Robert Kurth, 1866

Posted by Janet on Sat, 17 Feb 2001


Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge, pg. 353


Robert Kurth, bank president, corporation president, public official and man-of-affairs, is one of the leading citizens of Neillsville, and has been closely identified with the county's activities for many years. Born in West Bend, Washington County, this state, April 16, 1866, the son of Charles and Wilhelmina (Gandt) Kurth, he spent his early childhood in his native county, and in 1873 came with his mother and the other children to Grant Township, in, this county, where his father had come the previous year to prepare them a home. Here young Robert was reared to farm pursuits, attending the district schools, and giving his parents what assistance he could with the work. For sixteen winters, beginning as a youth, he drove teams in the lumber camps, continuing, however, to devote the remainder of his time, to the home farm. In 1893 he started out for himself by purchasing seventy-nine acres of partly improved land in section 16, Grant Township. He set to work with a will, finished clearing the land, and in time prospered to the extent of adding eighty acres in section 34, and erecting for his residence a comfortable nine-room brick house, as well as a complete set of barns and outbuildings. An industrious worker and genial friend, he soon attained prominence among his neighbors, and aside from achieving prosperity for himself, did most admirable service in various public offices.

In 1910 he sold the farm and removed to Neillsville, where he became a dealer in stock, hay and grain.. For twelve years he successfully engaged in this business, gradually increasing his acquaintance with the marketing of agricultural products. While thus working, he was impressed with the possibility of this region as the location of a canning plant. Consequently he interested his friends, and as a result, the Neillsville Canning Co. was incorporated with a capital of $15,000, and with Mr. Kurth as president and active manager. In this capacity he has since continued, its growth and success being a marked tribute to his energy and ability. In 1903 realizing the need of a financial institution in his former township he assisted in organizing the Granton State Bank, of which he has been the only president. His financial holdings include stock in the Farmers' and Merchants 'Bank of Greenwood, in the Commercial State Bank of Neillsville, and in the Farmers Co-operative Elevator Co., of Neillsville. Mr. Kurth began his career as a public official in 1893, when he became clerk of School District No. 5, an office which he held with distinction from then until 1910. For ten of these years he was treasurer of Grant Township. In the fall of 1906 he became county treasurer, and did the people most excellent service throughout his term. Soon after his arrival in Neillsville he was elected alderman from the first ward, a position which still most creditably firs. Fraternally, Mr. Kurth is a popular member of the Modern Woodmen and the Beavers at Granton.

Mr. Kurth was married Feb. 25, 1893, to Paulina Handke, of Grant Township, daughter of Ernest and Amelia (Schaldack) Handke (HANTKE?). This union has been blessed with five children: Louise, born Feb. 18, 1895; Hulda, born Jan. 29, 1897; Erwin, born Mar. 19, 1899; Leona, born July 3, 1904; and Dorothy, born Nov. 5, 1906.



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