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"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881"

Eau Claire Biographical Sketches

(-as transcribed from pages 314 - 338)

"W" Surnames

WALKER, O.
WALWORTH, Charles B.
WARD, Eben
WARREN, George
WATSON, Alexander R.
WEISSENFELS William
WENTWORTH, Thomas R.
WHIPPLE, Darwin C.
WHITE, Samuel
WILCOX, Charles R.
WILCOX, Nelson C.
WILCOX, Sylvanus H.
WILDER, Abbott P.
WILKINS, Edwin C.
WILLARD, W. H.
WILLIAMS, George S.
WILLIAMS, George W.
WILLIAMS, George W. Jr.
WILLIAMSON, Allan
WILLS, Samuel
WILSON, Edward N.
WILSON, Richard F.

WOLF, Victor
WOODWARD, Francis W.
WYATT, Jane (Miss)

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WALKER, O.

O. WALKER, logger and farmer, Eau Claire. Born in 1825 in New Hampshire; came to Wisconsin in 1855; engaged in farming; took up the first land for farming in the Chippewa Valley; built a warehouse on his farm, on the river bank, and handled the grain of the river bottom section, and came to Eau Claire in 1870; married Mary Dunham, of Brunswick, N. Y., in 1864.

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WALWORTH, Charles B.

CHARLES B. WALWORTH, job printer, born in Osage Mission, Mo., in 1850. Came to Eau Claire, in 1874; had charge of the Free Press job rooms, for six years; began his present business in the Fall of 1880; has been associated with the publishing business from an early age. Was married to Cora Ellis, in 1878. They have one child, Hattie S., born in 1880/ His father was a trader, and connected with the Indian Commission.

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WARD, Eben

EBEN WARD, head filer, Valley Lumber Company, Eau Claire. Was born in Pembroke, Me., Oct. 13, 1836, and came to Wisconsin in the Spring of 1864, and located at Eau Claire. He was employed as setter, to Daniel Shaw Lumber Company's saw-mill, for two years, and was sawyer at Chippewa Falls, for one year. He returned to Eau Claire in 1868, and was then employed in various mills as sawyer; was with Ingram, Kennedy & Co., for five years, as filer and sawyer; was one year filer in Wheaton mill, Wheaton; was also, for six months, filer, in a mill in Maine. He returned to Eau Claire in 1877, and engaged in his present capacity. He has been a member of I. O. 0. F., since 1872. He was married in Eau Claire. Sept. 2, 1870, to Sarah Brunk. They have four children - Mabel J., Eugene G., Rutherford B. and Homer E.

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WARREN, George

GEORGE WARREN, of Stone & Warren, butchers, Eau Claire. Came to Wisconsin July 5, 1880; located at Eau Claire, and was for a short time in the employ of David Drummond. Commenced present business in partnership with G. W. Stone. He was born in England, April 14, 1857; went to Canada in 1877, and came to United States in July, 1880.

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WATSON, Alexander R.

ALEXANDER R. WATSON, Eau Claire, was born in Brownsville, Fayette Co., Pa., Sept. 29, 1840, and came west in 1857. He was cabin boy and cook on a steamer on the Mississippi for two seasons, and in 1858, came to Eau Claire; was cook in the woods the following Winter, and cook on a steamboat in the Summer of '59. He attended the seminary at Eau Claire during the Winter of 1860, and in 1861 worked in Smith & Buffington's mill. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Co. I. 30th Wis. V. I., serving three years, and was discharged Sept. 25, 1865, and returned to Eau Claire, and has since been associated with Mr. Buffington and the Valley Lumber Co., in the woods Winters, and on the river selling lumber, until 1874, when he entered the office, where he has since continued. Mr. Watson was married in Eau Claire, Aug. 18, 1867, to Saluda Van Buskirk, who was born near Watertown, and died in Eau Claire, May 5, 1874. They had two children, George R. and Edith Saluda.

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WEISSENFELS, William

WILLIAM WEISSENFELS came to Eau Claire in July, 1867, and engaged in taxidermist work and surveying for two years. Since 1870, he has given his entire attention to surveying, which he learned twenty-five years before coming to America. He served as County Surveyor one term, and since 1872, has been City Surveyor. He was born in Prussia, Dec. 5, 1819, and educated by private instruction in Koln, on the Rhine, and came to America in 1867.

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WENTWORTH, Thomas R.

