Twenty-Five Rural Schools in Forest County

Hello Forest County Residents!

This week one of my volunteers, Sally Lyons, discovered a news article in the Forest Republican from May 26, 1938 that listed the eighth grade graduates from twenty-five  rural schools in the area. Thanks to Sally’s great eye for historically significant information we now have a  list  of  rural schools in the late 1930’s, which includes:

  • Fairview School
  • Boone School
  • Kokoma School
  • Engleking School
  • Sherman School
  • Wolf River School
  • Mole Lake School
  • Hillside School
  • Brookside School
  • Rummel School
  • Range Line School
  • Bonneval School
  • Stone Lake School
  • Blackwell School
  • Newald School
  • Carter School
  • Maple Valley School
  • Metonga School
  • Popple River School
  • Siding One School
  • Siding Two School
  • Windfall School
  • Woodlawn School
  • Greenview School
  • Elvoy School

If anyone has any photos of the rural schools or knows the location of some of the more obscure schools please share them with the Crandon Public Library.


Stone Lake School 1939-1940


Happy Hunting!


Hello Forest County Residents,

Good luck to all of the hunters hoping to bag that big buck tomorrow! Looking back in the paper, The Forest Republican, I found out that hunting conditions were less than ideal in 1942. The first five days of the season there wasn’t any snow and  increased fire danger so people had a difficult time spotting the deer. Then the second half of the rifle season was met with a blizzard with a foot and a half of snow falling in a day. Many of the hunting parties had to dig their way out to the main highways with several people stranded until days after the season ended. There were farmers with tractors hired to tow cars out of hunting areas. In 1942 people were only allowed to hunt bucks; spikes and does were illegal to shoot. Here are some of the men that were successful in killing a deer that year: Bob Baker, Charles Walker, Frank Sturzl, Armond Bartz, Elmer Pfeiffer, Ed Korbas, George Palmer, Sam Plummer, Jim Wilson, and Alfred Kalkofen. There were two women that killed a buck: Mrs. William Ratliff and Mrs. C.K. Warbritten. If you have a great deer hunting story please feel free to share!

Check out this buck Dr. Ison shot
Check out this buck Dr. Ison shot


Campfire Girls

Trump Lake Lodge
Trump Lake Lodge

Hello Forest County Residents!

This week I came across a photograph from the Forest County Historical Society of young girls sitting around a campfire and I wondered if it was one of the early Girl Scout troops in the area. I was not too far off. It was a photo of the Campfire Girls at Trump Lake Lodge in Wabeno from the year 1939. The Campfire Girls began as an organization in 1910 and claims to be ” America’s first national organization for girls of every nationality, race, creed and economic status that came into  being. The Fire symbolized the home, the place of comfort and cheer. Camp symbolized the out-of-doors spirit of the organization” ( The organization was founded by Dr. and Mrs. Luther Halsey Gulick, who specialized in the fields of child health, recreation and education. They relied heavily on what they believed to be Native American themed activities and  dress. The Campfire Girls still exists as an organization but was changed to “Campfire” to be more inclusive (

Does anyone have any stories about being a member of the Campfire girls? How long were they an organization in Forest County?

Campfire Girls at Clark's for  dinner
Campfire Girls at Clark’s for dinner

Trolley Car in Crandon


Hello Forest County Residents!

I have been digitizing the photograph collection of the Forest County Historical and Genealogical Society for the few months. Recently I came across a photograph of a trolley driving down Lake Avenue in Crandon. The photo is not dated but the streets are dirt except for the trolley track so it is an early photo of Crandon.

Frank Sprague installed a complete system of electric streetcars in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888. This was the first large scale and successful use of electricity to run a city’s entire system of streetcars.After 1888, many cities turned to electric-powered streetcars. To get electricity to the streetcars from the powerhouse where it was generated, an overhead wire was installed over city streets. A streetcar would touch this electric wire with a long pole on its roof. Back at the powerhouse, big steam engines would turn huge generators to produce the electricity needed to operate the streetcars. A new name was soon developed for streetcars powered by electricity; they were called trolley cars” (

If anyone has any information on or photo of the early trolley cars that operated in Crandon please let me know so we can explore a new aspect of Forest County history.

