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Nicholas Eby, Page 397
NICHOLAS EBY, who is engaged in farming on section 16, Lima Township, is numbered among the honored and early settlers of Sheboygan County, with which he has been identified since 1856. He is a native of Rhenish-France, born near the city of Straussburg, on the 15th of December, 1824. His father, Christian Eby, was also a native of the same district, and was occupied with agricultural pursuits during the most of his life. He was born in Lyons, France, one of the large cities of that republic. His wife bore the maiden name of Louisa Klein. By her marriage she became the mother of four sons and two daughters, only two of whom are now living, our subject and his sister Sophia, who resides near Straussburg, and is now a widow.
Nicholas Eby was reared as a farmer boy, and learned the trade of a cabinet-maker and wood turner. Largely by his own personal application, he acquired both a French and German education. When twenty-seven years of age, he sailed for America and landed in New Orleans, where for six years he worked at anything by which he could make an honest living. He had a sum of twenty-five francs on leaving the vessel in which he had crossed the Atlantic, but unfortunately lost the whole amount, and found himself penniless in a strange land. In 1857 he went to Buffalo, from there drifted to Canada, and finally to Sheboygan. Soon afterward he came to Lima Township and purchased forty acres of land, which was not improved. There was, however, a small house upon the place, which had been erected by a ship-carpenter, and had been nailed together by means of ship spikes eighteen inches long. On this farm he continued to live for eight years, in the mean time learning the customs and language of the people.
On June 25, 1857, Mr. Ely married Miss Christina Biehler, who was born in the German province of Alsace, on the 7th of January, 1827. The six sons and two daughters born of this union are all living. John, who resides in Rhinelander, Wis., is a well-educated young man and an artist by profession. Nicholas, who lives in Sheboygan, is married and has a son and daughter. He is a mason by trade. Christ is a wealthy business man of Rhinelander, and has served as Township Treasurer. He owns eighteen hundred acres of land covered with fine timber. He has a wife and four children. Mary is the wife of Peter Clay, a carpenter, and has one son. George is at home. Philip is in Michigan. Henry is a telegrapher in Sioux Center, Iowa, having been employed as such for over eight years. Steenie, who is the youngest of the family, is a professional dressmaker, having learned her trade in Sheboygan.
The father of Mrs. Eby came to America when she was a young lady, and the family lived for two and a-half years in Buffalo. At the time of his death, which occurred in Ohio, Mr. Biehler was seventy-five years of age. Mrs. Ely is the eldest daughter; Elizabeth was the wife of Valentine Otstadt, and they resided in Buffalo, N. Y., but both are now deceased; Sophia is the wife of Nicholas Miller, of Williams County, Ohio. Magdelena, who lives in Kansas, is the wife of Albert Waugh. Catherine became the wife of Nicholas Nagle, and is deceased, as is also her husband. It was in 1853 that Mrs. Eby came to Wisconsin, and she has therefore been a witness of most of its marvelous growth.
A Democrat in his political faith, Mr. Eby cast his first Presidential vote for Franklin Pierce. He has steadfastly declined official honors. With his good wife, he is a true friend to education, and has done all that he could in furthering the cause. They are members of the German Lutheran Church of Sheboygan Falls, to which the children also belong. Mr. and Mrs. Eby were liberal in assisting to build the first churches in this portion of the county. The farm which is now operated by our subject comprises ninety acres of valuable land. On this is one of the finest brick residences in the township, it having been erected at a cost of over $2,000. They have ever been honest and industrious, and well merit the success which is theirs in so eminent a degree.
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