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Biography of Hon. T. W. Thiesen

Hon. T. W. Thiesen, Racine’s popular mayor and one of its most efficient and progressive business men, now president of the Red Cross Drug Company, was born in Hamburg, Germany, November 19, 1867, a son of Thies and Emma (Karsten) Thiesen. He began to earn his living when but six years of age as a bootblack and newsboy and afterward became a butcher’s apprentice. On the 18th of June, 1884, when a youth of sixteen years, he left Germany and on the 4th of July, 1884, arrived in Racine. Here he secured employment in the drug store of Charles Giesler, with whom he worked for three years at ten dollars per month. He afterward spent one year in Milwaukee. Wisconsin, where he was employed as a drug clerk, and then, feeling the necessity of further educational development as a preparation for advancement in life, he entered the University of Wisconsin, through which he made his way by practicing strict economy. He had previously saved from his earnings the sum of one hundred and eighty dollars and by living frugally and utilizing every opportunity he managed to complete the course, being graduated from the pharmaceutical department with the class of 1890. Mr. Thiesen next went to Kansas City, where he spent three weeks, after which he proceeded to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was employed for two and a half years. In September, 1892, with the capital which he had saved from his earnings, he returned to Racine and opened a drug store on State Street. The following year he became one of the organizers of the Robinson Drug Company,...

Biography of George Alvin Uebele

George Alvin Uebele, cashier of the Bank of Burlington, exemplifies in his business career that thoroughness and efficiency which have always characterized the institution which he represents, making it one of the strong financial centers of southeastern Wisconsin. His entire life has been spent in this section of the state, his birth having occurred at Wheatland, Kenosha County, February 25, 1874. His father, Frederick Uebele, a native of Germany, came to America in the early ’50s and settled in Wheatland, near Slades Corners. He was but eight years of age when his parents died and in 1848 the children of the family, of whom he was one of the youngest, came to Wisconsin. He was a young man of twenty-one years when, in 1861, he responded to the country’s call for aid and enlisted in the Ninth Wisconsin Light Artillery. He went to St. Louis and much of his service was in Colorado and the west, fighting the Indians. He experienced many hardships owing to the extremes of heat and cold and starvation conditions which existed. He continued to serve, however, until almost the close of the war, when he received an honorable discharge and with his regiment returned to Wisconsin. Soon afterward Mr. Uebele began farming on his own account and was very successful in the cultivation and management of his property, winning well merited prosperity through his close attention to business. In 1866 he married Susan Runkel, and in October, 1916, they will celebrate their golden wedding. Mr. Uebele has always avoided public office, but has a good, clean record as an enterprising citizen whose influence has...

Biography of Hon. J. H. Kamper

Hon. J. H. Kamper, who is carrying on general agricultural pursuits near North Cape, was born in Denmark, December 17, 1857, a son of Peter H. and Christina (Rasmussen) Kamper. The father was born in Denmark in 1822 and died in the year 1896, while the mother, whose birth occurred in 1820, passed away in 1894. They were married in Denmark and in 1866 became residents of Yorkville Township, Racine County, where Mr. Kamper rented land. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Raymond Township, a tract of fifty acres, which he carefully and successfully cultivated. He was a member of the Lutheran church in early life, but after coming to Wisconsin joined the Baptist church. He never became allied with any political party, but cast an independent ballot. The Kamper family is of German lineage, for the paternal grandfather, Hans Kamper, was born in Germany, whence he removed to Denmark. J. H. Kamper is the only survivor of a family of six children. He pursued a district school education and when his textbooks were put aside, concentrated his efforts upon farm work, to which he has since given his attention. He was married in 1885 to Miss Ella Adland, a daughter of Knud and Phoebe (Drought) Adland. Her father located at North Cape, Wisconsin, in 1840, and established the first store there. He was postmaster for thirty-two years and gave it the name of North Cape in honor of North Cape in Norway, from which country he and most of the other early settlers of the town came. It has the distinction of being the only town of that...

