ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


John Muth

1838 - 1922




In taking leave of their old quarters last evening, after a hard day's work of moving, the employees of Wiggenhorn Bros. formed a procession, headed by the Watertown band, and marched to the new factory on the west side.  This was in the nature of a pleasant surprise to the firm, the senior member of which, C. Wiggenhorn, extended to the employees a warm welcome, and feelingly expressed the thought that the congenial relations existing would ever be so.  A response was made for the men by John Muth, the firm's trusted foreman, with a few well-chosen words, and the men forthwith made themselves at home in their new quarters.  It was a happy moment for all concerned.   WR




    Held Position 32 Years.


After having served in the capacity of foreman of Wiggenhorn Brothers’ cigar factory for a period of thirty-two years, John Muth last Friday severed his connection with the above firm and retired from active labor, and will now enjoy the remainder of his days in the rest he so well deserves.


Mr. Muth took leave of the men who had worked under him for so many years most affectionately and invited them to a “smoker” at William Dickoff’s place.  Not one of the “boys" were missing, and the event was made a most memorable one.  Nor were the girls employed in the stripping department forgotten by Mr. Muth, for they were royally entertained at Radtke’s ice cream parlor.  The high esteem in which Mr. Muth is held was fittingly demonstrated by the gift of a handsome reclining chair from the cigarmakers, and a pretty foot rest from the strippers; and that his employers appreciated their old foreman was evidenced by the gift of a handsome gold watch.


A service covering so many years certainly shows rare faithfulness for the company's interests and a little biographical sketch of Mr. Muth will be read with interest by our readers.


Mr. Muth’s connection with cigarmaking dates back to his boyhood days when he began work as an apprentice, at the age of eleven years, and he has continued at the business ever since, with the exception of a few years during the Civil War.  He was born in Birlenbach, Germany, October 16, 1838, and came to America with his mother when a infant two years old, landing at New Orleans.  The family returned to Germany in time to celebrate his third birthday anniversary and again returned to New Orleans, reaching that city in 1848.


The family moved to Watertown the following year and Mr. Muth secured a position as apprentice in the cigar factory conducted by Rothe & Bernhard.  He later worked for Grossmann Bros, and in 1858 began work for Eugene Wiggenhorn, the business practically continuing until the present time. 


In March, 1862 he opened a factory for himself but after a few months sold to Eugene Wiggenhorn and enlisted in Co. E. 20th Wis. Infantry, August 10, 1862, known as Siegel’s regiment.  He served during the war and was mustered out at Galveston Texas, July 14, 1865. 


In 1869 he resumed work for Wiggenhorn Bros, as a maker and on May 10, 1873, was appointed foreman and has held that position ever since.  He has practically been in the cigarmaking business fifty five years. The present force over which Mr. Muth has been foreman for so many years, consists of forty-eight men at the bench besides the strippers, and the oldest bench employee in point of years of service is John Kuester, who began as an apprentice in 1863 and still works there.


Mr. Muth was married in Watertown in 1861 to Mary Beisner, who is still living, and they are parents of several grown up children.    WR


1916, assumed



County Judge C. W. Lamoreux on Tuesday last appointed John Muth of Watertown, as a member of the Soldier’s Relief Commission.


John Muth was born in Germany in the year 1838 and came to this country in the year 1840 and has lived in Watertown for many years and has at different times represented this ward on the county board.  Mr. Muth served in the Civil War and was a member of Co. E., 20th Wis. Inf.  He served three years and was in the battles at the siege of Vicksburg, Prairie Grove, Fort Morgan and many others. 


Watertown had never been represented on this commission and the friends of Mr. Muth are very much pleased to have him receive the honor of a place on the commission which was made vacant by the resignation of Casper Buerger of Lomira who resigned on account of illness.  We congratulate Mr. Muth and know that he is well qualified for the position.


This Soldier’s Relief Commission is composed of three members and the law now provides that two of them must be honorably discharged soldiers of the civil war of veterans of the war with Spain.


In many of the counties of the state the commission is now composed of two civil war veterans and one Spanish war veteran.  In the city of Beaver Dam there is now an association of Spanish war veterans and it is probable that sometime in the future the association will be given representation on this commission.;


The other members of the commission are E. J. Tyler of Horicon and John Seward of the town of Trenton, both being veterans of the Civil War.


Is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery 




10 16       IS 80 YEARS OLD

John Muth Observes Anniversary with his Daughter.


John Muth, veteran cigarmaker and veteran of the Civil war, is 80 years old today.


In honor of the event he went to Janesville this morning to spend the day with his daughter, Mrs. G. D. Cannon.  Mr. Muth is probably the oldest cigarmaker in the city, but he has not followed that occupation for several years since he resigned the foremanship in Wiggenhorn Bros. factory, which he held for many years.  


He enlisted in Co. E, 20th Wisconsin Infantry, August 13, 1862, and followed the regiment during all its battles as corporal and sergeant.  He was mustered out July 14, 1865.


Although four score years, he enjoys good health and is a familiar figure on the streets of the city.        WNews



Cross References:


Mrs. John Muth

1841 - 1915


Mrs. John Muth, 608 Division Street, died of diabetes on Monday, August 9, 1915.  Deceased’s maiden name was Mary Beisner.  She was born in New York City on May 15, 1841, and came west with her parents when only four years old, locating at Columbus, then at Golden Lake, coming to Watertown in 1858.  On April 15, 1860, she was married to John Muth, who survives her and five children, also four grandchildren, and two brothers, John Beisner of Milwaukee and Henry Beisner of this city.  Her funeral took place from her late home Wednesday afternoon to Oak Hill cemetery.



                1877, Volunteer fireman 

                1883, Pease Post charter member

                1908, Caroline Moser obit, son

                1915, G.A.R. officer

                Civil War veteran, GAR Personal War Sketch, 1890




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin