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Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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This Biography was Donated

Source: This is a bio. sketch from "History of Manitowoc County Wisconsin" by Dr. L. Falge, 1911-1912, v.2, p.421-422.

Professor Emil Meinardus


Professor Emil Meinardus, teacher, composer and publisher of music, makes his home at Kiel, but is well known in musical circles throughout the state. He was the organizer of the Arion Band of this place and served as its leader for some years. Later he resigned to engage in business elsewhere but after two decades was urgently solicited to return and again became a leader of the orchestra and Gesang Verein, in which connection he is now well known. He possesses the love of music and natural talent characteristic of the German race. He was born December 21, 1859, in Preussischen Jadegebiet, which is now Wilhelmshaven, the famous German naval port in North Germany, and represents one of the old families of that part of the country. His grandfather was Christopher Meinardus, who served as a soldier in the war with France in 1813 and 1814. He died at the very venerable age of ninety-nine years. Hugo Meinardus, the father of Professor Meinardus, was born in 1827, and died at the age of seventy-two years. His occupation was that of an overseer of domain inspector, as it was called. His position was an important one and in later years he served as customs and tax collector, thus holding a prominent governmental position. About eight years prior to his death he was retired and pensioned. He held membership in the Lutheran church and was a man of marked local influence. He married Johanna Christians, who was a native of Oldenburg, Germany, which was also the birth place of her husband. Her father was John Christians, a hotel proprietor and the family was a leading one of that district. Mrs. Meinardus died in 1862 and is survived by two children Emma, a teacher in gymnastics in a girls’ high school in Jever, Oldenburg, Germany; and Professor Meinardus, of this review.

The last named attended the common schools to the age of fourteen years. He afterward became a student in the Marien Gymnasium in Jever, Oldenburg, equivalent to the high school of this country, wherein he pursued his studies to the age of seventeen. During the same period he was receiving private instruction in music. He afterward went to Hanover, where he entered the Military Musical School, a preparatory institution, in which he spent two years. He next entered the army of Germany as special military musician and was connected with the band service from 1879 until 1884. He was released because of an accident sustained in riding school, receiving an honorable discharge with a small pension.

Professor Meinardus was a young man of twenty-four years, when, on the 10th of December, 1884, he came to the United States. He made his way at once to Chicago and as he was a stranger and had no friends in this country he engaged in farm work. As he became acquainted, however, he felt that he could return to the profession for which he was so well qualified and began teaching music in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1887 he removed to Milwaukee Wisconsin, where he followed his profession until 1889, when he became a resident of Elkhart, Wisconsin. There he continued to give instruction in music until he removed to Kiel, where he continued as a teacher of music and also organized the Arion Band, which he instructed and directed until 1891. In that year he removed to Chilton, where he engaged in merchandising, handling pianos, music merchandise, etc., for twenty years. On the expiration of that period he sold out and at the urgent request of his former fellow townsmen returned to Kiel to continue as director of the Arion Orchestra and Kiel Mannerchor. He also teaches music and has become well known as a composer and publisher, having written some fine music which has become very popular with bands and with the general public. On the 5th of October, 1891 Professor Meinardus was united in marriage to Miss Rosa Dumke. who was born in Newton township, Manitowoc county, July 30, 1861, and is a daughter of Fritz and Mathilda Dumke, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father was a miller by trade, learning the business in his native land, after which he came to America and established his home in Newton township, Manitowoc county, becoming one of the pioneer settlers of that district. He built the first sawmill in the locality and later built a general mill about a quarter of a mile from the lake. He also constructed the leading dams in that section, building altogether thirteen dams. He died March 4, 1908, at Chilton, Wisconsin, at the very advanced age of ninety years, while his wife passed away at the age of fifty-two. Her father, Mr. Stater, was a German schoolteacher and married Emma Herzberger. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dumke were born six children: Anna, who is the widow of H. Bodmer, a resident of Grand Island, Nebraska; Ernest, a miller of Chilton; Clara, the wife of Joseph Rasch, also of Chilton; Bertha, the wife of Dr. Schmitz, of School Hill; Mrs. Meinardus; and Fritz, who is living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Professor and Mrs. Meinardus lost their only child in infancy. Mrs. Meinardus is a member of the Christian Science church and of the German Women’s Aid Society, of Chilton. Professor Meinardus holds membership in the G. U. G. Germania of the state of Wisconsin, with the local Verein No. 28 of Chilton, Wisconsin, and is also a member of the Krieger Verein at Kiel. He has done much to cultivate and improve musical taste in this county and promote an appreciation of the highest and best in the art. His natural and acquired ability has won him more than local fame and his instruction and direction have gained for the Arion Orchestra and Band as well as the Kiel Mannerchor, a wide and well deserved reputation.


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