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The family name indicates the German nativity of Christian Erbe, who displays in his business career many of the sterling characteristics which mark the efficiency of the Teuton race. He was born in Saxony, Germany, January 29, 1839, a son of George and Catherine (Ungerecht) Erbe, who were also natives of Saxony. The ancestry is traced back to Christian Erbe, the great-grandfather. The grandfather was John Erbe, who died in Germany when his son George was but fourteen years of age. One of the family, Sebastian Erbe, served in the Revolutionary war, on the English side, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Trenton. George Erbe was born September 26, 1800, and on the 24th of November, 1824, wedded Catherine Ungerecht, whose birth occurred May 10, 1802. They came to America in 1852, settling in Caledonia Township, Racine County, Wisconsin, where the father purchased a farm of eighty acres. He brought with him considerable money and as the years passed he won a very substantial measure of success His political allegiance was given to the Democratic Party, but afterward he became a champion of the Republican Party and was chairman of the meeting called to ratify the nomination of Lincoln. His wife was a member of the Lutheran church. He died in 1892, having for a number of years survived his wife, who passed away in 1879. They were the parents of four sons and four daughters, but only two are living, the surviving daughter being Mrs. Augusta Einwaldt, a widow living in Milwaukee.
Christian Erbe pursued his education in the public schools of Germany and for three years attended the public schools of Racine County. He was reared to the occupation of farming and determined to make it his life work and thus when he had reached his majority he concentrated his efforts upon the work of the fields. He now owns the old homestead farm upon which the family located on crossing the Atlantic, having ninety-four and a half acres of good land in Caledonia Township. He has greatly improved the place and carries on general agricultural pursuits, although he makes dairying the principal feature of his business and for this purpose keeps high grade Holstein cows.
On the 20th of November, 1866, Mr. Erbe was married to Miss Catherine Muehlfeld, who was born in Germany, and they have had eleven children. nine of whom are living; Carl, a resident of Caledonia Township; Ernst, a farmer living in Milwaukee County; Christian, a molder employed at Racine; Emma, the wife of William Schwartz, a farmer of Milwaukee County; Augusta, the wife of John Smader, a butcher of Racine; Rudolph, a resident farmer of Milwaukee County; Louisa, the wife of Otto Schultz, of Caledonia Township; Katie, the wife of Nelson Guenther, of Milwaukee County; and George, at home.
Mr. Erbe exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican Party and for four years he filled the position of chairman of the town board and for one term was a member of the side board. For twenty-five years he has filled the office of justice of the peace, in which capacity he is now serving, and for thirty years he was clerk of the school board. He has ever stood for those interests which he believes to be of the greatest value to the community and his work has been a factor in public progress. For almost two-thirds of a century he has lived in Racine County, witnessing its growth and development, and as the years have gone on he has won recognition as a worthy citizen of the community by reason of what he has accomplished for the public benefit.
George Erbe, the youngest son of Christian Erbe, was married on the 6th of March, 1916, to Miss Lorene Urban, a daughter of George Urban, a highly esteemed farmer of Caledonia Township. Mr. Erbe is a republican in politics and is now acceptably filling the office of clerk of the school board. He is associated with his father in the management of the home farm and is recognized as one of the leading young agriculturists of the Township.