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Madera Biographies: MEILIKE
F. R. MEILIKE. Numbered among the German-American citizens whose thrift and energy have contributed to the advancement of California is Mr. Meilike, member of the firm of Wehrmann & Meilike, and a leading business man of Madera. He was born in the province of Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany, February 12, 1858. being a son of Gustav and Theresa (Luther) Meilike, natives of the same province and members of families of agriculturists. His great-grandfather removed from the interior of Germany to Brandenburg, where he helped to build a large dairy and was in other ways connected with local enterprises. The father and mother are deceased, the former having been accidentally drowned. Of their six living children (all in America), the subject of this narrative was third in order of birth and is the only one in California. Following the usual German custom, he was kept in school until fourteen and then apprenticed to a trade. For three years he served under a locksmith and at the expiration of his time traveled as a journeyman through different parts of Germany.
Coming to America in 1880, Mr. Meilike secured employment on a farm in Mitchell county, Iowa, but later removed to Milwaukee, Wis., where he was employed as a machinist in Bayliss iron works. After a short time he went to Menominee, Mich., and secured employment in a sawmill. From there he went south to Arkansas and Missouri, and next worked as a machinist in Kansas City and at Rosedale, Kans. After a short time in the Santa Fe shops at Topeka, Kans., he became a blacksmith in the Silver iron works at Salt Lake City, and in 1882 settled in California, where he was first engaged in the Southern Pacific Railroad shops at Sacramento. Then from the Union iron works in San Francisco he went to Seattle, Wash., and secured work in a sawmill. On his return to California, January 1884, he came to Madera county and for four years worked on Mr. Mordecai’s ranch, after which he took up land and engaged in teaming. In 1890 he secured employment as a clerk with Rosenthal & Kentner, at Madera, and for nine years remained in their mercantile establishment, leaving in 1899 to embark in business for himself under the firm title of Wehrmann & Meilike. The firm owns the site and the building, the latter having been erected in 1899 and increased in size by the building of a brick structure adjoining in 1903, so that the space utilized is now 50 x 150 feet in dimensions. The stock is varied, including groceries, house furnishing goods, queensware, bakery goods, flour and feed. An excellent business has been established among the residents of Madera and the surrounding country, and the reputation of the firm is unexcelled for accuracy in all business transactions.
The Madera Board of Trade is one of the local organizations to which Mr. Milkier gives his support as a member. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In religion he adheres to the Lutheran faith, and politically votes for the men and measures of the Democratic party. Since coming to Madera lie has established a home of his own. His wife was formerly Marie Birch, a native of Germany. Three children have been born of their union, namely George R., who died at the age of three months; Carl William and Louise Birch, who are being educated in local schools and trained for positions of usefulness and honor in the world.
Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 248.
Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.
Last update: October 17, 2012
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