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 the direction of his father. For a time he occupied a position in a carriage factory and still later secured a clerkship in a hardware store, where he remained for five and a half years. Afterward he was engaged in the saloon business in Racine for four years and on selling out there he purchased his present place. in 1902. He now conducts a large general store and has an extensive trade and in connection with his general merchandise establishment he conducts a saloon. His trade comes to him from a territory covering many miles.
On the 18th of October, 1892, Mr. Theis was married to Miss Josephine Ellis, who was born in Austria, and they have one child, Margaret, whose birth occurred September 5, 1894. The parents are members of St. Luke’s Catholic Church at Caledonia and Mr. Theis is now well known in the County, especially in Racine, and what he has achieved is the direct result of his own labors, for he started out empty-handed and by diligence and determination has worked his way upward.