The area that is now Seneca Township
was not settled until the later half of the 1860s. In 1860 when the federal
census was taken, the closest inhabitants were settled in the town of Smithville
which later was renamed Pella. The area was heavily timbered and was logged
starting in the 1850s by the Matteson Brothers, later by the Hatton Company.
The first big log drive was in 1888 and the last in 1914.
According to the Shawano County Centurawano
published in 1953 to celebrate Shawano Counties first centennial, "Old
Fritz" Maas was the first permanent settler in the Seneca township. "Old
Fritz" was Christian (Frederick) Maass of Kowanz, Pommern Prussia, who
with his family, came to America in 1867, making his way to Smithville.
In late 1867 or early 1868, Old Fritz decided establish his homestead so
he followed the Embarrass river northwest from Smithville to a remote area
a couple miles south of present day Tilleda. He had traveled too
far to make a safe journey back to Smithville the same day so, after marking
off his homestead, he spent the night by sleeping in an old hollow Basswood
log. Not long thereafter, Old Fritzís half brother, August Maass also came
to Seneca and developed his homestead on adjoining acreage. Many descendents
of Old Fritz and August Maass (Maas and Maahs families) still reside in
It did not take long until other families came
into the Seneca area and established their farms. By 1870, sixteen families
resided in what would become Seneca Township. These early families
were: August Westphal, John Abrams, August Zimdars, Joseph Eldridge, Julius
Armstrong, Thomas Curtis, Ferdinand Kroening, William Nordwig, Charles
Steinberg, Charles Voeltz (Felts), August Bufferth, Frederich Schenk, Charles
Schenk, William Schenk, Joseph Guttman, and Fred Maas (Old Fritz).
During this period of Wisconsin history, a
great influx of immigrants from eastern United States and northern Europe
arrived daily. By April 1871, the population of Seneca had grown
to warrant the establishment of a township, referred to as the Town of
Seneca. The first annual meeting was held on April 18, 1871, at the home
of Julius Armstrong. William Nordwig was elected Town Chairman; August
Maas and Carl Voeltz, supervisors; Frederick Maas, clerk; and Carl Steinberg,
treasurer. During the summer of 1871 taxes were levied; roads were
laid out and in September a public school was organized.
In 1880 approximately sixty-three Seneca Township
households and 50 boarders were recorded in the Federal census. Immigrants
continued to arrive during the 1880s, however their numbers were nothing
near the influx of the 1870s. The following heads of families, single persons,
and boarders were listed as residents in June, 1880:
Jacob Boehm from Bohemia, came to
Wisconsin in 1873.
August Zimdas (Zimdars) from Prussia, came
to Wisconsin 1868/69.
August Puphal from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Gottfried and Frederick Giessel from Prussia,
came to Wisconsin 1868/69.
August Maafs (Maas) from Prussia, came to
Ferdinand Zimdas (Zimdars) from Prussia.
Friederich Mussak from Prussia, came
to Wisconsin 1876.
Edward Reiter from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Mathia Tichaak from Bohemia
Stephen Stefl from Bohemia, came to Wisconsin
Herman Kleman from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Carl Voeltz from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
August Salzmann from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
William Schenke (Schenk) from Prussia, came
to Wisconsin 1869.
Gottfried Voeltz from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
by way of Canada.
John Long from New York, came to Wisconsin
from Maine in 1872.
Gottlieb Salzmann from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Heinrick Walter from Baden Germany, came to
Friedrich Maafs (Maas) from Prussia, came
to Wisconsin 1867/68.
William Nortwig (Nordwig) from Prussia, came
to Wisconsin 1868.
Leonhard Brunner from Bavaria.
Friedrich Nienke from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
August Mundt from Prussia, father in law of
Ferdinand Kroening from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
William Hehman from Holland.
William Voeltz from Prussia.
Fred Dihling from Wisconsin.
John Koller from Bohemia, came to Wisconsin
in 1875 by way of Pennsylvania.
Fred Bratz from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Waldemar Hansen from Denmark, came to Wisconsin
Chester Rogers from Michigan, came to Wisconsin
J.W. Curtis from New York, came to Wisconsin
George Ross from Wisconsin
George Bowker from Maine.
Lorenz Deleglise from Wisconsin, parents from
Jorgen Germundsen (sp?) from Norway.
J.P. Holm from Norway.
J.R. Cowles from Wisconsin.
J.M. Rice, born New York, came to Wisconsin
from Iowa in 1868.
William Lawrence from Wisconsin.
D. Williams born Pennsylvania, came to Wisconsin
from Ohio in 1878
William Meckler born in Prussia, came to Wisconsin
abt 1878?, ran a boarding house. Boarders:
Mathil Kruger, Anna Kamard, Charles
Hardt, Frank Poeke, N.A. Thompkins, Simon Janson, J.C. Nelson, L. Rochman,
Mathis Race, James Goggins, C.E. Bennet, Charles Buttke, Fred Isepkon,
Gustov Smukab (sp?), Fred Fosse, August Miller, William Miller, Willaim
Nebour, Henry Schellin, Fred Turner, Carl Brenke, Gottlieb Schwizer, Fred
Bottlin, August Schrawd, Michael Steider, Levie Cowens, Peter Leafs, Peter
Ruder, Henry Lutz, and Frank Moyer.
Jonas Swenholt born in Wisconsin
Puphahl born in Prussia, ran a boarding house.
Clavenz Bennet, Charly Beadelstan,
Patrick Hewitt, Elmer Colton, and Charles Cross.
Charles Smith born New York, ran a boarding house.
Charles and Henricke Lang, Jane Bricco,
James Butler, William Cunningham, August Borchort, John Weinschenken, John
Maurer, Mathew Bertkozak, Gustaf Gastron, William Hohn, Fred Raash, Jerry
Dasog, Joseph Maurer, and Willam Fritz.
Mathew Cotrill, born in New York.
H.B. Olson from Norway, came to Wisconsin
Tom Markkuson from Norway, came to Wisconsin
Christ Holm from Norway, came to Wisconsin
J.W. Buck, born in New York.
Carl Salzmann from Prussia, came to Wisconsin
Joseph Jager from Bohemia.
Joseph Nieman from Bohemia.
Johann Peisar (Paiser) from Bohemia, came
to Wisconsin 1878.
Adam Lazama from Bohemia.
Johann Peisar (Paiser) from Bohemia, came
to Wisconsin 1875. Related to Johann above.
Math Klement from Bohemia.
Compiled & Provided by Dave Maas