William Robert Happe, 1859

stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org on Sun, 11 Feb 2001

Surname: HAPLPE, HILL, MESSNER

Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge
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William R. Happe and Family

WILLIAM ROBERT HAPPE, who occupies a prominent place among the successful farmers of Fremont Township, was born in Cooperstown, Manitowoc County, Wis., Mar. 20, 1859, son of Carl August and Mary (Hill) Happe. The father, Carl, was born in Brunswick, Germany, Nov. 28, 1816, and his wife, Mary, in Darmstadt, Germany, Oct. 10, 1818; they were married in their native land, where he followed the occupation of a mechanic.

In 1851 the family, which then numbered two children-George and Amelia-left for the United States, landing at New York after a voyage of six weeks in a sailing vessel. In that city they remained for three years, and in October, 1854, set out for Wisconsin, their destination being Cooperstown. Taking land in the vicinity Carl A. Happe began the hard labor of pioneer farming, building a log house, the cracks of which he had to stuff with moss. At first he had no team, though he had brought $400 with him in money. The market, to which he often walked with produce on his back, was twenty-one miles away; but later, when the Civil War broke out, a military road was constructed from Green Bay to Manitowoc, which passed within sixty rods of his farm. There he and his family residual until 1873, during which time he cleared forty-five acres of land and erected good farm buildings. He was a prominent citizen in the community and a leader in the Evangelical association, the services of which were first held in his house.

In time, as he became more prosperous, he constructed a good frame house to take the place of the old log building. in addition to the two children who came with him and his wife from Germany, another, August, was born in New York, and two others, William R. and Charles, on the farm near Cooperstown. Charles, however, died at the age of 3 years, and Amelia also died there. In 1873 the family removed to Dodge County, where the father got an improved farm of 120 acres, and there he remained until his, death, which took place June 1, 1890. His wife died Nov. 14, 1892. Carl Happe was a man of quiet domestic tastes and never cared to take an active part in public affairs. William R. Happe acquired his education in the log schoolhouse of his district, also in the school at Lomira, which he began to attend at the age of 14 years, and the high school at Mayville. He then taught for one winter, after which he became a pupil in the Normal school at Oshkosh, Wis. Then, after a visit to New York State, he resumed teaching, and was thus occupied for eight winters, working on the farm in summer. Subsequently he engaged in farming
for himself at Lomira. On Nov. 16, 1887, Mr. Happe was united in marriage with Lydia Messner, who was born at Lomira, Wis., May 25, 1862, daughter of John and Barbara (Bitzer) Messner. Her parents were natives of Wurtemberg, Germany, where they were married, the father being a dyer. He came alone to the United States in 1854, and worked in the iron mines at Iron Ridge, Wis., to earn money to pay the expense of bringing his family here, they joining him three years later. There were four children who came with his wife-John, Andrew, Fred and George. Locating at Lornira, he rented a farm for a while, but later bought a small place of seventy acres, afterwards purchasing ten acres more. The children born there were Mary, Elizabeth and Lydia.

His wife dying, Mr. Messner subsequently married Mrs. Pauline Kude, a widow, by whom he had two children-Gustaf and Charlotte. The father, John, served in the Civil War for a little over a year. Mr. Messner died at the age of 82 years in 1904, his first wife, Barbara, died in 1868, at the age of 47, and his second wife passed away, in 1903, at the age of 71 years. William R. Happe, for twelve years or
more after his marriage, resided in Dodge County, where he served as clerk of his township for two years.

During that time he was engaged in farming, and he and his wife had four children born there: Alma, Irene, now Mrs. Albert Linlow of Fremont Township; William and Elda. Alma has taught school for six years in Clark County, to which county the family came in 1900. Here Mr. Happe secured 580 acres of wild land in Sections 8 and 9, Fremont, there being two tracts of 160 acres each, one of sixty and one of 200 acres, and since then he has bought and sold land in considerable quantities, having now about 500 acres. He has remodeled his barn to a size of 541/2 by 82 feet, adding a basement, and built a silo 16 by 39 feet; and on a second farm, which he owns, has built a barn 38 by 100 feet and silo 14 by 32 feet. The residences are also good, substantial buildings. Mr. Happe is engaged in general farming, raising Durham cattle from full-blooded sires, also a good grade of horses and hogs.

He also has other business interests, being a member of the Chili Elevator Company and a stockholder in the Chili Bank, of which he is president and director. He is also involved with the Lynn Telephone Company, being its secretary for Clark County; and a member of the Equity Stock and Shipping Association, being its local secretary and treasurer for the county. For a number of years he has held the office of school clerk. He has also an interest in Wausau Packing Plant, and is serving as its vice president.

His fraternal affiliations are with the order of Woodmen. His public service has further embraced the office of township clerk, which he held for fourteen up to 1915.

 

 


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