THOMAS R. WENTWORTH, yard master, C., St. P., M. & 0. R. R., Eau Claire, came to Wisconsin in 1847, and located at Koshkonong; enlisted in 21st Wis. Inf., Aug. 11, 1862; served three years, and was promoted from private to sergeant; was brakeman for three years on Wisconsin Division of C. & N. W. R. R., and was seriously injured by an accident; clerked for some time in C. & N. W. R. R. office, at Madison; in 1873, was appointed joint agent of C. & N. W. R. R. and West Wisconsin R. R.; held that position for some three years; came to Eau Claire in 1876, as yard master of C., St. P., M. & O. R. R.; was elected Alderman in 1877, for one year; re-elected in 1878, for two years. Born in Madison Co., N. Y., April 24, 1840. Married, May 2, 1871, at Fond du Lac, to Ardie S. Furlong, who was born in Greenwood, Me. They have two children, Grace S. and Bonnie A.

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WHIPPLE, Darwin C.

DARWIN C. WHIPPLE, Eau Claire, was born Dec. 25, 1830, in the town of Pultneyville, Wayne Co., N. Y. In 1835, his father moved to Naperville, Du Page Co., Ill., where he died. Darwin C. lived there until 1852, when he went to California; returning in 1854, he located in Black River Falls. and engaged in lumbering. In 1858, he came to Eau Claire, and was interested in lumbering for two years after his arrival here. In 1861, he was elected Sheriff, but resigned in November, 1863, and raised Co. H, 16th Wis. V. I., one of the five companies raised to fill up the depleted ranks of that regiment. He was mustered out, July 12, 1865, as captain of the company. Returning to Eau Claire, he engaged in mercantile pursuits for two years. He was Under Sheriff in 1868-9; elected Sheriff in 1869, serving two years; was Under Sheriff in 1872-3, and Sheriff again in 1874-5. Since then he has been connected with the Eau Claire Woolen Mills, owning one-half interest in the firm of E. W. Robbins & Co. since 1876. Since Jan. 1, 1881, he has been Under Sheriff, and is engaged in farming in the town of Washington, on Otter Creek, in the same town where his woolen mills are situated. He was one of the first policemen in Eau Claire. He was married in Wilmington, Ill., June 6, 1854. to Nancy A. Elderkin, a native of Nova Scotia. They have two sons, Russell J. and Myron C.

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WHITE, Samuel

SAMUEL WHITE, Eau Claire, was born in Devonshire, England, Dec. 2, 1835, and came to America with his parents in 1839, locating in Canada, where he learned the machinist trade and lived until 1855, when he went to Ferrysburg, near Grand Haven, and resided there until January, 1862, when he came to Eau Claire, where he has since resided. He was employed as engineer and machinist by Chapman & Thorp for three years. In 1865, he entered into partnership with Hiram P. Graham and Robert Tollis, who, under the firm name of Graham, White & Co., managed a foundry, machine shop, sash, door and blind factory, lumbering, mercantile business and flouring mills. They now run lumbering and flour mills, and are the principal owners of the Dells Lumber Co. Mills, on Dells Pond, two and a half miles north of Eau Claire. They employ from fifty-five to sixty men, and will cut this year from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000. They saw logs for other parties. Their flouring mill is a tworun custom mill, at Sand Creek. Mr. White has been vice-president of the Phoenix Manufacturing Co. since its organization; their old mills and foundry were destroyed by fire, Aug. 20, 1875. He is a stockholder in the Building Association and other enterprises, and was married in Eau Claire, Nov. 8, 1871, to Clara A. Jordan, who was born in Canada.

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WILCOX, Charles R.

CHARLES R. WILCOX, Eau Claire, came to the town of Union (Truax Prairie), then the town of Half Moon, Oct. 8. 1859, and engaged in farming. He was a member of the Oak Grove Town Board before the organization of Union, and Treasurer of that town from the time of its organization until he came to Eau Claire, in 1875. He engaged in lumbering soon after his arrival, and then in making street improvements, and has been Street Commissioner since April, 1880. He was born in Jamestown, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., March 4, 1832, and lived there until he came to Wisconsin; he was married in Eau Claire, June 20, 1864, to Millie M. Paul, who was born in New York State, though her parents located in Delavan at an early day. Mr. Wilson is a son of Alfred and Hannah (Akin) Wilcox. His father died in 1833, and his mother in November, 1871, in Union, Eau Claire Co.; he lost two brothers in the war.

