|Dodge County Wisconsin Genealogy|
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Biographical sketches from the book
"History of Dodge County Wisconsin 1880"
This book was originally published in 1880 by the Western Historical Company, Chicago, and was reprinted in 1985 by the Affiliated Historical Societies of Dodge County, Wisconsin. Here is an excerpt from the book jacket: "The Dodge County section covers industries, schools, churches, towns, local and county governments, and the people who made it all happen. There is also a history and biographical section by townships. The biographical section includes some of the more prominent people of that time, but not everyone."
Many thanks are due to Kathy Smith for her help in typing up these biographical sketches
Rambusch, W. F.
W. F. RAMBUSCH, of Rambusch and Mertz, capitalists, insurance, abstracts, etc., Juneau; came to Watertown, Wis., in 1862; in 1867, went to Minneapolis, Minn.; was there four years, and, in 1871, entered the Foreign Department of the Post Office at Washington, under Postmaster Creswell; was also appointed one of the Commissioners to Berlin in the interest of the U. S. Post Office Department; in 1874, he came to Juneau and engaged in the abstract business, and finally entered into copartnership with Mr. Mertz in the same business. Married Emily Curtiss, daughter of Hiram Curtiss, in 1868. Mr. Rambusch enlisted in September, 1861, in the 51st N. Y. V. I., and was honorably discharged in January, 1862. He was also Presidential Elector from Maine. The firm have sterling integrity and great business tact, and through those means have a deserved popularity.
CHARLES RANK, retired merchant; born June 14, 1824, in Ruegen, Germany, and island in the Baltic Sea and a place of summer resort; he was the son of Carl Louis Rank. Charles was a soldier in the old country in the 28th Regiment Prussian Infantry; was honorably discharged at Aix La Chapelle June 22, 1848; this was one of the first regiments sent to Rastad-Baden to quell a rebellion in which Carl Schurz, Gen. Sigel and others, since citizens of fame in this country, were prominent leaders. Carl Louis Rank and family came to Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 6, 1848; Carl shortly after to Washington Co., and died there in 1854; he was born Jan. 9, 1793. Charles was a journeyman tailor in Milwaukee several years; was employed with H. Frind & Bro. five years; in the fall of 1854, engaged in business for himself near the Kirby House; in May, 1855, came to Waupun and started a general store in company with John Manz, under the firm name of Rank & Manz; in 1863, he bought Manz out and carried on the business very successfully til 1876; he has now a competence through his good business management and square dealing, owning one of the finest business blocks of the city, which he erected in 1868. Married, Dec. 25, 1854, Christiana Luick, born in Nittingen, Wurtemberg; have had five children--Louisa, born Sept. 15, 1855, died May 7, 1858; Ella G., born Sept. 25, 1858, living at home; Lucy E., born Feb. 9, 1862; Charles A., born Sept. 5, 1864, living at home; William Edward, born Aug. 26, 1866, at home. Ella is teaching school at Oak Center, Fond du Lac Co. Mr. Rank was liberal during the war, giving his aid and support freely to the great cause of national sovereignty.
Reynolds, Frank S.
FRANK S. REYNOLDS, physician, Neosho; born in Byron, Fond du Lac Co., Wis., May 1, 1853, where he received his early education; his medical education he received at the Rush Medical College, Chicago, where he graduated in 1876; April 17, 1876, he located at Oak Grove, Dodge Co., where he practiced medicine for two years; October, 1878, he moved to Neosho, where he has a very large and growing practice. He married on April 17, 1876, Miss Loretta Voorhees, a native of Wisconsin; they have two children--Edith, born Jan. 21, 1877; Ethel, born Dec. 7, 1878. The Doctor is a charter member of Oak Grove Lodge, No. 7, Order of Odd Fellows, also of Wildey Lodge, No. 128, at Neosho. In the fall of 1877, he was elected County Physician of Dodge Co. In politics he is a Democrat.