Sabra Ison

Happy Halloween Forest County Residents!
This week’s post is by request from some of the participants of the Flashlight Lakeside Cemetery Tour. During the tour the story of Sabra Ison was told, who at one time was one of the oldest people in the nation! When she turned 100 years old she received a birthday card from Mamie Eisenhower, the President’s wife.
This is Sabra’ s story:
Sabra was born in Virginia in 1858 to John Porter and Rhoda Salyers Porter. She was the youngest of twenty one siblings. When Sabra was one year old her family went west to Kentucky traveling in a covered wagon through the Cumberland Gap. She spent her childhood in Isonville, Kentucky. On the family farm she sewed all the clothing for the family, sheered sheep, carded the wool, spun and wove it into linen from flax. She also made soap, carried water from the well, and churned butter. The Porter’s had some fun times too. The community would gather together for house raisings and quilting bees.
Sabra recalled during the Civil War that a group of Quantrill raiders came to her family’s farm and forced her father to turn over nine horses. She hid in the bushes while the raiders threatened to kill her father. The raiders would steal livestock and sell them to both armies to make a large profit. The War Between the States was a dangerous time for everyone. At that time Sabra and her friends actually thought Abraham Lincoln was one of the ugliest men they had ever seen? They used to draw cartoons in school making fun of him!
Sabra met and married her husband Aaron Ison on Sept 30 of 1874.  Shortly after they were wed Sabra was hanging up the wash outside and a few rough looking men rode up on horseback. She ran into their cabin and locked the door. From the window she witnessed a brawl between the riders and a pursuing posse. After a member of the posse was wounded the fight ended and they all broke off. Sabra found out that the riders were Jesse James and two of his bandit friends.
Aaron and Sabra moved to Crandon on March 17, 1904 to the area known as “Siding One” which was four miles west of Crandon. All the Isons settled there, it was a small community with a church, school, store, and post office. They actually donated land for a cemetery in this area. Aaron made a living logging and farming. Aaron also had a license from the government to make whiskey. But during prohibition he would also brew moonshine to make some extra money. This landed him in jail. When he got out of jail he headed straight for the gold fields and did not come back for four years! Do you know what the first thing he said when he returned was?
“Would you be afraid if I took my boots off?” Can you believe it?!
Sabra had fifteen children, 68 grandchildren, 125 great grandchildren, and 25 great great grandchildren at the time of my death. She was one hundred years old when she passed away in 1958 of a heart attack (Deward Ison, Forest Republican).

Flashlight Lakeside Cemetery Tour!

Happy Friday Forest County Residents!
This Monday, October 27th the Crandon Public Library and Forest County Historical Society are hosting a “Flashlight Lakeside Cemetery Tour” at 6 pm at the Lakeside Cemetery in Crandon. The Crandon High School Drama Club will be enacting the stories of individuals laid to rest in Lakeside Cemetery next to the gravestones. So bring your flashlight and follow us through the graveyard while the actors bring to life the accounts of murder mysteries, victims of illness, and prominent historical figures.  For those of you that attended the cemetery tour this summer, this tour features all new stories brought to you in a new and exciting way! Please dress for the weather. The tour will be cancelled if there are thunderstorms.
Here is one of the stories from the previous cemetery tour this summer, just to give you a little taste of what to expect!
Hugh McGinnis Space 7 Lot 1 Block D
Hugh was born in Ireland in 1870. He spent his teenage years working as a grocer until he heard stories of the opportunities in the United States. He traveled to Chicago to work as a wrapper in a soap factory. Then he traveled to St. Louis to work as a hospital attendant. At the age of 20 year old he enlisted in the U. S. army and was sent to Missouri with the First Battalion of the seventh cavalry. He took part in the Battle of Wounded Knee against the Sioux Indians and was wounded in the arm and leg and spent a year in an army hospital. After he recovered he moved to Wisconsin to work in the lumber industry. He lived 55 years alone in a cottage outside of Crandon until his death in 1965.
Hugh remembered the famous battle this way ” Through the interpreter, Colonel Forsyth got down to the business at hand. But the Indians were very far from pleased when he requested them to surrender their arms. They argued that they needed their old fowling pieces to kill game in order to survive. This plea failed to move Colonel Forsyth, however and he insisted that the Sioux go back to their tents and return with their weapons. Forsyth then detailed a number of soldiers to search their tents and confiscate the Indians arsenal. The Sioux became agitated by the cries of their squaws, who attempted to prevent the soldiers from scattering their belongings. Fantastic as it sounds, the surrounding troops were firing wildly into this seething mass of humanity, subjecting us as well as the Indians to a deadly crossfire while the first volley from the Hotchkiss guns mowed down scores of women and children who had been watching the proceedings. Few escaped the merciless slaughter dealt out that dreadful day by members of the Seventh Calvary. There as no discrimination of age or sex, children as well as women with babes in their arms were brought down as far as two miles from the Wounded Knee Crossing”(Glasgow, McGinnis, 1965).

