Biographies and Family Information

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of the Milwaukee Ship-yard Company, draughtsman and master-mechanic, was born in Germany, February 6, 1838; came to Milwaukee in 1842; commenced his apprenticeship with J.M. Jones, ship-builder, in 1854, and completed his service in 1857; went to Milan, Ohio, and worked in the Government yards on the Revenue Cutter. From there he went to Cincinnati and to New Orleans; from New Orleans to St. Louis, returning to Milwaukee in 1860. In the Summer of 1861, he helped to organize the ship-building company of Allan, McClellan & Co., being draughtsman and master mechanic of the company; continued this business connection till the company was dissolved in 1874; then helped to organize the Milwaukee Ship-yard Co., of which he is still a member. Residence, No. 405 Fifth Avenue.




No. 363 Railroad street, was born in New York City, in 1847. He came to Milwaukee with his parents in 1850. He first sailed on the "FRED HILL," commanded by Capt. McCraw, in 1861. After eight months she was wrecked on the North Manitous, the 24th of November. In 1862 he went South in the employ of the Government, where he remained until 1863, when he returned and has been sailing since. He has gradually worked up to the position of captain and has commanded the "BUENA VISTA" three years, and now is in command of the "GUIDE." He enlisted in the navy in January, 1865, and served until the end of the war. Was married in September, 1875, to Miss Mary Best. They have one daughter--Miss Josephine.

Source: History of Milwaukee County, 1881




The Photo to the right is improperly labeled. It should be George Wilbur Peck. A short biography from 1895 reads;

"Graduating from the printer's case to the editorial tripod, and there acquiring a national reputation as a humorist, George W. Peck found it a comparatively easy matter to make the rest of the journey to the honorable position of governor of Wisconsin. His early life was a continuous struggle for a competence. Born in Henderson, Jefferson County, N. Y., September 28, 1840, he was taken to Wisconsin in childhood by his parents. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to the printer's trade in the office of the Whitewater (Wis.) "Register," and afterward worked in various places as a journeyman printer. In 1860 he enlisted as a private in the Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry, and for two and a half years served with his regiment in the south, being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In the fall of 1866 he went to Ripon, Wis., and started a newspaper called the "Representative," which he conducted for about two years, and was then engaged as a writer for the La Crosse "Democrat," published by "Brick" Pomeroy. He subsequently became half owner of that paper and changed its name to the "Liberal Democrat." In 1874 he founded the "Sun" at La Crosse, removed it to Milwaukee in 1878, called it "Peck's Sun," and made it a great success. As a vehicle for his humorous musings it became very popular. Some of his collected articles have been published in book form, notably "Peck's Bad Boy." Mr. Peck was first mayor of Milwaukee and was subsequently elected governor of Wisconsin on the Democratic ticket in 1892. He enjoys the respect and confidence of the people."



No. 88 Wisconsin street in this city, was born in Rome, Oneida County, New York, in 1816, and enjoyed the usual advantages as to schooling. When only ten years old he was employed to carry a flag for a land surveyor, and became fascinated with land surveying, but had to pursue his studies under numberless disadvantages; nevertheless he persevered in his career and in 1836, when 20 years old, he was appointed by the State of New York one of the corps of civil engineers, and continued so employed for four years. He began the study of medicine in 1840 in Rome, his native place, and in the County of Oneida, teaching school as his means of support while continuing his studies, and he subsequently attended lectures at the Medical College in Albany, New York. Having completed that course the young student next turned his attention to dentristy under the tutelage of Dr. H. A. Post of Rome, New York, and made himself master of that profession so that he was enabled to succeed Dr. Post when that gentleman retired from practice. In the year 1857 he came to this city and almost immediately took a place in the front rank of his profession, being still identified with one of the leading firms in that department of practice in the State. He was married to Jane H. Fitch, of Sheldon, Vermont, in 1846, and the fruits of that union have been three sons and three daughters.