HARVEY RICE, deceased; born in the State of Rhode Island Sept. 14, 1786; his parents removed to Pittstown, N. Y., when he waw only 6 weeks old; resided in New York Sate until 1846, when he removed with his family and spent one year in Chicago, Ill; he settled in Horicon in 1847, and bought a one-twelfth interest in the water-power and village site, which he owned until his death, Feb. 7, 1864. He married Miss Sally C. Norton April 23, 1812, and left three sons--S.N., W. H., Albert T. and a daughter Cornelia; Mrs. Rice died Feb 20, 1870. Sylvester N. Rice was born in Granville, N. Y. in 1816; having spent three years in Chicago, he brought a stock of goods from that town to Horicon, in November, 1846, and, with W. M. Larribee, built a 40X40 two-story log store on the corner of Lake and Vine streets; after about eighteen months, Mr. Rice sold his interest, and, with his brother, W. H., built and operated the first turning-shop in Horicon--which was burned; Mr. Rice afterward lived five years in Chicago, and, on his return, took a position in the Van Brunt Seeder Works, where he is now employed as a pattern-maker. He is a stanch Republican, and was the first Postmaster of Horicon, and was general agent for the non-resident proprietors of the Horicon water-power many years; he is a charter member of Horicon Lodge, No. 40, A., F. & A. M. William H. Rice was born in Pittstown, N. Y. , in 1822; was with his father in Chicago, and came with him to Horicon; has since been a resident; began work for the Van Brunt Seeder Company in 1863, and has since been constantly in this employ; is by trade a pattern-maker. Mr. Rice is an old-time Republican, and a member of Horicon Lodge, No. 87, I. O. O. F., and, like his brother, S. N., is a member of Horicon Temple of Honor. Albert T. Rice is now book-keeper in the First National Bank, of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
JOEL RICH, farmer, Sec. 21; P. O. Juneau; born in Caroline, Tompkins Co., N. Y., Feb. 24, 1824; son of Martin Rich, who emigrated from Vermont at an early day with his father, Joel, who owned the land where Ithaca now stands, and thought he was getting a good price for it when he sold it for 10 cents an acre; this was about 1810; the present Joel Rich came to Juneau, Dodge Co., Wis., in 1844, and settled on 160 acres in Sec. 21; at that time, there was not a piece of land entered from his farm to the lake; he built the first frame house in Juneau; built the dam at Horicon and put up the first frame building there; 1,500 Indians encamped near Horicon then; Mr. Rich was the prime mover in the struggle to get the Court House located at Juneau, canvassing the county in that interest; Beaver Dam was called Grubville at that time; two or three houses there; got mail once a week from Watertown. Married, in July, 1846, Esther Wright; she died in 1853; children were Julia E. (married H. Perry), Allen E. (married Thomas Jones). Married his second wife, Helen M. Hart, in 1856; she was a native of New York; have had five children--Joel, Netttie, Bessie and Martin A. are living at home; Ina married Henry Markel and is living at Waupun. In 1873, Mr. Rich was appointed Director and Warden at the State Prison at Waupun and held that office till 1878. Mr. Rich has one of the finest residences and places in Dodge Co.
ROBERT RIELY, Superintendent of Beaver Dam Woolen-Mills, was born four miles west of Glasgow, Scotland, Aug. 3, 1831, and came to Wisconsin Sept. 23, 1854, locating in Green Co.; he served his apprenticeship in woolen and cotton goods with the Blackburn Cotton-Mills and the Carlton Woolen-Mills in Glasgow; in 1850, he was Superintendent of the Farmers' Woolen-Mills, of Kingsville, OH, for two and a half years, then for one year was Superintendent of the Monterey Woolen-Mill of Janesville; he came to Beaver Dam in 1856, and engaged with the Farmers' Woolen-Mill as Superintendent, after which he became Superintendent of the Beaver Dam Woolen-Mills, which position he now holds. Mr. Riely married, Dec. 17, 1849, Elizabeth Crompton, of Lancashire, England; he has four children living--Jesse Ann, Nellie, Robert and Bessie.
