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William A. Mohrbacher

MOHRBACHER, LOUVAR, SEVERA

Posted By: Carole Haas (email)
Date: 7/29/2011 at 14:46:11

BIOGRAPHY
History of Linn County Iowa, from its earliest settlement to the present time
by Luther A Brewer and Barthinius L Wick. Vols I & II. Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911.
page 513

William A. Mohrbacher, chief of the Cedar Rapids fire department and well qualified for the position, has during his incumbency brought the department up to a high standard of efficiency and organization, his service being of such a character as to win uniform commendation and approval. He was born in Caledonia, Wisconsin, on the 15th of May, 1871, and is a son of Peter and Katherine (Severa) Mohrbacher. The father was a native of Pennsylvania and of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, while the mother's birth occurred in Bohemia. In his boyhood days Peter Mohrbacher removed with his parents to Wisconsin and settled on a farm near Caledonia, about twenty miles from the city of Milwaukee. It was in that locality that Katherine Severa had taken up her abode on coming to America and there the parents of our subject were married. While living in that district Mr. Mohrbacher responded to the country's call for troops to serve for ninety days in the Civil war. He adopted farming as his life work and followed that pursuit until his removal to Cedar Rapids in 1886, at which time he went to work in a packing house and for the past four or five years he has been on the city pay roll.

William A. Mohrbacher was reared at home and the public schools afforded him his education. He was thirteen years of age when in 1884 W. F. Severa, his mother's brother and a manufacturing chemist of Cedar Rapids, sent for him and his sister Frances to come to this city. After their arrival here they continued their education in the Cedar Rapids public schools and when sixteen years of age William A. Mohrbacher began working in his uncle's chemical laboratory, where he was employed for two years. He then went west to Wilber, Nebraska, where he occupied a position in a general store for eighteen months. On the expiration of that period he returned to Cedar Rapids but soon went to Racine, Wisconsin, where he was employed in a sales and feed barn for one year. Again coming to Cedar Rapids, he secured a situation in the Sinclair packing house, where he remained for six or eight months, after which he was appointed a member of the city fire department, his appointment being made on the 1st of June, 1894. On the 1st of December, 1897, he was promoted to the rank of captain in charge of hose company No. 2, and on the 17th of March, 1902, he was promoted to assistant chief and captain of the central fire station. Since the 13th of December, 1909, he has been chief of the fire department, his appointment coming to him from the city council.

Prior to his connection with the paid fire department of Cedar Rapids he had served for eight years as a member of the volunteer fire department under Chief L. M. Ayers, so that his service in connection with the fighting of fires in Cedar Rapids covers a period of a quarter of a century. He has closely studied the best methods of handling conflagrations and is placing the present department on a plane with the most efficient fire fighting systems of the country. Modern apparatus is in use and each company is well drilled, while the system is so carefully organized that the companies reach the place of conflagration with the least possible waste of time and effort.

Mr. Mohrbacher was married in 1891 to Miss Susan M. Louvar, of this city, and they have many friends here. Mr. Mohrbacher is non-partisan in his political views. Fraternally he is connected with John Hus Lodge, No. 151, I. O. O. F.; Sovereign Camp of the Woodmen of the World; Court Cedar Camp of the Foresters of America; and the Fraternal Aid. His has been a somewhat varied experience, bringing him eventually into a position of prominence where his service is of value to his fellow citizens.

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