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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Fred W. Ferk

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 312 - 313

Fred W. Ferk, who carries on agricultural pursuits on section 3, Sherman Township, and is one of the representative citizens of the community, has the honor of being a native of this State. He was born in Milwaukee County, October 5, 1849, and is a son of August and Mary (Winter) Ferk, who had a family of five children, of whom the following are now living: Charles, Fred W., Mrs. Schreiber and Mrs. Krause.

When our subject was a child of three years, the family came to Sheboygan County, and for five years lived on section 24, Sherman Township. They then removed to section 3, where he has since made his home. He has earned his own livelihood since the early age of thirteen, at which time he began threshing at $13 per month. When a youth of sixteen, he went to Michigan, where he worked in the lumber woods and in a sawmill for one year at $28 per month. On his return home he resumed threshing, which he followed until 1871, when he began working on the railroad, hewing ties. To this employment he devoted his energies for a year, but he has never left the farm for any considerable length of time.

Mr. Ferk was married on the 24th of November, 1878, the lady of his choice being Miss Louisa Mueller, who is the third in a family of five children born unto Henry and Mary (Standaw) Mueller. One son and three daughters are now living, namely: Augusta, wife of August Wiersig, a farmer of Moore County, Minn.; Mary, wife of Henry Panier, an agriculturist of Sherman Township; Louisa, the honored wife of our subject; and Otto, who is engaged in carpentering in Waukegan, Ill. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ferk have been born two children: Eleanor, a maiden of nine summers, and Herbert, two years old.

When Fred W. Ferk and wife began their domestic life they had a capital of about $3,000, and by their combined and earnest efforts they have become well-to-do and are numbered among the substantial citizens of the community. Their farm comprises one hundred and twenty-two acres of land, pleasantly located within a mile of Adell, and in return for the care and cultivation of the owner the fields yield a golden tribute. Mr. Ferk is a member of the German Lutheran Church, and since casting his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant in 1872 he has supported the Republican party and its principles. He has long been a resident of this community. When Sheboygan County was an almost unbroken wilderness, our subject, then a lad of six summers, in company with his brother, was lost in the forest. He used to visit the Indian camps, and has witnessed their war dances. In the great changes that have come and gone during his residence here he has borne his part, aiding in all possible ways in the advancement of the county's best interest.

August Ferk, the father of Fred W., was born in the Kingdom of Prussia, Germany, March 25, 1818, and is a son of Carl and Regina (Mathus) Ferk. Their family numbered six children, who are now widely scattered. In the Fatherland August was reared and educated, no event of special importance occurring during his youth. After he had arrived at man's estate he was joined in wedlock, on the 9th of August, 1846, to Miss Mary Winter, and four weeks after the marriage was celebrated the young couple started for America. Bidding good-bye to friends and native land, they embarked in a Norwegian sailing-vessel at Stettin. The voyage, consuming sixty-three days, was a very stormy one, and the passengers feared that they would never reach harbor, but at length they arrived safely in New York.

The destination of Mr. and Mrs. Ferk was Wisconsin, and they at once proceeded by way of Albany, Buffalo, and the Great Lakes to Milwaukee. Mr. Ferk first purchased twenty acres of land, and upon that farm made his home for five years. He then sold out and bought an eighty-acre farm, upon which he also lived for five years. Later he purchased one hundred and twenty acres, and afterwards added to it an additional tract of eighty acres. Deer and other kinds of wild game were plentiful, bears and wolves were frequently seen, and the Indians were not unknown in the settlement. All the hardships and privations of pioneer life were borne by the family during the early days in their new home.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. August Ferk were born five children, but one son, August, died in 1886. Charles and Fred are farmers of this community; and the daughters are Mrs. Schreiber, and Tena, wife of Gustave Krause.

Mr. Ferk has now given his land to his sons, and he and wife make their home with their son Fred, for they now live retired, enjoying the rest which they have so truly earned and richly deserve. In politics, he is a supporter of Democratic principles, and cast his first vote for James K. Polk. In religious belief, he is a Lutheran, and belongs to St. John's Parish.


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