John Rifenbergh, farmer, Sec. 12; P. O. Brownsville; born in Huron Co., Ohio, Oct. 11, 1838; when he was about 12 years of age his parents settled in Le Roy, Dodge Co., Wis.; here he worked several years as a carpenter and joiner, enlisting September, 1861, in Co. K, 10th W. V. I.; he served three years, participating in every battle which that historic regiment fought; was commissioned Second Lieutenant of his company by Gov. Salomon. At the expiration of his three years term of service he returned to Le Roy, bought his farm of 80 acres, March, 1867; was the architiect and builder of his pleasant home. He married Miss Olive A. Rhodes March 21, 1868, who was born Feb. 26, 1842, in St. Lawrence Co., N. Y.; they have three living children--Effie A., Fred L. and Robert A. Mr. Rifenbergh is a Republican and a member of Oakfield Lodge 158, A., F. & A. M.
Philip Riley, farmer, Sec 27; P. O. Richwood; born in County Longford, Ireland, 1815; came to America in 1837; spent eight or nine years in Westchester, N. Y. as a quarryman; he then lived in Canada until June, 1845, when he came to Wisconsin with his family; reached Watertown on the 4th of July, and at once bought his farm of 160 acres, getting his Government duplicate in Milwaukee; the farm was a wilderness as was the country around it; Mr Riley reached it by the aid of blazed trees; on trying to revisit it later, he lost his way in the forest; Mr. R. says roads and bridges, and neighbors were scarce, but that deer, bears and Indians were plenty; the latter were generally peaceable, though they killed a settler to the north of him, which brought out the U. S. cavalry and much excitement. Mr. and Mrs. R. barricaded their door one night with barrels against a half-drunken crowd of Indians; he was the frontier settler for two years, and was glad enough to welcome Mr. Peter Higgins, his first neighbor. He married Miss Margaret McCaig, a native of Antrim, Ireland, who came to America and New York State in 1840; they have six children--Charles, Bridget, Eliza, Philip, Michael and John. Mr. Riley is a Democrat, and, with his family, a Roman Catholic. His forest farm is now reclaimed and transformed into a home.
Rix, J. L.
J. L. RIX, Sheriff of Dodge Co., Juneau; born in Canada July 12, 1837; son of John Rix, who was born in Vermont, and came of old English stock; he died about 1870, at the age of 59; he came with his family to Kenosha Co., Wis., in the spring of 1844, and in the spring of 1845, moved to Washington Co., Wis., and settled on 160 acres of Government land; he was the father of seventeen children--six boys and six girls are now living; the old farm is still in possession of the boys. Mr. J. L. Rix started out for himself at the age of 21; he and his brother John built a mill, and carried on the milling business successfully some years, till the spring of 1872, when he came to Dodge Co., Wis., and engaged in the responsible position of Superintendent of the North-Western Iron Co.'s works at Mayville; was there till elected Sheriff in 1878, and entered office in 1879. Married, January, 1863, Eliza E. Maxon, daughter of Ethan Maxon, who was from New York; children are Frances, Arthur (died in infancy), John George, Ethan M. (died in infancy), Mary P. and Jennie. Mr. Rix, in 1871, made a trip to Utah and Salt Lake; was over most of that State; returned after being there six months.
Root, Lyman N.
Lyman N. Root, retired farmer, Fox Lake Village; born in Portage, Allegany Co., N. Y., Sept. 10, 1827; son of Israel Root, who was born and brought up in Rensselaer Co., N. Y.; his father was also Israel Root, and was of old Connecticut stock, and a soldier in the Revolutionary war; Israel Root, Jr., and family came to Milwaukee, May, 1842, soon after went to Waukesha Co., and in August, 1842, moved to town of Beaver Dam and settled on 160 acres; Lyman built the log house, which had two rooms--one more than usual; in those times Indians were numerous--Lyman, becoming lost one night, camped out with them, returning in the morning; nearest market, Milwaukee; there were but seven families in Beaver Dam, all living in shanties; Israel Root bought his land for ten shillings per acre, and after living there fifteen years, sold out for $50 per acre, and moved to Reedsburg, and lived there till he died at the age of 79. Lyman married, February 5, 1845, Lydia Hyde, of Allegany Co., N. Y.; had five children--Charles M. is in Minnesota; Jeddu B., living in Iowa; Emma J. living in Minnesota; Julius M. and Julia M. (twins); Julius, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Julia, living in Minnesota; wife died Sept. 19, 1855; married, Dec. 23, 1855, Jane Read, of Beaver Dam; two children by second wife--Justin D. and Elbert D. Mr. Root moved to Fox Lake in 1867, and settled on 150 acres, which he now owns. Has held all the different offices in the School Board, and was Justice of the Peace in Beaver Dam. Mr. Root was an old and well-known music teacher in old times; taught in all the principal towns and villages in this part of the State; he is a member of the Temple of Honor and Good Templars, and the family are members of the Baptist Church.
