C.H. WERDEN IS BURIED AT ASHLAND, WIS. – Connected With Big Lumber Concerns. – Late President of B.C. Spruce Mills Mourned by Ashland Citizens.
Chester Howell Werden, more familiarly known in this section by “Chet” Werden, has passed to his reward. With all his wealth and varied interests he was one of the most kindly and sympathetic men the Courier has had the pleasure of meeting. He was a regular visitor to Cranbrook and attended many meetings of the Cranbrook Rotary club.
The Mississippi Valley Lumberman, published at Minneapolis, Minn., contained the following obituary of his passing:
Death again enters the ranks of the lumber industry and removes one of its most prominent figures. After an illness of several months – an affection of the heart – Chester H. Werden passed away Friday of last week at the Presbyterian hospital in Chicago, where he had gone for relief.
Chester Howell Werden, a resident of Ashland, Wis., at the time of his death, had been a leading figure in the lumber industry of that state, the south and the far west for many years. He was born in Hastings, Ontario, August 10, 1857, and was educated in the public schools and in Queen’s university at Toronto. His ancestry was English, and dates back to the well known “Wordens,” of that country, whose ancestral hall still stands.
He became a resident of the United States in 1872 and got his first experience in the lumber business in Michigan, with the C.N. Storrs Lumber Co. at Muskegon. So diligently did he apply himself to mastering the details of the business that before the end of the second year he took charge of the manufacturing end of the enterprise.
From Muskegon he went to the head of the lakes and took charge of the plant of the Oneota Lumber Co., at Duluth, which he operated until 1884, when the mill was destroyed by fire. Following that he went to Merrill, Wis., where he became manager of manufacturing and logging for the D.F. Comstock Lumber Co., and when three years later, the plant was sold to the Brooks and Ross Lumber Co., he remained as general manager. In 1891 he became associated with W.W. Schultz and C.B. Flinn, purchased the property and organized the Illinois & Wisconsin Lumber Co., of which he was secretary and general manager. Later after spending four years, from 1894 to 1898, in the south, he returned to Wisconsin and took charge of the mill and business of the Brooks and Ross Lumber Co., at Schofield.
Again looking to the south, he joined with a number of well-known Wisconsin lumbermen to organize the Pike County Lumber Co., at Pike, Arkansas.
Born and bred in the north, where he had formed so many contacts, he again returned to Wisconsin, to the Chequamegon Bay region, where he became associated with the Edward Hines interests in the operation of the White River Lumber Co., at Mason. When that concern finished sawing out its timber, Mr. Werden purchased its holdings, both cut-over lands and personal property, and formed the foundations of the business that brought him success and financial independence. At Mason he was interested in the Mason Mercantile Co., also a profitable venture. He used the properties of the old White River concern as the nucleus for a line of retail yards with branches at northern Wisconsin points, and he also was part owner of the business of the Scott-Taylor Lumber Co., one of the leading manufacturers of northern Wisconsin.
With the organization of the B.C. Spruce Mills Ltd., by Wisconsin lumbermen, with an enormous lumber plant at Lumberton, B.C., he became interested in the Pacific northwest, and at the time of his death he was president of that concern.
Upon his removal to Ashland he continued his civic activities. He was made president of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Y.M.C.A., and was a liberal contributor to the work of the latter. He served a term as president of the Ashland Rotary Club, a Republican in politics, he served four years in the state senate at Madison, and was a candidate on the party ticket for lieutenant-governor at the election two years ago.
About five years ago Mr. and Mrs. Werden and their daughter, Dorothea, were in an automobile accident near Oshkosh, in which Mrs. Werden lost her life, and in which he was so badly injured that he never fully recovered. The loss of his wife so keenly affected him that he was never able to reconcile himself to it.
He is survived by his daughter, who made a home for her father after Mrs. Werden’s death, and by a son, Wade Werden, a successful business man in the advertising field at Cleveland, Ohio.
How well he was regarded in his home community is well expressed in the following from the Ashland Daily Press: “A good citizen has gone to his final reward. Ashland has suffered a great loss. Owing to their prominence and activity in the community, it will be many years before Ashland is fully adjusted to the loss of these two good people who have passed on within five years of each other, Mr. and Mrs. Werden.”
Funeral services were held Monday afternoon of this week, at the family residence in Ashland, and burial was in Mt. Hope cemetery. The large attendance of men prominent in the lumber and other industries of the state, and the beautiful floral offerings, were testimony to his standing as a citizen and a friend.