In 1857, Richard B. Yeaton was one of the first settlers to own land in the area that would become Abrams. Yeaton established a blacksmith shop and began trading tools to loggers, settlers, and indigenous tribes in the area. Many of the major throughways in Abrams were once Native American trails. As logging and timber harvesting began to grow, several saw mills sprang up along the Pensaukee River. The region became known for the deep golden color of the pine trees harvested near Abrams. The community survived the Peshtigo Fire of 1871, which had a devastating effect on the entire region.
In 1881 the railroad line came in and several homes and boarding houses sprung up. A train depot was built on land owned by W. J. Abrams and the railroad operators named the stop after the property owner, thus the town got its name.
German immigrants began to arrive in the region in 1880’s, followed by Polish immigrants in 1900’s. A Post Office was established, along with a school, and a large hotel. By 1887 there were 25 – 30 dwellings, 2 hotels, 3 dry good stores, a drug store, a depot, and 3 sawmills in the area. Abrams had a successful shingle mill operation, and a thriving livestock business shipping cattle and hogs to Chicago by rail. The town survived another natural disaster in 1895 when a serious flood swept through the area. A Methodist Episcopal Church was erected and in 1911 the first bank was established. A Lutheran Church followed and a Catholic Church came later. Christian Science Services were also held in the community.
On July 4, 1923 a second devastating fire broke out in downtown Abrams in the hardware store. The fire spread rapidly, consuming several buildings including the hotel, grocery, dry goods store, post office, pickling station, feed mill, grain elevator, stockyards, and part of the depot. The community rebuilt, and thrived for several decades. As surrounding communities grew larger, they began to pull industry and people away from Abrams. As the population began to dwindle, the Town of Abrams became less prominent until it finally becoming the quiet bedroom community that it is today.
Famous people who have connections to Abrams, Wisconsin include:
William J. Abrams – Wisconsin legislator (Senate & Assembly) and Mayor of Green Bay, Wisconsin. A property owner of land where the railroad built its depot (Born: Mar 1829, Died: Sep 1900)
Pee Wee King – Country Music Hall of Fame singer & songwriter (a.k.a. Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski) (Born: Feb 1914, Died: Mar 2000), famous for “The Tennessee Waltz.”
Bob Wickman – Major League Baseball player, relief pitcher. Teams: New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks. (Born: Feb 1969)