FRANK J. HAUBER. - Specially worthy of consideration in this publication as one of those aggressive and reliable business men who have contributed materially to the industrial and commercial prestige of Kansas City, Kansas, Mr. Hauber is here owner of the large and prosperous manufacturing enterprise conducted under the title of the Hauber Cooperage Company, and it is a matter of distinct local significance that his establishment is the most extensive of its kind in the west. The output of the plant comprises slack barrels of all sizes and kinds, and all are of the highest grade, as the establishment has the most effective modern equipment in the matter of machinery and accessories and great discrimination is shown in the selection and working up of stock. Mr. Hauber has been identified with this line of enterprise from the time of his youth, and he has gained marked success, though he has encountered exceptional misfortune in connection with operations in Kansas City, where fire and flood have worked havoc with his plant and business on four different occasions. His courage and ambition have not succumbed under the force of such disasters, however, and he has been unflagging in his application and administrative energy, with the result that he has made of success not an accident but a logical result. He is a man whose sterling characteristics are fully recognized and he is known as one of the progressive and essentially representative business men and loyal citizens of Wyandotte county.
Frank Jacob Hauber was born in the village of Marysville, Hastings county, province of Ontario, Canada, on the 22nd, of January, 1856, and is the eldest of three sons of Joseph Anthony Hauber and Agatha (Rapp) Hauber, the father being a native of the kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, where he was born on the 24th of March, 1820, and the mother a native of Shweningen, Oberamt Rothweil, Germany, where she was born September 24, 1827. Both of the parents were afforded the advantages of the schools of their native land, whence they came to America when young, and their marriage was solemnized in the province of Ontario, Canada, April 3rd, 1855. As a youth Joseph A. Hauber severed the ties that bound him to home and fatherland and immigrated to America. He located in the city of Rochester, New York, where he served a thorough apprenticeship to the cooper's trade, with which he continued to be identified during practically his entire business career and in connection with which he gained definite independence and prosperity. He was a stanch supporter of the cause of the Democratic party and was a zealous communicant of the Catholic church, his wife having been a devout member of the Lutheran church, in whose faith she was reared. Her death occurred in Lawrence, Kansas, October 7, 1888. She was survived by her husband and three sons, Frank, residing in Lawrence, Kansas, and Joseph and John, residing in Kansas City, Missouri.
Frank Jacob Hauber, whose name initiates this article, is indebted to the Catholic parochial schools of Canada and eastern states for his early educational discipline, which was limited in scope, and, as a man of broad information and liberal views it may be stated that the major portion of his education has been that gained under the direction of the wisest of all head masters, experience. In early boyhood he began a practical apprenticeship to the cooper's trade, under the effective direction of his honored father, and in due course of time he became an expert artisan in this line, which has represented his sphere of activity throughout the entire course of his long, industrious and successful business career. He lived with his parents at various places in Canada and the eastern part of the United States, and finally, on the 10th of May, 1878, when he was twenty-two years of age, the family home was established at Lawrence, Kansas. There the Ridenour-Baker Packing Company had ceased operations in the spring of that year, and Mr. Hauber became associated with his father and his brother Joseph in leasing the plant of this corporation, together with its stock of cooperage supplies. Thus was instituted in that city the cooperage business of the firm of J. Hauber & Son, and after the father, some years later, transferred his interest in the enterprise to his sons, the title of the firm was changed to Hauber Brothers. Bringing to bear marked energy, thorough technical knowledge and careful business methods, the Hauber brothers soon found their enterprise steadily expanding in scope and importance, and in March, 1886, it was deemed expedient to still further increase the ramifications of the business by establishing a branch in Kansas City, Missouri. Accordingly Joseph Hauber removed with his family to that city, where he assumed active supervision of the branch establishment. A lease was effected of a plant at the corner of Twenty-first and Walnut streets, and later more eligible quarters were leased at the corner of Fourth and James streets, where operations were continued until 1897, when it was found expedient to transfer the base of operations to Kansas City, Kansas, where a site for the plant was purchased and where the facilities for transportation were equally good. This tract of land was bought at the corner of North Second street and Riverview avenue, where a plant was erected and properly equipped. At this time the brothers admitted to partnership in the enterprise a man who proved to be dishonest and who was finally forced out of the business, in which he had brought about no inconsiderable financial loss. Under these somewhat depressing conditions the Hauber brothers, with characteristic energy, gave their attention to the retrieving of losses and the upbuilding of the enterprise upon a legitimate and proper basis. By close application and indefatigable industry, with conservative policies, the firm was able to weather the various financial panics and to withstand incidental losses, and today the business is one of solid industrial and