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Kirchman, Herman L. & William

KIRCHMAN, GEISSLER, CARSTENS, RANDOLPH

Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 5/22/2021 at 06:17:51

SOURCE: Biographical & Genealogical History of Appanoose & Monroe Counties, Iowa. Compiled under the Editorial Supervision of S. Thompson Lewis. The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903

Herman L. Kirchman comes of one of those old German families which seem fast rooted in the soil and have derived their elemental strength from the rugged land of their birth. In the very first century of modern history, when the world was just awaking from the sleep of the middle ages, we find members of the house engaged in the great work of the universities; for since 1535 some representative of the family has been a professor in one of the universities, as was the father of our subject. Herman was the third of his father's twelve children and was born in the kingdom of Prussia on March 28, 1839. He received his education in the university in which his father was professor and in the great technical school at Kiel, Germany, learned the trade of machinist. He became an engineer on one of the ocean steamers and was thus employed for three years. During one of his trips to the United States the Civil war broke out, and at the first call for volunteers he enlisted in a New York company of volunteers, all of whom,
however, deserted, with the exception of himself and a few others, who were transferred to Company K, Eleventh New York Infantry; after serving for one year he was honorably discharged.

The next event in Mr. Kirchman's life is one that is interesting from the point of general history. In 1863 he came west to Chatsworth, Illinois, and placed the machinery in the first beet sugar ever established in this country, an industry which now occupies so prominent a place in the commerce of the world. Mr. Kirchman operated this plant for two years, and then went to Clinton, Iowa, and was superintendent of the Union Iron Works there for fourteen years. He then went to Davenport, Iowa, and was superintendent of the Donohue Machine Shops for four years. After spending a year in Muscatine, Iowa, he returned to Davenport and was employed by the Rock Island Railroad for a year. March i. 1883, is the date of his coming to Centerville. He here purchased a machine shop and operated it under the name of the Centerville Iron Works as sole proprietor up to the time of his death, which occurred April 24, 1901.

Mr. Kirchman died in the consciousness that he had been successful in his best endeavors and that by his honest industry he had laid up a fair competence. He began his operations in this city, owing a part of the purchase price of his plant, but the concern grew and is still carrying on a splendid trade. Mr. Kirchman's first marriage occurred in New York city just after his army service, when he became the husband of Helen Geissler, of German nativity, who bore him three children: William, Irma, and Jessie. At Davenport he married for his second wife Dora Carstens, who survives him, and is the mother of one son, George W. In religious belief he was a Unitarian, was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

William Kirchman, the son of Herman Kirchman by his first wife, was born in Clinton, Iowa, June 29, 1866. After receiving a common school education, lie learned the machinist's trade under his father. He worked in his father's shops and at the latter's death succeeded to the ownership of the Centerville Iron Works. This shop is equipped with all machinery for working in metals and does a large business in placing heating plants. Likewise it makes a specialty of mining machinery and general repair work. Mr. Kirchman was married in 1889 to Blanche Randolph, and they have two children. He has been chosen to represent the citizens in the city council and is a public-spirited man, ever ready to help any enterprise for the good of the community.


 

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