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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Owen Gearlds

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 368 - 369

Owen Gearlds, a farmer residing on section 29, Sheboygan Township, is one of the representative citizens of the county, and we feel sure that this sketch will be read with pleasure by the many friends he numbers in this community. He is a native of Oneida County, N. Y., born October 20, 1842, and is the eldest in a family of three sons and three daughters, born to Edward and Catherine (Evans) Gearlds. The former was also born in New York, the date being 1819, and the latter is still living at an advanced age. Their sketch may be found elsewhere in this work.

Owen Gearlds was from boyhood reared to the life of a farmer, and was given a practical education in the common schools of his native State. When he was thirteen years of age he, with his parents, started for the West, and went by team to Oswego, proceeding from that point to Toronto and from there by train to Collingwood, Canada. Thence they proceeded by steamer to Sheboygan, where they safely landed at the end of eleven days on the "old pier," which was washed away a-quarter of a century ago. Sheboygan was a place of perhaps twelve hundred inhabitants, and an old blacksmith shop stood where the new post-office is now located. Indians were very plentiful, and often on the hillsides could be seen large numbers of wandering bands of the Chippewa and Menomonee tribes. Wild game was abundant, and herds of a dozen or more deer were frequently seen.

The first work of Mr. Gearlds in this State was in driving a team for T. M. Blackstock to McKrea's Pier, which was used as a port for shipping wood and brick. His employer was foreman of the work at the pier. His first wages were $11 per month. The first property which came into our subject's possession was on the old State Road, which is historical from the fact that it follows an Indian trail. As many as a hundred teams often waited to load or unload at Kirkland's Pier. This was the time when the toll-gate system was in vogue in the county. The present farm cultivated by our subject comprises sixty acres of fine land, only a mile and a-quarter from the city limits, and his home is a good comfortable residence. This valuable farm is the result of hard labor and diligence in business. The owner is one of the most prominent agriculturists of the township, and has the full confidence and esteem of the best citizens of the county. His word is considered as good as his bond, and in every walk in life he has been faithful to his duty.

On the 2d of March, 1866, was celebrated the union of Mr. Gearlds and Miss Ruth Ann Goold, who was born and educated in this county, and is a daughter of William and Ruth Goold. Of this union was born a family of two sons and four daughters: Ellen, who resides in Minnesota; Carrie, who lives at home; Cora, a successful teacher in the schools of this county; Mabel, who resides in Minnesota; and Edward and Edwin, twins, who are pursuing their studies in the neighboring schools. Finding their domestic life infelicitous, Mr. and Mrs. Gearlds secured a legal separation. On the 16th of December, 1892, the former married Miss Anna L. Gibbons, a native of this county, and for many years a successful teacher.

In politics, our subject is a Democrat of the Jeffersonian type. He first used the right of franchise in favor of Gen. George B. McClellan. He has been a member of the County Board for six years; for a like period of time was Chairman of the Town Board, and has held the office of Supervisor for ten years. The public-school system has found in him a true champion, and for upward of seventeen years he has been Treasurer of the School Board, and is the present incumbent, which shows that his fellow-citizens repose confidence in his fidelity and ability. With his estimable wife, he aids in extending charities to the needy, and their pleasant home is the abode of hospitality.


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