Bio: Knauf, John (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt

John Knauf

John Knauf (deceased). The subject of this sketch was born in Treves, or Trier, Germany, June 24, 1844, and came with his parents to America in 1847. His father, William Knauf, was born in 1811, and was united in marriage with Mrs. Anna Gerend. Their children were: Nick, John and Charles.

On their arrival in America the family settled in Sheboygan County, Wis., on a rough and uncultivated piece of land, and remained there for some time, afterward removing to Sheboygan City, where the father has since resided, living a retired life. The mother died on the farm in 1854. William Knauf, later, was married to Mrs. Snyder, who had three children, viz.: Joseph, William and Anna. Mr. Knauf’s second wife died in 1872.

John Knauf has but the limited advantages of a common school education, and at the age of fourteen he apprenticed himself to the trade of a baker in Sheboygan, but not liking it, he only remained there a very short time. He then went to the Lake Superior region, and secured a position as cook, afterward clerking in a store until the breaking out of the Civil War, when he raided a company of volunteers for the Twenty-seventh Mich. V. I. at one time he was in Company A., Twenty-seventh Regiment Michigan Infantry, commanded by Capt. William Freeman. Mr. Knauf was a brave soldier, and saw considerable service, but on receiving a severe shot wound in the neck at the battle of Cumberland Gap, in 1864, he was compelled to retire from active service. He had enlisted August 13, 1862, and received his discharge July 26, 1865. He then engaged in the manufacture of soda water in St. Paul, Minn. In June, 1873, he was united in marriage with Sophia Gerkin, born in Centerville, Wis., February 22, 1851, the only daughter of William and Catherine Gerkin; Mrs. Knauf’s parents came to American in 1848, and were married in St. Louis, Mo. Mr. Gerkin followed agricultural pursuits in Manitowoc County, Wis., dying in September, 1851. His widow was afterward married to Theodore Schulte, to which union were born six children, viz.: Mary, Theresa, Frank, Joseph, Anton and Helen. Mrs. Schulte died in April, 1894.  

Mr. and Mrs. Knauf had a family of children as follows: Agnes, Alfred, Mary, Classina, Edmond, Arthur, Clarence, Walter and Mary, the latter of whom died in infancy. In 1875 the family went to Stevens Point, where Mr. Knauf engaged in the grocery business, remaining there until 1889. He then removed to Tomahawk, and opened a saloon. His death occurred June 3, 1893. Politically he was a Democrat, and was an active politician and a public-spirited man. At Stevens Point he filled the position of chief of police one year, and was an alderman and supervisor for several terms. At Tomahawk he was president of the first city council and alderman of the Third War. Mr. Knauf was a thoroughly self made man, and was ranked among the most popular and respected citizens of Tomahawk.

---Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. publ. 1895 by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1110 pages, illustrated; Page 582-583


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