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George Koebel, Page 305
GEORGE KOEBEL is one of the substantial farmers that Germany has furnished this county. He was born in Wintersheim, Hesse-Darmstadt, August 15, 1826, being a son of Peter and Margaret (Frederich) Koebel, both natives of the same province. The father followed the trade of shoemaker for a livelihood in the Old Country. In 1847, all of the family except George, who had preceded them by a year, came to the United States, and located on a farm in Plymouth Township in June of that year. The father and George each took a claim of eighty acres, but, not able to pay for both, one was sold in order to pay for the other. Its location was on section 9, and not a tree had been cut. Their first house was built of logs, which were carried on the strong shoulders of the father and son. It would hardly compare with the mansions erected nowadays, as its dimensions were only 16 x 24 feet. To get seed wheat in those days was no light task. Mr. Koebel, his wife and son George walked a distance of nine miles to the home of Deacon Trowbridge, threshed the wheat with a flail, and carried it home on their backs, besides paying $1 per bushel for it. In order to get an ox-team, with which to put in the wheat, the son worked for a neighbor in exchange.
When Mr. Koebel landed in this county he had about $30 left, half of which he paid for a cow in Milwaukee, he and his son George walking thither and driving her home. Through industry and careful management he became a well-to-do farmer. His death occurred at his old home May 4, 1862; the mother died in April, 1892, in Clarke County, Wis., being nearly ninety-two years of age. The parents were members of the Evangelical Church, and in politics the father was a Democrat. Of their six children, five were born in Germany, and one in this country; four are known to be living, though only two are identified with this county, George, and Jacob, who is a veteran of the late war, and a prosperous farmer if Plymouth Township.
George Koebel is the eldest child in his father's family. Until thirty years of age he remained at home, assisting his father. In Plymouth Township, on the 18th of January, 1856, he wedded Miss Catherine Riennik, who was born November 4, 1832, in the village of Nerenstein, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and with her mother came to the New World in 1855, her father having died in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Koebel had three children. Christina died when twelve years old; Katie and Henrietta are at home. Upon marriage Mr. Koebel settled on his present farm, which consists of one hundred and twenty acres, about sixty acres of which are cleared. He has erected good buildings and made other necessary improvements. In politics, he is a Republican, though not a strong partisan.
Mr. Koebel dates his arrival in the United States from 1846. He had reached about the age when it was necessary for him to go into the army of his native country, and not having a taste for military life he very much wished to come to America, but lacked the necessary means. An acquaintance, however, proposed to furnish him the money to pay his passage if he would pay it back as soon as he could earn it. The offer was gladly accepted, and the voyage begun from Havre, France, on the sailing-vessel "Altay." After forty-two days on the ocean, they landed at New York. Coming direct to Wisconsin, Mr. Koebel worked on a farm at Menomonee Falls, and thus earned the money to repay his benefactor. In June of the following year he joined his parents in this county, as before stated. Among the pioneer settlers Mr. Koebel is well remembered. His life has been a quiet, unostentatious one, devoted to developing his farm and making a good home for his family.
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