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Henry Wulff

Henry Wulff

Submitted by : Sheryl McClure.


Taken from: Portrait and Biographical Record of Oklahoma, 1901


HENRY WULFF, one of the energetic business men to whose efforts Guthrie is indebted for its prosperity and high standing among the cities of the west, is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in Steinhaussen, Oldenburg, January 8, 1864. His father, Gerhardt Wulff, of the same province, was a successful business man, and during the Schleswig-Holstein war he served in his country's army. He died in 1873, but his widow is still living, now being in her sixty-fourth year. She was Miss Metha Tapken in her girlhood, and since the death of her husband has resided upon their old homestead in the Fatherland. Of their ten children three are deceased, one son, Gustav, having been killed by lightning in 1885, when he was living in Burlington, Iowa.
Henry Wulff, who is the only representative of his father's family in America, received a good general education in the public schools. When he was fourteen years old he went to Jever, near the North Sea, and there served an apprenticeship to a carpenter and stair-builder. During the four years of this preparation for his life-work he received no payment except his food, and provided all of his own clothes. Being an ambitious youth he attended an evening school during the entire four years, continuing his studies in mathematics, drawing and architecture.
After having so systematically and thoroughly mastered everything pertaining to his chosen calling, it is not strange that he determined that he would not diverge from his work, in order to devote three years to military service, as the law of his land required of able-bodied young men.
Therefore, in June, 1882, Mr. Wulff left Bremen on a steamship bound for New York city. Going to Burlington, Iowa, he found plenty of employment at his trade, and at the end of two years his brother joined him. In 1886 our subject commenced taking contracts and transacting business on his own account and met with gratifying success. With foresight he came to the conclusion that he would locate in Oklahoma when it was thrown open to white settlers, for he knew that builders would be in great demand. He arrived in Guthrie on the third train that reached this place April 22, 1889, and at once selected a lot. In company with some other men he chopped some trees, and in this primitive manner formed a bridge across the creek. It was situated at a point a short distance west of Fourth street, on Oklahoma avenue, and was used for over a month, or until a new bridge was built. Mr. Wulff invested the capital which he had in lumber and built a store, 40x50 feet in dimensions. He has rented it ever since, and from time to time has purchased other property and put up buildings to rent. On both sides of the cottonwood he has constructed a great number of stores and residences, and in addition to this has built many cold storage plants in different parts of this territory for the Ferd Heim Brewing Company, and also increased the Guthrie plant of the Pabst company.
In the spring of 1900 Mr. Wulff was elected to represent the fourth ward in the city council. He has been an effective factor in the ranks of the Republican party, and is actively supporting all local enterprises calculated to benefit the place. He is chairman of the committees on streets and alleys and printing, and is a member of the committees on fire protection and water supply. The local water-works are to be enlarged and made further reaching in scope. Fraternally Mr.Wulff is a charter member of the Sons of Herman and is ex-president of the lodge, and is also identified with the Guthrie Lodge of Odd Fellows. Religiously he is a Lutheran and is one of the trustees of the church here.
For a wife Mr. Wulff chose Miss Annie Ritterbusch, a native of Butler county. Neb. They have a son and a daughter, their names being, respectively, Rheinhart and Alma. Mr. and Mrs. Wulff have been married five years, the ceremony which united their destinies having been performed in Guthrie April 10, 1896. They have a pleasant modern home at No. 1420 West Logan street.


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