"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.

Chapter IX: The City of Merrill

   The concern of Andrew Kaul Jr. & Company, Inc., manufacturers of hardwood specialties, was first started by Andrew Kaul Jr. at Bingham, Maine, where opera-tions were carried on for 32 years in the manufacture of all kinds of vehicle hubs. Material growing short at their original location, they moved the industry to Merrill in 1908, erecting a new plant here, where they have since carried on the manufacture of hubs, bobbins for the woolen and cotton mills, and a varied line of turned pro-ducts, including handles, map rollers, felly blocks, spokes, and steering wheels for automobiles. The manufactured product from their plant amounts to nearly three-quarters of a million dollars annually. This company furnished hubs for the Studebaker people for 35 years. After the death of Andrew Kaul in 1918 the company was operated by the estate until 1922, when it was incorporated for $250,000 with E. R. Kaul as president and W. C. Watrous as vice president and general manager. The plant, which is operated by steam and electricity, consists of seven connected buildings in addition to the drying and steam kiln; it covers 2 1/2 acres and employs 52 men. The Lincoln Manufacturing Company was organized as the Lincoln Glove Co. in 1920 by Harry Krom, I. Malsin, and Frank Nott. It was incorporated at $25,000 in August of that year, with Harry Krom president, I. Malsin vice president and treasurer, and Frank Nott secretary and manager. The company began the manu-facture of canvas gloves and continued under this arrangement until 1922; in Sep-tember of that year Mr. Nott severed his connection and the company was reorgan-ized as the Lincoln Manufacturing Co., with Harry Krom president, I. Malsin vice president and treasurer, Dr. E. O. Ravn secretary, and Louis Greenspun manager. The last-named learned the trade of cutter in Chicago, whither he had come with his parents, Max and Sarah Greenspun, from Russia, in which county he was born in 1894. He was married in Chicago in 1915 to Rose Nathanson and has one daughter, Edith. He is a stockholder in the company of which he is manager. The company now has 25 girls at work and there are 35 machines. which will soon all be in operation. Electric power is used in the operation of the plant. The product is ladies' house dresses, aprons, and ladies' and children's bloomers, and from 200 dozen to 250 dozen garments are manufactured per week, which are sold to the trade in Wisconsin and other states.

   The Merrill Woolen Mill Company had its origin in a partnership entered into by Strickler & Anderson in 1916. This firm carried on carding and spinning of yarns with one set of machines for two years, at the end of which time the Merrill Woolen Mill Co. was launched and incorporated with a capital of $20,000, with Albert Anderson president, J. A. Emerich vice president, and Leo Gensmann secretary and treasurer. Operations were begun in a two-story frame building 24x36 feet in dimensions; in 1920 a new building, 6Ox70 feet, with two stories and basement, was built at 105 Blaine St., and this is now the home of the company. Two more carding and spinning machines were added, and a spinning machine, a finishing machine, and several looms for weaving were installed at that time, and in 1923 two new machines for shearing and making blankets were purchased. The output consists of yarns, blankets, flannels, overcoating, and wool bats. A large portion of their business is on a custom basis, while the balance is on goods for sale to the trade and to the lumber camps. The present officers of the company are Albert Anderson, president and manager; J. A. Emerich, vice president; H. A. Kolls, secretary; and Julius Cramer, treasurer.

   The Merrill Knitting Company was organized as a stock company in 1912 and took over a plant that had been moved here from Cleveland, Ohio by Carl Hendrichs in 1912; this plant, located on East Second Street, the company has company has continued to operate. The officers are as follows: W. F. Peterman, president; F. W. Kubasta, vice president; and John F. Rehfeld, secretary, treasurer, and manager. Woolen sweaters and hose are manufactured, the annual capacity being 6,000 dozen sweaters and 9,000 dozen pairs of hose. About 60 people are employed in the factory in addition to the office and sales forces. The plant is a two-story solid brick structure and has a frontage of 65 feet and a depth of 80 feet, with basement under the whole; it is equipped with thoroughly modern machinery. The product goes into nearly every state in the union and is sold exclusively to jobbers. Selling headquarters are maintained in New York City during the selling season, and a force of travelling salesmen is employed.