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WILCOX, Nelson C.

NELSON C. WILCOX, Eau Claire, was born in the town of Whitestown, Oneida Co., N. Y., Jan. 1, 1836, and lived there until 1855, when for one year he resided in Oxford, N. Y. He came from there to Eau Claire, Oct. 25, 1856; he was employed in a saw-mill for a few weeks; then entered the store of Chapman & Thorp, where he was employed as salesman until 1862, when he engaged in hardware business for two and a half years; he was then in Massachusetts a year and a half. Returning to Eau Claire, he engaged in logging about two years, and entered the employ of the Eau Claire Lumber Company as salesman, and remained with them, having charge of their mercantile department, until April 1, 1880, when he became a member of the firm of G. B. Chapman & Co. He was married, in Chicago, to his present wife, Mrs. Angie T. Bellinger, nee Tewkesbury. They have three children - Roy Porter, Nelson James and Joseph Thorp. Mr. Wilcox was Town Treasurer three terms; he is now a member of the Common Council.

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WILCOX, Sylvanus H.

SYLVANUS H. WILCOX, County Treasurer, Eau Claire, came to Madison in 1855, and from there to Eau Claire, March 8, 1856, where he has since resided. He built the first planing-mill, sash, door and blind factory here, in the Fall of 1857 and Winter of 1857-8; he was in partnership with J. B. Randall for two years, and they then sold out; afterward Mr. Wilcox continued in building and jobbing business until within the last six or seven years: since then he has been engaged in insurance and real estate. He was elected County Treasurer in 1878, and re-elected in 1880. He was born in Newport, N. H., April 30, 1835, and lived there until he was thirteen years old, when his parents died, and he went to Massachusetts, living in Boston most of the time until he came to Wisconsin. He was married in Eau Claire, Nov. 24, 1865, to his first wife, Huldah M. Harrington, who was born near Milwaukee and died in Eau Claire. They had two children, Lillian M. and a son, who died at the age of eighteen months. He was married to his present wife, Helen M. Granger, a native of New York, May 28, 1875. They have two children living, Grace P. and Helen, and have lost one child, who died when but an infant.

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WILDER, Abbott P.

ABBOTT P. WILDER came to Eau Claire in April, 1865, and worked in a saw mill until Fall, when he engaged in the drug business, continuing that for about three years. In September, 1869, he established his present trade in jewelry and watches. He was Village Clerk during 1870, and the next year being Deputy Town Clerk, performed the duties of Clerk. Mr. Wilder was born in Newfane, Windham Co., Vt., Jan. 13, 1838, and lived there until 1848, when he went with his parents to the town of Gill, Franklin Co., Mass., and came from there to Wisconsin. He was married in Strafford, Vt., in July, 1862, to Adele N. Brown, a native of that place and daughter of Darius Brown, who still resides at Strafford. They have one child, Ethel May. Mr. Wilder is a son of John and Sarah (Kidder) Wilder; his father died in April, 1861, and his mother died in the town of Lincoln, Eau Claire Co., in April, 1875. Mr. Wilder is a member of the A. F. & A. M. and Temple of Honor, and a graduate of the scientific department of Dartmouth College, class of 1861, and was a member of the college society.

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WILKINS, Edwin C.

EDWIN C. WILKINS, lumber and logs, Eau Claire, came to Wisconsin in 1853, and located near Portage; engaged in farming there for one year, and in Adams County for two years; came to Eau Claire in 1856, and engaged in rafting on the river, and was raft pilot for nine years; since then has been employed in the woods. He organized first string band in Eau Claire. Was born in Allegany Co., N. Y., in 1824, and married there, in 1845, to Lorenda J. Shingler, who was born in Ulysses, N. Y. The children are: Mary Alice (now Mrs. J. B. Stocking), Isabella S. (now Mrs. S. Clemmens.)

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WILLARD, W. H.

W. H. WILLARD came to Eau Claire in May, 1867, and worked at his trade, as machinist, until 1870, when he became engineer of W. F. Bailey Fire Engine, Fire Co. No. 1. He was born in Jamestown, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., Oct. 21, 1843, and lived there until the Summer of 1866, when he went to Detroit, and in a short time to Galesburg, Ill., where he remained until he came to Eau Claire. He worked for N. Shaw for nearly two years; has worked at his trade since he was nineteen years old. He was married at Uniontown, Fayette Co., Pa., Nov. 13, 1872, to Julia de Yarman, who was born near that place. They have one daughter, Jessie D., born Oct. 23, 1874. Mr. Willard is a member of the A. F. & A. M.

