History of Hogarty, Marathon County, Wisconsin, and Logging stories

The original copy of these stories is in the personal collection of Don Litzer of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. It was clipped by his grandmother, Elsie (Weden) Seymour, whose parents Thure and Martha Weden lived from 1920 in northeastern Marathon County, and from 1951 to 1966-67 in Hogarty. Don kindly gave me the clippings to be added to the Marathon County web pages.

Thure and Martha, natives of Tjällmo, Östergötland, Sweden, emigrated to the U. S. in 1902. They had six children, including Elsie, born in Whiting Indiana in 1907. They moved to Wisconsin in 1920 from Indiana. They owned a farm near Scott's Landing in the Town of Hewitt - moved to Gunderson house in Hogarty in 1951 and lived there until deaths in 1966 (Martha) and 1967 (Thure).

Hogarty is in two townships, Plover and Harrison. Birnamwood is just to the east, in Shawano County.


From the Birnamwood Community Shopper, Thursday, August 12, 1965 Volume 10, Number 16, pages 1 & 4

History of Hogarty Dates

Back to Early 1840's

The story of Hogarty goes back to the 1840s, the days of John Crump Hogarty for whom the community was n a m e d, early lumbering operations, log drives on the Eau Claire and Wisconsin rivers, the Johnson Post Office and store, cold winters, Indians, logging accidents, hard work and good times, weddings, dancing and music and the lives of pioneers that are still remembered by descendants still living in the Hogarty area.

Mrs. Harriet Gunderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Johnson who established Johnson's store and Post Office in the early 80s in the area now called Echo Corners, remembers the Hogarty family and kept in touch with a daughter Jennie Hogarty Lobdell who with her brother Charles left for Montana in 1910 and died in Seattle, Wash, several years ago at the age of 87. The letters of Jennie Hogarty Lobdell reveal many historic facts about the family and the place of her birth.

Mrs. Gunderson now lives on the original Hogarty place near the Eau Claire river bridge on Highway 52. The first house, a log cabin was replaced with a frame building which burned down and another house was built in front of the old site. Mrs. Gunderson occupies the upper flat and Mr. and Mrs. Thur Weden reside downstairs.

At the rear of the old home a grassy road leads to the Hogarty cemetery where the pioneer settlers rest beside the river. The weather worn old headstones bear their names. From Mrs. Gunderson and the letters of Jennie Hogarty Lobdell we gleaned the story of John and Mary Hogarty and the history of the place named in their honor.

John Crump Hogarty was born in Richamond (sic), Va., in 1825 and at the age of 17, in search of adventure he traveled west and came up the Eau Claire river in 1842 to trade with the Indians. He took over the claim of the first settler, J. D. Dodge, who had committed suicide at the age of 38. He cut his throat with a butcher knife while his wife pursued him down the river on the ice. Some say that the great forests and loneliness affected his mind. His is the oldest grave in the Hogarty cemetery.

Charles Hogarty contributed many interesting accounts of his father who was the first settler to engage in farming. The other men were loggers, lumberjacks, rivermen and traders.  The Indian pursued their native ways in hunting, trapping and fishing.

John Hogarty enlisted and served in the Civil War. He was Honorably discharged, June 17, 1865 from Private Co. D. 5th Regiment of the Union Army. He returned to Hogarty and married Mo-Ke-Gesik-Qua, a woman of the Chippewa tribe whom he called Mary. After her untimely death, he married again, another woman of the Indian race. His daughter Jennie wrote the following account of her mother's death:



By Jeannie E. Hogarty

My mother was a descendant of the Chippewa Indian tribe, natives of Northern Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. Her name was Mo-Gesik-Go-Qua, but she was called Mary by my father and family friends.

She had developed a serious heart ailment which caused her to have severe nose bleeds. A doctor had seen her and prescribed treatment, but as she failed to improve she told my father that she would like to go to see her tribal medicine man. She always walked when she went to her people, hence she took my little sister Molly on her back and started out to find the medicine man.

After a time she evidently decided to come back home. This was about 80 or 81 years ago and the roads through the woods were very bad all the way. Two men were traveling through the woods with a team and wagon on their way to Antigo, and as they came to a sharp bend in the road they saw a little girl come out to the bend of the road and wave her little dress. As the men approached they saw a woman lying in the road by a puddle splashing water over her face. The men recognized her at once as they were lumbermen who had often stayed at our farm home. They took Mother to Antigo with them and then sent a man on horseback to notify my father to bring a wagon with a bed to take her home.  Mother asked that they bring me, Jennie, along. I was five or six at the time.

