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St. Croix County Biographies and Historical Sketches


St. Croix County Townships Map | St. Croix County (1909) | Early History of St. Croix County | Villages, Townships & Municipalities | St. Joseph, Troy & Warren Townships | Stanton & Star Prairie Townships | Rush River, Somerset & Springfield Townships | Richmond Township, City of New Richmond | Kinnickinnic & Pleasant Valley Townships | Hudson Township & City of Hudson | Forest, Glenwood & Hammond Townships | Eau Galle, Emerald and Erin Townships | Baldwin, Cady & Cylon Townships

Sage, Sanders, Sandquist, Saugestad, Schafer, Schroeder, Schwandt, Scott, Searle, Serier, Settegren, Shurtz,  Silver, Simmons, Slater, Slaughter, Smith, Staples, Steindorff, Stephens, Steven, Stevens, Strong, Stronks, Swanson


C.W. Sage is one of those men who, by working hard on their own farms, have assisted greatly in the general development of the valley. When he came here his farm was covered with heavy timber, and he had to cut a trail to it, so thick were the woods in those days. He was born in Waukesha county, Wisconsin, March 17, 1854, son of George and Caroline (Mason) Sage, natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively. In the family there were seven children, six of whom still survive, worthy offspring of worthy forebears. The father died in 1894, at Wild Rose, Waushara County, Wisconsin. The mother is living at the same place, and is in good health at seventy-six years of age. C. W. attended district school and worked on the farm until 1877, when he came to St. Croix County and settled on his present place in Forest Township. Upon coming here, he bought 120 acres of land, one half of which he has cleared. He has made all the improvements on the place and carries on general farming, also raising some live stock. He was married in 1881 to Mary Thomas, daughter of John and Elizabeth Thomas. John Thomas came to this vicinity in 1875 and ran a stave mill. He now resides in Hawkins. Mr. Sage has three children: Ella is married to Robert Schultz, a blacksmith, and George and Griffith are at home. Mr. Sage is a Republican in politics and has ably served as chairman of Forest Township, which position he occupies at the present time. He was town clerk ten years, and has also held school office. He fraternizes with Clear Lake Lodge No. 272, I. O. O. F. Mr. Sage has not sought to acquire wealth of money, but is rich in the friends that he has made. Of a genial and pleasant disposition, to know him is to like him, and no one meets him without feeling that he has become acquainted with one who fully deserves the title of "good fellow." Mr. and Mrs. Sage are hospitable people, and their home is ever open to their numerous friends, who always have a good time, and some samples of superfine cooking, whenever they visit there. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Mrs. Mary Sanders, This lady was among the early settlers, having come as early as 1845. She was the wife of James Sanders, and died on the 21st of July, 1873, aged 56 years. Those who now live surrounded by the comforts and luxuries everywhere found, can hardly realize the extent of the toil and privation of pioneer life, and we can hardly pay the merited tribute to their courage, heroism and self-sacrifice which could only be endured through the confidence inspired by the most ardent hope.

(Taken from "History of Northern Wisconsin", pub. 1881)


John A. Sandquist, treasurer and manager of the Hudson Hydraulic Stone Company, was born in Sweden, January 15, 1866. He received a good common school education and after the death of his father, A. W. Sandquist, in 1885, he took charge of the old homestead farm for seven years. In 1891, when he was twenty-six years of age, he came to America and settled at Minneapolis, Minn., where he entered the employ of the Standard Stone and Sidewalk Company, continuing in this employ for six years. In 1898 he located at Stillwater, Minn., and became a member of the Stillwater Stone Sidewalk Company, being associated with Edward Carlson, under the name of Carlson & Sandquist. The Hudson Hydraulic Stone Company was organized in January 1908, and Mr. Sandquist was made treasurer and manager. The business has proved a profitable one and now has a wide trade, its products being known far and wide for their durable quality. Mr. Sandquist is a member of the B. P. O. E. and the Modern Woodmen of America. On the 15th day of January 1898, Mr. Sandquist was married to Lena Brosell, a native of Sweden. They have three children; Elmer W., Laurence A. and Marrman O. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Oluf Alexander Saugestad, who has occupied a number of important positions of public trust and honor, is a native of Norway, born near Trondhjem, at Beitstaden, January 19, 1840, son of Ole Andreas Saugestad and Een Sophia (Bratley) Saugestad, the former of whom was a veterinary surgeon, who lived and died in the old country. Oluf received a good education in the common schools of his native land, and in 1864 was graduated from the Veterinary College at Copenhagen, Denmark. For some time he followed th profession of veterinary surgeon, and in 1870 came to America, first settling at Lansin, Ia. Two years later he came to Baldwin, where he has since continued to reside. For many years he combined the professions of druggist and veterinary surgeon, and in this capacity he became known for many miles around as an able and obliging friend. He is now retired from active business, but takes a dep interest in public affairs, and is regarded as one of the solid and substantial business men of the village. Mr. Saugestad is a Republican in politics and has held the following offices: Town treasurer, 1876 to 1882; state legislature, 1882; sheriff, 1893 and 1894; member of jury commission; supervisor of Baldwin seven years. His election to the legislature was by a large majority on the independent Republican ticket. At the present time he is vice president of the Bank of Baldwin. Mr. Saugestad was married June 29, 1870 to Karen E. Gravorok, who came with him to America. This union has resulted in one daughter, Olufina Alexandra, now employed in the Peoples State Bank at Hudson, Wisconsin. Mr. Saugestad is a member of the Lutheran church and affiliates with the Masonic order. His farm of eighty acres is all under cultivation and well improved. He is a self-made man, and owes all his success in life to his hard work and industrious efforts. Otto Saugestad, brother of the subject of this sketch, came to America in 1866 and located at La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he still resides. For twenty-one years he was employed by Mons Anderson, of that city, as a traveling salesman.

(taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Christ Schafer is the son of William and Elizabeth (Bishoff) Schafer, who lived and died in Germany. He was born in that country on the 13th day of May 1859, and came to America on the 2nd day of November 1884. He settled first in Somerset township and then in Cumberland. The following spring he went to Minneapolis, and in 1886 went to North Dakota, returning in the fall of that year to Minneapolis, and remaining until the fall of 1891, when he bought his present farm of 360 acres of well tilled land in St. Joseph township, Wisconsin, upon which he made most of the improvements. He married Hanna Simon, a native of St. Croix County. She was the daughter of Christ and Mary (Harber) Simon. Mr. Simon landed at St. Anthony Falls in 1851, and later came to St. Croix County, where he devoted his life to farming. Mr. Schafer has six children: Fred, Otto, Peter, Annie Bennie and Mary. An independent voter, he has occupied several important positions, being town chairman two years and school officer nine years. He was chairman two years and school officer nine years. He was chairman of the Republican committee of St. Joseph Township for four years. He is a member of the Sons of Herman and president of the A. S. of E. In many ways Mr. Schafer has contributed to the growth and business interests of the St. Croix valley. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


Henry F. Schroeder has lived for thirty-five years on the farm he now occupies. He was born near Kiel, Holstein, Germany, October 23, 1850, the son of John Schroeder, who served four years in the War of 1848, in Germany, and by prudent conduct and courage won the favor of his superiors and rose to high rank. The family came to the United States in 1858. For a time they lived in Stillwater, afterwards moving to Farmington, Polk County, Wis. In 1865 they came to St. Croix County, and here John Schroeder continued farming until a short time before his death, which occurred at Stillwater, Minn. Henry, the eldest of the family, after growing up to manhood, spent his winters as teamster in the woods and for a number of autumns was a well known thresher in his community. After this he took up farming. He now owns 200 acres of land, 130 of which are under cultivation. This farm was developed by Mr. Schroeder, he having stumped and broken it an erected thereon a fine house, roomy barns and other buildings. He is an independent voter and served on the town board four years. He was also town treasurer four years and is a member of the Sons of Herman. Mr. Schroeder was married in 1889 to Johanna Rehder, then a schoolteacher of St. Croix County. She is a sister of E. B. Rehder, a sketch of whose life appears elsewhere in this volume. The union has been blessed with three children: Josephine, Lurenia, a schoolteacher of St. Joseph township, and Dorothy, all three daughters living at home. Mr. Schroeders farm is regarded as one of the model ones in this section. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


William Schwandt was born in Ripon, Fon du Lac County, Wis., in 1879. His parents, William and Bertha (Klitzke) Schwandt, came from Germany and settled in Fon du Lac County, where the father farmed until his death in 1903. William Schwandt, the subject of this sketch, came to St. Croix County a few years ago and purchased 160 acres of fine land in Stanton Township, paying one-half on the price. By hard work he has been enabled in the few years that have passed since then to pay off the entire debt and today he owns the rich farm, clear of all debt, 100 acres being under the plow and in a state of high improvement and cultivation. Upon the place are raised graded stock, hogs and other live stock, as well as some fowls, while the rich acres yield an abundant harvest of general crops. Mr. Schwandt is not married, and his sister Bertha and his mother keep house for him. He is a secretary of the American Society of Equity and an earnest worker in its cause. He is a successful, hard working man, and although he is a newcomer, he is already highly regarded. His mother and sisters are also much esteemed by their neighbors. Mr. Schwandt received a good education and has increased his learning by wide reading, being well informed on all current and agricultural topics. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


William Scott was born in Wigtonshire, Scotland, October 8, 1838. His parents were Robert and Jane McConnell Scott. The son was educated in the schools of Wigtonshire and emigrated to America July 18, 1859, locating in Orleans county, New York, where he lived five years. He arrived in St. Croix County, April 17, 1864, and in the following year purchased his present farm, where he has since resided. On July 16, 1868, Mr. Scott was joined in the bonds of matrimony to Jessie Ellen Jackman, the eldest daughter of William and Jennett Nelson (Scott) Jackman, who were among the earliest settlers of St. Croix county. They are the parents of thirteen children, eleven of whom are living. The two dead are Jennie and Emma. The former was born July 11, 1879, and died October 20, 1896, and the latter was born November 23, 1873, and died May 12, 1878. The living children are Robert Lee Scott, of Virginia City, Minn.; Mrs. Mary Jane Solberg, wife of Harry Solberg, of Virginia City, Minn.; Samuel, of Portland, Ore.; James, of Fargo, N. Dak.; Mrs. Elizabeth Ryan, wife of Michael Ryan, of Cloquet, Minn.; Mrs. Jessie Ellen Hyntz, wife of Otto Hyntz, also residing in Cloquet, Minn. The other three sons and two daughters reside with their parents on the old homestead, and their names are Williamm Walter, John Edward, Nora, Charles and Martha. The Scott family belongs to the Presbyterian Church, and the head of the household has always been a Democrat. He has been called by his neighbors to occupy divers public positions during his long residence in Pleasant Valley Township and served as town assessor for nine consecutive years. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


(Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", vol 2, published in 1909)

Francis Searle, now deceased, was one of the influential residents of St. Croix County, Wisconsin. In whatever capacity he was engaged, either public or private life, he was never found wanting in devotion to duty, and his decease left a vacancy in the community that will not soon be filled. He was a native of Durham County, England, born March 7, 1844, a son of John and Margaret (Pollistine) Searle, of that county. John Searle was an overseer in one of the English mining districts. He came to America in 1851 and located at Hammond, St. Croix County, Wiis. Like the other pioneers, he bought 160 acres of land, upon which he made improvements and erected buildings. For many years he raised general crops, after which he retired and spent his declining years with his son until his death, at the ripe old age of eighty-six years.

