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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Nicholas J. Balkins

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 470 - 471

Nicholas J. Balkins, who is both widely and favorably known in Sheboygan County, and is its leading auctioneer, resides in Hingham, Lima Township. He was born in this township, October 31, 1851, and is the second in a family of six children, three sons and three daughters, whose parents are J. K. and Lettie (Rottire) Balkins. Four of the number are still living: Nicholas; Helen, a dress-maker of Cedar Grove, Wis.; Martin, who is in the West; and Tina, wife of Delbert Pierce, of Sheboygan. The father was born in Holland, July 15, 1818, and is now living in Oostburg, Sheboygan County. In his native land he followed coopering, but since coming to America has been a farmer. In 1848 he left Bremerhaven on a sailing-vessel, and after sixty-three days spent upon the briny deep landed in New York City. He went at once to Sheboygan, Wis., where he purchased forty acres of timber-land on section 36, Lima Township, built a log cabin, whose roof was made of hollow logs, and in true pioneer style began life on the Western frontier. The Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers, and one of their trails led past his doorway. All the experiences and hardships of frontier life became familiar to him, and he was an eye-witness of the growth and development of the county. His wife was born in Holland, October 21, 1825, and came to this country in 1847.

Our subject was reared amid the wild scenes of the frontier, and early inured to hard labor. His school privileges were very meagre, but by experience and observation he has become a well-informed man. He entered upon his business career as salesman in a little general store in Oostburg, owned by Louis Winjaw, and there remained for about six months, after which he spent nine months as clerk in the store of George End, of Sheboygan. Subsequently, he followed agricultural pursuits and other business ventures, whereby he might earn an honest dollar. He engaged in cheese-making, then sold pumps, and afterward owned the Star Pump Works, of Hingham. Although his occupations have been various, he has never been idle, his life being a very busy and useful one.

The marriage of Mr. Balkins and Miss Lizzie A. Colward was celebrated August 11, 1879. She was born in Sheboygan County, March 16, 1853, and to her husband has been a faithful and valued helpmate. They have five children: John C., who is attending school in Hingham; Francis C.; Lester M.; Almon J. and Ellis J., twins. The home farm comprises one hundred and thirty-five acres, conveniently located within a mile and a-quarter of the city limits of Sheboygan.

The Republican party finds in Mr. Balkins a stalwart supporter, who cast his first vote for Gen. Grant. He has served as delegate to the county conventions of his party, and takes quite an active interest in political affairs. For two years he served as Treasurer of his township, but has since declined to accept office. Socially, he is a charter member of the Odd Fellows' lodge of Hingham. He and his wife hold membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and take an active part in benevolent and charitable work. Mr. Balkins is known far and wide as the popular auctioneer of Sheboygan County, and annually "cries" from sixty to seventy-five sales. He cashes all notes if desired, and his ability as a salesman is well known, his time being devoted to that work and the real-estate business. In addition to his farm of one hundred and thirty-five acres, he owns a tract of ten acres in Hingham Village. His business career has been one of success, owing to his well-directed efforts, enterprise and ability. He is always straightforward and honorable in his dealings, and has the confidence and high regard of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.


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