Joseph A. Zerlaut, farmer, Bridgeton Township, section 5, was born in Bavaria, Germany, Dec. 15, 1839. His parents, Joseph and Elizabeth (Steiner) Zerlaut, were also born in Balvaria, and in 1853, he accompanied his mother to America, his father having died five years before. They located at Hopeville, R. I., and afterward went to Centerville, in that state.
in 1856 Mr. Zerlaut went to Wauregan Mills, Conn., and found employment in a woolen factory, remaining two years. In the summer of 1856 he went to Moosup, in Windham County, and there pursued his trade until 1858, when he came to Muskegon. He worked some time in a saw-mill, and at length, in company with an uncle, came to Newaygo County, in quest of land where to establish homes. He located 120 acres in Bridgeton Township, and remained until the spring following, making improvements. He returned to Muskegon, and not long after to the "land of steady habits," and in November, 1861, brought his mother and the remaining members of the family to his place in Bridgeton, where they established a home.
Mr. Zerlaut enlisted Sept. 27, 1862, in the Sixth Mich. Cav., Co. H. The regiment was attached to the Army of the Potomac, under Sheridan, and Mr. Zerlaut was in all the actions in which that division of the army participated, excepting those of the Pennsylvania campaign. He was at Buckland Mills, Va., Oct. 19, 1863, where he received a bullet wound just above the left knee, the shot passing upwards and coming out at the hip joint. He escaped all other mishaps of war and received an honorable discharge Dec. 5, 1865.
Mr. Zerlaut was married Feb. 17, 1866, to Anna, daughter of Conrad and Catherine (Hedric) Bing, of Muskegon. She was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and remained in her native country until she was 17 years old, when she came to the United States and fixed upon Muskegon as a place of residence, where she engaged as a domestic until her marriage. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Zerlaut, nine in number, were born as follows: Henry, May 1, 1867; Joseph, Dec. 16, 1868; George, June 20, 1872; Frank J., May 19, 1874; Anna, March 28, 1877; Fanny, Aug. 25, 1880; Martin, Nov. 5, 1882; Elizabeth, May 9, 1876 (died Nov. 14, same year); Frank, Oct. 18, 1870 (died Nov. 9, following).
Mr. Zerlaut had made the record of a successful and progressive farmer on his land, and has placed 65 acres under advanced improvements. He was a Republican in politics, and had held the positions of School Inspector and Drain Commissioner.
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