peter Moon & Co., he displayed his peculiar energies in the lumbering business. This company was succeeded by the Northwestern Lumber Company, and for years he labored with tireless fidelity to its interests, and from a small beginning built up one of the wealthiest and strongest lumbering corporations with a high reputation for integrity and fairness. In politics he was a Republican and took lively interest in the success of his party. He was Register of the Land Office here for nine years. In 1874, he was chosen Mayor of the city. He had implicit confidence in the future of his adopted city, and on account of his being foremost in all enterprises looking to its prosperity, he was appointed president of the Dells Improvement Company. In 1863, Mr. Porter was married to Miss Kate Tewksbury. They have had six sons. The home of the family was a generous, hospitable and affectionate one. He was a remarkable man, with the ability to make friends by his cordial warmhearted greeting to all. Eau Claire is deeply indebted to him for its position as a prosperous and thriving city. While away from home he lay several days ill at Hannibal, Mo., where he died Nov. 15, 1880, in his fifty-second year. His remains were brought to Eau Claire and he was tenderly interred with solemn and largely attended funeral rites.

NELSON C. CHAPMAN. The place of his birth, was Durham, Green Co., N.Y., the date, 1811. His father died when he was quite young and he was early thrown on his own resources. He had the advantage of the common school in his education. At the age of sixteen he was employed in the store of his uncle, Benjamin Chapman, in Norwich, N. Y., and there made himself so useful that at the age of twenty he was admitted as a partner in the business, which proved very successful. In 1846, at the age of thirty-five, he removed to Oxford in the same State, going into business with J. G. Thorp. He continued at the head of the firm, which afterwards located in Eau Claire, until the time of his death, 1873, which took place in St. Louis, where he had removed in 1857, and continued to reside. The business there, of disposing of the immense amount of lumber sent down the river by the firm, was conducted with signal ability. He was a prominent citizen of St. Louis, the president of a large railroad company, and occupied many prominent positions in both the city and State.

MARTIN DANIELS was born in Chenango Co., N. Y., in 1813. Coming to maturity, he did business in his native place. He afterward removed to Richmond, Va., remaining in the lumber business there five years, and then went to Ottawa, Canada, where for five years he was engaged in the lumber business at that point. He then located in Minneapolis, Minn., stopping there one and one half years, and in 1859, came to Eau Claire to spend the remainder of his days. From April, 1863, until April 2, 1873, he served as Clerk of the County and Circuit Courts. No man in the city was more universally respected or more tenderly beloved. His untiring energy was united to scrupulous honesty, and made him one of the most trusted public servants. He died, rather suddenly, on the 2d of April, 1873, aged sixty years. The Rev. J. S. Dickson preached the sermon at the funeral, which was largely attended.

ROBERT TOLLES was born in Plymouth, Conn., Aug. 14, 1826. In 1852, he removed to Windham, Green Co., N. Y., where he married Miss Mary R. Graham. He then went to Orange Co., N.Y., remaining until 1857, when he located in Eau Claire. He early learned the machinist's trade, and manufactured locks, clocks, etc. In I862, he formed a co-partnership with H. P. Graham, of Eau Claire, for the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, and general wood work, which was soon merged into the firm of Graham, White & Co., with the addition of machinery and foundry business. Mr. Tolles did much toward the success of the business. Their works were burned in 1875, when a stock company was organized, called the Phoenix Manufacturing Company, of which he was a large stock-holder. He was also a member of the Dells Lumber Co. For several years he spent much time at Sand Creek, Dunn Co., looking after the interest of Graham, White & Co., who had bought a flour-mill there. He was an excellent machinist and a good draughtsman, a close observer, and had a remarkable memory. Was always cheerful, pleasant and accommodating. He died in Eau Claire, July 7, 1879, aged fifty-two years, leaving a widow and two sons.

R. B. BUEL died at his residence, in the Second Ward, Jan. 10, 1880, aged sixty-five years. This announcement chronicled the removal of one of the old landmarks of Eau Claire, and brought expressions of heartfelt sorrow from the large circle associated with him in the city during its early history. He was born in Vermont, March 1, 1815. In early life he removed to Allegany Co., N. Y. In 1857, he took up his residence in Eau Claire, where he lived until the time of his death. He was widely and favorably known, and in his death the city lost an estimable citizen, and a man of sterling integrity.

