Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Katlynn44
Andrew Tainter (July 6 1823 - October 18, 1899) was a man from a hard working family, who made a name for himself in the logging industry here in Menomonie. Before he became a person with a name that meant something in a small town, he worked hard to provide for himself and his family.
Andrew Tainter: his Early Years
Born in Salina, New York in early July of 1823, Andrew was the oldest of eleven children of Ezekial Tainter and Ruth Burnham. During his childhood, Andrew didn’t get to see his father a lot while Ezekial was out logging, and doing other work, in order to provide for his family. While working hard, it involved moving. So Ruth, Andrew and his three sisters in 1828 followed Ezekial to Prairie du Chien, where they all did services for Fort Crawford such as “cut hay for the horses, provided wood for building and fire, provided garden produce and dairy products, and maintained and informal ‘tavern’”. While being in Salina, Andrew only attended one year of school and went on and off for two years in Prairie du Chien. Tainter, worked with his father until he was 21. He then left with his grandfather, Stephen Tainter, to a pinery near Chippewa Falls where, during the summer and fall of 1845, he cut hay. He returned the next spring and worked for Ben Brunston. Then in 1846, Andrew came to area now known as Menomonie and worked alongside a man named Blois Hurd in a mill in Irvine Creek. The following year his grandfather, Stephen Tainter, passed away. Tainter and Hurd worked both together and separately for Knapp & Wilson. For most of that winter, 1947-48, Andrew logged about 20 miles North on Menomonie, where he also made himself a small mill to cut the logs which were bought by Knapp & Wilson for a dam they planned to make for their own mill. They then “contracted with Tainter to cut logs above Prairie Farm and deliver them”. Eventually, the partnership between Hurd and Tainter fell apart and Andrew went to Lake Poskin where he opened a winter logging camp. That winter, Tainter managed to cut three times as many logs than his agreement with Wilson, and managed to drive all the wood to Menomonie. For a few years he even had his own camp, he then moved to different camps to supervise and coordinate the work at logging camps. Other jobs he had includes supervising river driving operations, thinking of new ways to get more logs, as safely as possible I assume, moving in the water at once, supervised dam building, and located places for new camps to be started. If that wasn’t enough, when Knapp, Stout & Co. Company bought a riverboat, he also became captain of it.
In the winter of 1849, Andrew “took for his wife an Ojibwa girl, Mary Poskin Goose” (Hirsch, 2000). He then built a house in the spring of 1850 for the both of them in Menomonie. Late in the summer that same year, Knapp and Wilson were not able to pay Tainter, so they were made to bring him into partnership with them. Andrew and his family lived in Menomonie for about a year then “built a house for his family at Poskin Lake near his winter camp and near Mary’s people”. Mary and Andrews marriage only lasted nines but, in that time they managed to have five kids – Julia, William, Charlotte, Thomas and Eliza; based on what I found, Julia, William and Thomas didn’t live very long, only 10, 7, and I believe as an infant or at birth, respectfully. The reasons for the lack of successfulness for this marriage is the differences in how the kids should be raised, where they should live and just personal differences in general. After the separation, Andrew got custody of their children. During his marriage with Mary, Tainter worked as a general boss of the logging parts of Knapp, Stout & Co. Company. Shortly after his separation with Mary, Andrew hired Bertha Lucas Lesure to care for his children at Read’s Landing. Two years later, they married and built a house for themselves in Menomonie. The two of them had five kids – Louis, Ruth (who died at age eight), Mabel (passed away at nineteen and of course being the person who the Mabel Tainter Theater is in memory of), Irene (passed as an infant) and Fanny. Both Louis and Fanny both living their lives as happy and energetic.
Parts of the late sixties and a good part of the seventies, a lot of Andrew’s more southern Wisconsin based relatives moved up to Menomonie and many of them were hired at Knapp, Stout & Co. Company. During this time he also became more socially involved with the higher classes of Menomonie and also took an interest in horses. He bought trotters and pacers and also thoroughbred horses of all kinds. He eventually bought more than a thousand acres of land and raised a variety of animals including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and of course horses. His farm, known as Oaklawn, became famous across the state, drawing the attention of Wisconsin governors and stockmen from the whole country. While Tainter may have liked to relax with his animals, it didn’t stop him from working. Continuing into the seventies and early eighties, he negotiated the purchase of pine lands from Cornell University, supervised improvements on rivers and streams also the building of several mills, and over saw logging and river driving operations.
onfire4jesus (photographer). (2008). Dr. Stephen Tainter Revolutionary War Veteran [Image. Retrieved from http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3J21_Dr_Stephen_Tainter_Revolutionary_War_Veteran]