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WILLIAMS, George S.

GEORGE S. WILLIAMS, barber, born in New York City in 1852; came to Eau Claire in 1864; was in the family of J. I. Gilbert, of Eau Claire Lumber Company, seven years; learned his trade, in 1873, in the Williams House. By industry and frugality, he saved enough to open a first-class barber shop, in 1878, on Barstow street, opposite the Eau Claire House.

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WILLIAMS, George W.

GEORGE W. WILLIAMS, Eau Claire, came to Wisconsin in October, 1844, locating at Lake Mills, Jefferson Co., and two years later went to Mayville, Dodge Co., and engaged in farming. In 1853, he went to Portland, Dodge Co., and was in mercantile business there until 1856, when he went to Little Dells, seven miles above Kilbourn City. He was in the lumber trade there until February, 1863, when he came to Eau Claire and kept a flour and feed store for a year, and was proprietor of a livery stable for eight years. In 1869, he built the Windsor House, renting it until 1873-4, when he sold out. Selling out his livery establishment, in the Winter of 1872-73, he built a mill at Alma. After operating that for three seasons, he sold out and traveled until the Spring of 1880. Since then he has resided in Eau Claire. He was appointed Deputy Sheriff and Jailer, in January, 1881, and has charge of the county buildings, as janitor. Hie held various offices in other counties before coming to Eau Claire. He was born in Bannington, Genesee Co., N. Y., June 9, 1824, and married at Lake Mills, Feb. 8, 1845, to Malinda Streeter, who was born in St. Lawrence Co., N. Y. They have five children living - James H., Postmaster at Vale, Chippewa Co.; Thomas E., principal of schools in Augusta; George W., Jr., book-keeper for Stephen Marston, in Eau Claire; Ella and William P.

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WILLIAMS, George W. Jr.

GEORGE W. WILLIAMS, JR., book-keeper at S. Marston's mill, Eau Claire, was born in Williamstown, June 7, 1851; came to Eau Claire in 1863. He was employed by his father, in livery business, and afterward in furniture. Commenced furniture business, on own account, in 1875; carried it on for two years, then engaged in handling a patent-right for ditching, for some years. He has been engaged in present capacity since March, 1881. He was married in Ottawa, Ill., May 31, 1873, to Hattie A. Bangs. They have lost three children.

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WILLIAMSON, Allan

ALLAN WILLIAMSON, foreman lumber yards of Phoenix Manufacturing Company, came to Eau Claire in 1869; was born in Grenville, Canada, in 1844; served in the Fenian raid.


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WILLS, Samuel

SAMUEL WILLS was born in Adams County, Pa., December, 1820, and came to Illinois in 1840, and to Eau Claire in the Fall of 1841; he worked in the woods and in saw mills for two years, and went to Chippewa Falls in 1843; engaged in running saw mills and in general work until 1859; in the Spring of 1860, he went to Knapp, Stout & Co., at Menomonie, remaining with them until 1872, when he came to Eau Claire, and was in the stage office two years; he then took a trip to Montana and Utah, and upon his return to Eau Claire, was with the Northwestern Lumber Co. for one year, and was Street Commissioner for four years; he is at present with Smith & Rowe. Mr. Wills claims his marriage with Margaret Janley to have been the first marriage between a white man and woman in Eau Claire. Mrs. Wills died in Menomonie. They had two children, one of whom, Mary C., is living; their only son died. Mr. Wills was married to his present wife, Kate Barden, in Eau Claire.

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WILSON, Edward N.

EDWARD N. WILSON, secretary of Eau Claire Manufacturing Co., was born in Depere, Brown Co., Aug. 11, 1854, and came to Eau Claire with his parents in 1855. He engaged in teaching part of the time before commencing the lumber business. He resided in Mauston, Minn., for five years.  He was County Surveyor of that county for two years, and was also engaged in buying grain while there. He has been Deputy Surveyor in Eau Claire County.

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WILSON, Richard F.

