Though more than sixteen years have passed since Clemens Reiss was called to his final rest, he is still remembered in Sheboygan as a respected and influential citizen and one who held a prominent position in business circles as the president of The C. Reiss Coal Company, which he founded almost a third of a century ago. He passed away on the rst of June, 18g6, when in the sixty-first year of his age, his birth having occurred on the 7th of November, 1835, at Croev, on the river Mosel, in Germany. He attended the schools of the fatherland in his childhood and early youth and when a young man of twenty years crossed the Atlantic to the United States, coming direct to Wisconsin, but remained at Chicago for a few months when he took cholera, during the great epidemic at that time.
For one year he worked at Two Rivers, this state, and in 1856 came to Sheboygan, being here employed for a similar period in the bakery of John Mallmann, the father of James Mallmann. He spent the winter of 1857 in the pine woods of Michigan and in 1858 began work for Beekman Cole in a flour mill at Pigeon River. In 1860, having by dint of thrift and industry saved sufficient capital from his earnings, he purchased an interest in the mill. Two years later he bought a boarding house at the corner of Indiana avenue and Eighth street, where he resided for five years and then sold the property. He subsequently bought a home on Niagara avenue and was employed by the Merchants Association as a purchaser of wheat and grain. In 1880 he founded a coal business under the name of Clemens Reiss & Company, and eight years later, in April, 1888, The C. Reiss Coal Company was incorporated with a capital stock of forty thousand dollars, by Clemens Reiss, Fritz Karste, Christian Eckhardt and Peter Reiss. The officers were as follows: Clemens Reiss, president; Christian Eckhardt, vice president; Fritz Karste, treasurer; Peter Reiss, secretary. In April, 1893, the capital stock was increased to one hundred thousand dollars, in May, 1895, to two hundred thousand dollars and in August, 1902, to eight hundred thousand dollars. At the head of this important industry Clemens Reiss displayed excellent executive ability and keen discernment, conducting his business in a manner that insured its continued growth and success. His interests in this connection grew so rapidly that they demanded his entire attention, and during the remainder of his life he was widely recognized as a prominent factor in business circles of Sheboygan.
On the 10th of May, 1864, at Sheboygan, Mr. Reiss was united in marriage to Miss Anna Maria Mallmann, who was born June 10, 1845, at Halsebach, near Boppard on the Rhine. She came to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Mallmann. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Reiss were born twelve children. Annie, whose birth occurred on the 28th of March, 1865, gave her hand in marriage to Peter Neuses on the 25th of September, 1894, and lived in Janesville until called to her final rest on the 11th of September, 1902. Peter, whose natal day was January 17, 1867, wedded Miss Mattie Pape on the arst of November, 1893. Edmund was born on the 14th of March, 1869, and died on the 23rd of July, 1892. Regina was born on the 1st of April, 1871. Jacob L., whose birth occurred March 20, 1873, wedded Miss Mary Detmer on the 5th of August, 1896. John Peter, whose natal day was May 15, 1875, married Miss Charlotte Buchanan on the 16th of September, 1902. Jennie, who was born on the 30th of October, 1877, gave her hand in marriage to Otto Ballschmider on the 17th of January, 1905. Josephine Reiss was born on the 12th of April, 1880, and the next in order of birth is Richard, born November 28, 1882. William, whose natal day was November 28, 1884, married Miss Rhoda Rietow on the 1st of September, 1909. Clemens, whose birth occurred August 16, 1887, was united in marriage to Miss Cecelia Connor on the 14th of September, 1911.
Otto Reiss was born on the 23rd of July, 1891. There are now fourteen grandchildren. Mr. Reiss exercised his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democracy but found no time for political activity. He was a Catholic in religious faith and a devout communicant of Holy Name church. His upright and honorable life won him the respect and esteem of those with whom he was associated, and his name has not been forgotten nor his memory ceased to be honored in the city which was his home. His record is a splendid illustration of the power of energy and perseverance in the attainment of success, for, coming to the new world empty handed, he worked his way steadily upward to a position of prominence and prosperity.
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