Haraszthy, Agoston 1812-1869 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Haraszthy (De Moksca), Agoston 1812-1869

Founder of Sauk City

Haraszthy, Agoston 1812-1869 | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeWaist-up portrait of Agoston Haraszthy

Agoston Haraszthy

Waist-up portrait of Agoston Haraszthy View the original source document: WHI 76719

Dictionary of Wisconsin History.
b. Futtak, Hungary, 1812
d. Corinto, Nicaragua, July, 1869

Agoston Haraszthy was a pioneer settler, viniculturist and viticulturist. He served in the Royal Hungarian Body Guard, and was later private secretary to the viceroy of Hungary.


He migrated to the U.S. in 1840. He soon arrived in Wisconsin, where he founded the village now called Sauk City. Haraszthy planted the first hop yard in Wisconsin. He operated a brick yard, a Wisconsin River ferry and headed the local emigrant society in Sauk City. He opened a store in Baraboo in 1845.


Haraszthy was one of the most popular figures in central Wisconsin at the time. He was popularly known as "the Count." He was forced to leave Wisconsin in 1849 due to ill health. He moved to San Diego, California, where he held local offices and later served in the California legislature. A leader in developing the California grape-growing and wine-making industry, Haraszthy imported the first grape vines into the San Francisco area. He was a leading figure in the state's viticulture from 1850 to 1866. Haraszthy suffered financial setbacks in 1866 and moved to Nicaragua where he became a sugar planter and manufacturer. He was accidentally drowned on his plantation near Corinto, Nicaragua.

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Dict. Amer. Biog.; Proc. State Hist. Soc. Wis., 1906 (1907); WPA MS; A. Harasztliy Papers.