For more than a quarter of a century the name of William E. Hildebrand, president of the Sheboygan Construction Company and the Hildebrand Lumber & Manufacturing Company, has been prominently identified with the local building interests. He is a native of Sheboygan county, his birth having occurred at Mosel on the 12th of June, 1857. His father, Ferdinand Hildebrand, was born and reared in Germany, whence he came to the United States in 1849 and located in this county. For eight years thereafter he engaged in farming, but at the expiration of that time he removed to Sheboygan, continuing to make this city his home until his death, which occurred on the 13th of June, 1908. For his wife and helpmate he chose Miss Christina Armstorf, to whom he was married on the 2nd of July, 1856. She is a native of Germany and a daughter of Louis and Christiana Armstorf, who emigrated to the United States with their family in 1853, and located in Sheboygan. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand, of whom our subject is the eldest, are as follows: Louis, who is married and living in Sheboygan; Charles, who is also married and engaged in the grocery business in this city; and Clara, who married William Altin, of Sheboygan. The mother is still living.
The education of William E. Hildebrand was acquired in the German parochial schools, which he attended until he was a youth of thirteen years. He then began his business training, his first position being in a local chair factory, where he was employed for four years. Next he learned the carpenter's trade and in the late '80s he became associated with Robert Ebenreiter in the business of contracting and building. They subsequently extended the scope of their activities by becoming the proprietors of a lumber business, and engaged at the same time in the operation of a sawmill in Oneida county, this state, which latter enterprise they conducted until the building was destroyed by fire in 1904.
They continued their lumber business in this city under the firm name of Ebenreiter & Hildebrand until 1912, when they dissolved after being associated in business for twenty-five years. Ebenreiter & Hildebrand were the promoters and organized the Sheboygan Construction Company, in company with others, and shortly thereafter Mr. Hildebrand took over the interest of Mr. Ebenreiter and is now the president and acting manager of this company. Prior to the promotion of the Sheboygan Construction Company he had also purchased the stone quarry originally owned by a Mr. Craig who had sold it in turn to Mr. Kohlhagen in 1880. Mr. Kohlhagen operated the quarry for fifteen years and then sold it to his son and Peter Ingalls, who four years later disposed of it to Mr. Hildebrand. The Sheboygan Construction Company carry lime, crushed stone, cement plaster, hair, fire brick, fire clay and wood. The company was incorporated in 1908, with Mr. Hildebrand as president; Charles Koth, vice president; Otto Naumann, treasurer; and Arthur Lutze, secretary. They are all well known, reputable business men and theirs is one of the flourishing and rapidly developing enterprises of the city.
On July 27, 1912, Mr. Hildebrand organized with his sons the Hildebrand Lumber Manufacturing & Supply Company, with yards and offices located in the seventh ward, where they carry a full and complete line of building materials. He has prospered in his undertakings and is financially interested in various minor industries and enterprises of the city and he also owns stock in the Farmers & Merchants Bank.
On the 4th of June, 1880, Mr. Hildebrand married Miss Mary Hildebrant, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Hildebrand, natives of Germany, who located in Sheboygan. county during the pioneer period Of the seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand, five are living, as follows: Louis, a resident of Sheboygan Falls, who is married and has one son; William, who is a carpenter by trade; Arthur, who is learning the machinist's trade; Francis, who is employed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court; and Walaske, who is at home. They are all graduates of the high school. Mr. Hildebrand is a member of the Arbeiter Unterstuetzungs Verein, and is one of Sheboygan's enterprising and progressive business men and estimable citizens. He has always made the best use of his advantages and opportunities and such success as has come to him is attributable to his unceasing diligence and his honorable methods of conducting his transactions, which has won for him the confidence and esteem of those with whom he has had dealings.
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