I recall seeing my mother being carried out and placed on a bed in the back of the wagon. It was getting near sundown and there were signs of a storm coming. My father said, "We must get started, I want to get past the long corduroy before the storm breaks." (many people perhaps do not know that corduroy is a part of a road. It is a sort of bridge of logs laid on a marshy section of ground. The logs are of different sizes, laid side by side, and make very rough riding.)

Mrs. Ackley, Mother's Indian friend, rode beside her and watched over her while her husband rode his horse at the back of the wagon. The storm broke and we had to travel in the terrifying thunder and lightning most of the way. Mother died before we reached the long corduroy.

I have never forgotten the grey border around the horizon to the east as we neared our home and found all of our wonderful neighbors waiting to help us, and the two young brothers waiting to see Mother.

A year or so later Mr. Hogarty married again, an Indian woman of the area. He died Oct. 11, 1899 at the age of 74. He rests in the cemetery beside the Eau Claire River. His two Indian wives, his son Frank who died at about the age of 25, and a daughter Alice are buried nearby. A black cherry tree which Mr. Hogarty planted still grows beside his grave. The oldest marked grave of a white man in the Hogarty region is that of J. D. Dodge whose claim was taken up by John C. Hogarty as Mr. Dodge had not entirely "Proved up" on it before his suicide.

History pervades the silent resting place, trees bend above graves of Civil War veterans, lumbermen, rivermen and the Indians who were there before the white men came.

Christ Lund, said to be the only log rider to make the trip over the riffles about the Eau Claire Dells and come through alive, is buried there. We find there also the graves of pioneers who lived in the era of struggle for survival. These are Jim Freeman, L. W. Thayer, who died Nov. 7, 1922, and Peter and Euphemia Johnson, parents of Mrs. Gunderson who also has an interesting story in her life. Her father was a well known riverman.

In the early days no records were kept and no plots marked in boundry (sic) lines. Many graves are unmarked. The biographies of these people would teach a valuable lesson in Wisconsin history, for the original Americans and their white contemporaries were makers of Wisconsin history. They cleared the wilderness and tamed the river.

Mrs. Gunderson's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Johnson started the Johnson store and opened the first post office in 1886. Mrs. Johnson's mother had the unusual experiences (sic) of being kidnapped by the Indians.

Mrs. Gunderson was named in honor of her abducted grandmother. The kidnapping took place in Illinois before the family came to Wisconsin.

According to family records, the Stepehn (sic) Carroll family were living on a small farm near the lead mines of Illinois, in an area populated largely by Indians with whom they were friendly.

A daughter, Harriet was born to Mr. and Mrs. Caroll (sic) in September of 1825 at about the same time that a daughter was born to an Indian neighbor family. One day while on a visit the Indians suggested that they swap babies but Mrs. Carroll was perfectly satisfied with her own and refused as tactfully as possible.

A few weeks later while they were working in the fields and the baby was asleep in the house the Indians came, made the switch and left. The substitution was a terrible blow to the mother but her husband assured her that it was only a trick and Harriet would be returned. The little papoose was hungry and needed care, so Mrs. Carroll nursed her and made her comfortable.

Several days later the Indians swooped down again on the Carroll home bringing little Harriet back and taking their own papoose with them. Harriet was dressed in leather and beads and unharmed.

The little papoose was not so fortunate. She died later and according to Indian custom they made a box for her and shoved it up a tree. In the course of time and weather the box warped and a little brown hand dangled from it and was seen by those who passed the tree.

The Carroll family moved to Indiana and later to Wisconsin. One daughter Euphemia married Peter Johnson, a lumber grader in 1881 and settled near the Eau Claire River. Their home became a meeting place for lumbermen and the area was called Johnson. They named their daughter Harriet. She grew up in that area and married Edward Gunderson. They lived in the original Hogarty home. Her husband rests in the cemetery near his home. He died in 1945.

A son Wesley who lost his life in World War Two in 1943 is there also. Mrs. Gunderson is a gold star mother honored each Memorial Day by the Birnamwood Legion Auxiliary at Memorial services. The American Legion Darling Gunderson Post 341 has honored her son by including his name with the name of the first soldier to die in World War one. His grave is decorated each Memorial Day by the Post.

During the late 1870's the vast timberlands of Northern Wisconsin were opened up to the lumbering industry and homesteaders. Thousands of men found employment in the woods and on the river driving logs to various landings. The area around the Eau Claire river now known as Hogarty was a beehive of activity until the timber was gone and farms were cleared.  The rivermen and lumberjacks established homes and settled down. They built schools and churches, cut roads cleared the old Indian trails and organized a township.

Much has been told and written in ballads and stories of the wild life of the river drivers and the dangers they met and how they lived and died. The pioneers of Hogarty know these stories from experiences and the names of the men who figured in them. There is not enough space here to tell these tales again but there are names that still have meaning in the memories of living pioneers and their descendants.