DR. W. W. ALLEN came to Eau Claire in the Spring of 1857, and with George W. Sanford opened the first shanty store in the village. It was situated where Ingram & Kennedy's warehouse now stands, on the banks of the Chippewa. It was occupied by the firm of Allen & Sanford until the completion of their store on the west side, near the post-office. Dr. Allen left Eau Claire with Capt. Wheeler's company, in the Fall of 1863, and on the re-organization of the 2d Wis. Regiment, was appointed assistant surgeon. He continued with the regiment until mustered out, at the close of the war, and then settled in Mason City, Iowa, where he died and was buried, on the 20th of June, 1878. The newspapers of Mason City spoke of him as having done more than any other man for the permanent improvement of that town. For his fine, genial, social nature, he was esteemed by old and young.

H. J. HANSON came to the city in 1865; was a grocer, a member of the firm of H. J. Hanson & Co., on the north side. He was highly respected for his business tact and fair dealing. In 1879, he was violently thrown from a buggy, and sustained injuries from which he never fairly recovered. He died in Chicago, May 27, 1880, whither he had gone for surgical treatment.

S. B. WILKINS was a native of Vermont; came to Wisconsin in 1856, and to Eau Claire in 1858, and saw the city grow from a struggling hamlet to a city of 10,000. He was prominent as a democratic politician, and was very generally esteemed by all classes, and few men had more personal friends. He was a man of integrity, in all respects. He died at sixty years of age, April 1, 1878, leaving a wife, daughter and two grand-children; was buried with Masonic honors.

JOHN BARRON settled in Eau Claire in 1857; purchased a mill site on Lowe's Creek, and erected a flouring-mill, which he operated for some time. With H. Clay Williams he bought the Blue Mill property, going into the lumber business. The concern was afterwards merged into a stock company, now called the Badger Mills. He was ever a genial man, a member of the Odd Fellows, and lived a more exemplary life than many who make more pretensions. He died at the age of fifty, Aug. 30, 1877.

HON. FAYETTE ALLEN was a prominent man, a former resident of the Chippeva Valley, an active politician. He represented the Assembly District, which then comprised the counties of Eau Claire and Pepin. He lived some time in St. Croix Falls, where he was appointed Receiver of the Land Office. He was taken suddenly sick while attending a State convention, and died at his brother's, soon after, in Stoughton, Dane Co. This was in the Summer of 1871.

G. W. WILSON was born in Virginia, and served in the war of 1812. In 1834, he went to Illinois with his family, to remove his children from the blighting influences of slavery. He was one of the first to realize the evils of slavery, and acted on his impressions. He was eighty-seven years of age at the time of his death; had lived six years in the city. He was well known as the father of B. F. Wilson, and was highly respected.

W. T. DENNISON came to Eau Claire in 1857. He lived just outside the city limits of the Sixth Ward; was engaged in farming, and was well known in the city. He had three daughters and one son. His death occurred on the 25th of June, 1877.

FRIEND ROSS died March 10, 1879, aged 100 years, eight months and six days. At the time of his death he was the oldest citizen of Eau Claire. He was born in Vermont during the darkest period of the Revolution. When quite a lad, he went to Canada. In 1849, he came to Wisconsin, locating in Rock County. Having three sons residing in Eau Claire - John, Elisha and Joel - he came to reside with them, in 1862. He had remarkable good health, seldom being sick. His last illness was brief.

THOMAS HORAN was born in Ireland, Dec. 21. 1806; immigrated to Canada in 1842, and thence to Eau Claire in 1863. He was a genial man, with noble qualities, esteemed for his strict integrity, high sense of honor and deep religious convictions. His death was on May 8, 1879.

CHARLES LEHENTHALL perished in the flames at the burning of the residence of Hon. J. G. Ingram, March 24, I880, in an attempt to remove goods from the building. He was sixty-four years of age, and had worked for twelve years for Ingram & Kennedy, as a millwright, and was a faithful and industrious man.

RODMAN PALMER died in Waukesha, in October, 1872. whither he had gone for his health. He was widely known in the Chippewa Valley, having represented the Assembly District then made up of, Eau Claire, Dunn and Chippewa counties, in 1861. He was a most estimlable citizen, kind father and affectionate husband.

