Henry W. Sheriff, a farmer residing near Franksville, was born in Caledonia, Township, December 27, 1860, a son of Edward and Elizabeth (Thompson) Sheriff. The father, who was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1835, reached the age of seventy-four years, passing away in 1909, while his wife, who was born in Toronto, Canada in May, 1840, died August 22, 1915. They were married in Iowa and in 1859 became residents of Caledonia Township, Racine County, where the father first engaged in business as a teamster. In 1862, however, he invested the money which he had saved from his earnings in a farm of sixty acres and later he purchased more land. To him and his wife were born ten children, of whom seven are living, the eldest being Henry W., of this review. The others are: Addie, the wife of Harry Grigg, a resident farmer of Caledonia Township; George, who is inspector of the J. I. Case engines Lizzie, the wife of H. A. Hilker, agent for the Red Seal Oil Company at Racine: Sarah, living in Racine: Clara, the widow of W. Tuffnel and a resident of Racine: and Irvin, who is bookkeeper with the Hilker Shoe Company of Racine.
The usual experiences of the farm bred boy fell to the lot of Henry W. Sheriff who early became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. Through the summer seasons he worked in the fields and in the winter months pursued his education in the public schools.
On the 6th of January, 1886, Mr. Sheriff married Miss Rachel Woolnough, a daughter of Captain Woolnough, who sailed on the lakes for many years. To this union was born a son, Edward, who died in June. 1887. The demise of the wife and mother occurred in May, 1887. In November, 1888, Mr. Sheriff wedded Miss Alice Gibbs. a daughter of Robert T. and Charlotte (Wiltsey) Gibbs. The father was born in South Lansing, Tompkins County. New York. June 13, 1836, and was a son of Phleming and Sallie (Nettles) Gibbs. The ancestry of the family has been traced back to Mayflower days and in their veins is the mingled strain of English, German and Irish blood. The great grandfather, James Gibbs, was for seven years a soldier in the Revolutionary war, participating in ninny hotly contested engagements and on one occasion doing notably good service in exterminating a band of Tories and Indians. In the year 1846 the paternal grandparents of Mrs. Sheriff came to Racine County, where Phleming Gibbs purchased eighty acres of land in Caledonia Township, thereon spending his remaining days. Their son, Robert T. Gibbs, was a lad of ten years when he accompanied his parents to the west and although his school privileges were limited he became a well informed man of marked intellectual force. He was also self-made financially and through persistent effort and capable management became one of the successful men of his Township. It was in Caledonia Township that he wedded Charlotte Wiltsey, who was born December 29, 1844, a daughter of David and Harriet (Downes) Wiltsey, both of whom were natives of New York, whence they removed to this County in 1842, taking up their abode upon a farm in Caledonia Township, where they continued to reside until called to their final rest. Mr. and Mrs. Wiltsey had six children, only one of whom is now living, West Wiltsey, who followed the lakes for ten years and then settled in Michigan, where he farmed until 1910, when he came to make his home with Mr. and Mrs. Sheriff. Following the marriage of Robert T. Gibbs and Charlotte Wiltsey they began their domestic life upon a farm in Caledonia Township and as the years passed met with a substantial measure of success. The father died November 14, 1902, having for more than a decade survived his wife, who passed away December 27, 1890. In their family were but two children: Mrs. Sheriff, and Wiltsey, who died December 9, 1906. Mr. and Mrs. Sheriff have become the parents of two children: Evelyn, the wife of Robert Merry, living in Milwaukee, where he is engaged in steam fitting; and Arthur, at home.
The family residence stands on a nice farm of one hundred and twenty acres and Mr. Sheriff there carries on general agricultural pursuits, bringing his fields to a high state of cultivation and as a result annually gathering good harvests. His political allegiance is given to the Republican Party, but he does not seek nor desire public office. His entire life has been passed in this County and that his career has been upright and commendable is indicated in the fact that many of his staunchest friends are those who have known him from his boyhood.