   The Perfect Knitting Mills were started by Carl Hendrichs in 1914 at the time he severed his connection with the Merrill Knitting Co., which he had brought to Merrill from Cleveland, Ohio. The Perfect Knitting Mills are still under his ownership; he now operates six machines and manufactures a complete line of men's, boys', ladies' and girls' sweaters, scarfs, and stocking caps. The yarns are purchased in the Eastern markets and the product is sold locally. The Grandfather Falls Paper Company began operation as the Merrill Paper Co. in 1905. A dam was constructed at Prairie Dells and the plant was erected in the city. The water power at the dells proved a failure and thus through erroneous engineering information a $200,000 investment was jeopardized. The stockholders, however, organized the Grandfather Falls Paper Co. and in 1906 started a dam at Grandfather, 14 miles from the factory. Power from this site is transmitted electrically and has proved successful. The mill produces about 10,000 tons of newsprint annually, which is sold direct to publishers in the middle West. The officers and directors are as follows: L. N. Anson, president; John O'Day, vice president; George Foster, secretary and treasurer; and J. N. Cotter, Ferdinand Hanf, Frank Canfield, and W. J. Sullivan. The last named is business manager, and John Mulchaey is superintendent.

   The Anson-Gilkey & Hurd Company, manufacturers of sash, doors, and mill work. is a successor to the Anson Hixon Co., which in turn succeeded the Weidauer Co. When the Gilkey & Anson Co., whose succession to the original Howe & Chandler Co. has been touched on in the account of the early history of the city, finished operations in 1910 George M. Anson, H. M. Hurd, and George L. Gilkey severed their connections with the Gilkey & Anson Co. and organized the Anson -Gilkey & Hurd Co., purchasing the Anson Hixon plant at the east end of town. The Gilkey & Anson Co., with a plant at the west end of the city, consisted originally of George F. Gilkey, L. N. Anson, and John and Thomas Landers. After the organization of the present company by George M. Anson, H. M. Hurd, and George L. Gilkey, G. L. Gilkey also became a member of the firm, and a year later John Hieb became associated and the business was incorporated at $100,000. The first officers were: George M. Anson, president; George L. Gilkey, vice president; H. M. Hurd, secretary and treasurer; and L. Sprink, superintendent. Mr. Sprink later severed his connection with the company and John H. Hieb then became superintendent. In 1918 Mr. Hieb also left the company and Christ Horst assumed the superintendency. The plant is an extensive one, covering about ten acres of ground. The buildings consist of the main plant, dry kiln, sheds for lumber, and warehouses for the finished product. About 1,000,000 feet of lumber are used per month in the manufacture of pine sash and doors for the jobbing trade. The employees are on a profit-sharing basis. The Tomahawk Shoe Company established a branch factory here in July of 1918, and this has grown to be an important industry. I t occupies a brick building 43x75 feet in dimensions, three stories high. Burt Ritchie is the local manager. All the cutting and fitting is done here, after which the uppers are sent to Tomahawk for the bottom and finishing work. Further details regarding this concern will be found in the chapter devoted to Tomahawk in this volume.

   The Merrill Candy Company was organized Sept. 6, 1912 by Eugene Chauvin and A. P. Schewe, and was incorporated at $10,000, with Mr. Chauvin as president and Mr. Schewe as secretary and treasurer. The original quarters were in a room 20x30 feet in dimensions, located in a building on First Street. At the end of seven years the business had expanded until the entire building was occupied, and on Sept. 1, 1919, reorganization was effected; the capitalization was increased to $50,000 and A. P. Schewe was made president, Eugene Chauvin. vice president, and August Schewe, secretary and treasurer. In November of the same year a new building at 1213 East Main St. was purchased and remodeled, and this is the present home of the company. Everything in the candy line except pan goods is manufactured, and the distribution covers Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Indiana. Electricity is used throughout the plant, even to the heating. The Wisconsin Valley Manufacturing Company, manufacturing sweeping compound, household chemicals, janitors' supplies, etc., was incorporated on May 29, 1922 with E. P. Chauvin, president; H. A. Arveson, vice president, and W. H. AuBuchon, secretary and treasurer. The present plant, located on Logan Avenue and constructed of cement blocks, was erected and business was begun on Aug. 14, 1922. Though it has been in operation for less than a year at the present writing the company is already in a thriving condition. All its raw material is obtained locally; its product of sweeping compound is the only one on the market in which hard-wood sawdust is used as a base, and the company has concentrated its efforts on producing an exceptionally high grade article.

   The Lincoln Mill was established in 1908 by the Lincoln Mill and Elevator Company, which was incorporated with Paul Gebert as president, Jacob Gensmann, vice president, and Leo Gensmann, secretary and treasurer. The capitalization was $35,000. In 1918 Paul Gebert purchased the interests of the other stockholders and he has since conducted it as a private concern, carrying on merchant milling and a general hay and feed business. The mill has a capacity for grinding 65 barrels of flour and 15 tons of feed per day, and employs seven men. The building is 17 5x17 5 feet in dimensions, and electric power is used throughout. There are five 9x18 double stand rollers. The A. H. Stange interests and the associated Kinzel Lumber Company are the largest timber operators now in this region and maintain a sawmill, sash and door factory, etc., at Merrill. The industry was founded by A. H. Stange, now a lead-ing citizen of Merrill, who came here about 1882 and entered the employ of the Howe and Wright Co., whose interests he later purchased and organized as the Kinzel Lumber Co. His operations here date from 1886.

   The Merrill Woodenware Company was founded in 1907 as a successor to the English Manufacturing Co., which was established in 1905. The new company was incorporated at $75,000 with Joseph A. Emerich as president, A. B. Nelson, vice president; Harry H. Hoffman, secretary; M. T. Tockley, treasurer, and John Ament as a director. At present the company is directed by Mr. Emerich and Mr. Hoffman as the only active stockholders. The concern has grown to be an exten-sive one. Since 1907 the number of employees has increased from 40 to 150, and the plant has been entirely rebuilt. The latter now covers 15 acres of ground. The product consists chiefly of wooden pails, and has a national distribution. The capacity is 1200 sixty-five pound lard pails and 2,500 thirty-five pound candy pails daily. The Heineman Lumber Company had its inception in a partnership entered into in 1893 by Sigmund Heineman and George E. Foster under the firm name of George E. Foster & Co. This concern, which has been mentioned in treating of the early history of the city, was the first to ship hardwood and hemlock lumber out of Merrill and was very progressive in its policies, one of its contributions to the advancement of the lumbering industry in this region being the importation of a number of men from Pennsylvania to instruct their employees in the art of bark peeling. In 1897 Benjamin Heinemann came into the business and a reorganiza-tion was effected under the name of the George E. Foster Lumber Co., Incorporated. During the succeeding years this company operated extensively in Lincoln, Iron, and Marathon counties, with Sigmund Heineman in charge at Merrill, George E. Foster at Mellen, and Benjamin Heinemann at Wausau. During their first year they handled 5,000,000 feet and in 1901, their last year, 50,000,000 feet. In 1902 the business had assumed such proportions that a division became necessary. Consequently there arose the Heineman Lumber Co. of Heineman, Wis., the Foster & Latimer Lumber Co. of Mellen, and the B. Heinemann Lumber Co. of Wausau, each company being assigned the branch it had been operating under the old organization plus all adjacent territory. The predecessor of the present com-pany in Merrill started a year before the above division occurred. Sigmund Heine-man acquired the Emil Thomas mill and lands at Trout City, later known as Earling and finally as Heineman. A model saw mill town grew up around the industry and flourished until 1910, when it was wiped out by fire. Immediately after the fire Mr. Heineman started plans for the erection of a plant in Merrill, and completed its construction in 1912, locating it at the north end of Mill street. The structure is two and a half stories high, 190 feet long and 64 feet wide, with separate fireproof boiler and engine house, and is equipped with single band, gang, and resaw mill. Several miles of narrow gauge railroad tracks were built in and about the yards for the handling of the raw and manufactured product. The death of Sigmund Heineman in 1913 necessitated a reorganization, and H. H. Heineman was made president, Mrs. Tena Heinemann, vice president; C. W. Bruce, secretary and general manager; E. E. Heinemann, treasurer; C. F. Steele, plant superintendent, and Sig. Arneberg, woods superintendent. The company's trade-mark, originated by H. H. Heinemann about 1904 and consisting of a red diamond, was probably the first to be used by a lumbering firm and is very well known throughout the trade.

