Thursday, November 17, 2011


Partial 1908 Map of Somers Township
Lichter parcels in Section 12 and 24

Nicholas Lichter
Farming interests of Somers Township find a worthy representative in Nicholas Lichter, who resides on Section 14, where he owns fifty acres of land on which he has made his home since 1897. He was born July 7, 1864, in the Town in which he now resides, his parents being Peter and Barbara (Luetz or Lotz) Lichter. The father, who was born in Prussia, January 22, 1832, died on the 10th of March, 1906, his life span having covered seventy-four years. He obtained a common school education and when a young man of twenty years crossed the Atlantic to the United States, making his way to Racine, Wisconsin, where he worked in the lumberyard. He then came to Kenosha County and in 1858 purchased eleven acres of land in Somers Township, to which he added from time to time as his financial resources increased until he was the owner of one hundred acres of rich, productive and valuable land. In politics he was a Democrat but usually cast an independent vote at local elections. His religious faith was that of the Catholic Church. On the 18th of April, 1857, he married Barbara Luetz, a daughter of Phillip Luetz, and they became the parents of twelve children, seven of whom are yet living, namely: George, Nicholas, Mary, Annie, John, Peter, and Frank. Of this family Barbara and four others are now deceased.

Nicholas Lichter attended the common schools near his father’s home. He reached the age of fourteen years and afterward worked with his father until attaining his majority. Subsequently he spent two years as a farm hand in the employ of others and then again worked for his father for a year. Later he went to Minnesota, where he engaged in farming for more than a year, during which period he purchased eighty acres of land. Subsequently he returned to this County and for a year was employed in the shops of Racine. At the end of that time, however, he resumed the occupation of farming and for six years cultivated a rented tract of two hundred and ninety-five acres. During that period he carefully saved his earnings until he was able to purchase fifty acres on Section 14. Somers Township, on which he has lived continuously since 1897. He now concentrates his efforts upon the development and further improvement of this farm, which is now one of the desirable and valuable properties of the Township.

On the 5th of June, 1888, Mr. Lichter was married to Miss Mary Pint, a daughter of Mathias Pint of Nobles County, Minnesota, who drove overland from Wisconsin to Minnesota in 1863. Mr. and Mrs. Lichter are communicants of the Catholic Church. In politics he maintains an independent course, voting for the candidates whom he regards as best qualified for office. He has always preferred to concentrate his energies upon his business interests, and persistency of purpose and intelligently directed activity have brought him a substantial measure of success.
(Source: City and County of Kenosha, Wisconsin, A Record of Settlement, Vol. II, pages 461-462, Frank H. Lyman, Chicago, The S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916.)

Peter J. Lichter
Peter J. Lichter, a worthy native son and industrious agriculturist of Kenosha County, has since 1903 been engaged in the cultivation of a tract of fifteen acres on Section 24, Somers Township. His birth occurred in Somers Township on the 17th of December, 1877, his parents being Peter and Barbara (Lotz) Lichter, who are mentioned at great length on another page of this work in connection with the sketch of Nicholas Lichter, a brother of our subject.

Peter J. Lichter attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education and worked on the home farm until sixteen years of age. He then went west and for four years hired out as a farm hand in the States of Minnesota, Iowa and Dakota. After returning to Kenosha County he cultivated rented land for two years and in 1903 purchased a tract of fifteen acres on Section 24, Somers Township, which he has drained and improved until it is now a valuable and productive property. The success which he now enjoys is attributable entirely to his own efforts and he well deserves recognition among the enterprising farmers and substantial citizens of the community.

In 1903 Mr. Lichter was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Thelen, a daughter of Peter and Margaret (Mungen) Thelen, and they now have six children, namely: Alfred P., Loretta B., Walter G., Bertha M., Dorothy M. and Richard F.

Politically Mr. Lichter is independent, always voting for the candidate whom he considers best qualified, and in religious faith he is a Catholic, belonging to St. George’s Church. His life has been upright and honorable in every relation and he enjoys the warm regard and esteem of all who know him.
(Source: City and County of Kenosha, Wisconsin, A Record of Settlement, Vol. II, page 595, Frank H. Lyman, Chicago, The S.J. Clark Publishing Co. 1916.)

John Lichter
John Lichter, one of the best known and most successful farmers of Somers township, has passed practically his entire life in that township.  His birth occurred on the 11th day of May, 1843, and he is a son of Peter and Barbara Lichter.  He attended the common schools until twelve years of age and then put aside his textbooks and gave his entire time to assisting his father until he was twenty-one years of age.  Desiring to see the country, he went west, where he remained for a year, but at the expiration of that period returned to Kenosha County, having becoming convinced that the opportunities offered the young men here equal of those to be found elsewhere.
For a year Mr. Lichter operated the family homestead on shares and subsequently he cultivated three hundred acres of rented land for fourteen years.  At the end of that time he bought seventy acres on Section 12, Somers Township, none of which, however, was tillable at that time as it was swamp land.  He recognized that it would make excellent farm land if it were drained and proceeded to reclaim it, putting in fourteen carloads of tile.  This made the land arable and it is now one of the most valuable farms in Somers township.  Mr. Lichter has erected substantial and well designed buildings upon the place and keeps everything in excellent condition.  He is one of the most enterprising and progressive farmers of the county, and his good management and industry have enabled him to gain financial independence although he was practically empty-handed when he began his independent career.
On the 22nd of June, 1897 Mr. Lichter was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Klinkhammer, a daughter of Michael Klinkhammer.  Eight children have been born to this union namely:  Annie, Agnes, Celia, Katie, George, Arthur, Norbert and Harry, all at home.
The Republican Party has a stanch supporter in Mr. Lichter but he has never been an aspirant for office as his agricultural interests have demanded his entire time.  In religious faith he is a Roman Catholic and fraternally he is connected with the Foresters at Kenosha.  He is highly respected for his ability and integrity and is also popular personally.
(Source:  Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties, J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1906)

