HON. FRANCIS A. DELEGLISE  
 

 
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WISCONSIN BIOGRAPHIES
HON. FRANCIS A. DELEGLISE

Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families. 

Chicago: Beers, 1895, pp 23-25
Submitted by Cathy Kubly

Hon. Francis A. DELEGLISE, deceased, the "father of Antigo" [Langlade County, Wisconsin], was born 10 February 1835, in Bagnes, Valais [in the commune of Bagnes in Canton Valais, a canton in western Switzerland which was part of France until 1815], a son of Morris and Catherine DELEGLISE, the former of whom [Morris DELEGLISE] was by profession a teacher and surveyor.  In 1849, realizing that in the New World their numerous family would have greater advantages and broader opportunities for advancement and success in life, they emigrated to America, coming direct to Wisconsin, and locating first in Gibson Township, Manitowoc County, where the mother died in 1854.  Later the family moved to Shawano County [created in 1853 from part of Oconto County], settling in Morris Township, near Leopolis, where the father [Morris DELEGLISE] followed farming, dying there in 1877.

The son Francis A. DELEGLISE, our subject, was fourteen years old when he came with the rest of the family to Wisconsin [1849].  He had already received a fairly liberal public school education, and his first occupation in this, to him,  new country, was sailing on the lakes, a vocation he followed until he was seventeen years old, after which he worked in the woods during the winter season, assisting his father in locating settlers, surveying, and in many other ways, to the best of his ability.  [Emigration from Swiss cantons during the mid 1800's, unable to support their growing populations, often occurred in groups, some settling in the Territory of Wisconsin (state of Wisconsin created 29 May 1848) and assisting to develop Wisconsin as a state where dairying and cheese making also became important industries.  In the canton of Valais, a third of which is covered by glaciers, cheese making was a common occupation in the "Val de Bagnes" or valley of the Bagnes, which has a cheese (Bagnes) named for it.  The settlers which Morris DELEGLISE assisted in settling in Manitowoc County, as well as he himself, may have emigrated in a group.]

At the age of twenty-one [between 10 February 1856 and 10 February 1857, calculated from his birthdate given in this biography] he [Francis A. DELEGLISE] married, and shortly afterward he and his young wife removed to Appleton [Outagamie County], Wisconsin, where they remained until 1877.  During this time Mr. DELEGLISE was always more or less engaged in civil engineering, locating new settlers on homesteads, and other employment of a like nature, but during the first years of his residence in Appleton, when not thus occupied, followed different lines of work, being ever ready to turn his hand to any labor which would bring him remuneration.  [Not all emigrant groups were as cohesive as, for example, the group from Canton Glarus, Switzerland, who founded New Glarus, Green County, Wisconsin.  Many emigrant groups were early absorbed into the local culture of the places in which they settled.]

Thus he [Francis A. DELEGLISE] continued until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, in which he served over three years.  He was among the first to respond to his adopted country's call for volunteers [not surprising, since the Swiss were traditionally farmers and soldiers], enlisting 28 June 1861, in Company E, 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Capt. MARSTEN, of Appleton, commanding the company, in which he [Mr. DELEGLISE] was speedily promoted to corporal.  The regiment was in the following July attached to the Army of the Potomac, and participated in all the battles of the "Iron Brigade."  At Antietam 17 September 1862 our subject was wounded, which necessitated his confinement to hospital, but he convalesced soon enough to be present at the battle of Gettysburg, fought 01-03 July 1863, where at the railroad grade he was again wounded, and was taken prisoner.  He did not long remain in the enemy's hands, however, as when they retreated they had to leave all the wounded behind.  On 16 July 1864 he [Francis A. DELEGLISE] was honorably discharged from the service with the record of a valiant soldier, one who did his duty faithfully and loyally.  But he suffered much in health, for when he enlisted his weight was 190 pounds, and when he left for his home the scales showed but 90 pounds, a loss of 100 pounds, and he painfully carried a bullet in his thigh until it was extracted at Madison [Dane County, Wisconsin] at the time of his discharge.  [Francis A. DELEGLISE may be the "Frank" found in the 1890 Census Index of Military Veterans' Schedules Union Soldiers and their Widows.]

While recuperating Mr. DELEGLISE resumed the study of civil engineering, and became a proficient surveyor, in 1867 commencing the looking up and locating of lands is this part of the State.  It was then that he, in reality, picked out the site for the future city of Antigo, entering lands and locating settlers on homesteads, and in 1877 he settled there with his family.  In that same year [1877] he platted the village [of Antigo] and commenced the sale of lots.

[The Antigo area became part of New County when that county was created in 1879.  In 1880 the name of New County was changed to Langlade County.  The western portion of Langlade County contains land that was formerly part of Lincoln County.  Antigo is in the eastern portion of Langlade County, which was formerly Oconto County, a county created in 1851 from unorganized territory.]

[This early sale of lots and] afterward his active connection with the place brought him the well-merited title of "Father of Antigo."  He was the first chairman of the city, and served as county treasurer for some time; dealt largely in real estate, and became possessed of extensive tracts of land in and around Antigo, having unbounded faith in the growth of the embryo city.

On 29 November 1856 [which agrees with the information presented in the second paragraph that he married at age twenty-one] Mr. [Francis A.] DELEGLISE was united in marriage at Two Rivers [Manitowoc County], Wisconsin, with Miss Mary BOR, who was born 01 January 1835 in Taus, Bohemia, daughter of Simon and Dora (KERZMA) BOR, who were the parents of two children.  The family came to America in 1855, settling at Gibson, Manitowoc County, and the father [Simon BOR], who was a merchant in Europe and a farmer in this country, died in Antigo [Langlade County, Wisconsin] in 1881.  In his native land he had served as a soldier eight years.

To Mr. and Mrs. DELEGLISE [Francis A. and Mary (BOR) DELEGLISE] were born the following children:  (1)  Mary T., now Mrs. John DERESCH, of Antigo; (2)  Sophia E., wife of Samuel E. LESLIE, of Antigo; (3)  Francis A., deceased; (4)  John E.; (5)  Anna E., wife of Thomas MORRISSEY, of Antigo; (6)  Adelbert A.; (7)  Alexis L.; (8)  Henry, deceased; and (9)  Edmond, at home.

Mr. DELEGLISE was public-spirited and progressive from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, and the primary and great object of his ambition was the development and improvement of the village, town, and city where he passed so many busy years of his life.  He was liberal in all things, especially in church and educational matters, in the latter of which he took special interest; in politics he was, during the [Civil] War, a Democrat, later a Republican, and in 1892 he was elected to the State Legislature, where he made a brilliant record as a legislator.

In all things he [Francis A. DELEGLISE] was a most successful man, and when he died he left not only large landed interests in northern Wisconsin, but the record of one whose memory is inseparably connected with the rise and progress of this portion of the State, in all his efforts toward the consummation of which he was instigated by no spirit of selfishness or gain to himself beyond what is conceded to be a rightly due to every American citizen.  He [Francis A. DELEGLISE] died 25 March 1894, in the full faith of the Roman Catholic church, beloved and respected by all, regardless of party or religion, and deeply mourned by hosts of friends and acquaintances as a man, locally speaking, not of  today alone, but for all time.

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