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History of Terre Haute, Vigo Co., IN - 1880 - businesses


The boot and shoe trade of Terre Haute is well represented, and numbers among those engaged in that branch of merchandising gentlemen of energy and good financiering ability. Among those houses which may be said to be representatives of the trade we mention that of Mr. DAVID REIBOLD as one of the most prominent and longest established houses in the city. Mr. REIBOLD first began the business of a boot and shoe merchant in Terre Haute about 1866, and has since continued it successfully. His place of business is located on the corner of Third and Main streets, where he is occupying a space 22 feet front by 68 feet in depth, two floors and basement, all of which is well stocked with everything in the way of styles and quality which a sharp competition and an extensive trade may demand. By his own energy and close attention to business he has placed himself at the head of the boot and shoe trade of Terre Haute, in which he has been wholly dependent upon his own resouces. In 1855 he first became a resident of Terre Haute, and began work at his trade of a cooper, remaining until 1860, when he removed to Keokuk, Iowa, where, in 1861, at the breaking out of the rebellion of 1861-5, he on June 13 enlisted in the 1st Iowa Cav. for three years. At the close of this term of service he reenlisted for three years serving altogether four years and nine months, he being in Texas when discharged from further service. Returning to the north after his service in the army he located at Dayton, Ohio, Miami county, Ohio, being his native place. He remained a resident of Dayton until 1866, when he removed to Terre Haute, where he has since resided, engaged in an active and honorable business.

DAVID BRONSON, proprietor of the Bonson House, Terre Haute, dates his residence in the Prairie City back to 1855. Though he is a native of Ireland, he was brought by his people to the United States in 1840, when he was about nine years old. From 1855 till 1865 he was in the employ of the Vandalia and the Evansville railroads. In 1865 he began the hotel business, and is now proprietor and owner of the Bronson House, which is a fine three and a-half story brick building of thirty-five guest rooms. It is located at the crossing of the Evansville, Terre Haute & Cincinnati and the Indianapolis & St. Louis railways, just north of the present Union depot. In addition to the Bronson House he is running the Exchange Hotel, one-half square east of the Union depot, or 1009 Chestnut street. Both of these hotels, under Mr. BRONSON's management, are doing a good business. Should there be, as is contemplated, a new Union depot built at the railroad crossing above mentioned, his Bronson House will then be one of the most paying hotels in the city. Mr. BRONSON has taken great pride in keeping both of his hotels in the very best of shape, so they bear a good name and reputation. The Bronson is, in fact, the only hotel in the city that may boast of new, large and well ventilated rooms. It is also the only hotel in the city that has been constructed at a date recent enough to be supplied with the modern architectural improvements. Mr. BRONSON has been dependent upon his own resources, and whatever he may have accomplished is due to his own energy and enterprise.

C.C. SMITH, stove dealer, Terre Haute, the leading stove dealer of Terre Haute, is a native of the Wabash valley, Knox being his native county. He has now been a resident of Terre Haute since 1856, during which time he has been engaged in his present line of business. His father, Nicholas SMITH, was one of the early settlers of Knox county, he having located at Vincennes as early as 1817, and for fifty-four years was one of the merchants of that city, one branch of his business being the stove trade. In this business C.C. received an early education, which in after years proved to be of practical use to him, as his present success in business will warrant. The firm is known in Terre Haute as C.C. Smith & Son. They have two large and well regulated business houses, located at Nos. 417 and 124-126 Main street. The former is used as a retail house, and is presided over by his son. There they occupy a room 20 feet front by 140 feet in depth, also a part of the second floor. Nos. 124-126, three floors and basement, is a large establishment, 40x75 feet, and used principally for wholesaling, it being packed from the basement to the third floor with a well selected stock of stoves and stove fixtures. A part of the adjoining building on the west side of Nos. 124-126 is also used by them, as in connection with the stove trade they carry a large assortment of farm implements, wagons, etc., prominent among which is the Champion reaper and mower, the Oliver chilled plow, and the Studebaker wagons. Mr. SMITH has never been an active man in political affairs, though he has helped torward any home enterprise pertaining to the public good. In short, he is one of the energetic, active business men whose name for years has been found among the list of thoroughly reliable and substantial citizens of Terre Haute.

