I saw some time ago in the Forest Republican that you people in Laona were planning a big 4th celebration and making it something of a 50 year get together meeting. I was very much in hopes to be able to attend same but fear I am not going to get to Crandon as soon as we had planned but if I do get there before the 4th I will likely be in Laona for the celebration.
Of course you are wondering who I may be and why I would so like to be there that day – I was Laona’s first school teacher, I taught in a small log building in what I think is now called Lower Laona. There were just thirteen buildings in the town including depot, saloons, hotel, section boss’ house and one or two other buildings. We did not have a black board in the school (but did have three charts); everyone who owned a school book donated it to the use of the children. A Mr. Edwards was depot agent. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald ran the hotel with saloon in connection. Mr. Johnson was section when I arrived in Laona. We left Crandon in a one horse sleigh about 10 a.m. and arrived in Laona about 4 p.m. over a road which was little better than a trail and there was a new 6 inch fall of snow which also retarded fast going.
I saw also in the Forest Republican recently a local concerning Father John Hughes. I wonder if he could be the John Hughes who was my oldest and tallest pupil. He had several brothers and sisters in the school; I remember little Clarence well as he was always scraping – especially with Ray Johnson, until he gave Ray a bloody nose and I made him help Ray wash up. Then there was Helen McDonald and Guy and Maude Delamater.
I will never forget how kind all the folks in Laona were to me. After a big snow someone would have a path opened up to the school house and if we had a bad cold snap my fire was built and room warmed up.
While I was there a Sunday School was organized. I was appointed Superintendent. Some Sundays no one came and sometimes a number of “lumberjacks” came and if any of them are in Laona on the 4th I would like to thank them for the help they gave me, especially in the singing. Of course we had no organ and I must say I could never carry a tune. They were always very nice.
The spring I was there ground was broken for the Connor Store, the mill had not been built then. Si Howes, a Crandon neighbor was lineman between Crandon and Laona. As there were no taxis, busses or street cars, it took three days at that time to make the trip to Crandon by train. I asked him to let me go back home on foot with him (it was a 16 mile walk) he was rather doubtful if I could make it but he finally consented and I made the trip ok. I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Delemater, who had the post office. Among the other citizens I remember were Mr. and Mrs. W. Traynor (he was away getting married the day I arrived in Laona), Mr. McGuire, Miss Dora Smith, Morgan McHugh, a brother, old Mr. McHugh and Grandma McHugh and the Hughes family.
I was never called anything by anyone in Laona but “teacher”. I often wonder whether any of the folks I knew are still alive and if so, whether any are still in Laona? I am writing this hoping if any old timers I knew are there I would like to say “hello” to them. Hoping the Laona 4th will be a grand success and thanking the Connor Company for leaving that strip of virgin timber between Crandon and Laona.
Mrs. Guy “Mabel Osborne” Jacks