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William Schwartz, Page 340
WILLIAM SCHWARTZ, of Plymouth, has been a resident of that city since 1849, and has been prominently identified with the growth and development of Sheboygan County for upwards of forty-four years.
The subject of this sketch was born in Saxe-Weimar, Germany, on the 29th of December, 1830, and is a son of Michael and Eva (Schroeder) Schwartz. His parents were natives of the same country as their son. The father, who was a miller by occupation, came to the United States in 1849, and died in the town of Rhine about 1883. The mother died in the Old Country.
William Schwartz learned the miller's trade with his father, and served a regular apprenticeship to the trade of blacksmith in his native Germany. In 1849, he emigrated to America, coming directly to Sheboygan, arriving in Plymouth August 19 of that year. The village then contained but about fifteen families. On coming here, he opened a blacksmith shop and carried it on until 1856. About that time he built what was known as the South Mill in the town of Plymouth. Bringing into play his knowledge of milling learned in Europe, he operated that mill successfully until 1864. In 1865, he built the Central Roller Mill of Plymouth, which he has continuously operated since. This mill has the most improved modern machinery, and has a capacity for making fifty barrels of flour daily. In the year 1887, Mr. Schwartz bought the old Quit-Qui-Oc Mills, at the foot of Main Street, one of the oldest mills in the county, which he rebuilt throughout and fitted up with modern machinery for roller-process milling, and which he still owns and operates. This mill, like the Central, has a capacity for fifty barrels of flour per day; both are run by water power.
In 1878, Mr. Schwartz, in company with Robert Preussler, built and operated a furniture factory, near the Central Roller Mills, and just off of Milwaukee Street. This was the first factory in that line established in Plymouth, and of it the present Plymouth Furniture Company is an outgrowth. In 1881, Mr. Schwartz sold out to his partner. In 1891, he started the William Schwartz Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated with a capital of $20,000, $15,000 of which was paid in. He was chosen the first President of that company, and has held the position ever since. Charles Wilke was chosen Vice-President, and has since held that position; Valentine Pfeil was Secretary and Treasurer, but was succeeded by J. W. Peterson, the present incumbent. This company manufactures kitchen safes, sinks, book-cases and wardrobes, making a specialty of kitchen safes and sinks. They employ an average of thirty-five men, and the factory has a capacity for $2,500 worth of business per month. Then the Milwaukee & Northwestern Railway was constructed, Mr. Schwartz was one of the contractors, and graded the line between Plymouth and Kiel.
In 1872, he built a fine summer resort hotel at Elkhart Lake, known as the Lake View, with a capacity for accommodating one hundred guests. In 1882, he sold the Lake View to John Schwartz, and built the Bellevue, another summer hotel, having a capacity for fifty guests, and which he still owns. He also has two small farms situated hear lake Elkhart.
On the 22d of May, 1854, Mr. Schwartz was married in Sheboygan to Miss Theresa Gehrlein, a daughter of Tobias H. Gehrlein. Mrs. Schwartz was born near Landau, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1845, with her parents. Her home was in Cincinnati until 1854, when she removed to Sheboygan. Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz have no children of their own, but adopted and brought up a son and a daughter. The son's name is William, and the daughter's Mary. William married Louisa Labudda, and resides at Lake Elkhart; Mary married August Wittenberg, and makes her home in Plymouth.
In politics, Mr. Schwartz is a Republican with liberal views on the currency question, on the line of the principles of the Greenback or People's party. He was elected County Treasurer in 1870, and served two years; was Supervisor two terms, and twice Town Treasurer, and was once the candidate of the Greenback party for State Treasurer.
Mr. Schwartz is one of the very few remaining early pioneers of Sheboygan County. His life has been an active and useful one, and his success, which has helped others as well as himself, is the result of energy and enterprise. The substantial results of his efforts in the shape of prosperous manufacturing establishments will live as a monument to his activity and thrift after he has passed from the scenes of his many years of active business. He came to this country ignorant of its language, and without capital; by industry, enterprise and integrity, he has won his way to the front among the leading and successful men of the county, and enjoys in a marked degree the full confidence and respect of all with whom he has had business or social relations.
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