William Robert Kurth, 1873

stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org on Sat, 10 Feb 2001


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

WILLIAM ROBERT KURTH, a prominent representative of a family that has long been identified with the development of Grant Township, of which he is a resident, was born at West Bend, Wis., June 21, 1873. He is a son of Charles Kurth, born in Trieglaff, Germany, Oct. 25, 1838, who came to the United States with his parents when about 8 years old, landing in this country after a voyage of sixteen weeks. The family located on a farm not far from Milwaukee, but later removed to Washington County, Wis., where Charles attended school a short time, and then began industrial life, working for three dollars a month. The other children in the family were Louisa, William, Henry, Julius, Augustus and Albert. As Charles grew older he earned more money, and on Nov. 7, 1859, he married Wilhelmina M. Gandt, who was born in Trieglaff, Germany, Feb. 14, 1838, and had come to this country with her parents, John and Elizabeth Gandt, who, like the Kurths, located in or near Milwaukee, which then was a small settlement lying in the midst of a tamarack swamp.

After their marriage Charles Kurth and wife settled at West Bend, Washington County, Wis., which locality was then a wilderness, and while residing there he carried the mail between West Bend, Schleisingerville and Ackerville, about twelve miles, over bad roads. This occupation he followed for eight years, after which he became employed on the railroad then being constructed to Fond du Lac. In 1873 he came to Neillsville, Clark County, and here he bought 180 acres of land in Grant Township, 140 acres in Section 21 and forty acres in Section 22, all of it being covered with timber, except twelve or fifteen acres of the forty-acre tract, which had been cleared. There was also a small frame house and log barn. Here the following year, 1874, the wife and children joined him. Mr. Kurth at once began clearing his farm with a horse team, which was the first horse team brought into the county, and his life thereafter for years was that of a pioneer farmer, practically all his waking hours
being filled with hard work, until with the lapse of time, the larger part of his task being accomplished, he and his family began to enjoy easier conditions. He built the first basement barn in Clark County, using clay for mortar. In 1882 he built a large brick tavern at the locality ever since know as "Kurth’s Corners." This building contained twelve rooms, and for some time the town meetings used to be held there. He also helped to build the Lutheran Zion church in Grant Township. In time he finished tearing his land and had an excellent farm on which he raised good stock, being particularly interested in horses, of which he was an expert judge. He e died July 24,1883; his wife, who survived him many years, passed away May 29, 1915. They had seven children, born as follows: Richard, born at West Bend, Aug. 9, 1860; Adolph, Dec. 7,1863, died June 4,1904; Bertha L., Sept. 29, 1867, died Dec. 20, 1873; Robert C., April 16, 1865; William R., June 21, 1873; Amanda, at Pleasant Ridge, April 15, 1878; and Annie, at Pleasant Ridge, April 15, 1880.

William R. Kurth acquired his education in District School No. 5, and the German parochial school. He was reared to manhood on his parents' homestead, which he has never left, and began farming for himself here in 1904. He has made some valuable improvements on the place, building first a large barn, which burned down, and then another large barn, 36 by 94 feet, and the first cement silo in the county, 14 by 36 feet. He raises good cattle and Poland-China hogs.

Aside, from his immediate farming interests Mr. Kurth has served ten years as treasurer of the Pleasant Ridge Creamery, which he was influenced in starting. He is a stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator and Lumber Company of Neillsville, and the Lynn Telephone Company, of which he is president. Of the Farmers' State Bank of Granton he is a director and is also a director in the Neillsville Bank, the Lynn Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and the Lynn Mutual Tornado, Cyclone and Hurricane Insurance Co. For fifteen years he held the office of school clerk. His fraternal affiliations are with the order of. Beavers.

On June 18, 1902, Mr. Kurth was united in marriage with Bertha Wilding, who was born in Grant township, this county, daughter of William Wilding. She died Jan. 5, 1905 leaving, one child, Edna, who was born Feb. 28, 1904. On July 11, 1906, Mr. Kurth married for his second wife Alvina Braatz, who was born in Grant township on the farm of her father, Richard Braatz. Three children have been born of this latter union: Erena, June 16, 1909; Norma, Feb. 9, 1911, and Raymond, Nov. 28, 1913.

The family is affiliated religiously with the German Lutheran church, Mrs. Kurth being a member of the Ladies' Aid Society. On Mr. Kurth's farm is a well of a depth of 120 feet and six feet wide, which, when dug, showed deposits of wood and black soil at 100 feet below the surface.





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