Frederick J. Seif, 1851

stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org on Fri, 16 Feb 2001

 

Surname: SEIF, SYLER, WEISNER, STELLOH

----Source: History of Clark County, Wisconsin (1918), by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge

FREDERICK J. SEIF, SR., member of F. P. Seif & Sons, dealers in implements, at Neillsville, was born in Oshkosh, Wis., June 19, 1851 of Joseph and Christina (Syler) Seif. The father was a carpenter by and he and his wife were natives of Germany. They were married in native land about 1846, and immediately set out for the United States making the voyage in a sailing vessel, which was so slow that they were several months on the ocean. After arriving in this country they located first in Pennsylvania, where they remained for a year, coming west at the end of that time to Oshkosh, Wis. There Mr. Seif followed his trade for about six years and then moved to Dale in the adjoining county of Outagamie, near which place he bought eighty acres of land in the woods, and began pioneer farming. Two other families accompanied them and between them they had an ox team and wagon. By that time Joseph and his wife had five children-Otto, Joseph, Jr., Frederick J., Sophia and Paulina. Oshkosh, twenty-four miles away, was their trading point, but there were no roads, and the winter was the only time they could get through with a team. In summer they had to carry a pack on their backs. Frequently, when short of flour, they ground corn in their coffee mill.

On this farm Joseph Seif and wife lived until about 1891, his death taking place in Dale ten years later, when he was 77 years old. His wife died at the age of 89 about 1907. The children born on the farm in Dale Township were August, Christine and John. Frederick J. Seif had but limited educational advantages as he had to aid in supporting himself at an early age. In the log schoolhouse of the district he got through the third reader and later attended night school. He grew to rnanhood-on the home farm and at the age of 24 years came to Clark County. In the same year, 1876, he had married Mary Weisner, who was born on a farm in West Bend, Wis., in 1857, and they drove to Neillsville together. Buying a farm of eighty acres of wild land in section 8, Sherwood Township, he put up a log house, 16 by 20 feet in size, and with an ox team, which he had driven up from Dale, he commenced the breaking of the land. His wife owned a cow and thus they started in a modest way, having a struggle with poverty and privation during the early years, but making gradual progress as time passed. He and his wife lived there eight years, during which time they had five children born to them-Frank, William, John, David and Charles. At last Mr. Seif sold out and moved to what is now Seif Township, which was named for him, he being one of the first settlers there. He started in that township with a tract of eighty acres in section 2, to which he later added 200 acres more. Twenty acres of the original tract had been cleared and there was a log house and log barn on the place. There Mr. Seif spent twenty-eight years, during which time the township was organized, he being one of those who helped to organize it. He was also chairman of the Weston township board before Seif Township was set off, and was the first chairman of the latter township board. In Weston Township also he served two years as assessor and two years as a member of the town. His public activities also included the school district, which he to start in Seif Township, serving as school clerk during his entire residence there, helping to build the schoolhouse and to rebuild it after was burned down.

In 1906 Mr. Seif came to Neillsville and two years entered into the implement business in partnership with L. H. How. In 1913 Fred Stelloh bought Mr. Howard's interest, which partnership until Oct. 26, 1916, at which time it became F. J. Seif & Sons, the being Charles and Fred. They handle a full line of implements and automobile supplies, and are doing a prosperous business, which extends throughout the surrounding territory. Mr. Seif is also a stockholder in the Farmers' Co-operative Elevator Company, and in the Neillsville canning Factory. As one of Neillsville's leading citizens, he has taken part at times in local government, serving six years on the council and two years as mayor. His religious affiliations are with the Reformed Church, of which his mother was a member . Fraternally he belongs to the Woodmen and his wife to the Lady Maccabees. In addition to the children already mentioned, two others were born to them in Seif Township: Fred and Louis. Of their entire family all are living except William, who died at the age of 22 years. At this writing Louis is Second Lieutenant in Company M, 127th Infantry, stationed at Waco, Tex.

 

 


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