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St. Croix County Biographies and Historical Sketches

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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
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Walker, Walsh, Warner, Wasson, Wears, Webster, Wells, Wernlund, Willa, Williams, Wright, Young, Younggren

Walker

Andrew J. Walker was born in La Crosse county, Wisconsin, June 14, 1863, a son of Silas Walker, a native of Pennsylvania, who followed farming all his life. Andrew was educated in the public schools and then finished with a course in Galeville university, thus obtaining the foundation of a fine schooling that has since been broadened by much reading and close observation. He started farming, residing for some years in Buffalo county, Wisconsin, and in 1901 came to St. Croix county, where he bought a large farm in Warren township. He now owns 400 acres and carries on general mixed farming, raising the usual crops. He employs several men, and all his agricultural business is done on a large scale. All of the land is under the plow. Mr. Walker also owns a fine Percheron stallion and breeds that kind of horses to some extent. While the farm was an improved one when he purchased it, Mr. Walker has made many more improvements and has brought the farm to a first class condition in every respect. Mr. Walker was married in 1891 to Ann Syforth, daughter of Fred Syforth, of Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. Six children have blessed this union: Mona, Mabel, Mary, Vera, James and David. Mr. Walker leans toward the Democratic ticket in national affairs, but he is largely an independent thinker, giving his ballot and influence to the best man. He has served as chairman of Warren Township and also of Modena Township, Buffalo county. He is a public-spirited man. Mr. Walker belongs to the Masons, the Elks, the Independent Order of odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is one of the leading men of his township, a good citizen in every respect.

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

James H. Walker, secretary and manager of the St. Croix County Abstract Company, of Hudson, Wis., was born in Wilson, St. Croix County, Wis., to James and Elnora (Fowler) Walker, October 2, 1875. The father, born near Hamilton, Ontario, October 9, 1843, of Scotch-English parentage; the mother was born in Woodstock, Vt., May23, 1848. They were married in Sparta, Wis., October 16, 1872.

The father was a railroad track-layer, coming to St. Croix county in 1873, when the West Wisconsin railroad was built through to Hudson, and later was in charge of their construction train. He left the employ of the railroad to take charge of the mills of the West Wisconsin Manufacturing Company at Wilson, which position he held until 1893, being compelled to quit on account of losing the use of his limbs. In 1894 he was elected to the office of register of deeds for St. Croix County, to which office he was reelected three successive terms, and served until his death, which occurred April 10, 1902. His widow still survives him. The children born to this couple are: James H., George Edwin (born November 14, 1876), Harries E. (born January 14, 1877), and Mary I. (born October 22, 1885). James H. attended the public schools at Wilson, becoming his fathers deputy in the office of register of deeds when his father assumed same in 1895. Later he was in charge of the installation of a large abstract plant in Fargo, Cass county, N. Dak., upon the completion of which he became associated with W. E. Webster in the abstract of title business at Hudson. In politics, Mr. Walker is a Republican, and has served as secretary of the Hudson board of trade. Fraternally he is a member of St. Croix Lodge No. 56, F. & A. M., St. Croix Chapter No. 44, R. A. M. and St. Croix Commandery No. 14, Knights Templar, the Woodmen of the World and the Independent Order of Foresters. October 30, 1900, he married Mary L. Holmes, who was born in Hudson, Wis., May 24, 1873, daughter of Orville W. and Mary (Beard) Holmes. The father, born in Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence county, N.Y., August 3, 1830. The mother, born in Peignton, Devonshire, England, April 7, 1840. They were married in Hudson, Wis., November 7, 1867. The children born to this couple were: Edna M., now deceased; Roswell B. and Mrs. James H. Walker. Mr. and Mrs. James H. Walker are the parents of three children: James H., born February 18, 1904; Helen D., born November 17, 1905, and Marion F., born December 9, 1907. Mr. Walker is an accomplished business man and his honor and integrity have won for him the regard of all with whom he has had dealings of any sort. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Walsh

Edmund Walsh was born in Tipperary County, Ireland, December 2, 1847. His parents, Edmond and Margaret (O'Donel) Walsh, came to America and located first on a farm at Milwaukee, Wis., where they remained five years. In 1857 they moved to Star Prairie, St. Croix county, Wis., and took up 320 acres of government land, which they broke and developed, making all improvements. They also erected a house and barns, carrying on a general farming business. The subject of this sketch received a common school education and worked with his father on the farm. Then he spent seven years in lumbering and river driving. Deciding to settle down to farming, he bought eighty acres at Star Prairie, Wis., and devoted the next few years to bringing the acres to a state of high cultivation. Later he bought 240 acres in the same township, and also broke, improved and developed this land, as well as erecting a house and other buildings. His principal crops were wheat and other grains, and he was also a breeder of Durham cattle, Berkshire hogs and Poland China hogs. For thirty-nine years Mr. Walsh followed farming until 1907, when he bought a house and lot on Green Street, New Richmond City, Wis., and moving there retired from farming. February 16, 1868, Mr. Walsh married Kate Huges, daughter of Michael Huges, an Erin Prairie farmer, who died in 1906. By this union there were eleven childrenMargaret, married to Thomas Walsh; John, married to Florence Frawley; Edmond, killed in the woods at the age of twenty-seven; Kate, married to A. B. Dennismore; Richard, a railroad man; Annie, married to Patrick Higgins; May a trained nurse at St. Paul; Arthur, an electrical engineer, and Charlie, who married Mary Gallagher and lives at New Richmond, Wis. All the children have done well in life and are a great credit to the training of their parents. All received a good education. Mr. Walsh has been a member of the town and school boards for some time. He has been treasurer and director of schools for many years. He votes the Democratic ticket and worships at the Catholic Church. He has been a hard working man all his life, and all the success he has won has been due to his own hard work, backed up by unswerving honesty.  Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

