Otto H. Hesse, president and manager of the William G. Hesse & Son Manufacturing Company of Leavenworth, Kan., was born in that city on Oct. 10, 1865, a son of William G. and Selina (Stauber) Hesse. The father was born in Henningsleben, Saxony, Germany, July 5, 1838, a son of Henry and Anna (Wartman) Hesse, both natives of Saxony, where William Hesse, the father of Henry, settled during the Napoleon war, and lived until his death, in 1846. William G. Hesse passed his boyhood in his native land, and at the age of fifteen years left the parental roof to seek his fortune in the lands beyond the sea. After a voyage of forty-two days in an old fashioned sailing vessel he landed in New York. Subsequently he worked in Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and St. Louis, and in 1857 located in Leavenworth, where he opened up a carriage and wagon shop, on Shawnee street, between Third and Fourth streets. These quarters soon became too small for his business, and in 1860 he opened up a larger shop at the corner of Seventh street and Metropolitan avenue, where he outfitted many large freighters with wagons. This plant was destroyed by fire in 1871, and he removed to Cherokee street, between Fourth and Fifth streets. In 1885 he erected the first of his present factory buildings on Pawnee street, between Seventh and Broadway, and in 1899 the plant was enlarged. In 1903 a large ware house, lumber sheds and other additions were added, until they cover a space of fifteen lots on Pawnee and Dakota streets. William G. Hesse died Dec. 10, 1907, and his wife, Oct. 13, 1909. Of their seven children, Louise is the wife of Dr. J. L. Everhardy, of Leavenworth; Sophia is the wife of James Maguire, of Kansas City, Kan.; Emilie is the wife of A. L. RuhI, of Kansas City, Mo., who died Dec. 29, 1907, and the other children, excepting Otto H., died in infancy.
Otto H. Hesse, the only son, received his education in the public schools of his native city, and upon leaving school became associated with his father in the carriage and wagon manufacturing business, learning every branch of the business from a mechanical standpoint, blacksmithing, wood working, painting and trimming. In later years he had charge of the office, introduced and sold their vehicles on the road until at the present time they are being used as far west as the Pacific coast, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. One of their principal products is the Hesse patent short tongue, Ludlow spring wagon, which was invented and patented by Otto H. Hesse. In 1900 he assumed the active management of the business, and being thoroughly versed in modern business methods, coupled with his mechanical knowledge of the vehicle business, he has succeeded in doubling the business of the company. The Hesse vehicles are known far and wide for their elegance of design and superiority of workmanship, and it is due to the fact that no defective work has ever left the shop, that the company has attained its successful growth. From the little repair shop, established in 1857, the concern has developed into one of the best known carriage and wagon manufactories west of the Mississippi river. The reputation made by the father has been carefully guarded by the son and the name "Hesse" on a vehicle means that in every instance the purchaser gets value received for his money. In 1909 Otto H. Hesse erected a two-story and basement, mill constructed, brick building at 408-410 Cherokee street, and equipped it with modern, up-to-date machinery for the automobile business, which places the company in position to repair and rebuild any part of a car from the tires to the top. This building is also used for the cars and charging plant of electrical cars. This is one of the largest and best equipped auto garages in the Missouri valley. In 1910 he purchased the property at 418 Cherokee street and erected a three-story building, one hundred and twenty-five feet long, which is equipped with the latest improved electric driven machinery, and is used for building auto and buggy tops, as well as repairing and painting all kinds of vehicles. The Cherokee street property used in the vehicle business has a frontage of 125 feet and the entire floor space combined used for manufacturing and storing of vehicles, is 162,070 square feet. In 1903 Mr. Hesse established the Hesse Carriage Company at Kansas City, Mo. They owned a piece of ground 105x124 at Oak and Seventeenth streets, where they erected a four-story and basement, mill constructed, building, which is used entirely for the carriage, wagon and automobile business. He is president and manager of this large and growing establishment. Mr. Hesse is also one of the five directors of the Wulfekhuler State Bank of Leavenworth, which has a capital stock of $150,000, and deposits of over $1,400,000. He is also one of the original stockholders and directors in the Leavenworth County Fair Association. He was one of the ardent workers that made it possible for the citizens to enjoy Association park. Mr. Hesse is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the United Commercial Travelers. In all these societies he is deservedly popular, because of his genial disposition and general good fellowship. He is also a director in the Greater Leavenworth Club, and is always willing to devote his time and financial assistance to any enterprise for the betterment and upbuilding of his native city.
On Oct. 12, 1887, Mr. Hesse was united in marriage with Miss Lena Besser. To this marriage was born one sonCarl William, on Nov. 25, 1899, and died Jan. 24, 1900.Pages 782-784 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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