Source: History of Milwaukee 1881 pg. 1035



No. 130 Grand avenue, in this city, was born in Rome, Oneida County, N.Y.; in 1849, and was brought by his parens to Milwaukee when only eight years old. His literary studies were completed at Markham's Academy, in this city, in 1865 and in November of that year, he bagan the study of his chosen profession, dentistry, with his father, Dr. D.W. Perkins, an able practitioner, continuing with him until 1878, save only an interval of two years and a half devoted to practice elsewhere. In July, 1878, the young dentist entered upon the practice of his profession in the elegant offices occupied by him on Grand avenue where he continues his arduous labors. He is a member of the State Dental Society and was one of the organizers of the Odontological Society of Milwaukee, which he continues to be a member.

Source: History of Milwaukee 1881 pg. 1038



Source:Memoirs of Milwaukee County : from the earliest historical times down to the present, including a genealogical and biographical record of representative families in Milwaukee County (1909), By Jerome Anthony Watrous

William Watson Perry, a regularly ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church and a lineal descendant of the great admiral who fought the battle on Lake Erie and reported to the President of the United States, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."' was born in Milwaukee, July 28, 1853. He is the son of James and Ellen (Smith) Perry, the former of whom was born on Nov. 30, 1804, in Manchester, England, and died in Milwaukee on Nov. 30, 1864; and the latter was born in Burnley, England, April 22, 1813, and died on Jan. 19, 1885, in North Prairie. Wis. James Perry, the father, came to Wisconsin in 1848, engaging with the lumber firm of Benjamin Bagnall & Co.

Our subject was educated in the district schools of Wisconsin and at the Agricultural College at Columbus, Ohio. After his graduation he was regularly ordained and entered actively the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. At present he is pastor of Westminster Mission, located at 1095 North Pierce street. Milwaukee.

On Aug. 19, 1879, he married Miss Emma G., daughter of Darius W. and Ann Stark LaBarre, of Mukwonago, Wis., and their marital union has been blessed with five children as follows: Jessie Ellen, Ralph Emerson, Faye M., Helen M., and Ruth J.

Rev. Mr. Perry has attained the highest honors and is a leader in the councils of Masonry. He was made a Mason in Lake Lodge, No. 189, of Milwaukee, and received the degree of Master Mason on July 24, 1876. He received the Capitular degrees in Waukesha Chapter No. 37, and the Cryptic degrees in Waukesha Council of Royal and Select Masters. The orders of Knighthood were conferred upon him in St. John's Commandery, No. 21, at Reedsburg, Wis. He demitted from the various Masonic bodies in which he received his degrees and affiliated with Madison Lodge, No. 5, Madison Chapter, No. 4, and Robert Macoy Commandery, No. 3, at Madison, Wis. He received the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1889, and is a member of Wisconsin Consistory, Milwaukee. He received the Thirty-third degree in Boston, Mass., in 1904. He is also a member of Tripoli Temple, Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He served as Senior Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin when N. M. Littlejohn was Grand Master, and was afterward Senior Warden. He was made deputy grand master in 1894 and at the next meeting of the Grand Lodge was chosen Most Worshipful Grand Master. He was made Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the state of Wisconsin. In September, 1900, he was appointed Grand Secretary of the Masonic Grand bodies in Wisconsin to succeed John W. Laflin, deceased, and he now belongs to Damascus Lodge, No. 290, Free and Accepted Masons. In politics he is a Republican. Rev. Mr. Perry is a gentleman of scholarly attainments, deeply read in the rich lore of the ages, and one who receives, because he is entitled to it, the gracious consideration and high regard of all who know him.



Candidate for City of Wauwatosa
Daniel T. Pilgrim, Citizen candidate for justice of the peace, has lived in Wauwatosa for about fifteen years, before that time he farmed in the neighboring town of Granville. His children, Mrs. George Wells, Jr., Mrs. H.G. Shoonmaker, and D.T. Pilgrim, Jr. live in this city.

Source: Wauwatosa News April 1, 1899



Plankinton, John 1820 - 1891

John Plankinton, meat packer, businessman, b. New Castle County, Delaware. He moved to Milwaukee in 1844, where for a time he operated a mercantile business. In 1849 he began the packing of beef and hog products, and in 1852 formed a partnership with Frederick Layton (q.v.) under the firm name of Layton and Plankinton Packing Co. In 1861 Layton withdrew and Plankinton continued the business alone until 1863, when he was joined by Philip Armour (q.v.) and the firm became Plankinton, Armour and Co. Together, the partners expanded their packing facilities, established branches in Chicago and Kansas City, and also started a commission and exporting house in New York City. In Oct., 1884, the partnership was dissolved by mutual agreement; Plankinton relinquished his interests in the branch houses and reorganized the business in Milwaukee as John Plankinton and Co., with Patrick Cudahy (q.v.) as his partner. Plankinton retired from the business in 1888, and the major portion of the firm came under control of the Cudahy brothers, Patrick and John, who operated it under the name of Cudahy Brothers, and eventually moved the plant to Cudahy, Wis.

