Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

People Histories

William Henry Todd
 (19 Nov 1826 - 09 Jun 19131)


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

pages 496 - 497

William Henry Todd, a successful and influential citizen of Long Lake, Washburn county, where he was among the pioneers, was born in County Shefford, Quebec, Nov. 19, 1826.  His parents were Simon and Anna (Wood) Todd.

Grandfather William Todd came from Ireland with the noted foundryman, Tyson, by whom he was employed, locating ore, for some years.  Later he founded the village of Union, N. Y., where he owned and operated a sawmill.  His son, Simon Todd, was born in Union Village, but went in early life to Canada, never returning to claim his inheritance.  He was a born hunter and trapper, and spent five years in the wilderness, after his marriage settling on a farm in County Shefford.  He was an active man until his death, which was caused by an accident when he was nearly ninety years old.  His wife survived him several years, passing away at the age of seventy-seven.  Her mother, Hannah Wood, was of Scotch descent; James Henry Wood, father of Mrs. Anna Todd, was an Englishman, who settled in Vermont, near Lake Champlain.  During the war of 1812 his property was confiscated and he was obliged to move into Canada, locating in West Shefford, where he lived to be eighty-nine years of age.  He was a quiet, unobtrusive man.

Of the thirteen children of Simon and Anna (Wood) Todd, the only one in Wisconsin is William Henry Todd.  He left home at the age of eighteen, and went to Vermont, where he worked at the shoemaker's trade in winter, and on a farm during the summer.  Later for ten years he was employed at bridge building on the Vermont Central and other railroads, then in course of construction.  In 1854 he went to Batavia, ill., where he did some building; he then spent a short time in Freeport, Ill., and in 1856 went to Eau Claire, Wis.  The Eau Claire Lumber Company was then laying out the town, and for one season Mr. Todd carried on its boarding house.  He was in the employ of this company ten years, building the first bridge over the Eau Claire river; he built booms in summer and did logging in winter.  He bought a farm near Eau Claire, which he cultivated for some years, and also acquired a second farm, but most of his time was spent in erecting and moving buildings in the city.  About 1884 he located in Washburn county, taking up a homestead claim in section 26, Town 38, Range 11, on the shore of Long Lake.  There being no road nearer than the foot of the lake, seven miles from this claim, he drove in over the ice and built a shanty.  A few years later he drew his timber twenty-five miles to a sawmill, afterward dressing it by hand, and built his present residence, a substantial three-story frame building, situated to command a magnificent view of the lake.  His farm now includes about 200 acres, of which twenty-five are under cultivation; the house is surrounded by hardwood groves, containing maple, butternut, walnut and other hardwood trees.

Mr. Todd was married at Alburg, Vt., Feb. 3, 1851, to Harriet Donaldson, daughter of Nathan and Luna Donaldson, of Caldwell Manor, near Clarenceville, Quebec.  Mrs. Todd was the first white woman in Eau Claire.  Mr. and Mrs. Todd have the following children:  Charlotte (Mrs. Bell), Amanda, Henry, Nathan, Albert, George, Monroe, Charles and Emma, (Mrs. F. A. Youngs, of Rice Lake), all but the last named being residents of Long Lake township.  They also have a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Mr. Todd and his descendants are noted for regular and temperate habits.  For many years Mr. Todd and his sons filled logging contracts each winter, and he has assisted his sons to acquire good homes in the neighborhood.  Mr. Todd has always been a Democrat in political principle, and though he sometimes supports other candidates he is considered one of the most influential members of his party in Washburn county.  It was through his influence that Madge postoffice was established in 1894, and he served four years as postmaster.  He was chairman of the town board of Long Lake for four years, and was instrumental in getting most of the roads laid out in the northern part of the township.  By vigorous and timely effort he circumvented a movement to have the county divided, making two trips to Madison for that purpose, and circulating among his neighbors a remonstrance against the proposed measure.  In early life Mr. Todd was a member of the Universalist Church at Ludlow, Vt., where for several years he sang in the choir.

1 - Editorial Note - Mr. Todd's death date was derived from the Washburn Co. Register of Deeds Death Index. The death record is on file at the Register of Deeds Office in Shell Lake, in Volume 6, page 112.  He was buried in the Madge Cemetery.


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