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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Karlen, Jacob 1840 - 1920

Definition: cheese manufacturer, businessman, b. Boltigen, Canton Berne, Switzerland. He migrated to the U.S. in 1869 and lived for a year in Booneville, N.Y. In 1870 he moved to Wisconsin and settled in Hanover, Rock County, where he worked as a stone mason. In 1872 he opened a cheese factory in Jefferson township, Green County, and later operated factories at Jordon and Adams. In 1878 he settled in Monroe. Karlen is credited with being among the first to introduce successfully the factory system of cheese manufacture in the Wisconsin Swiss cheese industry. He maintained other business interests in Monroe, was a director of the First National Bank, and built the Karlen business block in that city. Retiring from active business life in 1909, he maintained his residence in Monroe until his death. E. A. Odell, Swiss Cheese Industry (Monroe, Wis., 1936); Commem. Biog. Record of the Cos. of Rock . . . (Chicago, 1901); Monroe Evening Times, Jan. 10, 1920.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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