FIFIELD, Mrs. Stella A. Gaines

Stella A. Gaines Fifield.jpg
Stella A. Gaines Fifield article.jpg

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Stella A. Gaines Fifield was born in Paw Paw, Michigan on June 1, 1845.  She later lived in Taylor Falls, Minnesota and graduated from Chicago Seminary, Minnesota.  

Early in her career, Stella was a teacher in Osceola WI, but she made her major mark in journalism.  After marrying newspaper editor Samuel S. Fifield and starting a family, Stella wrote for The Polk County Press, a paper he edited.  She also contributed to his next newspaper, The Bayfield Press.  In 1871, Samuel and Stella were two of the original settlers of Ashland, Wisconsin. When The Bayfield Press became The Ashland Press in 1872, Stella was affiliated with this paper.  From 1877, when Sam started The Bayfield Press again, to 1880, she wrote for both papers. Speaking of Stella, the Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region noted: "she was and is not only a writer of ability, but was capable of rendering practical assistance in the typographical work of the newspaper office" (4).

The Fifields lived at Evergreen, a beautiful home in Ashland.  Samuel became postmaster and was involved in politics. In 1881, he became Lieutenant Governor.  Stella served as a leader in the Ashland Chapter of the Chippewa Presbytery and was active in various charitable associations. 

Stella and Sam established a camping resort, Camp Stella, on Sand Island in 1886.  As Jane Celia Busch explains:

"Sam Fifield and his wife Stella began to camp on Sand Island in 1881....In 1886 they camped on the property which became Camp Stella, and soon after they purchased the property and began developing a permanent camp. While the Fifields sought relief on Sand Island for Stella's hay fever, their camping vacations were part of a popular trend...Organized, communal camps such as Camp Stella offered a more civilized camping experience, with hired help to do the work and other guests to share in recreational activities...It was an affluent, often prominent, clientele....Sam Fifield's yacht Stella was used for transportation from the mainland and for pleasure cruises around the islands" (310-311).

The Fifields also enjoyed trips with others. In August of 1890, along with Sam and other members of the Wisconsin Press Association, Stella boarded a Pullman sleeper car on the Northern Pacific Railroad for a trip to Yellowstone National Park.  Ella A. Giles, a poet whose profile also appears in A Woman of the Century, was in Stella's sleeper car during the trip.  Interested in leading and in promoting women, Stella served as a member of the Wisconsin Board of Lady Managers for the Columbian Exposition during the first half of the 1890s.
Stella and Sam continued to enjoy their time on Sand Island.  On June 26, 1909, she celebrated Sam's seventieth birthday there with him and numerous guests.  After Stella passed away in 1913, she was buried in Ashland's Mount Hope Cemetery.



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Image of Stella A. Grimes Fifield's home in Ashland, WI
Chapple, John C. A Souvenir of Ashland county, Wis.  Iron Mountain, Mich., C.O. Stile, 1904, p. 0

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Item Relations

Item: GILES, Miss Ella A. knows This Item