A Republican, Plankinton held local political offices in Milwaukee, served in executive capacities with several other businesses and was a longtime member of the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. His son, WILLIAM PLANKINTON, b. Allegheny, Pa., entered his father's meat-packing business at an early age. When John Plankinton died in 1891, William devoted himself to administering the Plankinton estate. In 1893 he organized the Plankinton Packing Co. to operate the Plankinton plant vacated by the removal of Cudahy Brothers to Cudahy, Wis., and was president of this firm until his death. He also built up extensive business interests of his own in Milwaukee and outside the state, and was prominently identified with the Layton Art Gallery, the Milwaukee Public Library and Public Museum, and the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. B. Still, Milwaukee (Madison, 1948); E. B. Usher, Wis. (8 vols., Chicago, 1914); Natl. Cyclopaedia Amer. Biog., 1 (1892); Milwaukee Journal, Mar. 30, 1891, Apr. 29, 1905; WPA field notes.

See also Plankinton House Photographs at Linking Your Past Gallery

This stone home was built around 1890 by John Plankinton, millionaire pioneer in the meat packing industry. It was built as a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth Plankinton. Elizabeth was engaged to marry Richard Hamilton Park. A number of stories note why the wedding never took place. One stated that Richard was already married. Elizabeth lost interest in the new home. In 1896 it was sold to Mrs. Margaret Johnston. In 1910 she sold it to the Knights of Columbus in 1910. Later, the organization had the address on W. Grand Ave. (later Wisconsin Ave.) changed from 1432 to a more appropriate and historically significant one, 1492. The building was later sold to Marquette University.

Oct. 8, 1980 the building was demolished despite efforts to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places. It is reported that the demolition began in the middle of the night. Demolition of the mansion led to the 1981 establishment of the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission, dedicated to protecting Milwaukee’s architectural heritage.



GEORGE POPPERT (deceased), late of No. 2715 State Street, Milwaukee, Wis., and for many years a prosperous and successful manufacturer of sash, doors, blinds, etc., was born in Germany, March 13,1840. His parents, Henry and Elizabeth Poppert, both natives of Germany, came to the Untied States in 1850 with their family of five boys. Coming directly to the city of Milwaukee, the elder Mr. Poppert embarked in the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, etc., and built up a flourishing business, which he conducted until his retirement from active business life in 1866. George attended school in his native land before coming to America with his parents and after his arrival in Milwaukee attended a grammar school on the East side for a number of years. Upon leaving school he was taken into the business with his father, and upon the retirement of the latter in 1866, he bought a controlling interest in the factory. Under his able and skillful management the enterprise grew to large proportions and became one of the most important and profitable industries of its kind in the city, being known as the George Poppert Manufacturing Co. In addition to the manufacture of the sash, doors and blinds he turned out all kinds of hardwood finish. He retained the controlling interest in the business up to the time of his death, which occurred at Milwaukee, March 1, 1907. He was highly respected as a business man and citizen and contributed in large measure to the material up-building of the city in which the whole of his mature life was spent. In politics he was allied with the Democratic Party and a man of considerable prominence in the councils of that organization. He represented his assembly district in the Wisconsin State Legislature from 1885 to 1887, and was an able and representative member of that body. He was a lifelong adherent of the Lutheran faith, and one of the staunch supporters of the German Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. As an old resident of the city he took great interest in the Old Settlers’ Club of the East Side, of which he was a member, and he was also prominently identified with the Liedertafel musical organization. Mr. Poppert was twice married and was the father of seven children by his first wife. His second marriage took place on May 8, 1892, to Miss Anna Pickel, daughter of Conrad and Margaret (Bassel) Pickel, who were prominent residents of Milwaukee. One daughter was the fruit of this union, who makes her home with her widowed mother at the residence at 2715 State Street. Mr. Poppert was a kind and indulgent husband and father, who ever found his chief comfort and solace within the limits of the home circle. His loss was not only a severe blow to his immediate family, but e is sincerely mourned by a large number of intimate friends and business associates. He represents a type of the best American citizenship, successful in his business undertakings, clean and pure in his private life and a high-minded and loyal public citizen.