Biography of Martin O. Senseny

Martin O. Senseny, president and treasurer of the Racine Malleable & Wrought Iron Company, has been connected with this business since 1906 and its development within the past decade is attributable in substantial measure to his efforts and keen business discernment. A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Senseny was born in 1852, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth Senseny. His mother died when he was but a few weeks old and his father when the boy was but three years of age, so that he was reared by his grandparents. He became a school teacher and later a bookkeeper and for a time was associated with the Eberhard Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, but in 1906 removed to Racine and purchased an interest in the Racine Malleable & Wrought Iron Company, which had been organized in 1884. The present officers are: O. Senseny, president and treasurer: W. H. Houssman, of Cleveland, vice president, and Charles Van Ornum, secretary. The plant is located at Twenty-first and South Clark streets, where the company owns ten acres of ground with buildings covering half of that amount. The original plant was located on the north side, but was burned in July, 1898, and at that time the company selected the present location, erecting two story buildings in which they installed modern equipment to facilitate the work. In June, 1915, a cyclone struck the plant and demolished the top story of all four of the buildings, causing a loss of about thirty-five thousand dollars. They employ two hundred and fifty men, most of whom are skilled workmen, and they manufacture castings, wagon and carriage hardware, harness...

Biography of Simon Gulick

Simon Gulick is engaged in farming in Dover Township, where he was born and has always resided. His natal day was August 16, 1856, his parents being Eagleson and Isabelle (Qualset) Gulick. The paternal grandfather was Eagle Gulick, who became a resident of Dover Township and here lived to the age of eighty-two years. His son, Eagleson Gulick, was born in Norway, December 1, 1827, and is still living, being now in the eighty-ninth year of his age. He was married in Rochester to Isabelle Qualset, whose birth occurred in Norway in 1816, and in that country her parents spent their entire lives. It was in 1843 that Eagleson Gulick became a resident of Dover Township and that the County was then but sparsely settled is indicated in the fact that he was able to purchase eighty acres of land at three dollars per acre. He then cleared the land, prepared it for the plow, and in course of time gathered good harvests as a reward for the care and labor which he bestowed upon his fields. In 1848 he built a log house and in that primitive home occurred the birth of his seven children, of whom four are now living: Edward, a resident farmer of Nebraska; Simon; Isabelle, the wife of Henry Mossmann, a railroad man of Missoula, Montana; and Mary the wife of Melvin Bemis, who is connected with a fur store in St. Paul. The mother passed away in 1907, being then ninety years of age. She was a member of the Lutheran church to which Mr. Gulick also belongs. His early political allegiance was...

Biography of Theodore R.Olson

Theodore R. Olson, characterized by a spirit of marked enterprise and progressiveness. is proprietor of a five and ten cent store, located at No. 1354 Washington avenue in Racine. His colleagues and contemporaries recognize him as a most wide-awake and progressive business man whose activities are typical of the spirit of the times, and thus it was that he was chosen president of the Junction Business Men’s Association, of which he was one of the organizers. He was born in North Cape, Wisconsin, October 18, 1878, a son of Soren and Sina Olson, both of whom are natives of Aalborg, Denmark, but were married in this country. In early life the father came to the United States and settled at North Cape. While residing on a farm he also carried on blacksmithing. During the infancy of his son, Theodore, he removed to Racine, where he established a smithy which he conducted for many years but retired from active business about five years ago and is now at the age of seventy-eight years enjoying well earned rest which is the merited reward of his former industry and activity. Although now well advanced in years, he is still hale and hearty. His wife is living at the age of sixty-eight years. In their family were eight children: John, deceased; Mary, the wife of Frank Kammerer, of Racine; Martin, a machinist of Everett, Washington; Julius A., a practicing dentist of Racine; Emma, the wife of W. H. Richardson, of this city; Theodore R.; Edith, the wife of W. H. Christensen, of Racine; and Arthur, who has passed away. After mastering elementary branches...

Biography of Captain William Mitchell Lewis

Captain William Mitchell Lewis has established and promoted in Racine, one of the largest manufacturing enterprises of this character in the United States. The development of the trade in the last few years has been so great as to seem almost magical, but back of this are the well defined and carefully executed plans of Captain Lewis and his associate officers of the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company. Racine claims him as a native son, for he was here born on the 25th of February, 1869, his parents being William T. and Mary (Mitchell) Lewis. At the usual age he became a public school pupil and afterward entered Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut, where he was graduated on the completion of a law course with the class of 1891. During his college days he was much interested in athletics and played at center on the famous Yale eleven of 1890. With his return to Racine in 1891, Captain Lewis engaged with the Mitchell-Lewis Wagon Company, but all personal and business considerations were put aside at the time of the outbreak of the war with Spain, when he volunteered for service at the front and was commissioned captain of Company F, of the First Wisconsin Infantry. He saw active service under Major General Fitzhugh Lee in the Seventh Army Corps and was’ stationed at Jacksonville, Florida. When he again came to Racine, Captain Lewis entered its business circles as general manager of the Wisconsin Wheel Works, a concern which was engaged in the manufacture of bicycles, the industry being at that time at its height. With the invention of the automobile...

