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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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John Henry Dreyer

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 286 - 287

John Henry Dreyer, a resident of Howard's Grove, Herman Township, Sheboygan County, was born March 11, 1822, in Nienburg, province of Hanover, Germany. His father Diedrich Dreyer, was a native of the same place, his birth having occurred on the 22d of March, 1796. The latter, was a shoemaker by trade, and, with a brother, followed that business in his native land. He was wedded to Miss Rebecca Beckefield, who was born in Hoya, Hanover, Germany, the marriage occurring in 1819. One child was born of this union, John Henry, the subject of this sketch.

Henry, as he is commonly known, also learned the trade of a shoemaker, which occupation he followed until his coming to the United States. On the 15th of November, 1846, they sailed from Bremen on the "Arabella," a three mast vessel, and after six weeks of storm and calm arrived at the port of New Orleans. From the Gulf City, the father came direct to the town of Herman, settling on the farm now owned by Fred Bodenstab, which consisted of one hundred and sixty acres on section 22. Our subject stopped over in Cedarburg, where he was engaged in working at his trade for a year. The following two years he was employed as a clerk. Leaving this village, he came to the town of Herman, where, soon after his coming, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, including the site now known as Howard's Grove. At this place he built, and kept a tavern, where the early settlers found friendly shelter in their journeyings to and fro. This property changed hands a number of times, and is now owned by Herman Foesterling. Mr. Dreyer added to the original purchase until he now has one hundred and nine acres of highly cultivated land. He with Fred Beckfeld selected the site for the town of Howard's Grove, which later received its name, in 1851. The father soon after made his home with his son, where he remained until his death, August 9, 1860.

Henry Dreyer, the gentleman whose name heads this record, was married September 18, 1850 to Caroline Twick, a daughter of Johann Twick, who was a native of Hameln, in the southern part of Hanover, Germany. She is one of five children, three sons and two daughters, one of whom died in the Fatherland. Mrs. Dreyer and two brothers came to Sheboygan in November, 1847, her parents having died in their native land. The other brother followed some ten years later. Her brothers are as follows: Fred, who was well known in Sheboygan; William, of Chicago; and George who lives in Centreville, Wis.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dreyer were born a family of ten children, eight sons and two daughters, of whom the following are living: Fred; William, who is at home; Henry, a tinsmith, who resides in Nebraska; Johanna, who became the wife of Emil Stolzenburg, a merchant of Sheboygan; Herman, who is engaged in merchandising in Shawano County, and is also serving as County Clerk; and Louise, yet at home. The mother of this family sustained serious injuries several years ago, from which she has never fully recovered. When a girl she worked for a family in Manitowoc County, and during the time spent there many incidents common only to pioneer life were experienced. Wolves were numerous, and sometimes dangerous, in those early days. One bright moonlight night, early in the `50s, while on her way through the dense woods to a neighbor's house, Mrs. Dreyer came upon a pack of hungry wolves devouring a carcass of an ox. With hasty steps she made a retreat, but not without that blood curdling scene being indelibly stamped upon her mind. The loss of a calf or sheep was no uncommon occurrence among the farmers. When she came to the log house of her husband she was the picture of health, and was possessed of the pride and bright hopes of a young wife. Were it not for her misfortune years ago, she would still be strong and vigorous; notwithstanding this trouble, she is still a happy, whole-souled mother.

Mr. Dreyer has served as Town Clerk several times, and was for a number of terms Side-Supervisor, and also a member of the County Board of Supervisors. For six years he held the position of Postmaster at Howard's Grove, besides serving a number of times as Road Supervisor. Politically, he affiliates with the Democratic party, and in religious faith he and his family are Lutherans.


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