John J. Walsh is one of the prosperous farmers of the St. Croix valley, and his broad acres show the results of his hard work and industrious efforts. He was born in Stanton township, St. Croix county, Wisconsin, October 25, 1870, son of Edmond and Kate (Huges) Walsh, natives of Ireland, a sketch of whom appears in this volume. John J. received a good common school education. For eight years after graduating from this course he was a railroad fireman and engineer. Later he abandoned railroading and settled down on a farm in Stanton. While working as an engineer Mr. Walsh was popular with his associates, and he still retains many friends whom he made in those days. He was regarded as a most efficient man, and the road lost an able employee when he decided to give up the work. As a farmer he is no less able. His progressiveness is shown by the fact that he has sunk a 76-foot open well upon his property. November 28, 1905, he was married to Florence Frawley, of St. Joseph Township, Wisconsin, a daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Connely) Frawley, well-known farmers of St. Joseph Township, for forty years or more. There are two children: George Robert, born February 22, 1907, and Geraldine C., born March 11, 1908. Mr. Walsh is at present town clerk of Stanton, a capacity in which he has already served six years. He is an independent voter and attends the Catholic Church. He is also a popular member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, No. 508, New Richmond, and also of the Modern Woodmen, No. 5951, of Deer Park, Wis. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Thomas Walsh, now deceased, will long be remembered for the influence that he had on the life and growth of the township of Erin. He was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in the month of December, 1835, son of Edward and Mary (O'Malley) Walsh, who came to America in 1837, locating at Andover, Allegheny County , N. Y. The father died in 1878 and the mother passed away in 1886. Thomas was educated in the public schools of Andover, N.Y., and then worked with his father on the farm until 1858, when he came westward and located for two years at Beloit, Wis. In 1860 he came to Hudson, Wis., and worked on the river, logging, combining his occupation with farming at Erin township, where he bought forty acres of land. He took an active interest in politics and rapidly became a leader in the Democratic party, a powerful factor to be reckoned with in every political undertaking. In 1877 he was elected sheriff of the county and served two years. After this he returned to his farm. Subsequently he purchased eighty more acres and added to his original holdings from time to time until he owned 320 acres of good land. He did the breaking and developing himself, and erected all the necessary buildings, including a pleasant, well-furnished home. He carried on general farming with much success. In 1899 he suffered a stroke of paralysis, the attack being repeated four times without fatal result. This great shock to his system resulted in the impairing of his vitality, however, and he succumbed to illness, April 13, 1907. Mr. Walsh served nineteen terms as chairman of his town, and was also a leader on the county board. He was one of the first jury commissioners appointed in this county, and was largely instrumental in securing for New Richmond the state insane asylum. His influence on public affairs gave him the title of "Czar of Erin" and he bore the title well. He was loved by his followers and esteemed by his opponents, being a man of whom everyone thought well. He was the father of thirteen children: William is a traveling salesman living in Hudson; Mary is the wife of Thomas Meath, an elevator man of Cylon; Patrick H. is superintendent of the Kaslo Railroad and Navigation Company, of Kaslo, B. C.; Edward is a member of the firm of Gardner & Walsh, wholesale plumbers of Tacoma, Wash.; Thomas C., purchasing agent for Porter Bros., lives at Vancouver, Wash.; Richard C., a constructor for the Great Northern Railway Company, died in 1901, at the age of twenty-eight; Michael J. is a rural mail carrier at New Richmond; Winnefred E. died at fourteen; Frank E. is a bookkeeper in the Willard Hotel at St. Paul, Minn.; Owen died in 1897 at eighteen; Janie is the wife of Louis Peterson, and is at home; Nora died in infancy, and Charles died at five months. The mother rents her farm to L. Peterson and lives with her daughter, Janie, on the old homestead.

Mr. Walsh was married December 2, 1863, to Bridget Connelley, daughter of Patrick and Winnefred (Stephens) Connelley, natives of County Mayo, Ireland. They came to America in 1843 and settled in Allegheny County , New York. They later came to Erin Township and purchased eighty acres of land, which they broke and improved. Mr. Connelley died in 1899 at the age of ninety-one years, and the mother, Mrs. Connelley, passed away June 22, 1908, at the age of ninety-five years. Both were highly respected citizens of the township. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Warner

