Charles Hanf, vice president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Sheboygan, formerly a successful shoe merchant, is now living a retired life. He was born in Germany, November 23, 1836, a son of Godfrey Hanf, also a native of the fatherland. The education of Charles Hanf was received in the schools of his native land and when he was about seventeen years of age he crossed the Atlantic, settling in Maryland upon his arrival in this country. He there worked in an oil-cloth factory, being the only white man among a number of slaves, and there he stayed one year, receiving four dollars per month for his labor.
He then went to Buffalo, New York, and for two years sailed on the great lakes, receiving from seven to twelve dollars per month, and at the end of that time settled in Superior, Wisconsin, where he remained two years and then walked through the woods to Sheboygan but only stayed a short time, after which he returned to Superior. The following summer he came to Sheboygan by boat and then married and returned with his wife to Superior, where he remained until 1865, being employed on the lakes for a time and later on in the mines. In that year he returned to Sheboygan and, being favorably impressed by the opportunities offered in this town, settled here in 1865, establishing his home.
Here he engaged in the shoe business, in the conduct of which he rapidly built up a fine trade which was increased to such an extent that in 1898 he was justified in retiring from active life. At the time of the organization of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Sheboygan he took a lively interest in the promotion of that institution and upon its organization became its vice president and has since held that position.
The marriage of Mr. Hanf occurred in 1861, the lady of his choice being Miss Augusta Festerling, of Sheboygan, with whom he had become acquainted while engaging in work on the great lakes. Unto them have been born three children: Matilda, the wife of Henry C. Hoppe, sheriff of Sheboygan county; Louisa, who is the widow of H. L. Roth and now makes her home with her parents; and Lillian, the wife of 0. C. Neumeister, cashier of the Farmers and Merchants Bank. In his political views Mr. Hanf is a republican, but he has never been a politician in the office-seeking sense of the term. He has, however, taken a commendable interest in the political affairs of his adopted country and has always been one oi its most loyal citizens.
His fraternal connections are with the Royal Arcanum and the National Union. His long and useful business career has served to make him well acquainted with a very large number of people in Superior and Sheboygan. He has always been a most upright, progressive and active citizen, having the interest of his community at heart as well as looking after the acquirement of a sufficient fortune with which he might retire and live in comfort during his declining years. He is respected wherever known and has long been considered one of the leading citizens of Sheboygan.
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