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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Magnus J. Ericksen

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 425 - 431

It was in 1850 that this gentleman, whose history we will proceed to trace, became a citizen of the beautiful State of Wisconsin, and since 1883 he has been an honored citizen of Sheboygan County. He is a farmer and stock-raiser by occupation, who has been very successful in his business dealings and is one of the leading men of the community.

The birth of Magnus Ericksen occurred December 29, 1839, in Sweden, and in a family of nine children he is the third in order of birth. His parents were John and Sarah (Munsen) Ericksen, the former born August 2, 1812, and the latter in 1813. The father is a farmer and has followed that calling all his life. In 1850, he brought his family to America, and was for many years engaged in farming in Wisconsin, but in 1876 sold his property and bought a farm near Galesburg, Ill., where he still resides. His wife died in Wisconsin in 1873.

Our subject was a lad of ten years when he bade farewell to his native land and with his parents set sail for America, from Gefle, Sweden. The voyage across the Atlantic was a long and tedious one of ten weeks and three days' duration, heavy seas and inclement weather prevailing much of the time. After landing in New York City, the family immediately started for the West, by way of the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. They landed in Milwaukee, thence going to Manitowoc, near which place the father purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land at $1.75 per acre. On that farm the childhood of our subject was passed, and there he received a practical training, which has been of great benefit to him in later years. His education was obtained in the common schools, but they were rather poorly conducted in those days. His early religious training was not overlooked, and ere he was ten years of age he had read the Bible through.

On beginning the battle of life on his own account, Mr. Ericksen had no capital, with the exception of a good constitution and the principles of honesty, industry and economy which his careful training had instilled. He has hewed out his own fortune and has led an exemplary life. In 1883, he became the owner of seventy acres of land, for which he paid $100 per acre. This property is located three miles west of the city limits of Sheboygan, and within one and a-half miles of Sheboygan Falls. His home is a neat and comfortable residence, and the thrifty appearance of the surroundings and well-tilled fields is a credit to the careful and enterprising owner. The homestead is now valued at from $150 to $175 per acre.

The first marriage of our subject was celebrated February 6, 1867, with Miss Sabina S. McCallister, a native of Michigan, who became the mother of one child, Vivian H. The latter is a young lady of marked musical ability and is now pursuing her studies in the public schools of Sheboygan Falls. On the 21st of December, 1884, Mr. Ericksen was called upon to mourn the death of his wife, who was laid to rest in the cemetery of Sheboygan Falls. The present wife of our subject, with whom he was joined in wedlock February 24, 1886, was formerly Mrs. Viola A. (Wade) Taylor. She was born April 30, 1854, in this county, and is a lady of pleasing address and good education.

Mrs. Ericksen is the eldest child of Andrew Jackson and Eunice (Hunt) Wade. Their other daughter died at the age of seven years. The father was a native of Pennsylvania, born March 27, 1825, and in the Keystone State he passed the first eleven years of his life. His parents were Sylvanus and Betsy (Oakley) Wade. In 1836, the family came to the West in a closed carriage, stopping first in Joliet, Ill. They remained in Illinois until Andrew was a young man of eighteen years, when they removed to Ft. Atkinson, Wis., and from there to Greenbush, Sheboygan County. The name of Greenbush was given by Mr. Wade to that township. Wisconsin was yet a Territory when they settled in this county in 1844. The first home which Mrs. Ericksen can remember was a log cabin, around which the wolves prowled at night. The father was a devoted member of the Free-will Baptist Church, to which his wife also belonged. The latter was born in New York, September 5, 1846, and died on the anniversary of her birth in 1876. She was interred in Janesville, Wis. The father died April 29, 1870, and a beautiful monument has been erected to his memory. He was an old-line Whig and afterwards joined the ranks of the Republican party. He was an honored soldier in the Civil War, being a member of Company B, Eighth Wisconsin Infantry, known in history as the famous "Eagle Regiment." He enlisted in 1862, and on account of exposure and sickness was obliged to retire from the ranks, receiving an honorable discharge.

In politics, Mr. Ericksen is a Republican and has upheld the principles of the party since casting his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. At that time he was in California, having gone to the Pacific Slope in 1858 to seek his fortune. Instead of engaging in gold digging, he entered the lumber business, in which he there continued until 1863. He was extremely successful in the West, and made his journey thither by way of the Isthmus of Panama. He has never figured in official positions, giving his time to his farming interests. He is a member of the United Workmen of Manitowoc. His estimable wife has always been active and industrious. At the age of fourteen, she went to Minneapolis, where she learned the trade of a dress-maker, and subsequently spent nine years of her life in that employment. Their hospitable home is ever open to their many friends, who hold them in the highest regard. They have done their share in benevolent work and are known for their sterling worth and integrity.


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