Judge Gerhard T. Moeskes

Reproduction of photograph from Fox Valley Memory,
used with permission of the Appleton Public Library.

The home which used to stand at 404 W. Eighth St. was built for Outagamie County Judge Gerhard T. Moeskes.

The following is taken verbatim from Thomas Henry Ryan's History of Outagamie County, Wisconsin, [1911?], Part 14

GERHARD T. MOESKES, ex-Judge of Outagamie county, whose long and faithful public service entitles him to the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens, was born January 18, 1846, in the Rhine Province, Prussia, a son of Herman and Maria (Geeren) Moeskes. Herman Moeskes was born April 10, 1817, in Holland, and in his native country was employed as a coachman and hunter by a nobleman, also owning a small farm in Rhein, Prussia.

In 1860 he came to the United States with his family on the sailing vessel "Daniel Webster," the journey lasting forty-seven days. He had married in 1844, Maria Geeren, and there were ten children born to this union, of whom Judge Moeskes is the eldest, there being two surviving children. On coming to the United States, Herman Moeskes settled in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and there continued to reside until his death, April 28, 1894, his wife having passed away in 1866.

Gerhard T. Moeskes received an excellent educational training in the schools of his native land, and he was fourteen years of age at the time when he accompanied the family to America. On account of the ill-health of his father, the eldest son was given but few advantages in his youth, early starting to work at whatever employment offered itself, his principal occupation being wood chopping in the lumber woods. He next secured a position as bookkeeper and lumber scaler, and at the age of twenty years he learned the carpenter's trade, but after two years took up the insurance business in Manitowoc, and shortly afterward, in 1868, moved to Appleton, which city he had for headquarters during the time he was traveling for an insurance company. In April, 1874, he returned from a trip to find out from his wife that he had been elected to the office of justice of the peace, and during the spring of 1876 he started to study law in the office of Collins & Pierce. Later in the same year he was elected clerk of the Circuit Court, but during the eight years in which he was an incumbent of that office he never ceased his law studies, and in 1884 he was admitted to the bar. He commenced the practice of law in Appleton, as a partner of Humphrey Pierce, and in 1889 he was elected County Judge, being reelected in 1893 and for two terms following, his incumbency of that office covering a period of twelve years. Judge Moeskes' administration of the office distinguished him as a man of far more than the ordinary ability, and he established a reputation of being in all things just; no one can say of him that he was ever prejudiced, nor can any one point to a single instance where favor has been shown. That he served the people of Outagamie county in this trying and difficult period for twelve years without the slightest blotch to mar his record is an achievement which should be gratifying to him and of which his family may justly speak with pride in the years to come. Judge Moeskes has been a representative of steamship companies during the past forty years, and now looks after the interests of the International Merchant Marine, Hamburg, North German Lloyd, Holland and American lines.

During his youth he worked with Charles Graves, who is now manager of The Fair, in Chicago, and a warm friendship has existed between the two men throughout their lives. Since 1902 Judge Moeskes has been engaged in a large law practice in Appleton. He is a consistent member of the Catholic Church, and was one of the organizers and charter members of Branch No. 6, Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, an insurance organization of which he was president for ten years, during which time it increased its membership from the five original organizers to 155, when he declined a re-election. As an appreciation of the excellent service he had given to the order, Judge Moeskes was presented with a gold-mounted, properly-inscribed cane. He was one of the organizers and for six years treasurer of the Appleton Building and Loan Association; one of the organizers and directors and secretary of the Union Toy and Furniture Company; one of the organizers and directors of the Appleton Straw Board Company, in none of which he is now connected in any way; and one of the organizers of the Citizens' National Bank of Appleton, of which he is a director.

Judge Moeskes is a Democrat in his political views, and during 1880 and 1881 he served as a member of the city council. Judge Moeskes was married in 1869 to Miss Maria P. Kamps, of Appleton, the youngest of a family of thirteen children, whose father was a native of the village in which Judge Moeskes was born in Prussia, and who came to Appleton in 1860. A tanner by trade, he erected the first tannery in the town, and died in 1872, his widow surviving him one year. There were seven children born to Judge and Mrs. Moeskes, as follows: two who died in infancy; Agnes, who died in 1892, when twenty-one years old; William, who died in October, 1893, when sixteen years old; Herman E., former register of probate in Outagamie county, and now residing in Colorado; Katie M., who married E. W. Sacksteder of the firm of Kamps & Sacksteder, druggists of Appleton; and Elizabeth, who lives in Los Angeles, California. The mother of these children died August 13, 1894, aged forty-six years, in the faith of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, of which she had been a member for many years.

Reproduction of photograph from Appleton Wis., Illustrated, used with permission of the Appleton Public Library.