Collection: Racine County Wisconsin History

Biography of Michael N. Freeman

No history of the industrial development of Racine would be complete were there failure to make reference to Michael N. Freeman and his associates, whose important and extensive interests are conducted under the name of the S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company. With this business Michael N. Freeman, who is now the vice president of the company, has been continuously connected since reaching the age of thirteen years and there is no phase of the undertaking with which he is not familiar. He was born in Centralia, Illinois, January 14, 1860, and is a son of S. Freeman, the founder of the business, and a brother of Charles Freeman, who is president of the company and who is mentioned at length on another page of this work. When a youth of seven years Michael N. Freeman was brought by his parents to Racine, where the father soon afterward established a boiler and machine shop which was the nucleus of the present great enterprise. The son was put in school and pursued a public school course until he reached the age of thirteen, when, desirous of becoming a factor in business circles, he was set to work by his father and acquainted himself with the trade. He gradually worked his way upward, not only becoming familiar with the practical processes of the business but also with the management and control...

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Biography of A. Cary Judd

A. Cary Judd, who has occupied various public offices, the duties of which he has discharged with promptness and fidelity, has a most creditable record. He was born in Frankfort, New York, April 16, 1850, a son of George. B. and Margaret Ann (Cary) Judd, the former a native of Connecticut, born March 26, 1801, and the latter born in New York hi 1806. The father came to Racine in 1856 in search of a favorable location, for he desired to become identified with the growing middle west. In March, 1857, he brought his family to Racine and entered upon the practice of law, for which he had previously prepared, remaining an able- member of the bar here until his death, which occurred January 23, 1883. His widow survived him for about five years, passing away January 12, 1888. George B. and Margaret Ann Judd had seven children, three girls and four boys, of whom A. Cary was the youngest. A. Cary Judd supplemented his public school education by study in Racine College in 1861 and 1862. Determining upon the practice of law as a life work, he began reading with his father on the 28th of March, 1870, and was admitted to the bar June 18, 1872, before Justice William P. Lyon. He is today the oldest representative of the Racine bar in active practice, having for forty-tour...

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Biographical Sketch of John S. Hart Sr.

From an early period in the development of Racine the name of Hart has been closely connected with its history. John S. Hart was the representative of the family in the first generation living in this city. A native of Meredith, New Hampshire, he was born March 13, 1823, and upon his removal westward from New England in the early ’40s he settled at Baraboo, Wisconsin. After about a decade there passed he came with his family to Racine in the early ’50s and engaged in the woolen mill business as one of the founders of the enterprise of which his grandson, Harold H. Hart, is now the head. Through three successive generations the name has been closely and prominently associated with the development of the district in its manufacturing and commercial interests. John S. Hart was a very successful business man, watchful of all opportunities pointing to advancement, and he used his time and talents wisely and well. It was on the 21st of May, 1851, that Mr. Hart was united in marriage to Miss Susan Piper Hawkins, and his death occurred on the 7th of February, 1901, when he had reached the age of seventy-eight years. His life work proved of value to the community in which he long resided. He was one of the principal contributors to the erection of the Young Men’s Christian Association building...

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Biography of Herman O. Wadewitz

Herman O. Wadewitz, secretary and treasurer of the Racine Trunk Company identified with this industry for more than three decades and has contributed much to the success which has made it an important business concern of Racine. He was born in Port Washington, Wisconsin, July 26, 1865, a son or John F. Wadewitz, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work. With the removal of the family to Racine he obtained a public school education here and was twenty years of age when he started in the trunk manufacturing business, becoming one of the organizers of the Racine Trunk Company, which was established April 1, 1885, by J. F., T. C. and H. O. Wadewitz and A. B. Augustine. Upon the incorporation of the business ten years later he became secretary and treasurer and has so continued to the present time. Not only each year but also each month and day has brought him broader knowledge of the business and its opportunities, and in the line of manufacture the company has kept abreast with the tendency of the age in making improvements which add much to facility and comfort in traveling. They put forth the latest and best that is to be found in trunks and traveling bags of every description and the excellence of their product is demonstrated in the continued growth of their patronage, their output being today...

