It is seldom that a man of eighty years is found still actively engaged in business, but David Hetzel still figures in the commercial circles of Racine and for almost forty years has conducted business at one location as proprietor of a men’s furnishing goods and tailoring establishment. He was born on the 5th of March, 1836, so that he is now an octogenarian. In the home of his parents, John and Barbara Hetzel, he spent the days of his boyhood and youth to the age of sixteen years, when he determined to try his fortune in the new world and bade adieu to friends and fatherland, sailing for the United States. For two years thereafter he remained a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1854 came to Racine, where he began work at the tailor’s trade, which he had previously learned in his native Germany. He was then a young man of eighteen years and through all the intervening period he has been connected with the tailoring business in this city-a period longer than that of any other representative of the trade here. Desiring that his labors should more directly benefit himself, he carefully saved his earnings until industry and frugality brought him a sufficient sum of money to enable him to embark in business on his own account when, in 1877, he opened a tailoring shop on Sixth street, and here he has since remained in the same block, covering a period of thirty-nine years. 1k not only conducts a tailoring business, but also handles men’s furnishing goods, and in both departments enjoys a satisfactory trade. He has kept abreast with changes in style, material and modes of workmanship as the years have passed and his ability has always secured to hint a gratifying patronage.
In 1860 Mr. Hetzel was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Wilken, of Racine, a daughter of Frank and Mary Wilken, who immigrated to this country from Germany in an early day. By this marriage there were born seven children, as follows: Fred E., who is a resident of Racine; George, deceased; Emma, the wife of Buell B. Dutton, who conducts a machine shop in Oak Park, Illinois, and by whom she has two children: Otto; Clara; William; and Linda, who is the-wife of Menzel Waite, a musician, residing in Racine.
After taking out his naturalization papers Mr. Hetzel did not ally himself with any political party, but has maintained an independent course, reserving the right to form his own judgment concerning the questions and issues of the day and the men whom he prefers to support for public office. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the new world, for here he found the business opportunities which he sought and in their utilization has made steady progress toward the goal of success. He has found, too, pleasant associations with many friends both of his own and other nationalities and he has deep attachment for the land of his adoption.