Merrill Historical Society

February 13, 1984

Re: O'Day, Lincoln Co., Wis.


Dear Mr. Taylor,


In response to a telephone call from Ann Rav?? today, I have gleaned the enclosed pictures from the old photo album of my mother’s. Some of back as far as 1910. I hope you will find something of use among them.


When you are through with them you can just give them to Ann and she will return them to me.

Some of the dates may not be entirely accurate as I have had to guess or estimate them.


I believe my grandparents, Leslie and Margaret Willett moved from Merrill to Grandfather Falls in 1909. As we heard the story, they rented the place from Mr. O’Day for the purpose of operating a country store-tavern combination business and providing room and board for the crew of men who were going there to build the two dams.


The store building also combined a dormitory where the men slept, and a post office for which my grandmother was the official United States Postmaster.


My grandmother and one “hired girl” served the men their meals in the large, white frame house which was across the road from the store and farm buildings. Home making meant keeping a huge garden, canning, baking, butter making, etc.


My grandfather had one “hired man” who helped make the place almost self-sustaining. Trips to Merrill, twelve miles away from supplies by horse and wagon were arduous and, thus, few and far between. There were horses, a herd of Guernsey cows, sheep, pigs and chickens, etc.

The 80 acre place on the bank of the Wisconsin River was called “O’Day” and was on Wisconsin maps for many years.


I believe Mr. O’Day had used it as a service to the surrounding lumber camps in an earlier period.

The plan was that after the three years it was to take to build the dams, my grandparents would return to Merrill.


Instead they eventually purchased the place and stayed for 37 years!


The original store building burned in about 1913 and was replaced by a smaller one containing a tavern but no general store.


Lost in the fire were my grandmother’s best carpets and furnishings which she had stored there until they moved back to Merrill. She thought they were too nice to use in the old farm house!


Sincerely Yours,


Margaret Fauerbach

Madison, Wis. 53711


**This letter to Mr. Taylor is from a granddaughter of Mr. Leslie Willett. Records show Willett purchased 130 acres in T33 R6 Sec 30; Rock Falls on Sept. 1, 1909 --- Chris Barney


Additional Information:


O'Day, Wis.

Photos of Willet family

Bio: Willett, Leslie H. (History - b 1862)



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