One of the substantial jobbing houses of the city of Terre Haute is that of Froeb Bros., wholesale dealers in saddlery hardware. Their business house is located at No. 19 South Sixth street, and is 25 feet front by 100 feet in depth, three floors and basement, and in addition they have a collar manufactory located in the rear. This house was formed, in 1856 by Messrs. WATKINS and SLAUGHTER. In 1868 Mr. KERCKHOFF became a member of the firm, the firm name changing to Slaughter & Kerckhoff. In 1873 Mr. KERCKHOFF bought Mr. SLAUGHTER's interest in the business and conducted it alone until 1878, when he was succeeded by the Froeb Bros., who are still engaged in the business. They have the arrangement of their goods thoroughly systematized, the first floor being used as a salesroom for the less bulky class of goods and as an office. The second floor is used for the storage of lap robes, blankets, whips, etc., while the third floor is used principally for saddles, saddletrees, collars, etc. They give employment to about eight men, two of whom are usually kept "on the road". Mr. EMIL FROEB, the older of the brothers, is a native of Bavaria, Germany. He came to the United States in 1858 with his people, they locating in Terre Haute the same year, where he has since resided. They are both young men of energy and ability, and have conducted their business in such a manner as to place the name of Froeb Bros. among the leading business houses of the city.

Mr. LOUIS DUENWEG, who for fifteen years has had charge of the books of the distillery now operated by Cox & Fairbanks, is a native of Germany, near Cologne, where he was born about the year 1837. At the age of nineteen years he had become a graduate and shortly after began at keeping books. In 1859 he emigrated to the United States and located at Terre Haute, where in 1864 he took charge of the books of Alex. McGregor & Co., distillers. Since that time he has had charge of the books of that institution during the different changes of proprietorship. It is now about twenty-three years since he first began at bookkeeping. During that time he has probably at one time done a greater amount of work than any other bookkeeper of Terre Haute. The firm with which he is now connected is the largest of the city.

F.J. BIEL, wholesale dealer in tobaccos and cigars is one of the self-made business men of Terre Haute, and one, too, who in his line of business stands at the head of the trade. He is, in fact, the only one who is doing an exclusive wholesale trade in tobaccos and cigars, or so nearly exclusively wholesale that his business may be named as such, as his retail trade in comparision to his wholesale business forms but a small part of his extensive business. His store is located at No. 409 Main street, where he is occupying three floors and basement 20 feet front by 80 feet in depth. The first floor is devoted to the sale of goods and as a sample-room; the second to the storage of goods, and the third is used for the manufacture of cigars, in which he does a large business, keeping about thirty-six men employed in their manufacture, and to whom he pays weekly about $800. His own manufacture of cigars and the different brands of plug and fine-cuts which he handles have attained such a reputation as to require three traveling salesmen. Mr. BIEL is a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he first learned the trade of a cigar-maker. In 1859 he came to Terre Haute and began work at his trade, and in 1866 commenced business on his own account. He has gradually increased his trade until now his is the representative tobacco house of Terre Haute. The building up and establishing of this extensive business has been wholly the result of his own energy and good financiering.

PETER MILLER is the proper representative of the harness, saddle and horse-collar trade in Terre Haute, though there are others who are extensively engaged in the sale of some of these articles. As a wholesale and retail dealer he does by far the largest business. His establishment is located at No. 17 South Sixth street, and has a frontage of 20 feet and a depth of 140 feet, and it is three floors in height, the third being used in the manufacture of collars, the second for the making of harness and saddles, and the first as a general store, salesroom and office. Mr. MILLER has now been engaged in his line of business about twenty years. He learned his trade in Terre Haute, and in 1865 began in business on his own account, manufacturing and selling harness and saddles. In 1878 he took in a partner, though he is now doing business alone again. He began manufacturing collars in 1873, and in December, 1879, he added a general stock of saddle hardware. In all these lines he is doing something in the jobbing trade. In all, he gives employment to about fifteen men. Mr. MILLER is a native of Hamilton county, Ohio. In 1864 he was one of the non-commissioned officers in Co. I, 133r reg. Ind. Vol. Inf., Col. R.N. HUDSON's one-hundred days regiment. He is a member of Humboldt Lodge, No. 42, A.F. and A.M., a charter member of Goethe Lodge, No. 382, I.O.O.F., and a member of Freya Lodge, No. 5, of Druids. In the building up of his extensive business Mr. MILLER has been wholly dependent upon his own resources, and is now, by honesty and industry, one of the prosperous business men of the city where he began twenty years ago as an apprentice with Rufus ST. JOHN.