RICHARD F. WILSON came to Eau Claire in the Summer of 1854, and remained until late in the Winter, selecting lands for the State. He returned in 1855, and laid out the town in the Fall of that year, having purchased one-half interest in 200 acres on the east side of the Chippewa and south side of the Eau Claire rivers, on what is known as the original plat of the town of Eau Claire. He purchased in connection with W. H. Gleason, Jesse J. Gage and James Reed. Gage & Reed sold their interest to Adin Randall, who soon afterward transferred his interest to Chapman, Thorp & Bulhams. The latter gentleman afterward sold his interest to Chapman & Thorp. In 1856, Adin Randall in connection with Ira Mead laid out the city of Eau Claire on the west side. They were the original proprietors and owned it for a considerable time. Mr. Wilson has never disposed of his entire interest in property acquired at the commencement of the town, but has a large property, principally improved. The property which he owns on the west side, he selected for the State in 1854, but afterward pre-empted it. He owns 160 acres, known as R. F. Wilson's Addition to the village (now city) of Eau Claire. Mr. Wilson has dealt in real estate ever since his arrival in Eau Claire. He was also in the lumbering and mercantile business, but disposed of the latter in 1870. He, at present, is interested in two mills. The one known as the R. F. Wilson mill is located in the Sixth Ward, R. F. Wilson's Addition to Eau Claire. It has a capacity of 50,000 feet per day of eleven hours' run, and employs about fifty men.

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WOLF, Victor

VICTOR WOLF, livery, stone, etc., Eau Claire, was born in Oberndorf, Baden Baden, Dec. 28, 1824, and came to United States in 1846. Enlisted in U. S. Army, Feb. 23, 1847, and served until 1856, when he was discharged on a pension, on account of injuries received mounting heavy guns in Fort Ontario; was orderly sergeant eight years. On the breaking out of the late war, he enlisted, July 17, 1861, in 8th Wis. Inf. as private, and was elected first lieutenant; served with distinction in the numerous battles in which the regiment was engaged; was promoted to the captaincy, on the death of Capt. Perkins, May, 1862. Capt. Wolf will always be associated with the famous war eagle, "Old Abe," which he had the honor of naming, and which, after passing through the war, was presented to the State of Wisconsin, September, 1864. Capt. Wolf's company (Co. C) was the color company of the regiment, and the eagle was always with the colors. Capt. Wolf was married in New York City, July, 1848, to Ann McLaughlin. Has had nine children, of whom these survive - Lizzie (now Mrs. T. Harrigan), John C., Cecilia, Ada (now Mrs. L. Smith), George T., Maggie, William Joseph, and Lillie. Was Chief of Police, 1872-73-77; patrolman, 1876; Alderman, two years, 1879-80; Town Treasurer of the town of North Eau Claire, two years; member Board of Supervisors, three years; one year, Chairman of Board; three years, Roadmaster; nine years, District Clerk.

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WOODWARD, Francis W.

FRANCIS W. WOODWARD, president of the Bank of Eau Claire, was born in Ithaca, Tompkins Co., N. Y., Dec. 19, 1830, and at the age of eleven went to New York City, where he received a thorough business education. His first visit to Wisconsin was made in 1851, though he had land interests here since 1847. In 1855, he located in Madison, and occupied himself in looking after his real estate; in 1861 or 1862, he returned to New York. He came to Eau Claire in 1869, and commenced dealing in real estate, which he still continues. He is interested in saw mills and banking business. With eight others, he purchased the mills, and is secretary of the Badger State Lumber Co.; he was one of the corporators and is president of the Eau Claire Chilled Plow Co., and has large farming interests in Minnesota. He was married in Madison, in October, 1862, to Annie J. Delaplaine, who was born in Madison, and is a daughter of Gen. Geo. P. Delaplaine. They have two children, Mary D. and Harriet B.

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WYATT, Jane (Miss)

MISS JANE WYATT, music teacher. A student and graduate of the celebrated Kensington Art School, she took six medals in portrait and oil painting. Miss Wyatt came to America in 1874, spending the Winter in Boston. Came to Eau Claire in March, 1875; now has a large class in instrumental music. Miss Wyatt is descended from Sir Thomas Wyatt, one of Lady Jane Grey's firmest defenders; he lost his life in her defense. Miss Wyatt's father was the most celebrated four-in-hand driver in London, in early times; he supplied the crowned heads of Europe with fine horses; his funeral was largely attended from France, Ireland, Scotland and England, four of the parish priests officiating.


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