Francis received a good education in the schools of England and St. Croix County. Until twenty-one years of age he worked with his father on the farm and then enlisted in the Union army, August 14, 1862, at Racine, Wis. He served in Company F, Twenty-second Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He saw service under Col. Upguard and Captain Pugh, both brave officers. He participated in the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Gollathe, the siege of Atlanta, and accompanied Sherman on his famous march to the sea. At Peach Tree Creek he received a bad scalp wound, and at Benton Wood, March 25, 1865, he had the misfortune to be captured. For seventeen days he experienced the horrors of life in Libby prison, after which he was paroled and exchanged at Benton Barracs, St. Louis, Mo. May 24, 1865, he participated in the grand review at Washington, D. C., and on June 12, 1865, he received his honorable discharge at Milwaukee, Wis.

Returning home, he lived at Erin Prairie, Hammond and Stanton townships, St. Croix County, Wisconsin. He bought 220 acres in Stanton Township, broke and improved the land and raised general crops. Grade Jersey and short-horn cattle, Poland-China and Berkshire hogs and a large flock of Shropshire sheep were also included in the products of the farm. In 1890 he sold this place and purchased a lot on Green street, New Richmond City, Wis., where he built a beautiful home and lived in retirement until his death, April 26, 1905. His widow still occupies this beautiful property.

Mr. Searle was married, October 20, 1867, to Mary Hughes, of New York City. She was the daughter of Michael and Anna (Terell) Hughes, prominent farmers of Erin Prairie, Wis. By this union there were seven children. Anna married Mathew Munroe, of Milwaukee. John F. married Katherine Quinlan. He is a farmer in Stanton Township, Wisconsin. Bessie and Walter are students at the New Richmond High School. Margaret died at fourteen, Arthur at five and Mary at nine. Mr. Searle served as chairman, clerk and treasurer of the town board of Stanton. At the time of his lamented death he was commander of the B. I. Humphrey Post, No. 103, G. A. R. He also belonged to the Catholic Knights, of Wisconsin. He voted the Republican ticket and attended the Catholic Church. Mr. Searle was a strong believer in education and his opinions always carried weight. Mrs. Searle also enjoys a high standing among her neighbors and friends.


Peter Serier is a native of Holland, Sheboygan County, Wis., born January 5, 1859, son of Iman and Minnie (Kramer) Serier, natives of Holland. Iman came to America in 1852 and purchased one acres of land in Holland, Sheboygan County. Adding ten acres more, he sold the tract of eleven acres and bought a forty-acre tract. This he traded for eighty acres, which he sold, and purchased a house and lot at Cedar Grove village, in Holland Township, where he now lives at ninety years of age. The mother died in March 1904, at the age of seventy-five years. Peter received a good common school education in Holland Township then learned the trade of carpenter, which he followed until 1891. In 1880 he came to Baldwin Township and purchased forty acres of land. He sold that and bought another forty, added ten and sold the fifty acres. Then he purchased two tracts of forty acres each and one tract of twenty-four acres, making in all 104 acres of good land in Baldwin township, upon which he now resides, doing a diversified farming. Eighty acres of this land he cleared and broke himself, erecting a comfortable residence. In 1905 he added a commodious new barn, valued at $1,000. Mr. Serier was married November 9, 1882, to Sarah Risseeuw, daughter of Hubert and Sarah (Brill) Risseeuw, natives of Holland, who came to America and settled in Holland township, Sheboygan County, where they farmed for the remainder of their days. Mr. and Mrs. Serier have been blessed with five childrenNellie, born November 2, 1883; Clarence, born October 14, 1890; Agnes, born February 16, 1892; Melvin, born November 11, 1893, and Erwin, born June 1, 1895. All are at home except Nellie, who, after completing a course in the Globe Business College, of St. Paul, is now a stenographer at Hudson, Wis. Mr. Serier is a staunch Republican in politics and attends the Presbyterian Church. He has never aspired to public office. He is giving his children the advantages of good common education. Mr. Serier is a hard worker and is universally esteemed for his character as a man and his ability as a farmer. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Charles A. Settegren is a native of Sweden, born August 28, 1860, son of Charles J. and Hanna M. (Helen) Settegren, who came to the United States in 1867. They located first in Indiana, remaining six months, then settled in Red Wing, Minn., for two years. In that place the father, a tanner by trade, worked at farming. About 1871 he moved to Litchfield, Minn., where he built a tannery. In 1884 he came to Baldwin and remained six years, operating the Baldwin tannery, then going to Minneapolis and living a year in retirement. Subsequently he moved to Cokato, Minn., and bought a tannery. His failing health forced him to abandon this undertaking after six years, and he returned to Litchfield, Min., where he passed away in 1800. His widow still survives, living with her children. Charles received a good common school education in Litchfield, after which he engaged in the harness trade in Cokato, Minn., for some time. He came to Baldwin in 1884 and established a harness shop; then engaged in the farm implement business with his brother, G. A., for three years. Subsequently he clerked for S. S. Holmes, merchant, one year, then moved to Princeton, Minn., where he stayed another year. Returning to Baldwin, he again engaged in the harness business until 1897, when he received the appointment as postmaster, which office he has since continued to hold. He is now also engaged in the real estate and loan business. He was married in 1882 to Emily Kylander, of Minneapolis, daughter of Charles J. Kylander, by whom he has two children, Ella V. and Fred W. She died in 1887 and Mr. Settegren later married Celia E. Johnson, daughter of A. K. Afdahl, by whom he has one child, Florence B. Mr. Settegren was town clerk for some time and served as village clerk two years. He has also been a trustee of the village. He is vice president of the Baldwin Electric Light and Fuel Company, manager and secretary of the Baldwin Telephone Company, stockholder in the Security State bank, of Baldwin; a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Modern Woodmen of America, and a Republican in politics. He has made all that he possesses by his won hard labor and well deserves all the success that he has achieved. He is a good citizen, generous and honest.

(taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


W. A. Shurtz was born in MacKean county, Pennsylvania, in 1848, a son of Elias and Emaline (Arnold) Shurtz. The father was a lumberman and farmer in Wayne county, New York. W. A. was educated in MacKean County and at Port Allegheny, Penn. In 1872 he moved to Dunn County, Wisconsin, and worked at lumbering and farming for eighteen years, lumbering the entire length of the Menominee waters. In 1892 he purchased the Apple River Hotel property at Star Prairie, in which township he has been living on a farm for two years. Since then he has continued to run the hotel. In addition to the village property he has 178 acres of land in Star Prairie Township and 800 acres in Dunn County. Mr. Shurtz was married in 1871 in Hardin county, to Frances Bishop, of Rochester, N. Y. By this union there was one child, Alma, a trained nurse in Seattle, Wash. He was married the second time, in 1888, to Lottie Conners, daughter of Mike H. and Maria (Barnhart) Conners. By this marriage he has had no children. Mr. Shurtz is a member of the Star Prairie Lodge No. 209, I. O. O. F. He has been president and director of the village and while in Dunn County served on the sideboard. He is a successful and well-liked citizen, highly regarded by all his friends. As a landlord he has a wide acquaintance among the traveling fraternity and is known far and wide as a man of affable temperament and accommodating spirit. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


Daniel W. Silver, skilled veterinary surgeon of Stanton township, St. Croix county, Wisconsin, was born in Garland, Me., November 29, 1844, a son of Daniel and Achsh Cressey Silver. The father was born in Bradford, N. H., and the mother first saw the light of day in Hopkinton, N.H. Daniel Silver followed lumbering and farming at Garland until the time of his death. He had three children: Frank Silver, a farmer in Garland, Me.; Susan, who died in 1861; the third child, the subject of this sketch, received a common school education and finished at Dexter Academy, Dexter, Me., after which he taught school for a time in his native state. Later he moved westward and became a fisherman on Lake Michigan. In 1867 he came to Star Prairie township, St. Croix county, Wisconsin, and engaged in the meat business until 1901, when he removed to a farm in Stanton township. Upon this farm he carries on a general farming business and breeds Holstein cattle, Jersey grade and Guernsey cattle and Poland China hogs. When a youth he studied the profession of veterinary surgeon and he now conducts this business. Mr. Silver was married, October 13, 1867, while at Star Prairie to Ella F. Muzzy, daughter of Abner and Aseneth M. (Cressey) Muzzy. The father was a dyer in the woolen mills at Minneapolis, Minn. Later he conducted a cloth store at Hudson, Wis., and still later located in Star Prairie, Wis., and purchased a farm, which is widely known for its mineral spring and trout pond. He lived on the farm until his death, July 6, 1904. The mother still survives and makes her home with a son in Star Prairie village, Wisconsin. The father was born in Ware, N.H., August 19, 1824, and the mother was born in Hopkinton, N.H., December 9, 1827. They had three children. Georgia A. died at Glenwood, Minn., January 24, 1889. Harvey, a tanner by trade, is a farmer at Star Prairie, Wis. Ella F., who married W. D. Silver, was a schoolteacher before she was married. Mr. and Mrs. Silver have five children. Estelle F. was a student at the Normal School at River Falls, Wis. She taught school and was also an instructor of music. She had great talent as a painter and a great future had been planned for her. She died July 16, 1894. Eva B. was a student at the River Falls Normal School also and taught school. She married B. F. Hurd, cashier of the bank at Woodville, Wis. Frank H. lives in Star Prairie village. The twins, Wallace and Warren, are at home, and Wallace carries on the farm. Mr. Silver is a Republican, and the family attends the Congregational church. While at Star Prairie, Mr. Silver served as constable, town treasurer, road master and clerk of the school board. Mr. Silver is a man of energy and perseverance and well deserves the success that he has achieved. The farm upon which Mr. and Mrs. Silver are living is an inheritance from Mrs. Silvers aunt, and is in a high stage of cultivation. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Simmons (obitutary)


WALLACE W. SIMMONS, affectionately and familiarly known to his host of friends as "Wally", died at the home of his mother, Mrs. S. V. Simmons in this city on Friday evening, Oct. 18, of pneumonia, following a severe attack of influenza.

He was born in the city of Hudson, June 11, 1883, and resided there continuously up to the day of his demise, being employed the last two years of his life as city toll gate keeper, an employment that gave the greatest satisfaction to the city of Hudson and its grantor, the St. Croix Bridge Company during the whole period of his service.
Wallace had an extensive acquaintance among the traveling public, gained when engaged with his later father in the mail and hack service in this city, and all his multitude of friends knew him as a genial, warm-hearted young man always ready to lend a helping hand to all who were in need of comfort or assistance, the poor or distressed, besides being loyal and steadfast in his friendship to all with whom he had even a casual acquaintance. It can be truthfully said he is sincerely missed and mourned by a host of friends as well as by his immediate relatives who were greatly attached to him.

