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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

May 26 - June 1

Woman of the Week

Stella A. Gaines Fifield, a journalist from Paw Paw, MI, is this week's Woman of the Week.

  • To learn about her by viewing her item, please click on her image.  

  • To read her biographical sketch in A Woman of the Century, please click on the highlighted page number to the left of her image.

Stella A. Gaines Fifield.jpg

FIFIELD, Mrs. Stella A. Gaines

June 1, 1845


Paw Paw, MI

p. 289

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, Wisconsin, 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 PressIn 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.  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.