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Rietbrock centennial
(1880-1980)

Frederick Rietbrock 1839-1906: our town's namesake,   pp. 6-7


Page 6

Frederick Rietbrock
1839-1906
Our Town's Namesake
Fred Rietbrock was born in Milwaukee, April 6, 1838. Through his efforts many
of the original pioneers of Poniatowski came from Milwaukee to settle in
Marathon County. He died July 23, 1906 in Athens, WI.
Frederick Rietbrock was born in Kenosha County
in April 6, 1839. He was a lumberman, a colonizer,
and a lawyer who spent years on the family farm. In
his young days he chose to study law. He received his
law degree from University of Michigan in 1865; then
he decided to return to Wisconsin. Settling in Mil-
waukee, he opened his own office and later formed
a partnership with D.H. Johnson and with a fellow
Ann Arbor classmate named Pierson L. Halsey.
In a short time Rietbrock became prominent in
legal and politicial circles of the city. His immigrant
father had been one of the pioneer settlers of Kenosha
County in late 1830. The settlement of Rietbrock &
Halsey began in 1878. Rietbrock interested his law
partners in his lumbering and colonization plans;
eventually their enterprise came to encompass the
major part of the three county townships and con-
trolled nearly 50,000 acres of heavily timbered land.
The partners aim was to sell this land to people inter-
ested in settling and clearing the land for the purpose
of developing farms where they could raise their
families. Most of the land was sold to Polish and
German immigrants who were having difficulty
finding employment or land in southern Wisconsin.
These people, who had left their homeland for various
reasons, came because the land was plentiful and


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