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mrs.. S. V. Simmons, two sisters,Ethel and Jessie, all of this city, and by a brother, Roy Simmons of Minneapolis.

The funeral services were held at the home cemetery, Monday forenoon, Rev. T. C. Elgin officiating.

Submitted by Claudia Schuman


Alexander H. Slater was born in Walkerton, Bruce County, Ontario, August 4, 1863, while his parents were there on a visit. He was educated in the city schools of Hudson, Wis., and went to the farm, where he now resides with his parents, in 1879, remaining there until 1888, when he removed to Grand Forks county, North Dakota, where he was engaged in farming for one year. In 1890 he returned to Hudson, Wis., where he embarked in the lumber business, with which he was identified until 1900, when he again returned to the old homestead, in section 10, of the township of Troy. Mr. Slater, 1900, married Mary L. McDiermaid, of Hudson, Wis., the wedding occurring in Ward county, North Dakota. They are the parents of one child, William Richard Slater, born in 1905. Mr. and Mrs. Slater are members of the Presbyterian Church. In politics Mr. Slater is a Republican. He is an Odd Fellow and a Forester. He is the holder of a block of stock in the American Society of Equity Elevator Company, of River Falls, Wis. The Slater homestead contains 160 acres, all of which, save forty acres, is maintained in a high state of cultivation.

Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


Robert E. Slaughter is the son of John and Margaret Slaughter, natives of Canada and Ohio, who came to Stillwater, Minn., in 1881. He was born in Fond du Lac., Wis., in the month of November, 1875. After acquiring the rudiments of an education in the public schools at Stillwater, he attended the Shattuck Military Academy at Fairbault, Minn. He then entered the employ of the East Side Lumber Company at Stillwater in 1892 and so continued for eight years. In 1900 the Central Lumber Company was formed at Hudson, Wis., with H. P. Svendsen as president and Mr. Slaughter as secretary and treasurer, which position he has since continued to occupy. In addition to their Hudson affiliations they have an interest in the Cascade Lumber Company, of North Yakima, in the state of Washington. Mr. Slaughter looks after the Hudson plant while the western business is supervised by Mr. Svendsen. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


CHARLES EDGAR SLEEPER, New Richmond; born in Batavia, N.Y.; came to Wisconsin and located in Janesville, in 1853, and opened an insurance office; he clerked in a jewelry store for four years; in 1862 he moved to St. Croix Co.; then went to Colorado for two years; spent one year in Wisconsin soliciting; in 1862, came to Warren, St. Croix Co., and went into farming; in 1863, went into the insurance business; in the fall of 1874, he moved to Hudson; in 1878 came to New Richmond, and bought the City Hotel, where he has been ever since; has conducted his farm all this time; also the insurance business, until within one year.

(Taken from History of Northern Wisconsin, pub 1881)


G. W. Smith was born in New York city, November 24, 1844, a son of G. M. and Martha (Powell) Smith, of whom brief mention is found in the sketch of J. Wesley Smith, in another part of this volume. He attended the public schools of New York city and did his first work on his fathers farm in St. Croix county. July 12, 1867, he was married to Jennie Smith, by whom he has one son, Charles H., who helps to run the farm at home. This farm consists of 170 acres of rich land under the plow and bout fifteen acres of fine woodland, making in all a 125-acred farm, of which any man might well be proud. The place is well improved, the house is kept in a way, which testifies, to Mrs. Smiths ability as a housekeeper and the barns are large and well equipped. Mr. Smith raises general crops and breeds some livestock. He has followed his father in the faith of the Methodist church and he is an active worker in that body. His services and his pocketbook are always at the service of any good cause, and he has the interests of his church deep at heart. He is a Republican in politics, but has never sought public office, although he has sincere convictions on the subject of public affairs and events. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were known for their hospitality, their liberality and for their work in every good cause. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

John A. Smith was born in Sweden in 1841 and came to the United States with his father in 1849, the mother having died on the steamer en route. The father settled first in Illinois, where he remained three years, after which he located in Cylon Township in 1855. Upon this place he spent the remainder of his days. John A. received a good education in the public schools and worked on the farm with his father. In his early days he also ran a thresher ten seasons and worked in the woods several winters. In the month of August, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Thirtieth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war in the fall of 1865, his regiment being a part of the great army of the West. He then returned to his fathers farm, which he now owns. It consists of 200 acres of good land, 120 acres being under cultivation. He has made all the improvements on the place and at the present time is engaged in finishing a handsome twelve-room residence, which will rank with the best in this section of the valley. Upon his rich acres he does general farming business, raising the usual crops and breeding Shorthorn cattle, Berkshire hogs, some fowls and other live stock. He also owns several fine swarms of bees. In 1867, Mr. Smith married Sophia Elefsen. This union hs been blessed with eight children: Nettie, August T., Annie S., Loren, Edna F. and Grace L. August the oldest son, died three years ago, while two of the children died in infancy. Two of the daughters are married and the other three children remain at home. Mr. Smith is a Republican, and has enjoyed many years of honorable and efficient office holding. During the four years that he was county treasurer he and his wife and daughters lived in Hudson, Wis., leaving his sons to run the farm. He was town treasurer twelve years, a director of the school board fifteen years, an assessor and member of the side board for a long time. He is a member of the Old Settlers Association. As one of the older residents, Mr. Smith stands high in the community. He is looked up to by the younger generations and respected by the people of his own age. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

J. Wesley Smith is a native of New York city, born in East Eleventh street, June 9, 1857, son of George N. and Martha (Powell) Smith. The father came to the St. Croix valley in 1863 and settled on 320 acres in Star Prairie township, Wisconsin, where his son, J. Wesley, still resides. The father was a drayman in New York City, but upon coming to this section took up the occupation of farming for a number of years. He was a devout member of the Methodist church. His wife passed to her reward in 1887, strong in the faith of the same church, and shortly afterward, George N. went to Los Angeles, remaining there for the remainder of his life, with the exception of one and a half years. He died October 2, 1894.

