Marshfield, April 1899: A village namesake
Solomon Nason establishes himself as a leader in central Wisconsin
By Kris Leonhardt
Solomon J. Nason was well known among the pioneers settling just south of Marshfield.
Born in Maine to a farmer and lumberman of the same name, Nason left home at the age of 15 to join the masses rushing to the California El Dorado area to seek their fortune.
When his quest for gold failed, Nason headed to Oregon, where he again came up empty.
Returning to the southern California, Nason built a fruitful living before returning to his home state of Maine.
Like many pioneers, Nason became restless that fall and once again headed west. Traveling through Iowa and Minnesota, he advanced into Wisconsin and spent time near Chippewa Falls.
On a trip to Stevens Point, Nason passed through the area south of Marshfield. Finding the region filled with fertile soil and a plethora of pine and hardwood, he and his brother William settled down and purchased a 5,000-acre tract of land.
As the pair began logging off the land, they constructed homes. The brothers later married a pair of sisters who had also been born back east.
Laying down his roots, Solomon soon looked to fill a growing need. No roads ran north to nearby Marshfield, and Solomon opened a business to serve the new community that was miles from the nearest store.
As the settlement grew, the government saw the need for a post office, and the loyal and honest Solomon was chosen as postmaster.
He and his wife welcomed five children before losing her to an early death at the age of 39. Solomon remarried, adding another two children to his brood.
As his family grew, so did Solomon’s popularity in the community. Known as charitable and good, Solomon’s upright status gained him a position as county commissioner as well as a seat on the state legislature.
Solomon was also instrumental in forming the town of Lincoln, where he spent 10 years as county chairman.
On a Wednesday in mid-April of 1899, Solomon passed away at the age of 74 following a series of strokes. As the prominent man was laid to rest three days later, the church could not contain those in attendance.
A total of 230 teams would follow the funeral procession as it led Solomon to his final resting place.
With a final prayer, the community of Nasonville would say farewell to the man who had given the village its name.
Kris Leonhardt may be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 51, Marshfield, WI 54449 or email at [email protected].