Chester and Martha Eastman Starks: Chester Otis Starks, the son of Levi M. and Saphrona
(Merrihew) Starks, was born April 4, 1852, at Weyauwega, Wisconsin. Chester married Martha
F. Eastman, February 27, 1870, at Weyauwega. Martha, the daughter of Aquilla and Cynthia
(Crawford) Eastman, was born April 9, 1852, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Chester and Martha
had four children: Effie May Starks, Mary Lucinda “Mae” Starks, Levi Wesley Starks, and John
Otis Starks. Chester and Martha moved to Langlade County in 1878 and eventually settled on a
small farm near Polar. Chester’s parents, Levi and Saphrona, also moved to Polar.
After Saphrona’ death in 1888, Levi moved to Kansas where he farmed until his death in 1903.
As the children left home they remained in the Antigo area. During the period of 1899-1903, the
various members of the Starks family, including Chester, Martha and all of their children moved
to the Laona area. Members of the Starks family mostly settled S/W of Laona in the area now
Chester farmed, worked at logging and was a surveyor. He helped to survey the route north for
the Chicago & Northwestern Railway. During the time the family lived in Langlade County,
Chester would take extended trips north into the vast undeveloped areas. On these trips he
would hunt, trap, and pick ginseng, and would sell what he had gathered at one of several remote
outposts that existed at that time. He would then do the same on his was back home. Most
often he would send a letter home when he reached the furthest point on his trip. The following
is a transcription of one of those letters:
Chester Otis Starks died at Laona on July 21, 1915, at age 63. After Chester’s death, Martha lived with her daughter Effie in Laona until her death on November 4, 1938. Martha lived to be 86 years old.
Chester and Martha’s Children
Effie May Starks (Irish-Zahringer) 1872-1941
Effie May Starks was born July 23, 1871, at Freemont, Wisconsin. Effie married Henry
W. Irish, April 8, 1888 in Langlade County. The couple had two children: Myrtle G. Irish
born 1889, and Chester J. Irish, born 1891, both born in Langlade County. Effie and
Henry separated in 1897, and were divorced in June of 1899.
In August 1899, Effie married Matthew Zahringer. Matt was born 1878 at St. Johns,
Wisconsin and was the son of Wendlin and Mary Zahringer. Matt, Effie, and Effie’s two
children, Myrtle and Chester moved to Laona circa 1899. Matt and Effie owned and
operated the Hotel Zahringer and attached saloon until 1917 when the hotel was
destroyed by fire. The couple separated prior to 1918 when Matt married Floy M. Barnes.
Effie operated a boarding house in the former Riverside Hospital until her death in 1941.
Effie’s daughter, Myrtle Irish, married Fred Tomany in 1909, they had one child, Evelyn
M. Tomany born 1910, who married Alphonse Masse. Her second marriage was to
Earl “Griff” Milham in 1916 and they had one son, Earl H. Milham born 1917, who
married Margie Tyler.
Effie’s son, Chester J. Irish, married Mary A. Betker in 1911 and they had two sons,
John H. Irish and Harold C. Irish.
Mary Lucinda “Mae” Starks (Snow-Brewer) 1874-1913
Mary Lucinda “Mae” Starks was born January 25, 1874, in Waupaca County. She married
Ellihue B. Snow May 23,1892 in Langlade County and the couple had three children:
Martha (Irene) Snow born 1899 who married Roy Barnes, Ivy Snow born 1891who married
Parker Orr, and Edward A. Snow born 1891 who married Gertrude Pitzlen, all born in
Langlade County. The family moved to Laona circa 1900.
Her second marriage was to George Brewer in 1904 and they had two children: Burttie
Brewer born 1906 who married Raleigh Calhoun, and Arbor Brewer.
Mary L. “Mae” (Starks) Snow-Brewer died May 18, 1913.
Levi Wesley Starks 1877-1946
Levi Wesley Starks was born August 6, 1877 in Waupaca County. He married Mary J.
Flitcraft, the daughter of William and Isabella Flitcraft, at Bryant on April 13, 1898. The
couple moved to Laona circa 1900. The couple had four children: Alvie C. Starks born
1899 who married Marie A. Wilber, Oral A. Starks born 1903 who married Alice Snow,
Clyde L. Starks born 1907 who married Pearl Brooks, and Delight A. Starks born 1917
who married Melvin Kaatz.
The children of Levi and Mary Jane migrated west. The couple eventually relocated in
1946 to be near their family. Levi died September 26, 1946, at Goldendale, Washington.
Mary Jane died June 29, 1963, at Goldendale, Washington.
John Otis Starks 1879-1954
John Otis Starks was born September 20, 1878 at Polar in Langlade County. He married
Ada May Erickson, daughter of Knute and Ella Erickson, December 31, 1899 in Langlade
County. The marriage was witnessed by Ed Slimmer and Jennie Davis. They moved to
Laona circa 1900 and the couple had six children: Allen M. Starks born 1901, Verlin Starks
born 1903, who married Nellie Collins in 1923 and Dorothy Piepkorn in 1948, Eva Starks
born 1905 who married James Ross, Mercedes Starks born 1910 who married Louis
Beaudin in 1928 and James Baltus in 1955, Bonita Starks born 1911 who married Felix
Jackowski, and John A. Starks born in 1922 who married Jane M. Belongia.
John Otis Starks died October 6, 1954, at age 76. Ada May’s second marriage was to
William “Bill” Eastman. She died November 21, 1973, in Libby, Montana.
Two generations of famlies connected to the Chester and Martha Starks family include:
Beaudin, Baltus, Barnes, Betker, Belonga, Brewer, Brooks, Collins, Eastman, Erickson, Flitcraft, Jackowski, Irish, Kaatz, Milham, Orr, Piepkorn, Ross, Snow, Tomany, Wilber and Zahringer.