Grafton Biographies

JOHN FITZGERALD, Grafton; was born in the State of Massachusetts in 1843, and when 2 years of age, was brought by his parents to Cedarburg, Ozaukee Co.; he attended the schools of that vicinity, also the State University; in the fall of 1866, he took charge of the school of Saukville, and continued in the same three years; in 1869, he engaged in mercantile business at Grafton with C.L. Dickerman; eighteen months later, he went to Chicago, and served in a real estate office eight months, then returned to Grafton, and in partnership with F.L. Harms, engaged in mercantile business, and continued eighteen months; the year following, he was a partner in the firm of C.A. Metsek & Co., Milwaukee, since which time he has continued teaching, and is at present Principal of the Grafton Schools. Mr. Fitzgerald was married, in 1872, to Miss Frances O'Ragan of Grafton.

G.C. FLEISCHMANN, teacher, Grafton; was born in that place in 1852; received a Normal school education, and has made teaching his profession; has been Principal of the Grafton Schools two years and is at present teaching the school at Saukville. He is a Liberal in politics, and is at present Town Clerk. He was married on July 1, 1876, to Miss Kate Stein, then of Trenton, Washington Co., but formerly of Fredonia, Ozaukee Co. They have two children - Mary and Lillie.

F.L. HARMS, Grafton; one of the leading merchants; was born in Brunswick, Germany, in 1848, and when about 1 year old, was brought by his parents to the United States; they came direct to Wisconsin, and in the spring of 1850, settled on a farm in the town of Cedarburg. Here the subject of this sketch attended school and helped on the farm until 16 years of age, at which time he went to Newburg, Washington Co., clerked in a store one year, then came to Grafton; in 1867, he went to Chicago, where he clerked a short time; subsequently served in a railroad office a short time, and in the spring of 1868, entered the Bryant & Stratton Business College, where he remained eight months, when on account of poor health he was obliged to return home; recovering his health, he went to West Bend and clerked in the store of Ernst Frankenburg (his former employer at Newburg), and eight months later returned to Grafton and clerked in the store of C.L. Dickerman until April, 1871; he then acted as traveling salesman one year, when he was married to Caroline Frick, of Grafton; in 1874, in partnership with John Fitzgerald, he engaged in mercantile business, and carried on the same under the firm name of Harms & Fitzgerald one year, at the end of which time he purchased his partner's interest and has since continued the business alone. Mr. Harms has been Postmaster since 1876; was elected Justice of the Peace, but did not qualify. The children are Agnes, William, Olga, Alexander and an infant.

JOHN LAUSEN, of the firm of H. Schmidt & Co., Grafton; is a native of Prussia, born in 1842; learned the miller's trade, and in 1864, emigrated to the United States; came direct to Wisconsin, and first stopped in Calumet Co., then in Sheboygan, and subsequently in
Milwaukee; in the fall of 1865, came to Ozaukee Co., acted as head-miller in the mills at Hamilton until 1873; then came to Grafton, and in partnership with H.S. Smith, purchased an interest in the flouring-mills, and ran the same under the firm name of C. Schlegel & Co., until 1879, when H. Heuer purchased Mr. Schlegel's interest, since which time the firm name has been H. Schmidt & Co. Mr. Lausen was married, in 1868, to Miss Kate Schmidt, a native of Germany. They have four children - Ottieli, Andrew, Dora and Louise. Mr. L. is a Liberal in politics; a member of the F. & A.M. and I.O.O.F.

WILLIAM OPITZ, farmer, Sec. 1; P.O. Saukville; one of the early pioneers; is a native of Saxony, born in 1816. In 1838, he was married to Wilhelmini Graff, and in the following year emigrated to the United States, and settled in the town of Mequon on the 6th day of August, 1839. Here he purchased 160 acres of Government land, and 146 acres of land partially improved. In 1857, in partnership with Adolph Zimmermann, he built the Mequon Brewery, and was connected with the same. Mr. Opitz is a Democrat in politics, and besides holding the various town offices, has been County Sheriff and member of Assembly. His children are Herman, Richard, Frank, Henryette (now Mrs. Nicolaus Stine, of Sauk Co.) Matilda (Mrs. Ernst Alden, of Mequon) and Thekla.

WILLIAM ROEBKEN, Jr., Grafton; was born in Cedarburg, Ozaukee Co., in 1858. His parents, William and Catherine Roebken, are natives of Germany; emigrated to the United States about twenty-five years ago, and are still living on a farm in the town of Cedarburg. William, Jr., the oldest of five children, received a common-school education in both English and German; and, in 1874, entered the Cedarburg Woolen Mills, where he acted as shipping clerk, etc. While serving in this capacity, he so gained the confidence and esteem of his employers, that in February, 1881, he was given charge of the worsted department of the mills at Grafton.

H. SCHMIDT, of the firm of H. Schmidt & Co., proprietors of Grafton Flouring Mills; was born in Germany Nov. 24, 1840. When he was 9 years of age, the family emigrated to the United States, and settled at Hamilton, Ozaukee Co. Here he lived with his parents on a farm until 1862, at which time he was drafted in the 34th W.V.I.; but, after four months' service, was discharged on account of sickness. He then returned home, and, after recovering his health, went to Chicago, where he remained four years; then followed sailing one year, when he again returned home, and, in 1868, was married to Margaret Asche, of Cedarburg. He then removed to Grafton, and followed teaming for the flouring mills one year, at the end of which time he purchased his father's farm of 78 acres, and worked the same, after which, in partnership with Charles Schlegel and John Lausen, he purchased the Grafton Mill. He has had the misfortune to receive many injuries, the most important of which is the loss of his left arm, in 1876, by being caught in the machinery. His children are Ida, Hulda, Emma, Henry, Regena and Arthur.

JOHN SIMON, Grafton; one of Ozaukee's early settlers is a native of Germany, born March 17, 1819; came to the United States in 1842, arriving at Milwaukee July 7; here he followed his trade as tailor until 1849; he then came to Grafton, purchased property, and was engaged in the hotel business until 1865, at which time he went to Port Washington and purchased the tannery, which he ran two and a half years, when he returned to Grafton and purchased the Grafton House, which he still owns; March 1, 1881, he rented the same to his son, John B. Mr. Simon is a Democrat; has been County Treasurer, Under Sheriff and Town Treasurer. He was married in 1844, to Anna Schram; they have four children living - Frank, a tanner in Milwaukee; Anna, now Mrs. Andrew Staab, of Grafton; John B., now of the Grafton House; and N.J., a school teacher in Chicago.

JOHN B. SIMON, proprietor of the Grafton House, was born in Grafton June 8, 1855; received a common-school education, learned the saddler's trade, and spent one year in a tannery in Milwaukee. In November, 1878, he was married to Miss Mary Barth; they have one child living - Johnnie. Mr. Simon rented the Grafton House of his father, March 1, 1881.

JOSEPH SPEHN, Grafton; was born in Milwaukee May 16, 1846; the year following, the family removed to Washington Co., and, in 1852, to Grafton; here Joseph received a common-school education, and, in 1864, enlisted in Co. H. 16th W.V.I., and served until the close of the war. In 1869, he went to Minnesota and remained one year. In 1871, he was married to Catharine Hepschen. In 1876, he engaged in the saloon business; in May, 1878, he removed to his present location. He is a Democrat in politics; has been Town Treasurer and Deputy Sheriff; in the fall of 1880, he was a candidate for County Sheriff, but was defeated by thirty-one votes. The children are Angeline, Joseph, John and Mary.

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