H. E. Boldt, beginning his business career at eighteen years of age as a carpenter, is now successfully engaged in dealing in lumber and building materials. Not all days, however, have been equally bright, for at times disasters have threatened him and losses have come to him, but with unfaltering courage and unfailing energy he has sought out other opportunities and has gradually advanced to the goal of prosperity, his course at all times being an honorable and upright one. In addition to his lumber business he is well known as the president of the Falls Stanchion Company. The county numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred May 13, 1865, on section 15, in the town of Sheboygan Falls. His father, John H. D. Boldt, was born in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, November 26, 1827, and was a son of Henry Boldt, whose wife in her maidenhood bore the family name of Berkinhagen. Henry Boldt spent his entire life in Germany, where he not only followed farming but also engaged in linen weaving. His son, John H. D. Boldt, came to the United States in 1854, sailing from Hamburg to New York, where he arrived after a voyage of seven weeks. By boat he proceeded westward to Sheboygan county and for ten years thereafter was employed as a farm hand by A. B. Dye in the township of Lima. He then began farming on his own account, purchasing land in the township of Sheboygan Falls. Immediately he began the improvement of this place, which continued to be his home until he retired. For about ten years prior to his death he lived with his son, H. E. Boldt, passing away in 1907, his remains being interred in the St. Lucas cemetery.
Herman E. Boldt began his education when a little more than four years of age, walking two miles mornings and nights to and from district school No. 8, his path leading most of the way through the woods. He continued to attend that school until twelve years of age, after which he spent two years as a pupil in a German Lutheran school. When sixteen years of age he began working at the carpenter's trade and when nineteen years of age he began contracting and building on his own account, operating in Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth and the central portion of Sheboygan county. He was thus engaged until 1892, when, in company with the late Louis Ballschmieder, he purchased the old Brickner woolen mill and converted it into a planing mill, sash and door and general woodworking factory, at the same time carrying on a retail lumberyard. About a year later Mr. Boldt purchased Mr. Ballschmieder's interest and carried on the business alone until the spring of 1895, when he sold out to the Atlas Furniture Manufacturing Company, a stock company organized to manufacture tables and other furniture. Of this company Mr. Boldt became the president and the holder of a large block of stock. The business was conducted for about a year and a half and then the hard times of 1896 came on, in which they were unable to weather the storm. Collections were difficult and when two large firms that were heavy buyers of the Atlas Manufacturing Company were forced to close their doors, tying up a large amount of money, the Atlas Company was unable to proceed owing to the stress of circumstances in which it had become involved and made a voluntary assignment in favor of its creditors.
Mr. Boldt was not only a stockholder of the company but also a heavy creditor, having advanced large sums of money to continue the business. All this proved a total loss, leaving him a little less than even when matters were balanced up. Never in action did he show any discouragement or utter a word of complaint. Bravely and courageously he faced the situation, resolving that earnest labor should retrieve his loss. He went back to his trade, doing carpenter contracting, and on a small scale he began to deal in lumber. In this way he continued for a number of years, at the end of which time his lumber business had increased to such proportions that he was obliged to concentrate his energies largely upon this branch of the business and cease to do any contract work. At the present time he is also active in the management of the Falls Stanchion Company, manufacturing stanchions and silos. He is president of this company, is a director, treasurer and member of the executive committee of the Sheboygan Falls Mutual Fire Insurance Company, is secretary, treasurer and manager of the Woodmen Opera Hotise Company and treasurer of the Sheboygan Falls Mutual Sick & Accident Association. He is also prominent in affairs of a public and semi-public character, being president of the board of education, vice president of the River Park Improvement Company, chief of the fire department and vice president of the Sheboygan Falls Business Men's Association. All this indicates the nature and extent of his interests and activities and shows him to be a man of marked public spirit and enterprise.
In politics Mr. Boldt has always been a republican and has ever kept well informed on the questions and issues of the day. When twenty-two years of age he was elected justice of the peace for the town of Sheboygan Falls and filled that position until he became a resident of the village. He was elected trustee in 1894 and popular suffrage called him to the office of assessor in 1897, 1898 and again in 1900.
In 1895 Mr. Boldt was married to Miss Minnie Arnoldi, a daughter of August Arnoldi, who was born in Germany and who emigrated to America in the 50s', settling on a farm in Sheboygan county. To Mr. and Mrs. Boldt five children have been born: Arneta, Willard, Henry, Myra and John, all at home.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Boldt were reared in the faith of the Lutheran church. He belongs to the Masonic lodge, in which he has held various offices, serving as treasurer at the present time. He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp and the Equitable Fraternal Union, in both of which he has held various offices. He is a man of wide business experience who has triumphed over adversity and won success in his ventures. Wherever he is known he has won the reputation of being a man of unblemished character and one who is interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of city and state.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL