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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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John Riess

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 514 - 515

John Riess was a native of Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany, born on the 7th of September, 1798. He was reared and educated in his native land, where he served an apprenticeship to the tailor's trade, which calling he followed until his twenty-fifth year. At that time Mr. Riess was elected as Mayor of the "dorf" of Neujabel, and several years later engaged in teaching school. In connection with his official and other duties, he carried on a farm, being the owner of a small tract of land. In 1848, he disposed of his property, preparatory to coining to America. In the fall of 1850, this worthy gentleman, accompanied by his wife and their children, ten in number, emigrated to the United States, sailing from Hamburg on the good ship "Bolton." The voyage was a rough one, and after sixty-seven days of storm and fog, anchor was cast at New York. New Year's Day of 1851 found them still upon board, but January 2 was spent in Albany, N. Y., where they arrived Sunday morning. A few days later they found themselves in Buffalo, unable to proceed farther on account of the frozen state fo{sic} the Lakes. A few miles from that city, the men found employment in the "Ebenezer" settlement, a German colony, where for several months they split wood at fifty cents per cord.

However, as soon as permissible, Mr. Riess, leaving his family behind, took passage for Sheboygan, from which point he continued his journey on foot, going to the town of Rhine, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land for the sum of $330. This land was located on section 22, and was heavily timbered. Returning to his family, he made known his purchase, and on the 8th of May, 1851, established them in a rudely constructed log cabin,, their future home. Of this wilderness Mr. Riess made a valuable farm, clearing, and improving it with good buildings; here he passed the remainder of his life, his death occurring in March, 1859, in the sixty-first year of his age.

Mr. Riess was married in 1822, to Marie Carnell, who was a native of the same country as her husband, but of a neighboring "dorf." Of this union eleven children were born, ten of whom were natives of the Fatherland; however, but seven of the family are now living. Of the children, Sophia was wedded to Fred Miller, a farmer of Rhine Township. John married Wilhelmina Praker, a daughter of Christopher Praker, who was born in Blankenburg, July 15, 1820. Their marriage occurred in January, 1851, and unto them three children were born: John, who died in infancy; August, a business man of Elkhart; and Henry C. Marie, the next in order of birth, became the wife of William Helmer, a salesman of New York. Henry is a farmer on section 22. Frederica is now Mrs. Jacob Menne, of section 10. Charles is a farmer in the town of Greenbush. Lizette was married to William Bartles, who was a well-known blacksmith of Sheboygan; and Eliza became the wife of Daniel Gross, a former hotel man of Manistee, Mich., long since dead.

As stated above, Mr. Riess died in 1859. During his residence in the town of Rhine he held various official positions was Justice of the Peace for a number of years, and was Supervisor several terms. He was a man who commanded the respect of the people in the community in which he lived, and in his home was kind and indulgent.

Henry C, the youngest son of John Riess, Jr., resides on the old homestead, which he received as a gift at his wedding. He was born there the 27th of October, 1860, and was reared on the farm. He received a common-school education, which fitted him for the duties of life. The lady who shares his home became his wife March 14, 1882. Her maiden name was Margratha Frick. She is a daughter of Peter Frick, a farmer on section 35, and was born October 6, 1858. Of their union three children were born: Henry, Arthur and Erna, who are the pride and comfort of the grandparents in their declining years.

All this family are members of the Evangelical Church. In politics, Mr. Riess is a Democrat, as was his father before him. He has been the popular Justice of the Peace for five years, and has served as Supervisor one term. He is a man of good business judgment, and a successful farmer.


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