August Warner has lived upon his farm in Stanton Township, Wisconsin for over a quarter of a century, during which time he has been known as a hard worker and good farmer. He was born in Germany, September 26, 1843, son of Charles and Annie (Krause) Warner, who lived and died on their farm in the Fatherland. August came to America in 1868, at the age of twenty-five years. He came westward and settled in Stillwater, Washington county, Minn., and worked in the lumber mills there eight years. This was in the time of the lumber boom in Stillwater, and the mills were busy turning out millions of feet of lumber from the logs that were floated down the river to that city. During his labors there Mr. Warner worked hard and save his money until 1876, when he was able to come to Stanton, St. Croix County, Wis., and purchase 290 acres. The land was then wild, and Mr. Warner at once set to work breaking the land and putting the acres in shape for profitable farming. Upon breaking the ground he at once sowed wheat, and this was his principal crop until the year 1888, when he started planting oats, which proved more profitable than the wheat. Gradually he took up general farming, which he now continues. When he came to Stanton, Mr. Warner brought with him his bride, Minnie Matthews, whom he married in 1876. She was the daughter of William and Lena (Warner) Matthews, farmers of Cylon, St. Croix County, Wis. This union resulted in eight sturdy children. Annie married Julius Arendt, of Cylon, Wis.; Erma, a dressmaker, lives at home; Walter helps his father on the farm and is already proving an able farmer; William is also at home, and Ida and Elsie are students at the schools of Deer Park, Wis.; Edwin and Raymond are attending the Stanton school. Mr. Warner votes the Republican ticket and attends the German Lutheran church. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Wasson

C. Edmund Wasson is a native of the St. Croix valley, and first saw the light of day in Prescott, Pierce county, Wis., on December 18, 1875, his parents being James Wasson and Etta (Grandboys) Wasson. The elder Wasson settled in Pierce county in 1866. Edmund attended the public school until he had mastered its curriculum, when he was sent to Hudson, where he finished his education in the schools of that place. The young man then returned to his fathers farm, where he assisted in it maintenance until reaching his twenty-third year, when he married Elizabeth M. Noyes, the only daughter of John L. Noyes, one of the oldest settlers of Troy township. He established a home for his bride by purchasing his present farm in section 20 of Troy township, which he still owns and makes his home. Mr.and Mr.s Wasson have a family of four robust boys and one beautiful daughter, and the names of the children in the order of their birth are as follows: Leonard Gerald, Harold Edmund, James Bertram, Ida May and Clarence Floyd. The Wasson family attend the services of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Wasson has never been prominent in politics, but subscrives to the declarations of the Republican party.

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

Wears

Richard Wears died November 21, 1895, but his memory will long be held in loving and honored regard by all with whom he came in contact. He was born in London, England, in October 1845, son of George and Charlotte (Harris) Wears. George was a prominent English office holder. The family came to New York in 1845 and in that state young Richard completed his education. Later they moved to Hudson, and Richard began his career by working on the Dayton farm. His next field of labor was Boardman. Later he settled at Richmond, where he spent the remainder of his life. He developed sixty acres and erected buildings. Upon this farm his father and mother spent their remaining days and passed away. In 1883 Mr. Wears was married to Eva M. Gross, daughter of a Baptist clergyman. The ceremony was performed at Lakeland, Minn., on the fifth day of November. Mrs. Wears proved an able helpmeet, and her hard work engorgement and sympathy as a wife, together with her loving care and sterling qualities as a mother, have been an important influence toward winning for the family the position it now occupies. Mr. Wears voted the Republican ticket and affiliated with the I. O. O. F. He served as road master and member of the school board many years. For twenty-one years he devoted his life to farming, raising principally wheat and other grains. He died November 21, 1895, leaving besides his widow, five children. They are: Grace and Charlotte, milliners; Richard, a carpenter by trade, who lives at home, and Elizabeth and Harry, who are at home and at school. All the children have been given good educations and are well thought of. Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Thomas Wears was born in England, December 1, 1852. Thomas W. Wears received a common school education at Boardman, Wis., and moved to New Richmond in 1876. Thomas W. Wears was mayor of New Richmond, Wis., during the cyclone of 1899, and upon him devolved the task of keeping a strong hand upon the government during these exiting times. That he did so to the satisfaction of his fellow citizens is shown by the fact that in 1901 he was elected to succeed himself by a large majority. Mr. Wears was married in 1876, April 2, to Anne Belle Dodge, of New Richmond, Wis. Mr. and Mrs. Wears have had four children, two sons and two daughters, all of whom have reached man and womens estate, except Paul, a sturdy boy of sixteen, who is a student of the New Richmond High School. Mr. Wears always voted the Republican ticket. For thirty-three years he has been a Mason and belongs to the Royal Arch Chapter. Among his public offices are included alderman of New Richmond for ten years, president of the city council for two years, two years assessor, and treasurer of school district No. 4. Mr. Wears is a carpenter by trade, an industrious man, and a man of unswerving honesty.

Mrs. Thomas W. Wears (Maria, Ionoica, Anne Belle Dodge) is a daughter of Elizabeth (Francis D. Porter) and Solomon Dodge, who gave his life "for the right, as God gave him to see the right," and sleeps in a soldiers grave, leaving his daughter a rich inheritance of honor.

