History of Deer Creek, Wisconsin
From: History of Outagamie County, Wilsonsin
Thomas H. Ryan - Editor in Chief
Goodspeed Historical Allociates, Publishers
Chicago 1911

Town of Deer Creek. - This town was created by an ordinance of the Board of Supervisors which decreed that all that part of the town of Maple Creek, known as Township 24 north, of range 15 east, be detached and formed into a new town to be called Deer Creek; and the first annual meeting of the new town was ordered held at the house of Chauncey Granger. The ordinance to be in effect after March 1, 1868. At this town meeting, according to returns on file in the county clerk's office Timothy Looney was elected chairman; Martin Dempsey and Daniel Thorn, supervisors, Hugh McDonough, clerk; Munroe Richardson, treasurer; Timothy Toomy, John Weid, Isaac Thorn and John Dempsey, justices of peace, James Jewell, Martin Dempsey and David McGlynn, constables; Daniel Thorn, Hugh McDonough and Munroe Richardson, assessors. The inspectors at this election were William H. Selmer and D. Thorn; Martin Dempsey, Hugh McDonough and George F. Richardson, clerks. "The postoffice address of each and everyone of the above officers is Sugar Bush." Of the further proceedings at this election there can be given no account, as the early records of the town were destroyed by fire, but it is learned from an assessment roll of 1869, which escaped destruction, that there were thirteen taxpayers resident in the town. These were clustered in a few of the southwestern sections where a school was early established. The first term, school was held in a little log, shanty that stood on Dan Thorn's place in northwest quarter of section 31, here Ellen McDonough was the first teacher. Then a little log schoolhouse was built in which Frances Ruddy was the first teacher and Nell Hurd the next. This school house stood on the Granger forty in section 31 Later a frame building was placed near the corners of sections 29, 30, 31 and 32.

The first account of white occupation of any portion of the town of Deer Creek is found in a published sketch of the life of Captain Welcome Hyde, who explored the lands tributary to the Embarrass river, and according to the sketch in 1850, located a lumber camp on section 8, township 24 north, range 15 east. With a crew of eight men he worked five days cutting a supply road from New London to his camp, following the old Shawano Indian Trail as far as Bear Creek then bearing easterly to the river. If this statement is correct, his camp was the first in the town and his road the first, entering and crossing through section 31 into what is now Bear Creek town in Waupaca county, and re-entering Deer Creek in the vicinity of section 18 thence to section 8. It is inferred from the article mentioned that the winter of 1850-1 was spent in section 8. but thereafter until 1853 his field of activity lay in Shawano county. but in that year he purchased land and established his home in Bear Creek, about three quarters mile west of the Outagamie county line, and did not live in this county until several years later. It was along the old Shawano road in section 31 the first settlers located, the first of whom is said to have been the "Widow Johnson," who with her son "Hank" and a man named Daley made settlement probably about 1857, though the date of their coming can only be approximated by land entries made that year. Mrs. Johnson opened a tavern for the accommodation of lumbermen, landseekers and other travelers on the Trail, but she and Daley who lived with her did not have a good reputation and the house was shunned except in case of dire necessity. At about the time other settlers were locating in Deer Creek, a mill in the adjoining town of Bear Creek, Waupaca• county, was destroyed by a fire with which it was believed they had incendiary connection, Daley died soon afterward and was buried on the farm. Mrs. Johnson was sent to the state's prison her death also occurring before the expiration of her term of imprisonment, The son married and remained some time in the settlement. Warren Jepson in 1860 settled in section 31. He had come to Maple Creek about four years earlier and in 1859 married Miss Karke, a daughter of one, of the early settlers there. Their new home in Deer Creek was a wilderness, James Jewell their only neighboring family came about the same time, but just over the line in Maple Creek were a few families, About the same time the Dempseys, John and Martin and David McGlyn settled section 30. Dan R. Thorn came next after Jepson and with Chauncey Granger settled in northwest 31, Daniel Murphy about this time settled in northeast 30 on the site of Welcome village, Hugh McDonough in 32, and J. Moriarity on the south side of the same section, Isaac Thorn came in 1862, but did not settle until after the war.