EDMUND ELLIS was one of the oldest settlers in Wisconsin, having lived in the State since 1845. He was formerly in the British navy, and was on one of the ships that guarded St. Helena while Napoleon was a prisoner there. His death transpired in the Sixth Ward, Sept. 27, 1878.

REV. ROBERT COBBAN, presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church; was a most excellent man, well known, and highly respected, for he practiced what he preached. He resided in Eau Claire several years, and did much to build up his denomination. He died in January, 1870.

CAPT. DANIEL W. HEYLMAN came to Eau Claire in 1859, and soon entered upon his duties as pilot on the Chippewa, which service he performed with marked ability, for fourteen years. He was a just and upright man, reliable and trustworthy, and highly esteemed.

ROBERT FELTON lived in the city from 1870, until his death at the age of seventy-one, Oct. 21, 1880.

HENRY SHAW was a successful logger and farmer. His death occurred Aug. 15, 1880. at the age of thirty-five years.

MARY B. S. BROWN (nee Sawyer) was born in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 18, 1819; received a liberal education, and early began teaching school. In November, 1843, she was married to Stephen Brown. They immediately went to Shirley, Me., where they had a farm and a store. Impatient, however, for wider fields and better results, they came west, locating in Richland, Wis. Joined by his brother Ephraim, they came to Eau Claire in 1869, and putting their earnings together, they purchased pine land, and lumbering interests. Ephraim soon died, leaving all his property to Stephen, who soon followed his brother. Mrs. Brown, a childless widow, became, under the laws of the State, sole heir to the property, which, under the judicious administration of B. J. Churchill, realized a handsome competence. She continued to reside here, spending much time in travel. Bv nature, she was a philanthropist; was connected with the Barstow Methodist Episcopal Church. She died, May 25, 1879, aged sixty years. The whole community remembered her deeds of charity and acts of kindness.

MARY TABOR MEGGETT, was born in Pawtucket, R. I., Sept. 14, 1851; she came to Eau Claire in 1864, her father, Alexander Meggett, having preceded her by nearly ten years. She came with her brother, a promising young man of sixteen, who was accidentally shot and killed August 22d of that same year. Mary was a charming girl, beloved wherever known. Oct. 8, 1873, she was married to John S. Smith, a thrifty and enterprising young lumberman. The wedding was a society event; the costumes were gorgeous, and the presents numerous and costly, and the marriage feast in keeping with the occasion, and the reception in the evening at the bride's parents, left nothing to be desired. After the bridal tour, the happy couple settled down to domestic life. Mrs. Smith united with the Presbyterian Church in 1877. She was first to be consulted, and to act, in any good work. After a brief illness, she died June 23, 1881, leaving a husband, a babe six weeks old, and three other children, aged six, four and two respectively. Her death was a sad blow to her friends, who loved her so well.

MRS. MARY INGRAM, wife of Hon. J. G. Ingram, was long a resident here, and was known as a woman faithful and devoted in her relations as a wife and mother, and was greatly beloved by a large circle of relatives and friends, of a modest and retiring disposition, she exemplified the spirit of a true Christian woman, and was firm and conscientious in the discharge of every duty. Her death occurred Sept. 13, 1879. She left a daughter and two sons.

MRS. ELLEN C. VILAS, wife of Hon. L. M. Vilas, and daughter of Judge Slingluff, one of the early settlers and most respected citizens. This lady was known as one of the favorites in Eau Claire society. She died August 29, 1879, leaving a husband and three daughters. Her death was universally lamented, as she had been so uniformly admired by the community and beloved by her friends.

MRS. A. CONGDON was among the early settlers of Eau Claire, having made it her home in 1857. Her death was very sudden, on Feb. 11, 1880. She was a highly respected and venerable woman, and had many warm and sincere friends.

MRS. MARY F. BOWLER, wife of M. S. Bowler, was born in Huntsville, Ala., and educated at Oberlin, Ohio; was married at Salem, that State, and with her husband removed to Eau Claire, in 1858. She died, Jan. 9, 1871, aged thirty-five years, leaving seven children. She was doubtless one of the best educated, most refined and unassuming women in Eau Claire.

MRS. GEORGE W. MASON was well known as the wife of an esteemed citizen and the mother of an interesting family, whose idol she was. She will long be remembered as a fond mother and faithful wife, and as a devoted member of the Baptist Church. Her death, after a brief illness, occurred on Jan. 1, 1881.


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