OF GRESHAM -- From Shawano County
The Village of Gresham was so named in honor of T. R. Gresham, who was
Postmaster General in President Arthur's cabinet when the first postoffice
was established in the village in 1885.
The opening of the military road between Oshkosh and northern Wisconsin
caused a number of families to settle in Section 3, Township 27 North,
Range 14 East, which now comprises the Village of Grsham; but, due to the
dense forest, wide swamps, and difficulties of transportation, deeds to
the property were not issued until later.
In 1879 Joseph Hoffman received the first resident deed from William
and Anna Schmidt on March 18th, to the SE 1/4 of Section 3.
In 1881: Joseph Hoffman, Jr., received a deed to the SW 1/4, of Section
3 on March 26, from Russell McLeod.
In 1882: Frederick Ebert received a deed from Joseph Stringham on March
15, to the N 1/2 of the NE1/4 of Section 3; and Joseph Hoffman received
a deed on March 2, 1882 from Joseph Stringham to the NE 1/4 of Section
In 1882: Bishop Krautbauer was given a deed to a parcel of land 20x24
rods in the northwest corner of the SW1/4, of the NW1/4 of Section 3, by
Joseph Hoffman, on December 26, and Joseph Fischer was deeded the NW1/4,
of the NE1/4 of Section 3 on September 18, 1882, by Frederick Ebert.
In 1883: George Neumeier and Joseph Mader received a deed from Josph
Hoffman to the S1/2 of the NE1/4 of Section 3.
In 1884: August G. Schmidt opened the first store in Gresham. Walter
Schmidt, son of August G. Schmidt, was born in 1884 and was the first white
child born in the settlement. Joseph Fischer opened the first saloon; and
the first schoolhouse was built, and opened in the fall of 1884, with Miss
Edith Childs as the first teacher.
There is no record of when District
No. 4 bought, or received a deed to the 400x400 ft parcel of land
m the northwest corner of the NW1/4 of the SE1/4, on which the original
log building was erected The log building gave way to a one-room frame
building, winch was later rebuilt into a two-room frame building, and was
finally sold to the Zion Lutheran congregation. The new school was erected
on the present site.
In 1885: the first postoffice was established in the August G. Schmidt
store, with August G. Schmidt as the first postmaster The mail was carried
to and from Shawano by stage, twice a week. The stage was operated by Joseph
Hoffman It was with the establishment of the postoffice that the
settlement became known as "Gresham."
George J Huhn constructed a dam across the river in 1885 and built a
grist mill. Claudius Scherer received a deed to the SW1/4 from Joseph Hoffman,
Jr , on August 17, 1885.
Claude Scherr and Henry Liethen opened the second general merchandise
store on the east side of Main street in 1885, and in the same year Joseph
Mader opened a furniture and cabinet making shop.
In 1887: Albert Bartelt, Herman Bartelt and Frank Bartelt were deeded
the NW1/4 of Section 3 by Joseph Stringham on May 5, 1887. According to
information received from G. L. Herzfeld (whose people arrived in 1883),
Edward Mader (whose people arrived in 1884), and Peter Scherer (whose people
arrived in 1885), the Bartelt families were here when they arrived, and
gave them shelter until they got settled; so the Bartelts apparently were
among the earliest settlers in Gresham, but did not obtain a deed to their
property until some years later.
In 1889: the first Catholic Church was built under the direction of
Father Blasius, a Franciscan Missionary, and named in hnor of St. Francis
Solanis. Previous to that time Mass had been said in the homes of the faithful
at both Gresham and Leopolis.
In 1890: Mr. Siebert built the first blacksmith shop, and Henry Hoffman
built the first hotel and boarding house.
In 1895: George Herman built the second blacksmith shop in Gresham.
The Catholic Parochial School was built and opened in 1895 with John Venus
as its first teacher. He was followed by John Traeger and W. F. Ragan.
The school burned down in 1901 and was never rebuilt.
In 1899: the first sawmill in Gresham was opened by Richards Brothers,
who moved their mill from south of the big hill to the north side of the
Dr. W. J Ragan was the first doctor of medicine.
In 1901: the first telephone system with the outside world was installed
by Marion & Northern Telephone Company, the businessmen of Gresham
having contributed a bonus of $250.
In 1902: Adam Katzenmeyer opened the first resident Barber Shop.
In 1905: the first Lutheran Church was built under the direction of
Rev. F. H. Kretzmer (a missionary at Red Springs), who served the congregation
until 1909 and then became affiliated with Stony Hill. He was replaced
by Reverend Fiess.
In 1906: the first Wisconsin & Northern Railway train was run between
Gresham and Shawano.
In 1907: Wm. Werth opened the first cheese factory. It was operated
by Fred Zaug.
Also in 1907 Joe Neumeier published the Gresham Spirit, continuing for
six years when it was discontinued.
In 1908: Schutz and Hide opened the first drug: store, and the State
Bank of Gresham was organized.
The Village of Gresham was incorporated as a municipal entity on November
9, 1908, by a vote of 38 for and 3 against. The population of Section 3
of Township 27 North, Range 14 East (comprising the Village of Gresham)
was 330 at the time of the incorporation, and is now (April, 1953) 426.
The first officers were: August G. Schmidt, president; Andrew Mader,
Herman C. Hohn, Henry Hoffman, Joseph Hoffman, Max Hoffman, Richard Hoffman
and N. L. Berdoll comprised the Village Board, and L. G. Laubenstein was
Clerk. The foregoing were also the incorporators of the village.
In 1909: Dr. E. E. Murdock was the first resident dentist.
The first devastating fire in Gresham occurred on November 9, 1909.
In 1910: the first Cathalic parsonage was built. Reverend Father Bufahl
was the first resident pastor. The congregation had been served from Shawano
up to that time.
Also in 1910 Adolph Henke opened a photograph gallery; and Richard Brothers
converted their water power and grist mill into a hydroelectric plant,
and Gresham had its first eiectric lights.
In 1912: the present Catholic Church was built under the patronage of
St. Francis Solanus.
The second largest fire in Gresham, on the west end of North Main Street
occurred in 1912, and the Gresham Haywires became Shawano County's first
champion baseball team.
In 1915: the first rural free delivery route was established.
In 1917 the hydro-electric plant was purchased from Richard Brothers
by Village Ordinance, and Gresham operated its own Municipal Light and
In 1923 the first Presbyterian Church was built under the direction
of Reverend J. Adair McGreaham (a missionary at Red Springs). Up to that
period, services had been held in the Bank annex. Reverend Hillegas and
Reverend Westphal followed Reverend McGreaham. Rev. Garth Gee of Shawano
then took over the abandoned Mission and both Gresham and Red Springs became
affiliated with Shawano.
In 1925: Gresham had its first segregated postoffice. The postoffice
was first located in the August Schmidt store until 1910. Then R. E. Kopelke
operated it in connection with a tobacco counter until 1913, when J. E.
Neumeier operated the postoffice in connection with a small store.
In 1932: the present Zion Luthran Church was built.
In 1947: the True Manufacturing Company, makers of Women's Apparel,
opened for business.
In 1949: the Belle City Glove Company, manufacturers of plastic gloves
and mittens, opened for business.
Information received from:
John M. Kroll, Clerk, Village of Gresham,
who based his information on deeds and abstracts,
and the memories of Peter Scherer,
G. L. Herzfeld and Dr. E. E. Murdock.