Altenbern, Aaron C. (History)


Janet Schwarze




Altenbern, Aaron C.

Postmaster of Willard, Hendren Township, and a merchant of that place, was born in Lena, Stephenson County, Ill. His parents were H. F. and Dora (Arambenthal) Altenbern, the father being also a native of Illinois, where he was reared and married, still residing there on the farm on which he was born. He and his wife had six children--Clara, Aaron, Elmer, Edna, Helen and Fred. Aaron C., subject of this sketch, attended school in the vicinity of his home and worked on his father's farm until he was 21 years old. Being then his own master, he celebrated his independence by marrying Etta Hanke, daughter of Edward Hanke, a fruit grower, near Elroy, Ill., though she was born at Freeport, that state, both places, however, being in Stephenson County, and Freeport being now a city of 18,000 population. After his marriage, Mr. Altenbern bought an improved farm of eighty acres in Illinois, which he operated for about three years. He then sold it and went into the hardware business at Lena, Ill., also in Stephenson County, buying an established business, which he conducted for two years and then sold, coming to Willard, Clark County, Wis. Here he bought 120 acres in Section 14, in Hendren Township, all wild land. On this he built a frame house of five rooms and a barn 36 by 52 feet, and then began to clear the land, having a team of horses which he had brought with him. That winter he bought two cows. Mr. Altenbern continued work on his farm until he had cleared fifty acres, and then, being appointed postmaster of Willard in October, 1916, he rented the farm and built a store building in Willard, in which he carries on a mercantile business. He is also secretary and treasurer of the Willard Co-operative Dairy Company, which he helped to establish, and is agent for the Lynn Mutual Insurance Company. He has been school treasurer three terms and township treasurer four years. He and his wife are the parents of three children--Orville, Edward and Clayton, all of whom reside at home.



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