William F. Koehn, manager of the city waterworks of Sheboygan, has been connected with the city and its business and industrial affairs since 1891. He was born October 24, 1862, in the city where he has since lived and labored, the son of Fred and Sidonia (Seifarth) Koehn, both of whom were natives of Kala, Saxe-Altenburg, Germany. The parents emigrated to America in 1843, and settled in Quebec, Canada. The father later removed to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he entered the employ of A. P. Lyman, a commission merchant.
Later he purchased and conducted a dry-goods and grocery store at the corner of Indiana and South Eighth streets. He was so successful in this undertaking that he was enabled to purchase another establishment of a similar nature, at the comer of North Eighth and Pennsylvania streets. He conducted both of these stores until his death, which occurred in 1890 . The mother passed away on the 13th of March, 1910, and both are buried in the Lutheran cemetery, in the city of their adoption.
William F. Koehn received his primary education in the parochial schools of his native city and in 1876 entered the Northwestern Lutheran University at Watertown, Wisconsin, from which he was graduated in 1881. He then entered the employ of the Pritzlaff Hardware Company of Milwaukee and continued in this connection until 1884, when he began working as an engineer on the various steamers plying on the great lakes, an occupation which he followed until 1891. In that year he was placed in charge of the city waterworks of Sheboygan, a position which he has since held. The plant of which he is now the manager was built in 1887 and began operations the following year. The system is complete and efficient and under Mr. Koehn's able management is meeting the demand placed upon it and giving uniform satisfaction throughout the city.
On December 25, 1882, Mr. Koehn was united in marriage to Miss Laura Baker, a daughter of George and Marietta Baker, of Lansingburg, Michigan. The parents were natives of England and New York respectively. They settled in Michigan in early life and came to Sheboygan county in 1904, the death of Mr. Baker occurring shortly after their arrival here. The wife survived him until 1910 and the remains of both are interred in Wildwood cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Koehn have become the parents of five children. Calla Lita, who is a graduate of the high school and also of the Sheboygan Business College, is now employed as a stenographer for the firm of Allis-Chalmers of Milwaukee. Joseph, who is also a high-school graduate, is an engineer in the employ of the Sheboygan Falls Machine Company. Lucy E. graduated from the high school and later taught school in district No. 7. She is now the wife of Robert Bentler, who was at first employed as a cheese buyer for the Banford Cheese Company of Plymouth but is now conducting a branch business at Marshfield, Wisconsin, for the same firm. George is a graduate of Lawrence College at Appleton, Wisconsin, and has received a fellowship from Lawrence University to the University of North Dakota where he expects to take the law course. William Koehn, Jr., who completes the family, is employed as a machinist in a large machine factory at New Holstein, Wisconsin, the firm being engaged in the manufacture of engines.
Mr. Koehn is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and the Modem Woodmen lodge. He is an earnest and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church, both himself and wife assisting by way of their influence and personal work to make that denomination a potent force for good in the community. Through his business connections with the city waterworks system and his fraternal and church activities Mr. Koehn has become well known throughout the city and is universally held in high esteem by all who know him.
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