"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.


Kamke, Richard a member of the Wisconsin General Assembly, and a well known business man of Merrill, Lincoln County, engaged in the hardware and implement business, was born at Schofield, Marathon County, Wis., son of August and Minnie KAMKE, the parents being natives of Pomerania, Germany. The father, who was brought to this country when 12 years old, settled with his parents at Schofield, Wis. The mother was still younger when she came with her parents. At the age of 13 August was hired out to a farmer for one year at five dollars per month's wages. After that he worked in saw mills and on the C. M. & St. P. Railway when that road built its line to Wausau. He and his wife Minnie were married in Wausau and in 1884 came to Merrill, where he was engaged in the saloon business for two years. He then spent two winters logging, after which he resumed the saloon business, remaining in it subsequently until 1920. This, however, was not his sole occupation. In 1902 he embarked in the farm implement business, his son Richard becoming associated with him in this line in 1906, and in 1911 the other son, William, joined them, after which the firm was known as August Kamke & Sons. At that time, through the influence of Richard, a line of hardware was added, and the firm now handle a complete line of light and heavy hardware and the most complete line of farm implements to be found in the county. Mr. and Mrs. August KAMKE have had a family of eight children, seven of whom are now living, namely, Emma, Richard, Alma, Emil, William, Alice and Carl. The one deceased is Martha, who died in 1893. Richard KAMKE was about a year old when he was brought to Merrill by his parents in 1884. He was educated in the common and high schools, being graduated from the latter in 1902, and for two winters he also attended business college, after which he joined his father in the hardware and implement business as already narrated, and has since continued with him. He is a stockholder in the American State Bank of Merrill and is recognized as an able and well to do business man. From 1914 to 1919 he was a partner in a well-drilling business with A. H. SMITH, but was thus interested only as a side line enterprise. In 1913 he was elected alderman from the Second Ward, which office he has subsequently continued to hold through successive re-elections. In 1920 he was elected president of the council and still holds that position. Further honors were still in store for him, for in the fall of 1922, he was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Wisconsin General Assembly, being the only Democrate in the state elected to the assembly that year; and on July 17, 1923, he was appointed by Governor BLAINE on the Special Legislative State Trunk Highway Committee, which has charge of the laying-out of 2500 miles of state highway extension. He is a member of the Merrill Social and Sick Benefit Society. Mr. KAMKE was married in Merrill, Wis., in June, 1910, to Ella JAEGER, daughter of Albert and Bertha JAEGER, her parents being long time residents of Merrill. Of this union one son has been born, August.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 640; 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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