John W. Liebenstein

The insurance interests of Scott township are ably represented by John W. Liebenstein, who has been engaged in that line of activity for a number of years. He brings to insurance circles in Batavia, Wisconsin, an undoubted talent for the business, industry and intelligence of a rare order, and honorable methods of dealing, which are his heritage from a long line of worthy ancestors. He was born in Baden Germany, December 28, 1845, a son of Philip and Louisa (Krueger) Liebenstein. His father's family for a number of years were farmers in the duchy where John W. Liebenstein was born. Philip Liebenstein was the first of the name to come to America, arriving in this country with his family in 1846, and locating in Washington county, Wisconsin, settling upon a tract of timber land which he cleared and upon which he lived until about 1865. At that date he removed to Sheboygan county, Scott township, section 12, where he engaged in general farming until 1870, when he moved over to Sherman township, following the same occupation until he retired from active life, when he returned to Scott township and made his home with his son, Conrad, with whom he was living at the time of his death. He was the father of seven children: Philip, now living in Scott township; Katharine, the wife of Louis Rahskopf, of Aberdeen, South Dakota; John W., the subject of this sketch ; Conrad, of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin; Louis, now living in Plymouth township, Sheboygan county; Mary, the deceased wife of Ferdinand Hudel, of Butternut, Wisconsin; and Louisa, who became the wife of William Kemnitz, and is now living in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

John W. Liebenstein was raised upon his father's farm, acquiring a knowledge of the details of that occupation and a love for its life which he never lost. He attended the public schools of the district for a short time, leaving them to enter the Beria-Wallace College, of Beria, Ohio, where he spent two years. The Civil war had been in progress for two years when he reached the age of eighteen years. He enlisted at that time in Company B, Twenty-sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was with Sherman on his famous march to the sea, took part in the battle of Atlanta and received his honorable discharge when the war was ended, returning to the home farm and engaging in the occupation of agriculture for some time. In 1869 he bought a sawmill at Batavia, Wisconsin, which he operated for a number of years with great success, selling out to engage in the insurance business to which he added, for a few years, a line of farm implements, a branch of business which he later gave up to devote his entire attention to the insurance business. In this line he has since continued and his industry and fair dealing have been rewarded with remarkable success.

In 1869 J. W. Liebenstein married Catharine Haag, who was born in Marion county, Ohio, February 1, 1851, a daughter of Fred and Rachel (Clay) Haag. Mrs. Liebenstein's parents were natives of Baden, Germany, but came to America in 1840, settling in Marion county, Ohio, where they remained until 1854, when they came to Wisconsin and located in Sherman township. Frederick Haag engaged in the occupation of general farming until his retirement from active life, when he removed to Batavia, where he is now living at the age of eighty-seven with his wife, who is eighty-one years of age. Frederick Haag was the father of three children: Jacob, now living in Rising City, Nebraska; Catharine, who married the subject of this sketch; and Mary Ann, who married J. L. Loebs of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and is deceased. Mrs. Liebenstein died July 19, 1909, leaving eight children: Emma, the wife of August Hunholtz, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is the mother of four children; Louisa, who married H. D. Johnston, of Oneida county, Wisconsin, and who is now the mother of two children: Ella, who married John Torke, of Lyndon township, and has six children; Ida, who resides at home; Walter C., of Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Olive, residing in Chicago, Illinois; Erwin, who is in business in Rhinelander; and Alma, residing in Los Angeles, California.

Mr. Liebenstein is a well known and popular figure in Scott township. He is a public-spirited citizen, taking an intelligent interest and an active part in local politics. His talents in this direction were recognized in 1892 by his election to the Wisconsin legislature where he served his term with great ability and was recognized as a leader in every movement making for progress. For seventeen years he held the office of chairman of Scott township, and is now serving in that capacity. He was for ten years clerk of the township and has been a justice of the peace for more than a quarter of a century. He served as clerk of the district schools for twenty years and his influence in educational circles of his native county has been widespread and effective. He is a devoted member of the Evangelical Association. He is now in the sixty-seventh year of his age, a kindly, benignant and gentle man. He is widely known in this section where his commanding presence, his dignified figure and his full white beard make him well known to the children of his district and well beloved by their parents.


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