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People Histories

Joseph Trepania
 (abt. 1815 - 18991)

-As transcribed from the "COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF THE UPPER LAKES REGION"

by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 88 - 89


Joseph Trepania (deceased) for many years a resident of Spring Brook, Washburn county, was born at Three Rivers, Quebec, about 1815.  His parents were Canadians, of French descent, and he was brought up in Canada where he received a limited education.

About the year 1843 Joseph Trepania came to Wisconsin, and for a short time was located at Prairie du Chien.  He then went to Chippewa Falls, which at that time contained but one log house, where he was employed by Gilbert Brothers, Colton & Moses, and the Union Lumber Co., as overseer of their drives on the Chippewa and Yellow rivers.  He continued in the employ of these and other firms for about fifteen years, receiving as much as fifteen dollars a day for his services.  He then bought a farm above Chippewa Falls, and while developing this land also carried on an Indian trading store.  These enterprises he conducted successfully until 1880, when he moved to Rice Lake, Barron county, where he bought, cleared and cultivated a farm of 200 acres.  Although successful at farming, his preference was for lumbering, and in 1881 he disposed of the Rice Lake farm and came to Spring Brook, the railroad having been built through that year.  Taking up a homestead, which is now the townsite of Spring Brook, he at once engaged in logging, building on his own responsibility two dams on Devil's Creek, in the Sawyer County Reservation, in order to raise the water sufficiently to float out the logs.  He met with great success in this business, in which he has actively engaged until compelled by age to retire.

Mr. Trepania married in 1851 or 1852, Margaret De Marie, daughter of Louis De Marie, one of the early French traders, who built the first house in Chippewa Falls.  To this union were born two children, namely:  Mary, now Mrs. Ferguson, of Spring Brook; and Alfred, of the same place, who is mentioned below.  Before her marriage Mrs. Trepania and a girl companion had an exciting adventure in being fired upon by a band of hostile Sioux, while crossing the Chippewa river in a canoe.

Mr. Trepania was a Republican in politics, and a representative man of the locality.  During his residence at Chippewa Falls, he served several terms as supervisor.  He died in 1899 and is buried on the Reservation in Sawyer county, in a spot selected by himself.  Mrs. Trepania is living with her son in Spring Brook.

Louis DeMarie, father of Mrs. Trepania, was a native of Montreal, and when a young man entered the employ of the Hudson Bay Co., trading through the Northwest region as far as Manitoba and the Rocky Mountains.  While at Grand Forks, N. Dak., he married Angelina Collins, a half breed Cree woman, and they had a family of five daughters and three sons.  Of them the only survivor is Baptiste, who is living on the Reservation.  Mr. DeMarie finally settled in the Chippewa country, where he died about 1860.  Mrs. DeMarie lived to be 103 years of age, dying in 1893 at Chippewa Falls.



1 - Editorial Note - As stated on Alfred Trepania's bio, there is a death record on file in Washburn Co. for an Alfred Trepanier who died on 05 Nov 1899.  There is also a death record for one Joseph Trepanier who is stated to have died on 26 Oct 1900 (Volume 3, page 59 of the Washburn Co. ROD Death Records).  Could this be the above named Joseph Trepania?  


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