B. 1828 D. 1897
Charles MAGEE (1828 - 1897)
Shawano County Journal - Thursday, Feb. 11, 1897
DEATH OF CHARLES MAGEE - Charles Magee, one of the earliest and most respected citizens in Shawano county, died after a long illness from heart disease Saturday morning. In the death of Mr. Magee Shawano suffers a real loss, as he has ever been identified with the very best interests of the city, the county and the town of Richmond, in which he lived. In the 36 years spent in Shawano county he has made a wide acquaintance, and in his associations in business and among friends his honesty, integrity and real worth have made for him a reputation for good that will be handed down for generations.
Perhaps the high regard in which Mr. Magee was held was best represented by the large number of old settlers who attended his funeral. There were gathered together the oldest settlers from all parts of the county to do reverence and honor in the observance of the last rites of a fellow citizen and comrade. There were men present who had come up the Wolf river in the days when Wisconsin was a territory and who had grown gray-haired in molding the history of our commonwealth. It was an impressive sight to see the pall bearers and many of the oldest citizens gaze with suppressed but genuine and heartfelt emotion upon the face of one who had shared with them the trials, hardships and privations which confronted the earliest settlers of Shawano. It was in such days as those that a man's genuine worth was sure to come to the front, and at the funeral services Monday afternoon there were none who did not consider it a real privilege to share the grief sustained by all the county in the loss of such a man as Charles Magee.
It is true, perhaps, that there is little to write of exciting adventure in the biography of Mr. Magee, but there is that of far greater importance, the record of a self-made man, battling from the start with disadvantages and obstacles, and in every instance emerging with a clean record of such sterling qualities as have made the lives of American pioneers the noblest, most patriotic and most fearless since the days of our Puritan ancestors. Charles Magee, Sr., as he was generally known, was born April 28, 1828, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, the son of John and Susanna Cook Magee.
During his early youth, Mr. Magee was unable to receive many educational advantages, but there is no doubt but what he made the very best of every opportunity offered. Until he was 22 years of age he worked off the farm and helped his parents in providing for a family of 10 children. When he was 22 years old he began to work on the Northern railroad of Canada, where he had a large variety of experiences. In 1851 he was married to Miss Margaret Thompson, who lived near Toronto, and during his entire life his wife had been a veritable help-meet in aiding a strong, persevering nature in the continuous struggles of a pioneer life. For several years Mr. Magee was employed in the construction of Canadian railroads and in 1853 came to Wisconsin. Shortly after his arrival here he sent for his wife and child and was one of the first pioneer settlers in Two Rivers.
Late in the '50's, the exact year being a matter of considerable discussion among the old settlers here, he came to Shawano, bringing with him his family and personal effects in a large canvas-covered wagon, drawn by a yoke of oxen. Mr. Magee made a temporary home in an old log cabin erected by Judge Haber, Mr. Magee later built a log cabin of his own, and when the homestead act was passed in 1862 he took up an 80 acre claim in the town of Richmond, opposite the farm of Levi Whitehouse. Here he lived for ten years. It was some several days ago that the writer of this article was a guest at the home of Mr. Whitehouse and the conversation drifted to the illness and life of Mr. Magee, Mr. Whitehouse spoke of the late deceased as a near neighbor for a decade and a friend of a long lifetime. In speaking of Mr. Magee, Mr. Whitehouse attributed to him all of those endearing qualities necessary to a loving father, a generous, helpful neighbor and a true Christian citizen. In 1891 he moved to the present family residence which he erected at that time, and in which he lived until the time of his death. Mr. Magee was one of the best known lumbermen on the Wolf river and was respected and revered by all who knew him. He was a member of the Shawano Presbyterian church, in which he occupied a prominent place for years. While not actively engaged in politics, he was a staunch Republican and true to the principles of the party.
He leaves besides his wife, 7 children; Mrs. August Anderson, Mrs. John C. Black, Mrs. William Gibbs, Mrs. Henry Seering, Mr. James Magee, Mr. George Magee, and Mr. Charles Magee. Funeral services were held at the family home Monday afternoon, Rev. Mr. H. O. Bethel officiating. Mr. Bethel spoke with much feeling of the prominence of Mr. Magee as a history maker of Shawano county and touched upon many of the attributes of his Christian character, as a father and a man. There was singing by the quartet of the Presbyterian church. The pall bearers were chosen from personal friends of Mr. Magee and were all pioneer settlers and co-laborers with Mr. Magee in the transforming of Shawano from a mere trading post to the county seat of one of the most prosperous counties in the state. The bearers were; Almon M. Andrews, Orlin Andrews, J. L. Whitehouse, Sr., Thomas Ainsworth, John A. Winans and John M. Schweers. The interment was in the family lot, a very large number of friends attending the burial services and forming one of the longest funeral processions in the history of Shawano.
Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano, containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of many of the Early Settled Families.
Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co 1895
Copied & transcribed by Elaine O' Leary
Pgs 944 - 45
CHARLES MAGEE, SR., has for thirty-three years been connected with the lumber business in Shawano county, and his well-spent life and sterling worth have gained him the high regard of all with whom he has come in contact. He was born April 28, 1828, in Kingston, Canada, and is a son of John and Susanna (Cook) Magee, both of whom were natives of County Cavan, Ireland. In their family were the following named children - Charles, John, Robert, Dick, Joe, Kittie, Bessie, Hannah, Susie and Martha.
Our subject received but meager school privileges, for the schoolhouse was a long distance from his home, and as he was one of a large family his services were needed in the development and improvement of the new farm. He followed farm work until twenty-two years of age, and then began work on the Northern railroad in Upper Canada. On September 15, 1851, he was married, in Upper Canada, to Miss Margaret Thompson, who was born May 18, 1833, twenty miles north of Toronto, daughter of George Thompson, who came from County Monaghan, Ireland. After his marriage Mr. Magee located in Newmarket, Canada, and worked on the railway. Later he was employed on the construction of the Grand Trunk railway, taking a contract for building three miles of the road, near Guelph, Canada. In 1853 he came to Wisconsin, and six weeks after his arrival sent for his wife and child, the family being among the piooneer settlers of Two Rivers, Manitowoc county, which was their home until September, 1861. With an ox-team and a large covered lumber wagon he then moved his family to Shawano, taking nine days to make the trip, for he had to follow a very circuitous route, few roads having then been laid out.
Mr. Magee had disposed of his land in Manitowoc county, and on reaching this place he made a temporary home in a partially finished house on a lot that was given him by H. C. Naber, who was then making an addition to Shawano, and giving away lots in order to induce settlers to locate here. Our subject built a log cabin, in which he spent the winter of 1861-62, and when the homestead act was passed in the latter year he secured an eighty-acre claim in Section 13, Richmond township. He had previously located on the bank of the Wolf river, but when the bridge leading to his home was swept away he settled on his claim, and for seven years lived in the house, which he there erected; during that time he was profitably engaged in lumbering. In the fall of 1871 he removed to the township of Richmond, on a farm covered with a second growth of timber, and surrounded by a pole fence. He erected the first building upon that tract of 100 acres, and it has since been his place of residence.
While living in Canada Mr. and Mrs. Magee had a daughter, Elizabeth, who became the wife of William Ainsworth, and died in Angelica, Wis. Since their arrival in the United States the family circle has been increased by the birth of the following children: James, who is successfully engaged in the lumber business, and has a good home near his father; Martha. S., wife of August Anderson, of Richmond township, Shawano county; Mary A., wife of John C. Black, of Shawano; George, who is engaged in the lumber business; Charles W., foreman of the Winneconne Lumber Co., of Shawano; Letitia, who died in infancy; Margaret, wife of William Gibbs, of Shawano; and Beatrice M., a teacher in the high school of Shawano. Another member of the family is Grace E., the only child of their eldest daughter, who has lived with them since she was fourteen months old. Besides the property previously mentioned Mr. Magee owns seventy acres of rich land. His possessions have all been acquired through his own efforts, and untiring industry, enterprise and good management have brought to him a success of which he may well be proud. He takes an interest in the success of the Republican party, which he supports by his ballot; but has never been an office-seeker. He and his wife hold membership with the Presbyterian Church of Shawano, and he has served as one of its officers. The family is one of prominence in the community, its members holding a high position in social circles and none are more worthy of representation in this volume than the Magees.
From the Oshkosh Northwestern, 1877:
The Shawano Journal gives the following account of the fire scare in that city last week:
For the past four days our citizens have been considerably excited over the fires which have been raging about three-fourths of a mile north and northwest of this city. On Thursday a strong northwest wind spread the fire very rapidly causing a “big scare.” Word was received that help was needed to keep the fire from crossing the river near C.D. Wescott’s and from crossing the road near Chas. Magee’s. A large number of our citizens turned out with pails, shovels and hoes. ... The fire near Charles Magee’s house was also controlled and no damage done. If the fire had got into the dry stubble it would have been hard work, with such a strong wind, to have saved the city from total destruction.
There are fires raging in the woods in almost every direction, and an immense