A photo that seems to show Gustav, in the middle, at work.
A photo that seems to show Gustav, in the middle, at work.

     GUSTAV KLATT, WHO lived in Ripon during the early to mid-1900s, didn’t finish school.

     He couldn’t even read.

     So maybe there’s more than a touch of irony that this German immigrant’s greatest contribution to Ripon may be the work he did at a schoolhouse.

     And not just any schoolhouse. The Little White Schoolhouse, birthplace of the Republican Party.

     “He was unable to write or read, but he was a house-mover,” grandson Ron Klatt said. “So I said to my dad, ‘How could he have a living moving houses?’ At that time, farmers moved buildings around all the time. So I guess Grandpa did work quite a bit.

     “And the family story was, yes, he moved the Birthplace of the Republican Party.”

     It’s a story Ron’s proud to tell, and one that he is waste-deep in researching. Though family lore is strong, evidence has been weak.

     At least, maybe until now. ...

     To read the entire column, see the Nov. 9, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.