The spirit of America typified in the qualities of energy, untiring activity, and sturdy determination to conquer an honorable destiny, is the basis of the history of settlement and clearing of the northwestern United States. The pioneers of that country were indomitable men, untiring in labor, unflagging in determination, full of the will to fight and the strength to conquer. These qualities of mind and character, the first generation of settlers transmitted to their sons, and they survive today in the characters and hearts of their descendants. The record of the settlement of Sheboygan and the townships immediately surrounding it is full of stories of hardy pioneer life.
Mr. Henry Pannier, who was born October 7, 1850, in Mequon township, Ozaukee county, Wisconsin, is of the second generation. His father was John Gotthelf Pannier, who was born in Saxony, in 1804, and was one of the pioneer settlers of his county. He was a stone mason by trade and followed it as an occupation up to the time he left Germany for America on the 1st of May, 1847. On the first of August of that same year, he arrived in Mequon township, Ozaukee county, where he bought forty acres of timber land, which he proceeded to clear for the purpose of farming.
He built a little log house and barn, and remained in the district, farming, clearing the land and cultivating the soil for twenty years. In 1867 he sold out, and moved to Sherman township, where he bought eighty acres of land on section 33 and on this tract he remained for the remainder of his days. It was but partly cleared when he gained possession of it, and the work of getting it entirely ready for cultivation involved much time and energy. But John Pannier believed in the efficacy of hard work, and he soon had his land prepared for farming - the second large tract in that section of the country to be cleared and in good condition for cultivation. He was the father of four children: Amelia, who is now the wife Justus Lauterbach, of Cedarburg, Wisconsin; Paulina, who married John Geidel of South Dakota, and now resides in that state ; Ernst, now in business in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; and Henry, the subject of this sketch.
Henry Pannier received such education as the public schools of the district afforded, and grew up on his father's farm amid scenes and struggles of pioneer life. His childhood was not an easy one, and many tasks incident to the clearing and cultivation of the land fell to the lot of the boy. When he attained his majority he was an expert farmer, and had a thorough mastery of the operations of clearing timberland and preparing it for cultivation.
In 1872, after the family had removed to Sherman township, Henry Pannier purchased from his father his eighty acres of land on section 33, which he immediately cleared. When this task was completed he began the erection of a number of fine buildings upon his holdings, and when they were finished he had one of the finest and most efficiently equipped farms in this section of the country. He continually added to his acres by purchase and at one time held the title to two hundred and thirty-five acres of cleared and cultivated land. He was intensely interested in dairying, and this phase of agricultural life formed an important factor in his activities. He retired from active life in 1909, built himself a pleasant and comfortable home on one corner of his farm, where he intends to spend the remainder of his days. He has sold at various times parts of his land to his sons, and his holdings at the present time, although very large, are not quite so extensive as they were at one period of his career.
In 1873 Henry Pannier married Miss Mary Mueller, who was born in Altmark, Prussia, June 11, 1851, a daughter of Henry and Mary (Standou) Mueller, prominent residents of that city. Henry Mueller came to America in 1853, locating first in Buffalo, New York, but removing two years later to Ozaukee county, near Cedarburg. His residence in Sherman township, Sheboygan county, dated from 1857, and here he made his home until 1906, in which year his death occurred. He was the father of four children: Augusta, the wife of August Wirsig, of Colby, Marathon county, Wisconsin; Mary, the wife of Henry Pannier, the subject of this sketch; Louisa, who married Frederick Ferk, of Plymouth, Wisconsin, where she now resides; and Otto, now in business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Henry Pannier, although a quiet, unassuming gentleman, disinclined to put himself forward in any capacity, has yet attained a degree of prominence in his native county, inseparable from his worthy qualities of mind and heart. He has nine children, all of whom have followed their parents in devout allegiance to the Evangelical Lutheran church: Louisa, who is living at home; Emma, who married Ernst Plautz, of Sherman township, and is the mother of three children ; Augusta, the wife of John Wilk, residing at Random Lake, Wisconsin, and the mother of three children; Annie, the deceased wife of Herman Glaes, of Sherman township, and the mother of one child; Henry F., who resides in Sherman township and is married to Amelia Mueller by whom he has two children; William, also of Sherman township, who married Clara Eberhardt and is the father of two children; Otto, living on the old homestead with his wife, who was Elizabeth Mueller, and his two children; Amelia, the wife of John Zuengler, of Adell, Wisconsin, who has one child, and Clara, who married Herman Boehner and is now living in San Luis Obispo county, California.
Henry Pannier served for two terms as township treasurer, but has rather shunned public life than otherwise, preferring to spend his time peacefully and quietly on his home farm, surrounded by his children. The record of his career is the story of a life of energy and determination, of active and capable doing of that which his hand found to do, leavened by a kindly belief in the brotherhood of men and the overpowering providence of God.
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