Francis W. Usher

Francis W. Usher, well known in the town of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, is the subject of this sketch. He was born in Herkimer, Herkimer county, New York, February 9, 1840. His father, Bloomfield Usher, was born in the same place, and his father was a native of Ireland, although of English ancestry, who emigrated to America, settling in Herkimer, where he remained until the date of his death, having been by trade a hatter. The grandmother of our subject was Jane Paine Usher, a native of England, who died in Potsdam, New York. The father of our subject learned the trade of hatter and conducted it in Herkimer for a time.

In 1850 Mr. Bloomfield Usher moved into Potsdam, and then entered the banking business, and during that year organized the Frontier Bank which, during the war was made the First National Bank. He was its first president, which office he held for many years, now living retired from business at the age of seventy-eight years. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Ann Usher, born in Ireland, who came to America with her parents, and has now passed away.

Our subject was nine years of age when his parents moved to Potsdam. He attended school very steadily until he was sixteen years old and then learned the trade of miller at Little Falls, and went from there to Plattsburg. In 1860 he operated a mill until 1861, at which date he became a soldier in the Union Army, enlisting in the Sixteenth Regiment, New York Infantry, but before mustering in he was transferred to Company F, Thirty-fourth New York Volunteers, and served with that regiment for two years, the time for which he enlisted. Some of the important battles in which he participated were Balls Bluff, Winchester, the first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Fair Oaks, and he was with the army in the seven days of retreat and was in the engagement at the battle of Antietam, and second Bull Run. He was mustered in as a private, was promoted to be Commissary Sergeant, and from that to be Second Lieutenant and later to be First Lieutenant, being honorably discharged in August, 1863, but again enlisted. This time our brave subject entered the naval service, in February, 1864, as landsman on board the United States steamer “Connecticut”. He was soon appointed ship’s writer, and from that was promoted to be paymaster’s steward, continuing thus until August, 1865.

Soon after this our subject went with a company to Pitt county, North Carolina, who bought land and entered into cotton planting extensively, remaining until 1867, when he went to California, spending a few months, then back to New York, and in the following spring came to Dane county, Wisconsin, At this place he bought the fine farm, where he now makes his home on section 21, and where he engages in general farming. Before going any farther we should add to the war record of our subject that he was so unfortunate as to be captured at Malvern Hill and was obliged to spend six weeks at Libby prison.

The marriage of Mr. Usher took place in Spring Green, Sauk county, Wisconsin, to Miss Catherine J. Evaa, and six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Usher, as follows: Ann, Grace E., Bloomfield H., Francis E., Edith J., and William. Mr. Usher is a member of the Washburn Post No. 11, G. A. R., and is a strong Republican, believing in the party he fought for so long in the late war.

Biographical Review of Dane County, Wisconsin, Chicago, Biographical Review Publishing Co., 1893, p530