Hon Francis A Deleglise

Born: February 10, 1835

HON. FRANCIS A. DELEGLISE (deceased), "the father of Antigo." The life of this gentleman presents a striking example of industry and integrity conducting to eminent success, and of political consistency based on enlightened and moderate views--views at all times compatible with a generous toleration of the sentiments entertained by others, and commanding general confidence and esteem.

Mr. Deleglise was a native of Switzerland, born February 10, 1835, in Bagnes, Valais, a son of Morris and Catherine Deleglise, the former of whom was by profession a teacher and surveyor. In 1849, realizing that in the New World their numerous family would have greater advantages and broader opportunities for advancement and success in life, they emigrated to America, coming direct to Wisconsin, and locating first in Gibson township, Manitowoc county, where the mother died in 1854. Later the family moved to Shawano County, settling in Morris Township, near Leopolis, where the father followed farming, dying there in 1877. The son Francis, our subject, was fourteen years old when he came with the rest of the family to Wisconsin. He had already received a fairly liberal public-school education, and his first occupation in this, to him, new country, was sailing on the lakes, a vocation he followed until he was seventeen years old, after which he worked in the woods during the winter season, assisting his father in locating settlers, in surveying, and in many other ways, to the best of his ability. At the age of twenty-one he married, and shortly afterward he and his young wife removed to Appleton, where they remained until 1877. During this time Mr. Deleglise was always more or less engaged in civil engineering, locating new settlers on homesteads, and other employment of a like nature, but during the first years of his residence in Appleton, when not thus occupied, followed different lines of work, being ever ready to turn his hand to any labor which would bring him remuneration. Thus he continued until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, in which he served over three years. He was among the first to respond to his adopted country's call for volunteers, enlisting June 28, 1861, in Company E, Sixth Wis. V. I., Capt. Marsten, of Appleton, commanding the company, in which he was speedily promoted to corporal. The regiment was, in the following July, attached to the army of the Potomac, and participated in all the battles of the "Iron Brigade." At Antietam, September 17, 1862, our subject was wounded, which necessitated his confinement to hospital; but he convalesced soon enough to be present at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, where, at the railroad grade, he was again wounded, and was taken prisoner. He did not long remain in the enemy's hands, however, as when they retreated they had to leave all the wounded behind. On July 16, 1864, he was honorably discharged from the service with the record of a valiant soldier, one who did his duty faithfully and loyally. But he suffered much in health, for when he enlisted his weight was 190 pounds, and when he left for his home the scales showed but 90 pounds--a loss of 100 pounds; and he painfully carried a bullet in his thigh till it was extracted at; Madison at the time of his discharge. While recuperating, Mr.. Deleglise resumed the study of civil engineering, and became a proficient surveyor, in 1867 commencing the looking up and locating of lands is this part of the State. It was then that he, in reality, picked out the site for the future city of Antigo, entering lands and locating settlers on homesteads, and in 1877 he settled there with his family. In that same year he platted the village and commenced the sale of lots, which, and his after active connection with the place, brought him the well-merited title of "Father of Antigo." He was the first chairman of the city, and served as county treasurer for some time; dealt largely in real estate, and became possessed of extensive tract of land in and around Antigo, having unbounded faith in the growth of the embryo city.

On November 29, 1856, Mr. Deleglise was united in marriage, at Two Rivers, Wis., with Miss Mary Bor, who was born January 1, 1835, in Taus, Bohemia, Daughter of Simon and Dora (Kerzma) Bor, the parents of two children. The family came to America in 1855, settling at Gibson, Manitowoc county, and the father, who was a merchant in Europe, and a farmer in this country, died in Antigo in 1881; in his native land he served as a soldier eight years. To Mr. and Mrs. Deleglise were born children as follows: Mary T., now Mrs. John Deresch, of Antigo; Sophia E., wife of Samuel E. Leslie, of Antigo; Francis A. (deceased); John E.; Anna E., wife of Thomas Morrissey, of Antigo; Adelbert A.; Alexis L.; Henry (deceased) and Edmond, at home.

Mr. Deleglise was public-spirited and progressive from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, and the primary and great object of his ambition was the development and improvement of the village, town and city where he passed so many busy years of his life. He was liberal in all things, especially in Church and educational matters, in which latter he took special interest; in politics, he was, during the war, Democrat, later a Republican, and in 1892 he was elected to the State Legislature, where he made a brilliant record as a legislator. In all things he was a most successful man, and when he died he left not only landed interests in northern Wisconsin, but the record of one whose memory is inseparably connected with the rise and progress of this portion of the State, in all his efforts toward the consummation of which he was instigated by no spirit of selfishness or gain to himself beyond what is conceded to be a right due to every American citizen. He died March 25, 1894, in the full faith of the Roman Catholic Church, beloved and respected by all, regardless of party of religion, and deeply mourned by hosts of Friends and acquaintances, as a man, locally speaking, not of to day alone, but for all time.

Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1895. pp. 23,24, 25.