The success of G. D. Hoppe, president of The Sheboygan Fruit Box Company, one of the flourishing industries of this city, must be attributed to a life of intense activity and business enterprise, as neither favorable circumstnces nor the influence of friends were ever exercised to forward his interests or to assist him in achieving his ambition. He was born in the vicinity of Hamburg, Germany, on the 25th of February, 1865, and is a son of Ludwig and Doris Hoppe. The father, who was a tinsmith, emigrated to the United States with his family in 1876 and located in Glenbeulah, where for many years he worked at his trade. When age compelled his retirement from active business he removed to Sheboygan, where he passed away on the 20th of December, 1910, at the age of seventy-four years. He was laid to rest in the cemetery at Glenbeulah beside the mother, whose death occurred on July 5, 1883.
Our subject is the eldest of the seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hoppe, the others in order of birth being as follows: Eliza, the wife of F. A. Kaerwer, who is engaged in the practice of law in Oshkosh, this state; Emma, who married William Hitzler, a farmer on Seven Mile Creek; Jennie, the wife of G. A. Trimm, a photographer of Oshkosh; Emelia, who passed away on the 16th of July, 1903, the deceased wife of John Doherty, a merchant of Oshkosh, where she is buried; Marie, who became the wife of F. F. Leuhman, of Oshkosh, who is a buyer in the furniture department of Marshall Field and Company of Chicago; and Fred, who is a butcher at Glenbeulah.
The education of G. D. Hoppe, who was a lad of eleven years when he came to America with his parents, was begun in the schools of his native land and completed in those of Glenbeulah. At the age of fifteen years he laid aside his text-books and began his business career as an employee of The Dillingham Company, now The Dillingham Manufacturing Company. This was not his first experience as a wage earner, however, as he had worked for this firm during his summer vacations from the time he was twelve years old. He continued in their service for twenty-seven years, and during that time he was promoted in accordance with the ability he manifested until he held the position of foreman of the second floor at the time of his resignation.
After leaving the employ of The Dillingham Manufacturing Company, Mr. Hoppe became associated with William Krummel in the manufacture of cigar boxes and specialties. This connection was very brief, however, as they sold their plant in 1904. He next formed a partnership with William Hitzler and they purchased the old plant of The Sheboygan Fruit Box Company. In 1905, Mr. Hitzler disposed of his interest in the enterprise, but Mr. Hoppe continued to act as secretary, treasurer and general manager of the company, the duties of which offices he had discharged from the first, until 1909, when the plant was sold. He subsequently organized another company, under the name of The Sheboygan Fruit Box Company, and again started operations. At that time he was secretary and treasurer and also general manager, but he has since become president of the company. He continued to discharge the duties of general manager, however, and is also a member of the board of directors. The plant of the present company has been located at the corner of Geele avenue and North Fifteenth street, where they have owned about three and a half acres of ground, since the 1st of January, 1912. They have a thoroughly modern plant and an excellent equipment, their factory being provided with every facility and device essential to its successful operation. Their business has developed so rapidly that it now requires the services of seventy-five people to fill their orders, and the receipts of their sales department are constantly increasing.
In this city in August, 1888, Mr. Hoppe was united in marriage to Miss Mathilda Margenau, a daughter of Frank and Catherine Margenau, the father, who is now deceased, having been a pioneer cooper of Sheboygan. Mr. and Mrs. Hoppe have one son, A. H., who is in charge of the basket department of The Sheboygan Fruit Box Company. The family reside at 1327 Lincoln avenue, this city.
Fraternally Mr. Hoppe is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and he also belongs to the Equitable Fraternal Union, while his political support he accords to the republican party. The achievements of Mr. Hoppe are entirely attributable to his own efforts as he has made his way unaided from his early youth, and undoubtedly finds his greatest satisfaction in the thought that such success as has come to him is the result of perseverance and unceasing diligence, and that he is indebted to no one but himself for the position he now holds in the business circles of the community.
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