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Mattoon Area Timeline

Mattoon Timeline
The following synopsis of information comes mostly from the following sources:

1. Antigo Daily Journal, November, 1998, Prime Time Supplement, "Mattoon has rich lumbering, rail history."
2. Antigo Daily Journal, November, 2001, Prime Time Supplement, "Community named in honor of George B. Mattoon.
3. Land Book of the Wisconsin Timber and Land Company.
4. Tom Sasse's Web Site
5. Book: The Railroads of Wisconsin 1827-1937
This section is under construction. There is confusion among sources on these dates and I am trying to sort them out!

1873. The Shawano County Board created the Town of Almon, which area also contained the present day townships of Aniwa, Birnamwood and Hutchins. Village later renamed Mattoon.

1875. Village named Rockville founded and named after the many large granite rocks found in the area. Town of Hutchins named after T.L.K. Hutchins.

1880. 1880 Town of Hutchinson Census

1881. George B. Mattoon starts the Mattoon Manufacturing Company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

1883. The present day Town of Birnamwood was detached from the Town of Almon.

1883. (See 1888 when my great-great-grandfather came to Mattoon to superintend the sawmill building.) George B. Mattoon comes to Rockville to start a lumber mill, a veneer mill, and a shingle mill to supply his furniture factory in Sheboygan. (1883 date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1883. (Date could be 1889 or 1892.) The Milwaukee, Lake Shore, & Western Railroad constructed a private spur line for George B. Mattoon from Aniwa to Mattoon. (1883 date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1884. (Date could be 1890 or 1893 or 1895.) Because of pleas from other mill owners in Mattoon one year later the spur line became a common carrier so they could also ship their wares to market. (1884 date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1885. The present day Town of Aniwa was detached from the Town of Hutchins on May 5th.

1885. Approximate start of Mattoon Hardware Store. Closed in 1930's.

1886. Mattoon Manufacturing Company is incorporated. (Date from Sheboygan Bio.)

1887. Mattoon's Sheboygan factory burns down. He immediately rebuilds. (Date from Sheboygan Bio.)

1887. Wisconsin and Timber Land Company founded. (Date/info on Besse Forest Products Group Web Site.) "It originally manufactured cheese boxes, barrel staves, and shooks. It first produced hardwood plywood in 1906."

1888. James Weeks III and family moved to Mattoon to superintended the building of the Mattoon Manufacturing Company saw mill. (Date from Biography of James Weeks III.)

1889. Railroad tracks laid between Aniwa and Mattoon (about 9 miles of track leased from the MLS & W Railroad.) (Date from Sasse's Web Site.)

1892. Railroad tracks laid between Aniwa and Mattoon. (9.59 miles) (1892 date from Wis. Railroad History Book)

1893. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad bought the Milwaukee, Lake Shore, & Western Railroad and then bought the rail bed from George B. Mattoon. The bed was built across privately owned lands and at various points it was necessary to stop trains, get out, and open and close gates. There was a swamp that the tracks had to built around between the two places where the track crossed County Hightway "Z." There was a stiff grade to climb just west of the village ( Sasse's Web Site says southeast.) where only four or five cars could be hauled over it at the same time (Date from George A. Fuhrman article and other sources. Other information from newspaper articles.)

1895. Under re-incorporation, the Mattoon Manufacturing Company changes the name of the Mattoon factory to the Wisconsin Timber and Land Company while the Sheboygan factory name remains the same. The Mattoon Railway Company was also started at this time. The railroad had two, sometimes, three locomotives. (1895 date from George A. Fuhrman article.) (Sasse's Web Site gives date of Feb 28, 1895 railway incorporated as a common carrier.)

1896. Railroad tracks laid between Mattoon and Mattoon Junction. (6.60 miles) (Date from Wis. Railroad History Book) (Date not given for eastward spur in book. Sasse's Web Site gives date of 1906? Probably earlier.)

1898. Railroad spur eastward to Weikel's Mill laid. (1898 date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1899. Railroad spur eastward laid to section 35. (1899 date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1899. The Antigo Manufacturing Co. started a plant in Mattoon which produced barrel staves and broom handles of maple and basswood. It closed about 1900.

1901. Weikel's Mill track to Section 35 tracks pulled up and relaid from Dabill's Junction to Beecher Dam. (Date from George A. Fuhrman article.)

1902. Railroad tracks laid between Mattoon and Mattoon Junction. (See 1896. 1902 date from Sasse's Web Site.) These tracks were leased from the C. & N.W.

1904. In April my great-grandfather, Hiram J. Weeks is elected Mattoon Village President.

1904. George B. Mattoon dies in July. After his death the company is renamed the Northern Furniture Company.

1904. On October 13, fire destroyed the Mattoon Herald newspaper building operated by James H. Fitzgibbon. During the fire someone cut the fire hose. The press was saved but later it was blown up by someone with dynamite. Fitzgibbon had many enemies and was sued many times by them for things he wrote about them in his newspapers.

1906. The Mattoon Manufacturing Company is renamed the Wisconsin Timber & Land Co. (1906 date from Sasse's Web Site. This 1906 date is incorrect and should be 1895 re-incorporation date.) (It should read The Mattoon Manufacturing Company of Sheboygan in 1906 was renamed the Northern Furniture Company. The Wisconsin Timber & Land Co. in Mattoon was renamed Wisconsin Veneer & Plywood, Inc. in 1988 when bought by Besse Forest Products Group.

1906. Original Mattoon saw mill, that James Weeks III superintended the building of, burns down. It was located just to the west of the present mill in Mattoon. A railway plow was used to clear the tract to Aniwa to get help to fight the fire. The train made the trip in nine minutes over a rough road bed.

1906. The Mattoon State Bank founded by Walter B. Kramer.

1912. The Mattoon Railway discontinued operations and reverted under leasing agreements to the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad ownership and operation. (1912 date from several sources.)

1912. My grandfather, James Weeks, moves his family to Antigo. Around this time his father, Hiram, and grandfather James III move to Oconto. Arvin Weeks is the only Weeks family remaining in Mattoon.

1916. The C. & N.W. abandoned about a mile of track at Mattoon Junction. (1916 date Sasse's Web Site.)

1916. The Reiss Family of Sheboygan buys the Northern Furniture Company.

1931. Late October. Body of a female about 30 years-of-age found five miles south of Mattoon on County Highway "D." She was shot just below one eye, was nude, and stuffed in a burlap bag.

1931. Early November. Mattoon State Bank was burglarized by a professional gang that got away with $4,500 which was a lot of money during this Great Depression time.

1933. Railroad tracks removed between Mattoon and Mattoon Junction. (9.13 miles) (Date from Wis. Railroad History Book) (Sasse's Web Site gives 1935 date.)

1997. The Pineries Bank is started by Paul C. Adamski.

1940s. Railroad tracks removed between Aniwa and Mattoon. (Sasse's Web Site gives early 1950's date.)

1988. Besse Forest Products Group bought Wisconsin and Timber Company. Named changed to Wisconsin, Veneer & Plywood, Inc.

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