In the later '60s Frank Lyon came from Fond du Lac and located a colony of French settlers prominent among whom were Louis Bricco in southwest 29, Anthony Bricco in 32, H. Babino, Oliver Besaw in 28, O. Dery in 26, M, Balthazor in 34, E, Joubert and J, Faneuf east of the river in 36, and Louis Lehman, Lyons lived in southeast 29. H. Bacon came 1868-9 and lived in 33, John Wied at same time settled southeast 29,

Joseph Gilmore came first about 1867 and worked with a surveying party in the woods in the northeast of town. On the north later were Norman Holt, Philo Beals and George Crowner in section 12, on the west James Bowen, and his father Porter Bowen just beyond, both in 13: Alonzo Buck in 14, Patrick McGlone in 24, James Turney and Mallison West from Gilmore were Renck, a German, Charley Wonder, Alfred Williams, George Smith and Fred Coffee in section 14, Bernard Roden lived on the corner and next was William Hagen, both in 15. This at that time was the last house between Gilmore's and the river, but not long afterward Fred Coffee sold to William Knapp and Herman and John Knapp came about a year after Gilmore. This road turned north about a half mile east of the river, and the first settler north of the turn was Peter Bever and the next Robert Larsen. who had been there six years coming in 1872. The next were Anthony, and Mrs. Mary McGloon, in section 10, and Leonard Luccia, who after a couple of years sold to Wilbuhr, and R. P. Hansen.

The Danish colony came about 1876, most of them settling in the northwestern part of town. Among those coming at that time were Hans Olsen, George Albertson, Hans Swanson and Christiansen in section 27. Robert Grindle came shortly before the Danes, settling first in 27 later removing to northwest 35 in the same quarter with Gust. Conrad. Jules Conrad settled in 27. In the northeastern part of town were several families of Hollanders, among whom were Anton Peters, Ed Johnson, John von Chindle and Peter Hazen. David Horkman bought the Bowen place in section 13.

Though lumbering, it is now generally believed, began in section 8 in the winter of 1850-51, and had continued intermittently, large operations begun in the winter of 1862 and 1863. Wadsworth and Thorn had a camp on section 17 and Gibson from Omro had his camp in the vicinity, logging pine exclusively. In northwest 21, Carey of Oshkosh; and in northeast 21, Drake. Jim and Nat. Johnson were in northwest 20. Five camps within two miles. Wadsworth and Thorn, Gibson and the Johnsons were landing their logs on what is known as the "Big Bayou" of the Embarrass in section 21. The Johnsons had occupied their camp the previous winter. The Wadsworth and Thorn camp had been occupied by men working for Ketcham. Al. Sheldon from Oshkosh was logging in section 9 fitting in logs at what is known as the Miller Landing near the center of that section. Hyde and Raisler put in logs at this landing and also into Bear Creek in which they put a dam for driving, east of Welcome village. Logging operations continued throughout a period of about 25 years from this time Most of the camps employing the settlers in the neighboring towns and as settlement progressed, of Deer Creek. Of the settlers working in the camps in the winter of 1862-3 there are but two survivors; Charles Terrell of town Bear Creek, Waupaca county, and Isaac Thorn, president of the village of Welcome, to whom thanks are due for information relative to the town and its development. The passing of the lumber industry is often viewed with regret, but its passing has made possible the magnificent farms, homes of a prosperous people, and the song of the binders which this year reaped a golden harvest over the sites of those lumber camps of other days, finds sweeter responsive chord in the song of happy hearts than were possible did the wild forest still hold sway, arid shriek and groan its savage requiem as of old.