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Biography of Mortimer Eugene Walker

Mortimer Eugene Walker, whose prominence in the profession of law entitles him to more than passing notice as a representative of the Racine bar, is today well known as a member of the firm of Simmons & Walker. Endowed by nature with keen intellectual force, he has so directed his energies and developed his talents that he is found adequate to the solution of most intricate legal problems. Racine County numbers him among her native sons. He was born in the town of Mount Pleasant, June 25, 1872, and represents an old New England family. His paternal grandfather, Nelson A. Walker, was a native of Vermont and on foot made the long journey across the country from the Green Mountain state to Wisconsin, where at one time he owned a farm on the present site of Racine, which was then known as Sagetown. For a number of years he occupied that place but two or three years prior to his death removed to Chicago, where he passed away at an advanced age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Lucinda Taggart, died at the age of sixty-five years, leaving four children. That number included Robert M. Walker, who was born in Vermont but was yet a young lad when his parents came to Wisconsin, so that he was reared in Racine County-then the western frontier. The occupation with...

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Biography of W. J. Theis

W. J. Theis is a self-made man, who front the age of fifteen years has made his home in Racine County and through the intervening period has been closely associated with its commercial development. He now resides in Raymond Township upon a farm which he purchased in 1902. He was born in Eberfeld, Germany, September 19. 1865, and is a son of William and Mary (Miller) Theis, who were likewise natives of Germany, the former born in Nassau in 1837 and the latter in Renarode. Their family numbered ten children, of whom two are living: William J., and Henry, who is now engaged in the fruit business in California. The father was foreman in Weber’s planing mill in Racine for many years and is an expert cabinetmaker. W. J. Theis obtained his education in the schools of Germany and was a youth of fifteen when he accompanied his parents on the voyage across the briny deep to the new world. The family at once came to Racine County and from that time forward he has been dependent upon his own resources, for he at once began to earn his living by working as a farm hand by the day. He was thus employed for about three years and then went to Racine, where he secured a situation in a factory, having previously learned the cabinetmaker’s trade in Germany under...

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Biography of George T. Caystile

George T. Caystile, who has been treasurer and manager of the Carroll Coal Company since its organization in 1910, was born in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, December 13, 1868, a son of Robert and Hannah (Nield) Caystile. The father was a native of the Isle of Man and in his boyhood was brought to the United States, after which he learned and followed the moulder’s trade. At an early period in the development of Racine he removed westward to this city. He married Hannah Nield, a daughter of James Nield, who was one of the first meat packers of Wisconsin and at one time conducted a prospered as the years passed on and later he retired from that field of activity, turning his attention to agricultural pursuits. At a subsequent date, however, Mr. Nield again took up his abode in Racine, where he lived retired from active business cares throughout his remaining days. He was, however, retail meat market on Main Street in Racine. Mr. Nield’s business affairs a prominent factor in the building operations which brought about the development of the northwestern part of Racine and in many ways was closely connected with the progress and improvement of city and County. Robert Caystile served throughout the Civil war, having enlisted at Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, as a member of Company K, Twenty-second Wisconsin Infantry, with which command he rendered signal...

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Biography of William Smith

William Smith, of Union Grove, has been identified with various business interests and his acumen and initiative have enabled him to gain financial independence. He is now largely living retired but still engages in the real estate business to some extent, holds title to one hundred and eighty acres of fine land and also owns the hotel in Union Grove. He was born in Dover, Racine County, on the 10th of September, 1853, a son of William Smith, Sr., whose birth occurred in County Norfolk, England, on the 17th of July, 1817. He emigrated to America in 1839 and after spending three years in New Jersey came west in 1842. He resided in Milwaukee during that summer but in the fall located in Dover, Racine County, entering land which he purchased as soon as it was placed on the market. He improved and developed that place, making it one of the hest farms of his locality, and as the years passed his resources steadily increased. He was married in this County to Miss Mary Welsh, a native of Ireland, in which country her father, John Welsh, passed his entire life. Mr. and Mrs. William Smith, Sr., became the parents of eight children, as follows: Robert. W., a carpenter of Union Grove; Amelia, who is the wife of William Donald, a substantial farmer of Dover Township; John H., who owns...

