WILLIAM WEDGWOOD, the successful
farmers of Waukechon township, Shawano county, who by diligence and patient
industry have made homes for themselves and their families, is Mr. Wedgwood.
He was born in Haldimand county, Canada, in 1851, and is a son of David
and Henrietta (Weir) Wedgwood, from the State of Maine and Haldimand county,
William Wedgwood received a common-school education in Canada,
and never went to school after he was fourteen years of age. In 1863, he
came with his parents to Wisconsin, lived at home until he was seventeen
years of age, then went out to work, and has since earned his own living.
He was first employed in the sawmill of A. C. Conn & Co., of Little
Suamico, Oconto county, and remained with them ten years. He then went
to Marinette, Marinette county, worked there in a sawmill for one year,
and then came to Waukechon. On December 19, 1872, Mr. Wedgwood was united
in marriage with Mary J. McCourt, who was born in Pittsburg. Penn., and
they have had five children, namely: Mary, Catherine, Elizabeth and Henrietta,
who are at home; and William, who died at the age of six years. The parents
of Mrs. Wedgwood, John and Catherine (Woods) McCourt, were from Ireland,
and located in Ohio many years ago, but finally came to Wisconsin, being
among the early settlers of Cato, Manitowoc county. Mr. McCourt took up
a homestead, and his occupation was farming. When the Civil war broke out
he went as a Union soldier, served nearly three years, and was wounded
in a way that eventually caused his death. He returned, dying about
1883. He reared seven children as follows: One who died; Mary; Margaret,
deceased, who was the wife of Peter Webber, of Milwaukee. Wis.; John C.,
who died at the age of twenty-five years; Henry, who is engaged in farming
in Cato, Manitowoc county; Anna, now the
wife of Joseph Wrenz, a carpenter, of Iron Mountain, Menominee
Co.. Mich., and James, residing in Cato. Mrs. Catherine McCourt still
lives on the homestead with her two sons. She is now seventy-four years
In 1873 Mr. Wedgwood came to Waukechon township, and bought eighty
acres of land in Section I, which still forms a part of his farm. The land
was in a primitive condition, inhabited only by the beasts of the forest.
A few roads had been cut at that time, but he had no team. There was a
log house 16x20, covered with boards, in which he lived for seven years.
He commenced clearing, and did much of his logging by hand, or hired it
done, for two or three years. His first crop was oats, sowed among the
stumps, harvested with a cradle, and threshed with a machine. He pressed
on with the clearing as rapidly as he was able, and it was chiefly by his
own hard labor that this work was done. He has thus succeeded in clearing
some seventy acres, now having 120 acres of good land, with good improvements,
and what he has has been procured through his own efforts.
Mr. Wedgwood is a Republican in politics, has taken much interest
in the success of his party, and is an ardent supporter of the schools.
He has held the office of township chairman one year, and has been supervisor
for two years. Socially he is a member of Shawano Lodge, I. O. O. F., and
Mrs. Wedgwood and the children are members of the Catholic Church.