HERCULES JUNEAU, of Dodge City, is known all up and down the Arkansas River in Kansas, and has been one of the conspicuous factors in business affairs in his home city, while his name has been closely associated with much of the permanent municipal development and the public spirit of that town.
Mr. Juneau has passed his eighty-second birthday, and few men of his years have enjoyed a more strenuous experience. He was born at Montreal, Canada, and since childhood he has lived in many different parts of America and has directed his energies and talents in many different fields.
He is of old Canadian French ancestry. His great-grandfather came from the Province of Alsace and established the family in Eastern Canada. His grandfather, Louis Juneau, was a farmer in the parish of Assumption near Montreal, while his father, Joseph Juneau, was a carpenter and wagon maker and also a native of the City of Montreal, where he spent his active career.
Joseph Juneau married Marie La Shapell, whose people came from the department of Normandie, France. The children of their union were: Edmond, who spent his active career as an Indian trader at Edmonton, Canada; Hercules, of this review; Androu, who came to the United States, settled in Michigan, served as a volunteer soldier in one of Michigan's regiments during the Civil war, and died of wounds after reaching home; Damas, whose home is at Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Frank, who died at Edmonton in Western Canada.
Hercules Juneau was born October 12, 1836. He grew up in the home of a mechanic and as a boy acquired a familiarity with tools and with mechanical work which stood him in good stead in later life. He acquired very little schooling, and that in the French language. At the age of fourteen he began learning his trade in his father's shop and later had superior advantages in the same line at Montreal. In 1856, at the age of twenty, he came to the United States, was a carpenter, and did his first contracting in the City of Milwaukee.
He proved his loyalty to his adopted country when the war came on, enlisting in Company B of the Tenth Wisconsin Infantry, under Capt. J. W. Roby, and was made color bearer of the regiment. This regiment was sent to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and became part of an independent division under General O. M. Mitchell. His first fighting was at Perryville, Kentucky, October 10, 1862, where Mr. Juneau was wounded, a musket ball hitting him in the left side. For two and a half months he was out of service and rejoined his regiment back of Nashville. His next fight was at Stone River on December 30, 1862. On that day he was again wounded, a buckshot passing through the two shin bones, the most severe wound he received in the war. However, it soon healed and he was back in the ranks after two weeks. The next important battle in which he engaged was Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, 1863. There a piece of shell hit him in the fleshy part of the thigh above the knee. He was also taken prisoner and for twelve days received no care, his wound developing gangrenous conditions. Through some sympathetic affection the wound in his shin also reopened, and the two together caused him extreme suffering. For two months and ten days he was in the notorious Libby prison, where his captors were unable to treat his wounds because of lack of medicine. He was finally exchanged at City Point, Virginia, and was taken to the Naval School Hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he remained about two and a half months and was then sent to a convalescent camp at Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River, and finally to Madison, Wisconsin, where he received an honorable discharge in September, 1864.
Mr. Juneau first came to Kansas in 1876, locating at Wichita as a mechanic, contractor and builder. Through that work he became one of the builders of the city in its early and formative days. His old shop on Douglass Avenue is still doing duty in some part of the city. He continued at the building trade in Wichita four years. Though the city has been almost wholly rebuilt since he left, there are still a few evidences of his handiwork to be seen, including the old Ross Building.
While at Wichita Mr. Juneau organized the Kirkwood, Rutan & Juneau Lumber Company in 1877, and they opened their first yard at Wichita. Later Mr. Juneau opened a yard at Wellington, Kansas, and became its manager. This was in 1879. The following year this yard was sold to S. A. Brown and G. B. Shaw. Mr. Juneau then opened a yard of his own at Honeywell, Kansas. While there he encountered the lumber trust or pool which had been formed by Brown & Shaw for the purpose of controlling the type of lumber in Southern Kansas. Mr. Juneau was the prime factor in breaking up that lumber trust. With wise foresight he took advantage of a cut rate situation among the railroads then existing, and he shipped into Wellington 118 carloads of lumber. He had this big supply on hand when the freight rates between Chicago and Wellington were restored to the regular schedules, and with it he was able to dictate the price of lumber to the pool and that broke up the combination and placed the honest lumber dealer upon a safe footing. In the meantime Mr. Juneau had moved his yards from Honeywell to Wellington, and after about a year he sold out and went to Pueblo, Colorado. This was in 1881, and at Pueblo he established a wholesale and retail lumber business under the name Juneau & Rittinhouse Lumber Company. This business was sold in May, 1885.
Mr. Juneau had not enjoyed good health at Pueblo, and on abandoning the town he made his third trip to Alaska. He had visited that northwest country as early as 1876, was there again in 1881, at which time he explored most of the country that was accessible, and on his last trip he continued these explorations and investigated the gold mining enterprise which had been largely opened since his previous visit. The Town of Juneau was named in his honor. After one month he returned to the States and then selected Dodge City as his permanent home.
When Mr. Juneau came to Dodge City in 1885 six lumber yards were doing business in the town. He opened the seventh and gradually, one by one, he bought out his competitors and for five years, from 1897 to 1902, conducted the only lumber yard in the city. While he thus had a monopoly, there is evidence from many quarters that lumber was sold from the Juneau yards at Dodge City then for lower prices than ever before or in fact at any time since. Mr. Juneau is still the prominent lumberman of Dodge City and has conducted his business purely as a retail enterprise. It is noted as the most completely stocked yard with building material in the United States. While he by no means claims the largest stock, it is without doubt the most complete in its equipment. There is practically nothing in the way of building material which cannot be obtained there. Lumber for a barn or a residence can be supplied in an hour's notice, and also every other form of material, from barbed wire fencing to paints, oils, glass, etc.
Mr. Juneau's career at Dodge City has been noted for his strict application to business along strictly business lines and also for his wholesome interest in the welfare of the community. While seldom occupying a place in official capacity, he has done much to build up the town on a permanent basis and has supplied enthusiasm, foresight and courage when those qualities were much needed by the public spirit of the community. Only one term he served on the council. That term was signalized by the purchase of the old waterworks and the erection by the municipality of a new plant. This plant has not only furnished an ample water supply but pure and good water. He consented to serve on the council primarily to get this improvement and relieve the citizens of the intolerable water conditions which had existed under the old private water company. In matters of politics every one knows Mr. Juneau's stand. He has been a republican in state and national affairs, but in county and local matters the best equipped candidate for the office has received his support. He has kept too close to business to allow of attendance as a delegate to outside conventions.
Mr. Juneau was one of the organizers of the Phoenix Club, served as its president, and was also active in organizing the Industrial Club, which he likewise served as president. These two clubs have since been merged and comprise the Phoenix-Industrial Club, both a social and business organization. As an old soldier Mr. Juneau has been commander of Lewis Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and was a member of the board of directors of the Soldiers Home at Dodge City for three years. He is a Scottish Rite thirty-second degree Mason, with membership in Wichita Consistory. At Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the fall of 1866, Mr. Juneau married Miss Louise Teafeau. She was also born in the district of Montreal, Canada, and her death occurred at Theresa, Wisconsin, and she left no children.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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