Virch, Andrew Nelson (History - 1845)


Janet Schwarze





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

ANDREW NELSON VIRCH, who is engaged in farming and dairying in Section 31, Mayville Township, was born at Lillethum haa Vossestranden 568 Bergen Stift, Norway, July 14, 1845, the son of Borjonel Nelson (deceased), a native of the same place, who lost his life while off trading. Our subject came to the United States June 7, 1854, and lived in Chicago one year, and in 1855 moved to DeTroit, where his mother married Peter Anderson, a master mechanic of the Michigan Central Railroad. In March, 1857, they returned to Chicago, where the mother died in June of the same year. September 23, 1858, Mr. Virch went again to Detroit to live with his aunts, where he attended the Bishop Union School four years.


He next enlisted for service in the Civil War, Aug. 15, 1862, in Company E, 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, serving three years, being honorably discharged June 30, 1865, and acted as division commissary sergeant by appointment. In 1867-68 he went to school for one season, and then returned to Chicago and worked at the carpenter's trade until 1870, when he came to Dane County, Wis., and remained there until Sept. 29, 1872. In that year he came to that part of the town of Beaver that is now Mayville, settling on the northwest quarter of Section 14, Township 29, Range 1 East, and homesteaded 160 acres (a soldier's right). There were then no roads and he had to carry goods and supplies from Colby. Deer, bear and Indians were plentiful but never gave him any trouble. There Mr. Virch resided until 1882.


He then came to Curtiss and established the first store and post office in the village, being appointed postmaster in 1883, and serving until 1886, and again from 1888 to 1892. He had started his store with a capital of $250 in money, and he subsequently built up the business until he carried a $2,000 stock and was making annual sales of $6,000. While thus engaged, in 1890, he bought his present farm, but continued the store until 1895, when he sold his stock. 


After that he worked out until 1903, in which year he became rural mail carrier, carrying the first mail out of Curtiss, Feb.3,1903,and was on the route for twelve years. About 8:00 p.m., June 3, 1905, a cyclone swept away all his buildings, including his house, two barns and the store building. In 1906 Mr. Virch took up his residence on his farm and has since remained here, doing a good farming and dairying business. About twenty-four acres of his land are cleared, ten acres being devoted to hay, and a part of the land to oats and barley. He keeps Guernsey cattle, milking from eight to ten cows.


He is also a stockholder in the Fenwood State Bank, of Fenwood, Marathon County. For a considerable part of his long and active career Mr. Virch served efficiently in public office. In 1884 he became the first clerk of School District No. 4, in Curtiss, and held that position for thirteen years. He also served on the Mayville town board, for thirty-five years was justice of the peace, and for twenty-five years notary public, also at different times holding minor offices.


Mr. Virch was first married in Dane County, Wis., Feb. 15, 1873, to Betsey Nelson Kjerie, daughter of Knute Kjerie, now deceased. They had three children, two of whom are living: Ledia, now the wife of Jean Fortier, of Seattle, Wash. and Anna, formerly a teacher, but who is now Mrs. Thomas L. Beman, her husband being cashier of the Fenwood State Bank. The mother died June 30, 1880, and Mr. Virch was married, Aug. 15, 1883, to Lena Fleasram, daughter of Andrew Fleasram, deceased. Of this union six children have been born: Lottie, now deceased Emma, who is private secretary to Julius A. Schmall, state secretary of Minnesota Niron, who is a cheese maker May, wife of David Norleen, of Mayville Township. Teda, now Mrs. Harry Horn, of Sheboygan and Orban, who is deceased. Mr. Virch has also thirteen grandchildren. All his children have received a good education and are useful members of their respective communities. Both he and his wife are members of the Lutheran Church, he being also a member of the G. A. R.



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