From a small beginning E. B. Garton has developed an important enterprise now conducted under the name of the Garton Toy Company. He entered this field of business at Sheboygan in 1879 and his success is indicated by the fact that he is now at the head of one of the chief productive industries of this city.
He was born on a farm near Toronto, Canada, on the 16th of August, 1841, and there spent his youthful days, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the farm lad as he assists in the care of the stock and the work of the fields. A portion of his time was also given to the acquirement of an education in the public schools. He remained in his native land until he had reached the age of twenty-three years, when in 1864 he came directly to Sheboygan county. For a time he was employed in a sawmill at Sheboygan Falls and at other work in the Sheboygan factories. But he was ambitious to engage in business on his own account and eagerly embraced the opportunity that enabled him to acquire sufficient capital to carry out his inclination. In 1879, therefore, he began the manufacture of toy wagons. The enterprise was a very small one at the beginning, giving employment only to two men and a boy. Something of the growth of the business is indicated by the fact that the company now has four hundred men and employs a capital of three hundred thousand dollars.
There are over three acres of floor space in the factory and the company is spending in additional offices and warehouse about eighteen thousand dollars. E. B. Garton is the president while his son, C. E. Garton, is the vice president and superintendent and R. L. Whitehill is secretary. The fact that the business is conducted wholly by Mr. Garton and members of his family and to them and not to outside capitalists is its development due, may justly be a matter of pride to its founders and present officers. The first shop was a story and a half structure, thirty-five by fifty feet, but this has been enlarged from time to time until the plant is now an extensive one and the buildings are splendidly equipped with the latest improved machinery to facilitate the work. The output has also been extended in its scope to include not only wagons but various other wooden toys and the product finds a ready sale on the market throughout a wide territory.
Mr. Garton was married in Sheboygan in 1865 to Miss Nancy J. Goodell, of this city, and unto them were born five children: Edith, who is the wife of R. L. Whitehill; C. E., who is vice president and superintendent of the Garton Toy Company; and three who died in infancy. Mr. Garton holds membership with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. For fifty-six years he has been a loyal and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is now serving as one of its trustees. He is much interested in its work and its upbuilding and, moreover, is actively connected with many movements which constitute features in municipal advancement and progress here. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished in life for he started out in the business world empty-handed, his only capital being his industry and determination. Since that time close application, earnest purpose, sound judgment and unassailable probity have brought him success and placed him with the foremost business men of his adopted city.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL