LOUIS WEGNER
 
Merced has no more earnest or practical advocate of progress than is found in its popular and successful builder and contractor, Louis Wegner. This typical German-American, who, since 1902, has been a helpful and influential member of the board of trustees of Merced, is a native of Preetz, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where he was born October 29, 1859, next to the youngest in a family of seven children, four of whom are living. Of these, two sons and one daughter are in America. William being a carpenter in the employ of his brother Louis. For generations Schleswig-Holstein has been the home of this family, and on one of its fertile farms the paternal grandfather was born and passed his entire life, the same region being the birthplace also of John Wegner the father of Louis, who left the farm and engaged in the carpenter and builder trade at Kiel.
 
He was energetic and resourceful man, worked up a large trade, and was well known for his thrift and ingenuity as a workman. In early life he married Margaret Tiedemann, who was born in Hanover, and after whose death at an advanced, he retired from active duties, his last years being spent with his son in Merced, Cal., where his death occurred at the age of seventy-six years.
 
Louis Wegner lived in Preetz, until 1869, and then removed to Kiel, where he attended the public schools and graduated from the high school. At the age of sixteen he apprenticed to his father as a carpenter, and further qualified for his life work by taking a course at the architectural school at Eckernforde, from which he was duly graduated at the expiration of three years of steady application. The following year, in 1879, he entered the army, becoming a soldier in Company 3, Thirty-first German Infantry, later being transferred to One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Infantry, in the latter serving as drum major, and attaining the rank of sergeant. Receiving his honorable discharge after three years of military service, in 1882, he came to New York in September, and thence to California, where he joined his brother in carpenter work in Merced.
 
Possessing the grit and determination of his race, and realizing the opportunities by which he was surrounded, Mr. Wegner soon made his influence felt, not only as a builder, but as a promoter of general improvements. From carpenter work he advanced to contracting and building, an occupation which he has followed uninterruptedly in Merced and vicinity since 1884. Many of the best residences and public buildings in the town and county are due to his combined effort as architect and builder. He drew the plans for the plans for the Wolfson house, erected the Gillett, James Jing, George Koehler, and other residences, the Koehler home being one of the finest in Merced county. Dixon's drug store was both designed and built by him as was also his own commodious and modern residence at No. 619 Twenty-third street.
 
Before leaving Kiel Mr. Wegner was united in marriage with Benedicta Nicholsen, a native also of Schleswig-Holstein, and who died in Merced. His second marriage was celebrated May 11, 1896, his wife being Hedwig Wallenfels, a native of San Francisco, and daughter of Frederick Wallenfels, who was born in Frankfort, Germany. Mr. Wallenfels lived four years in New York after immigrating to America, and in 1873 came to San Francisco, where he engaged in the insurance business for the balance of his life. His wife was formerly Francisca Greenthaler, who at present lives in Mill Valley, and who is the mother of two children, the youngest of whom, Blanche, is the wife of Rheinhold Koehler of Merced. For many years Mr. Wegner has taken an active interest in Democratic politics, although he entertains exceedingly liberal views regarding local political undertakings. He was a member of the county central committee, and in 1902 was elected a member of the board of trustees of Merced, and chairman of the street committee. During his term of service marked improvements have been noted, including better kept sidewalks and the laying of cement walks. He insists upon cleanliness in the streets and alleys, and of innovations of a substantial and lasting nature. Mr. Wegner is a firm believer in the benefits of municipal ownership, and is working hard to secure city possession of the waterworks and electric lighting plant. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Merced, of which he is past grand, the encampment of which he has been chief patriarch for three terms; the Woodmen of the World; and the Druids, of which he is a past officer. In religion, as on other subjects interesting the human race, he is broad and tolerant. Mr. Wegner is deservedly popular with his business, social and political associates, and is regarded as a man of high ideals. He is genial and approachable, generous in his contributions to causes meriting his assistance, and considerate and thoughtful of the men who are in his employ.

History of the State of California and biographical record of the San Joaquin Valley, California.
The Chapman Publishing Co. (1905)
James Miller Guinn
Louis Wegner, page: 1344

Transcribed by: Alma Stone