George H. Merlau

George H. Merlau, a farmer of Buck Creek township, Hancock county, Indiana, also having a reputation as one of the best contracting bricklayers throughout this and adjoining states, was born in Sugar Creek township this county, on June 17, 1871, being a son of Conrad and Elizabeth (Meier) Merlau.

Conrad Merlau was born in Hesse-Darmstat, Germany, on January 6, 1836, and came to this country with his parents when a youth. The family settled in this count a short distance west of New Palestine, and there Conrad Merlau lived until the time of his marriage, when twenty-one years old, to Elizabeth Meier, born in Sugar Creek township, on the old Meier homestead, in 1848, a daughter of Anton and Elizabeth Meier. After marriage, Conrad Merlau went to the northeast part of Sugar Creek township, where he farmed for a few years. He later sold that farm and bought one hundred and sixty acres in the northeast quarter of section 32, of Buck Creek township. There were about sixty acres of this farm under the plow and an old frame house and barn by way of improvements, and so energetically has Conrad Merlau worked and so well has he managed, that his entire farm is today under cultivation and there is a fine nine-room residence of brick and other excellent buildings in keeping with the surrounds. Conrad Merlau has the misfortune to lose his wife, who passed away in the spring of 1902. She was the mother of eleven children, eight of whom survive, namely: Anna, William, George, Rosie, Fred, Julia, Emma and Edna. Conrad Merlau is a Democrat in politics and both he and his wife were from their childhood members of the German Lutheran church.

George H. Merlau was an infant of six months when his parents moved to Buck Creek township, and on the farm there his childhood and youth were spent. He attended the old Brown school and after finishing the course there studied for a time at an Indianapolis business college. At the age of fifteen he went into the store of his brother-in-law, John Woty, at Arcadia. Where he remained for two years, and later took up the trade of bricklaying, to which he has ever since given his best efforts. On April 29, 1902, at the age of thirty-one, George Merlau was united in marriage with Mary Buchfink, born in Buck Creek township, this county, on April 9, 1881. She is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Kissel) Buchfink, the former of who is one of the oldest pioneers of Buck Creek township.

After marriage, George H. Merlau located in Indianapolis, where he lived for several years, gradually advancing in his trade until his reputation became far more than local. He had handled contracts in thirteen different states, and before receiving an injury a few years ago did a large contracting business all over the state of Indiana. He is a member of the International Bricklayers' Union No. 3 of Indianapolis, which body he has served as financial secretary, recording secretary and various other offices and committees. In February, 1910, George Merlau returned to Hancock county, taking up his residence on the old home place, where he has since resided, and has had the entire management of the same for the past five years. However, the greater part of his time is still devoted to his chosen vocation of contracting and bricklaying.

Mr. and Mrs. George Merlau have a family of four children, namely: Florence, Ruby, Helen and Charles, and both are members of the German Lutheran church, while in politics he gives his support to the Democratic party. George Merlau is one of the best known sons of Hancock County, a man who stands high in the estimation of friends and acquaintances.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 1145-1147.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 12, 2001.

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