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Otto Axel Risum






















































Biographical Sketches

J H Beers 1895

OTTO AXEL RISUM, one of the most enterprising and successful business men of Shawano county, and owner of a general store and creamery in the village of Pulcifer, Green Valley township, is a native of Norway, born February 23, 1835.           

His father, Hans Ludvig Risum, who was born in Kiel, Holstein (then in Denmark, now in Germany), July 27, 1807, was a printer by trade which he followed in Norway and also for a time after coming to the United States. He married Miss Caroline Sell, who was born February 25, 1814, in Norway, and they had children as follows: Otto Axel, our subject; Hakon, who died in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1855; Louisa (widow of Ole Johnson), residing in Iowa; Isabella (widow of Ole Gullackson), also living in Iowa; Thorvald, a veterinary surgeon of Brookings, Dakota; Carl, residing on the old homestead in Spring Valley township; and Joanna, deceased wife of William McNally.  In the summer of 1853 the entire family, with the exception of our subject, came to this continent, making the passage from Norway, on the sailing vessel Henry Wergeland, which after a voyage of thirteen weeks landed at Quebec, Canada, whence the family at once proceeded westward to Wisconsin, losing all their baggage on the way through some error on the part of the railroad officials. Coming to Rock County, they settled on a farm in Spring Valley Township, which they at once commenced to improve. In 1880 the father disposed of this property, and moved to a farm near Bode, Humboldt Co., Iowa, where he died in 1890, at which time he was living with his second wife, who survives him; his first wife had died in Spring Valley township, Rock county, Wisconsin.    

The subject proper of these lines, whose name appears at the opening, received his education at the schools of his native place up to the age of fifteen, when he shipped as an I apprentice on board an English packet which touched at various ports in Scotland, England, Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Denmark. When his apprenticeship time was up, he shipped as man before the mast on board the "Atlanta," Capt. Bush, bound for Holland, his next trip being to the Mediterranean, after which for some years he sailed from Norway to various ports of the Old World in different vessels.   In 1854 he shipped at a Norwegian port on board the ship "Telegraph" bound for Quebec, Canada, with two hundred emigrants, from which port he re-crossed the Atlantic to Liverpool, England, and from there sailed to Boston, Mass., on a vessel laden with salt, reaching that port, July 4, 1856. From, Boston, Mr. Risum journeyed westward to the great lakes, for the next few months, living the life of a fresh-water sailor, in the following November finding himself at Chicago, whither he had gone to meet his father whom he accompanied back to the farm in Spring Valley. Here our subject worked until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, when October 14, 1861, he enlisted at Beloit, Wis., in Company G, Fifteenth Wis. V. I., Capt. Gordon, which regiment was sent to Madison, where it was put through a course of training until March 1, 1862, the date on which it set out for St. Louis, Mo., whence it was forwarded by transport boats to Bird's Point, same State, where for a short time the several companies remained in camp, then left by transports for Columbus, Ky.  At this point they received orders to attack the enemy at Union City, which they did, capturing many of the enemy, and then returned to Columbus. Soon afterward, April 8, 1862, they took active part in the battle of Island No. 10, Tenn., where Companies G and I were stationed all that summer, doing guard duty. The next battle in which our subject participated was at Chickamauga, Tenn., arriving in time to take part in the second day's battle there. Missionary Ridge was their next battle after which they were ordered to western Tennessee, going into camp at Knoxville. Here in March 1864, our subject re-enlisted as veteran, and, receiving sixty days furlough, returned home. Rejoining his regiment at Big Shanty, Ga., where considerable fighting was going on, he received a wound in the left leg while he was engaged on the skirmish line, but refused to go to the hospital, preferring to remain with his company; at this time he held the rank of sergeant-major, having been promoted to same from the ranks after the battle of Chickamauga.  He participated in all the great battles of the Atlanta campaign, proving himself a brave and efficient soldier.  The Fifteenth Wis. V. I., formed part of Gen. Willich’s brigade, Gen Wood’s division, Fourth Army Corps, to which it was assigned soon after the battle of Chickamauga; then after the Atlanta campaign it was ordered to Whiteside Station, Tenn., where it remained on guard duty until February, 1865.  In the meantime, on September 14, 1864, Sgt. Major Risum was further promoted to adjutant with rank of first lieutenant. In February, 1865, he was mustered out of the army, his term of service having expired, but not yet to return home, for he had “other fish to fry," of a matrimonial species. It appears while he was lying with his regiment at Whiteside Station, he "met by chance, the usual way," Miss Jane Wigley. After his discharge he had, of course, to pay her a visit before returning home. On May 20, 1865, they were married at Janesville, Wis., and at once took up their temporary home with his father, in Spring Valley, where our subject assisted on the farm. At the end of two years he and his wife and young son migrated to Humboldt county, Iowa, where he took up a homestead on which they remained two years, but the locality proving unhealthy for them they returned to Spring Valley, Wis., soon afterward moving to the village of Oxfordville, in the same county, where Mr. Risum embarked in mercantile business, which he carried on successfully until coming to Pulcifer in the spring of 1873. Here he opened out a small general store, which from time to time he enlarged as business demanded, also conducting a hotel in connection. In 1885 he built his present capacious store, and in the spring of 1894 erected the creamery in the village which he conducts with eminent success.
On July 3, 1884, Mr. Risum's first wife died, the mother of one child, John Louis, born December 28, 1866, and still living under the parental roof. She was born February 28, 1844, in Trenton, Dade Co., Ga., the youngest daughter of John Wigley, of that locality. On November 20, 1885, Mr. Risum was married to Miss Christina Louisa Krueger, who was born May 29, 1865, in Germany, whence in 1881 she came to the United States with her parents who settled in Hartland township, Shawano Co., Wis. By this marriage there was one son, Otto Axel, born March 19, 1890, but died in October same year. In addition to his store and creamery Mr. Risum owns fifty acres of farm land in Section 6, Spring Valley Township, besides extensive farming lands elsewhere. In 1882, he erected his present elegant and commodious residence, which is gracefully presided over by his amiable life-partner. He is also owner of a beautiful pleasure yacht on Lake Shawano, which in a miniature way reminds him of his roving sailor life in years gone by.
A staunch Republican in politics, he has served as chairman of his township three years, and as school officer some sixteen years.  Socially, he is a member of the F. & A. M., G. A. R., and Loyal Legion of Shawano. Mr. Risum is a man of fine physique, healthy, clever, affable, good natured, and deservedly popular.


