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Contributed by Barbara
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|Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, 1891; Page 275-276|
JEREMIAH FOWLER is the resident director and superintendent of the Thomas Pressed Brick Co.’s works at Thomas Landing, Calhoun County, one of the most valuable plants for the manufacture of pressed brick in the United States. This is one of the most important manufacturing industries in this part of the State, and much credit is due to Mr. Fowler, who is a man of marked executive ability and peculiarly adapted for the successful management of such an enterprise. As a prominent business man and influential citizen, we are pleased to present his portrait to the readers of the Album.
Mr. Fowler is a native of Columbia County, N. Y., where he was born March 11, 1844, in the town of Kinderhook. His father, Samuel A. Fowler, was born in the same county and was a son of Lawrence Fowler, who is thought to have been a native of that county also. The great-grandfather of our subject, Samuel Fowler, was a native of Rhode Island, and removing from there to Columbia County, N. Y., became one of its early pioneers. He bought land in both Ghent and Kinderhook, and engaged in farming, continuing his residence there till death called him hence. Grandfather Lawrence Fowler was reared on a farm and followed farming in his native county, of which he was a life-long resident. He married Maria Lewis, who survived him and died at the home of a daughter in Columbia County.
Samuel A. Fowler, the father of our subject, was bred on a farm, but after attaining manhood gave his attention to mercantile business for a time in Kinderhook and later at Stuyvesant Landing. At the present time he is a resident of Gloverville, where he is occupied as a book-keeper in a wholesale house. He took for his wife Rebecca Shufelt, who was also born in Columbia County. Her father, Jeremiah Shufelt, was a wealthy farmer and spent his entire life in Columbia County. He married Lucy Bortle, who also lived and died in that county. The mother of our subject reared four children, namely: Jeremiah; William H., who met his death in a railway accident of the Hudson River Railroad in the month of June, 1889; Herbert, who is the manager of the company store at Thomas Landing; and Lydia, the only daughter, who married Charles T. Rosenkrans, and died in the State of New York in January, 1890.
Mr. Fowler was educated at the Kinderhook Academy, which he left in his eighteenth year with a mind well trained for any position he might occupy in after life. He first engaged in the profession of a teacher, and taught one term of school. He then went to Albany to seek a situation. He was not looking for a mere sinecure but was prepared to take any employment whereby be could earn an honest living, and he first found work in a saw and planning mill as a teamster. He was thus employed fifteen months, and then engaged in freighting lumber on the Hudson River from Albany to New York City the ensuing three years. He subsequently entered the employ of the firm of Beecher & Silliman, lumber dealers, as inspector of lumber, and remained with them two years. Wishing to prepare himself to a greater extent for a business life, he then took a course in Bryant & Stratton’s Commercial College at Albany. After leaving college he resumed his former position as lumber inspector, and was thus engaged with the firm of Thomas & Hyatt, W. G. Thomas being the senior member of the firm. Soon after Mr. Hyatt withdrew, and Mr. Hubbell became a partner and the firm conducted business under the name of Thomas & Co. Five years later Mr. Thomas withdrew and Mr. Hill became Mr. Hubbell’s partner. Our subject continued with the firm as inspector two years and then as salesman and book-keeper until April, 1881.
In that month Mr. Fowler made a new departure in life and came to Thomas Landing to take charge of the Coke and Coal works, then owned by W. G. Thomas, Jr., bringing with him a colony of emigrants as employees in the works. In 1886 a stock company was formed, known as the Thomas Pressed Brick Company, and Mr. Fowler became a stockholder, and local director and manager of the business.
The plant of which our subject has charge is one of the largest and most valuable in the country. The company does a very extensive business, having every facility for conducting it after the most approved methods and employing none but the best modern machinery for their purposes. They have a large building for their stores, and fifty-seven tenements occupied by the operatives and also own three hundred acres of land, besides the coal underlying sixteen hundred acres of land. Six distinct varieties of clay are used in the manufacture of the bricks, which are made in innumerable colors without the use of chemicals. The company mines its own coal and generates the gas to burn the brick, being the only firm in the United States to do this.
Mr. Fowler was married August 9, 1882, to Miss Catherine A. Russell, and they have a well-appointed, tastefully furnished home, that is the seat of a charming hospitality. Mrs. Fowler is a native of this county, Point Precinct being her birthplace, and she is a daughter of William Russell, a pioneer of the county. Three children have been born to our subject and his wife, named as follows: Maud Russell, Lydia Russell and Alice Russell. Mr. Fowler is a prominent man socially and is a member of Greenbush Lodge No. 337, A. F. & A. M. He is a man of genial presence, whose business talent and force of character have placed him in his present responsible position; he is popular with all who serve under him, and the company whose interests he is so faithfully guarding have implicit confidence in him.