Pages 333 – 335

LOUIS GLAUBITZ - From the lowest to the loftiest station, socially speaking - from penury, the hard grinding poverty which knows the bitter experience of hunger and wearisome toil from early dawn far into the night, to the comforts and enjoyments of refined society, and an exalted position in the commercial, professional, or political world — these are some of the vicissitudes through which not a few of the self-made men of this country, be they native-born or of foreign birth, have passed. Mr. Glaubitz is one of those whose lives have not been all sunshine, and who have attained position and competence only through labor and struggle, which less resolute, less earnest men would have deemed beyond human power and endurance.
 
Our subject is a native of Silesia, Prussia, born December 11, 1831, in the town of Laehn, a son of Gotlieb Glaubitz, a tanner by trade, who also owned some land, being in comparatively comfortable circumstances.   By his wife Caroline he had four children—one son (Louis) and three daughters—all of whom married, our subject being the only survivor, his three sisters having died in Germany, as did also his parents, the father when fifty years old, the mother when aged seventy-four. Louis attended the common schools of his native land until he was between thirteen and fourteen years old, in the meantime continuing to live with his widowed mother (her husband having died when Louis was five years old), who carried on the tannery up to the time of her son leaving the parental home. At the time of his life just mentioned the boy commenced a five-years' apprenticeship in a business house, paying therefor a premium of one hundred dollars, but coming out a full-fledged clerk with the best training. He filled various positions in that capacity in Germany; but salaries were low and he managed to save but little money.   At the age of twenty-three he married, the lady of his choice being Miss Rosalie A. Mager, who was born March 10, 1835, in Jauer, Province of Silesia, Germany, daughter of Benjamin Mager, a dry-goods merchant of that place; and now the youthful benedict found in earnest the responsibilities of life commencing with him. Seeing that the prospects of making a comfortable home in Germany were far from bright, he concluded to try his fortune in America; so, leaving his young wife behind, he in the fall of 1857 set sail from the port of Bremen on the good ship "Laura," and, after a tedious passage of fifty-nine days landed at New York. Chicago being our traveler's destination, he at once proceeded thither from New York, and on his arrival at the "windy city" he found himself the possessor of a round sum of twenty-five cents, which was just the price of a night's lodging at the old "Jervis Hotel," corner of Van Buren and Sherman streets, where now stands the "Atlantic Hotel." In the morning he had to take to the streets minus breakfast, a stranger in a strange land, without the slightest knowledge of the English language, but possessed of a stout heart and a spirit of independence and determination that were bound to win. He was strong and healthy, and willing to work at anything that would bring him an honest dollar, especially with the ever-present thought of his dear young wife in the faraway "Fatherland."   Chancing into a clothes-cleaning and repairing shop on State street, he found to his delight a countryman of his own, also, as it happened, in somewhat straightened circumstances, for he was at that moment preparing a very limited morning meal in the store; yet he generously shared with Mr. Glaubitz his frugal repast, consisting of bread and coffee.  How true the saying: "To the poor the poor are always charitable!" After a little, with the assistance of his new friend, our subject secured a position as “man-of-all-work" in Otto C. Ludwig's restaurant on Randolph street, a first-class establishment in those days, and at the end of a month he received the sum of thirty dollars for wages, the first money he earned in the United States. But the hours being long and the work incessant, he concluded to make a change and try his hand on a farm during the forthcoming winter, 1857-58, which was fast approaching; accordingly he went by rail to Dunton Station, on what is now the Chicago & North Western railroad, where he found work with James Potter, a farmer, and "hiring with him for a year, was employed doing chores of all sorts about the farm during the winter; but toward the spring of 1858, concluding he could do better in the city, he left the farm and returned to Chicago, where he secured work as city teamster for Goss & Hoag, at that time one of the largest retail merchants of Chicago. During the summer of the same year he managed to save enough money to bring his wife out from Germany, and sending for her she arrived in the fall, bringing with her her firstborn, a son, Alfred Theo. L., who for the first time in his life now saw his father. This son has been in the employ of the United States Mail service, running between Chicago and Milwaukee, for the past sixteen years.  For two years Mr. Glaubitz remained in the employ of Goss & Hoag, and then entered that of Durand Bros. & Powers, wholesale grocers, on South Water street, where it may be said was laid the foundation of his future successful business career. He began as porter in the store, and his true worth was soon recognized by promotion to receiving clerk, later to shipping clerk, and still later to general salesman, in each capacity thoroughly demonstrating his fitness for the position. In 1866 a branch was established in Milwaukee under the firm name of J. B. Durand & Co., with which he became associated commencing as traveling salesman on a salary of $l,200 per annum, and his success in that capacity, together with his good judgment in the selection of the most responsible parties as patrons, was the means of the sales of the house, in the course of time, reaching the enormous figure of from $350,000 to $400,000 annually, attended by insignificant loss.  His traveling routes through Wisconsin, Iowa, northern Illinois and western Michigan, and he was regarded, both on and off the road, first-class as a “hustler” and so valuable indeed were his services recognized by his employers that his humble salary of $1,200 per annum was before long voluntarially raised to $2,500 and expanses. In 1879 he secured a one-fourth interest in the firm of Durand, Robinson & Co., Milwaukee, and with them continued until 1881, when, after an experience of fifteen years as traveling salesman, he concluded to sever his connection with the firm, disposing of his interest therein.
 
During his travels he had traversed a considerable portion of the lumber country in northern Wisconsin, becoming well-acquainted with leading lumbermen, and now, on abandoning his commercial pursuits, he concluded to try his hand in this new enterprise.  In 1881 he was foremost in the in the Shawano Lumber Co.,of which he was selected president, a store and sawmill being established at Wittenberg, Shawano county, with general offices at Milwaukee. The company purchased several thousand acres, the timber of which they cut and manufactured, and had successfully and extensively carried on business until the fall of 1887, when our subject became sole proprietor of the entire concern, which included about three thousand acres of land. On July 17, 1887, however, the extensive lumber sheds were ignited by a spark from a passing locomotive, resulting in a disastrous conflagration entailing a loss of several thousand dollars to Mr. Glaubitz, although the railroad company paid him $2,750 compensation. On May 19, 1895, he moved his family from Milwaukee to Wittenberg, he himself for the previous fourteen years having divided his time between the two places. He is recognized far and near as one of the most substantial men in all northern Wisconsin, as well as of Wittenberg, toward the building up of which he has been the foremost. At the present time, in addition to his lumber business, he conducts a general merchandise store in the village. And it is only but justice to add that much of his prosperity is due to his excellent and amiable life partner, Mrs. Glaubitz, whose economy and admirable management in household affairs have been potent factors in his phenomenal success.  They are both well preserved physically, Mr. Glaubitz, especially, considering his many years of active business life, and untiring energy, for he looks and feels at least fifteen years younger than he really is.  The family of children born to his honored couple in the United States are as follows:  Anna L. H., born November 15, 1860, in Chicago, now Mrs. H. J. Rathke, of Milwaukee; Selma P., born in Chicago January 7, 1863, now Mrs. Frank Trenkamp, of Milwaukee, her husband being the oldest established soap maker in the city; Robert B., born in Chicago, May 8, 1867 (he learned the machinist trade, and in 1885 came to Wittenberg, where he is identified with his father's extensive interests; he paid Germany a visit in 1889, being absent from May until September. This son is a shrewd young business man); Louis O., born in Milwaukee, April 23, 1869, is an expert machinist in the employ, as bookkeeper, of Hoftman Billings Manufacturing Co., of Milwaukee; Clara M., born March 30, 1872, in Milwaukee; Paul B., born November 12, 1875, is an electrician of promise; Alvine W. G. born in Milwaukee, October 14, 1878.

Mr. Glaubitz is a stanch adherent of the Republican party, but his vast business interests preclude him from accepting political honors, which, it is no flattery to say, is a loss to the community.  In religious faith the entire family are members of the Lutheran Church.  Such is a brief sketch of the life of Louis Glaubitz, a typical self-made man, whose success has been due to his tireless industry, financial integrity, personal attention to the details of his business, and to a courage tempered with caution.

Back to the Biographies Index Page
Back to the Shawano County Index Page