Among those residents of Sheboygan to whom activity in former years has brought a period of rest enabling them now to live retired from the more active and arduous duties of business life, Isaac Ernesse is numbered. He has now passed the seventy-fourth milestone on life's journey, his birth having occurred in De Groede, Zeeland, Holland, on the 19th of July, 1838. His father, Isaac Ernesse, came to America with the family in 1847, landing at New York city. He afterward went to Rochester, New York, where he worked as a laborer and as a drayman. Subsequently he enlisted for service in the Eighth New York Cavalry during the Civil war and for three years was attached to the army of the Potomac under General Sheridan, making an excellent record as a brave and loyal soldier. He died in 1892, at the age of seventy-four years. Unto him and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Maria Wihelms, there were born eleven children. The paternal grandparents of Isaac Emesse were Isaac and Maria Ernesse.
In his boyhood days, Mr. Ernesse, of this review, followed fanning in Holland township, assisting his father, who had come to Wisconsin in 1847, casting in his lot with the first settlers of Sheboygan county. The city of Sheboygan was then a tiny village with but one store which was housed in a log building. Mr. Emesse continued to aid in the work of the farm until he started out to sell maple sugar and bakery goods of his own manufacture. He early learned the value of industry and determination in business affairs and upon those qualities he has won his success.
He put aside all business cares in 1862 that he might respond to the call of his adopted country for military aid. He enlisted for service in the Civil war as a member of Company F, Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Regiment, for ninety days, but because of the smallness of his stature was not accepted. In 1864 he was drafted, however, for service with Company I, of the Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, with which he continued until the close of the war, doing active duty under General Bragg. When victory had crowned the Union arms he was honorably discharged and returned to Sheboygan county. He then resumed farming which he followed continuously until 1892 when his wife died and he left the farm, removing to Sheboygan. Here he engaged in house moving and draying, but is now retired, his diligence and economy in former years bringing to him a sufficient capital to enable him to enjoy now a well learned rest.
On August 3, 1860, Mr. Ernesse was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Wolfert, a native of Holland, who died at the age of forty-seven years. She was a daughter of David and Catherina (Weemes) Wolfert and at an early period in the development of Wisconsin became a resident of Holland township, Sheboygan county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ernesse have been born eleven children, ten of whom are yet living: Catherina, Maria, Dina, John, David, Peter, Elizabeth, Jacob, Ellen and Christian. Isaac, the oldest, died at the age of forty-nine years.
Mr. Ernesse is of the Protestant faith. He holds membership with the Grand Anny post at Sheboygan and thus maintains pleasant relations with the "Boys in Blue." He is today one of the oldest citizens of the county in years of continuous connection with this part of the state. He lived here when the greater part of the country was undeveloped and unimproved and has there witnessed the remarkable changes which have occurred, making it one of the most attractive, populous and prosperous sections of the state. He has borne his part in the work of general improvement and is especially active in his labors as a farmer, contributing to the result whereby Sheboygan county has become one of the foremost agricultural regions of Wisconsin.
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