G. GARBRECHT, the pioneer
tailor of Shawano, like many of her best citizens, is a native of Germany.
He was born in Pomerin, June 1, 1837, and is the youngest of four children.
His father, Gotlieb Garbrecht, was a tailor by trade, and died when our
subject was only four years of age. The mother afterward married Fred Assmann,
and died in Germany.
The subject of this review received but meager school privileges,
and at the age of fourteen began learning the tailor's trade serving a
three-years' apprenticeship. He then worked as a journeyman in the leading
cities of his native land, and spent some, time in Berlin. At the age of
twenty-seven, he married Miss Otille Netzel, who was born in the same locality
as her husband, and while living in the Fatherland three children were
born to them, one of whom died there; the others are Paul, now in the United
States railway mail service, running on the Chicago & North Western
railroad, between Milwaukee and Chicago, and Martha, wife of Gusta May,
of Lancaster county, Nebraska.
Mr. Garbrecht worked at his trade in Germany, but little could
be made there, as wages were very low, and in consequence he determined
to try his fortune in America. In the spring of 1869, with his wife and
two children, he sailed from Bremen, on the steamer “Baltimore," and after
reaching New York, came direct to Shawano, Wis., where an acquaintance
had previously located. He went by rail to Oshkosh, by boat to New London,
and by team to Shawano. There was no tailor shop in the town, and he first
worked at tailoring in private families. This source of revenue was soon
exhausted, and, as he must have employment of some kind to provide for
his family, he began cutting hay for Mr. H. C. Naber with a scythe. He
had never done such work before, but he was industrious, and always put
forth every effort to please. In the fall he began making over men's clothes,
and also making cheap shirts. About this time Mr. Shaffer, a Swiss tailor
and an ex-soldier, came to Shawano, and with him Mr. Garbrecht formed a
partnership, and purchased a sewing machine, for which Mr. Naber paid,
they working for him in return. Thus the first regular tailor shop in Shawano
was established. After a year Mr. Shaffer retired and our subject
continued the business alone, adding to it a stock of ready-made clothing,
in 1884. Soon after he started the business; he bought of Mr. Naber the
store-room, which he at first rented, and in 1890 he erected the substantial
brick business block which he how occupies.
Since coming to Shawano the following children have been born
to Mr. and Mrs. Garbrecht: Emma, Clara and Frank, the last named now engaged
in clerking in Shawano. In politics, Mr. Garbrecht is a stalwart Democrat,
and served as alderman of Shawano for four years, yet has never been an
office seeker. He attends the Lutheran Church, and contributes liberally
to its support, also giving his aid to other interests and enterprises
calculated to prove of public benefit. In 1893 he took a trip to the West,
visiting Nebraska, and also the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
He has worked his way upward from humble surroundings to a position of
affluence, and to a leading place among Shawano's business men, and his
fair and honorable dealing, and good management and close attention to
business, have been the important factors in his success. He now has his
excellent store filled with a fine stock of ready-made clothing, and in
addition owns a comfortable home. He may truly be called a self-made man,
for he is deserving of all credit.