HORATIO ROPER, farmer, Sec. 24; P. O. Juneau; born in Rutland, Worcester Co.., Mass., Jan. 1, 1799 (near old barracks, where Burgoyne, the British Commander, was stationed at the time of the Revolutionary war); was a son of John Roper; his father's brother Ephraim's family was twice destroyed by the Indians, and after all he married again, and raised ten sons and one daughter. Horatio married, Nov. 23, 1820, Anna Reid, daughter of William Reid, of Sterling, Mass.; their children are Joseph W. (now in Fort Dodge, Iowa), Samuel E. (was in Co. K, 29th W. V. I., is now in Madison, Wis.), John H. (died in infancy), John A. (is at home), Josiah C. (is in Horicon), Mary A. (is in Mankato, Minn.), Louisa L. (is living at home), Harriet (died April 22, 1865, at the age of 22). After marriage, Horatio went to Susquehanna Co., Penn., and then to Tioga Co., N. Y.; came to Wisconsin and Oak Grove in 1849, and settled on a farm of eighty acres. John A. Roper is now running the farm. He married Emeline Tyler April 23, 1853; their children are Stella (died in infancy), Frank (died when 2 years old), Dora and Dena (died in infancy), Belle, Mark, John and Daisy (are at home).
IRA ROWELL, manufactuer, Beaver Dam; was born in Springwater, Livingston Co., NY, Oct. 20, 1836, and came to Wisconsin in August, 1842, locating in Lisbon; in 1862, he moved to Hartland and opened a general store which he continued for two years; in 1864, he moved to Beaver Dam and connected himself with his uncle John in the manufacture of agricultural implements, which business he is now carrying on. Mr. Rowell was Alderman of the Third Ward for two terms, also Supervisor of the Third Ward. He married in November, 1868, Mary Thompson of Canada; he has three children--Jennie, Wallie and Edla.
Rowell, J. S.
J. S. ROWELL, manufacturer, Beaver Dam; was born in Springwater, Livingston Co., NY, April 1, 1827, and came to Wisconsin in September, 1848, locating at Hartland, Waukesha Co.; he served his time in New York at the molding and wooding of plows; he then moved to Goshen, Elkhart Co., IN, and went to work with his brother putting up plows; he then moved to Oswego, Kosciusko Co., IN, when he was 18 years of age, and on looking about for business was advised, by his brother, to start the manufacture of plows; he did so, having as his capital a rifle and $40 borrowed money; this he immediately put into flour at $3 per barrel, getting three barrels for his rifle; he then swapped the whole for castings, getting $4 per barrel for his flour in the trade; he then borrowed some carpenter's tools and went into the woods, where, with his own hands alone, he cut, hewed and scored the sills and frame-work for his manufactory, putting up the same without the aide of a carpenter; he then dug his race and put in a flume, made and set up a wheel, shaft, pulleys, etc., and also built and put up a fan-bellows under the instruction of Mr. Auberson, of Fort Wayne; this foundry he ran for two or three years, saving from his profits about $1,500; he then sold out and returned to Goshen, IN, and engaged in mercantile business; not succeeding very well in that, he moved to Hartland, WI, where, for awhile, he made steel plows; shortly after, he received an offer from his brother in Goshen, IN, of a half-interest in his foundry and plow-shop, which offer he accepted, and remained there three years, when he moved to Beaver Dam and opened a shop for the repairing of thrashers and making plows; he shortly after commenced building the celebrated Tiger Thrasher upon which he made, in after years, many improvements; in 1861, he commenced the manufacture of seeders in connection with his other manufactures, and, at this writing, is doing a large and prosperous business; in 1867, was Mayor of Beaver Dam; he was also Alderman for two terms; Mr. Rowell is owner of the celebrated mare, "Badger Girl," whose record is 2:22 1/2. Mr. Rowell married, Jan. 1, 1850, Mary Martha Ball of Virginia; he has five children living--Theo. B., Samuel W., Elizabeth M., Lillian and Florence Belle. Mrs. Rowell is a member of the First Presbyterian Church at Beaver Dam.