J. Wesley came to this section with his parents, receiving a good common school education, working with his father until 1874, when he took charge of the far, which at that time consisted of 240 acres. In 1880 he married Minnie Sweet, daughter of Jerome Sweet, a blacksmith at Milton, Wis., who had enlisted in the army while still under his majority as sergeant of Company K, Thirteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. The union has been blessed with two stalwart boys, Gilbert Clyde and Perry Floyd. Mr. Smith owns the 320 acres of land, half of the farm being in Star Prairie and the other half in Richmond Township. Upon this farm he carried on general farming, raising the usual crops and breeding thoroughbred Poland China hogs and shorthorn cattle. The place is well improved, most of the developments having been made by Mr. Smith himself. For twenty-six years Mr. Smith has been a Mason, and both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. Both are also leading workers and members in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Smith has held all the lay offices. He is a Republican in politics and has been postmaster of the town and a member of the school board. He is prosperous and successful and stands high in the esteem of all who know him. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


SILAS STAPLES, New Richmond. Born in Lisbon, Maine, Sept. 18, 1814; followed lumbering, and remained there for twenty-two years; in the fall of 1854, to take charge of the Willow River Mills; he conducted this business for two or three years; in the fall of 1854, he bought a quarter interest in the mill at $20,000, including 5,000 acres on Willow River, which he explored and entered at the Land Office in Hudson; he cut about 2,000,000 feet a season, shipping it to St. Paul by team, Red Wing and Cannon Rivers; he sold his interest to Jewell & Bodie, of Brunswick, Me., for $55,000, and went to Hudson and went into the banking business, in 1856, where he remained for three years; in the fall of 1859-60 he moved to New Richmond, to where the Nicollet now stands; he remained one winter, and moved back to Hudson in 1861, put up a shingle and lath mill in connection with his saw-mill, which he bought in 1860; in 1864, built the first flour-mill in the village of New Richmond, in Star Prairie. The first time he came to New Richmond there was not a soul in the place but himself and a Mr. Talbot, who came with him; he completed his four-mill in 1864 and ground his first grist October following; put in the first dam at Backharts Mill in 1863, for the purpose of driving logs at the falls; in 1863, built two large dams at the head of Willow River, for driving logs; continued lumbering on the river until the spring of 1868; that summer he lived in Lakeland, and in the fall, went to Canada, building a new mill on Collins Inlet, Georgian Bay; this he managed for four years, returning to Hudson in 1872, and to a farm; was also engaged in the mercantile business with Mr. M. S. Gibson, for three years; he sold his interest to Mr. Gibson, and went on to his farm, on Hudson Prairie, now the Isman place; exchanged his farm in the spring of 1873, for the one-half of the mill property, and moved back to New Richmond; he operated the mill that season, then sold his interest in October following, to S. W. Turner; in the summer of 1874, went to Stillwater and took charge of his brother Issac Staples saw-mill; in 1875, moved to Elk River, Minn., on a farm; remained one season and returned to New Richmond, and has remained here ever since; he settled his family and went to Jeweltown, and bought a half interest in the saw and grist mill; built an elevator in 1879 with a capacity of 20,000 bushels; flour-mill capacity of 100 barrels per day; the saw-mill, with a capacity of 2,000,000 feet; also a shingle and lath mill connected with the saw-mill. Married in 1837, to Miss Hannah Williams, of Bowdioinham, Me., who died in 1838. Married again in 1841, to Abigail Ann Rogers, of Oldtown, Me., who died in the spring 1845. Married again in the fall of 1846, to Miss Nancy D. Gilman, who died in 1873. Married again to Mrs. Nancy B. Jamison, in the fall of 1874; has six childrenCharles A., Silas G., Nellie B., Nettie, Edward P. and Lizzie G.
(Taken from History of Northern Wisconsin, pub. 1881)


O. H. Steindorff has grown up with the prosperity of this section of the country, having been born in Washington County, Minnesota, near Stillwater, on the 19th day of August 1873. He is the son of Otto and Augusta (Heyer) Steindorff, who came from New York State in the early days and still reside in Washington County. O. H. Steindorff received a common school education and for a term of one year he clerked in a clothing store. Then he began farming, which occupation engages his attention at the present time. He bought 120 acres of land in the town of St. Joseph and gradually made improvements until now he has the land under full cultivation, with modern improvements and a comfortable home, all of which are the fruits of Mr. Steindorffs own efforts. Upon the farm there are two fine bodies of spring water known as Stone Lake, and the revenue that he receives from the ice nets him a snug sum yearly. For some years Mr. Steindorff raised purebred Berkshire hogs on a somewhat extensive scale, but he abandoned this on account of the scarcity of help. He has also been more or less a breeder of cattle. Mr. Steindorff is a member of the I. O. R. M., the Sons of Herman, A. S. of E. and A. F. of M. He was married in 1898 to Edith, daughter of Michael Thelen, whose sketch appears elsewhere. Few men in this vicinity have the knowledge of books that is possessed by Mr. Steindorff. He is a lover of good reading and his books keep him well abreast of the trend of modern thought in all lines. He has a good library, which covers many and diversified subjects. He is a lover of music and is an orchestra leader. He performs with skill on the violin, his favorite instrument. Mrs. Steindorff also being a musician, many hours are pleasantly spent at their favorite pastime. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909