Shawano County Journal

17 Apr 1924


Died In California

O. A. Risum, Former Assembly Man From County Died in February


Many of our readers will be interested in the following item, dealing as it does, with one of the "old-timers" who,, though long since a part of Shawano life, will be remembered by those who have lived in the city and county for a number of years. We are indebted to Mrs. Mary Hoos, of Long Beach, California, for this item:


"Otto Axel Risum was one of the early settlers of Pulcifer, Wis., where he established a large mercantile business and where he was postmaster. He also served one term as assembly man, where owing to his sociability and kind personality he met with success.


Mr. Risum was born in Christiania, Norway, Feb 23 1835 and came with his parents to Spring Valley, Wis., in 1856. He engaged in farming until October 13, 1861, when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted as a private in Company G, fifteenth regiment. After the battle of Chickamauga he was promoted to Sergeant Major and later to Lieutenant and then Adjutant. While in the south he met Miss Martha Wigley, whom he married after the war, and later made his home in Wisconsin. After a number of years, Mrs. Risum passed away leaving a son, Louis. Mr. Risum remarried, his second wife being Miss Louisa Krieger, who passed away by drowning in Shawano Lake while on a pleasure trip with a number of friends being caught in a severe storm, all being lost with the exception of Mr. Risum and Mr. Druckrey, (and a little girl, now Mrs. Eisch of Brairton). The survivors were rescued after long hours of suffering. Some years later Mr. Risum and his son went to California to spend the remaining years in retirement, in  a warmer climate. His son Louis passed away August 31,1922. (He was brought back to this county and buried at Pulcifer). Being left alone, Mr. Risum now passed the remainder of his time with the family of L. M. Erickson of Los Angelus. This indeed seemed to be a real home to him in his old age, as he and Mr. Erickson's parents had been old friends in the early days of Pulcifer. Also, Mrs. Erickson's parents were southern folks and had been friends of Mr. Risum's first wife at the time of the war, being neighbors in the south. This indeed made the old gentleman very happy.


At the time of his death, in February*, Mr. Risum had reached the good old age of 89 years. He was buried in the pretty little place of Sawtelle. California, having a military funeral, and 21 guns being fired with the band playing hymns. Those present from Pulcifer were; L. M. Erickson and Mrs. Mary Hoos. Besides his many friends he leaves several nieces who are, Mrs. Belle Myhre, Brodhead, Wis., Stella Risum of Spokane, Wash., Mrs. A. B. Louis of Scottsdale, Arizona and Mrs. Ragna Erickson, Port Madison, Washington.

* Mr. Risum died 11 Mar 1924


Otto Axel Risum

Enlisted as Sgt 15 Wis Inf Co G on 16 Oct 1861

Mustered out as Sgt Major 15 Wis Co F on 10 Feb 1865

Time Served 3y 3m 25d

Born 23 Feb 1835 Christiania, Norway

Died 11 Mar 1924 in Sawtelle, California

Buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery, CA

1st Wife Jane Wigley Married 20 May 1865 (28 Feb 1844-3 Jul 1884)

2nd Wife Christine Krueger Married 20 Nov 1885

Children John Louis & Otto Axel

Parents Hans Ludvig Risum & Caroline Sell