Have been reading some humor books by Bill Nye. He grew up in NW WI back in the 1800s and for a time lived at Grantsburg. Google has scanned his books and made them available to download for free to my book reader. I like his humor. Here is his biography.
My autobiography, written by myself.
Edgar Wilson Nye was born in Maine, in 1850, August 25th, but at two years of age he took his parents by the hand, and, telling them that Piscataquis county was no place for them, he boldly struck out for St.Croix county, Wisconsin, where the hardy young pioneer soon made a home for his parents.
The first year he drove the Indians out of the St. Croix Valley, and suggested to the North-Western Railroad that it would be a good idea to build to St. Paul as soon as the company could get a grant which would pay them two or three times the cost of construction.
The following year he adopted trousers, and made $175 from the sale of wolf scalps. He also cleared twenty-seven acres of land, and raised some watermelons.
In 1854 he established and endowed a district school in Pleasant Valley. It was at this time that he began to turn his attention to the abolition of slavery in the South, and to write articles for the press, signed "Veritas," in which he advocated the war of 1860, or as soon as the government could get around to it.
In 1855 he graduated from the farm and began the study of law. He did not advance very rapidly in this profession, failing several times in his examination, and giving bonds for his appearance at the next term of court.
He was, however, a close student of political economy, and studied personal economy at the same time, till he found that he could live on ten cents a day and his relatives, easily.
Mr. Nye now began to look about him for a new country to build up and foster, and, as Wisconsin had grown to be so thickly settled in the northwestern part of the State that neighbors were frequently found as near as five miles apart, he broke loose from all restraint and took emigrant rates for Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Here he engaged board at the Inter-Ocean Hotel, and began to look about him for a position in a bank. Not succeeding in this, he tried the law and journalism. He did not succeed in getting a job for some time, but finally hired as associate editor and janitor of the Laramie Sentinel. The salary was small, but his latitude great, and he was permitted to write anything that he thought would please the people, whether it was news or not.
By and by he had won every heart by his gentle, patient poverty and his delightful parsimony with regard to facts. With a hectic imagination and an order on a restaurant which advertised in the paper, he scarcely cared the livelong day whether school kept or not.
Thus he rose to justice of the peace, and finally to an income which is reported very large to everybody but the assessor.
He is the father of several very beautiful children by his first wife, who is still living. She is a Chicago girl, and loves her husband far more than he deserves. He is pleasant to the outside world, but a perfect brute in his home. He early learned that, in order to win the love of his wife, he should be erratic, and kick the stove over on the children when he came home. He therefore asserts himself in this way, and the family love and respect him, being awed by his greatness and gentle barbarism.
He eats plain food with both hands, conversing all the time pleasantly with any one who may be visiting at the house. If his children do not behave, he kicks them from beneath the table till they roar with pain, as he chats on with the guests with a bright and ever-flowing stream of bon mots, which please and delight those who visit him to that degree that they almost forget that they have had hardly anything to eat.
In conclusion, Mr. Nye is in every respect a lovely character. He feared that injustice might be done him, however, in this biographical sketch, and so he has written it himself. B. N.