Louis Kumm, the oldest jeweler of Pittsburg, Kansas, and now a member of the well known firm of R. V. Kumm and Son, has been established here since 1882, which was a time of beginnings for the now prosperous commercial and industrial city of Pittsburg. He is both an old and a successful citizen of this part of the state, and his career of over sixty years has been in the main devoted to the jewelry business, which he took up when a boy, and by his persistence along the same line, his skill and excellent business judgment has reached an enviable place in the business world and in the esteem of his fellow citizens. He has likewise been prominently identified with the public affairs of each community in which he has made his home, and wherever he has touched the world, whether in the conduct of private affairs or in some public capacity, he has commanded respect and exhibited the true strength of his noble character.
Mr. Kumm was both at Belleville, Illinois, in 1841, being a son of Jacob and Mary (Kinzel) Kumm. His father was a native of Germany, and in 1840 emigrated to America, first settling in Belleville, Illinois, but in 1845 brought his family to St. Louis, where he continued the trade of cabinet-maker, which was his principal vocation through life. He and his wife were both taken away on the same day, during the cholera epidemic which visited St. Louis in 1849.
Mr. Kumm received his education and learned the jeweler's trade in St. Louis. Before the war and while still a young man, he went to Sedalia, Missouri, and engaged in the jewelry business. His enterprise became very profitable, and by large investments in real estate he further increased his fortune, but during the hard times following 1873 the shrinkage in real estate values caused him to lose heavily. He also took a prominent part in Democratic politics while in Sedalia, and for four years was president of the city council, serving during a part of that time as acting mayor.
In 1882 Mr. Kumm took a trip through southeastern Kansas, and was so favorably impressed with the location and prospective advantages of Pittsburg that he decided to move here, which he did at once. At that time the town was small, but the coal mines then in operation indicated such a vast field for industrial and commercial enterprise in the vicinity that the future of Pittsburg was certain and a substantial city was a matter of only a few years' growth and development. Mr. Kumm began the jewelry business as soon as he located here, being the pioneer in that line. His store has a fine reputation in Pittsburg, and from the first has commanded the best trade of the city. The business is conduced[sic] under the firm name of R. V. Kumm and Son, and the establishment was first located in the old postoffice building at Third and Broadway, but later was changed to its present location at 515 Broadway.
Since coming to Pittsburg Mr. Kumm has not been so much interested in politics as he was while in Missouri, but has been the candidate of the Democratic party for county commissioner and for city treasurer, but his party is in a permanent minority in this county and he was therefore defeated. He has fraternal affiliations with the Masonic order, being a Knight Templar. Mr. Kumm was married at Sedalia in 1865 to Miss Rosalie Virginia Brent, and they have four children living: Charles, who is a member of the firm; Miss Rosalie Virginia, who wedded William L. Newcomer, of Topeka, Kansas, a commercial man; Harry, who is the teller in the First National Bank of Pittsburg, and has had seven years' experience in the banking business; and Miss Bessie, who graduated from school in the class of 1904.Pages 435-437 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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