Pgs 555-6

CHRIST RETZLAFF, a pioneer settler of Belle Plaine township, Shawano county, where he ranks among the most prosperous of her industrious agriculturists, is a native of Prussia, Germany, born October 15, 1833, near Prenzlow, Province of Brandenburg.

John Retzlaff (a weaver by trade), father of Christ, married, for his second wife, Miss Christine Schultz, by whom he had three children: Charles; Minnie, now Mrs. Preuss, of Belle Plaine, and Christ; by his first wife John had one son, William, also a resident of Belle Plaine. Our subject received in the Fatherland a fair public-school education, and at the age of twelve years commenced to learn the trade of a weaver with his father, working at the same until he was twenty-four years old.  In 1853 his brother Charles and half-brother William emigrated to the United States, coming direct to Wisconsin, and September 15, 1857, the rest of the family, including our subject, took passage at Hamburg on the sailing vessel "Rudolph" which landed at New York November 18, 1857, whence the family proceeded to Wisconsin, traveling by rail to Watertown, Jefferson county, where William and Charles had already located. For a time our subject and the others lived with William, Christ working as a day laborer some six months and then moving to Illinois, whence after about eight months he returned to Wisconsin, and in White Water, Walworth county, he worked on the farm of Dan Nowell two and one-half years.  Here our subject married, and in 1861 he and his young wife came to Belle Plaine township, Shawano county, Mr. Retzlaff purchasing eighty acres of wild land in Section 22, which he still owns, the journey from White Water, made by teams, occupying eight days. Here they built a log house 16x20 feet in size, roofed with shingles manufactured by John Klickman and as they had oxen to do the hauling, etc., a clearing was soon effected. Later Mr. Retzlaff purchased more land, until today the farm comprises 320 acres of land, ninety of which are cleared.        

On February 28, 1861, Mr. Retzlaff was married to Miss Augusta Ninman, who was born November 11, 1836, in Prussia, a daughter of Frederick and Dorothea (Struck) Ninman, who reared a family of eight children, as follows: Hannah, deceased wife of William Moss, of Minnesota; Augusta; Fred, a farmer of Belle Plaine; Carolina, deceased wife of Fred Teich, a farmer of Minnesota;  Minnie, wife of Charles Grosnick, a farmer of Watertown; Charles, an editor and principal of schools in Sioux City, Iowa; August and Louisa (twins), the former of whom is a farmer in Dakota, the latter the wife of Gustaf Schroeder, a farmer near New Lisbon, Wis.   In June, 1845, the Ninman family sailed from Stettin, Germany, for America, landing at New York after a voyage of six weeks, thence traveling still farther westward toWisconsin, by rail to Buffalo and boat from there to Milwaukee.  Mr. Ninman bought eighty acres of wild land at Watertown, Jefferson county, which, with the assistance of his family, he cleared and cultivated, and here he and his wife passed the remainder of their honored lives, Mrs. Ninman dying in 1868, being killed in a threshing-machine accident, and Mr. Ninman dying in 1880. To Mr. and Mrs. Christ Retzlaff were born nine children, to wit:  Charles F., a sketch of whom follows; Louise, wife of Herman Neighbor, a liveryman at Cecil;  Minnie at home with her parents; William, deceased at the age of thirteen; Herman, at home; August, clerking in Chicago; Robert, who died at the age of eight years; Henry, deceased in infancy;  and John, a druggist, of Shawano.  Mr. Retzlaff in his political preferences has always been a stanch Democrat, and in religious faith the entire family are Lutherans.

CHARLES F. RETZLAFF, eldest son and child of Christ and Augusta (Ninman) Retzlaff, was born May 24, 1862, in Belle Plaine township, Shawano Co., Wis., and received his education at the old log school-house of the neighborhood. He commenced active work pretty early in life; has been industrious and careful, and now owns 160 acres of the original home farm, and will care for his parents during the remainder of their lives. Like his father he is a Democrat, and at the present time is serving his third term as town clerk. He is secretary of the Belle Plaine Creamery, and Cheese Incorporation at Belle Plaine, and is recognized as one of the most progressive, hustling young men of the county, with the promise of a bright future before him.

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