Born in Piqua, OH, on April 8, 1808, Thomas Wildbahn learned the blacksmith trade at an early age. He went to Portsmouth, OH at age 22, where he opened a large blacksmith shop and four years later married Miss Frederica “Rosina” Roxanna Gharky. In 1845 he moved to St. Joseph, MO, purchased the grist mill from Joseph Robidoux, and operated it profitably until 1854. After having sold the grist mill, he next settled in Wathena, KS, the year Kansas was admitted to the Union as a territory. Six years later, he returned to St. Joseph.
Wildbahn and his wife had three children: Sarah, who passed away in infancy; Susanna, who married J. W. Bailey of Bailey, Fairleigh, and Weihl, a wholesale dry goods company in St. Joseph; and Charles Thomas, a clerk for the same dry goods company.
Wildbahn died on July 31, 1887, at his home on the corner of Levee and Robidoux Streets. The funeral was held at his residence on August 1 with burial at Mount Mora Cemetery.
Boder, B. (1955, Spring). The James Treacy collection of photographs of St. Joseph pioneers of Civil War days. Museum Graphic, 7(2), 9-10.
Died. (1887, July 31). The St. Joseph Daily Gazette, 6.
Downs, M. M. & Thompson, M. M. (1975). Mt. Mora Cemetery: Buchanan County, St. Joseph, Missouri, 78.
Hine, L. A. (2005). Elisabeth [Knappenberger] Gharky family of Scioto County, OH. Retrieved June 27, 2007 from http://www.knappenberger.net/3-elisabeth- gharky.htm
History of Buchanan County, Missouri: A history of the county, its cities, towns, etc. (1881). St. Joseph, MO: St. Joseph Steam Printing.
The Lozo-Needles Photo Album collection contains photographs of prominent citizens from St. Joseph, Missouri during the late 1800's. Alexander Lozo had a photography studio during the years 1871 to 1889 at various locations in the Downtown area. Lozo passed away on April 23, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. John T. Needles had a photography studio during the years 1874 to 1882 at various locations in the Downtown area. Needles passed away in 1891 in Colorado.