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JOHN G. BIRK harness manufacturer, Bucyrus, was born July 22, 1823, in Wurtemberg Germany. According to the custom of that country he was sent to school until his 14th year. He was then apprenticed to a man named Zigler for three years to learn harness making, in the town of Kirchheim. He gave $60 to learn the trade in addition to three years labor often working fourteen hours per day. After completing his trade he worked as journeyman at different places for about six years. As there were more harness-makers than could find employment in his native land, our subject sailed from Havre in the spring, of 1845, and after a thirty days voyage, arrived at New York, June 3, 1845. His means being exhausted he worked for a farmer near Albany about two months, whereby he obtained money enough to bring him to the German colony called "Zoar," in Tuscarawas Co., Ohio, where he worked for some time in the smelting works. Then he was taken sick with ague for a period of six months, which again exhausted his earnings. Upon his recovery, he worked at his trade there for some time. He came to Bucyrus, April 21, 1847 and found employment in the harness-shop of Frederick Beckle, who died some nine months after. Our subject worked for Israel Jones until 1850, when he started a harness-shop for himself, and has been in the business ever since being now one of the oldest harness-makers in the town. He has occupied his present shop about eighteen years, where he employs a number of skillful workmen, who turn out every variety of the most substantial and attractive work. He also carries a full stock of everything in his line of goods. April 24, 1851 he was married to Miss Johanna B. Kuhn, of Whetstone Township. Of this marriage, the following children are living: Christian F., Lewis L., Emanuel and George R. Two children died when young. Mr. Birk had but $4 when he came to Bucyrus. and lost his entire earnings by failure of his first employer. He is a member of the German Lutheran Church, in which he is a Trustee.

 

History of Crawford County and Ohio, Baskin & Battey, Historical Publishers, Chicago, 1881