M. J. Stephens was born in County Mayo, Ireland, January 1, 1862, son of P. T. and Catherine (Barrett) Stephens, of the same county. They came to Erin Township, Wis., in 1864 and bought 120 acres of land, which the father broke and improved, erecting a house and commodious buildings. His chief industry was grain raising, but he also engaged in breeding some grade Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. For twenty-five years he served as school director and was road overseer for many years, continuing a prominent farmer until his death, in 1896. His widow still survives, living with her son, M. J., at the ripe old age of eighty years. They were the parents of six children: Thomas is a farmer at St. James, Minn., and has a large family; A. P. lives with his brother, M. J.; Ellen married Michael McGonagle, now deceased, and lives at St. Paul, Minn.; Rose married Michael Naery, a farmer at Emerald, Wis.; M. J. is the subject of this sketch, and John, the youngest brother was accidentally killed in the woods near Hammond, Wis., several years ago. M.J. received a good common school education in District No. 2, Erin Prairie, and farmed with his father for several years. He was then engaged one year in purchasing grain for the Farmers' Alliance at Jewett, in Erin Township. Subsequently he returned to his father's farm, which he later inherited. The place now consists of 200 acres. Mr. Stephens has greatly improved this land, rebuilt the house and erected a new bar, completed in 1901 at a cost exceeding $1,400. Aside from doing a diversified farming on his own place, Mr. Stephens works with his mother's property of eighty acres and his brother's farm of 200 acres. Upon his place he has a set of Moline Pitless scales, capacity 5,000 pounds, a 120-foot open well, and a fifty-foot windmill. Mr. Stephens was married, October 30, 1894, to Julia Ring, of Erin Township, daughter of Patrick and Honora (Hawkins) Ring, well-known and respected farmers. This union has been blessed with six children: Laura, eleven years old; Catherine, two years, and Margaret, and infant. All are bright, healthy children, and a credit to their parents. The family worship is that of the Catholic Church, Mr. Stephens being one of the officers of St. Patrick's church at Erin. He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the American Society of Equity. He was chairman of the township in 1889-90-92-93 and is at present serving as a director of School District No. 2. At the early age of twenty-one years he was supervisor of roads, filling the position with great credit. He is now a stockholder in the Baldwin Cooperative creamery, the largest in the Northwest, with equipment up to date in every respect. In 1907 this creamery did a business of over $157,000. Mr. Stephens is an energetic and able businessman, a thorough master of the farming industry. He is honored for his business judgment and financial integrity, and is an earnest believer in the cause of education.

(From History of the St. Croix Valley, published in 1909)


William Steven was born in Scotland, March 6, 1850, son of William and Ann (Craig) Steven. His father came to this country when young William was a boy, and remained for a time in New Jersey, afterward locating in St. Paul, in 1871, passing away at Glenwood in 1898. William received his education in Scotland and in New Jersey. He then worked at market gardening and carpenter work in St. Paul until 1873, when he came to St. Croix county and toiled at farming in St. Prairie until 1884. He was a hard worker and saving of his money, and in 1884 he was enabled to purchase 160 acres of which is under the plow. He does general farming and also has large crops of sugar beets, which have proven a successful venture. In 1878 Mr. Steven was married to Ellen Boardman, who came of the pioneer family of that name, of whom mention will be found in the sketch of Grant C. Boardman, which appears in this work. This union has been blessed with the following children: Margaret C., born March 30, 1880; James J., born February 18, 1884; Thomas S., born September 10, 1885; John B., born August 9, 1888; William, born March 14, 1891; Herman M., born November 14, 1893; Robert R., born January 6, 1896; Isabella, born May 31, 1898, and Mary, born October 13, 1900. Mr. Steven votes the Republican ticket, and is at present ably serving as chairman of Glenwood Township, in which capacity he is giving general satisfaction. He belongs to the Masonic order, and is noe of the successful farmers of this vicinity. His honor and integrity are above reproach, and his opinions are always regarded with respect. Mrs. Steven is a woman of many accomplishments, and the sons and daughters are all a credit to the training of their parents. The family attends the Methodist church at Glenwood, Wis. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)



WILLIAM STEVENS, eldest son of Mary Stevens of 1025 Second Street, Hudson was instantly killed at Altoona Sunday morning at 8:50 o'clock while attempting to catch onto the locomotive upon which he was working. He was braking ahead on time freight No. 170, running between St. Paul and Marshfield. The train had pulled onto a side track at Altoona while passing another and was again heading out onto the main line. William had opened the switch which was to be closed by the rear brakeman, and it was expected that he would mount the locomotive. After the train had gone a short distance the engine crew noticed that he was not in his place and a search was made and the body was found lying beside the track.

No one saw the accident but the supposition is that after William had opened the switch he attempted to get up onto the engine as it was passing and either his foot or hand slipped, throwing him down and an oil box caught him, crushing him so badly that death was instantaneous.

