H. F. GRALAPP is the owner
of an extensive sawmill, and is recognized as one of the most prominent
citizens of Shawano county. He is numbered among the native sons of Wisconsin,
his birth having occurred in Fond du Lac county October 16, in 1855.
His parents, Charles and Julia (Holtz) Gralapp, are both natives of Germany,
and in early life came to America, where they were married. They then located
in Friendship township, Fond du Lac county, and the father purchased eighty
acres of timber land, which he began to clear and transform into a fine
farm. He has made it a valuable and desirable property, and it today comprises
120 acres of rich land. It is improved with excellent buildings, and the
place is worth $12,000. Mr. Gralapp still makes his home thereon,
and is one of the prosperous and honored gentlemen of the locality. In
the family were nine children: Fred, now on the farm; H. F.; William
A.; Mary; deceased; Amelia; Robert; Henry; and Lydia; and Louise,
twins, both deceased.
The family was in limited, circumstances during the childhood
of our subject, and he was early thrown upon his own resources. His educational
privileges were limited, for his services were needed to aid in the improvement
of the home farm. He continued to give his father the benefit of his labor
until twenty-four years of age, when he went to Stillwater, Minn., where
he had charge of some prison convicts for three months. He then engaged
in railroading and building bridges, after which he returned to Stillwater,
where he operated a sawmill. His next place of residence was Duluth, Minn.,
where he remained seven months, when he went to Fargo, N. Dak., and worked
at the carpenter's trade. He also remained in that place for seven months,
and then returned to Wisconsin, spending a half year on his father's farm.
He began the manufacture of smallpox virus, but after two months abandoned
that pursuit to follow the carpenter's trade, which he carried on for four
months in Marion, Wisconsin.
In the fall of 1881, in connection with his brother William,
Mr. Gralapp came to Wittenberg, purchased land about two miles and a half
south of the town, and erected a sawmill at the cost of $3,000. He
has since been engaged in its operation. He also built a planing mill at
a cost of $1,500, and since 1893 he has been sole proprietor of the business,
which has grown to extensive proportions, having a capacity of 33,000 feet
hard and soft wood lumber per day. He thoroughly understands his business
in all its details, and is recognized as one of the leading lumber dealers
in this section of the State.
Mr. Gralapp was married October 14, 1885, to Mary Rakow, who
was born in Marathon county, Wis., and is of German descent. They have
two children, Ella and Walter, both at home. The parents are members of
the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wittenberg, and are most highly respected
people, having the warm regard of all with whom they have been brought
in contact. In politics, Mr. Gralapp is a stanch Republican, and
is one of the leading and influential citizens of the community, whose
success in life is due to his own efforts, and whose prosperity is the
just reward of honorable dealing.