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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Joseph Keller

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 682 - 683

Joseph Keller, a retired old settler of Sheboygan County, was born in Hochenfurch, Bavaria, Germany, March 10, 1816. He is a son of Kaspar and Solostike (Loetz) Keller, both natives of the same place as their son. Of their family of six children, three sons and three daughters, three came to America, of whom two are deceased, Joseph being the only survivor. The father was a blacksmith by trade, which occupation he followed all his life. As stated, his parents spent their lives in Germany, both being now deceased.

Joseph Keller had very poor educational advantages, as he began when about eleven years of age to work in his father's shop. When about thirteen years old, he began to work for others. Some three years later his father died, and he went to Schangau, where he worked three months for nothing, in order that he might get his traveling papers. After this he traveled and worked at his trade for some three years. He then returned home and took charge of his father's shop for his mother. He had to serve his country only about a year, three months as a soldier and nine months as a horse-shoer.

Mr. Keller's mother having died, he sailed from Bremen to New York in 1848, taking forty-seven days to cross the ocean. Going to Cleveland, Ohio, he worked in a carriage shop for a year, and in 1849 came to Sheboygan. He brought about $400 with him, and started a blacksmith shop on his own account. Later he added wood and paint shops and still later foundry and machine shops, doing a nice business, in which he employed about twenty men. Sickness caused him to sell, and on his recovery he started a brick-yard on the site now occupied by Froelich. After having operated that some six years, he sold and built what is now Factory "B" of the Crocker Chair Company, which he ran three years, at the end of that time selling it to the Crockers.

For twenty-six years Mr. Keller has not been able to do a day's work himself, but through good judgment and business management he has accumulated property, owning at this time some ten dwelling-houses and three store buildings in the city.

In Cleveland, Ohio, in August, 1849, Mr. Keller was united in marriage to Sophia Grube, who was born in Gross Hertzog, Darmstadt, Germany, and when young came to the United States. They had a family of seven children, all save one dying without leaving families. The living one is Mary, wife of William Mallmann, of Sheboygan.

Mrs. Keller-died August 7, 1884. She was a member of the Catholic Church, as is her husband. Mr. Keller is a Democrat in his political views, but has never been an office-seeker. With the exception of the $400 with which he started, he has made all that he has, and has been a resident of Sheboygan forty-four years.

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