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John R. Riess, Page 621
JOHN R. RIESS, Secretary and Treasurer of The J. J. Vollrath Manufacturing Company, is a native of Wilkes Barre, Pa., born May 10, 1853. His father, Frank J. Riess, was born in Neustadt, on the Hardt, Rhine-Prussia, Germany. When a young man he learned the jeweler's trade, at which he worked four years in Paris, and two years in London. In 1848, he emigrated to the United States, locating in Wilkes Barre, where he met and married the mother of the subject of this article, who died when the lad was about six years of age. The mother was also a native of Germany, having been born in the same province as her husband. She, too, emigrated to America in early life. About 1859, Mr. Riess, Sr., came to Milwaukee, and established himself in the jewelry business, which he still carries on.
John R. Riess is the eldest of three children. His educational advantages were as good as Milwaukee could afford. After graduating from the German and English Academy of that city in 1869, he began to study law in the office of Carter, Pitkin & Davis, one of the strong law firms of the Cream City. Mr. Pitkin having withdrawn, the firm became Carter & Davis. In 1872, Mr. Riess was admitted to the Bar, and thereupon went into partnership with his preceptors. Carter withdrew to locate in Chicago, the firm becoming Davis & Riess. On account of sickness, Davis was forced to abandon practice, leaving Mr. Riess to conduct the business alone. Subsequently he became a member of the firm of Shepard, Riess & Shepard. In 1882, he sold his interests in that firm, to engage in the business which now occupies his attention. On the incorporation of The J. J. Vollrath Manufacturing Company, he was chosen Secretary and Treasurer.
March 28, 1880, is the date when was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Riess and Miss Marie Vollrath. The lady is a native of Sheboygan, and is a daughter of Jacob J. Vollrath, a record of whose life will be found elsewhere in this work. Their family consists of two children: Minnie, born October 19, 1882, and DeWitt Frank, whose birth occurred April 2, 1886.
Mr. Riess is a Republican in politics, being an active worker in the councils of his party, both in county and State. He has served as a member of the State Central Committee, and for eight years has been Chairman of the County Central Committee. In 1893, he was chosen as a delegate to the National Convention of the Republican League of the United States.
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