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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Willard B. Darling

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 661 - 662

Willard B. Darling, of Sheboygan, of the firm of Krause & Darling, is one of the early settlers of this city. The present firm was formed in 1857, and is perhaps the oldest firm in the Chair City. They began on a comparatively small scale in an ordinary tin and hardware store. Many years later they combined steam and gas fitting and plumbing with their original business and were the first to be thus engaged here. They also manufactured the first cheese vats that were made in the western part of the State, and originated the milk can which they have continued to manufacture to the present time. This firm first located on Center Street, and later on the east side of Main, and still later purchased the lot which they now occupy. The building was erected elsewhere by A. P. Lyman, and moved to its present location at No. 508 Eighth Street.

Mr. Darling was born in the town of Vernon, seventeen miles west of Utica, in Oneida County, N. Y., April 2, 1822. His father, Barber Darling, was also a native of the Empire State, and belonged to an early family of that State. His mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Willard, died when her son was but two weeks old. Later the father re-married, his second wife being Silvia Olds.

The subject of this record started out in life for himself at the age of thirteen years, and for a time was employed in a woolen factory. At fourteen he began an apprenticeship to the tinner's trade. In 1840 he went to Calhoun County, Mich., to which place an elder brother had preceded him. Two years later his father, step-mother and children also removed to Michigan, where the parents spent the remainder of their lives, the wife surviving the husband and father for a number of years. There were only three children by the first marriage of the father: Charles, the eldest, who died in Michigan many years ago; Sarah, the only daughter, who married Welton Pendleton, and is now deceased; and Willard B. There were five children by the second union, all of whom are residents of Michigan.

On going to Michigan, Mr. Darling worked at his trade, and was for a short time associated with another man in business. On Thursday, June 12, 1845, Mr. Darling was married to Miss Almira McCurdy, who was born in Canandaigua, Ontario County, N. Y., January 18, 1827, a daughter of Nathaniel and Barbara (Bell) McCurdy, natives of New Jersey. The ancestors of Mrs. Darling, both paternal and maternal, settled in New Jersey previous to the Revolution. Her father was born in 1799, and when a young man went with his parents to Rochester, N. Y. There he married Barbara Bell, who had also removed to Rochester from New Jersey. Soon after the marriage of Mrs. Darling's parents, they removed to Canandaigua. In about 1835 the family emigrated to Grass Lake, Mich., and a few years later went to Hillsdale in the same State. The father died June 18, 1884, at the age of eighty-five years. The mother died eight years previously. They were the parents of seven children, three sons and four daughters. Two of the former and all of the latter are living.

Mr. and Mrs. Darling have had three children, two sons and a daughter, but they have only one surviving child. Lyman Eugene, the eldest, died in infancy. Hattie F., their only daughter, was born June 16, 1850. She is the wife of Theodore G. Walter, of St. Paul, a wholesale hardware merchant. Their marriage occurred October 4, 1871. They have two children, Grace L. and Carl Willard. The youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Darling was Edward, who was born July 29, 1855. He lost his life in North Dakota, June 19, 1890, by being run over by the cars.

Among the esteemed and respected citizens of Sheboygan, Mr. and Mrs. Darling hold an honored place. They have been faithful and consistent members of the Baptist Church since 1847, and are the only members of the original class that are left in Sheboygan. Mr. Darling was been a deacon of the church thirty years, and has also held the office of Treasurer and Clerk.


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