Mrs. Wears came to St. Croix County in 1864 and has lived there continuously ever since. Mrs. Wears predominant characteristic is a passionate love of the beautiful, particularly embodied in the works of nature, believing that, whatever may be our lot, it is ours to brighten it with beautiful thoughts, visions of beauty and high ideals. Mrs. Wears is a woman of marked individuality, of irreproachable character, a woman of high ideals and ever keenly interested in all which has for its object the uplifting of humanity. Intelligently faithful to all obligations of the various organizations of which she is a member, respected by her associates, deeply sympathetic, loyal in her friendships, generous to a fault, kindly appreciative of the best in the lives of others. Mrs. Wears has a marvelously retentive memory, ready apprehension, and withal a deep thinker, profound reasoner, living her innermost life in that passionate intensity that it is only given to the mystic to know an accurate judge of human nature. While approachable, affable, nevertheless a woman of great reserve, only a privileged few are given glimpses of the treasures of her heart and mind. Most a brilliant conversationalist, capable of clothing her thoughts in clearest beauty, a purist in the use of the English language. One need only to enter her home to know by that intangible, indefinable, indescribable something pervading the atmosphere that a woman of innate refinement and exquisite taste abides therein.

Mrs. Wears is a descendant of a family of exceptional attainments. The name of Dodge is often synonymous with merited honor, the brigadier general, Francis Dodge, being awarded a medal of honor by congress for distinguished gallantry in the early sixties. He served with the Twenty-third Massachusetts Regiment; William S. Dodge, artist, who did the mural decorations for the Worlds Fair at Chicago; William Dodge, the well known philanthropist; Mary Abigail Dodge, known as Gail Hamilton, authoress, while the mother of Edmund Clarence Stedman, poet and critic, was the gifted Elizabeth Dodge, and it is a simple matter of history that the first governor of Wisconsin was Ceasar Augustus Dodge.

Mrs. Wears is deeply interested in the welfare of our beautiful St. Croix valley, than which Gods sun never shone on fairer land, coming to New Richmond when there was only a narrow foot path through Main street, where we have miles of fine pavement, only a small school house with two recitation rooms, today a well-equipped, commodious structure, with its corps of able teachers, of which we are justly proud. Great was the rejoicing when the first church was built in the community, jubilation when the last spike was driven and the railroad was a fact in New Richmond; permitted to listen to the first sermon preached in New Richmond; privileged to ride on the first passenger train pulled out of the villagecould Mrs. Wears be otherwise than deeply interested in the civic problems of the city, religious, educational, municipal, professional, commercial and all the good peoples, of whom Abraham Lincoln well said, "God must have loved the common people, since He made so many of them." We are common children, of a common Father, with a common destiny.

Mr. and Mrs. Wears have a home on the banks of the classic Willow river, a most beautiful, picturesque abiding place, situated at the head of First street. The industry of Mr. Wears and the heroic self-sacrifice of Mrs. Wears have enabled them to own Fern Terrace, a most beautiful place in which to grow old.  Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Webster

Byron Webster, now deceased, will long be held in honored memory by the people of New Richmond, Wis., where for many years he occupied an important place in the life of the community. His parents, Bailey and Anna (Bailey) Webster, came from Boston, Mass., in the early thirties and took up farming at Vernon, Waukesha county, Wis., where Byron was born, December 31, 1838. He received a good education and then spent one year at Green Bay, Wis. Coming to Warren township, St. Croix county, Wisconsin, in 1857, he bought 160 acres, which he broke and developed, erecting houses and barns. The first crop was wheat; later the farm was devoted mainly to raising cattle. After owning this farm twenty-five years Mr. Webster sold it and bought 120 acres at Roberts, Wis., where he stayed two years. In 1885 he located at New Richmond, Wis., and spent his remaining days-cultivating forty-five acres of land, which he purchased there. Both buildings and land under his careful attention were greatly improved. Mr. Websters public career included service as street commissioner and alderman in New Richmond, and as a member of the school, town and assessors boards and Warren. He voted the Republican ticket, attended the Congregational church and affiliated with Richmond Lodge, I. O. O. F. His death, September 15, 1905, robbed his family of a loving husband and devoted father and the enighborhood of a faithful friend and valued citizen. Mrs. Webster, a woman of kindly disposition and many accomplishments, was born November 6, 1844, maiden name Harriet Clifton. She is the daughter of Aaron B. and Rebecca (Stilwell) Clifotn, who came of good old Connecticut stock. Aaron B. was born February 5, 1818. He was a carpenter and builder. His wife was born January 11, 1823. They had ten children. Mr. and Mrs. Webster were married, October 15, 1861, at Vernon, Waukesha County, by the Rev. E. J. Keevill. Their long years of married life together were most happy ones, and Mrs. Webster will never cease to mourn her great loss. To comfort her in her declining years she has three childrenBernard N., a physician at Rice Lake, Wis., married to Carrie Williams; Cora L., wife of F. D. Fuller, a Kalamazoo, Mich., manufacturer, and Ernest C., who married Ivadelle Beebe. Ernest has been a druggist, and is now in the cement business, manufacturing concrete building blocks and sidewalks. Mr. and Mrs. Websters interest in education matters has been great, and they were both prominent members of the Old Settlers Association of St. Croix County, which contributed so much to the higher life and aims of the town in the early days.  Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Waldo E. Webster, now engaged in the real estate and abstract business in Hudson city, is a native of Pleasant Valley, this county, born March 6, 1859, son of Alba and Ann Delutia (Morgan) Webster, natives of Haverhill, Mass., and Brockport, N.Y., the father, born February 22, 1828; the mother, born June 2, 1820. They were married at Vernon, Waukesha County, Wis., March 16, 1850, and in 1855 went to Pleasant Valley, this county, where they bought a claim and made a number of changes and improvements. The old home, which he first built and in which his children were born, is still standing on the farm. In 1882 they moved to Hammond, in the same county. In 1881 Alba Webster was one of the incorporators of the First National Bank of Glenwood, Minn. He was elected president, in which capacity he served during the remainder of his life. He was also one of the incorporators of the Bank of Hammond, Wis., in 1892, and served as vice president and director until his death, October 7, 1907, at the ripe old age of seventy-nine. The mother died in October 1899. They were the parents of four children: Elbert M., of Glenwood, Minn.; Daniel D., of River Falls, Wis.; Waldo E., the subject of this sketch, and Union M., of Stockton, Cal. Waldo E. was educated in the public schools, at Hinkley Institute, River Falls, and at Beloit College. He spent his early life on the farm and continued there until he made up his mind to enter the local arena of politics. In 1890 he was elected clerk of the Circuit court and was twice reelected, serving for a period of six years. He then took up the abstract, real estate, loan and insurance business in a well-equipped office at Hudson. His wide acquaintance in the county made him well adapted for this business, and his success was insured from the very start. In 1906 he started a real estate office in Seattle, Wash., and does a large business in both his establishments. In addition to conducting his large business, Mr. Webster is president of the State Bank at Deer Park, and a director of the Security State Bank of Baldwin, Wis., both solid financial institutions of this county; president of the Webster-Lowry Investment Company, of Seattle, Wash.; of the Star-Times Publishing Company, of Hudson, Wis., and of the St. Croix County Abstract Company.

