Louis G. Ochsenreiter Biography


This biography appears on pages 1119-1120 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915) and was scanned, OCRed and edited by Maurice Krueger, mkrueger@iw.net.

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LOUIS G. OCHSENREITER, proprietor of a garage at Webster and owner of a large farm, was born in Harrison county, Indiana, February 17, 1857, a son of Gephard and Pauline Ochsenreiter, both of whom were natives of Germany, in which country they were reared and married. The father, born in 1813, died in 1867. In 1848 he came to the New World, settling in Indiana, and throughout his entire life engaged in business as a tin and coppersmith. He and his wife were members of the Catholic Church and in that faith they reared their family of twelve children.


Louis G. Ochsenreiter, the only one now living, was educated in the schools of Minnesota, to which state the family removed just prior to the close of the Civil war. He had very few advantages in his youth. His mother hired him out for a year to work for his board and four dollars per month. Out of his wage for the year he gave his mother forty dollars. He was afterward employed in a hardware store in St. Paul for a year and still later began selling farm machinery at Jordan, Minnesota. In 1880 he arrived in Day County, South Dakota, and filed on a homestead and a tree claim. In the spring of 1881 he established a hardware business at Webster although there were but few inhabitants in that part of the county. He had the first store on the town site, conducting it in partnership with Andrew Smail, the firm continuing actively and successfully in business for about twenty years under the style of Ochsenreiter & Smail. In 1900 the senior partner turned his attention to the implement business, which he successfully conducted until 1915. He is now proprietor of a garage and sells the Reo, Cadillac and Saxon cars. Already he has established a gratifying business and the growing popularity of the automobile, together with his enterprise and honorable business methods, contribute to his success.


In 1887 Mr. Ochsenreiter married Miss Nellie R. Murphy, a native of Arena, Wisconsin, and in Webster and throughout the county they are well known. They hold membership in the Catholic Church and Mr. Ochsenreiter belongs to the Knights of Columbus. A stanch republican in politics, he was elected the first county treasurer of Day county. He served as president of the village board before Webster was incorporated as a city and several times he has been a member of the school board. He was also a member of the state come mission at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and helped to raise twenty-five thousand dollars for the commission, securing the money throughout the state. Later, however, the legislature appropriated fifty thousand dollars, reimbursing the donors of the previous twenty-five thousand dollars. Mr. Ochsenreiter held the federal position of examiner in the department of justice and in all of the offices that he has filled has proven able, capable and faithful. He still owns his old homestead and tree claim, three miles south of Webster, and since locating thereon he has contributed in large measure to the development and upbuilding of Day County, which he helped to organize and in which he was one of the first settlers.