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CHARLES D. WESCOTT, the oldest pioneer of Shawano county, was born December 23, 1816, in Morristown, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y,, son of Eldridge and Hannah (Bogardus) Wescott, who were natives of Vermont and New York State, respectively.
 
Eldridge Wescott was born in Rutland, Vt., in 1788, was reared to farming, and when a young man removed to St. Lawrence county, N.Y. There he married Hannah Bogardus, who was born in Schoharie county, N. Y., daughter of Henry Bogardus, and their children, all of whom were born in St. Lawrence county, were as follows: Lavina, who married Iva Swain and died in Michigan; Charles D., whose name introduces this sketch; Hiram, a farmer of Richmond; Catherine, who married Charles Lashay, and died in 1889 in Angelica, Shawano county; Almira, who married and died in St. Lawrence county, N. Y.; Susan, who married and lives in Wisconsin; Lydia, who died young; Horace, who died in Angelica, Shawano county; William, of Maple Valley, Oconto county (he served in the Civil war); Susan, who died from poisoning when small; and Lydia, living in Shawano. Eldridge Wescott followed farming and lumbering in western New York; after living in St. Lawrence county a number of years he removed thence to Allegany county, and thence migrated westward to Wisconsin, settling in Shawano county, where he died in 1854. His wife survived him for some time, and their remains now repose in the cemetery at Shawano.  Mr. Wescott was a soldier in the war of 1812, and drew a pension for his services.

Charles D. Wescott, being the eldest son of poor parents, had only meagre school advantages, receiving a limited education in the subscription schools of the period. He was reared to farming, and remained at home up to the age of twenty-three years, when he went to Oswego county, N. Y., and for some time after starting in life for himself worked at anything he could find to do. From Oswego county he went to Livingston county, where he was employed in a stone quarry. In the spring of 1842 he set out from Allegany county, N.Y. with the Rowley family, driving a four-horse covered wagon through to the then Territory of Wisconsin, the trip occupying nineteen days; they came by way, of Chicago, the family locating a little west of Milwaukee, at what was then called Prairieville, now Waukesha. After spending a few weeks in this vicinity Mr. Wescott found employment in a sawmill on the Oconomowoc river operated by Curtis Reed (late of Menasha), and next entered the employ of Harrison Reed, at Neenah, as overseer. In May, 1844, he came up the Wolf river to Shawano, arriving May 9, whither he had been preceded by Samuel Farnsworth who made the trip up the river two weeks previously in a bark canoe. At that time there were no evidences of civilization whatever in the region, and the Indians who still remained in their native forests were untamed and frequently troublesome. Farnsworth & Moore erected a mill at the
outlet of Shawano lake, near the Wolf river, in Section 25, Richmond township, and our subject had charge of the same for eight years, receiving so much per thousand for the lumber sawed and delivered at Oshkosh, it being rafted down the Wolf river. After leaving the mill he engaged on his own account in lumbering—an industry which he followed in its most remunerative days, and which he has lived to see in its present state of decline. His home was at the sawmill up to 1853, when he took up his residence at his present home on the banks of the Wolf river, above Shawano.

Having lived in Shawano county since long before its organization, Mr. Wescott has been closely identified with its progress, and has been a leader in every movement made for its advancement and welfare. A lifelong Democrat, and a local leader in his party, he has filled various offices of trust, and served fifteen years as chairman of the township board and nine years as chairman of the county board. While serving in the latter capacity he was one of a committee of three who located the site of the present court house, and he has also assisted in laying out many of the roads (throughout the county. He was also the first postmaster at Shawano, holding the office up to Lincoln's administration, when he resigned.

Mr. Wescott was married, January 6, 1848, at Waukau, Winnebago county, to Miss Jane Driesbach, who was a native of Livingston county, N. Y., born November 9, 1820, in the town of Sparta. She was the eldest daughter of Joseph and Mary (Gillespie) Driesbach—the former born February 16, 1793, in Easton, Penn., the latter November 1, 1797, in Bath, N. Y.—who had a family of five children, as follows: William H., who died May 14, 1861, in Waukau, Winnebago Co., Wis.; Jane, Mrs. Wescott; Mary, Mrs. William Masters, who died in Waukau, Wis.; Catherine, Mrs. Henry Johnson, who died in Dexterville, Wood Co., Wis.; and Joanna, Mrs. B. F. King, who died in Rushford, Winnebago Co., Wis.  They also reared a foster child, John Orr. In 1845 this family migrated to Wisconsin, and they were among the earliest settlers of Waukau township, Winnebago county, where Mrs. Driesbach passed away April 14, 1863; the father, who survived until 1876, died in Rushford, Winnebago county.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wescott made their home in Waukau until 1849, when, with their infant son, Charles J., they came to Shawano, making the trip, which occupied nine days, up the Wolf river in a Mackinaw boat. It is a fact worthy of mention that the first Bible in Shawano was sent by Mrs. Wescott to her husband among some clothes. To our subject and wife have been born five children, namely: Charles J., born October 10, 1848, now of Shawano; Dayn E., born December 11, 1850, in Oshkosh, now of Shawano; Mary J., born August 24, 1852, in Waukau, now Mrs. John Montour, of Richmond township, Shawano county; Ella, born January 17, 1854, in Shawano, deceased in 1889; and John A., born February 13, 1858, now of Wakefield, Mich. Mrs. Wescott is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Wescott has for years been connected with the Temple of Honor. There are no citizens in their section who are more highly respected for their true moral worth and the part they have taken in the development of the county, the growth of which they have watched and aided from its earliest days to its present prosperous state, enduring in their pioneer life the usual hardships which fall to the lot of early settlers in a new country, and enjoying in their declining years the results of those days of privation and toil.

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