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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Valentine Reyer

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 317 - 319

Valentine Reyer. Ever since 1857, Mr. Reyer has been a citizen of Sheboygan County, and as he is very well known to the populace at large, he needs no special introduction to our readers. He is a native of Hesse-Cassel, Germany, born September 14, 1844, and is the eldest of five children, whose parents were Michael and Eva (Brehem) Reyer. Conrad lives in Michigan; Mary is deceased; John resides in Sheboygan; and Adam is a resident of Martin County, Wis.

The father of our subject was also a native of Hesse-Cassel, where his birth occurred October 19, 1810. He was given a good German education, and learned the weaver's trade. In 1857 he took passage on a vessel sailing from Bremen, and after a voyage of five weeks and four days arrived in New York City. From there he proceeded Westward by way of the New York & Erie Railroad and the Great Lakes, and, finally, after a week's journey, arrived in Sheboygan, then a town of about fifteen hundred inhabitants. There were only three brick buildings in the city and no railroads had yet been put through. He commenced working for an uncle at $8 per month. Though he was in debt $140 on his arrival in this county, by years of industry and well-directed efforts he acquired a competence. He was called from this life on the 24th of September, 1887. His wife was also a native of the same locality, born November 11, 1811, and is still living with her son, our subject.

Valentine Reyer was only a lad of thirteen years when he came to this county. He has always lived on a farm. His youth was passed in unremitting toil, and his time was given to his father until he reached the age of twenty-years, when he started out to make his own way in the world. The first wages he received was in 1861, when he worked for $5 per month. In 1864 he went to the copper regions near Lake Superior and remained there two and a-half years. Returning to Wilson Township, he engaged in farming, and cut the first tree from the site where his pleasant home now stands. His first residence in this locality was a log house, 18 X 25 feet. Indians frequently passed through the neighborhood, and often camped on the beach. The homestead was thickly covered with timber, and years of toil were required to clear it away. Mr. Reyer's early education in the German language was good, and in order to become more familiar with English he attended the night schools held in Wilson Township. His first purchase of land was a tract of twenty acres, the price being $11.25 per acre, but he could make only a partial payment upon it at that time. His domains have since been greatly extended, until he now has one hundred and twenty acres, worth from $80 to $100 per acre.

Mr. Reyer married Miss Theresa Fritsch on the 21st of October, 1869. She was born June 22, 1850, in Germany, and by her marriage has become the mother of eight children, five of whom are living, namely: Augusta, August, Ferdinand, Louisa and Lena. The children are all at home, and are well educated in both the English and German languages.

Politically, our subject is a Democrat, and cast his first Presidential vote for Hon. Horatio Seymour in 1868, since which time he has always supported each nominee of the Democratic party. In 1875 he was elected Township Treasurer, and three years later was made Town Clerk, which office he acceptably filled for eleven years. In 1890 he was elected Chairman of the Township Board, and is now serving as such. He is also Clerk of the School Board, having held that position for two years. For a period of fifteen years he was Justice of the Peace, and is the present incumbent. He is a friend to public improvements, and advocates good roads. He is President of the Township Insurance Company, which has a capital of $2,000,000. This company includes the townships of Sheboygan, Wilson, Holland, Lima, Lyndon, Sheboygan Falls, Sherman and Belgium, in Ozaukee County. Mr. Reyer is a man whose word is considered as good as his bond, and he is well and favorably known by all. He and his estimable wife are members of the Lutheran Church in Wilson Township, and have always borne their part in all benevolences. Their beautiful home lies within four miles of the limits of Sheboygan.

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