   The Ollhoff Lumber Company was founded by Ferd Ollhoff, who built his first mill here in 1910, on the site of the present plant. He continued his operations until, Sept. 1, 1919, the present company was organized, with Joseph Emerich, president; F. W. Ollhoff, vice president and manager; John Hieb, treasurer, and John Brandt and Gust Kraft, directors. The capitalization is $75,000. The Merrill Wood Products Company, manufacturers of paper-plugs, boxes, furniture stock, and other articles fashioned of wood, had its beginning in 1919 when Paul H. Koebe began the manufacture of paper-plugs for wrapping-paper in a small shed. In 1921 Hugo H. Ceaglske became associated and the firm was incorporated for $12,000, with Paul H. Koebe as president, Mrs. Paul H. Koebe, vice president, and H. H. Ceaglske, secretary and treasurer. The present building, which is 48x50 feet in dimensions, was erected in the same year. The company now employs 12 men and produces 25,000 plugs and 2500 feet of dimension stock per day.

   The Merrill Marble and Granite Works were started by Hugo Ceaglske in 1898. After carrying on the business for 23 years Mr. Ceaglske sold out in 1921 to the present owners, Henry J Mitbauer and Alfred E. Anderson. The plant has a wide reputation and its distribution covers Lincoln and Langlade Counties, the northern portion of Marathon County, and the southern portion of Oneida County; Messrs. Mitbauer and Anderson are both expert workmen in granite and marble, having worked at engraving and finishing in some of the most important plants in the country before taking this property over. The Merrill Sheet Metal Works were established by George Pavlick in 1912. In 1916 incorporation was carried out, the capitalization being for $25,000; William Alpin was president, L. Belot, vice president, and George Pavlick, secretary and treasurer. Three years later Mr. Pavlick purchased the interests of the other two members of the company and has since been sole proprietor. Various articles of sheet metal are manufactured.

   The Merrill Concrete Block Works were started in 1914 by John Ebert, with E. J. Gerke as manager. For the first four years the machinery was moved from place to place wherever building was going on. In 1918 a one-story concrete building, 32x92 feet in dimensions, was erected at the corner of Grand Ave. and Chippewa St., and in this building the blocks are now manufactured. In 1921 Mr. Gerke purchased the plant and he and his wife operated it until August, 1923, when a building combining a new factory and dwelling was erected; the first floor including factory and office, measuring 32x98 feet, and the second floor 32x72 feet, including a porch. The new factory contains a curing-room and is installed with modem machinery run by electric power, a water system and all necessary con-veniences. It is located on Speigelbery Avenue at the south end of the bridge. From 400 to 500 blocks are turned out per day, which are sold in Lincoln County for the construction of creameries, silos, and other buildings. Well curbing, sewer pipe, and everything in the concrete line is manufactured. From 5 to 15 men are employed during the summer months.

   The Citizens National Bank is a successor to the National Bank of Merrill, which was organized by S. Heineman, F. P. Hixon, H. H. Foster, L. N. Anson, and George A. Foster in 1892, with a building at East Main and Mill streets. In 1894 this concern bought out a small bank operated by G. Haywood, and in 1897 it bought out the First National Bank of Merrill. These consolidations brought up the deposits of the National Bank of Merrill to a total of $201,000 and left 'them the only bank in the city until the Lincoln County Bank was es-tablished by the same interests. In 1912 the charter of the National Bank of Mer-rill expired and the institution was re-chartered with the same officers and stock-holders, but under the name of the Citizens National Bank. The present handsome stone building was erected in 1907 on the site of the original home of the institu-tion. The officers are as follows: George A. Foster, president; H. H. Heineman, vice president; E. A. Krembs, cashier; and E. J. Teske, assistant cashier. The capital of the bank is $100,000; its surplus and undivided profits amount to $76,950, and its deposits are $1,312,121.