Biography of William Henry Miller

William Henry Miller was born in Racine, on the 2d of November, 1847. and is a son of Moses and Frances Augusta (Durand) Miller, natives of New Jersey and Connecticut, respectively. The father arrived in Wisconsin about 1844 and was a wholesale merchant of Racine for a number of years prior to the building of railroads to this city. His goods were distributed by four-horse peddling wagons to stores all over the southern part of the state. Later in life he engaged in the insurance business. His influence was always on the side of right and improvement and the many sterling traits of character which he displayed won for him the love and esteem of all with whom he was associated. His wife was a sister of Henry S. Durand who came to Racine in the late ’30s and was one of the prominent pioneers here, building the Racine-Mississippi railroad and actively supporting many other projects of worth to the community. It was in the early ’40s that Frances A. Durand arrived in Racine and here she married Moses Miller, who died in Racine in 1868, at the age of fifty-three years. His widow survived him till 1907, when she passed away at the age of seventy-nine, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. William Henry Miller was the oldest of four children. In 1864, when a youth not yet seventeen and a pupil in the Racine high school, he responded to the country’s call for troops and joined Company F, of the Thirty-ninth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which regiment was soon ordered south, being in Memphis at the time of Forrest’s raid...

Biography of John Storm

John Storm, who is successfully engaged in farming and dairying on section 28, Norway Township, is a native of Wisconsin, his birth occurring in Milwaukee on the 13th of July, 1857. His parents, Frederick and Christina Storm, were both natives of Germany, the former born in 1816 and the latter in 1836. Coming to the new world in early life, they were married in Milwaukee, where they made their home for a time. When a young man the father cut cordwood during the winter months at twenty-eight cents a cord and during the summer season worked in a brickyard. Subsequently he came to Racine County and purchased land in Norway Township, owning at the time of his death a good farm of one hundred, and twenty acres. His success in life was due entirely to his own unaided efforts and the prosperity that came to him was well deserved. By his ballot he supported the men and measures of the Democratic Party and both he and his wife were consistent members of the German Lutheran church. To them were born seven sons and two daughters, of whom six are still living, namely: John, of this review; Charles, who is employed in a factory in Milwaukee; Henry, who is also working in that city; Christ, who is engaged in farming in Racine County; Joseph, who owns and operates a farm near Waterford, this County; and Mary, a resident of Milwaukee. The father died in 1881 and the mother, who was born in 1836, passed away in 1908. During his boyhood and youth John Storm attended the district schools near his...

Biography of George Gorton

Prominent among the enterprising, progressive and prosperous business men of Racine is George Gorton, who in 1892 embarked in his present line of business-the manufacture of fine machine tools and engraving machines. The work done in his establishment is of expert character and the excellence of the product insures a ready sale on the market. Mr. Gorton, a native of Racine, was born February 5, 1865, a son of George and Elizabeth (Buffham) Gorton, both of whom were natives of Rochdale, England. The father, who was born in 1825, became a resident of Southport, now Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1845, and the following year removed to Racine, where he continued to reside until his demise. He was a druggist and chemist and conducted the first drug store of this city. He was long identified with commercial interests here and the enterprise which he displayed in the conduct of his interests made him one of Racine’s foremost merchants for many years. His wife was a daughter of William Buffham, a Racine pioneer. Both were consistent members of the Baptist church and in his political views Mr. Gorton was an earnest republican. He died June 14, 1888, while his wife survived for more than a quarter of a century, passing away in April. 1914. Reared in the city in which he still makes his home, George Gorton obtained a public school education and afterward worked for his father, who was connected with the Racine Basket Company, having purchased that business. This was one of the oldest industrial enterprises of the city and was closed out in 1892. In that year George Gorton...
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