Bio: Oelhafen, John (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt

John Oelhafen

John Oelhafen, a prominent and influential citizen of Tomahawk, Lincoln County, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, born January 15, 1806, and was a man of rank and owner of a large estate. He came to America in 1845, landing in Milwaukee, and purchased a quarter section of government land in Washington County, Wis., which he cleared and cultivated, living there until 1863. He then removed to Milwaukee, residing there until his death, in 1875. He was united in marriage with Elizabeth Beck, daughter of a well to do farm, and one of a large family. Their children were: John, Jacob, Maria E., Margaret E., Fritz, Frederick, Elizabeth, Ludwick and Marguerite.

John Oelhafen, the subject proper of this sketch, came to America with his parents when eight years of age, and his childhood days were spent on the farm, his primary education being received in the village schools. He remained on the farm, assisting his father until he reached his majority, although at the age of seventeen he commenced working in the pineries, giving his earnings to his father to help in the support of the family. In September, 1861, he was united in marriage with Anna S. Miller, daughter of Andrew and Mary (Krouse) Miller, the former of whom was an extensive landowner in Germany. Anna S. came to America, alone, at the age of seventeen. To this union were born six children, viz.: Anna E., born October 3, 1862, now the wife of August Zastrow, living in Tomahawk; Andrew, born February 29, 1864, married, and is clear in his fatherís store; John W., born May 11, 1866, married, and also a clerk in his fatherís store; Mary E., born June 28, 1868, now the wife of George Pfeiffer, of Wausau, Wis.; William, born April 2, 1872, and Anna L., born November 19, 1878. After their marriage Mr. Oelhagen and his wife removed to a farm in Washington County, where they remained for about two years. Mr. Oelhafen then sold his interest in the farm and removed to Milwaukee, where he opened a general store, remaining there some ten years. In 1872 he removed to Wausau, at which place he opened a general store, and also engaged in the lumbering business, both in Wausau and in Millbank, S. Dak., where he still has large interests in farm lands and city property. In July, 1887, he erected the first building in Tomahawk, Lincoln County, before the days of railroads in that section off the country. At Tomahawk he again opened a general store, which he still carries on, being assisted by his three sons.

Mr. Oelhafen has invested heavily, but profitably, in pine and farm lands all through the northern part of the State. He owns a very handsome residence in Wausau, and has always been an enterprising and influential citizen. He at one time filled the office of vice-president of the first bank of Tomahawk, now Bradleyís private bank. The family are all leading member of the Lutheran Church. In politics Mr. Oelhafen is a Republican, and although often urged by his friends would never accept any office. He is a man of considerable means, which he has acquired by a life of industry.

---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 112-113



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