Among those names are Daniel McPhail, raftsman, builder of the only raft of square timber to be taken down the river and shipped from Wausau. In 1856 he made his first trip down the Wisconsin River with lumber. George Remington, riverman for many years, Joe Lutsey, Ben Hammond, S. B. Knowles, S. B. Hart, "Curley Joe" Dennis Robarge, Tom McCormic, George Worden, Mose Hanley, to name a few mentioned by Frank Hogarty in a newspaper article written in 1950. The days of lumber camps, logging roads, sawmills are a part of Wisconsin history.

Life for them was not all struggle and work. There were plenty of good times to enliven long winter evenings. The lumberjacks played cards in their bunkhouses, sang and played music on harmonicas, fiddles or concertinas, but as they had to be out before dawn their evenings ended early. The Hogarty home was a hospitable place in the settlement and the Johnson home was a meeting place for all. There were Saturday night dances, courtships, weddings and house parties, even Halloween pranks and school entertainments. The Indians held their pow wows and tribal dances.

The Indians left many relics of their days along the Eau Claire River. Arrowheads are still found on the farms and as late as July 1965 Roy Thompson found a copper arrow head almost three inches long on his land.

The Indians were not lumbermen. The destruction of the forests meant an end to trapping and hunting. They very seldom found employment in the camps or on the river.

The children of the pioneers attended a one room school located across from the present Chester Thayer home on Highway 52. Two of the teachers of 50 years ago, long since retired, reside in Birnamwood. Their memories of Hogarty are recalled in interesting reminiscences of teaching in a log schoolhouse surrounded with trees.

The old log schoolhouse built in about 1890 was used as a place of worship before the present Presbyterian church was built. Later the Hillcrest school was built and was replaced by the Nudall school, now a Community clubhouse. Recent changes and consolidation eliminated the old rural school buildings but those old schools were taught by women, usually very young, recent high school graduates who were dedicated to their profession and gave their best to their pupils.

There are two churches in the Hogarty area, the Presbyterian, where services are conducted by pastors provided by the Wausau Presbyterian church, and the Bethany Lutheran, of which the Rev. Olaf Braseth is pastor.

Like other churches in Northern Wisconsin, the Hogarty Presbyterian church was served in the beginning by missionaries. Records show that as early as 1892 services were led by C. C. Hamilton and other missionaries including F. G. Derweiler, J. W. F. Roth, S. N. Wilson, K. Knudson, J. C. Strand, W. M. Blair, Samuel and Malcolm Martin and Frank Postluke.

In 1890 Marshall Otis built the first sawmill in  the Hogarty community. He and his family became outstanding members of the wilderness settlement. Mr. Otis being a religious man was called upon to officiate at funerals, as there was no minister nearer than Wausau or Antigo. Mr. Otis, Mrs. William Thayer and Mrs. Jennie Lowe organized a Sunday school, the first one to be attended by the pioneer children. They obtained lesson leaflets from the Wausau Presbyterian S u n d a y school. Sessions were held each Sunday in the old log school.

The Rev. Clark Mack was the first minister to serve in the old log school. In 1895 a new school house was built across the road from the site of the present church. This schoolhouse served as a church until 1904 when the formal organization of the church took place. Three lay members, Joseph A. Manser, Martin Lund and Johannas Raemaker obtained help from the Winnebago Presbytery in establishing the Hogarty Presbyterian church on Nov. 4, 1904. The building was dedicated in Nov. of 1907.

The Ladies Aid Society was organized about 1903. Mrs. William Thayer was the first president, Mrs. Joe Munser, vice president, Mrs. Frank W. DeWitt, secretary-treasurer. The DeWitt family, and Mrs. DeWitt's sister, Miss Edith Otis moved to Birnamwood some time later. Mrs. DeWitt died here and her sister went to New London to reside with a brother Milton. Milton passed away last year and Edith, now in her nineties still resides in New London.

The Rev. B. H. Idsinger, who came with his family in 1905 was a retired minister and did much to keep the  Hogarty church operating. The Idsingers left in 1912.

On April 12, 1905, the Hogarty church was placed under the care of the Wausau Presbyterian church which has provided assistance through the years. Ministers who have served the church since the Rev. Clark Mack came in 1893 include Miss Monnie Cuff, 1899; John Muir, B. H. Idsinger, W. E. Rix, Paul Johnson, J. R. Sorenson, M. D. Banjiman, Rev. Higgins, Rev. Thune, G. F. Fisher, F. H. Grace, J. C. Jorgenson, M. Cool, Vance Currier, John Wilson, Louis J. Alberts, Marvin Kruse, Garth O. Gee, J. Fred Schilling, Rev. Leakky, David Bender, E.A. Dunn, and Rev. Parker.