Hugh McGinnis
Hugh McGinnis
Burial Party at Wounded Knee
Burial Party at Wounded Knee

What Happened This Week in 1905?

Hello Forest County Residents!
According to the Forest Republican the following events took place this week in 1905:

  • The Lutheran people were about to purchase a new organ for their church
  • Dr. S.M.B Smith of Wausau was in town Tuesday shaking hands with old friends . He was here for court matters.
  • Dr. Decker had decided to open a hospital in his house
  • The new locomotive purchased by Page and Landeck Lumber Company came Tuesday morning. It ran around the spur and side tracks “like a little daisy”
  • Professor W.C. Hewitt of the Oshkosh Normal School came to Crandon to give a free lecture on “Common Sense Education”
  • Jas Walsh’s brother and mother were here again this week, his brother was going away Tuesday

I encourage the community to visit the Local History Room at the Crandon Public Library where all of the local newspapers are available on microfilm. It is interesting to learn what was going on in the lives of ordinary citizens of the county and it fascinating that the newspaper editors chose to print it. Can you imagine what the paper would look like today  if they published it every time someone became sick or went on vacation?

Crandon Hospital established in 1905
Crandon Hospital established in 1905

Argonne Photos Saved from Destruction

Good morning Forest County Residents!
This week a suitcase of over 50 photographs of the Garlock family and early Argonne history was saved from being tossed in the trash and was donated to the Crandon Public Library. There are a few examples of the wonderful photos below. Many of the photographs are not labeled but the few that are have the name Bert Garlock on the back. This caused me to do some investigating. I found out that Bert Garlock was born in 1883 in Heron, Wisconsin. Early in his adult life he moved to Forest County. Bert was the Town Chairman of Argonne and the first County Chairman elected that resided in Argonne. Bert owned several lumber camps in the area. He also operated a farm for many years and was a cattle dealer. He was chairman of the Forest County Agricultural Society over several terms. His social activities were well documented in the “Rhinelander Daily News” so he must have been a prominent figure in the area. He died in 1958 of a serious illness. But his son, Glenn, followed in his father’s footsteps as the Chairman of the Forest County Board and as the Chairman of the Town of Argonne for 14 years. The Garlock family appears to have had a large influence on the early history of the Town of Argonne. I would love to have the photographs identified so if anyone is familiar with the Garlock family please contact the Crandon Public Library.

Taken at the Garlock Residence
Taken at the Garlock Residence
North Crandon Booth in Madison
North Crandon Booth in Madison
Man to the far right is Bert Garlock
Man to the far right is Bert Garlock

Homecoming Celebrations

Homecoming Parade Float
Hello Forest County Residents!
I hope all the high school students around the county are enjoying the homecoming festivities. Homecoming week has long been a tradition throughout the country. It began in universities around 1910 and spread in popularity until it was a staple of every students’ high school experience (www. Featured in this blog are photos from Crandon’s homecoming of 1957.
The festivities were described in the 1958 yearbook:
” The fun started homecoming eve with the snake dance and went full blast to the end of the homecoming dance, the official end of the festivities. We had the usual roaring bonfire and coronation in the gym, and something new this year. Since the homecoming was centered around the Golden Anniversary of Crandon High, the guests of honor were living members of the graduating class of 1908. They each gave a little pep talk at the coronation ceremonies,  and were given seats on the 50 year line at the game. Game day was a brisk, sunny day,a perfect day for both parade and game. The parade was long and quite beautiful with 30 floats. Although we lost, the game was a good one. Then, to top off the homecoming, there was a beautiful dance, with Queen Glenda Adams and King Dale McKee”.
Football Game
Homecoming Coronation

Early Surveyors of Northern Wisconsin


Hello Forest County Residents!

I thought you would enjoy this photo of N.H. Smith and the early surveyors of Northern Wisconsin. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been to trek through the dense woods of Forest County to try and create maps and lay out boundaries. How would present day surveyors feel about operating with this early equipment? Has anyone ever used equipment like this?