Until the coming of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway there was no village in the town and the nearest postoffice was at Bear Creek in Waupaca county. After the projected railway became a certainty, F. M. Hyde built a store at what became Black Creek station and was followed shortly afterward by Truman Bros., both general stores. A postoffice was commissioned and soon "the station" became of considerable importance. In 1885 the land in the vicinity west of the station, was platted for Welcome Hyde and given the name Bear Creek. Trowbridge's sawmill was established nearby and the process of village building progressed Raisler and Hyde put in a mill and bought the Trowbridge mill which they converted into a shingle factory. After the burning of this mill they attached shingle machinery to their sawmill which later was also destroyed by fire. The Appleton Furnace Company just west of the village built kilns and begun converting refuse timber into charcoal. Other stores and industries centered at the village and to meet the requirements churches were organized the schools enlarged and various social organisations sprung into existence, and the village prospered in an uneventful way until in July, 1902, a large portion was destroyed by what is still referred to as "the big fire." The village was incorporated in 1902, and was named Welcome in honor of Capt. Welcome Hyde, who though living just across the line in Waupaca county, and later in Appleton, had contributed much toward the progress of the village.

The first village election was held on August 16, 1902, electing Fred Ranke, president; A. J. Cannaday, James Dempsey, Henry Russ, M. F. Clark, Henry Leque and Gust. Naze, trustees; C. G. Ballhorn, clerk; Robert Larsen, treasurer.

The matter of adequate fire protection seems to have been the principal incentive to incorporation and immediate steps were taken to provide as full a fire fighting equipment as the finances of the village would warrant, and October 15, of that year a hand power engine with five hundred feet of hose was installed and a large cistern or reservoir was built. The village at organization obtained possession of the Town hall which was sold the following year and replaced by a substantial solid brick building 24x34 feet, two stories high with a tower. The upper part of this building is finished in a large hall, for official meetings of the village while the lower floor houses the fire fighting apparatus which now includes a Hook and Ladder outfit. The old hand engine has this year, 1911, been replaced by an up to date gasoline power engine. The churches of the village are St. Mary's Catholic church in charge of Rev. Conrad Ripp. The Methodist Episcopal Church is served by Rev. Thomas Jenkins of Appleton. These church buildings, the public school building and St. Mary's Parochial school occupy the brow of a hill on the west side of the village lending there a most imposing appearance which from a distance dominates the whole view of the village. The Evangelical Lutheran congregation, of which Rev. D. Jaeger is now resident pastor, have not yet erected a building, holding their services in the Methodist church. In the town are three churches, a German Lutheran church in section 14; a Danish Lutheran. congregation holds services in a union chapel in section 8 which is shared by a Congregational and an Adventist organization, and a Catholic church in section 12 near the town line of Maine.

Among the fraternal, social and benevolent organizations is the M. W. A., C. 0. F. and the G. A. R., which latter organized Starkweather Post, November 26, 1897, with 24 members, Isaac Thorn, commander; Clark Smith, adjutant. Of the Woman's Relief Corps organized at the same time, Mrs. Lodema Hubbell was president; Mrs. Addia Thorn, secretary.

At the time of its incorporation the population of the village was 337 and has remained at about that figure since, the census of 1910 placing the number at 341., The Citizens State Bank opened for business September 6, 1904, with a capital of $5,000, which has since been increased one hundred per cent with a substantial surplus. It was organized with R. W. Roberts, president; S. H. Rondeau, vice president; who with W. F. Brownell, Gust Naze and P. H. Kasper, constituted the Board of Directors, and F. W. Raisler, cashier, which position he still retains, M. C. Frayser and Levi C. Larsen have succeeded the former president and vice president respectively. In August 25, 1905, when the Welcome Independent, a six column quarto made its appearance under the management of C. W. Andrews of New London, March, 1906, the paper passed to Hubert G. Roate who retained control until August 22, 1908, when Harry E. Roate, the present genial and courteous editor and publisher took charge. Under his management while the form of the paper has remained unchanged, the amount of space alloted to home print news has been increased to four pages.


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