Obit: Tompkins, Ezra (1838 - 1912)


Contact: Ann Stevens


Surnames: Tompkins, Maxwell, French, Lynch, Hyliard, Schmitt 

----Source:  Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.)  July 11, 1912 

Tompkins, Ezra (13 July 1838 - 7 July 1912) 

The death of Ezra Tompkins Sunday night marks another step in the passing of the old lumbering days of Clark county and the coterie of pioneers who settled in the wilderness which was to bloom forth into a virtual paradise while they might yet observe its development.  Ezra Tompkins was one of the pioneer lumbermen of the Black river, knew its many phases as a book and was known from one end of the river to the other.  A lumberman all his life, from childhood up, his knowledge of the work was thorough and his manner of discharging it was capable and conscientious.  He always held the highest degree of confidence and occupied a high position in the esteem of all who came in contact with him, in one way or another.  Careful and painstaking, his course through life had been marked by the peculiar thoroughness with which he discharged the tasks placed upon his tressle board. 

Ezra Tompkins was born in Green county, New York, July 13, 1838, the son of John and Sophia Tompkins.  Born of good parentage but poorly endowed with this world’s goods, he was compelled at an early age to commence the battle of life.  His educational advantages were limited, having attended the district school in the county where he was born, and when a mere youth he began to lay the foundation for his own fortunes.  His first work was in the lumber business on the Kennebee River, where he received but 75 cents per day.  At the age of 15 years he ran a bark crew, hauling bark down the Catskill Mountains.  He came to Wisconsin in 1855, working for his brother, Ed, at the mouth of Wedges creek.  On Jan. 20, 1857, he was united in marriage to Alice Ann Maxwell and to this union two sons and one daughter were born.  They lived at the mouth of Wedges creek for about five years, moving from there to a farm near La Crosse and residing there for about ten years.  He then returned to Clark County, locating at what was known as French’s mill at the Big Springs.  For several years he again engaged in logging and rafting down the Black and Mississippi Rivers.  At the conclusion of that period he moved to what is known as the Dick Lynch place, trading a span of mules for eighty acres of land.  Here he engaged in farming and logging for a number of years, later selling out to Dick Lynch and moving to California.  Residing there for two years, he again returned to this county in 1883 and bought the Hyliard farm, later selling that and buying what is known as the Schmitt farm.  From this farm he moved to Neillsville and had made his home here since up to the time of his death.  Mrs. Tompkins died July 12, 1903, and the deceased is survived by his two sons, Morton, of this city and Fred of Martinez, Cal.  Mr. Tompkins was a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellow lodges. 

The funeral of Mr. Tompkins will be held this afternoon at the house at 2 o’clock, and will be a Masonic funeral. 



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