Anyone interested in local history, knows the name Chester Hazen. He is credited with building the very first cheese factory in the State of Wisconsin.
But if you dig a little deeper, you will find another amazing story of the Hazen family. There actually were NINE Hazen brothers who all made the trek to Wisconsin in very early days.
Their claim to fame actually starts in New York, growing up in Lewis Co. New York. Their father was a drum major during the War of 1812, and he was determined that all of his sons would learn to play a musical instrument. His enthusiasm carried the family to the Presidential elections of the time.
In 1840 William Henry Harrison finally succeeded in receiving his party's nomination for President. The campaign slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" was heard throughout the land. Tippecanoe referred to Harrison's military defeat of a group of Shawnee Indians at a river in Ohio called Tippecanoe in 1811. Democrats laughed at Harrison for being too old (at age 67) for the presidency, and referred to him as "Granny," hinting that he was senile. Said one Democratic newspaper: "Give him a barrel of hard cider, and ... a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year ... and ... he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin."
The opposition's taunting actually backfired. Harrison's Whig party took advantage of this and declared that Harrison was "the log cabin and hard cider candidate," a man of the common people from the rough-and-tumble West. They depicted Harrison's opponent, President Martin Van Buren, as a wealthy snob who was out of touch with the people. (deceptive campaign tactics even back then, because Harrison was really the wealthy aristocrat, while Van Buren came from poverty)
Never-the-less, the "Log Cabin" campaign gained momentum, and it caught the attention of the Hazen family. Campaigning in 1840 was a large social event not to be missed, and the Hazen Martial Band was formed. It was composed of the nine Hazen brothers, and Warren Florida.
The Hazen Band was an important factor in the log cabin campaign of 1840, traveling through Western New York in a log cabin on wheels and playing almost continuously for public meetings, winning the reputation of being the best martial band in that state.
|This undated photo of the Hazen Band, shows a team of horses pulling the log cabin that the Hazen Band used all over New York, during the 1840 campaign of William Henry Harrison. Image from a photocopy.|
Harrison won election as President, caught a cold and died a month after his inauguration. By the time of the next election, the Hazen family was planning a move to Wisconsin.
In 1844, a company of twenty-four from New York state, among whom were the Hazen brothers of the famous martial band of Springvale, landed at Milwaukee in June. A team of three pairs of oxen was purchased, wagon decked, boxes and trunks loaded, when it was found that but three could ride. There were eight women in the company. Did they wait for a parlor car? No, indeed. They uncomplainingly took turns in walking. They left Milwaukee Monday morning and Saturday night found them within three miles of what is now Oakfield, the wagon stuck in the mud and the oxen too tired to travel further. One of the men remained with the team and the others bravely resumed their journey. Every rod seemed a mile to the weary, foot-sore company. After what seemed to be hours, the log cabin of Lorenzo Hazen came in sight and the company were gladly received. Too tired for supper, they took boots, bundles of clothing, foot rests, anything they could lay hands on for pillows, and with puncheon floor for feather beds, were soon oblivious to their surroundings. Three of the Hazen brothers were soon keeping house in single room shanties with puncheon floors and troughed roofs, which had the faculty of letting most of the rain find its way to the room beneath. Their furniture was homemade and the good housewives did all their work for one summer out of doors by camp fires. Their bread was baked in a kettle. As the summer of 1844 was very rainy, such outdoor work was no light task.
The Hazen brothers first settled near Oakfield, but within a year they had moved to Springvale township.
Each of the nine Hazen brothers made a name for themselves, as evidenced by the reunion article found from 1884, forty years after they first came to Wisconsin.
The Hazen Reunion
"The past week has been one that will be long remembered by the different members of the Hazen family in this vicinity and all their numerous friends. The Hazen family consisted of nine boys and it was thirty years on Christmas Day since they were all together at Calvin Hazen’s in Springvale. The day and evening was an enjoyable one and many were the pranks and jokes of by-gone years that were retold. Many costly and valuable presents were made. One of the brothers gave all the rest elegant gold pens. The occasion will never be forgotten by those who participated. The day following they met at the residence of John Hazen, and among other things they re-organized “Hazen’s Martial Band” and filled the air again with fife and drum music. Their father was a drum major in the War of 1812, and took delight in teaching _____ use of those warlike instruments of torture. In 1840 the nine boys (one brother died since) were pronounced by General Worth to be the best military band in the United States. But glory was cheap in those days."
