"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.


Geiss, John who has made an excellent record as logger and farmer and is one of the well known citizens of Lincoln County, the farm he is now operating lying partly in the town of Schley and partley in that of Pine River, was born in Bavaria, Germany, March 13, 1872, son of Matthew and Barbara (BLOCH) GEISS. It was in 1881 that the family came to the United States, locating in Pittsburg, Penn., where Matthew GEISS found work in the steel mills, being thus occupied until his death, which occurred in 1886. Two years later, in 1888, his widow with her children came to Lincoln County, Wisconsin, settling on a tract of land in what is now the town of Schley but which was then in that of Pine River. Mrs. GEISS was married for the second time to John RUPRECHT, who died in 1922. She has a home in Merrill but spends the winter months among her children, of whom there were seven born of her marriage with Matthew GEISS, namely: Frank, Mary, John, Josephine, Katherine, Stephen and Anna. Frank is deceased; Mary is the wife of Frank RIEESE of Oshkosh, Wis.; John is the direct subject of this sketch; Josephine is now Mrs. Frank BEYER; Katherine and Stephen are dead, and Anna is Mrs. George WELLS of Oshkosh. John GEISS was nine years old when he came with his parents to this country and he was 14 when his father died. After that sad event he was obliged to help his mother, after the settlement of the family in Lincoln County, helping to work the farm. Owing to that account he got but little schooling, but there are few men in Lincoln County who have accomplished more in view of his opportunities, for he has been very successful both as a logging contractor and farmer. In 1893 Mr. GEISS took a homestead in the town of Schley, but only lived there one year, losing everything he had by fire. He then bought 160 acres of land near his first property and there built a home and resided for 13 years, at the end of which time he sold it and bought his present farm. This latter consists of 160 acres in Sec. 2, town of Pine River, (Range 7) and Sec. 35, (Range 7) in Schley. On this farm he has cleared 20 acres and stumped 35, besides erecting a complete set of fine buildings, which include a barn 48 x 80 feet, with the West Bend equipment, a 12-room brick house and others. He is carrying on mixed farming and dairying, keeping Holstein and Brown Swiss cattle. In addition to his farming interests he is a stockholder in the French Ridge Cheese Factory, of which he was treasurer five years. Formerly he and his brother Stephen followed log contracting in Lincoln County, being thus engaged for several years and being very successful. As a public spirited citizen Mr. GEISS has helped at times in the work of local government. He served as side supervisor in the towns of Russell, Schley and Pine River, and was treasurer of the school board 14 years in the town of Schley and six years in the town of Pine River. On June 30, 1894, Mr. GEISS was united in marriage in Merrill, Wis., to Tina BEYER, the daughter of Fred and Minnie BEYER, her parents, who came to this country in 1862, being of German birth. They settled first in Buffalo, N. Y., but 20 years later, in 1882, came to Lincoln County, Wisconsin, taking a homestead in the town of Schley. Both are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. GEISS have been the parents of ten children: Katie, who is deceased; Walter, on the home farm; Minnie, now Mrs. George RUSSELL of Merrill; Barbara, employed in Merrill; Francis and Frankie, twins, the formers of whom is attending Merrill Business College, the later being at home; Celia and Cecil, also twins, both of whom are at home; as also are Caroline and Edwin, the two other children. The family are members of St. Francis Catholic Church in Merrill.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 610; 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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