Bio: Samphier, Peter (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt


Peter Samphier

Peter Samphier, justice of the peace of Tomahawk, Lincoln County, is a prominent and highly-respected citizen of that place. He was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., April 5, 1835, and is a son of Peter Samphier, who was born in France in 1800. The father came to America when a boy and was married in the Empire State. In his family were nine children, three of whom died in infancy, and the others are Catherine, Frances, Julia, Peter, Maria and James. The mother of this family died about 1847, after which her husband was again married, and by that union had several children. Throughout life he followed farming, and his death occurred in the fall of 1887.

The subject of this notice left home at the age of ten years, working as a farm hand and attending the common schools. At the age of seventeen he went to Boston, Mass., where he began learning the trade of shoemaker. In 1852 he embarked as a common sailor on a whaling vessel, and after a year’s absence returned to become second mate on a merchant vessel. On going to Charleston, S. C., he there left that service and returned to New York City, where he embarked as a sailor on board a ship bound for London, England, thence proceeding to Sidney, Australia. There he entered the service of an English vessel going to New Zealand, after which he returned to Sidney, where he took a steamer for Melbourne, Australia. He then went to the gold mines in the interior, but soon returned to Melbourne, and from there stated to California, stopping at the Sandwich Islands on the way. From California, he then sailed from South America, coming round the Horn to New York, where he arrived in June, 1856. For a year he was then engaged in work at his trade in Boston. During the summer of 1857 he sailed on the Lakes as master of a vessel, but in the fall came to Wisconsin, locating in Omro, where he resumed work at his trade. During the first few years of his residence there he worked for others, and also engaged in farming to some extent.

In December, 1863, Mr. Samphier became a member of Company C, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, which was under the command of Major Pond, and participated in the engagement at Kansas City, Mo. He saw much active service, being with his regiment in all of its battles and skirmishes, after which he received an honorable discharge in October, 1865. At the close of the war Mr. Samphier returned to Omro, Wis., where in connection with his brother he opened a boot and shoe store, and also engaged in general merchandising. On the 23d of August, 1887, he arrived in Tomahawk, where he was since made his home. Here he purchased property and erected a hotel which is known as the “Tomahawk House.” It is one of the leading hotels of this portion of the State, and Mr. Samphier conducted it most of the time since its completion. He has secured a liberal patronage, as he has attended carefully to the needs of his guests, and serves them with appetizing and well-cooked food.

At Appleton, Wis., February 14, 1858, Mr. Samphier wedded Mary L. Curtis, who was an adopted child, her original name being McMurphy. She was born in St. Lawrence County, N. Y.; on the 4th of January, 1837, and is of English and Scotch descent. By her marriage she became the mother of one child, who died in infancy.

In political affairs Mr. Samphier votes with the Republican Party, and on that ticket was once the candidate for sheriff of Winnebago County, Wis. He served on term as chairman of the county board, and for four years was a member of that body. He was the first chairman of the village of Tomahawk, and six years ago was elected justice of the peace, which office he still continues to fill. His decisions are marked by fairness and impartiality, being well calculated to serve the ends of justice. In the fall of 1894 he was elected coroner for Lincoln County. He takes quite an active interest in civic societies, being for many years a member of the Masonic fraternity in Omro, and helped to organize the lodge at Tomahawk. With Commandery No. 11, at Oshkosh, Wis., he holds membership, and has served as a delegate to the Grand Lodge. He also belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, and was commander of the Post at Omro. He has traveled extensively; visiting nearly every State of the Union, besides many foreign countries, and in this way has become a cultured and well-informed man.

---Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. publ. 1895 by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1110 pages, illustrated; Page 712-713



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