WESCOTT -- From Shawano County Centurawno
Much of the area around Shawano Lake, in the Town of Wescott, was once
an Indian Camping Ground.
The Indians had a corral for their ponies on the land where the Lite
Resort is located, and once an Indian Camping Ground was located on the
Shawano Lake Hotel property. Here the Indians gathered every fall for the
wild rice harvest. It is also known that the Wallrich Addition to the River
Heights section was formerly a large Indian village.
The Town of Wescott, which was formed in 1901, was at one time part
of the Town of Richmond.
The first town meeting and judicial election was held April 2, 1901.
Then John Winans was elected chairman; Albert Utke and Charles Howe, supervisors;
Robert Connacher, assessor; and G. A. Wurl, clerk, for the new township.
It is interesting to note that on April 29, 1901, a motion was made
to levy a tax of five mills for road purposes and that the mill rate for
the town today is also five mills.
The first school built in the Town of Wescott was the McGee school and
stood where the Ainsworth school is now located. The building is now the
private garage of "Dud" Anderson.
Dr. H. W. Partlow was the first Town Physician.
Among the early families to settle in the Town of Wescott were: Melvin
Robbins, Thos. Ainsworth, Joe Bauerfiend, Chas. Montour, A. H. Gustman,
Bert Strauss, Theo. Eul, John Winans, and C. Gumaer.
Information furnished by:
A. W. Treptow
Clerk, Town of Wescott
Bert Strauss is the oldest living resident in the Town of Wescott.
He came from Germany in 1886 when only 18 years old. Mr. Strauss is now
87 years old. The only road was a mere trail along the ridge up to his
In 1886 Mr. Strauss paid $1.40 in taxes on the 80 acres of land
and in 1953 he paid $280.00 on the same land. Mr. Strauss lives on his
original farm with some of his children. His mind is very keen and his
Mrs. Addie Gumaer is the sscond oldest living resident in the Town
of Wescott. She is living on the Gumaer property which has been in the
family since 1871. She was born in the Town of Hartland, February 27, 1872;
she is a daughter of Christopher Fink and Lydia Marion Wescott Fink. She
lived in Shawano where she attended public schools. After graduating from
Shawano High School she graduated from Oshkosh Normal. She worked in the
post office for years and in the Klosterman and Green store. She was given
a silver card case for winning a popularity contest for the most popular
girl. She was married June 12, 1899. When she came out to her present home
the nearest neighbor was more than a quarter of a mile away. In the early
days there were many launches on the lake, and travel from the north side
of the lake to the city was done by launch as the road around the lake
was a wagon road. During the summer and fall Mrs. Gumaer kept a lamp in
the window so that people could find the mouth of the creek. Later a lamp
post was put up.
Mrs. Gumaer now operates the oldest summer resort on Shawano Lake.
She has made many friends among her guests, one of the most popular being
Now at the age of 81 years she is active, doing most of her own
work, taking care of her home and a truly remarkable person. Her mind is
very keen and alert and her memory remarkable.
In 1854 there were two Wescott families. The Charles Wescott family
came in 1843 and Mr. Wescott worked in a sawmill at the creek of Shawano
Lake. Hiram Wescott, his wife and five children came in October, 1844.
Eugene 'M. Wescott, father of Llewelyn Wescott, and Lydia Wescott, were
children of Hiram Wescott. The parents of Hiram Wescott, Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge
Wescott, were buried on the sand hill of the Wescott farm in 1849. The
Wescott home in the Town of Wescott, belongs to Llewellyn Wescott and his
son, Richard Wescott. Lydia Wescott was the mother of Mrs. Addie Gumaer,
one of the oldest living residents.
Elias D. Gumaer come to the Town of Wescott in 1871. He was born
in Manlius, New York, in 1815. He worked in the Document Room for 16 years,
and while there he conceived the idea of an envelope in which to enclose
letters and was the first man to make one in America. The House Committee,
on Ways and Means provided him with a small sum of money to make a machine
with which he could cut a ream of paper at a time. Later he was a claim
agent for the government and made several trips west. He settled in Winneconne
in 1849 and laid out the first village plat of Winneconne. In 1881 he moved
to Shawano Lake. He was called tha "Deacon" by everyone and was a kindly
man. He was married to Mary Frances Young, a talented girl and to them
were born five children. One boy died in infancy. William G. Gumaer was
a pioneer in the State of Washington; Howard B. Gumaer lived in Idaho,
and a daughter Ida Gumaer Dodge. The youngest son, Richard B. Gumaer, lived
on the Gumaer homestead until his death in 1915. Richard B. Gumaer drove
stage coach from Shawano to Langlade over the military road, through a
vast, unbroken forest of pine timber. He was a lumberman and cruiser. His
family resides on the old homestead today.
Elisha Walker lived in a log house near the pines on the Milsap
property. He built barns. He would hew the timbers used in building barns.
The barns on the Wescott farm were built by him.
Charles Howe was a farmer who had a resort in back of the Wm. Krueger
farm on the North Shore. This was a place frequented by many and was known
for its friendliness.
Charles Upham was the owner of all the marsh land which he obtained
from the Wescotts for a $400 debt.
"Pinfish" Miller was the original settler en the North Shore of
Shawano Lake. He had a year around job as caretaker for the Milwaukee Clubhouse.
One winter when he didn't show up, Richard B. Gumaer, Sr., went to call
on him and found that he had frozen to death.
William Gilles and his wife lived up in the sand at the mouth of
Loon Lake Creek.
Colonel Wood owned a large part of the Town of Wescott; he lived
at the Jennings House and spent his summers at the lake.
Henry Ainsworth owned the farm across from the power dam at what
was known as "Alcohol Creek," because here the Indians used to water out
their whiskey. Henry Ainsworth was the father of Bess Ainsworth.
Gust Wurl was one of the old settlers who lived where Ella Meyer's
Bar is located today.
The Germans came in 1845 and on. Some of the German families were
the Schafbergers, the Steinbergs (the two Steinberg daughters live on the
old homestead on the Lake road), the Strausses, the Schultz's, and the
Silas Pendleton was half colored and made money in the lumbering
business. He owned the farm where the Herb Robbins family now lives.
"Rance" Norton was brought from New York State by the Wescotts.
His name was Van Ranseller and he was a descendant of the Dutch. Dewey
and Jim Norton are his relatives.
The Montours came from New York State. Charles "Chud" was brought
up by the Wescotts. He is dead but his widow lives with a son, John, in
the Town of Wescott.
William Ross lived on the east side of the road. He had a large
family; some of the children were Jess, Ally, Fred, Eunice and Florence.
Jim Magee lived on the corner where Dud Anderson now has his filling
August Anderson owned the farm where Bernie Christofer now lives.
Mrs. Anderson was related to the Magees, Blacks and Gibbs.
Charles Brooks’ father owned a piece of property where Giese now
has his furniture store. The old gentleman was a blacksmith on the reservation
and this is where Charles learned to speak the Menominee language.
Myron Robbins lived across the road from the Wescott farm, and Melvin
Robbins lived on the military road.
Albert Utke, one of the early German families, lived at the Whitehouse
bridge and this property is still owned by the Utke family.
Levi Whitehouse was one of the early settlers living near the bridge.
Frank Panzer was the first milkman on North Beach.