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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

Stratford beginning,   pp. 21-36


Page 32

The Marathon County Railroad
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Wheel scraper clearing the Marathon County Railroad bed. Courtesty of The Connor Family
As the trees in the immediate area of Stratford were
harvested, lumbercamps were located further away from the
settlement. Getting the logs to the mill from great distances
was increasingly more difficult. Following the example of
nearby lumbermills at McMillan and March Rapids, the R.
Connor Company put in its own railroad sometime in the late
1890's. Named the Marathon County Railroad, it was built
east from Stratford to Halder with a southeast branch to Rice
Lake Flowage. The railroad was about twenty miles in length,
including spurs built to the operating lumber camps. Two lo-
comotives and a sufficient number of cars handled the large
volume of business. Passengers were transported in the
caboose, making it more convenient for settlers to get to town.
A man named Green was the first engineer, followed by
Resch, Schuette, Herman Verch and Herman Lueck.
In 1913, the Connor Company operated four large camps.
The logs were hauled from the camps to the mill over the
tracks of the Marathon County Railroad Company. Spurs
were built from the main Marathon County line to reach the
lumber camps.
Since the camps were moved as the timber was harvested,
the spur lines were temporary and capable of being moved as
the camps moved from forty to forty. Railroad section crews
laid about one mile of rail per month toward new timber
sections.
On February 21, 1903, The Marathon County Railway
Company filed for incorporation. According to the incorpo-
ration papers, the railroad was commonly known at the time
as the R. Connor Co. Logging Railroad and extended from a
point in Stratford in the North West fractional quarter of
Section 30, Township 27 North, Range 4 East to a point in the
North East quarter of the North East quarter of Sectionl6,
Railroad section crew
Township 27 North, ofRange 5 East in said Marathon County.
The railroad passed through Sections 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 &
36 in Township 27 North, Range 4 East and Sections 31, 30,
29,20, 17 & 16 in Township 27, North of Range 5 East. There
were plans to extend the line through sections 15, 14, and 13
to a convenient point in the easterly line of the Northeast
quarter of Section 13.
The current length of the line was 14 miles and the
estimated length of the addition was 3 miles.
Directors in the corporation were W.D. Connor, Robert
Connor and W. McCulloch of Marshfield, J.C. Kieffer and
Herman Langer of Stratford.
During 1906, the Marathon County Railway Company
transporteda total of 4,781 cars, of which all but 101 cars were
for the R. Connor Company.
In 1907, the capital stock of the Marathon County Railway
Company was $40,000.00. It owned 40 "Jimmy log cars"
used exclusively for the transportation of logs.
In 1911, it was decided to again expand the Marathon
County Railroad by constructing a branch line, about nine
miles in length. The description is as follows: Starting at a
point on the main line of said railroad in the N.E. 1/4 of the


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