Ferdinand Brehm, landowner and expert dairyman, of Wilson township, is a man whose influence is felt throughout a large circle where his advocacy of improved and scientific methods of dairy farming is known. He was born July 24, 1855, in Wilson township, the son of Jacob and Fredericka (Schughertt) Brehm, the former born near Cassel, Germany, and the latter in Saxony, Germany.
Jacob Brehm was born November 17, 1817, and as a young man of thirty years set out from Bremen without the companionship of kinsmen or friends with his face turned westward toward the new world. Landing in America he proceeded directly to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, locating on a farm in Wilson township. The country was but sparsely settled at that period and Indians used to come to the settlers' cabins, begging food, while deer were killed in Mr. Brehm's family orchard. There were no railroads in the county when he located here and rough trails lay between the homes of the pioneers, while dense forests hemmed in each frontier settlement.
On Christmas day, 1852, he married Miss Fredericka Schughertt, who had come as a girl of eighteen years from her native land. Eleven children were born to them, as follows: Herman, of Athens, Marathon county, Wisconsin; Ferdinand, the subject of this sketch; Matilda. who resides in Chicago; Aurilla, wife of U. G. McLellon, of Wilson township; Edward, of Colby, Marathon county, Wisconsin; Hugo, of Eugene, Oregon; Ida, wife of William Grashhorn, of Chicago; Albert, of Plymouth Wisconsin; Richard, a farmer of Wilson township; Otto; and Gustav, who died at the age of ten years.
Mr. Brehm was a democrat in politics and took an active part in local matters, serving as supervisor of his township. He was a member of the German Lutheran church and in the faith of that denomination he raised and instructed his family. He died in 1901, his wife surviving him four years.
Ferdinand Brehm pursued his education in the district schools of Wilson township until he reached the age of seventeen when he laid aside text-books and set out to enlarge his views by travel and to gain that experience so essential to a broad-minded man in any walk of life. He spent three years in the southern and western states, traveling from place to place and employing himself at occupations which differed from those open to young men in his native state. In this fashion he came in touch with much that was novel but nothing he saw made him forget the resources and advantages of Wisconsin, so he returned to his home and employed himself in general farm work on his father's place. When he was twenty-four years of age he married and established a home of his own in Colby, Marathon county, Wisconsin, which was then as new a country as had been Wilson township when his father had settled there.
After three years' residence in Colby he returned and bought the farm on which he has ever since resided. He owns one hundred and thirty-two acres of fine land, all under a high state of cultivation, and all the old farm buildings and the dwelling house he has replaced by fine new structures, embodying many modem improvements. To speak in detail, his barn is of the latest improved design, such as is favored by agricultural experts and experienced dairymen, having cement floors and water and sewerage systems throughout.
Mr. Brehm has specialized on dairying and owns a fine herd of Holstein cattle, the first bull of that breed in the township having been his property. He handles only thoroughbred Holsteins and on an average milks twenty-five cows. His attention is concentrated on the cultivation of his farm and the operation of his dairy and such is his experience and skill in all matters pertaining thereto that his place is well known for its excellent equipment and the high quality of its products.
Mr. Brehm was married to Olga Drossel, of Sheboygan, on the 6th of September, 1879, and to them have been born six children, as follows: Alvin, of Marathon county; Ida, wife of Otto Maves, of Sheboygan; Jessie, who resides at Deer Island, Oregon; Elsie, wife of Henry Huber, of Marathon county; Olga, wife of Peter De Witt, of Wilson township; and Victor, attending high school in Sheboygan.
Mr. Brehm gives his support to the policies of the democratic party but during recent years the management of his farm and dairy have engrossed his time and attention and he has not engaged in political matters or filled public offices, although he is interested in politics both local and national. He holds membership in the American Society of Equity and his influence on the side of progress and improvement and education is felt throughout the community of which he and his family have so long been prominent residents.
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