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Mattoon Area Research Sources

Mattoon History Research References:
WIGENWEB - Shawano County Page including:
Mattoon: St. John's Lutheran Church 1885-1960 recores
Land Book of the Wisconsin Timber and Land Company
Hutchin plat book maps.
Mattoon High School Graduates and Teachers
Mattoon - Hutchins Library
Search Antigo Newspapers. During many years Antigo newspapers had correspondents in Mattoon who wrote a weekly column of Mattoon news. During the 1940's Alice (Buchberger) Halverson was the correspondent. She is the daughter of Carrie Butler and Peter Buchberger Jr.
Book: County Line Neighbors by Ellen Lyons. 56 pages published 1976? "This book was written to preserve the histories of a few [villages] that border on the Shawano and Marathon County line." Available at the Birnamwood Branch Library. WISCAT system number 0cm44631530
"Mattoon has rich lumbering, rail history." An Our History article published in the Antigo Daily Journal Supplement "Family Primetime" November 1998.
"Community named in honor of George B. Mattoon. An article written by George A. Fuhrman published in the Antigo Daily Journal Supplement "Family Primetime" November 2001.
1880 Federal Census: My Transcription of Hutchinson and Milltown .
Link to Wisconsin Local History Network: 1890 Federal Census - Veterans Schedule -Hutchins (Town)
Link to 1910 Federal Census - Extraction of Survivors of the Union Army - Shawano County.
Anna Ryan Interview
Anna was born in Mattoon in 1893. This is an interview which is part of the Flagstaff Public Library Oral History Project and is on their web site.
The following article is used with the permission of Philip J. Beck. Thanks Phil.

An Interview with Henry Buchberger by Philip J. Beck on August 5, 1968.

"Mr. Buchberger came to Mattoon in 1896 from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Although young at the time he stated the reason for his parents coming to the community was the cheap land. Lumbering seemed to be the important industry in the community at the time and in January of 1903 he began working for the Mattoon Manufacturing Company. The wages at the time for a family man were 1.50-1.60 per day, a day consisting of 11 hours. Working conditions in the mill were about the same then as they are today, except that when a machine broke down, they did not rest or take time off. Then men were put onto another job.

At the time of his coming, there were few buildings in the community. Across from where the electrical sub-station is located today, there was a saloon, then known as the Farmer's Home. A building now owned by Mrs. Gert Zahn, was then owned by Keester and was then as now operated as a tavern. Just south of the Keester tavern was the company store operated by Ladwig Co. and Lorring bought later. The home of Frank Berger was in its present location and directly across the street was a common house, later to be expanded into a hospital. Carl Elscholtz owns this home today. The present Legion Hall was then known as Woodman Hall.

In 1896 or 1897 a new school was built in Mattoon. The first school is now the residence of the Harvey Reissman family, which was moved to its present location after construction of the new building. Modl built the south half of the new school which was later expanded with a North half of similar construction. It was at this time that the high school became functional (around 1906, since the first graduating senior class of MHS was in 1910). This building was raised from that location in ........ In the location of the baseball grounds at the present school site there was a tavern operated by Guehring and a picture gallery or photo shop. (webmaster: Owner might have been either William Weeks or Charles Rollins?)

A shoe shop now operated by Otto Brenneke was at one time a tavern operated by John Hannie. At one time this building also served as a butcher shop. Immediately to the south of this building was a blacksmith shop operated first by Barney Stropp and later by Henry Fuchs.

Buildings were at a minimum on the west side of the street in these early years and the only notable ones were two houses on either side of county highway Z, the one on the north owned by Rollins, now the site of a service station.

As previously mentioned, lumber and veneer were important to the community in the early days. There were many companies, but the most notable was that of the Mattoon Manufacturing Company, now known as Wisconsin Timber and Land Company. The original company consisted of a saw mill and a veneer mill. The saw mill section burned in 1906, but the veneer mill section was saved, thanks to the efforts of the local fire department, George Proper, chief, and the assistance of a unit from Wausau, Wisconsin."

Article appearing in a supplement to the Sunday December 9, 1962 Green Bay Press-Gazette. Story by Charles House and sketches by Bill Juhre.

