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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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John Borkenhagen

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 416 - 417

John Borkenhagen, one of the representative citizens of Sherman Township, following farming on section 10, claims Germany as the land of his nativity. He was born in the district of Berlin, September 11, 1835, and is the second in a family of four children whose parents were John and Fredericka (Krueger) Borkenhagen. The father was engaged in the manufacture of weavers' combs, and had a small farm, on which he raised garden products. For four years he served in the German army. On the 24th of April, 1846, accompanied by his family, he started for America, taking passage on a sailing-vessel at Hamburg, which, after a pleasant voyage of seven weeks, dropped anchor in the harbor of New York. By way of Albany, Buffalo and the Great Lakes, he continued his journey to Milwaukee, and after a short time purchased a farm, on which he made his home for ten years. Selling out at the expiration of that period, he purchased two eighty-acre tracts of land in this community. It was all wild, save twelve acres, which had been cleared, and the only building was a frame house. He built a log cabin, which is still standing, one of the landmarks of pioneer days, and immediately began the development and improvement of the place.

Of the children of the family who are living, Fredericka, who now resides in Shawano County, is the widow of Otto Myers, who was a farmer of Sherman Township. They had six children, five of whom are yet living. John, of this sketch, is the next younger. William is married, and with his wife and family resides in Adell.

The subject of this sketch was a lad of twelve summers when he left the Fatherland and came with his parents to the New World. He was reared amid the wild scenes of the frontier, and was early inured to the arduous duties of developing new land. When he had arrived at man's estate he chose as a companion and helpmate on life's journey Miss Amelia, daughter of Charles and Wilhelmina (Klinkhart) Suckow. Their family numbered six children, as follows: Louisa, wife of John Ballhorm (sic?), proprietor of a furniture store in Sheboygan; Augusta, wife of William Borkenhagen, of Adell; Charles, a miller of New Prospect, Fond du Lac County; Gottlieb, proprietor of a mill in Indianapolis, Ind.; Frank, who is a carpenter living in Random Lake; and Amelia, wife of our subject. The parents, who have both passed away, were buried in St. John's Lutheran Cemetery.

Ten children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Borkenhagen, of whom nine are now living: Ernest, who operates the home farm; Louisa, wife of James Thompson, of Chicago; Anna, wife of William Zuengler, a furniture dealer of Adell; Matilda, wife of Herman Degner, a carpenter of West Bend; Augusta, wife of Julius Schultz, a carpenter and miller; Henry, manager of a lumber-yard in Fredonia; Johanna, wife of Fred Hillyer, a carpenter; Amelia, wife of Fred Torke, a farmer of Sherman Township; and Lillie, who is living on the home farm.

The parents and their children hold membership with St. John's Lutheran Church. In politics, Mr. Borkenhagen is now a supporter of the Democratic party, but his first Presidential vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln. He has served his fellow-townsmen as Tax Collector. The farm on which he now resides he has developed from its primitive condition. Covered with timber, he cleared away the trees, plowed and planted the land, and soon had it under a high state of cultivation, with many excellent improvements, which stand as monuments to the thrift and enterprise of the owner.

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