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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Louis A. Kaeppler

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 706 - 708

Louis A. Kaeppler, foreman of the bending room of the Phoenix Chair Company, and an honored veteran of the late war, has made a record of which he deserves to be proud. He was born in Graefentona-Gotha, Saxony, Germany, September 28, 1837, being a son of John and Martha E. (Ketenbeil) Kaeppler. His great-grandfather was one of the Hessians that England sent over here to whip Washington. After the war was over he returned to his native country, where he continued the life of a soldier, serving in all twenty-one years. He was a relative of the great astronomer, Keppler.

The father of Louis Kaeppler was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, and being left an orphan when only a year old, he was reared by the old Hessian soldier. For a livelihood the father followed the calling of a shepherd in the Old Country. His wife, who was born in the same place as himself, performed faithfully her part in caring for their large family, consisting of eleven children, four of whom died in Germany. In 1849 the parents and remaining children embarked at Hamburg, and after nearly eight weeks of sailing dropped anchor at Quebec. Coming direct to Sheboygan County, the father purchased land in the town of Mosel, to the cultivation of which he devoted his energies. His death occurred in 1867, and his wife passed away in 1884. Both were members of the Lutheran Church, and were hard-working, honest, unpretentious people. Of their children, Henry is a farmer of the town of Mosel; William died in Manitowoc County; Jennie, who married Fred Gross, lives in Minnesota; Fred is foreman in the copper-stamping works at Lake Superior; Louis A. is the next; Ernst served about three years in the Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry, during the late war, taking part in many hard-fought battles; and Fredericka is the wife of G. Sommer, of Mosel Township.

Louis A. Kaeppler was twelve years of age when the family came to the New World. Prior to that time he had attended school quite regularly, but after coming to this country spent but eleven days in a schoolhouse. His father's land being heavily timbered, it was necessary for the boy to assist in clearing and putting it in a state of cultivation. Until twenty-two years of age, he worked on his father's farm, and for three years thereafter gave his earnings to his father.

The Rebellion breaking out, Mr. Kaeppler offered his services in defense of the Union, and on the 21st of September, 1862, became a member of Company C, Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry, going into camp at Milwaukee. During the burning of that camp, January 1, 1863, Mr. Kaeppler heroically pulled three men out of the fire. One was already dead, another died a few minutes after he was taken out, while the third is still living, his home being at Port Washington. In rescuing these men, our hero burned himself so severely that he was confined in the hospital for nine months, and has never fully recovered. Having partially regained his strength, he got transferred to Madison, Wis., being an assistant in the office of Maj. C. W. Smith until he was discharged, July 14, 1865.

Returning home, Mr. Kaeppler found himself without health or occupation. In this emergency he turned his attention to the carpenter's trade. In 1868 he moved to the city of Sheboygan. The first house which he built was that of Charles Kirch, a modest structure 18x26 feet. Our subject worked alone on the building, and in four weeks had it completed. He helped to start the plant of the old Sheboygan Manufacturing Company, for which he worked about two years. He then worked in the Crocker & Bliss factory until it burned. The first shovelful of dirt for the foundation of the Phoenix Chair Factory was thrown out by him, and since the plant was started in operation he has held his present position.

Mr. Kaeppler and Miss Mary Bauer were united in marriage March 17, 1865. The lady was a native of Kingkem Esslingen, Schwaben, Germany. When about two years old she emigrated to the New World. Her death occurred October 22, 1889. Of their children, the following are deceased. Emma and Mary, who passed away in childhood, in 1874; William, who died in 1887, aged nineteen years; Adelaide and Henry, who died in 1888, aged respectively fourteen and twenty years; and Amelia, who reached the age of twenty-three years, dying in 1889. The living are Louis, Arthur and Oscar. Mr. Kaeppler was again married, February 19,1890, to Mrs. Jennie Hartman, a native of Fegensdorf, Germany. In 1861 she came with her grandparents to the United States. Her parents, Christian and Sophia (Schreier) Wilke, died in their native land. In this county the daughter married Fred Hartman, a native of the same place as herself, by whom she had three children, Emma, August and Minnie.

Our subject is a Republican in politics, and while in the town of Mosel served several years as Supervisor. Both he and his wife are members of the Lutheran Church. For forty-four years he has made this county his home. He has witnessed the growth of Sheboygan from a village to a great manufacturing center, and the county which was then an almost unbroken forest has been transformed into a splendid farming country.


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