Obit: Free, William (1856 - 1935)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Free, Wilson, Waters, St. Thomas, McCalvy, Zimmer, Babcock, Zimmerman, Meyer, Hamilton, Hersall

----Sources: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 21 March 1935

Free, William (2 Feb. 1856 - 16 March 1935)

William Free, a resident and active citizen of Neillsville since 1879, passed away at his home on South Court St., about 11 a.m., Saturday, March 16.

His health had not been good since last November, but he had been up and around the house every day until his death.

William Free was born in Cranbourne, Quebec, Canada, Feb. 2, 1856. He grew to manhood there and learned the carpenter and millwright trade. In 1879, he came west and settled in Neillsville working at his trade in mills on Black River and later engaging in building and contracting in this city.

In 1883 he went back to Cranbourne and there was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Gertrude Wilson, July 10, 1883. They returned to Neillsville and have made their home here ever since.

Mr. Free established a saw and planning mill here and carried it on for some time, but later went back to work at his trade. He took an active part in civic affairs, and served as city clerk and as alderman in Neillsville, and for some time he was janitor of the south side schools. He was also a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges. In early life he was a member of the Episcopal Church.

Mr. Free was a man of sterling character, and had through all the years of his residence here, the honor and respect of all who knew him.

He is survived by his widow and eleven children: Wilson W., Sheboygan; Richard P., Withee; Beatrice, Mrs. W. E. Waters, Humbird; May, Mrs. G. F. St. Thomas, St. Paul; Marion, Mrs. Ross McCalvy, St. Paul; Gladys, Mrs. Phil Zimmer, Neillsville; Beth, Mrs. R. D. Babcock, Maud, Oklahoma; Ruth, Mrs. H. F. Zimmeran, Madelia, Minn.; Helen, Mrs. M. L. Meyer, at home; Thomas J., Neillsville; Geo. C. Hamilton, Mont. Walter died infancy. He leaves also 22 grandchildren.

The funeral was held at the Masonic Temple Tuesday afternoon, the Mason lodge of Neillsville conducting the rites. The sons acted as pallbearers.

Those from out of town attending the funeral were R. P. Free and family, Withee; Mr. and Mrs. G. F. St. Thomas; St. Paul; Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Zimmerman, Madelia, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Free and daughters, Sheboygan.

While hurrying from Sheboygan Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Free and two daughters, Florence and Gladys, and diver, Reuben Hersall, had a narrow escape three miles east of Neillsville on Highway 10, Monday when their care was forced off the pavement by a truck. The machine rolled over and was considerably damaged, but the occupants escaped with minor bruises. They were picked up by a couple in a car and brought to Neillsville, Wis. In their excitement Mr. and Mrs. Free forgot to obtain the name of the folks who brought them in and they requested that they be thanked through the Press.



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