Obit: Hewett, James #2 (1830 - 1907)

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Surnames: Hewett, Brown. Miles

----Source: NEILLSVILLE TIMES (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 03/07/1907

Hewett, James #2 (1 MAY 1830 - 3 MAR 1907)

James Hewett died Sunday March 3, 1907, at 5 p.m. of dropsy, after a long illness, preceded by a long period of confinement to the house due to weakness and general breaking down of his health. Owing to his enfeebled condition his demise was not a surprise to the city but nevertheless by the fact that the "grand old man" of the city (Neillsville, Clark Co., Wis.) had departed.

He was philosophical to the end, bearing the troubles incident to physical breakdown with his well known stoicism, keeping up and around the house as long as the doctors would let him. When a few days before he passed away, the doctor asked him if he could talk yet he replied, "Yes, I can wag my tongue yet, but not as well as Bob La Follette can!" And he had his pleasantries and his cheerful word for all to the end. No doubt he would have given a farm for the company of his old crony Hubbell during his last few months to while away the time.

James Hewett was born May 1, 1830, at Minerva, Essex Co., N.Y., and grew up there, engaging in the lumbering business there until 1856, when he came to Clark Co., Wis., and has been with us ever since. He was married to Henrietta Brown of Maine on the 17th of October 1864. She died in April 1869. He was married to Emeline Niles in May 1874. This noble and kind hearted lady survives him and to decedent’s care and comfort has devoted herself since the heavy hand of time descended upon him, and has throughout their long wedded life been an admirable co-worker with him in his large undertakings and as mistress of the city’s largest and most hospitable home. He was a most generous and open hearted man, always dealing fairly with his men in the woods, working himself like a giant, and as a logger never losing the respect of the thousands with whom he did business.

For many years he was unquestionably the leading logger of this section, taking enormous contracts and taking his ups and downs, according to the decree of fate or the fall of snow, a veritable knight of industry, undaunted and unperturbed by the vicissitudes of fortune, and up and at it again winter after winter. He was at one time a leading merchant of the city, as a member of the firm of Hewett & Wood, running a general store at the corner now owned by W. J. Marsh, and then called "Hewett’s Red Brick", where Stanley F. Chubb, Fred Lee, George Hart, Jack Duncan and many others, now mostly dead and gone, worked for him. Mr. Hewett built a hotel and quite a little village at Hewett in his honor, as is the principal business street of this city, and the city seal bears the imprint of his residence.

He was Neillsville’s first mayor, and did excellent work in the formative period of our development as a city, and before that was for many years chairman of the town of Pine Valley. He was always public spirited, and was among the devoted band of citizens, which included Dan…(I missed part of the top of the next column)

…the right of way from Merrillan to Neillsville and graded the Omaha branch road here, determined to have a railroad here. They all lost money, but Neillsville was by their public spirit annexed to the United States, as it were. He donated the 18 acres for the furniture factory. At one time Mr. Hewett was Republican candidate for assemblyman, but it was a slump year and he met defeat at the hands of Richard Dewhurst.

Mr. Hewett was imbued with a keen wit and always had an apt reply ready. Almost any of his old associates can recall many of his witty remarks, as well as his kind deeds. It is told of Jones Tompkins, one of Mr. Hewett’s old time friends, that he had secured the services of aldy artist to paint his portrait. After the picture was painted, Mr. Tompkins invited Mr. Hewett up to the Old Commercial House to see it. The painting was on an easel in the parlor, and when Mr. Hewett saw it he immediately approached it and started to rub his hand across the face.. The artist in consternation, said, "You must not rub your hand on it, Mr. Hewett, it isn’t dry." Hewett turned and dryly remarked, "Well, it isn’t Jones Tompkins then."

A thousand stories could be told to illustrate his blunt, straight forward way of saying and doing things, but this is not the place for them. They are part of the traditions of the county. He was a typical pioneer, whose work was hewing out a new empire from the primeval forests, a town builder, a farm maker, a subduer of the rough west. His departure from earthly activities marks the closing of the logging and log driving epoch of our local history. He was a large, rugged, strong man, with the generous, warm hearted makeup of a gentleman, always delighting to do things on a large scale and never happier than when entertaining, with his family, a house full of his fellow citizens with unstinted hospitality.

Besides the wife he is survived by his son, S. F. Hewett, an only granddaughter, Helen Hewett, and a stepson, Ira Miles, of Spring Valley, Wis.

The funeral was held at two o’clock from the family residence and was one of the largely attended in the history of the city. Rev. Hendren of Greenwood officiated, assisted by Rev. Rice.

The active pallbearers were V. J. Marsh, W. L. Hemphill, A. B. Marsh, L. B. Ring, Gilbert Johnson and Joseph Morley. The honorary pallbearers were, J. R. Sturdevant, Mr. Silsby, John MacMillan, Geo. Lloyd, C. C. Sniteman, Dan Kennedy, H. A. Bright, Harry Mead, O. P. Wells, H. M. Root, Emery Bruley, F. W. Whitcomb, M. C. Ring and Chas. Grow.



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