Menominee County Michigan

Menominee, MI (Spies Block) (1909) - Contributed by Paul Petosky

Augustus Spies

A. Spies, a prominent lumber dealer of Menominee Michigan is one of the most enterprising and progressive business men of the city. A resume of his life is as follows.

A. Spies was born in Hesse Darnstadt, Germany, October 23, 1836. In 1850 he came to America with his parents, who made their settlement on wild land in Poygan Township, Winnebago County Wisconsin. As soon as the land was on the market, his father bought the tract upon which he and his family had settled, and as the years passed by he developed a fine farm. He had come to this county, with but little means. A short time before his death he rented his farm and made his home with his son, the subject of our sketch. He died at the age of 63 years and his wife passed away at about the same age. They were the parents of eight children, seven now living - Mrs. Lightenburg of Oshkosh WI; Jacob, Oconto WI; our subject: Mrs. Van Loon Bloomer WI; Mrs. Church Winneconne WI; Mrs. peter Kurtzmier Bloomer WI and Mrs. Kurtzmier, Whippewa County WI.

Mr. A. Spies was reared to farm life. He attended school seven years in Germany and after coming to this country was for several terms a student int he common schools near his home in Wisconsin. When he was 13 he began working out as a farm hand. He continued working for wages until he was 20 and for three years before he was 20 he was employed in a nursery; then for two years he rented a farm in Winneconne Twp. Winnebago County, at the end of which time he purchased 160 acres of improved land in that township. He made some additional improvements to his farm, and continued operating it, off and on, until he was 30 years of age. In the meantime he rented it one year while he removed with his family to Appleton, where he attended college. When he was 30 he again rented his farm, and this time moved to Menominee. Here he has since lived and prospered. For 12 years he conducted a meat market and general supply store, and while thus occupied traded some in real estate, making a specialty of timber lands.

In 1880 he built his present mill, which he has since operated, at first being in partnership with Henry Martin, but for the past 11 years has done business alone. Pine lumber is the chief product of hism ill; and while Mr. Spies has given close attention to his lumber business he has also found time to give to the advancing of other interests. He was one of the incorporators of the Stephenson Banking Company of Marinette WI, which later was organized into the National Bank, of which he was a director. Subsequently he helped to organize the First National Bank of Menominee and is vice president of the same. He is also president of the Marinette and Menominee Paper Company and is president of teh Menominee Electric Light, Railroad and Power Company. He is one of the trustees and chairman of the Board of the Cemetery Association, of Menominee, and is a director of the the Gruhl Sash and Door Manufactory, of Milwaukee WI. The first brick block in Menominee was erected by him, its location being on Main street, and his residence was the first solid brick residence in the town. Thus it is seen that he is and has been for year, prominently connected with the material growth and development of Menominee. It may here be stated that he disposed of his farm, above referred to, some years ago.

Mr. Spies was married in 1860 to Gertrude Prince, a native of Hesse Darnstadt. She came with her parents to America in about 1852, their location being in Onondaga county NY where they spent the rest of their lives. She was educated in Germany and in the high school at Horicon WI. Mr. and Mrs. Spies are the parents of nine children - Charles A., of Menominee; Frank A., also of Menominee; Arthur G, attending school; Adella wife of Frank Humphrey of Shawano WI; Amelia wife of D.G. Bothwell; and Hattie, Alice, Lizzie and Nelie, at home. Mrs. Spies is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Politically he is in harmony with the Republican party. He has served four years in the City Council and six years as a member of the School Board, being treasurer of the latter.

From the Memorial Record of the Northern Peninsula 1895

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