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Tales of our Beginnings

Tales of our Beginnings Tales of our Beginnings

Cadott • Cornell • Lake Holcombe areas

The Lady of the Falls

Swiss immigrant Gustave Robert (pronounced Row-bear) came to this country, about which he had heard many romantic tales, and found true romance, when he married Josephine Gauthier in 1869. Josephine, known as “the Lady of the Falls, was an inspiration to all who knew her.

She was half Native American and half French, was a devout Catholic and spoke three languages – English, French and Chippewa. Josephine was even given a copy of the picture, A Sacred Heart, from Father Peter Minweggen, which had been blessed by Pope Pious X.

The Roberts’ first cabin, built at the confluence of the Fisher and Chippewa rivers, was the first of its kind in the wilderness, as it was built in a different manner than most log homes. It was made of small logs, hewn square, neatly fitted together with dovetailed corners. The small lodging served the family until a brick home was constructed in 1894.

Many travelers stopped at the Robert house, including the chief of the Flambeau tribe, who came down the river in a canoe with his son and Old Abe, the Civil War eagle, which the young man had captured. Josephine fed fish to the now famous bird.

Gustave was a good lumber cruiser, employed by Ezra Cornell, who used Gustave’s talents in locating prime timber. Josephine cooked at the log home for men cutting timber for her husband, but sometimes cooked in the camps, as well.

The couple was blessed with five children – Lena, Louis, Charles, Marie and Henry.

Josephine lived to the golden age of 96, but the legacy she left, will likely live on in the minds and hearts of all she met. (Courtesy of the Holcombe Centennial 1905-2005)

Gustave and Josephine Robert