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Ernst Gersmehl, Page 236
ERNST GERSMEHL, a practical and progressive farmer, residing in section 9, Sherman Township, was born in Prussia, January 18, 1846, and is a son of Christian and Elizabeth (Gresser) Gersmehl, whose sketch follows this. The family has long been identified with the history of this community, for its members have borne a prominent part in the work of public improvement and advancement. They have seen the transformation of the wild land into beautiful homes and farms, have seen towns and villages spring up, and the work of civilization carried forward, until the county of today, occupying the front rank in this great commonwealth, bears little resemblance to that of forty years ago.
In the usual manner of farmer lads our subject was reared to manhood, attending the district schools in the winter season, and aiding in the labors of the farm through the summer months. At the age of twenty-four he left home and began life for himself upon a farm of eighty acres which he owned. He was married January 9, 1869, to Miss Caroline Reis, of Scott Township. Her parents were of German birth, and had nine children, of whom four sons and three daughters are yet living: Jacob, a farmer of Sherman Township; Henry and Frank, who follow farming in Scott Township; John A. S., a farmer; Caroline; Mary, wife of Charles Renhammer; and Emma, wife of Henry Row.
Mr. and Mrs. Gersmehl began life in true pioneer style, living in a little log cabin. Nine children came to bless their home, of whom eight are living: George; Adolph, who is engaged in the butchering business in Clark County; Oscar, who carries on his father's store in Adell; Louis; Noah; Alfred; Ella and Esther.
In 1864, Mr. Gersmehl worked for the Government in the South, although he was not in the regular army. In politics, he has been a stalwart Republican since casting his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant. He served in the office of Town Treasurer for one year, but has never been an aspirant for official honors. In religious belief, he is a Lutheran, and belongs to St. John's congregation. He now resides upon his fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which is one of the best improved places in the locality, supplied with good buildings and all modern conveniences. The fields are well tilled, and the place, which is neat and thrifty in appearance, indicates the careful supervision of the owner. He also owns half interest in the general merchandise store of Degnitz & Gersmehl. This firm, which is enjoying a large and lucrative business, also owns an elevator and is engaged in buying grain. They handle an average of about one hundred carloads annually. Mr. Gersmehl is a man of excellent business ability, wide awake and enterprising, sagacious and far sighted, and by his well directed efforts he has achieved a success which places him among the substantial citizens of the community.
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