Fraternally Mr. Webster is a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the Foresters, and politically he is a Republican, having been a delegate to the Republican State convention in 1904, and taking no little part in its proceedings. March 29, 1882, he was married to Eliza M., daughter of James and Mary (Brennan) Gray, of Kinnickinnic Township, this county. She was born July 21, 1861. James Gray was born in Durham County, England, September 10, 1821. The mother was born in Ottawa, Canada, May 11, 1832. They were married at Green Bay, Wis., June 10, 1852, and came to River Falls, Wis., in June 1861. In 1870 he bought a farm in Kinnickinnic Township, St. Croix County, where he remained until 1896. He then retired from active life and spent his remaining days in River Falls, Wis. His demise occurred February 13, 1906. The mother is living (1908) in Seattle, Wash. James Gray was twice married, first in England. One daughter was born, Mrs. Henry Curry. From the second marriage ten children were born, nine of whom are living: Mrs. F. C. Matteson (deceased); Rev. William J. Gray, of Merriam Park, Minn.; Dr. Frank F. gray, of North Yakima, Wash.; Mrs. Harry S. Matteson, of Hudson, Wis.; Mrs. W. E. Webster, of Hudson, Wis.; John B., of Minneapolis, Minn.; Charles B., of Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Owen B. Playter, of Seattle, Wash.; Henry N., of Sweet, Idaho, and George B., of Rupert, Idaho. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo E. Webster have six children, five of whom are living. They are: Wendel P., born February 2, 1883; Ralph W., born June 1, 1885, died June 13, 1889; Nina M., born December 29, 1887; Elbert M., William B., twins, born January 30, 1890, and Charles E., born July 21, 1892. Mr. Webster is a public-spirited citizen, and a hustling, progressive business man, always a leader in any movement that has for its object the promotion of the business interests of the city or township. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Wells

Daniel W. Wells is a native of County Mayo, Ireland, born in July 1865, son of John and Mary (Dixon) Wells, who lived and died in the old country. The father died March of the same year that Daniel was born. In the family there were five brothers and sisters besides Daniel. Charles and William are farmers of Erin Township, Wisconsin; Patrick was killed in the great cyclone of 1899; John met his death in a coal mine in Pennsylvania in 1880, and Mary is married and resides in Philadelphia. Daniel received his common school education in Ireland, afterward taking up farming, which he continued in his native county until 1883, when he came to Erin Township and purchased 160 acres. He rebuilt the house and erected a large barn, completed in 1906, at an estimated cost exceeding $2,000. Mr. Wells was married May 27, 1898, to Kate Riley, daughter of John and Mary (Dixon) Riley, of Mayo County, Ireland. One son was blessed this union, John J., born October 27, 1899.

