This information comes from "The History of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin - Past and Present," Judge William F. Bailey, Editor-in-Chief, published in 1914, pages 680-82.
Joseph John (JJ) Cliff was preeminently a self-made man. Beginning life with no capital other than his native ability, he by perseverance, industry and the force of a strong personality, attained to a place among the influential and substantial citizens of the community. A native of Ohio, he was born October 1, 1845, and while yet a boy of tender years, his father was lost at sea, and before he was 10 years of age his mother died. Thus thrown on his own resources, he worked for a farmer in Ohio until he was 13 years old and then started out in life for himself with only a change of underclothing tied up in a red handkerchief. He found employment among the lumber camps of Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, and finally came to Wisconsin, locating in the southern part of the state. He later moved northward, and finally settled in Washington township, Eau Claire County. During all this time, he was working in the woods and gained a thorough knowledge of the lumbering business, and in 1870 he engaged in logging and lumbering on his own account, and at one time operated as high as five camps and had in his employ 200 men. He had 25 to 30 teams of oxen and horses and was one of the few men who owned their own equipment. During his logging operations he purchased from time to time 360 acres of land, and in 1894 discounting his lumber operations, he moved to his farm in Washington township which he improved with a fine residence and other buildings, and at the time of his death, March 14, 1909, had brought the land to a high state of cultivation and besides his farm, was the owner of large tracts of timber land in Canada and the Dakotas.
Mr. Cliff was one of the most enterprising and progressive men of his town. In all his relations and dealings, he was actuated by manly motives and such was his demeanor that he maintained the confidence and esteem of all his acquaintances. He was one of the founders of and a stockholder in the Eau Claire Concrete Company, and was one of the organizers and directors of the Eau Claire Driving Park and for a number of years was a member of the Knights of Pythias.
Mr. Cliff married Cora E. Butler, daughter of Henry W. and Adeline Fairchild, who was born on May 10, 1859, and whose many womanly virtues endeared her to all who knew her. She died on June 20, 1895, and was the mother of three children, Newton born December 14, 1880, died February 13, 1882; Russell H., born June 14, 1883, a well known farmer of Washington township, married Nellie Johnson, the daughter of Erick and Anna Anderson, of the town of Washington and has three children, Lloyd H, Richard and Janette; and Earl H., born January 3, 1890, who is now in the employ of the Northern Pacific Railroad at St. Paul. He married Inga Winger, and has one child, Lenora. In 1897 Mr. Cliff married Ida Martinson, a woman of charming personality, culture and refinement, and to this union two children were born as follows; Jessie Inga, born January 20, 1900, and Joseph Edward, born August 8, 1906.
Mrs. Ida Martinson Cliff, since the death of her husband has carried on the farm of 360 acres and employees a number of hands who work under the direction of a foreman who she has to oversee the work. The father and mother of Mrs. Cliff, Ole and Rena Christianson were born in Christiania, Norway. They emigrated to America and were among the pioneers of Northern Wisconsin. They now reside at Chetek, Barron County, where he lives at the age of 80 years, retired from active farming. This family consisted of twelve children as follows: Ida, Sevil, Ole, Frederick, Henry, Andrew, Martin, Annie, Tena, Ella, Cora and Richard.
Amazing what you can find when you go digging, huh?