"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Emerich, Joseph A. president and manager of the Merrill Woodenware Co., one of the most successful manufacturing enterprises in the city, and an officer in several other important concerns, and who for many years has taken an active part in the affairs of local government, was born in the town of Hamburg, Marathon County, Wis., Feb. 1, 1874, son of Anton and Mary (LUDWIG) EMERICH. The father was a native of Wisconsin, having been born in the town of Richfield, Washington County, Oct. 5, 1850. The mother was born in Bavaria, Germany, Nov. 17, 1852, and came to the United States in 1866 with her parents, who first settled in Sheboygan, Wis., later removing to Milwaukee. It was in that city that she was united in marriage with Anton EMERICH, whose trade was that of a shoemaker. It was not long after the wedding ceremony that Mr. and Mrs. Anton EMERICH set out in the "prairie schooner" for Marathon County, where they settled on the farm in the town of Hamburg, on which they son Joseph was subsequently born. There they lived for many years, the father's principal business being farming, though he also worked at his trade occasionally and for 31 years kept a country tavern. In the spring of 1919 he and his wife moved to Merrill, where they are now living. They have had 13 children: Lena, now Mrs. Julius STORM of Merrill; Joseph A., subject of this sketch; Charles F. of Merrill; George M., who was drowned in Merrill on May 5, 1918; Anton A. of Merrill; Regina, now deceased; John of Merrill; Edwin of Mosinee, Wis.; Martin, of Arpin, Wis.; Stella, now Mrs. Otto TISKE of Scranton, N. D.; Harry, who is on the old homestead in Marathon County, and Edgar and Aurora, both of Merrill. Joseph A. EMERICH acquired his education in the rural schools, which he attended up to the age of 14 years. He then began the real battle of life as clerk in the general store of John LANGE of Marathon City. In the fall of 1889 he went to Wausau, where for three years subsequently he drove a delivery wagon for a bakery concern. It was in May, 1892 that he came to Merrill, here finding employment in the general store of George ROTHISBERG, and he was occupied until the fall of 1893, when, in association with E. H. STAATS, he bought Mr. ROTHISBERG'S business, which was conducted for some time by him and his partner. Out of that concern grew the Emerich Mercantile Company, now operating a large department store in Merrill and also a large business at Tomahawk, Wis. In 1907 Mr. EMERICH became interested with others in the English Manufacturing Co., which was organized in 1905. In 1907 it was reorganized and incorporated as the Merrill Woodenware Co., with Jospeh A. EMERICH as president; A. B. NELSON vice president; Harry H. HOFFMAN secretary; M. T. TOCKLEY, treasurer, and John AMENT as a director. The new concern had an uphill road to travel, and for some time it was a question as to whether it would sink or swim, but the indomitable will power of the men behind it, accompanied by intelligent management, finally won the victory, and today the concern stands in the front rank of those in this line of business, being directed by Mr. EMERICH and Mr. HOFFMAN as the only active stockholders. When the new company took hold of the concern it gave employment to only 40 people, but now employs 150, and the plant now covers 15 acres of space. Not a vestige of the old building remains. The compnay is capitalized for $75,000 and manufactures 1200 65-lb. butter tubs and 2500 35-lb. candy pails daily, the product being made from a combination of hardwood and pine. It is distributed as far east as New York, west to Denver and beyond, and as far south as New Orleans. This concern stands out prominently as a monument to the ability and determination of those who fathered it and have placed it in its present high position in the manufacturing world. Mr. EMERICH is also president of the Ollhoff Lumber Co., vice president of the Merrill Wollen Mills Co., director in the Lincoln County Bank of Merrill, and since March, 1919, has been president of the Emerich Mercantile Co. He served for ten years as alderman from his ward, and for two years as mayor of the city. For a number of years also he was chairman of the Republican County Committee and has also served for the past four years as chairman of the Park Board of Merrill. In the Masonic order Mr. EMERICH belongs to the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Eastern Star and takes an active part in the work of each branch, and he is also an Odd Fellow and a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. He was married Aug. 15, 1894 to Anna WESTPHAL, who was born in Germany, Dec. 5, 1874, daughter of David and Augusta WESTPHAL, with whom she came to America and to the state of Wisconsin when she was seven years old. Her parents are now residents of Merrill. Mr. and Mrs. EMERICH are the parents of six children, Linden B., Erwin R., Stanley M., Irene R., Milton W. and Carlos. Linden B., who was born Jan. 27, 1897 is now manager of the dry goods and clothing department of the Emerich Mercantile Co. He married Ida JOHNSON of Merrill and has one child, Lynida. Erwin R., born June 5, 1898, is manager of the same company's store in Tomahawk. Stanley M., born April 29, 1900, is employed in the Merrill store of the Emerich Mercantile Co. Irene R., who was graduated from the Merrill High School, is now a student in Ripon College at Ripon, Wis. Milton W.'s, record to date is the same as that if Irene, while Carols is now a student in the Merrill High School. The religious affiliations of the family are with the First Presbyterian Church of Merrill, and the family residence, a fine modern home owned by Mr. EMERICH is at No. 106 State Street.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 555-556, History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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