SAMUEL W. ROWELL, manufacturer; was born in Kenosha, WI, Jan. 28, 1850; he commenced his business career by learning the trade of a machinist with his father, and afterward learned all the different branches of the trade in the establishment of J. S. Rowell & Co., until he became master of them all; in 1876, he was admitted to partnership in the firm; the firm now being J. S. Rowell, Sons & Co.; Mr. Rowell has general supervision over the vast establishment of the firm; he received his early education in Beaver Dam. He married, Sept. 5, 1877, Mary Millard, of Horicon, WI; he has one child living--Mary.
LUKE ROWELLS, farmer, Sec. 18; P.O. Waupun; was born May 10, 1815, in County Limerick, Ireland, and was the son of George and Sarah Griffin Rowells. Was married, April 16, 1849, to Margaret O'Brien, who was born May 12, 1825, daughter of Brian and Bridget O'Brien, of County Limerick. Mr. Rowells came to America in the spring of 1849, and located in the town of Easton, Washington Co., N.Y., where he followed farming till the fall of 1854, when he moved to Wisconsin and settled in the town of Chester, Dodge Co., on his present farm, which consists of 181 acres of land, valued at about $7,000. Mr. Rowells was the first of his father's family to emigrate to America, but was followed soon after by his brother, George, and in June, 1852, his parents came over; his mother died at his house in Washington Co., N.Y., about three months after landing in America, and his father died in Chester, Dodge Co., Wis., 1860; Mr. Rowells has ten children living-George B., born Sept. 1, 1850, in Washington Co., N.Y.; Sarah, born Feb. 13, 1851 (now Mrs. Michael O'Donovan, of Chester, Wis.); John G., born March 25, 1853; Bridget Ellen, born Feb.27, 1855; Luke W., born Oct. 24, 1857 (now in the law office of H. W. Frost, in Waupun); Maggie J., born July 16, 1859; Jennie A., born April 1, 1861; Mary, born Feb. 12, 1863; Dennis, born Jan. 29, 1865; Richard E., born Jan. 9, 1867; Nellie was born Jan. 1, 1870, and died the 21st day of the same month.
Alexander Rudolf, farmer, Secs. 30 and 33; P. O. Alderly; born in Baden, Germany, in 1819; arrived in New York, August, 1830; came to Wisconsin in 1833, locating at Black River, where he remained about eighteen months, when he removed to Ashippun and purchased 160 acres, his present homestead. Mr. Rudolf is one of the oldest settlers in this township; he is a successful farmer and a good business man; he raises both stock and grain, also deals in dairy produce. Married, October, 1847, Miss Elizabeth McAlavay, a native of Ireland; had eleven children--one dead. Democrat in politics.
Solomon Rudolf, farmer, Sec. 29; P. O. Ashippun; born in Dodge Co., Wis., in 1848, where he received his early education; in 1873, his father gave him 40 acres on Sec. 8, where he commenced farming for himself; he sold out, May, 1874, and purchased 80 acres on Sec. 29, his present homestead. Married, in 1876, Miss Mary Malloy, a native of Washington Co., Wis.; they have one child--Alexander. Mr. Rudolf was Supervisor in 1875, Assessor, and at present Chairman of Board of Supervisors; Mr. Rudolf is the first Chairman who was born in the town of Ashippun.
Runkel, Hon. John
Hon. John Runkel, of the firm of J. & L. Runkel, dealers in general merchandise, also manufacturers, Lowell; Mr. Runkel was born near Coblentz, Prussia, in 1837; in 1847, he emigrated to this (Lowell) township with his parents, Jacob and Maria K. Runkel. He married Miss Mary Weber in 1847; they have ten children ó Eddie, Fred, Lena, Bertha, John, Jacob, George, Mary, Minnie and Katie. Mr. Runkel is a Democrat in politics; he has filled various local offices, and was elected a member of the Wisconsin Assembly one term; he has been in business in Lowell and vicinity for over twenty years and enjoys the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens.
