Joseph Osthelder is a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted in April, 1861, in Company C, Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He has the distinction of belonging to that band of loyal men who responded to the first call of Abraham Lincoln for seventy-five thousand volunteers. He served as postmaster of Sheboygan Falls under Cleveland's first term. Upon the organization of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Sheboygan Falls he was elected its president and has since served in that capacity.
His birth occurred in Nimburg, Bavaria, Germany, on the 15th of September, 1840, his parents being Mr. and Mrs. Carl Osthelder. The mother died when our subject was only three years of age and in 1851, the father emigrated to America and settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he established himself in the cooperage business, continuing its conduct until he sold out in 1853. He then became interested in the brewing business at Sheboygan Falls and remained therein during the balance of his life. His demise occurred in 1863. He was twice married, his second wife bearing the maiden name of Mary Voss and being also a native of the fatherland.
Joseph Osthelder was reared at home and received his education in the common schools. After putting aside his text-books he became identified with the brewing business, in which he was interested at the time of his enlistment in the service of his country in 1861. In the great American conflict it was his fortune to follow the leadership of General Benjamin F. Butler, who commanded the Department of the Gulf. He remained in the United States service until July 24, 1864, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to Sheboygan Falls, interesting himself again in the brewing business, in which he continued until 1874. Severing his connection with this line in that year, he opened a wholesale establishment which he has maintained and enlarged with the advancing years. The business is now conducted under the management of his son, Louis G. His favorable acquaintance and reputation among the business men of Sheboygan Falls resulted in his receiving the appointment as postmaster during Cleveland's first term. He has also served in the capacity of deputy sheriff of Sheboygan county and is at present the efficient president of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Sheboygan Falls, being the only chief officer to whom this company has ever intrusted the management of its large business affairs.
On the 5th of April, 1866, Mr. Osthelder was married to Miss Gertrude Meyerpeter, a daughter of Stephen Meyerpeter, who emigrated from Germany in 1837, making his first residence in St. Louis, from which city he removed to Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1847, making the journey through the broken country and primeval forests of Wisconsin with an ox team. Of the children born to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Osthelder, Alma, is the widow of Louis Jenkins, and resides with her child in Nevada. Joseph G., who is employed as express and postal telegraph agent, is married and has one daughter and resides at Sheboygan Falls.
Oscar P. serves as assistant cashier in a bank at Marinette, Wisconsin. Louis G., the manager of his father's wholesale business, is married and has one child. He makes his home in Sheboygan Falls. Edward E. is connected with the Phoenix Chair Company, which has its headquarters at Portage, Wisconsin. He is married and maintains his residence at Portage.
Mr. Osthelder is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also belongs to the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic at Sheboygan Falls and has passed through all of the chairs and is now officer of the day. He is an example of the desirable type of men who have emigrated from Germany to America. On reaching this country he became one of her adopted citizens and, having the opportunity presented to him to declare his patriotism, he responded to the call to arms at the first blast of the bugle. Returning from the war, he grasped again the tools of his occupation and the history of his passing years has only confirmed the conviction that the German emigrant readily becomes an American asset. His reputation in his county is such as might be desired by any man who after long years of residence and service finds his reward in business success attained through integrity and industry.
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