That branch of business industries of Terre Haute known as the carpet trade has been of comparatively slow growth until 1870, when the house of Ryce & Walmsley was organized. Mr. WALMSLEY, the managing partner since the organization of the present firm, has given all his skill and energies to the building up of a business to compare favorably with any houses in the state in this line. To aid him in the accomplishment of his object he brought to bear many years' experience in the mercantile business, and a thorough knowledge of the carpet trade. This energetic movement on the part of Mr. WALMSLEY gave the trade a new impetus and caused other dealers to look to the stock and quality of their goods, until in a little over ten years the carpet trade has taken its proper stand as a branch of the business industries of Terre Haute. The house of Ryce & Walmsley, however, stands, as it should, at the head of the trade, as through them there are now many thousands of dollars paid to the merchants of Terre Haute for this article of commerce that in former times found its way to larger cities in exchange for a quality of goods that could not be found in Terre Haute, theirs being the pioneer and only exclusive house-furnishing establishment in the city. Their business house is No. 309 Main street, and has a frontage of 20 feet by 125 feet in depth and three floors, all of which are crowded with everything pertaining to the house-furnishing trade, such as lace curtains, fine mirrors, draperies, upholstering goods, mattings, decoration wall paper, oil-cloths, window shades, etc. It is useless to attempt to enumerate the quality, kind and variety of their stock. It will suffice to say that those who a few years ago were not able to buy may now decorate and make their homes beautiful, thus allowing the indulgence of taste without the extravagant cost of former times. Mr. RYCE, the senior member of the firm, is one of the old and well known residents of the city. Mr. WALMSLEY is a native of Philadelphia, where the early part of his life was spent, and at one of whose educational institutions he graduated before coming west. He has now been a resident of Terre Haute for about twenty years, during which time he has been engaged in merchandising. Fourteen years of this time he has been familiar with his present line of business. Much credit is certainly due him for his energy and enterprise in building up a business that is an honor to the city and reflects only credit upon himself.

Mr. C.W. BAUERMEISTER is one of the business men of Terre Haute, who though not so long in the trade as many others, has already established an extensive business. The firm of Bauermeister & Busch has been engaged in business in Terre Haute since 1868. They are located corner of First and Main streets, where they occupy two rooms, each 20 feet front by 100 feet in depth. In connection with the grocery business they are dealing in grain, and are also doing something of a wholesale business in cured meats. Mr. BAUERMEISTER is a native of Prussia. He emigrated to the United States in 1860, and at once came to Terre Haute, though he did not become premanently located until 1868, when he began business. Before leaving his native country he had acquired a good education. In the building up of his financial standing he has been dependent upon his own resources.

In making a selection of those firms which may be termed representatives of their respective lines of business, we would mention that of Fisbeck Bros., in the manufacture of harness and saddles. Though they may not be classed among the older dealers in their line, they are still of that class of men who is engaging in a business and very materially to the building up and establishing of it upon a basis which can only be of advantage to any city. Their place is located at No. 212 Main street, where they occupy two floors 18x80 feet, and give employment to about nine men. Their work all being done by hand, requires the employment of more and a better class of workmen than the majority of other houses in their line. Mr. CHARLES O. FISBECK, younger of the brothers, is a practical workman in the manufacture of their line of goods, while F.C., the elder, is otherwise employed. They have both been residents of Terre Haute for about nineteen years, and began business in their present line in January, 1879. Chas. C. spent eight years at "jour." work before they began. Though he is still a young man, being now about twenty-three years of age, through his supervision some of the finest harness ever manufactured in Terre Haute has been recently turned out by his workmen. In the short time they have been engaged they have established a trade that is envied by some of the older dealers. As stated before, F.C. does not spend his time at the store, but for the past ten years has been employed in Hoberg, Root & Co's large dry-goods establishment as bookkeeper. He now has charge of the books and finances of that firm. During his connection with that house he employed or spent his spare time at learning the printer's trade, and gradually became so much interested in the business as to provide himself, in company with Mr. E. FROEB, with the necessary machinery to do a job printing business. This they carried on at extra and odd times, until it brought them an income of about $600 per year. In 1878 they rented their job office, which is located at No. 312 1/2 Main street. Mr. F.C. now spends his extra time in the store with his brother, that business having grown to such proportions as to demand his leisure time.