These early pastors endured many hardships, below zero temperatures in the winter, snowbanks, narrow trails and logging roads. They walked from Kelly, to Knowles Chapel, then to Johnson and Hogarty, holding services along the way. If not snowbound they would reach Aniwa for Sunday service, then start the whole round over again.

A few years ago this writer attended a party in the Hogarty area and one of the guests spoke of the early ministers and asked the oldest lady present if she remembered a certain young minister."Yes, I remember him," she answered, "but I don't know what became of him, it was a hard winter and maybe we ate him."

Now in 1965 a new church is being built near the Eau Claire bridge, not far from the original Hogarty home now occupied by Mrs. Gunderson and Mr. and Mrs. Weden. It was through the kindness of Mrs. Gunderson that we were able to compile the story of Hogarty. She provided such a wealth of material that space ran out before we could recount the old river days and logging operations. The area that once was known to loggers, rivermen and Indians and is now a peaceful farming community.  Wallace Gunderson has a garage and Ray Thompson a grocery store on Highway 52, the churches stand but the schools are gone and the children attend larger ones. Hogarty is a farming town crossed by the Eau Claire River.

In the early times there were several stores and a few taverns in the town. Arthur Bishop had a store and post office about 1895, the Edwards store was a recreation center at one time and Albert Larson, still living in the area operated a grocery store for many years. He resided in the building and also has many memories of his boyhood beside the river. In another issue we will continue the story of Hogarty.

From the Birnamwood Community Shopper of Thursday, August 26, 1965. Volume 10, Number 17, page 1

Early Logging Days in This Area are Recalled

Mrs. Harriet Gunderson has in her files a description of the early logging days in this section of Wisconsin, written by Mrs. Ada Moran, widow of the late John Moran, an early logging camp foreman and operator of cook shanties for the loggers. She mentions H. C. Scott who had many camps from 1872 to 1899 in the area of the Lily, Nine Mile Creek, Pine River, Three Lakes and Beecher Dam near Gresham. At the Head Camp 18 miles from Three Lakes he kept a man at the camp through the summer months to raise potatoes, ruttabegas (sic) and other vegetables, take care of the oxen and keep an eye on the timber. During the winter of 1889-90 he had three camps, one at the head of the Wolf River, one near Gagen and one at the point near the old Military Road. All of the hay, feed and provisions were brought from Upham and Russell at Shawano to Three Lakes and hauled in by team.

In those early days of lumbering, eggs and condensed milk were unknown. Imagine making a cake, doughnuts and Johnny Cake without milk or eggs.

The wages were for teamsters from $26 to $30 per month, sawers $30 to $40, other lumberjacks drew $18 to $20 per month. In the camps a large chest called a wannagan held such clothing as needed by the men which was sold to them at the prices paid for them at the store. After they came to camp in the fall sometimes they remained all winter without getting back to civilization, until spring.

Reading material was sent to the camps by outside organizations and in Scott's camps most of the men were readers. At first they spent the time between supper and sleep in playing cards but after magazines began arriving they spent their evenings in discussion, reading and singing.

The landing was five miles from the camp and it was a common thing for the teamsters to arrive with their loads just as the sun was coming up. They slept on beds of pine and cedar boughs with big lumpy quilts covered with denim to keep them warm. In the winter the snow would blow through the chinks in the camp walls and they woke up under two or three inches of snow.

Mrs. Moran said the typical menu for the day was for breakfast, fresh pork beef steak or sausage, griddle cakes, fried spuds, doughnuts and coffee. For dinner, beef stew or pot roast, potatoes, onions or rutabegas (sic), brown gravy, bread and horrible butter, pie or pudding and coffee. For supper, fried potatoes, cold meat or fish, batter cake, prunes, coffee or tea, mince, apple or prune pie.

It was customary for the cook to have plenty of pie, cake and doughnuts on hand on Sunday to treat the boys from other camps, or travelers who happened to stop. In those day, a camp was known by its cook.

In the winter of 1890 the beef was provided by the old oxen too old to work. The foreman was a tall, gangling man named Alex Church. He had long arms, a prominent Adam's apple and hair, moustache and face the color of new rope. He needed footware (sic)so he took the hide from the two hind legs of an ox, tanned them and made a pair of "Christoffersons" as the boys called them.

In the camp where he was foreman the Morans were cooks and the crew was composed of several college students, one man who sang in the choir back home and a great many who were just lumberjacks.

There were camps of Indians nearby and they sent their youngsters in to beg but the adults never came near the camps. Mrs. Moran says it was a beautiful life at Three Lakes, birds, squirrels, owls and now and then a bob cat (sic) or a visit from an outlaw who lived near Gagen's pond.

The camps in the Hogarty area had the same problems and the same sort of life, beautiful for those who thought it so, rugged, primitive and satisfying.

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