Friday, July 29, 2011

Sophronius Stocking Landt (1842-1926)

   This curiously named man is Sophronius Stocking Landt, a soldier, teacher and one-term member of the Wisconsin state assembly. He was born in the small village of Aztalan, Wisconsin on November 1, 1842, being the son of Frederick and Anna Edwards Landt. The Landt family would remove from Aztalan to Big Spring, Wisconsin when their son was seven, and Sophronius would reside in that town until the late 1870s.
   Sophronius received his education in the common schools of Adams County and later began attending the Brunson Institute in Point Bluff. Landt eventually left his studies at the aforementioned institute in 1861, signing on for military service in Company D of the Tenth Wisconsin Infantry. His service extended until November 1864, and the 1895 Wisconsin Blue Book notes that Landt participated in many major engagements during the course of the war, including Stone River, Lookout Mountain, Perryville, Chickamauga and the siege of Atlanta in 1864. 
   Landt was mustered out of service in November 1864 and in September of the following year married to Margaret "Maggie" Wilbur, with whom he had five children. In the decades following his military service Landt was engaged as a farmer and teacher, later occupying several local offices in his native village of Friendship, Wisconsin. In 1886 he was elected as the Treasurer of Adams County, serving in this post until 1892. In 1889 Landt was selected by then Wisconsin Governor William D. Hoard as Wisconsin's delegate to the Farmer's National Congress that was to be held in Montgomery, Alabama.

                                                       From the 1895 Wisconsin Blue Book.

   In November 1894 the citizens of Adams and Marquette county elected Sophronius S. Landt to the Wisconsin State Assembly, besting Democratic nominee William Risk by a vote of 2416 to that of 1139During his short stint in the Wisconsin legislature (which extended from 1895-97) Landt served on the committees on Agriculture and Labor & Manufacture. Following his time in state government Landt was named as Superintendent of Schools at Sparta, Wisconsin (holding that post for four years) and later took on the post of superintendent of the Waupun state prison farm.
    Sophronius Landt would later remove to Herman, Minnesota in 1911 to become the manager of a creamery, this according to his obituary published in the Waukesha Daily Freeman. He died there on October 12, 1926 at the age of 83. Interestingly, Landt kept a diary of his life that extended from his Civil War service until his death, and the results of this diary were published in book form under the title Your Country Calls, decades after his death. 

                       Landt's obituary from the Waukesha Freeman, published on Oct. 16. 1926.

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