History: Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis., 1881

Poster: History Buffs

Surnames: Archer, Arnold, Bell, Bennett, Brickels, Buck, Clark, Cole, Couture, Davis, Goodwin, Hayden, Hoghdon, Ludencke, McGingan, Miner, Reeves, Renne, Rivers, Schuttlehoffer, Simms, Ungrodt, Upham

----Source: 1881 History of Northern Wisconsin, pg. 1207-1208.

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



Birdseye View of Marshfield, Wood Co., Wisconsin,  circa 1880

This is a post-village in town of Marshfield, county of Wood, located on Section 8, Town 25, Range 3 east, with a population of about 800. The town and village take their name from J. J. Marsh, of New York, who was the owner of the greater part of the town, but who has since disposed of nearly all of it.

In April, 1871, two brothers, named Louis and Frank Rivers, settled here, coming from Necedah, Juneau Co., this State. They purchased from Marsh a large portion of the present village, and toward the latter part of April built the first log house in the village. This house was located upon the site of the present depot of the Wisconsin Central Road, and was used by the Rivers as a dwelling, store and tavern. In June, 1 87 1 , the brothers were joined by Peter McGingan, who also opened a small store and saloon. During this year, there were a number of settlers came to the village, and buildings began to be put up with a rush. At this time the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company were constructing their present line, and it made the new village very lively. In September of same year, the line was completed as far as Marshfield, a depot erected, and Mr. Fred Buck appointed agent. This proved a great incentive for settlers to stop here, and it began to fill up rapidly. In 1872, Jerry Couture, G. Hoghdon and Peter Bell settled here, each building a house and branching off into business. In 1874, Couture built the first frame house in the village, on South Depot street. This was the commencement of a different style of dwellings, and during this year and 1875 the village had no less than twenty-two frame buildings. Louis Rivers, the pioneer of the village, says : " My brother and myself came here in April, 187 1, at the time the Wisconsin Central was constructing its road through this country, thinking it would be a good point for lumbering business, providing we had good facilities for shipping. When we came, there was no one in this region at all, and after we had our bargain ratified (over which we had some little difficulty), we concluded that, as the laborers on the road would soon reach our point, a shanty erected to be used as a boarding-house would not be amiss. We then set to work and erected the first house in the present village. This we used as our dwelling, as a tavern, store and saloon. We also claim the credit of doing the first lumbering in this section, in fact, the first in the town of Marshfield. This was very hard, laborious work for awhile, as, having no mill in the town, we had to haul it to the railroad and ship to De Pere. This was after the road had been completed to this point."

In 1872, the post-office was established, and Louis Rivers appointed Postmaster. Rivers acted in this capacity until June, 1877, when he was succeeded by the present incumbent, E. S. Renne.

The first school in the village was established in the Summer of 1S73, with Miss Clara Davis as teacher. The first couple united in the holy bonds of matrimony were Louis Bennett and Miss Florence Hoghdon, in the Fall of 1873. First birth in the village was Inez Goodwin, in the Fall of 1875. The first death was F. Ludencke, January, 1875. In 1879 the first church was built, it being erected by the Catholic denomination.

Lumbering is the principal business in Marshfield. In 1878, C. Upham & Brother built the first saw-mill in the village, and in August, 1880, a large planing mill. The average number of feet of lumber per day, turned out by this firm alone, amounts to nearly 75,000 feet. They have, in connection with their lumbering business the largest general store in the village, and employ altogether about 150 hands.

This same year the Webster Manufacturing Stock Company, of Menasha, built a large hub and spoke factory, employing about twenty men and boys. They ship on an average, seven cars per week.

A stave mill, built by Messrs. Simms & Brother, in 1881, is one of the largest of its kind in the whole State, and employs some sixty-two hands. In the Fall of the same year a grist mill was built, with two run of stone, which are driven by an engine of thirty horse-power.

In August of this same year, 1880, the Post-office was converted into a money-order office, the first order issued being to John Cole, for $22.50, on the second day of August, 1880. The first one was received by A. C. Miner, August 23, and called for $8.90.

Since 1872 the village has grown wonderfully. At that time there were but one or two stores, poor ones at that, and at the present time there are sixteen, consisting of general stores, drug store, hardware stores, and furniture and clothing stores.

There are two district schools, with still another in process of building which will cost the sum of $3,500—the last one, built in 1877, costing $1,400.

The Marshfield Bank, with a capital of $25,000, was established on the first day of January, 1880, and does a regular banking and exchange business. It is a branch of the Clark County Bank, which was established, October 16,1874. The Marshfield Bank has for its officers: President, Levi Archer, and Cashier, L. A. Arnold.

This village is still under town government, having never been incorporated.

The village supports one weekly paper, edited by the founder of the Marshfield Enterprise, C. H. Clark, called the Marshfield Tribune. The initial sheet of the Tribune was issued on the twenty-second day of October, 1879, and it has proved to be a great success, being a fresh, newsy paper, well edited, giving all the county news, as well as furnishing a well recapitulated list of the current items of the day. The Tribune is independent in its politics, and broad enough in its views to satisfy the most exacting. Mr. Clark, the editor and proprietor, has long been identified with the Wood County press, having established the Marshfield Enterprise, May 22, 1879, which he afterward sold to Judge Henry Hayden, on the twenty-seventh day of September, same year.

The village of Marshfield supports three congregations, the Catholic, Presbyterians and German Lutherans. The Catholic Church was built in 1879, at a cost of $2,500. This denomination has a membership at the present time of about 100 families. The first pastor was the Rev. Father Schuttlehoffer, who delivered his first sermon in August, 1878. He was succeeded in August, 1881, by the Rev. Father Scholler, the present pastor. It is owing, in a great measure, to the energy and never-flagging efforts of Father Schuttlehoffer, that the church was built and paid for. "The name of this worthy man will long be held in grateful remembrance by this church, for his zealous and untiring efforts to establish the church on a solid basis. The value of church property is estimated at $4,000.

The Presbyterians are well represented in the village, although as yet they have not erected a place of worship. They have, however, purchased an eligible site, and are making preparations for the building of a church that will cost them from $1,900 to $2,000. The church numbers about sixty members, who hold their services in schoolhouse No. I, being visited every second Sunday by the Rev. L. F. Brickels, who alternates between here and Auburndale. The Lutheran denomination was organized in April, 1880, and up to the present time have been compelled to hold their services wherever most convenient. In June, 1881, they commenced to build a house of worship, but have not as yet been able to complete it. The Rev. Mr. Ungrodt, of Medford, officiates for this congregation once each month. When the church building is completed, it will cost about $700.

The Rivers House, a large square frame hotel, was built in 1880, by L. Reeves, at a cost of $6,500. It has rooms to accommodate about sixty guests, is well situated, and remarkably well managed.

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