The life of John Fahres, Sr., is a striking example of the power of industry and determination in the development of a career. He came to this county practically penniless and is now recognized as one of the leading citizens of Sheboygan. He is active in all the various lines of activity in this city and his business until his retirement was one of the largest of this kind in the county. He is now residing at No. 1008 Huron avenue, taking a well earned rest after an eventful life.
He was born in Hofheim, Bavaria, in 1846 and spent the early part of his life in that country. In 1871, urged on by the rumors of easy wealth to be acquired in America, he took passage on a little sailing vessel and forty-two days afterward landed in New York. His only resources at this time were an intelligent mind and a knowledge of the bakery trade, which he had acquired in his native country. He went immediately to Philadelphia from New York and worked in a bakery for two months, until he had earned enough money to pay his passage to Chicago. He worked as a baker in that city until the great fire, when he removed to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and in October of the same year to Sheboygan. Here he obtained a position in a chair factory in the employ of a Mr. Holmes, remaining there until the commencement of work on the Lake Shore road to Port Washington, when he aided in the construction for some months, returning to Sheboygan and resuming his old position in the chair factory.
He started a little bakery at No. 1025 Michigan avenue, where he remained for twenty years. During this time he added to his store capacity and increased his business every year until his bakery was one of the largest and best known in Sheboygan. He accumulated a fair fortune in the many years of his activity in this line and upon this he retired in 1908 and is now spending the remaining years of his life in the home which he erected for himself at No. 1008 Huron avenue. Besides this house he is the owner and builder of four or five other residences in this city, is director in the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Sheboygan and has been a member of the public library board for six years. For eight years he was treasurer of the Liederkranz Singing Society and is now acting as president of that organization. Mr. Fahres' great interest in music is indicated by his election in 1905 to the presidency of the East Wisconsin Saengerbezirk, held in Sheboygan.
Mr. Fahres was married in Sheboygan, in 1872, to Miss Barbara Wismeth, a daughter of Joseph Wismeth, a native of Germany who followed the trade of a cooper in that country and came to America in 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Fahres are the parents of the following children: Clara, now Mrs. Joseph Kronger, of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Frances, who married George Kribs, and is now living at Racine; Barbara, the wife of Peter Conrad, of Sheboygan; William and John, also of Sheboygan.
Mr. Fahres has always been active in local public affairs. He is a Roman Catholic and still a devoted adherent of the faith in which he was born and reared. His religion is a vital fact in his life and his devotion to it has made his active and worthy life still more estimable and honorable.
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