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Henry Ernst Roth, Page 689
HENRY ERNST ROTH was one of the successful business men of Sheboygan, who came to this country poor in everything except industry and ambition, and by his own unaided efforts accumulated a snug fortune. He was born in Arnstadt, Thuringia, Germany, April 8, 1824. In his native land he received a good education, and at the age of sixteen commenced to learn the trade of a mason. On reaching maturity, he served two years in the German army. She subsequently traveled and worked at his trade, in the mean time studying architecture. For about two years he worked as architect on the castle of Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg. In 1851 he emigrated to the United States, being the only one of his family to cross the ocean, his parents and only brother having died. On reaching this country, he spent a few months in Buffalo, N. Y., where he met a friend by the name of Frank Schwartz, with whom he went to New Orleans. In 1852 they came to Sheboygan to work at their trade. They are said to have built the first brick structure in this city. Among those put up by them are the old schoolhouse, Judge Taylor's house, Otten's Block, a store at the northwest corner of Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and the storeroom occupied by F. Lawrence.
Mr. Roth was quite fond of hunting, and while thus engaged he met an old Yankee farmer with a load of stone. With a keen eye for business, Mr. Roth asked him where he got it. On being informed, he decided to purchase the quarry from which the stone was taken, as he judged that it would make a superior quality of lime. Accordingly, ten acres were bought by Mr. Roth and his partner, two and a-half miles northwest of Sheboygan. Immediately they built a small kiln and began the manufacture of lime. As the business extended, they increased the capacity of their works. In the course of time, Mr. Roth became the sole proprietor, and by additional purchase increased his landed possessions to one hundred and twenty acres, on which is found better limestone than in any of the surrounding States. In addition to the manufacture of line, he continued to work at his trade until he received a severe injury from a fall, while working on Otten's Block. he was also engaged in merchandising for two years during the war. In 1875 the Sheboygan Lime Works were incorporated, of which Mr. Roth was President until his death. Since that event, Mrs. Roth has been President, and Herman L. Roth Secretary and Treasurer. The capital stock of the company is $40,000, and it gives employment to about fifty hands.
On the 2d of September, 1853, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Roth and Miss Caroline Kanitz, and unto them four children were born: Louise, wife of F. Brand, of Chicago; Henry J., who resides in Muskegon, Mich.; Anna D., deceased; and Adolph G., who is a merchant of Sheboygan. The mother of this family died May 16, 1860. On September 5 following, Mr. Roth married Henrietta E. Kanitz, a sister of his first wife. She was born in Brandenburg, Germany, January 14, 1841, and when eleven years of age came with her parents, Gottlieb and Caroline (Olm) Kanitz, to this country. The parents brought seven children with them, two having died prior to their emigration. Mr. Kanitz died the next year after his arrival in this county, and his wife passed away two years later. Mrs. Roth is the mother of nine children. Amelia H. is the wife of T. Fleischer, of Chicago; Louis is a plumber of Minneapolis; William F. is employed at the lime works; Caroline is at home; Herman L. is Secretary and Treasurer of the above works; Hattie and Tonie are still under the parental roof; Oscar died in infancy; and Alfrida resides with her mother.
For many years Mr. Roth was an important character in local politics, being a stanch Democrat. From 1858 to 1866 he was Chairman of the Board of Aldermen in Sheboygan, was County Commissioner two terms, and City Treasurer in 1867 and 1868. He served as President of the Calumet Plank Road from 1857 to 1865.
In his business undertakings Mr. Roth was remarkably successful. He was the soul of honor, benevolent, just and sympathetic. As a result of his fall, it was necessary for him to go about in a rolling-chair the last six years of his life. On the 7th of March, 1887, one of Sheboygan's best citizens was called to his final home. Mr. Roth left a large circle of friends and acquaintances, who appreciated him not for what he had, but for what he was. His widow still survives and is a lady of intelligence and culture.
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