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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Benjamin Halter

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 367 - 368

Almost half a century this gentleman, who was one of the veterans of the late war, has been a citizen of Sheboygan County. His pleasant home is situated on section 7, Lima Township, where he cultivates a good farm. He was born in Erie County, N. Y., February 5, 1840, and is the oldest in a family of three sons, who are now living within half a mile of each other. These children were born unto Jacob and Elizabeth (Miller) Halter. William is a well-to-do farmer of Lyndon Township, and his sketch may be found elsewhere in this work. John lives in Lima Township, and is accounted one of its enterprising agriculturists.

Jacob Halter was born in 1804, in Pennsylvania, and died on the 14th of October, 1867. He was educated in the primitive schools of his native State, and in his youth was a distiller, but afterward became a farmer. In August, 1848, with his wife and three sons, he started for Wisconsin, going by way of the Lakes to Sheboygan. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, the first property sold in Lima Township. It was partially cleared, and had a small frame shanty upon it, in which the family lived for a year. Few improvements had been made and only a few acres of land broken. There were few settlers in the neighborhood, though there were plenty of Indians. The nearest market was Sheboygan, and in that city they resided for a month after their arrival. The house in which they stopped at that time is yet standing, and is occupied by the music store of Miss Martha Whipple. Eighth Street was almost a wilderness, and the dwellings did not extend farther north than Fountain Park.

Mr. Halter never aspired to any public office. In his political views, he was an old-line Whig, and at the organization of the Republican party cast in his lot with it, supporting its principles until his death. He favored the Baptist creed more than any other, that denomination being the one to which his wife belongs. She is still living in Lima Township, and at the present time is at the home of her son John.

Benjamin Halter was a lad of nine years when he came to this State, where he received a common- school education. When he commenced the business of life on his own account, he had no capital, but by his indomitable will and other characteristics he has made his life a success. He was one of the noble and brave men who offered his services in the defense of the Old Flag and became a member of Company C, Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, under Col. Boardman and Capt. Durgan. He enlisted at the Falls, November 6, 1863, and after a week in camp at Madison, Wis., was assigned to the Army of the Gulf and sent to Baton Rouge, La. Here the regiment was stationed on picket and guard duty for almost a year, though oftentimes numbers were sent out on raids and scouting duty. Our subject engaged in many skirmishes, and the bullets often whistled by him. He was afterwards sent to Ft. Blakely and Spanish Fort, being conveyed by transports. These places surrendered the same evening they arrived. While on that well-known raid on Montgomery and Selma, he was taken sick and placed in a convalescent camp. From Montgomery, he was removed to Salina, thence to Mobile, and finally to the general hospital at Vicksburg, where he remained for three weeks, afterwards being placed in the hospital at Madison, Wis. He was honorably discharged July 9, 1865, and came home to don the civilian's garb and follow the peaceful vocation of a citizen.

Returning to his home after the war, Mr. Halter resumed his farm duties, and there remained until his marriage. On the 28th of April, 1875, Miss Phoebe Miller became his wife. She was born July 18, 1846, in Dutchess County, N. Y., and by this marriage has been bora a daughter and son. Ella E., the elder, will graduate in the Class of '95, in the Waldo High School. She is a young lady of pronounced ability, as the standing in her class is next to the highest, and she is an honor to her parents. Jay M. is destined to follow his father's calling of farming and stock-raising, and is the only boy in the families of the three Halter brothers.

The wife of our subject is one of four children born to Alpheus and Zilpha (Wright) Miller, and is the only one now living. Both parents were natives of Dutchess County, N. Y., and the father, though now at the advanced age of seventy-nine years, is yet living and a resident of Waupaca, Wis. He was formerly a farmer and stock dealer, and was well known in all parts of the State in the days gone by as a great cattle drover. Mrs. Halter was only an infant of nine months when, in 1847, her parents brought her to Wisconsin, where the father settled in what was then known as Abbott Township, but is now Sherman. Here he pre-empted a piece of raw timber-land, and erected a log cabin with an old-fashioned fireplace and puncheon floor. Wild berries grew plentifully around the home. In order to keep track of the cows, which wandered far away into the forest, they were each provided with a bell. Indians were seen on every hand, and a number had wigwams only a short distance from the pioneer homes. Deer often bounded by, and once the father and some of his neighbors killed a large bear in the township. The rafters of their log cabin were often hung with nice pieces of dried venison, and wild honey was easily obtained The education of Mrs. Halter was secured in the common schools, and when still quite young, being scarcely sixteen years of age, she began teaching. She was a successful teacher of Sheboygan County for fifteen years.

Our subject owns a valuable farm of one hundred acres, which is under good cultivation. His beautiful home is six miles from Sheboygan Falls, seven miles from Plymouth, and two and a half miles distant from Waldo. He has been Clerk of the School Board for three years and firmly stands by the public schools. He is a member of Richardson Post No. 12, G. A. R., of Sheboygan Falls, and with his wife holds membership with the Baptist Church in Lyndon Township. Politically, he was an old-line Whig until the organization of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks.


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