A bit of history

JOSEPH A. LOVELESS HISTORY updated: August 2012

In 1856 a number of new settlers moved into the Balsam Lake area: John Shepherd, Joseph  Rivette, John Rogers, and Joseph Loveless.

Joseph Loveless’s parents (Thomas and Sarah Ann) had eleven children in New Jersey. They moved the family in 1834 to Ohio and had their twelfth child, Firman (b. 1834). Two of their sons migrated west to Wisconsin’s Balsam Lake area with their families in 1856, William, age 40 at that time (b.1816), and Joseph, age 37 (b.1819). In 1863 Firman, then age 29, and his family, joined his brothers in Balsam Lake. Joseph married Eleanor in 1840 in Ohio, at the age of 21. In 1850 they moved to Indiana, and then, in 1856, they moved to the Balsam Lake area. They had four children, Leroy (1842), Joseph R. (1844), Sarah (1852) and Lucetta (1854).

In May, 1857, Joseph Loveless started a shingle mill with his brother William as a partner, two miles south of the Lykens mill on Balsam Lake. One year later William sold his half and in 1864 Joseph sold the mill. In 1861 Joseph Loveless built a house at Balsam Lake and in 1867 he built a gristmill which was prosperous.

In the summer of 1863, small pox broke out among the Indians and quite a number of them died. A man by the name of Perry Frizzell took ill and was abandoned by his family and neighbors. He would have starved to death had it not been for the kindness of Mr. Loveless who carried him some food and saved his life.


In 1860 Mr. Loveless built a saw mill at the outlet of Big Bass Lake (now Loveless Lake) which operated until 1910. He built a sluice-way that ran out of Big Bass to generate power for the mill. At the same location he built a high fence enclosure to keep deer. During this time Mr. Loveless also was one of the storekeepers for the Indian Trading Post at Balsam Lake.

As settlers moved in to the area near Bass Lake, the need arose for a school. Joseph Loveless furnished the land for a school across the road from the saw mill site, and in 1864 a log school was built. Records show no legal land transactions for the school. The school was known as the Bass Lake School (also Loveless School). Bass Lake School District No. 1, Balsam Lake Township, SW Corner NW 1⁄4, Section 16. Early history lists Jane Husband, an aunt of Edward E. Husband, as the first teacher.

In 1875, an acre of land was acquired, one half mile to the south of Bass Lake at the corner of 160th and Lykens Road. The land was purchased from Firman R. Loveless for $12 for the purpose of building a new school. By the beginning of the school year in 1880, the building was completed and was named the Maple Grove School, replacing the Bass Lake School. The Maple Grove School closed in 1957 and the building remains as a residence. A 1912 photo of the Maple Grove School (below) listed Jennie Loveless as the teacher. William Loveless is Jennie’s grandfather.


In the early 1880’s, for reasons unknown, Joseph and Eleanor, with adult children Leroy and Lucetta, moved west to Oregon. Brother William and family also left Balsam Lake and moved back east to Illinois where he died in 1908. The youngest brother, Firman, moved his family to Montana where he died in 1891. Joseph and Eleanor’s children, Joseph R. and Sarah, stayed in the Balsam Lake area. Joseph R. had 7 children and died in 1884 at age 40, and is buried in the Turtle Lake Cemetery. Sarah (Thomas) married, but did not have children, and died in Polk County in 1874. Leroy died in 1912 in Oregon. Lucetta (Dusenberry) married, had seven children, and died in 1923 in Oregon. Joseph died in 1888 and Eleanor in 1905 in Oregon.