SAMUEL ROTHWEILER. To call Samuel Rothweiler one of the successful business men of Bison is to describe only part of his many associations with that community. He has been in business there for nearly thirty years, has prospered and rendered a real service to his patrons, and at the same time has been an effective factor in building up the various interests of the community.
Mr. Rothweiler has lived in Kansas since he was twenty-two years of age, and his real life work has been accomplished in this state. He was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, near the city of Cleveland, in March, 1865. His earliest associations are with the old college town of Berea in that county, but as a youth he lived in a number of different places, since his father was a Methodist minister and subject to the itinerant character of that vocation. His father, Rev. Jacob Rothweiler, was born in Baden, Germany, and came to the United States at the age of ten years with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Rothweiler. Other children in the family were: Charles, who became a Union soldier and was lost during the war; Christian, who also served in the ranks as a soldier and died at Newport, Kentucky; and Mrs. Schwerdt.
Rev. Jacob Rothweiler had a passion for study and knowledge when a boy, but had very restricted opportunities in the way of schools. He was a lifelong student and by hard practice and application under a Jewish Rabbi at Detroit acquired a working knowledge of the Hebrew language. Because of his ability and his thorough scholarship, self acquired, he carried the title Doctor of Divinity, conferred upon him by the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. During the Civil war he was connected with the old college known as Baldwin College at Berea, Ohio, and was one of the principal instructors in that institution for several years. He was a loyal patriot when the country was at the crisis of the struggle between the North and South and did all he could to encourage the Northern side. As a minister of the Methodist Church he had his first appointment at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he met Henry Ward Beecher, a then young and almost unknown minister. Their churches were within a block of each other. Rev. Jacob Rothweiler became prominent as a Methodist minister and served two terms as president elder of the Northern Ohio District, two terms in the Cincinnati District, and was presiding elder of the Louisville District in Kentucky when he died May 1, 1898, at the age of seventy-three. He was an effective public speaker and was always ready with something entertaining and instructive on the platform. While he had little to do with practical politics he kept himself well informed and was a loyal supporter of the republican party. He joined no lodges, his wife being very much opposed to secret fraternities.
Rev. Jacob Rothweiler married Miss Louisa Gran, who was born in Germany and came to America when she was an infant, about 1828. Her father, Jacob Gran, was a native of Baden and died at Rahway, New Jersey, a few years after coming to the United States. Mrs. Jacob Rothweiler has expressed the best enthusiasm of her long life in church and Sabbath school work and at ninety years of age she was still at her post in the Sunday school and is perhaps the oldest Sabbath school teacher in the country. She now resides at Columbus, Ohio. Her children were: Miss Louisa, of Columbus, Ohio; Catherine, wife of Charles H. Frank, of Columbus; David M., of Bison, Kansas; and Samuel.
Samuel Rothweiler attended public school at Berea, Ohio; Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Newport, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana, and finally at Cleveland, Ohio. All of these places represent towns where his father was assigned in the course of his ministerial duties. As a youth Mr. Rothweiler had considerable experience in mercantile affairs and at Indianapolis he engaged in the commission business and also had business experience and training at Columbus, Ohio, and Newport, Kentucky.
It was this experience rather than capital which he brought with him to Kansas in 1887. Since that date he has been a resident of Rush County, and he came out to Kansas on the advice of his brother and he spent the first summer on his brother's farm in Rush County. Together they worked in putting up the pioneer buildings on the farm, and in the meantime he boarded with the postmaster at Olney, nearby. The postoffice of Olney subsequently became Bison, and in 1888 Samuel Rothweiler engaged in business at the new place. His first store contained only a small general stock and was in a building 18 by 32 feet. The business was conducted under Mr. Rothweiler's individual name. Since April, 1888, to the present he has been the leading merchant at Bison and his place is the mecca of trade in that section. He also helped organize the bank at Bison and is still one of its directors.
One of his chief interests has been the maintenance of good schools, and for twelve years he was a member of the Bison School Board. His first presidential vote was given to Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He has done his part in keeping up the party organization and has been a delegate to various state conventions. He assisted in nominating Governor Morrill in 1896 and helped name both Mr. Long and Mr. Murdock for congressmen from the Seventh District. For seventeen years Mr. Rothweiler was postmaster of Bison, finally retiring from the office in 1906. He has also served as justice of the peace and police judge. Mr. Rothweiler is a Mason, a Modern Woodmen of America, and a Royal Neighbor, and is a charter member of both the latter organizations. Reared a Methodist, he has been always loyal to that faith and has served us a trustee of his church at Bison.
Mr. Rothweiler after being in Kansas a year or so went back to Newport, Kentucky, and on September 25, 1889, married Miss Ella M. Weckel, daughter of Fred and Mrs. (Fischback) Weckel. Her father spent all his life as a merchant or traveling salesman and Mrs. Rothweiler's mother was from Philadelphia. Mrs. Rothweiler, who was one of six children, died in May, 1915. S. Clifford Rothweiler, the oldest of their children, is associated with his father in the store and married Amy Humburg, daughter of Conrad Humburg, of Bison. Clara Louise is the wife of Adolph Humburg, of Bison. Florence C. was liberally educated in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan and in the Pittsburg Manual Training School and is now a teacher in the Bison schools. The two younger sons are Lester M. and Warren E., the latter a student in the Manhattan Agricultural College.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project