A.W. Gerhardt, one of Clyde's leading merchants and most highly respected citizens, is a self-made man. He has had less than one year of schooling, but acquired an education in a practical way, has not been out of a position two weeks since ten years of age, and never asked for a job but once. Mr. Gerhardt was born on a farm near Evansville, Indiana, in 1857. At the age of ten years he came with his father's family to Junction City, Kansas, when that town was the freighting center to various points north, south and west. His father, William Gerhardt, died within three months after locating there, leaving Mrs. Gerhardt with four daughters and a son, and less than one dollar in money. There were many avenues at that time through which a boy could earn money, and although but ten years of age Mr. Gerhardt became the support of the family. His first employer was T.A. Reynolds, and later the Rockwells, who are still in business in Junction City, and from there he accepted a position on the road as traveling salesman for W.A. Schmertz & Company, a wholesale boot and shoe house. Mr. Gerhardt was young and youthful in appearance, often wishing for a mustache to suggest that he was old enough and capable of doing business. In 1888 he located in Mankato, Kansas, opening a store of general merchandise. He was burned out in 1893. The stock was insured for about half its value. After paying his creditors he had something like a loss of fifty-six hundred dollars. He then opened a store in Belle Plaine, Iowa, which he sold at the expiration of eighteen months and established his present business in Clyde in 1896. Mr. Gerhardt's mother died in 1893. Of his four sisters, three are in the vicinity of Junction City, the other in the southern part of the state.
Mr. Gerhardt was married in 1890 to May E. Thompson, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They have one child, a son, Leslie Robert, aged ten years. The Thompsons were of Newburg, New York, and emigrated to Iowa in a very early day, where Mrs. Gerhardt was born. Mr. Gerhardt's parents were from Germany. They came to America in their early married life, where all of their children were born except the eldest. Mr. Gerhardt is an elder in the Presbyterian church and superintendent of the Sabbath school. He is a Member of the Woodmen and Workmen orders.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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