Bio: Nash, Thomas E. (1852 - 1917)

Contact: Stan.

Surnames: Nash, O’Conner, Vilas, Wood, Hussey, Scott, Bramham

----Source: History of Wood County, Wis. (1923) pages 312-313

Thomas E. Nash, now deceased, whose name occupies first position in the early history of a number of the foremost industries in this section of the country, and who brought honor to his state in holding several high offices with the Federal Government, was born April 4, 1852, in Zanesville, Ohio, son of Lawrence and Honora (O'Conner) Nash. He was educated in Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee, and then studied telegraphy while working with a railroad construction train. From 1866 to 1874 he worked as telegraph operator in Iowa and northern Minnesota; and for the Green Bay and Western Railway Co., and in 1874 he was appointed station agent for the latter company at Shiocton, Wis. In 1877 he went to Centralia in this capacity for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, then to Port Edwards, and, after 18 months there, to Remington, Wis., returning to Centralia as agent in 1881. In 1883 he was made traveling freight agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway and continued in that capacity until, in 1884, he was honored by election to the State Legislature; after its session in 1885 he was appointed Chief Clerk of the Post Office Department by Postmaster General Vilas, and a little later as Superintendent of Railway Mail Service. In 1888 he gave up his office to enter with his brother, J. L. Nash, in the purchase and operation of the Neeves Flour Mill, which stood on the site of the present swimming pool in Wis. Rapids. In 1889 he left this and built the Port Edwards, Centralia & Northern Railway, from Port Edwards to Marshfield, which is now a part of the "Soo" Lines system. In 1891 he started development of the Nekoosa Paper Company, having acquired soon after his return from Washington the site then known as Whitney Rapids, previously owned by George and F. J. Wood. He was president and manager of this mill from the time of its organization until 1908, when he left it to assist in the formation of the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co. Of this latter company he was president for many years from the time of its organization, but was prevented in his latter years from taking an active part in the direction of its affairs by failing health, and his brilliant career was terminated by his death on Dec. 15, 1917, which was a sad blow to the industries he had sponsored and which had for so long looked to him for guidance. Mr. Nash was married in 1874, to Miss Ella M. Hussey, and through this union was the father of six children: Nellie I., now Mrs. W. A. Scott, of Madison, Wis.; Guy, a graduate in chemistry with the first graduating class from the University of Wis., 1897, who has been prominent in the paper mill industry and other lines and is now engaged in cranberry growing near Biron, Wis.; James B., of Wis. Rapids; Edith, now Mrs. E. Bramham, of Oshkosh, Wis.; Royal F., who is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Leo, of Stamford, Conn. The mother of these children still resides in the home which became the family's in 1881. Mr. Nash was at one time the principal cranberry grower in the state of Wis., holding that distinction from 1875 until the destruction of his bogs by fire during the dry years of 1892 and 1893. He was interested with his sons, Guy and James B., and Senator William F. Vilas, in the Nash Lumber Company, with timber holdings in Ashland and other counties, from 1902 until the disposal of the properties to the Port Edwards Fibre Company in 1907, and he also had large interests in the Jackson Mill Company, at Stevens Point, which interests he disposed of in 1916. He was a man of tremendous vision and enterprise and his mark upon the industries of this section will never be effaced.



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