Hayward, The City and the Man
by Eldon M. Marple (republished from the Visitor Magazine)
Anthony Judson Hayward, restless, venturesome descendant of early New England pioneers and associate of loggers Myron McCord and Philetus Sawyer, with a timber locator’s practiced eye, must have realized the potentialities of the vast virgin white pine stands east of the of the Namakagon shortly after he came to Chippewa Falls in 1876. It is recorded that he drove the first team up the Chippewa River on the ice about this time before any roads reached this vicinity, but by 1877 the State Road up the Namakagon Valley – a mere trace through the wilderness – had been cut through to Ashland, giving easy access to the area.
The pine along the lower tributaries of the Chippewa and St. Croix rivers was going fast and the great lumber barons were reaching out for more logs to feed their mills. Their supply came to them by drives down the rivers, a method not always as sure of delivery as they could desire. Railroads were being built northward, financed by grants of land along their course. Plans to extend the Omaha up the Namakagon River to Ashland must have been considered by Mr. Hayward as a means to market lumber more cheaply, bypassing the expensive and often erratic log drives by bringing the mill to the source of the logs. At the present location of the city of Hayward, he found a good drop in the river and a constriction in the banks where a dam could be cheaply built, forming a ponding area above it for storage of logs – an ideal site for a mill beside an unmatched pine stand.
Hayward Did not have enough capital to organize this venture on his own but his acquaintance with rich lumbermen who did have it, stood him well. He convinced the Laird and Weyerhauser interests that he had found a real opportunity and, with this money, the North Wisconsin Lumber Company was organized November 11, 1880, with Hayward as the president. A tract of about fifteen thousand acres of pine was bought, one of the finest stands in the state. The railroad was built up the river in 1881, construction of the dam and mill was begun in 1882 and completed in June, 1883. This great mill was in almost constant operation for thirty-nine years and once sawed the largest volume of lumber in one day for any mill. A. J. Hayward was also a good citizen of the community which tool his name. He built a mansion on the south side of the river near the dam, where he lived with his wife, Martha Bowron Hayward, and their children, Emma, Myron and Hallie. He was appointed chairman of the County Board when Sawyer County was organized March 9, 1883, and was clerk of the School Board. However, routine money-making must have soon bored him, or his restless and speculative nature must have urged him to move on, for he sold his interest in the enterprise for a good profit in 1886 and left the city he had so successfully founded.
He tried mine development in Michigan for a year and then followed the tide to Washington (state) where he organized two banks; none of these ventures was a success financially. Apparently trying to recoup his fortunes he tried the gold rush to Alaska in 1898 and was again unsuccessful, becoming more despondent. He died in a Seattle hotel September 15, 1899, reportedly a suicide at the age of sixty-four.
Hayward left little in the city which bears his name. The mansion he built burned shortly after he vacated it and the big mill burned in 1922. The Sawyer County Historical Society has one letter, which he apparently typed himself, written to his former partner R. E. McCormick, probably dated March 10. 1898, that show his despondent state of mind.
“Your favor of interagations of the third inst. is received and in reply will say. My life has been such a failure that it is hardly a basis or starting point for that locality if it will help the record any I will cheerfully give the answers as correctly as I can remember them. I have never given such a thing a thought. My life has mostly been spent trying to do good to others…Hoping the world has used you better financially than it has me.
I am yours Respectfully. A. J. Hayward”