    The following are some informational highlights from the article:
  • Sketch of young man trout fishing in the Red River.
  • Sketch noting importance of Mattoon's athletic teams and community enthusiastical support for them.
  • Sketch of main street showing McMaster's General Store and Moss & Dinkel building along with horses, buggies, wagons, bicycles, dogs, cats, children and shoppers.
  • Mattoon had a bustling population of 2,000 in its heyday but only 435 in 1960.
  • In 1890 Mattoon was called Rockville. So named because of heavy granite found in the area.
  • The following are surnames in order of appearance in the article: Fischer, Mattoon, Ladwig, Kramer, Thorpe, Janssen, Woodard, Woodson, and Burris.
  • The following businesses are mentioned: Brooks & Ross Lumber Co., Antigo Manufacturing Co., Paxton & Lightbody Co., White Star Lumber Co., E. Schultz Co., Mattoon Hardware Co., Mattoon State Bank, Antigo Development Association, Wisconsin Timber & Land Co., and Flamingo Tavern.
  • George B. Mattoon was a Sheboygan furniture manufacturer. His plan was to use every stick of wood on the 300,000 acres of land he bought to make furniture and other wood products.
  • He had a sawmill built (webmaster: The building of this sawmill was superintended by my great-great-grandfather James Weeks III.)
  • George B. Mattoon then had a site for the village cleared, platted the community, built company houses, a hotel, and store. Lumbermen and millworkers moved to the village for work and the village was renamed Mattoon in his honor.
  • Mattoon had homes erected at a cost estimated to be about $300 each, with 8 to 10 houses to each block. All looked the same.
  • Mattoon's hotel was always filled to DOUBLE capacity with his employees. His night workers used the rooms in daytime and his daytime workers used the same rooms at night.
  • The company store was run by Ladwig.
  • As time went on the mill also made shingles when the market was big and then veneer.
  • After 1900 the lumber industry had reached its peak and prices began to fall. About 1905 Mattoon realized he couldn't pay off the $300,000 bond issued on his property so he assigned the bond to a Sheboygan bank. The bank then sold the mill to Brooks and Ross Lumber Co., of Schofield, Wis. Twenty-five years later the timberlands were sold for about a half million dollars.
  • The Antigo Manufacturing Co. started a plant in Mattoon in 1889 which produces barrel staves and broom handles of maple and basswood. It closed about 1900.
  • Paxton & Lightbody Co., later reorganized as the White Star Lumber Co. went out of business in the 1930's. A little later he A. E. Schultz Co. tried to operate the mill but gave up because of "oppressive" federal regulations.
  • Also, in the 1930's the Mattoon Hardware Co. was sold at auction after 45 years in business as well as a general store.
  • In 1906 the Mattoon State Bank was founded by Walter B. Kramer. He was a devout trout fisherman and loved to quote poetry.
  • Ernest Thorpe was a long time postmaster.
  • Mary Janssen was a local restauranteur.
  • Lyle Woodard was Village President for some 22 years.
  • In 1961 Mattoon lost its high school when the area became part of the Antigo School District.
  • The Antigo Development Association, a group of Antigo businessmen, bought the mill and it was called the Wisconsin Timber and Land Co., Inc.
  • Roy Woodson, proprietor of the Flamingo Tavern explains why he moved to Mattoon from Racine
  • Raymond Burris explains why he moved to Mattoon after retiring from Chicago after seeing Mattoon when he was very young man

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The History of Newspapers in Mattoon.
Mattoon Clarion: Owner and Editor: Miss Lillian Brown. Ended 1901. She moved to Antigo with her mother. Later married and moved to Milwaukee? No information on who her father was. There was a doctor named Brown in Mattoon at one time.
J.H. (James) Fitzgibbon from Antigo 1901-1902. (Mattoon Herald published 1900 to 1906?)
Mattoon Republican: The Antigo Republican, November 6, 1902, page 5: "The first of the week we received No. 1, Vol. 1 of the Mattoon Republican. The paper makes a very creditable appearance and starts out with a good advertising patronage. Success to you, Republican."
The Antigo Republican, October 13, 1904. Fitzgibbon. Mattoon Herald. Fire destroy paper building. Fire hose cut. Press saved. Later press blown up by someone with dynamite.
The Antigo Republican, December 22, 1904, Charles E. Loper began publishing the Mattoon Herald but a few weeks later Fitzgibbon took over again, this time publishing in Aniwa while also covering Mattoon news.
The Weekly News Item, October 13, 1905, page 8, "The Mattoon Herald, after a very notable career during the past several years has been sold by its proprietor J.H. Litzgibbon to Bert S. Day."
The Antigo Republican, November 9, 1905, The Republican noted the publication of the first copy of the Mattoon Times but did not indicate the publisher or editor. (Published Nov 1905 to 1918?)
The Weekly News Item copied several news items from the "Mattoon Times" during 1906.
The Antigo Republican, April 12, 1906, page 5, "J.H. Fitzgibbon, publisher of the Aniwa Enterprise and Mattoon Herald was a business and social visitor Tuesday. Mr. Fitzgibbon has had more libel suits on his hands than any other publisher in the state, but so far has not been imprisoned or has had a judgement rendered against him. - Central Wisconsin"
The Antigo Republican, January 3, 1907, page 5, "We are in receipt of a copy of the Mattoon Times which is now published by Russell J. Juno. This paper has had many ups and downs during its brief existence and we trust that under new management its career maybe all ups and judging from the initial issue we believe he will make the venture a successful one."
The Weekly News Item, January 4, 1907, page 5, "Russel J. Jueno is now editor and publisher of the Mattoon Times, and the first number under his management proves him to be one that understands how to get out a good paper."
The Weekly News Item, October 24, 1911, Two articles. The Mattoon Times under new management. Publisher J.V. Bickhart. Visited editor of WNI. In 1913 W.T. Pahr was the editor.
The Weekly News Item, November 14, 1919, page 5, "Mattoon is to have a new paper to be called the Shawano County Press, N.P. Browning Publisher. Mr. Browning formerly published a paper in North Dakota, but suspended publication on account of the antics of the non-partisan league, which gives all legal publication, to but one paper in each county." The Weekly News Item, May 14, 1920 said the paper had moved to the city of Shawano and became the Shawano County Leader in May 1920. (Published 6 Nov 1919 to 1 Apr 1920?)
The Weekly News Item, August 30, 1934, page 1, "A new weekly newspaper is being started in Mattoon this week by Dale C. Hickok of Shawano. The first issue of the paper, which Mr. Hickok has name 'The Monitor,' will appear this week." (Published 30 Aug 1934 to 1935?)

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