[Note: either his birth date or his marriage date must be incorrect.]
Jacob Runkel, a pioneer settler, and also a leading citizen of Lowell Township; was born near Coblentz, Prussia, April 13, 1807; he was a soldier in the German Army three years. June 15, 1832, he married, in Prussia, Miss M. K. Runkel; in 1847, they came to the United States, settled in Lowell Township, Dodge Co., Wis., which place has been their home since; their children are Philip, now a grain merchant in Reeseville; John, merchant at Lowell; Louis, also merchant at Lowell; Kate, now the wife of Fred. Voedisch, manufacturer at Lowell; George, a farmer in Lowell Township; Frederic, a dealer in agricultural implements in Lowell. Mr. Runkel, the subject of this sketch, owns a large and finely improved farm, located on the Lowell and Reeseville road, about half-way between those places; himself and wife, though now at an advanced age, are in robust health, and are spending their years in peace and competence, enjoying the respect and confidence of the entire community, where they have lived so long old and honored citizens.
Louis Runkel, of the firm of J. & L. Runkel, dealers in general merchandise, lumber merchants and proprietors of cooper-shop, Lowell; Mr. L. Runkel was born near Coblentz, Prussia, in 1839; in 1847, he emigrated with his parents, Jacob and Katherine M. Runkel, who settled in Lowell Township in the year 1847; his boyhood was passed mostly on a farm, and the rudiments of his education were received at the common schools, and he became proficient in all the common branches. April 2, 1862, he married Miss C. Weber; they have four children--Ella G., Elnora, Frank O. and Charlie; Mr. Runkel has been identified with the interest of the town of Lowell, as a business man for a period of several years, and has fully secured the confidence and respect of all with whom he has had to do; he and his brother, John Runkel, have a large trade in their general store, which was first established by John Runkel, in about the year 1857; they also own and manage a cooper-shop, wherein they give employment to about forty men; they are also extensively engaged in the lumber trade; everything they undertake bears the unmistakable impress of their energy and sound judgment; in addition to this, they are true gentlemen, and enjoy the abiding confidence of the people, for their unimpeachable integrity.
Philip Runkel, grain merchant, Reeseville; was born near Coblentz, Prussia, in 1833; in 1847, he emigrated with his parents, Jacob and Katherine M. Runkel, to Lowell Township, Dodge Co., Wis., then comparatively a new country. Determining to pursue the business of husbandry, they purchased a farm, and in real earnest set about taming the wilderness; success rewarded their efforts, and they now reside on Sec. 22, Lowell Township, old and respected citizens. In 1856, Philip Runkel married Miss Catherine, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Breyer; they have three children living--Louis L., Emma and Frank P. About the year 1867, Mr. Runkel engaged in the grain business at Reeseville, which he has successfully continued in since, doing a large trade. He was the second Postmaster of Reeseville, a position which he filled to the entire satisfaction of the community. In politics he is Independent, though being in no sense a politician, he believes that all political action should be prompted and controlled by generous principles and unselfish purpose. His parents, Jacob and Kathrine N. Runkel, as before stated, settled in Dodge Co. in 1847; their children are John, now a merchant in Lowell, and at one time a member of the Wisconsin Assembly; Louis, also a merchant in Lowell; Katie, wife of Fred Voedeisch Webber; George, a leading farmer; Fredric, dealer in agricultural implements, Lowell; Philip, a grain merchant in Reeseville. Daniel Breyer, father of Philip Runkelís wife, was a native of Prussia; he married, in his native country, Elizabeth Hittle; in 1847, they settled at Elba, Dodge Co., Wis., where he died in 1855; she died at Columbus, Wis., in 1874; their children are Daniel Breyer, who lives at Elba; Elizabeth, now wife of Andrew Lapp, of Lowell; Jacob, who now lives in Minnesota; Catherine, wife of Philip Runkel; Louisa, wife of F. Heidbreak, Columbus; Josephine, wife of Charles Colonius, also of Columbus; Charles, who resides in Elba.
Listing by township
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