Otto Gaffron, the owner of the Plymouth Review, was born November 21, 1859, and is a son of Anthony G. and Anna (Berkner) Gaffron. The father was a native of Silesia, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1849, settling in New York city. In his native land he had served in the German army and was by trade and occupation a tailor, which business he followed for a livelihood in the city of New York and also in New Jersey. He later removed to Illinois, where he resided at the outbreak of the Civil war. He enlisted in 1864 in the Ninety-second Volunteer Infantry, which was later used as mounted infantry. Late in the fall of 1865, when his honorable discharge took place, he held the rank of corporal. During the war, while he was away in the service, his wife and family removed to Scott, Wisconsin, and at the close of the war he rejoined them and engaged in farming until 1875. In that year he removed to Plymouth, where he spent the remainder of his life. His wife was a native of Germany and in that country they were united in marriage. Ten children were born to them, three of whom were born in Germany and eight of whom are still living. Both of the parents are now deceased, Mr. Gaffron dying in August, 1892, and his wife in 1904. Mr. Gaffroil was a member of H. P. Davidson Post, G. A. R.
Otto Gaffron is a native son of Illinois, his birth having occurred at Milledgeville, that state, where his education was begun in the public schools. Upon the removal of his father's family to Plymouth, Wisconsin, he continued his studies in the public schools of that place, where he was later graduated from the high school, after which he further pursued his studies in the summer schools of the State University. Early in his life he entered educational work and for one year was engaged in teaching in Scott, Wisconsin, and later in the grammar grades in the Plymouth school for a period of six years. In the year 1886 he was elected principal of the Plymouth school, a position in which he served continuously for seventeen years, retiring from that position on January 1, 1903. In the year 1890 he purchased a half interest in the Plymouth Reporter from A. F. Warden, and in 1892 he bought the remaining one-half interest of H. W. Hostman. Having become sole owner and proprietor of that paper, he continued actively in its publication as editor and business manager until 1895, at which time he sold the entire plant and the good will of the business to A. J. Strassburger In 1900 he bought the Plymouth Review and has since continued as owner of this popular paper. He is also 'one of the heavy stockholders in the Sheboygan Herald.
In the year 1903 Mr. Gaffron was elected county superintendent of schools, an office in which he continued until July 1, 1905. During that year the state legislature created the state civil service commission and he was appointed by Governor LaFollette one of three members of that commission and in that capacity is still serving the interests of the people, having been reappointed in 1911 by Governor McGovern.
Mr. Gaffron was united in marriage to Miss Lois May Martin in 1887. Mrs. Gaffron is a daughter of Mark Martin, a native of Maine. The Martins are numbered among the oldest of the pioneer families of the east and some of Mrs. Gaffron's ancestors were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Later the family removed to Sheboygan county where Mrs. Gaffron and the three other children in her father's family were born. Mrs. Gaffron is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and takes an enthusiastic interest in the social affairs of the town of Plymouth, being one of the organizers of the G. G. G., a local organization of her home town devoted to the interests of the old settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Gaffron have two children: Martha, who was born in 1892 and is now a student of the State University; and Gertrude, who was born in 1899 and at present is attending the Plymouth high school.
Mr. Gaffron is a member of the Royal Arcanum and the N. F. L. He has served on the visiting committee of the River Falls Normal School and also on the visiting committee of the State University. He has been secretary of the Sheboygan County Agricultural Association since its organization in 1896 and has taken very great interest in the Teachers' Institute Work. Mr. Gaffron is one of the influential and useful men of the county and state in which he lives. His life has been devoted largely to educational work and interests of a public character and his entire record is one of clean and helpful citizenship, having for its dominant keynote the advancement of all measures of a public and private character intended to safeguard the morals and advance the intellectual and educational status of the people.
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