Source: Milwaukee County Biographies Memoirs of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Vol. I & II by Jerome Anthony Watrous, 1909 PAGE 259



Candidate for City of Wauwatosa
C.A. Porter, Citizens' candidate for alderman, has resided at the corner of E. Center St. and 5th Ave. for several years. He is the court reporter in Judge Sutherland's court and has taken an active interest in political matters.

Source: Wauwatosa News April 1, 1899



Candidate for City of Wauwatosa
W.J. Potter, Citizen's candidate for alderman, resides at 2nd Ave and E. Milwaukee Ave. He has conducted a bicycle manufactory, repair shop and sales store for the past few years. This is his first campaign for office in Wauwatosa.

Source: Wauwatosa News April 1, 1899



Scott Pratt is well known all over the lakes as one of the best qualified marine engineers, and as wheelsman and genial mate. His many good traits raise up friends for him in every port. He has had an interesting experience of many years, of which this article can give but a brief outline. He was born in Shelby, Macomb Co., Mich., on April 27, 1847, and is the son of Hosca and Ann (Dice) Pratt, the former a native of Vermont, the latter of New York State, born near Niagara Falls. The father was a carpenter and builder by trade, and moved to Mt. Clemens, Mich., where he took contracts for building, and where he purchased a large farm, on a portion of which the Grand Trunk railway depot now stands. In 1854, after selling the farm, he removed to East Saginaw, where he established himself in business, manufacturing furniture, sash, door and all classes of word work, doing well and enlarging his trade rapidly, and conducted it with good success for thirty years, when he sold out and retired. He died while on a visit in Oregon. The mother passed away in October, 1897, at East Saginaw.

Scott Pratt attended the public schools in East Saginaw until he was sixteen years of age, and helped his father in the shop, running a lathe planer and the engine until 1864, when he went tugging on the Saginaw river in the E. M. Peck. In the spring of 1877 he purchased an interest in the tug Hercules, and ran her. The next season he engineered the side-wheel tugs Wave and Ajax, closing the year in the latter. In 1868 he was appointed chief engineer of the tug A. F. Gay, followed by a season in the Fannie White. Early in 1871 he went to Salem, Ore., to take charge of the machinery of the city water works, but returned to the lakes the next spring and shipped as fireman on the F. & P. M. railroad until September, when he took charge of the tug Coleman as engineer. In 1872 he was given a locomotive to run on the F. & P. M. railroad. The next spring Mr. Pratt entered the employ of Carkin, Stickney & Cram as engineer of the tug Fannie White, running her until September, 1874, when he brought out the new tug W. S. Carkin, and engineered her until 1876, when he was transferred to the George L. Dunlap, and in 1877 to the steamer Dove.

In the spring of 1878 Mr. Pratt entered the employ of L. P. Mason & Co., as engineer of the steamer Lewis Gilbert, holding that berth one season, after which he transferred to the steamer Cleveland, which was burned on Saginaw bay, and closed the season on the steamer Mayflower. In 1880 he became chief engineer of the steamer Potter Chamberlain. The next season he brought out new the steamer C. H. Green. After leaving her he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer F. & P. M. No. 2, and ran her until July, 1888, when he brought out new the steamer Helena, of which he is chief engineer at this writing. During the winter months Mr. Pratt, being an industrious man, works in the machine shops at Milwaukee.

Socially, he is a Master Mason, having been raised in Pacific Lodge No. 50, at Salem, Ore. but initiated in Mt. Clemens Lodge No. 6. He is also a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 87, of Detroit.

On January 29, 1879, Mr. Pratt was united by marriage to Miss Anna Chapman, daughter of George and Elizabeth, and niece of Capt. Tom Foster, of Mt. Clemens, Mich. They have one daughter, Edna, who is a graduate from the Milwaukee high schools. Mr. Pratt removed to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1891, and resides at No. 966 Scott street.