   The American State Bank had its beginning in 1904. At that time the business conditions in and about Merrill indicated that there was room in the city for another banking institution. The Union Investment Co. of Minneapolis, which was the holding company of a number of banks in the central west, investigated the field and in connection with the Phinney and Kubasta Insurance Agency and R. C. Ballstadt, at that time cashier of the First National Bank of Buffalo Center, Iowa, together with a number of other enterprising business men, applied to the banking commissioner at Madison for a state bank charter, which was granted on Aug. 22, 1904 and the German American State Bank opened for business on that date with a capital of $30,000 and about $7,500 in deposits. The board of directors elected consisted of F. H. Well come of Minneapolis and the following local parties: R. C. Ballstadt, David M. Phinney, F. W. Kubasta, William F. Peterman, W. G. Smith, A. F. Lueck, Val. Henrich, Jr., and W. H. Dicke, out of which number F. H. Well-come was elected president, David M. Phinney vice president, and R. C. Ballstadt cashier. The bank had scarcely commenced doing business when the state banking department frowned upon line banks, controlled by a holding corporation, and local parties bought out the interests of the outside company, making the German American State Bank a home institution. David M. Phinney was elected president; F. W. Kubasta, vice president; R. C. Ballstadt , cashier, and John J. McDonald, Jr., assistant cashier. A local director was also elected to succeed Mr. Well come. In 1906 Mr. Phinney's health failed and he tendered his resignation as president and director and Julius Thielman was elected in his place, serving in this capacity until July I, 1908. John J. McDonald was offered a position with his father in Chicago and was succeeded by O. Hesterman. E. J. Smith was elected a director to succeed Julius Thielman, whose other duties compelled him to relinquish the presidency, and serve as president and director ever since. William F. Peterman was elected vice president and R. C. Ballstadt cashier, and these have served up to the present time. During their term of office the first dividend was paid, and the bank has been in a healthy, prosperous condition and has paid regular dividends since that time. In 1912 the capital stock was increased to $40,000. In addition to paying regular dividends the bank has built up a surplus of about thirty thousand dollars through the untiring efforts of its officers and directors; deposits of close to a million dollars have been entrusted to the bank by the general public, which is but mute evidence of the confidence that the people of Merrill and surrounding country have in the institution. In 1918 the name was changed to the American State Bank as evidence of loyalty to the government during the trying times brought on by the world war. It will also stand as evidence to their credit that about a half-million dollars of liberty bonds were distributed to their customers to assist the government in prosecuting the war with the utmost vigor. During the panic of 1907 this new institution, in common with the older banking houses, met all demands and weathered the panic without suspending specie payment. The bank is well managed by the present board of directors and officers: F. H. Smith, president; William F. Peterman, vice president; R. C. Ballstadt, cashier; H. K. Henrich, assistant cashier; N. E. Peterman, assistant cashier; and A. F. Peterman, William F. Nevermann, John F. Rehfeld, A. F. Lueck, and Val. Henrich, Jr. The bank has long outgrown its present quarters and is planning on the erec-tion of a modern banking home to accommodate their ever-increasing business as evidence of the faith they have in the locality and as an appreciation to their numerous customers.

   The Lincoln County Bank was established in 1897 by the interests who were then operating the National Bank of Merrill, and was later sold to A. H. Stange and his associates. The original home of the bank was where the Perfect Knitting Mills are now located; it was later moved to the building adjoining the present location, which had been built to accommodate it; rapid growth of the bank, however. necessitated the erection of a larger building, and the present structure was erected about 1912. The officers are as follows; A. H. Stange, president; C. J. Kinzel, vice president; William J. Tesch, vice president and cashier; A. Gruett and H. Tewes, assistant cashiers. The bank is a very stable institution, with a capital of $100,000, surplus and undivided profits of $89,470, and deposits of $1,148,600.

   The city's educational system has been built up to a splendid point of develop-ment. The approximate enrollment now is 460 in the junior and senior high school and 1230 in the grades. Recent construction has placed the buildings on a par with those of any city in this section of the state. The Lincoln, Sixth Ward, and high school buildings are all modern brick structures, and the Fifth Ward building, built in 1895, is also of brick. The Sixth Ward school house was erected in 1912 and the Lincoln building in 1922 and 1923. The Third Ward school, which was formerly used as a high school and of which mention has been made in treating of the early history of the city, is the only frame building now in use and is soon to be abandoned. The high school building was erected in 1901, and an addition begun in May of 1922 and completed early in 1923 makes this building suitable to present needs It is beautifully located on the Prairie River, with an athletic field just across the stream. The building is about 320x80 feet in dimen-sions, three stories high, and its equipment throughout is the most modern obtain-able, its auditorium seats 1,000 or more comfortably, and there is a gymnasium 60x100 feet with balcony; the chemistry, physics, and biology laboratories are fully equipped. H. W. Kircher is the present city superintendent of schools; L. A. Struck is principal of the high school, H. A. Cook of the junior high school, W. E. Blodgett of the Sixth Ward school, Jessie Parrott of the Fifth Ward school, and Cecil Warzinik of the Second Ward school; Mabel Kissel is supervisor of music, and Lillian Plummer supervisor of art; Helen McLaughlin is secretary. There are 16 teachers in the high school and 27 in the grade schools during the present school year.

Chapter IX: continued on next page Part F

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