Bio: Elsen, John (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt

John Elsen

John Elsen in the career of this gentleman we find an excellent example of young men just embarking in the field of active life, of what may be accomplished by a man beginning poor, but honest, prudent and industrious.

A native of Wisconsin, Mr. Elsen was born July 25, 1858, in Kenosha, a son of Adam Elsen, a native of Germany, who was one of a family of sixteen children, five of whom are yet living, the eldest being eighty years old. In December, 1817, in the Province of Rhine, the father was born, and there wedded Susan Neises, whose birth occurred in 1823. Seven children were born of this marriage: J. Albert, Peter A., and John, who are still living; one who died in infancy; Jacob and Mary, who have also passed away; and Mathias, who died at the age of twenty-three. The father came alone to America about the year 1847, first being employed as foreman on a canal in Ohio, and in 1850 he returned to the Fatherland, the following year bringing his wife to these shores. For a time he engaged in farming near Kenosha, Wis., but later sold out and opened a grocery store and hotel in that city. For many years he carried these on, though later he was the proprietor of a butcher shop; he was also employed in the lumber woods. His death occulted in Kenosha in 1886. Mrs. Elsen still makes that place her home; she is one of a family of twelve children. Her father, who was a farmer of Germany; also belonged to a large family numbering fourteen children and his parents were also agriculturists.

In the public and parochial schools of Kenosha, Wis., John Elsen pursued his studies until the age of thirteen, remaining under the paternal roof, however, until he was twenty, giving the benefit of his labors to his father. At that time he went to Kansas, where for one year he followed farming. On his return to Kenosha, he remained there only two months, when he moved to Racine, Wis., there working as a molder for three years, which trade he had previously learned in his native city. In 1882 he arrived in Merrill, where for four year he was employed by the McCord & Wright Manufacturing Company in their sash and blind factory. He then went to work for A. H. Stange, who was engaged in the same line of business; after a short time he was made foreman of the works, and later, assistant superintendent. In January, 1895, when the A. H. Stange Manufacturing Company was organized he was made vice-president and now holds that position; they have a sawmill, and are engaged in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds. It is one of the leading firms of Merrill, and they are new doing an excellent business. For two years our subject was also engaged in the hardware trade; he was dealt in real estate to some extent.

On January 27, 1883, at Merrill, Mr. Elsen was married to Miss Augusta Stange, daughter of Carl and Caroline Stange, and to this union have been born three children—two sons and a daughter-Albert A., William P. and Helen S. In politics Mr. Elsen is independent, desiring to cast his vote for the man whom he thinks best qualified to fill the office, regardless of party ties. For two years he has served the people of the Firth War of Merrill as alderman, and one year on the county board. He was a charter member of the first volunteer fire company organized, in 1887, in Merrill, and has since been actively connected with it, having been foreman several times. At present he is president of the company, and with the exception of two years, has been since it was organized. He has the reputation of being a first class business man, reliable and energetic, and is a citizen of whom Merrill may be justly proud.

---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 171-172


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