History: 1881 History of Auburndale, Wood Co., Wisconsin

Poster: History Buffs


Surnames: St. Thomas, Connor, Smith, Austin, Bean, Cavenaugh, Reynolds, Armeah, Wisconsin Central Railroad, Washington, Brickies, Schutte, Schuttlehoffer, Schutte, Vomb, Phelps, Lusk


----Source: The History of Northern Wisconsin, page 1215

----1881 History of Auburndale, Wood Co., Wisconsin




The village of Auburndale was first settled by William St. Thomas, in April, 1871, when he built a claim shanty, and commenced to clear his land for cultivation. The first men to make improvements of a permanent and progressive character, were two brothers, John and Robert Connor, who came in May of same year. The first dwelling at all resembling a house, was built by John Connor, in June. The Connors, being purchasers of a large amount of the property in this section, drew up a plan of the village, and proceeded to lay it out. They also opened a general store. In 1872, the village was farther improved by the erection of a saw-mill by Messrs. F. W. Kingsbury & Bro. This mill did a lively business until December, 1880, when it was completely destroyed by fire. Another saw-mill was erected in the Summer of 1874, by Messrs. Hoskins & Roe, who ran it until the Winter of 1876, when they sold it to R. Connor, who has owned and operated it ever since. In 1878 he built a planing mill, to run in connection with the saw-mill. The average amount of lumber turned out from Connor's mill, per year, is 10,000,000 feet. R. Connor was obliged, on account of the great increase of business, to enlarge his store in 1874. In 1875 he erected upon the same site, a large frame building, putting in a large stock of goods. In 1877 he was again compelled to enlarge, this time building an addition to his new building. The line of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, passing through this region in September, 1871, made it a good point for lumbering business, and the village has "boomed" ever since first settlement.

One of the first things attended to by the Connors Brothers, on their arrival at this place, was to petition the Post-office department, at Washington, to establish an office at this point, which was finally done in June, 1873, and Mr. John Connor appointed first Postmaster. He was succeeded, June, 1874, by his brother, Robert Connor, who has remained in office ever since.

On the completion of the Wisconsin Central Road through the village, they erected a station and established a telegraph and express office.

In 1873, the first school was established, with Miss Waters as first teacher, the school being held in a small house erected for the purpose. In 1876, this house was decided as being too small to accommodate the number of scholars living within the limits, and in 1877 another one was built, at a cost of $1,500.

The Presbyterian society was organized in 1875, and services held in the school-house, and in the following year they erected a small church edifice. The first pastor in charge was the Rev. R. Fuller, who was succeeded by the present pastor, L. F. Brickies.

The Catholic society was established in the village of Auburndale in 1876, and was under the pastorate of the Rev. Father Schuttlehoffer, of Marshfield, who held services here every two weeks. In 1879, they erected a church building at a cost of $400, which was paid for by subscription. There is a congregation of some seventy members of the German Lutheran Church, who hold their services in the new school-house, presided over by the Rev. John Schutte.

The first couple to be joined in the holy bonds of matrimony, were J. D. Vomb and Miss Mollie Johnson, on the twentieth day of March, 1875, at the official word of Justice Phelps. The first birth was Elizabeth, daughter of John Connor, in April, 1873. The first death was John Wilson, killed by the falling of a tree.

As the village grew in size and importance, the necessity for its incorporation became apparent, in order that such improvements might be made as would best advance its interests, improvements that the town would not consider. A preliminary meeting to take into consideration the subject of incorporation was held on the eleventh day of April 1881. John Connor was made chairman of the meeting, and J. Lusk, secretary. At this meeting it was voted that a charter be applied for from the Circuit Court. A draft of application was made out, also a map of the village plat, to be embraced in the application. The application of the" citizens was favorably considered by the court, and on the twenty-fourth day of May the village was duly incorporated. The first election for village officers being held on the twenty-fourth day of June, 1881, resulting in the choice of J. Connor, President; S. L. Smith, Joseph Austin, H. A. Bean, M. Cavenaugh, Louis Reynolds and Jos. St. Thomas, Trustees; J. Lusk, Clerk; R. Connor, Treasurer; John R. Armeah, Marshal ; L. Reynolds, Justice of the Peace, and J. Lusk, Police Justice.

The village of Auburndale is just ten years old, during which time it has grown very rapidly. Mr. Connor says: "When I came here, in 1871, I thought it the wildest looking place imaginable. There was nothing but marsh on that side of the railroad where the village now stands, and it was almost impossible to get through it. But, like everything else, it takes energy and time to build up a place, and while we do not boast of a handsome village with handsome residences, we do demand a little credit for our perseverance in making the village of Auburndale what it is. We have fine timber, good facilities for shipping it and any produce we may have, either by railroad or by stage. Being near the Wisconsin River, we can send our produce into the pineries, where we can demand and get the best prices. Thus we have our choice of several markets. In 1871, there was one house built in what is now the village of Auburndale, and now we have about thirty dwellings, five general stores, blacksmith shop, saw-mills where we turn out millions of feet of lumber per year, three organized churches and two church buildings, telegraph and express office, and a tavern."

Auburndale village is situated in town of same name, and is described as commencing at quarter post and running west on quarter line on Section 21, thence south on quarter line one mile to center of Section 28, thence east on quarter line two miles to center of Section 26, thence north on quarter line one mile to center of Section 23, thence west on quarter line one-half mile to the quarter post of place of beginning, containing an area of two miles, and sub-divisions southwest Section 23, south one half Section 22, southeast one-quarter Section 21, northeast one-quarter Section 28, north one-half Section 27 and northwest one-quarter Section 26.  


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