Rib Lake Herald unless otherwise noted. By: R. P. Rusch and Cindy A. Sommer Updated to: May 4, 2009 Explanatory note



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RLH: MOVERS AND SHAKERS: CAST OF CHARACTERS

TO EARLY RIB LAKE HISTORY

Data is from the Rib Lake Herald unless otherwise noted.

By: R.P. Rusch and Cindy A. Sommer

Updated to: May 4, 2009
Explanatory note: The authors have scanned thousands of photos and documents of Rib Lake history on a series of CDs. Each item is indexed and assigned a number. Such item is referenced here by its identification number, e.g. 10999. See the Rib Lake Public Library for details.
I. JOHN J. KENNEDY “J.J.”






  • Founder of Rib Lake.

  • Born December, 1843, in Canada1.

  • Immigrated to U.S. in 1860. By Oct. 30, 1876, is married and living in Spencer, WI.

  • Died April 12, 1928, at his home in Portland, Oregon.

  • Married Flora M. McLennan.

  • 11/7/1880, Star News: “J.J. Kennedy and brothers will lumber on Yellow River in this [Taylor] county the coming winter.”

  • 4/23/1881, Star News: “The Kennedy brothers, who have been putting in logs on the north fork of the Yellow River [in Taylor County], left a crew of men to take advantage of the flood.”

  • 10/1/1881, Star News: “Work on the Kennedy brothers’ mill at Rib Lake, in the Town of Chelsea [sic] is being rapidly pushed forward. A road has been cut to the mill site. It will be graded and turn-piked and fitted for use both in summer and winter. The mill is expected to start operating 10/29/1881.”

  • “In November, 1881, J.J. transferred his lumber enterprise from Spencer to Rib Lake,” RLHe 12/20/1912

  • 12/2/1881: First log sawed at Kennedy’s sawmill at Rib Lake, according to Ray Voemastek, #12285. In the History of Rib Lake by Guy Wallace, #11889B, Wallace explains that in the summer of 1881 J.J. Kennedy had a chance meeting with George Curtis of the Curtis & Carpenter Lumber Firm of Wausau; J.J. explained his intention to open up a lumber mill east of Prentice:

“Curtis then told him he could make him a real proposition, as they were planning on putting a large mill in a big tract of pine just east of Chelsea, and if J.J. would go in there, the company would build the mill and he could saw their pine out by the thousand and buy up pine for himself.

“The result was that J.J. took the next train back [to Spencer] and Curtis, J.J. Kennedy, and A.J. Perkins started out from Medford on the old Wausau tote road, on horseback, and landed on the shores of Rib Lake, and after looking the job over, came to the agreement which resulted in J.J. Kennedy starting the mill which he ran and afterwards bought for himself.”



  • Buys first Rib Lake land on 12/9/1881 on the shores of Rib Lake.

  • 4/5/1882: Buys 40 quarter quarters (40s) of land, 1600 acres, in Town 33 and 32 and Ranges 32 and 33 North. Deed reads: “…J.J. Kennedy of Village of Spencer…” Marathon County, Wisconsin. See #10959.

  • 8/9/1882: [SIC; THIS PRINTED DATE SHOULD READ 1881, NOT 1882.] “Mr. Angus Kennedy came to Rib Lake on the 9th of August, 1882, with his brother J.J. Kennedy and several men. That year was known for its wet fall and work on the log boarding house, log barn and subsequently the sawmill, progressed very slowly.” Rib Lake Herald, May 15, 1903.

  • 12/13/1886: J.J. & seven other people incorporated the Medford Land and Mining Company of Medford, Wisconsin; “…for the purpose of buying, selling and dealing in real estate, exploring and mining for iron and other minerals.”

  • 12/23/1886: With others, incorporated the Medford Union Mining Company

  • In the Panic of 1897, suffers financial disaster.

  • 10/27/1897: The Phillips Bee reports: “Fire on Monday evening destroyed the large sawmill of J.J. Kennedy at Rib Lake, together with 75,000 feet of lumber. The loss is estimated at $87,000 with partial insurance…”

  • 6/29/1899: Incorporates J.J. Kennedy Lumber Company with A.W. Sanborn & Angus Kennedy.

  • Intimately and actively involved in running his lumber business.

  • In 1902, heads successful efforts to incorporate Village of Rib Lake.

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