The father and mother died in the old country. Mr. Wells votes the Democratic ticket, attends the Catholic Church and belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Wernlund

Cornelius Wernlund is a native of this state, born in Waukesha county, August 20, 1857, son of John and Jesenia Wernlund, natives of Holland, who came to America and settled in Waukesha county in the early fifties. They bought forty acres of land, which the father worked for two years, after which he sold out and came to Baldwin Township. To this he soon added eighty acres more, making 240 in all, which he broke and improved, erecting a house and outbuildings. He continued to carry on a general farming until his death, in April, 1883. The mother is still living with her son on the old homestead. Mr. Wernlund, St., made many friends during his life in the township, and his death was sincerely mourned. Cornelius received his education in the common schools of Baldwin and worked on the farm. At the time of his fathers death he took charge of the home place, which he has since conducted, making many improvements. He carries on a diversified farming, making a specialty of raising horses, of which he is a great admirer. Mr. Wernlund is unmarried and has four brothers and one sisterC. F. and J. C. are farmers in Baldwin township; Garret is a farmer at Mason; William is also a Baldwin township farmer, and Jane lives at Baldwin. Mr. Wernlund is an independent voter and a member of the Presbyterian Church. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Willa

Chris K. Willa is a native of Norway, born May 16, 1853, son of Knute and Halfrey (Thorsen) Willa, who lived and died in Norway. Chris came to the United States in 1880 and for a short time remained in La Crosse, Wis., afterward moving to New Richmond, where he has since resided. Arriving here, he at once started to carve his fortune by working in the sawmills and in the woods. He saw the possibilities of a boarding house of a good class, and accordingly he started taking boarders, which he has continued for twenty-four years under the name of the Scandinavia hotel, on the North Side. He has recently built a fine residence next to the hotel and retired from the active management of the business. For many years Mr. Willa was known as the musician of the village. He is an expert on the violin and has made considerable money playing for dances, parties and the like. Mr. Willa was married in 187to Elena Boge. They have one daughter, Helma, who is at home. He was one of the first Norwegian settlers in the third ward and has served as alderman of the city of New Richmond. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Norwegian church and has occupied all its offices. In a fraternal way he belongs to the Modern Woodmen. Mr. Willa has been successful throughout life and he is very highly regarded in the community.  Reference: Taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909

Williams

Clinton Williams is universally regarded by his fellow townsmen as not only among the first settlers in Kinnickinnic township, but as its most prominent citizen. He was born in Angelica, Allegheny county, N.Y., July 21, 1831, of Welsh ancestry. His parents were Simon and Anstine Stirling Williams, who brought Clinton to the state of Indiana, when he was two years old and where they remained until he was fourteen years old, and his early education was received in the primitively organized seats of instruction in the Hoosier state. They emigrated to Rock county, Wisconsin, where the subject of this sketch finished his education. After leaving school Mr. Williams engaged in the freighting business between the port of Milwaukee and the inland towns of Janesville and Beloit, and followed it for eight years, when he became interested in railroad grading as a contractor and spent one year in that business. In 1853 Mr. Williams was united in the bonds of holy matrimony to Henrietta M. Beardsley, a daughter of Samuel A. and Maria M. Luce Beardsley, of Beloit, Wis. Samuel A. Beardsley was a native of the state of Connecticut, and Maria M. Luce was born in Ithaca, N.Y. Three days after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Williams left Rock county for Kinnickinnic township via Galena and Mississippi river steamboat to Prescott, thence to their present home, where they have resided ever since, and where all of their children were born. They are the parents of three children. George A. Williams, who is engaged in the real estate business in the city of St. Paul; Carrie A., now the wife of Lute Dodge, a newspaper man connected with a St. Paul paper, and Roswell S. Williams, a graduate in chemistry at the State Normal school in River Falls, and at present located there as a druggist. In politics Mr. Williams has always been a consistent Republican in national affairs, but in local matters the candidates with the best qualifications for the place they seek receive his support. He has held many offices during his long residence in St. Croix County, notwithstanding the fact that he has always rigidly refused to be a candidate for public favor. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Harry M. Williams first saw the light of day in Davisville, Cal., August 1, 1877, son of Ward S. and Estella (McFarland) Williams, of whom a sketch is found in this history. Harry M. received his education in New Richmond, Wis., and at Carelton College, Northfield, Minn., where he was known as an able and painstaking scholar, very popular with all his companions. After receiving his college diploma he returned to New Richmond and successfully engaged in the clothing business, his affable manners and pleasing temperament making him an admirable salesman. After his fathers death he entered into partnership with his brother, Donald W., in the clothing and mens furnishing business, which enterprise they still conduct, having a rapidly growing trade. Harry M. Williams was married, August 1, 1907, to Mary G., daughter of John and Katherine (Stephens) Wells, who came to this county in the early days. Mr. Williams is a member of Richmond Lodge, No 195, F. & A. M., of which he was worshipful master in 1905 and 1906. He is also a member of New Richmond Chapter, No 54, R. A. M., of this city. He is one of the young and energetic businessmen of New Richmond that have made the city the hustling center of a rich-farming community, a worthy son of a noble father.

