"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.


Johannes, William head of the firm of William Johannes & Co., of Merrill, Lincoln County, was born in Hanover, Germany, May 3, 1864, son of William and Dorothy (KOHLMEYER) JOHANNES, who were natives of that country, the father being a laborer by occupation. He and his wife came to the United States in 1883, the year after their son William, making their residence in Merrill, Wis., where he found employment in the lumber yards. He died in April, 1906, his wife surviving him until Oct. 17, 1922. They were the parents of ten children, of whom nine are now living: William, of Merrill; Henry J., a lumberman of Wausau, Wis.; Dorothy, wife of John SCHAARS of Merrill; Lena, wife of Henry PRUSER of Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Wilhelmina, wife of H. A. KRUEGER, postmaster of Merrill; Freda, wife of George P. EWING, who is connected with the paper pulp mill at Merrill; Sophia, who is Mrs. C. F. BECKMANN of Merrill; Herman W., a prominent lumberman of Lugerville, Wis.; and Alma, now Mrs. Charles BJORKLUND. The other child, Marie, died in Germany when six years old. William JOHANNES acquired his education in his native land where he also learned the shoemakers' trade and followed it up to 1882. In that year, at the age of 18, he came to the United States with his uncle, Henry EGGERS. He came directly to Merrill, Wis., which was then a small village, surrounded by heavy timber, with stumps standing in the streets. Young JOHANNES worked on the dam and in sawmills, also one winter in the woods as a logger, being thus occupied until 1890. In the following year, having married, he went into the shoe store of his father-in-law, F. J. RUNGE, where he made and repaired shoes, and also learned the harness-maker's trade. Later he engaged in the shoe business on his own account, opening a store and operating it in connection with the harness shop. He carried a general line of men's and ladies' shoes, does repairing, and during the year makes many sets of harness for the lumber companies. In 1919 he took G. S. BROECKER as a partner adopting the business style of William Johannes & Co. Since coming to Merrill he has made many acquaintances and achieved considerable popularity, which led to his being elected in 1916, 1920 and 1922 as alderman for the Fifth Ward, in which position he has now served six years. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, the Men's Club and the Sick Benefit Society. His marriage in Merrill, on May 26, 1891, united him with Mary RUNGE, whose parents (now deceased) were early settlers in Merrill, the father being a shoe merchant and harness maker. Mr. and Mrs. JOHANNES have seven children, one of whom died in infancy, the survivors being Irvin, Anna, Esther, Helen, Carl and Willis. Anna is now the wife of William STECKLING, a farmer in Lincoln County. Mr. JOHANNES has now been a resident of Merrill for more than 40 years and is well and favorably known to the people of the town. Through industry and frugality he has carved out a successful career for himself and established a comfortable home, brightened by the presence of children and founded on the principles of religion and the practice of the social virtues.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 566-567; 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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