W.F. ARNOLD, the present deputy postmaster of Terre Haute, has been connected with the postal service in the Terre Haute office since 1862. He first began as stamp clerk, while he also was engaged in other business in the lobby of the office. In 1864 he began as clerk of Mr. J.O. JONES, who was postmaster at that date. He remained with Mr. JONES and his successor, Dr. E. READ, as clerk. Mr. L.A. BURNETT succeeded Dr. READ. He remained with Mr. BURNETT for one year as clerk, and then took the position of deputy, which he held the remaining three years of Mr. BURNETT's appointment. Mr. N. FILBECK succeeded Mr. BURNETT, and is now holding the appointment. He still retained his position as deputy when Mr. FILBECK took the office. When he first became connected with the office there were about 700 boxes. The business of the office has increased during his connection with it until the first of October, 1879, there were about 2,000 boxes. There are now connected with the office seven clerks and six carriers. Mr. ARNOLD is a native of Richmond, Indiana. In 1862 he became a resident of Terre Haute, and a short time thereafter became connected with the postal service, in which he has remained until the present time. His long experience and thorough study of the laws governing the postal service of the United States have made him very proficient, and thoroughly capable of discharging the duties devolving upon him as deputy postmaster.

ELISHA HAVEN, dealer in wholesale staple and fancy notions, 306 Main street, Terre Haute, is of the firm of Haven & Geddes. This house is one of the largest in their line in the State of Indiana. Mr. HAVEN commenced his business life as clerk with the firm of Jeffers & Miller. After four years he took Mr. MILLER's place in the firm, and this relation existed three years. In 1871 Mr. GEDDES came into the firm, and in 1874 Mr. JEFFERS sold out to his partners. This firm occupy three floors, the two upper 50x80 feet, the lower 25x180 feet. They employ three sample-men who constantly travel, and run three wagons. Their business is already immense, and constantly increasing. Mr. HAVEN is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He removed to Terre Haute in 1868.

JNO. G. HEINL, the well known florist of the city of Terre Haute, is a native of Austria. In 1854, when he was ten years old, his people emigrated to the United States. In 1856, two years after his arrival, he worked for three years with a florist, of Toledo, Ohio, with whom he remained for seven years. In 1868 he came to Terre Haute and engaged in the business on his own account, which he has continued until the present, making for him in all about twenty-three years' experience in the avocation. His gardens and hot-houses are located at No. 19-29 North Eighth street, where he is occupying a space 140x140 feet, all of which is utilized in growing some of the finest and choicest plants and flowers that are to be found in the city. In connection with his establishment on Eighth street, he has a farm of forty acres, located a short distance southeast of the city. This is also used for gardening and growing plants and smaller varieties of nursery stock. Since eleven years of age Mr. HEINL has been dependent upon his own resources, both in acquiring an education and property. How well he has succeeded in the latter may be determined by a view of his splendid property on Eighth street, where he is usually to be found, pleasant and courteous, and ready to explain to visitors the name and nature of the different varieties of plants.

Fouts & Hunter, proprietors livery stable, Terre Haute, is one of the best known and representative livery firms of Terre Haute, and they are located at Nos. 123-5 South Third street. In 1864 Fonts & Bro. began in the livery business in Terre Haute; they were successors of Wm. II. STEWARD. In 1866 Mr. HUNTER became a member of the firm by buying the interest of Mr. FOUTS' brother. Since then they have been associated together in the buying and selling of horses and mules and in the livery business. From 1866 until 1874 they were engaged in buying and selling stock and doing a livery business. In 1874 they rented their barn in Terre Haute and went to St. Louis and began buying, selling and shipping horses and mules on a large scale. It also proved to be a bad investment for them, as by the dishonesty of other parties and other unavoidable losses they returned to Terre Haute in 1876, having lost about $75,000. This left them in rather straightened circumstances compared to their former facilities for doing business. But instead of giving up they again resumed with the same energy that had previously built up an extensive business for them. Their first contract was to buy one hundred horses for the government. This contract they took December 12, 1877. Since then, or in the past two years, they have bought and sold about 2,000 head of horses and mules, and have also sold about 480 buggies, a business in which they are also extensively engaged. They keep about twenty head of horses in the livery stable. Mr. FOUTS, a history of whose life alone would make a large volume, is a native of Union county, Indiana. His father was a native of North Carolina, and his mother of Bourbon county, Kentucky. In 1786 his grandfather HAWKINS was with Lewis and Clark in their fight at Vincennes with the French and Indians. He, with six sons, was also in the Mexican war. Mr. FOUTS was born in 1820, and at the age of nine years he rode on horseback from his home in Union county to Charleston, South Carolina, with a drove of horses. The handling of stock, and more especially horses, has been a business with him since his boyhood. In 1838 he was appointed from his district a cadet to West Point, but gave it up to the now Gen. BURNSIDES. In 1843 he went in the livery business at Connersville, Indiana, and the principal part of the time since he has been engaged in that avocation. In 1871 he was made a member of the city council from the third ward. Other than this he has taken no active part in political affairs. W.R. HUNTER, who, as before stated, has been the partner of Mr. FOUTS since 1866, is now about forty-nine years old, and was born in Warren county, Tennessee. In 1861 he went in the army, enlisting in Co. P, 21st Ill. Vol. Inf., U.S. GRANT's old regiment. He served three years, three months and four days. He entered as a private, but the last eighteen months of service he was promoted to quartermaster-sergeant and assistant quartermaster. These gentlemen are both live, energetic business men, and in the building up of the business industries of their line in Terre Haute they can be classed only among the leader.