 

Ward Spooner Williams is one of those men whose names will ever be associated with all that is truest and best in the development of the city of New Richmond, Wis. He was a faithful friend, a loving husband, an acute businessman, a polished and educated gentleman, and a deep observer of public affairs. Mr. Williams was born in New Portland, Somerset County, Me., September 20, 1841, the third son of Joseph Williams, a prominent farmer of the state of Maine. The family descended from the early Maine pioneers, and the great-grandfather of Ward was a Revolutionary soldier and the first settler of New Portland. The entire line had one long history of brave deeds and rugged honesty, together with love for their families and devotion to the cause of religion. Ward S. Williams attended the common schools and then took a course in the North Anson Academy. Graduating from this institution, he taught in the country schools for a time and then acted as a teacher in the academy. In 1862 he went to California, following his brothers, Abram P. and W. W. Like the majority of people living in New England who went to California, he went by boat from New York, crossed the isthmus by land and then took a boat to the Golden Gate. Arriving in California, he took up school teaching and was so highly regarded that he was sent to the California assembly during the administration of Governor Stanford. For a time he engaged in merchandising in Divisville, Yolo County, and also in wheat ranching in Colusa County. Successful in all these ventures, he amassed a comfortable fortune. With his fortune he came to New Richmond in the early eighties. In 1884 he started business with W. W. and S. M. Bixby under the firm name of Bixby Brothers & Williams. The following year Mr. Williams built a handsome residence on West First street, at that time the largest in the city. That same year the firm erected a large double front stone building, which was afterward destroyed by the cyclone of 1899. In this store the firm dealt in general merchandise and conducted the shipping of farm produce on a large scale. In 1888 Mr. Williams bought out the interests of W. W. Bixby, and in 1896 S. M. Bixby retired, upon which the Ward S. Williams Company was organized with Mr. Williams as the head of the firm. In October 1899, following the cyclone, the firm of Williams & Olsen was organized, taking over the clothing department and similar lines. In March 1903, S. Olsen retired and the firm was consolidated with the Ward S. Williams Company, Harry Williams taking charge of that branch. Upon the organization of the Ward S. Williams Company, in 1896, Mr. Williams formulated a plan of profit sharing whereby a certain portion of the investment was assigned to each of the clerks and employees, and all of the earnings on that portion of the capitalization over and above a certain per cent was credited to the employees of the company, a liberal policy that is still in vogue in the store.

Mr. Williams took an interest in the Bank of New Richmond shortly after he came to the city and for many years was a director of that institution. At the time of his death he was both a director and one of the vice-presidents, having held the latter position since 1898. Mr. Williams also had mercantile interests at different times in Shell Lake and Spooner, this state; Ade, Minn., and Postville, Iowa. He was a member of the village board of New Richmond and was largely instrumental in bringing about the incorporation of the city. He was the first mayor of the city, being elected without opposition. During the administration he had an important part in the erection of the bridge over Willow River. Through his efforts as a member of the school board a high school building was erected. Mr. Williams was secretary of the New Richmond Cemetery Association and an active worker in the same.

Fraternally he was a member of the Masonic order in California and also of the I. O. O. F. Mr. Williams was twice marred. His first wife was Estelle McFarland, whom he married at her home in Fairfield, Me., July 2, 1870. She died in New Richmond. His second wife was Geraldine S. Houston, whom he married in this city, May 7, 1890. Mrs. Williams still survives and is married to Oscar Davis, formerly a college professor and clergyman, now associated with her in carrying on the business of the Ward S. Williams Company. By his first marriage Mr. Williams has one daughter, Freda J., born April 29, 1875, graduated from Holyoke College, and died October 8, 1902, and two sons, Harry M. and Donald W. He also had two sons by his second marriage, Ward S., Jr., and Abram P. Three brothers surviveHon. A. P. Williams, of San Francisco; W. W. Williams, of Fallon, Nev., and O. J. Williams, of this city.

Mr. Williams died May 12, 1904, of creeping paralysis, being a patient sufferer for many years. He is laid to rest in New Richmond. Of such a man it were almost superfluous to make any comment upon his character. His memory is forever enshrined in the hearts of all who knew him. A friend has said of him: "He was a man in the truest sense of the wordbroad minded, public spirited, progressive, energetic, tactful, conservative, kind, considerate, sympathetic and liberal. His heart beat in sympathy with every good word and work, and his heart and purse were ever open to his fellow men. He was loyal, ever affectionate to his friends and liberal and considerate with those who opposed him. His domestic life was most exemplary, and his public career that of a thorough, consistent Christian gentleman. In his death the city lost a champion and humanity a friend."

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

Willink

Herman Willink is a native of this state, born in Waupun, Fond du Lac county, October 23, 1863, son of Abram and Amelia (Bargebos) Willink, natives of Holland, who came to America in the early fifties and after living for a few years in Fond du Lac came to Baldwin township and bought 140 acres of land, which they broke and improved, carrying on a general farming until September 22, 1866, when the father died. The mother is still living, making her home on the Willink farm. She is now over seventy-eight years of age and in the best of health. Herman received a good education in the common schools. Subsequently he took up farming with his stepfather, B. Terhaar, until the latters death in 1887. Since then he has purchased the farm and now owns a nice piece of property of 180 acres, of which 160 is under cultivation. He carries on a general farming and raises considerable live stock. He is very fond of horses and takes pride in those which he breeds on his farm, some of them being animals of good pedigree and record, and all of them being sleek looking and well kept. He makes a specialty of the Percheron breed. Mr. Willink was married December 18, 1890, to Berendiena Nyman, of Holland, daughter of G. J. and Tonia Borninhhof Nyman, who settled in Baldwin in the early days. They are now both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Willink have been blessed with six childrenMinnie, born September 2, 1892; Theresa, born December 3, 1893; Elva, born May 7, 1895; Arnold, born October 24, 1896; George, born November 8, 1800, and Hazel, born May 17, 1906. Mr. Willink is a Republican in politics. He has been treasurer of the town three years and a member of the side board three years. He is an elder of the Presbyterian Church. He is greatly devoted to his family, and his children are being given the advantages of a good education. He is an honest and upright gentleman, one who is highly respected by all who know him. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Wright

