George Henry Hopper

 

Men of Progress. Wisconsin. (pages 251-251) A selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life. Together with short notes on the history and character of Wisconsin.

HOPPER, George Henry, who resides in Racine, Wisconsin, and who is manager of the Hotel Racine in that city, is the son of Samuel Hopper, who was born in Jefferson county, New York, in 1812, and resided there all this life of eighty-two years. He was a prosperous dairy farmer, and was the son of a soldier of the war of 1812-14. George H. Hopper's mother's maiden name was Betsy Ten Eyek, and she was a native a Canajoharie, New York. Both the Hoppers and the Ten Eyeks are of Holland descent, their ancestors having been among the earliest and most valued settlers of the state.

George H. Hopper was born in Antwerp, New York, May 12th, 1838. His primary education was received in what he properly terms the "primitive district schools" of that time in his native village, and later he pursued a course of study in the Ives seminary at Antwerp. He early began to assist his father on the farm and in stock buying and shipping, often going to New York City to dispose of carloads of cattle; and in this manner he acquired a familiarity with business methods which has been of great service to him in his subsequent career.

During the dull season on the farm he found employment with some carpenter in the village; and having a fondness for tools, he soon acquired considerable practical knowledge of the trade without having served an apprenticeship thereat. This knowledge he also found of great practical value of him, as, later, in company with an architect, a fellow townsman, he helped to finish the interior of the Palmer House, the Sherman House and other public buildings in Chicago, where he lived a year, having moved there in 1867. These experiences have been and still are of great value to him, as they rendered him thoroughly familiar with the quantity and quality of material required for a given job, and enabled him to judge when work is done, and what it should cost.

In 1868 he removed to Rock county, Wisconsin, where he bought a farm and managed it for five years. He then left farming and went to Elroy. Wisconsin, in the capacity of car accountant for the Chicago & North- Western Railroad company. This position he resigned in 1878, and took charge of the railroad eating house in Elroy. This business proved pleasant and profitable, and he continued it until 1883, when he removed to Ashland, where he bought and operated the Colby House. He remained in Ashland eleven years, in the hotel business, at one time having the Colby and the Chequamegon in Ashland, and the Bardon House in Hurley, under his care. In 1894 he closed the Chequamegon, and removed to Racine, where, on the first of January, 1895, he took the management of the Hotel Racine, which he is still conducting.

Though a thorough Republican, Mr. Hopper has ever figured at all in politics.

He has been a Mason since 1863, having held many offices in the Blue Lodge, and been a charter member of the lodge in Elroy, and also a charter member of the Ashland Commandery of the Knights Templar, and held several offices in the same. He was elected an officer in the Grand Commandery of Wisconsin in 1891, and held the offices in that body successively, and was elected grand commander in 1895, served his term and is now past grand commander. He is also a thirty-second degree Mason, and a Shriner. He is one of the most advance Mason in the order in this state, as he is ones of the most accomplished and successful hotel managers.

Mr. Hopper was married to M. A. Wentworth, a Wisconsin girl, residing near Fort Atkinson, November 12th, 1863. They had one daughter, who died at the age of twenty-two.

 

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