George Lichter
George Lichter, one of the representative men and excellent farmers of Kenosha County, Wisconsin resides on his well improved farm in Section 21, Somers Township.  He was born February 20, 1859 in Racine, Wisconsin , son of Peter and Barbara (Lotz, formerly Lurtz) Lichter.  Both parents were natives of Germany.
The paternal grandfather of Geroge Lichter, John Lichter, died in Germany in early manhood.  He was a mason by trade.  He married Margaret Bongard who lived to be eighty years old.  They had these children:  Catherine, deceased; Catherine (2), wife of John Schopp of Chicago; Anna, wife of Ferdinand Schmitz of Chicago; and Peter, of Kenosha.
The maternal grandfather of Mr. Lichter was Philip Lurtz, a native of Germany, who emigrated to America and settled in Milwaukee, where he opened up one of the early brewing plants.  He married Catherine Schwert, and they both died in Wayne County, Michigan, aged eighty years.  They had two children:  George, deceased; and Barbara, mother of our subject.  By a former marriage, to a Mr. Meisner, Mrs. Catherine Lurtz had six children.
Peter Lichter came to America when nineteen years of age and went to Wisconsin, working in a lumber yard at Racine for several years.  Two years after his marriage he moved into Somers Township in what is known as Pike Woods (see other articles about Pike Woods in this blog), where he made a first purchase of eleven acres of land.  To this he kept adding until he had some 100 acres which he later sold advantageously and moved into Kenosha, where he lived for the last six years before his death of March 10, 1906.
He was a worthy member of the Catholic church as is his wife.  Peter Lichter married Barbara Lotz, and they became the parents of twelve children: eight sons and four daughters, namely: George, of Somers; Nicholas; John; Peter; Frank; Annie, wife of Gust Martins, of Racine; Mary, wife of Henry Roll, of Ellsworth, Minn.; the others died in infancy.  The five surviving sons all live in Somers township.
George Lichter was reared up to strong young manhood on his father's farm in Somers township.  In 1881 he made a trip to California and remained on the Pacific coast for two years, working with the civil engineers in laying out the Northern Pacific Railroad.  After his return to Kenosha county he married and removed to Noble County, Minn., where he carried on farming for sixteen years, but then came back to Somers township and bought his present farm of 157 acres on which he has resided ever since, engaged in general farming and stockraising.
Mr. Lichter was married Feb. 25, 1886 to Miss Mary Soens, of Somers Township, daughter of Peter and Mary Jane (Leuker) Soens.  Six children have been born to this union, three sons and three daughters, namely: Frank, Magdalene, Rosa, Barbara, Nicholas and Leo.  Barbara died aged nine months.  The others are all under the parental roof, a happy family, and all belong to the Catholic church.  Mr. Lichter is a member of the C.O.F.  Politically he is a Republican and while in Minnesota he was a member of the Board of Supervisors, was Assessor and Town Treasurer, and held all the offices for several years, faithfully fulfilling the duties of each.
The parents of Mrs. Lichter were natives of Germany and were among the very earliest settlers of Racine County, Wisconsin.  They were married at Burlington, Wisconsin, and reared a family of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, as follows: Catherine, deceased, wife of Frank De Grave; William, who died aged eighteen months; Mathew, who died at Greenville, Miss.; Michael, of Kenosha; Margaret, wife of Michael Wiertz of Racine; John of Durango, Colo.; Mary, wife of George Lichter; Louis, of Mancos, Colo., Henry, of Somers township; William, of Adrian, Minn., Josephine, wife of C.M. Thoma, of Chicago.  Peter Soens owned one of the first shoe stores and one of the first brick houses on Main Street, Racine.  He died in 1884 at aged sixty-one years, and his wife in 1895, aged sixty-seven years.  The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Lichter was William Soens, a native of Germany who came to Racine County when it was only an Indian frontier.  He died at Racine at the age of eighty-three years.  In his own land he was a farmer.  He married Catherine Dieterich.  On the maternal side, the grandfather of Mrs. Lichter was Bernard Leuker, also an early settler of Racine county, who died at Burlington, Wisconsin and his wife, five daughters and one son are all deceased.
(Source: Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties, J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1906)

More About the Lichter's
"Nicholas Lichter and William Lauer have installed the Pilot lighting system in their homes."
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication date January 19, 1916)

"The Somers Division of the Chicago Pure Milk Association held its annual meeting at Woodmen Hall Thursday afternoon with a large gathering of farmers present.  Officers elected were presidnet, Frank P. Lichter, secretary and treasurer, Howard Biehn."
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication date July 3, 1933)

"John Lichter, 15 years old, nephew of Nicholas Lichter of Somers was seriously injured at the Lichter farm when he was kicked in the head by a horse.  The boy was sent to the barn on an errand and members of the family heard him scream.  They found him under the horse's hoofs with a bad would."
(Source:  Racine Journal times, publication date July 3, 1907)

"George Lichter met with serious accident whle returning from Kenosha Saturday evening.  A motorcycle collided with his buggy and he was thrown out."
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication October 25, 1916)

About Mrs. Mary Soens Lichter
"Mrs. Mary Soens Lichter, Somers, died Thursday in St. Catherine's Hospital in Kenosha, following a short illness.  Mrs. Lichter was born in Racine, June 3, 1860, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Soens.  She was married to George Lichter of Somers, February 25, 1886, moving to Nobles County, Minn where she remained for 14 years, returning to Somers in 1900.  Mrs. Lichter was a member of St. George's Church, the Altar Society and Christian Mothers.  Survivors are her husband; two sons, Frank P. and Leo Lichter, both of somers; a daughter, Mrs. Henry Uhen of Kenosha, a brother, William Soens of Adrian, Minn.  Burial at St. George Cemetery, Kenosha.
(Source:  Racine Journal, June 13, 1941)

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