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Biography of Stiles Moe

Among the most highly esteemed and honored residents of Union Grove is Stiles Moe, who owns a general store and who still manages his business affairs although he has now reached the advanced age of eighty-two years. His birth occurred in Lorain County, Ohio, on the 29th of January, 1834, and he is a son of Edwin and Mehetabel (Case) Moe. The family immigrated to America from the north of France prior to the Revolutionary war, having been driven from their native land by religious persecution. Isaac Moe, the great-grandfather, who was born in Plattsburg, New York, served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war and his son Isaac, who was born in Vermont, participated in the war of 1812. Edwin Moe was born in Plattsburg, New York. in 1804, but when fourteen years of age became a resident of Lorain County, Ohio, where he farmed for years. In 1844, however, he came to Racine County, Wisconsin, by wagon and purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land at five dollars per acre. Only two or three acres had been brought under cultivation and the dwelling house was unfinished when the place came into his possession. This section was scarcely more than a wilderness and there was little to indicate the wonderful transformation which the next seventy years were destined to bring about. He broke his land and as...

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Biography of John F. Wadewitz

Broad and varied have been the experiences which have come to John F. Wadewitz because of his extensive travels. A native of Germany, he spent some time in Australia, while in the year 1850 he first arrived in Racine. Here he has made his home almost continuously since, although absent for brief intervals at different periods. In 1886 he established a trunk manufacturing business, which in 1889 was incorporated as the Racine Trunk Company, and in this enterprise he has since been financially interested, although not active in the management, for he is now enjoying a well earned rest, having passed the eighty-fifth milestone on life’s journey. He was born in Saxony, Germany, December 30, 1830. a son of Johan Gottlob and Victoria (Schulz) Wadewitz. The father, who devoted his life to the business of mason contracting, died in Germany. John F. Wadewitz spent the first twenty years of his life in that country and then, in 1850, sailed for the new world, hoping to find better business opportunities and conditions than he believed existed in the fatherland. He spent a brief time in Port -Washington. Wisconsin, and in April, 1850, came to Racine. He did his first work here in a brick yard. He had but eleven dollars remaining when he reached Wisconsin and his financial condition rendered it imperative that he secure immediate employment. For a time...

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Biography of John H. Liegler

John H. Liegler, who for fifteen years has engaged in law practice in Racine, having been admitted to the bar in 1899, has made steady progress in a profession where advancement depends entirely upon individual merit, effort and ability. Racine numbers Mr. Liegler among her native sons. He was born March 12, 1874, his parents being John and Fanny (Pollock) Liegler. The former was a son of John Liegler, who was born in Bohemia and was of French descent, the ancestry being traced back in Bohemia to the year 1730. It was in 1854 that the grandfather crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling in Racine. He was a man of scholarly attainments, speaking eight different languages. By trade he was a furrier and established one of the first houses of this city, a business which is still continued by his son and namesake, John, who has long been prominent in business circles of Racine. Mrs. Fanny Liegler died in June, 1891. At the usual age John H. Liegler became a pupil in the public schools of Racine, passing through consecutive grades to his graduation from the high school, after which he attended McMynn Academy. He afterward entered the University of Wisconsin, from which he was graduated in 1896. For two years thereafter he was a student in the law department of that school and for five years...

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Biography of John D. Rowland

John D. Rowland. a member of the real estate and insurance firm of Carpenter & Rowland, was born in Racine, March 8, 1863, a son of David and Elizabeth (Davis) Rowland. The father, who was born in north of Wales, was a son of David Rowland, Sr., who brought his family to the United States in 1842, settling in New York where he died. His widow afterward became the wife of David Morgan and about 1853 they removed to Racine, Mr. Morgan establishing a carpenter shop at the corner of Columbus avenue and Twelfth Street. David Rowland. Jr., when a youth of seventeen years, went to sea on a sailing vessel and spent several years in that way, visiting all parts of the world. He afterward served as a member of Company F, Twenty-second Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers, through the period of the Civil War, having enlisted in 1862, while in 1865 he was mustered out. Following the close of hostilities he learned the carpenters’ trade and spent the greater part, of his business life in connection with the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, being first employed as a workman and later as a contractor. He married Elizabeth Davis, who was born in South Wales and both are now residents of Racine. Mr. Rowland living retired at the advanced age of seventy-nine years. J. D. Rowland was one...

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Biographical Sketch of Fred Reichert

Fred Reichert, a well known contractor of Racine, was born November 6, 1886, in this city, his parents being Nichola F. and Catherine (Becker) Reichert, who were also natives of this city. The paternal grandfather, Frederick Reichert, was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and in early manhood came to the new world, here following the occupation of farming. He cast in his lot with the early settlers of Racine County and his son, Nichola F., was born and reared on the old homestead farm and became a contractor and builder. He was thus identified with building operations in this County for thirty-five years, continuing active along that line until his death, which occurred about three years ago. His wife had died sonic years before, her death occurring fifteen years ago. Fred Reichert was educated in the schools of Racine and became a professional polo player, devoting ten years to that sport. He was also manager of the Lakeside Auditorium and still continues in that position, his father having at one time been owner of the Auditorium. He has likewise engaged in general teaming contracting and he also conducts the North Side Beach for dancing and other amusements. His interests are varied and his activity has brought him success. He closely studies public wishes and has thus been able to cater to public taste in the line of attractive amusements. Mr....

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Biography of F. Arthur Morey

Among those whose success in the real estate and insurance business entitles them to representation as leading business men of Racine is F. Arthur Morey, who has been a lifelong resident of this city. He is a representative of one of-the old families of Wisconsin and the lineage can be traced back to England, whence in 1626 three brothers of the name sailed for the new world, settling in Massachusetts. One branch of the family subsequently took the name of Mowry and the other the name of Morey. Darius J. Morey, the great-grandfather of F. Arthur Morey, was a native of Vermont and in early manhood took up the trade of a carpenter and builder, afterward becoming a designer and architect. He became a resident of Wisconsin in 1846 and passed away in Racine. in 1851, at the age of seventy-four years. During his early life he served as a soldier in the War of 1812. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Marian Fowler, passed away at the age of fifty-four years. Their children numbered five daughters and two sons, including John T. Morey, who was born in New York and there married Catherine Styles, a daughter of John Styles, a native of England, who was a sergeant in the British army and fought under Wellington at Waterloo. From Montreal, Canada, he removed to Morristown, New York,...

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Biography of Christopher C. Gittings

Christopher C. Gittings, who since 1889 has been an active member of the Racine bar, and is now senior partner in the firm of Gittings & Janechy, was born in Racine County, October 29, 1862, a son of William and Elizabeth Gittings. The ancestry is traced back to Wales, although the family is of English origin. The father was born in Wales, and in 1850 visited Wisconsin, being so pleased with the state and its future prospects that he returned in 1855 to Racine County and purchased land in Caledonia Township, soon after which he was joined by his father, William Gittings, and the other members of the family. After coming to Wisconsin William Gittings, Jr., took up the occupation of farming which he continuously followed until he retired from active business life and removed to Racine. He died in Wales while on a visit to that country in August, 1911, at the very venerable age of eighty-nine years, and his wife has also passed away. They were the parents of seven children: Katharine, the wife of Captain John Pugh of Racine; William G., who is manager of the Gold Medal Camp Furniture Company of Racine; Mellie, who became the wife of Charles E. Kittinger and died in South Dakota in 1886; Christopher C.; Elizabeth, living in Racine; John, an attorney of Union Grove, Wisconsin; and Ward, who is...

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