Founding of Langlade County
At the time of early settlement the native Indians in the area were generally friendly. At the time of Antigo’s founding, Indian relations were peaceful. The two major tribes were Ojibwe and Menominee. Settlers traded with the natives and often married young Indians maidens. The first white settler in the county was W. L. Ackley, who erected a small cabin on the banks of the Eau Claire River in the 1850’s.
Today much of Langlade County is an agricultural region with dairying production and potato cultivation, while logging is still a major industry. But perhaps its greatest claim is as the “Gateway to the North,” a land welcoming travelers anxious to fish its glistening lakes and streams and track game through its primeval forests.
The first crude shacks built here by settlers spotted the vast forest area. The pioneer cabins were often separated by miles of forest, except in a few areas where two or three families would group together. They located their sites near rivers, lakes and rich soils where vast amounts of lumber were available. Once started, these homes took only a few days to erect, and the family could move out from their temporary tent.
After the logs were placed into position, the roof was constructed; gabled roofs were generally covered with wooden shingles, and pantile roofs (overlapped tiles) usually consisted of hollowed out basswood. The cracks were filled with moss, sticks, mud, and later, with lime. Blue clay mud could be found in nearby creek beds, and mixed with moss and sticks it would adhere to the logs. Later, limestone was burned in a kiln, and this lime was mixed with sand and water to produce a firm plaster which performed much better than the blue mud which began to fall out when it dried.
Doors and windows were usually made with green oak timber, filling the holes axed out of the log walls. After saw mills began making rough sawn lumber available, doors, windows, and flooring were constructed with sawn boards. Roof shakes were sawed from blocks of wood about two feet long from straight grained oak logs. A drawshare was then used to make them smooth to lie tight over the log rafters.