Obit: Hewett, James (1830 - 1907)

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----Source: CLARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN & PRESS (Neillsville, Wis.) 03/07/1907

Hewett, James (1 MAY 1830 - 3 MAR 1907)

Sunday afternoon, March 3, 1907, James Hewett passed away. He had been in poor health and practically confined to the house for the past year, and his death was note unexpected. To write a biography of James Hewett would require a volume, and if written as it might be written, it would be a book of remarkable interest. The story of his life here would be a history of Neillsville and the southern half of Clark County. It would be a thrilling story of great beginnings, of civilization hewn out of a wilderness, its pages glowing with the romance of great successes, and tinged, too, with the tragedies of misfortune and failure. For years he was the moving spirit here in business and municipal affairs. His logging and lumbering operations were of immense proportions, and in connection a big mercantile business was carried on. Upon him depended a vast army of workers, and looking to him for credit a great body of settlers, whom he carried through the stress of pioneer poverty. No enterprise of any proportions was begun and carried on here, that did not in one way or another, bear the stamp of his energies. After him were named the town of Hewett and the main street of Neillsville. He was the city?s first mayor, and held at different times the offices of County Surveyor, County Clerk and Sheriff. He built the court house, the old jail and the old high school, and business buildings in the city. The saw mill, boarding house and other property known as Hewettville, on Wedge?s Creek made quite a village, which with large tracts of pine land, were all a part of his possessions. It is true that the bulk of his fortune for various reasons through many channels flowed into others? hands, but his does not in the least detract from the service he did for this community. Through his generosity hundreds of families were enabled to exist and lay the foundation for what this county is today. That many of them ill repaid his kindness and took from him what they never paid back, was his misfortune, but cannot be called his fault. While not in a technical sense an educated man, having had only a few months of schooling, yet his mind had a clear grasp of the world?s affairs. He had a fund of quaint humor, and could express his thoughts both in prose and verse, with rare force and felicity. His death lays aside one of the last of those who have worked upon the foundations of this community, and paved the paths for the new generations.

His formal biography is as follows: He was born in Minerva, Essex Co., N.Y., May 1, 1830. He came to Neillsville in 1856, and engaged in lumbering, which had been his occupation in the east. He was associated in business with Wood & Blakeslee. In 1879 Wood died, and after that he ran the business alone. He was married to Miss Henrietta Brown, of Augusta, Oct. 17, 1864, and they had three children, only one of whom survives, namely, Sherman F., or better known as Frank, who is married and owns the home farm in Neillsville. The first wife and a little son and daughter died in the spring of 1869. In May 1874, he was married to Mrs. Emeline Niles, who survives him. He leaves also three sisters, Mrs. Jane Gates, Mrs. S.B. Miner and Mrs. C.P. LaFleuer. The funeral was held Wednesday afternoon at the home, Rev. W.T. Hendren of Greenwood and Rev. A.R. Rice, officiating.



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