G. W. Wright was born in Hammond, Wis., July 19, 1862, a son of James and Elizabeth (Kelley) Wright. The father was born in Ireland and migrated to Canada in the early days, arriving in this locality in the late fifties. He settled on a farm in Hammond Township and farmed until 1888, when he retired and came to Hammond village to live. He still makes his residence in this village, being over eighty-four years of age. G. W. was educated in the common schools and followed farming with his father. He also worked in the woods and ran a threshing machine many seasons. For several years he engaged in buying and selling hay and stock. Later he engaged in the hardware trade with a Mr. Gardiner. For over twenty years how he has been connected with J. C. Wachendorf in the hardware business. They handle a big variety of stock and have been very successful. Their goods in all those years have given them a reputation of honest dealing that now brings them trade from many miles around. Mr. Wright was married in January 1894, to Avis Fithian, daughter of J. B. Fithian. Her parents came to this county in the late fifties, her father being one of the early merchants of this section for many years. He died in 1907 at the age of eighty-seven years. Mr. and Mrs. Wright have no children, but have provided a home for their niece, who has been almost like a daughter to them. Aside from his business, Mr. Wright owns some fine town property and his wife owns sixty acres of land in the township. Mr. Wright served as town treasurer and as a member of the council. The family worships at the Congregational church. Mr. Wright has been successful and is a man of honor and integrity. (taken from "History of the St. Croix Valley", published in 1909)

Young

Rufus R. Young, who is one of the prominent and oldest settlers in Troy Township, was born in Newark, N. J., August 9, 1839. He came to the St. Croix valley with his parents in 1855, having first finished his education in the Newark City schools and Newark academy, when he attended, for a time, Hampden academy in Hampden, Me. His father, Shebna A. Young, before coming to Wisconsin, was a captain of a sailing vessel engaged in the Atlantic coast-wise trade for many years. Upon his arrival in Wisconsin he engaged in the lumber business for five years, when he removed to Troy Township, where our subject still resides. Shebna S. Young died in 1887, and his wife, Emelma Barton Young, passed away in 1896. Rufus R. Young taught school two years before enlisting in the Union army, joining Company A, of the Thirtieth Wisconsin, in 1862, and wore a uniform until mustered out after the close of the war, in 1865. Mr. Young did not see much active service on the battle field for the reason that, during the first two years of his enlistment he was attached to the quartermasters department, and for the remainder of one year was retained as a military secretary to Major General John M. Palmer in headquarters in Louisville, Ky. In 1869 Mr. Young was joined in holy matrimony to Ellen Patterson, of Rockford, Ill., to whom two sons, Clarence and Herbert, were born. The eldest son died in 1898. Mr. Young was elected register of deeds for St. Croix County in 1871 and served out his term of two years, when he was retained as deputy for four years by his successor to the office. Mr. Young has held, at different times all of the several township offices and was for four years chairman of the town board. He served as township treasurer for one term and was also assessor for a number of years.

Mr. Young has always been a member of the Baptist church. He is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has attended a number of the national encampments of that organization. He is one of the charter members of the old settlers association and was secretary of the association during the first three years of its existence. The only fraternal order to which Mr. Young belongs is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In politics Mr. Young has always been prominently identified with the Republican party and is a valued member of its councils, and has represented the local organization in many county, senatorial, judicial and congressional conventions. Mrs. Young died in 1891. Mr. Young owns 120 acres of choice farmland in sections 7 and 18 of Troy Township, and he still personally directs its management. His son, Herbert, resides on the adjoining farm, which was formerly owned by his uncle, Charles Young. Herbert Young was educated in the public schools of Troy Township and the Hudson High school. He is married, his wife being Ada Griffin, daughter of Lester Griffin, of Troy Township.

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

Younggren

Nelson A. Younggren is one of the most influential young men in Troy Township. He was born in Clifton township, Pierce county, Wisconsin, his parents being Swen Younggren and Hannah Nelson Younggren. He dates his age from February 7, 1870. His father was one of the early settlers in the St. Croix valley, coming to America in 1854 and settling in Marine, Minn., where he resided ten years before moving to Clifton township, where he resided until his death, September 28, 1899. His wife survived him nine years, her death occurring February 5, 1908. The subject of this sketch received his early education in Troy District No. 5, and finished it with a high school course. He was married in 1897 to Nancy Weberg, of Clifton Township, and they are the parents of two daughters, Helen and Alpha. Mr. Younggren is a member of the Baptist church and also belongs to one society, the Beaver lodge. Mr. Younggren has been active in public affairs ever since attaining his majority and has been identified with the Republican Party of St. Croix County. He has been a member of the sideboard and also on the school board of Troy Township for several years and served as town assessor two terms. He owns a farm of 170 acres, all of which is under cultivation, with the exception of a few acres occupied by a number of large farm buildings and his commodious and modern home.

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