Pgs 927-29

BYRON H. GARFIELD, the popular young proprietor of the "Murdock House,” Shawano, Shawano county, is a native of Wisconsin, born February 7, 1861, in Shiocton, Outagamie county, son of Henry T. Garfield (who was a cousin of President James A. Garfield).

Henry T. Garfield was married, in 1859, in Shawano, to Elmira A. Sanders, at that time but fifteen years of age, who was a daughter of William H. Sanders, one of the leading farmers of Belle Plaine township, Shawano county. To this union came one child, Byron H. At the breaking out of the Civil war Henry T. Garfield enlisted in the Sixth Wis. V. I., known as the "Iron Brigade", was at once made first lieutenant of his company, and after a year's service became captain, serving as such throughout the remainder of his four-and-a-half years service. When Mr. Garfield, enlisted, William H. Sanders, maternal grandfather of our subject, came to Shiocton and brought Mrs. Garfield and her son Byron, then only two months old, to his home in Belle Plaine township, Shawano county, the trip being made by boat up the Wolf river. There they remained during the father's absence in the army, and on his return the little family located in Oshkosh, where Mr. Garfield was in business for several years. Thence they removed to New London, and later to Embarrass, at which place Mr. Garfield conducted the "Stacy House" for one year. In 1871 they removed to Shawano, where the father was engaged in logging, also jobbing in logs for Henry Beecher, and in 1872 they took up their residence on a farm in Belle Plaine township, Mr. Garfield continuing in the lumber business. He was in business in a number of places, among others Morris, Ill., at which place he conducted the "Forest House".
Thus it will be seen that our subject had ample opportunity for acquiring a knowledge of the hotel business, at the expense unfortunately of his literary training, for although he learned rapidly his chances for an education were limited, and the schools of that day vastly inferior to those of the present.  For a time he lived with his grandfather on the farm in Belle Plaine township, working as a farmer boy, and when a young man of nineteen he was practically in charge of the hostelry known as the "Log Cabin" (owned by one Chris Hill), situated twenty-seven miles north of Shawano, toward Langlade, it being a station on the military road built by the government between Green Bay and Lake Superior. The hotel consisted of five log cabins, and stabling accomodations were provided in four log cabins used as barns; travel was heavy, and this being an important station the hotel was well patronized— doing probably the largest business ever done by any hotel in Shawano county—as many as 150 guests having been accommodated there in a single day. Our subject was there two years, during which time he fully demonstrated his ability in that line. Shawano, in those days having no railroad, was connected with Clintonville by regular stage lines, two round trips a day being made between these points, and on returning to Shawano he found employment with Henry Gamble as stage driver, following this occupation six months, at fifty dollars per month.

Up to the time of his marriage Mr. Garfield worked for others, and proved so faithful and efficient that he could always obtain employment a second time with any employer, but on April 1, 1883, he started a stage line of his own between Shawano and Clintonville. There were already four lines on that route, and Mr. Garfield had no means or equipment, but he had a well-earned reputation as an energetic, hard worker, and he found friends who had the means, and were able to back him, with no security but their confidence in his honesty and worth, Mr. C. M. Upham assisting him with money and influence.  He was fortunate enough to secure the mail and express business, which was looked after by his wife, the office being in their house. His energy was soon rewarded, and it was not long before he had a good business, and was able to clear himself from debt. In the fall of 1884 he sold out his stage line, and on February 2, 1885, he bought property on Main street, in Shawano, where he remained in business until April 1, 1894, his first venture there being a liquor business, which proved so unprofitable that he closed out, deeply in debt. Not discouraged, however, he opened a temperance hall and fruit store, which he carried on five years, and, by careful management, contrived to pay his debts and regain his old footing. On April 1, 1894, he took charge of the "Murdock Hotel," with which he has since been connected, and which he has improved until it is now one of the leading hotels in Northern Wisconsin, and undoubtedly the best ever conducted in the city of Shawano, which may justly feel proud of such an establishment. Under his management it has been refitted at considerable expense, and well deserves the patronage accorded it. Mr. Garfield has occupied every position connected with the business, from stable-boy to proprietor, and none understands better the requirements of his guests or strives more earnestly to provide for them. Ever active and enterprising, he has encouraged every progressive movement made by his fellow citizens for, the advancement of the town or county, and has also aided in introducing various-improvements in Shawano, laboring, diligently to secure the electric-light plant and other desirable improvements. Politically he is a stanch Republican, a "wheel-horse" of the party in his locality, and, though not an aspirant for office, he was, in 1895, elected a member of the city council, of which the mayor appointed him president. Socially he is a member of Wolf River Lodge, No. 14, K. of P., and of Shawano Lodge, No. 243, I. O. O. F., Shawano.

On June 20, 1882, Mr. Garfield was united in marriage, in Shawano with Miss Minnie A. Steinke, a native of Germany, who came to the United States at the age of twelve years, and this union has been blessed with one son, Walter H., born July 13, 1883. The comfortable competence and enviable position Mr. Garfield now enjoys have been gained by his own earnest efforts, for though at times in his business career he has found it necessary to accept assistance from others, he has always proved himself worthy of their confidence, and has never abused it, and his natural energy and ability, together with the good management he has always exercised in his affairs, have enabled him to triumph over all obstacles and conquer all difficulties in the way of success. Though his business receives careful attention, he occasionally finds time to take a little recreation, hunting and fishing, of which he is very fond, and there are few spots in this region affording such sport with which he is not well acquainted.

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