The remains were taken to Eau Claire that afternoon and arrived in Hudson on No. 7 Monday afternoon.
William Stevens was born in Hudson on Sept 17, 1898 and has spent the greater portion of his life in this city. He was educated in the local schools and about ten years ago he entered into the employ of the Omaha railroad. For a time he worked in the offices and later went to work as brakeman, which occupation he has followed constantly since. His even disposition and quiet manner won him countless friends and "Bill" as he was best known, was always welcome wherever he went. He was ever ready to do a good turn for anyone and his willingness to help and do for others will be a lasting monument in the hearts of all who knew him.

Besides his mother, he is survived by one brother, Lloyd and one sister, Marion. He is also survived by his grandmother, Mrs. Hannah Bowen of St. Paul and four aunts: Mrs. Frank Durand of Minneapolis, and Misses Nettie, Anna and Sarah Bowen of St. Paul.

He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and of St. Croix Council Knights of Columbus.
The funeral took place from St. Patricks church Wednesday morning at 10:00 o'clock with Rev. Father P Rice officiating and the remains were laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery, beside those of his father who died a number of years ago. Many from St. Paul, Minneapolis, New Richmond, Boardman, Roberts, and other points attended the funeral.

The entire community was shocked upon learning of his death and all extend sympathy to Mrs. Stevens and her family.

Submitted by: Claudia Schuman


Rollin W. Strong was born at Rolfe, Ia., September 28, 1876, son of Oscar and Elizabeth (Rowen) Strong. He was educated in the public schools of his native town. At the age of twelve years he began to work in a printing office at Garfield, Kan., and two years later he started to learn the printing trade at Belmond, Ia., continuing here until 1899, when he came to Wisconsin and was employed on the "Grantsburg Journal" several months. He then moved to St. Paul, where he lived for four years, being engaged as a reporter on a daily paper. Two years of that time he read proofs on the "Daily Globe." In 1904 he moved to New Richmond, St. Croix County, Wis., and in partnership with A. L. Evans, established the "New Richmond News." Two years later, in 1906, he sold out his interest to his partner and removed to Hudson and purchased a half interest in the "St. Croix Observer" in company with L. B. Nagler, under the firm name of Nagler & Strong, and has since continued very successfully. The "Observer," which was established in 1901, is a Republican paper. Mr. Strong was married in 1906 to Jessie May Taft, daughter of E. H and Nettie Taft. Mrs. Tafts father, William R. Anderson, was the first county clerk of St. Croix County. In 1908 Mr. Strong was elected alderman of the Second ward and has served with great credit. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Edward Stronks, hardware merchant of Baldwin, was born at Cedar Grove, Sheboygan County, this state, June 6, 1858. His father, John William Stronks, was a native of Gelderland, Holland. He followed farming in his native country, coming to America in 1847 and working two years at Schenectady, N.Y., in the locomotive works. He went thence to Milwaukee, and after staying in that city for a short time, located on a farm in Sheboygan County, this state, where he ended his days. His wife was Grace Snoeyenbos, of Gelderland, Holland, by whom he has nine children, five of whom are still living: Herman lives at Sheldon, Iowa; William lives in Alton, Iowa; Caroline married Henry Meengs, of Holland, Michigan; Hannah married Henry Remaker, of Cedar Grove, Wis., and Edward is the subject of this sketch. Edward received his education in the schools of Oostburg, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, and at the Spencerian Business college at Milwaukee, Wis. From 1882 to 1886 he was engaged in the mercantile business in Cedar Grove, this state, afterward coming to Baldwin,, where he has since been engaged in the hardware business. In politics he is a republican, having served four years as postmaster at Cedar Grove. Mr. Stronks was married, February 13, 1882, to Antonette, daughter of C. Prinsen and Margaret (Pattist) Prinsen, of Baldwin. This union has been blessed with seven children: Magdalena is the wife of W.M. Kooreman, of Alton, Iowa; John William lives in Squirrel, Idaho; Audley Edward assists his father in his business; Jessie Blanche is at home; Edward James lives in Squirrel, Idaho; Harold C. and Florence E. are at home. Mr. Stronks devoted his entire time to his business and has a fine hardware business as is to be found in the valley. He has a genial personality and his business methods are such as inspire confidence in the minds of all of those with whom he has any commercial dealings.

(taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)


Nels Swanson, landing in the United States practically without a cent and with few prospects, now owns 220 acres of as good land as is to be found in Springfield township, and his present affluence he owes entirely to his own hard work and unfailing industry. Nels was born in Sweden in the month of November 1844, a son of Swense and Grinella Swanson, who lived and died in the old country. He received a good common school education and worked with his father until 1869, when he came to the United States via Quebec, Canada. He arrived in St. Paul and obtained work on the railroad, being sent first to Mankato, Minn., where he remained for one and a half years. He then went to Eau Claire, Wis., and continued the same occupation, spending his time largely in railroading until 1875, when he located on his present farm in Springfield Township. He at first owned forty acres, which he has increased until now, in company with his son, Simon, he owns 220 acres of good land in a high stage of cultivation. When he came here he settled in the woods, and in clearing the land he sold cordwood to the first railroad that came through this part of the country. He has continued to make improvements until he now has a good house and comfortable barns, with all the equipment necessary for carrying on a good sized farming industry. The farm is now conducted by Mr. Swansons sons, who raise the usual crops and breed some live stock and fowls, also doing some dairying.

Mr. Swanson was married in 1878 to Nellie Ellefson and has six children: Simon has an interest in his fathers farm; Jane married Morris McGee; Oscar is at home; Anna and Lorena are both school teachers, and Herbert is at home. Mr. Swanson is a Republican in politics and has served as treasurer of the school board in district No. 6 for fifteen years, being elected in 1886. He also served on the side board one year. The family are attendants of the Lutheran church. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909