Source: History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899



This man came to Milwaukee from Rochester, N.Y., in 1836 and at once became noted as a builder and a contractor.

In person, he was of medium height, thick set, large head, brown hair, coarse and shaggy, dark eyes, a voice that could be heard half a mile, rough and harsh, its tones resembling the subdued growling of a dog, more than anything else; and a mouth that, when open, resembled the entrance to Mammoth Cave. For profanity, no man in the army of Flanders, could have surpassed him, and in lying, he was the compeer of Cady. His word was as good as his bond, and that was thing no man wanted, unless he wished for a keepsake to remember the giver by. His hegira from Rochester is said to have occurred between two days, on account of the number of these same keepsakes, the constant reminder that the holders of them gave him, being too much for so sensitive a nature as his to endure. The first impression his blustering way of talking would give to a stranger, was that of fear of his prowess; but a further acquaintance would dispel all that. He was the biggest coward in the place; any boy twelve years old could make him run like a scared hound. The cognomen by which he was best known, was old "By Jesus." but with all the imperfections, he was one of the best mechanics that ever came to this city. He left many years ago, the place getting altogether too civilized for him, going to St. Paul, Minnesota, where, after funning pretty much such a career as he did here, death came, and took him over the Styx.

Source: Pioneer History Of Milwaukee by James S. Buck, 1876 Vol. 1



RUDOLPH PREUSS, one of the well-known Florists and Market gardeners of the city, was born in Klein Hauswalde, Germany, on March 30,1860, a son of Hans and Carlina (Deering) Preuss. Both parents spent their entire lives in the Fatherland, where the father was engaged in agricultural pursuits. They left a family of eight children, six sons and two daughters. Rudolph Preuss is the youngest of his father’s family. He took advantage of the scholastic training afforded by the German common schools, and upon completing his school work became apprenticed to a florist. During his stay in Germany he found employment in many of the largest floral concerns in the country and became a thorough master of the art. In the fall of 1884 he migrated to the United States and located in Erie, PA. After a year spent working there in his chosen profession he came in the spring of 1885 to Milwaukee. Here he secured employment with A. M. Freidach on Forest Home Avenue; then for various periods of time with Frank Delgen, Mr. Armstrong and T. L. Hanson, remaining with the latter some two years. In 1888 he purchased the property at the corner of Vine and West Twenty fourth Streets and five years later erected the green house which he is now so successfully conducting. Beside the culture of flowers he makes a specialty of raising fresh vegetables for the market. Both features of his business have been eminently successful in a financial way due largely to his untiring labor, enterprise and strictly fair dealing with his patrons. In politics he is allied with the Republican Party, but owing to the pressure of his business does not find time to devote to an active participation in the affairs of the party. In religious affairs he is prominent as a member of the Lutheran Church, and is identified fraternally with the Knights of the MacCabees. He is also a member of the Florists’ Club. On April 6,1892, Mr. Preuss was united in marriage to Miss Augusta Timm, a daughter of William and Emilie (Wielbold) Timm, of Cascade, Wis. Four children have been the issue of this marriage. Oswald, born Aug. 16,1894, is away at school; and the others, Arnold, born Oct. 17,1896; Irma, born Aug. 4, 1899, and Irving, born Nov. 17,1901, attend the public schools and assist their father in their spare time.

Source: Milwaukee County Biographies Memoirs of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Vol. I & II by Jerome Anthony Watrous, 1909 PAGE 281


Dr. William P. Proudfit

Source: The Medical History of Milwaukee, By Louis Frederick Frank. Published 1915. Germania Publishing Co.

Early in 1836 Dr. William P. Proudfit located in Milwaukee, coming from Rome, N. J., and soon achieved the reputation of a conscientious physician. He was employed by the authorities to look after the health of homeless children, observing that the children were not properly cared for. He went to Daniel Wells, Jr., then superintendent of the poor, and remonstrated so earnestly against the system then in vogue, that a better one was instituted. He was a member of the Presbyterian church and has been described as " a liberal-minded, large-hearted man, who exerted a continuous influence for the betterment of mankind." He died of pneumonia March 11, 1843, aged 37 years.