Tolford, Ralph H. (History - 1866)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

RALPH H. TOLFORD, agriculturist and business man, and one of the leading citizens of Thorp, Wis., was born at Madison, Wis., May 19, 1866, son of Capt. Joshua W. and Julia E. (Jewett) Tolford. At the age of 6 years-May 19, 1866-he was brought by his parents to Clark County. His literary education was acquired in the public schools of Neillsville, the first he attended being held in the old wooden court house. After completing his studies he became deputy register of deeds, serving two years under Herman Schuster. He then entered the law office of James O'Neill, the present district judge, where he remained and studied law for two years. Subsequently, he became deputy register of deeds under William Zassenhaus, and also deputy clerk of court under C. S. Stockwell.


On Jan. 1, 1890, Mr. Tolford came to Thorp as a teamster in the lumber business for about four months. He then accepted a position as bookkeeper and cashier for Garrison Bros. in their bank, remaining with them three years. At the end of that time he became head bookkeeper in the heading and stave factory of J. W. Cirkel, at Thorp, and after working there for three years was sent by the firm to their office at Boyd, Wis. There also he remained three years, during two of which he served as president of the village council. He then became manager of the firm's business at Thorp. He was one of the organizers of the Thorp Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of heads and staves, they buying out the J. W. Cirkel mill. Mr. Tolford became secretary of the company and remained as such until l9l4. He then engaged in agriculture on his farm of sixty-three acres in Withee Township, lying just outside the village limits of Thorp, and has since continued to operate it.


Since Jan. 2, 1918, he has also been head bookkeeper for the lumber firm of the Nye, Lusk Hudson Co., at Thorp. Mr. Tolford was president of the village of Thorp for three years, and a member of the board of trustees of the village for ten years. For three years he was chairman of the town board of Withee, and by virtue of that office was at the same time a member of the board of county commissioners. While living in Neillsville he served as lieutenant in Co. A, Third W. N. G., under Capt. George A. Ure. He is a member of the Masonic Order and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. A man of achievement and high personal character, he is respected and esteemed throughout the county. Mr. Tolford was married at Boyd, Wis., on Christmas Day, 1897, to Mary Ripplinger. He and his wife are the parents of eight children, all living, namely: Mary, Frances, Frank, Minnie, James, Dorothy, Joshua and Josephine.



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