commercial foundation, notwithstanding heavy losses through fire and flood. In the meanwhile the firm's business interests at Lawrence had remained in charge of Frank J. Hauber, the senior member of the firm, and he suffered an irreparable personal and business loss when his brother Joseph, manager of the Kansas City plant, was called to the life eternal on the 22nd of March, 1899. The death of his brother threw much added responsibility upon Frank J. Hauber, who was now the only survivor of his father's family, and for four years, while retaining his residence in Lawrence, he made daily trips to Kansas City to supervise the affairs of the business at this place. He came to the city early each morning and returned to Lawrence at noon, and it may readily be understood that he "had his hands full" in thus assuming executive control of both plants and their large and constantly growing business. Mr. Hauber had purchased the interests of his brother after the latter's death, and has since had full control of the business. In 1903 he sold the plant at Lawrence and removed with his family to Kansas City, where he has since maintained his home. His removal was made in the spring of that year, marked in the history of this section of the state by reason of the disastrous floods which entailed great financial losses in Kansas City and the surrounding country. The car in which his household goods were transported was caught in the floods and practically the entire contents of the car were ruined. Thus it will be seen that his introduction to Kansas City when he here established his home was not of pleasing order, and in addition to the loss entailed in the destruction of his household effects, great damage was worked at his plant at Second street and Riverview avenue. His office and warehouses were swept away by the floods, and the destructions of the warehouses was also attended by the loss of thirty carloads of staves, heading and hoops. He was of course unindemnified for his losses in connection with the destruction of his plant by the floods, but he bravely faced the ordeal, as did the other representative business men of Kansas City, and by hard work on his own part and that of his elder sons, operations were resumed in short order. The plant was rebuilt and placed in commission in November, 1903, but fate had still other adversity in store for the enterprise and its owner. In November, 1905, the entire plant and its contents were destroyed by fire, with insurance indemnity covering only one third of the loss. Again did Mr. Hauber girdle himself for the renewed battle, and at this time he resumed operations in a building which he purchased at 1200 South Mill street. This location continued to be utilized from August, 1906, until June, 1908, when a loss of several thousand dollars was again entailed by flood, to be followed by the complete destruction of the plant by fire on the 23rd of the following August.
Though fortune seemed implacable in its animosity, Mr. Hauber, encouraged by his family and many friends, proved equal to this emergency, as had he to those that had preceded - making losses twice by fire and twice by flood within a period of five years. He rebuilt on the Mill street site a modern slack barrel plant, and this property he sold in the spring of 1910 to the Kansas City Terminal Railway Company. He then purchased an advantageous site at the corner of Seventeenth street and Osage avenue, and here was completed January, 1911, the erection and equipment of the largest and most modern cooperage plant in the West with the most approved machinery for the manufacturing of barrels and kindred products. In the carrying forward of this important industrial enterprise, Mr. Hauber has the effective co-operation of his elder sons, who have charge of various departments and who are all young men of sterling character and marked business acumen. Further assistance is rendered by Mr. Hauber's eldest daughter, who is the bookkeeper and stenographer for the concern. Several years ago the firm maintained branch establishments at Topeka and Emporia, Kansas, and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, but it has been found expedient to concentrate and centralize the business in Kansas City and the various branches have been discontinued. As a citizen and business man, Mr. Hauber commands unequivocal confidence and esteem in his home city and his reputation for fair and honorable dealings constitute the most valuable asset of the business which he has built up under many discouraging conditions. He is loyal, progressive and public spirited, is a stanch supporter of the cause of the Democratic party, but he has never sought or desired public office of any order.
At Lawrence, Kansas, on the 13th of June, 1882, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hauber to Miss Barbara Ellen Knuehl, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, and who was reared to maturity in Lawrence, Kansas, whore she was afforded the advantages of the Catholic parochial schools. She is a daughter of Joseph A. and Sarah (McGee) Knuehl, the former of German and the latter of Irish lineage. Joseph Anthony Knuehl was a stone mason by trade and his entire active career was one of close identification with this vocation, in which he became a successful contractor at Lawrence, Kansas, to which place he removed with his family from Chicago in 1870, the year prior to the historic fire that swept the great western metropolis. He did much of the masonry work on the new buildings of the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, being erected at that time. Mr. and Mrs. Hauber are communicants of the Catholic church as are their twelve children, and are liberal and active in the support of the parish in which they hold membership, that of St. Mary's church. Mr. Hauber is affiliated with the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Knights of America, in each of which worthy organizations he takes deep interest.
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