Lee County Biography

Lauren T. Merriam

City of Dixon


This gentleman, who is the proprietor of the City Steam Laundry, one of the leading enterprises of Dixon, has had a varied experience in life, and that he has succeeded in building up such a lucrative business after the many ups and downs of fortune to which he has been subjected, does credit not only to his good judgment but speaks well for his enterprise and perseverance.

Mr. Merriam was born in Connecticut June 22, 1822, was there reared and educated and in early life engaged in the manufacutring business, at which he acquired a comfortable fortune. He then came West, hoping to still increase his gains and at one time was interested in three different banks, one in Connecticut and two in Indiana. Unfortunately his partner in whome he had placed his great confidence, proved dishonest, subjecting him to heavy losses. He afterward owned and ran a large store in Chicago in 1856. Mr. Merriam remembers being in Chicago before any railroad was built from that place and of taking a trip to St. Louis by way of the canal and river which occupied five days' time. For seventeen years he followed the occupation of a commercial travler, being for the most of that time employed by H. H. Shufeldt and also for Samuel Meyers, extensive liquor dealers, selling spirituous liquors during the whole of that time, but seldom if ever allowing himself to touch intoxicating beverages.

On coming to Dixon, of which city he has been a resident for 20 years, Mr. Merriam opened up his present business in a very small way. It, however, increased rapidly and in 1888 he felt himself warranted in erecting a fine two-story brick building 60x 24 feet in size, a portion of which he uses as a residence. The ground floor and basement are fitted up especially for laundry work, with every necessary appliance and modern improvement in that line. Here he turns out first-class work and enjoys the patronage of the best people in the town and surrounding country. As a example of the growth of his business it may be stated that the amount of work done in one month at present equals that done in a whole year when it was first established. He employs from eight to ten assistants and is kept constantly busy.

Mr. Merriam was married in Conncticut, his wife being Miss Susan Hubbard, who was born and reared in that State. She has been a true helpmate to her hard-working husband and a devoted mother to her children of whom she has had four. Of these, Frank H. lived to reach the interesting age of 17 years an dhis death was a severe blow to his parents. Of the remaining children, Jennie became the wife of Richard Southgate and they resided in Silver Cliff Col.; Edgar H. married Miss Benjamin and is manager in a large warehouse at Council Bluffs Iowa. Lauren B. married Leona Mead and resided in DIxon. He is the civil engineer for the Northwestern Railroad and has been eminently successful in his calling, having accomplished many signal achievements in that line, possessing unusual abilities for a man of his years. In politics Mr. Merriam is a stanch Democrat. Mrs. Merriam is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and th family is highly respected and esteemed.

Lee County Portraits & Biographical 1892 Pg 334

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