"On Saturday last they all met at Sanford Hazen’s in this city and for the first time in forty years all lodged under the same roof. While in the city they went in a body and had themselves photographed in a group.
"The Hazen families are well known here and for that reason we know it will interest our readers to learn something of their history
"The great-great-grandfather of the present family, Edward Hazen, was born in Rowley, Mass., 1660, “9th mo., 10th day.” Samuel, the great grandfather, was born 1698, “7th month 20th day;” Edward, the grandfather, was born at Groton, Mass., 1737 “5th mo. 2nd day” John, the father of the present family, was born at Swansey, New Hampshire, 1786, “6th mo. 17th day” His family consisted of 9 boys, eight of whom are yet living. They were all born at or near Copenhagen, Lewis Co., New York. Lorenzo, the 5th son, with his family came to Wisconsin in 1843 and the remaining eight brothers came the next year landing in Milwaukee on the 2nd of July, and on the 4th left Milwaukee with two ox teams, and as there were 22 in the party, most of them made the entire journey on foot to Oakfield – then known as “Wilkenson’s settlement” where they arrived on the 9th of July after camping one night near the center of a piece of woods twelve miles in extent and the last day were ….dled to cut their way through the stand of timber.
"At that time Government land was plenty in this Co. and all preempted and settled near Oakfield, where they resided some time. Sewell B. moved to Minn., in 1859 and has lived at Winona most of the time, until the past summer; he now lived in Madison, Wis., with his son George B. When a young man he made the first chilled car wheel at Troy, NY. Calvin, in 1846 sold his place and moved into the town of Springvale, where he now lives. During one of the storms of last July his barn was blown down and he and Sewel narrowly escaped with their lives, being buried under the falling timber.
"Alonzo in 1846 also moved into Springvale and from there in 1857 to Brandon where he bought a mill, and in 1860 he moved to Eau Clair Co., where he has since resided. He has an interest in the woolen mills and has built some of the best mills in Eau Claire Co.
"James, a physician, returned to Milwaukee in 1846 where he practiced two years, when he moved to Waukesha. After staying there two years he moved into this county and died in Fond du Lac in 1853.
"Lorenzo, after farming two or three years moved into Fond du Lac, where he has lived about ten years. He was a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention of Wis. In 1846. He next moved to Ripon, where he lived some ten years, holding the office Justice of the Peace most of that time. In 1864 he moved to Medford, Minn., and in 1876 was elected County Judge of Steele Co., which office he still holds.
"John, in 1846 moved into Springvale where he now lives. He has been quite a magnetic healer and has done much good.
"Sanford, after one year in Oakfield, returned to Copenhagen, NY. In 1857 he again came to Wis. And settled in Green Lake Co. In the fall of 1872 he moved into Ripon, his present home.
"Chester, in 1845 settled on the farm in Springvale, where he now lives. He was the pioneer dairyman of Wis., having put a dairy of 20 cows on his farm in 1849. In the summer of 1850 he commenced the manufacture of cheese, which he has always continued. In 1864 he built the first cheese factory in Wis. And in 1868 the first Dairymen’s Association in the state was organized in this county, of which he was elected president. In 1872 the Wis. State Dairyman’s Association was organized, he being president the first three years. At present he is president of the Northern Wis. Agricultural and Mechanical Association, and is a very successful farmer. His PO address is Brandon.
"Loren E. is a professor of music and an inventor. His occupation has been varied, and he has lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota and New York. His present residence is in Beaver Dam, where he is practicing medicine and giving medicated and electric baths.
"The ages of the eight brothers range from Sewel B., 74 years and 1 month, to Loren E., 54 years, 5 months and _ days. The aggregate ages of the eight – 525 years and 4 months. The heaviest one weighs 206 pounds, and the lightest 141 pounds. Aggregate weight of eight, 1,332 pounds. The tallest is 5 feet 10-1/4 inches, the shortest is 5 feet 5-1/2 inches. The eight can count 35 children and 47 grandchildren.
'We challenge the state of Wisconsin or any other state, to produce a family of eight brothers of equal height, weight and age, or eight boys who have made better men.
Ripon, Wis. January 3, 1884.