Rabenstein, Carl (History - 1863)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

               Carl Rabenstein

CARL RABENSTEIN, editor and proprietor of the Deutsch-Amerikaner, of Neillsville, and a man who has taken a leading and influential part in many things pertaining to the welfare of Clark county, was born in the kingdom of Saxony, Germany, July 1, 1863. His parents were Carl and Louise (Stockmann) Rabenstein, natives of the same kingdom, the father being a flannel manufacturer. Both parents died in their native land. The subject of this sketch was given a common school education, after which, at the age of 14 years, he took up the printer's trade, which he followed there for about six months. Without wealth or position, however, his chances for advancement in his native land were but poor, a fact fully realized by his mother, who one day, though it must have cost her a hard struggle, sewed some money up in his shirt and sent him off to America. "Go see if it is the land of freedom, opportunity and wealth we hear about," she said. Landing in New York, Oct. 17, 1877, young Rabenstein spent a short time in New York, came from that city to Chicago, and by Christmas had reached Grand Island, Neb. He was as yet ignorant of the English language, and, of course, was totally unacquainted with American ways and customs. He was therefore obliged for some time to accept any work that came to hand, and that winter was engaged in sawing and harvesting ice. Soon after a man started a German newspaper, and hearing that young Rabenstein understood the printer's trade, offered him employment. After working for that man for a year Mr. Rabenstein returned to Chicago, where he followed his trade. Later as a journeyman printer he went to Fremont, Neb., and then to Crete, that state. The company at Crete, removing their plant to Chicago, he accompanied them and remained with them there until 1881, when he went to Mankato, Minn. There he followed his trade until March 17, 1884, during all this time gaining a better knowledge of the business and improving his acquaintance with the English language. On the date last mentioned he came to Neillsville as editor of the Deutsch-Americaner, in which position he remained until 1889, when he purchased the paper and has since been its sole proprietor. In this enterprise he has met with gratifying success. He has a well equipped plant, and besides publishing the paper-and influential and well conducted sheet--does all kinds of job printing, both German and English.


Mr. Rabenstein is also interested in several other important business enterprises. He is secretary of the Staps Fisheries Packing Co., of Petersburg, Alaska, which recently reorganized, is having an important part in the government's policy of the conservation of food. The company has a dehydrating plant in Neillsville and is planning to build others, and already has contracts amounting to several millions to furnish its product to the governments of the Allies. Mr. Rabenstein is owner of the Equity Garment Company, of Neillsville, manufacturer of ladies' wearing apparel, and is interested with others in a large coffee and cattle ranch of 5,230 acres in Mexico. He is also a director in the Commercial State Bank of Neillsville.

Since 1899 Mr. Rabenstein has been public state administrator, representing the State of Wisconsin on inheritance taxes, in conjunction with County Judge Oscar W. Schoengarth. He was formerly an alderman of Neillsville and has twice served as mayor. His membership in fraternal orders include the Maccabees, the Royal Order of Moose and the Equitable Fraternal Union.


Mr. Rabenstein has always taken an active interest in every movement for the betterment of the community in which he resides, and first and foremost, he has always been a loyal American citizen. Not long after he arrived in this country he wrote back home that the United States was a glorious country where opportunity gives the cold shoulder to no man who was not afraid of work, and this opinion he has never changed. Today as editor and man of affairs he prints this creed in German for his subscribers to read: "We have only one flag. That flag is the Stars and Stripes. In sadness and in joy, in health and in sickness, we have but one flag and one country, the United States. We will stand by our country, we will live for her, and we will die for her." He declares to true Americans and pro-German sympathizers alike, that he owes two debts-one to his mother and another to the United States, the land where a golden opportunity awaited him. He is paying both debts through the military service of his sons and his own staunch support of the country of his adoption. Judge James O'Neill, who knows him well, says that he represents the highest citizenship in the land, "Mr. Rabenstein has worked hard to help sell Liberty Bonds," said the Judge. "He worked for the Red Cross and for the Y. M. C. A. cantonment fund. He has appeared in communities where pro-German sympathizers abound. I have seen him change sentiment by his plain recital of what America gave him. That he has faith in his country no man can deny. His sons went away wearing the uniform of Uncle Sam, joyful and happy with the parental blessing. While they are at the front their father is fighting the enemy at home. Can America fail when she boasts such plain, everyday, loyal citizens as this "


Mr. Rabenstein was married in September, 1885, to Rachel Pound, of Merrillan, Wis., but a native of New York State. He and his wife are the parents of three children: Gretchen, wife of L. C. Gillard, one of the principal owners of the James Manufacturing Co., of Ft. Atkinson Carl H. now corporal in Company A, Machine Gun Division, 128th Infantry, and Maurel K., first lieutenant in the Aviation Corps. Three other children died in infancy.



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