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Charles GERNES, an early resident of this county first landed in Winona, November 9, 1854. At that time but few white settlers enjoyed what might be termed houses, but rather existed in shanties little better than the Indian tepees, which were then numerous where the gem city of Winona now stands. Mr. Gernes is a native of that part of Holland which, by conquest in later years, became a part of the kingdom of Belgium. He was born April 2, 1816, and early in life learned the trade of tanner. In 1840 he married Miss Mary Lebotee, a native of Holland, and conducted the business of his trade till 1850, when in the capacity of counsel or superintendent he brought to this country a colony of 160 families, all of whom he located at Green Bay, Wisconsin. The ocean passage was made in the sailing-vessel Tuskena, and occupied a period of sixty-two days. From his arrival in America till his settlement in Winona Mr. Gernes resided in Delaware county, New York, in the community of a French colony that had previously located there. For many years after his advent into Winona county Mr. Gernes devoted the most of his time to locating land-seekers, and early became acquainted with all parts of this and adjoining counties, passing many nights out on the open prairie. His first wife died in 1856, and his second marriage was in 1857, to Mary Millaerd. She was a native of Belgium, and for a time a governess in the family of Col. Benton, whose wife was a daughter of John C. Calhoun, well known in American political circles. She died in this city in 1873. Mr. Gernes has several times visited Europe, and looks back with much pleasure to the happiness these trips afforded him, and especially to the season of 1878, when he visited his old Holland home, accompanied by his children. That year he frequently met General Grant, while that distinguished American citizen was making a tour of the world. His children are: Theodora, born in Europe, and Anna F. and Bernard A., born in this country.
Source : History of Winona County : together with biographical matter, statistics, etc.; Chicago: H.H. Hill and Co., 1883, 934 pgs.

1870 Census