There are four firms in the city of Terre Haute that are doing a jobbing business in the drug trade. Of these the firm of E.H. Bindley & Co. is the only one that does an exclusive wholesale business, as the others are both wholesale and retail. Their business house is located at No. 644 Main street, and is 20 feet front by 140 feet in depth, three floors and basement, all of which is occupied by them as salesrooms and for the storing of goods that belong to the wholesale drug business. Mr. E.H. BINDLEY, the senior member of the firm, is a native of the State of Pennsylvania. He has now been engaged in the drug trade about twenty-six years. Ten years of this time he was engaged in the business in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the spring of 1864 he removed to Terre Haute, where he opened a drug store, the firm then being Eberly & Bindley. In 1876 the firm was reorganized and the name changed to E.H. Bindley & Co., as it now stands. The success of this firm as it has gradually come up from among the smaller dealers in drugs to the largest and only exclusive wholesale house in the city, is pretty conclusive evidence of the thorough and practical knowledge of the business displayed by the proprietors. They now have an establishment that would do credit to a larger city, and are not only competing successfully with other dealers of Terre Haute, but with the firms of Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis.

J.G. BARNARD is another of the business men of Terre Haute who have done much toward the building up of the manufacturing interests of the city. He became a resident of Terre Haute in 1864, and two years later became interested with Mr. McELFRESH in the Phoenix Foundry and Machine Works. It was during his connection with that business that it was built up and increased to the present standing. They continued to do business together until 1874, when Mr. BARNARD retired from the firm. That was not his first experience in manufacturing, however, as previous to that he had been quite extensively engaged in the manufacture of lumber and wagon work-work, and in fact was interested in this line of business during his connection with the Phoenix, he having at that time several mills along the line of the Vandalia railroad, which at that time was in course of construction. It was he who founded the town of Dennison, Clark county, Illinois, by locating one of his factories at that point. He is still engaged in the manufacture of lumber and wagon wood-work at Cairo, Illinois, where he has quite an extensive establishment, in which he gives employment to about twenty-five men. He owns 2,400 acres of land in the vicinity of Cairo, from which he derives his supply of timber, thus reducing the first cost of his supplies, which enables him the better to compete with other firms in a similar line of business. The building for the Atlantic Foundry and Machine Works, located at No. 603 North Sixth street, Terre Haute, was built by him in about 1874, and was originally intended for the manufacture of wagon wood-work, but on account of the "growing hard times" he never carried out his original designs. Recently, however, he has begun fitting up and supplying the building with the necessary machinery for the opening of extensive foundry and machine works to be known as above named. The building is 50x142 feet, divided into three apartments, the front and rear rooms being each fifty feet in length, the latter being the moulding room, while the former is supplied with the different kinds of machinery essential to the business. A fine engine of forty horse-power is lcoated in this room. The middle room is the blacksmith shop. The Sixth street front of the building is three stories. The Vandalia railroad passing within a few feet of the south side of the building makes it a very convenient shipping point. He is fitting this up to work about twenty-five men, and is not extablishing this branch of his business by guess-work, as he is a thoroughly practical man. Aside from his business of manufacturing he has just fitted up an elegant boot and shoe store at No. 628 Marble Block, Main street. Mr BARNARD is a native of the State of Maine, and judging from his success in business he seems to possess the natural shrewdness and enterprise that is usually accorded to the genuine Yankee, and is certainly a valuable anxillary to the manufacturing trade of Terre Haute.

Continued here!

HISTORY OF VIGO AND PARKE COUNTIES, Together With Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley
H.W. Beckwith - 1880
Terre Haute, pp. 255-257; 260; 267-268; 274-281; 288-298

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Terre Haute & Harrison Twp. biographies.

Submitted by Charles Lewis
Data entry by Kim Holly & Cathy Slater

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