Sheboygan classes Jacob Hildebrand as one of her leading business men, for he is a prominent contractor of this city, having erected here many of the finest buildings, which today stand as monuments to his skill, enterprise and ability. He has been a life-long resident of Wisconsin, his birth having occurred in Manitowoc county, November 1, 1855. The founder of the family in America was his grandfather, who left the fatherland, where he resided in the city of Koblenz in the Rhine Province, to come with his wife and children to the new world, Journeying into the interior of the country, he settled in Manitowoc county, where he followed farming and carpentering, becoming one of the influential residents there during pioneer times. His son, Joseph Hildebrand, father of Jacob Hildebrand, was born in Germany and with his parents came to the United States in 1848. He was thereafter identified with agricultural interests in Manitowoc county, first as the assistant of his father and later on his own account until 1862. He then removed to Houghton, Michigan, where he engaged in mining and carpentering until 1865, when he came to Sheboygan and here followed the carpenter's trade until 1876. He then returned to Michigan, where he was again engaged in mining interests until 1879. At that time he located at his present home in Sheboygan, and is now living retired at the age of eighty-one years. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Frances Bernhardt, has passed away.
Jacob Hildebrand, their only child, pursued his education in the public schools and afterward began learning the cigar-making trade, which he followed for three years. He next turned his attention to carpentering and became an expert workman. For some years he has engaged in general contracting and ranks with the foremost representatives of that business in Sheboygan. In the meantime, however, he spent several years in the west, going in 1878 to Denver, Colorado, where he remained until 1884, when he returned to Sheboygan. For twenty-eight years, therefore, he has been continuously connected with building operations in this city and as a contractor he has done much important work here, erecting St. Peters church and school and many other prominent buildings of this city. He was also the builder of the convent at St. Nazianz and was instrumental in securing the building of the Fourteenth street bridge.
Mr. Hildebrand was married in 1885 to Miss Emma Selsenmeyer, a daughter of Anton Selsenmeyer, one of the old-time pioneers of Manitowoc. Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand have become parents of four children. Antonia, twenty-four years of age, is now the wife of Ed Selsenmeyer, of Wrightstown, Wisconsin, and they have one child. Walter, aged twenty-three, Edna, aged twenty-two, and Isabella, twenty years of age, are all at home. The family are communicants of the Holy Name church of Sheboygan, and Mr. Hildebrand also holds membership with St. Boniface Society, the Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, the Catholic Order of Foresters of Sheboygan, and the Arbeiter Verein. His political support is given to the democratic party and he has twice represented his ward on the board of city aldermen, and is now serving a third term as member of the city council. He has led a busy, active and useful life, and his labors have not only constituted an element in individual success but have also proved a factor in the work of public progress and improvement. The buildings with which he has been connected display the most modern and attractive styles of architecture, with thorough workmanship in every detail. Moreover, he is reliable and trustworthy in every business transaction and this constitutes one of the features of his success.
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