HON. SAM S. FIFIELD, ex-Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, and the present popular postmaster of Ashland, was born in Corinna, Maine, June 24, 1839, second of the the six children born to Samuel S. and Naomi (Pease) Fifield, both members of prominent families in that State, and descendants of Revolutionary ancestors. Sam was but eight years of age when his mother died, and his boyhood was largely passed in the home of an uncle at Bangor, where he received a meager education in the public schools. He was early in life thrown upon his own resources, and for five years was employed in various capacities. In 1853 he went with his father and younger brother to Rock Island, Ill., where they remained during the following winter. At the opening of spring the trio proceeded up the Mississippi to Prescott, Wis. Here our subject was employed in clerical positions until 1859, when he accepted a position as apprentice on the Taylor's Falls Reporter. His stay at that point, however, was brief, as his health became impaired, and he gave up his situation. Short as was this experience it sufficed to develop in him a taste for journalism, and after recovering his health, he accepted the position as forreman of the St. Croixian, a newspaper published at St. Croix Falls. Subsequently this plant wa removed to Osceola Mills, Polk Co., Wis., where the Polk County Press was published. The following year he purchased the paper, and became editor and proprietor.
As a newspaper man Mr. Fifield soon acquired a prominent position and gained a widespread acquaintance through Wisconsin and the Northwest. He was a stalwart Republican, and during the Civikl War his ringing editorials were a distinctive feature of his paper. Later he turned his energies and talents to attracting the attention of the public to the varied resources of northern Wisconsin. Central Railroad was begun, and it was completed to Ashland in 1877. In 1872 Mr. Fifield moved to that city and established the Ashland Press. This was accomplished in copartnership with H.O. Fifield. It was issued as a weekly until 1886, when it became a daily, and in 1888 it was sold to its present owners.
Since his retirement from the field of journalism he has become interested in real estate and business enterprises. With the political history of Wisconsin Mr. Fifield's life has been closely interwoven. During his residence is Osceola, he held several local offices, and at Ashland he was the first chairman of the board of Supervisors. In 1870 he was assistant sergeant-at-arms of the State Assembly, and sergeant-at-arms in 1871 and 1872. In 1874 he was elected to the Assembly by a majority of 550 over his opponent. In 1875-76 he was reelected by largely increased majorities. In the latter year he was chosen Speaker of the Assembly, and it is worthy of recording in that connection that politically the Assembly was a tie--that Mr. Fifield was the unanimous choice of the Republican members for the Speakership and the deciding votes were cast by two Democrats who believed him to be best fitted for the office. In the fall of 1876 he was elected State Senator to fill an unexpired term. In the fall of 1879 he was again elected Senator, and while a member of the Senate he was, in 1881, nominated for and elected to the office of Lieut.-Governor, running nearly 2,000 votes ahead of his party ticket. In 1883 he was re-ellected to the same position, and by virtue of a constitutional amendment he remained in the office a year beyond the period for which he was elected. Since 1886 he has not been a candidate for any elective office. He was, however, in February, 1890, appointed postmaster of AShland, but upon the inauguration of President Cleveland, who he had strongly opposed during the campaign of March, 1893, tendered his resignation, though the same was not accepted and his successor appointed until November, of that year. In 1898 he was again appointed by President McKinley and reappointed by President Roosevelt in 1902. Mr. Fifield is a forceful and trenchant writer, and since his retirement from journalism he has written interestinglky on diverse subjects for various publications. And it may be added that his originality of thought and individuality of character are forcibly impressed upon his writings.
As a relaxation from business cares, Mr. Fifield devotes considerable of his time in the summer months to cruising in his steam yacht "Stella." An association, of which he is President, established a camping spot on Sand Island, one of the Apostles group, where many pleasant weeks are passed during the heated term. Mr. Fifiels's residence at Ashland is delightfully located, and from its windows and spacious lawn surrounding, a magnificent view is obtained of Chequamegon Bay. His library and collection of portraits, and Lake Superior Scenery, are a credit to the taste of the owner, and among the choicest and most complete in the State of Wisconsin. He is a prominent Mason, having been honored with the 33d degree in the Scottish Rite.
Hon. Sam S. Fifield, was married, Sept. 20, 1863, at Prescott, Wis., to STella Grimes, a lady of many attainments and noble qualities. She has been liberally educated and in the struggles of the early days was a true helpmate to her husband, for hse is and was not only a writer of ability, but was capable of rendering capable assistance in the typographical work of the newspaper office. She was one of the Commissioners from Wisconsin to the World's Columbian Exposition, in 1893. Few ladies in Wisconsin have a wider acquaintance throughout the state.