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Louis Bernard Hollmeyer
THERE are always valuable lessons to be gained in pursuing the life histories of such men as the late Louis Bernard Hollmeyer, one of Cincinnati's most enterprising
citizens of a past generation, whose life forcibly illustrated what energy, integrity, and a fixed purpose can accomplish, even in the face of formidable obstacles, when animated by noble aims and correct ideals. During the years of his residence in southern Ohio, Mr. Hollmeyer held the unequivocal esteem of those with whom he came in contact, for he was a man whom to know was to trust and admire, owing to his many commendable attributes of head and heart, and when the "reaper whose name is Death" gathered him in his sheaves he was greatly missed by a wide acquaintance. For many years he was one of the leading dealers of leather goods in the United States and was widely known as a man of affairs.
Mr. Hollmeyer was of Teutonic blood, having been born in Voglesong, near Barnstorf, province of Hanover, Germany, January 10, 1838. He was a son of August and Elnora (Freese) Hollmeyer, both natives of Germany, the father born at Von Hollen and the mother at Von Freesen, near Barnstorf. These parents grew to maturity in their native province, where they were married and established their permanent home. To their union four children were bornóLouis Bernard, of this memoir, and Mrs. Minnie Wedenkamp; Henry F. and William are both deceased.
Mr. Hollmeyer, of this review, spent his boyhood in his native land and there attended the public schools. His early ambition for a college training was not to be gratified, but, nothing daunted, he eventually became a well-educated man by wide home study and by contact with the business world. When only sixteen years of age he sailed from Hanover for America and took up his residence in the city of Cincinnati where he spent the rest of his life, and there this "youth to fortune and to fame unknown," in the language of the poet Gray, became a prominent factor through the legitimate exercise of his innate talents, having had no assistance from any source. He began his career in the New World by clerking in a grocery store for a Mr. Ferguson. Later he gave up his position and assisted his brother, Henry F. Hollmeyer, in farming near Oxford, Ohio. The latter enlisted in the Union army upon the breaking out of the Civil War, but our subject returned to Cincinnati and began working for the Michael Echert Tanning Company. While so employed, his honesty was put to the test when he found an extra five-dollar gold piece in his pay envelope; he immediately informed his employer that he had been paid five dollars evidently by mistake, more than was due him, but he was told to keep it, for the firm had thus discovered his true character. Thus proving the young man's honesty, he was rapidly promoted and he and his employer became fast friends and their intimate relations continued the rest of their lives. After severing his connection with the tanning company, Mr. Hollmeyer was in the employ of the T. T.
Brown Company for two years as traveling salesman, and was regarded as one of the firm's most valuable employees. Then in partnership with Justin Griess and Julius Pfleger he organized the Griess-Pfleger and Company of which he became the prime motive force, his energy, sound judgment, perseverance and honesty contributing to the building up of one of the largest leather concerns in America, which is still operated on an extensive scale. They were successful from the start. Mr. Hollmeyer spent most of his time in traveling, buying and selling in the interest of the company. The leather goods always found a ready market owing to the superior quality, our subject always insisting on high-grade material and prompt delivery. He was the executive head of the firm. He also organized, with his partners, the Griess-Pfleger Tanning Company of Chicago, Illinois, which was just completed a short time before his death. It is said to be the most modernly equipped plant of its kind in the United States. He had unusual business ability and his large success was well merited for it was earned along honorable lines and by his individual efforts. He certainly deserved a great deal of credit for forging to the front up from so unpromising an early environment. He was a man of kindness and was greatly beloved by his employees as well as his many friends in every walk of life.
Mr. Hollmeyer was married in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 10, .1864, to Catherine Herber, who was born near Manchester, Indiana, July 25, 1843. Rev. Mr. Turke of the Northern German Lutheran church performed the ceremony. She is a daughter of Michael and Sophia (Engel) Herber, both natives of Bavaria, in Duttenheim, Germany, in which country they spent their early lives, were educated and married. They finally came to the United States and established the family home in Dearborn County, Indiana. Their family consisted of five children. These parents were honest and industrious and gave their children good educational and other advantages. Mrs. Hollmeyer's father was a cavalryman in the Bavarian army and fought against Napoleon.
To Mr. and Mrs. Hollmeyer the following children were born: Harry August Hollmeyer, born December 17, 1864, died March 17, 1913. He married Margaret Richmond, of Newport, Kentucky, established their home in Cincinnati and they became the parents of four childrenóHarry Louis, John George, Louis Richmond, and Richmond Joseph. Adeline Margaret Hollmeyer, born August 29, 1866, married Will F. Cochran; they live in Cincinnati. George William Herber Hollmeyer was born July 10, 1869, he married Lizzie Yuenger and to them these children were born: Walter L., Ralph G., Catherine, Helen Margaret, Louis Bernard. Laura Alma Hollmeyer, born January 7, 1880, married James R. Wood-rough. They have one childóJohn Randolph.
Politically, Louis B. Hollmeyer was a Republican, and while lie never sought or held public office he was always interested in general public improvements and the welfare of his city and State. He belonged to the Business Men's Club of Cincinnati, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He also belonged to the Shoe and Leather Club of Cincinnati, in fact, was one of the principal organizers of the same. He was a most companionable, jovial, and charitable gentleman and was familiarly and affectionately known to many of his friends as "Pop" Hollmeyer. He was always doing something for the good of others, and no one ever appealed to him in vain for assistance in a worthy cause. He helped many a young man get started in the business world. He looked for the good in people rather than the evil, but was always alert and could not be imposed upon by the unscrupulous. His countenance was smiling and kindly, beaming with honesty and good will, and it was a pleasure to meet this splendid self-made man.
Mr. Hollmeyer was summoned from earthly scenes on September 1, 1915, in Cincinnati, when in his seventy-eighth year.
The following resolutions were adopted by the Shoe and Leather Association of Chicago:
WHEREAS, In the death of Louis B. Hollmeyer, of Cincinnati, our Western trade loses a veteran, respected and beloved. Now be it Resolved, that the Shoe and Leather Association of Chicago recognizes Mr. Hollmeyer's life record as the most fitting monument to his useful commercial career, stanch manhood and exemplary citizenship; and be it further, Resolved, that the sympathy of our association be tendered his bereaved relatives and business associates.
T. Edward Wilder,
Wm. F. Schumann,
Thos. S. Keirnan,
Edward O. Ray, Committee.
At a meeting of the Shoe and Leather Club, of Cincinnati, Ohio, held October 2, 1915, the following resolutions were adopted upon the death of Louis B. Hollmeyer:
WHEREAS, Almighty God in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to take from us on September 1, 1915, our oldest member, Louis B. Hollmeyer, and
WHEREAS, In his departure this organization loses a man who by his upright bearing and kindly disposition endeared himself to all who came in contact with him, and whose presence will be sadly missed; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Shoe and Leather Club of Cincinnati, Ohio, take this method of showing their appreciation of the high regard and esteem in which he was held by them and at the same time extend their heartfelt sympathy to his bereaved family, and be it further
RESOLVED, That these Resolutions be spread on our minutes and a copy presented to the family.
George A. Springmeier,
Wm. A. Gallup,
Will J. Graf, Committee.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds