Silas B. Crocker

Silas B. Crocker, of the Crocker Chair Company, has been identified with the manufacturing interests of Sheboygan for the past forty-four years. He is widely known in the community and is a member of one of the highly esteemed pioneer families.

Mr. Crocker is a native of the state of New York, having been born in Willsboro Falls on November 12, 1849. His grandfather, James Crocker, was born in Rutland county, Vermont, in 1782, and married Margaret Leland, born in the same county in 1780. They moved to Essex county, New York, in 1825, and to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1846. The grandmother died in Wilson township in 1856, and the grandfather in Sheboygan Falls in 1877. James Crocker was a carpenter by trade and followed that occupation after coming to Wisconsin. He had a family of eleven children.

Silas R. Crocker, the father of our subject, was born in Rutland county, Vermont, January 26, 1811, and was reared on a farm, but later was employed in his father's shop learning the trade of carpenter, joiner and cabinet-maker. He was married in Schroon, Essex county, New York, in 1834, to Minerva H. Knapp, who was born in the same county in 1815. Her parents came from Connecticut to New York in an early day.

Mr. Crocker, the father, farmed and conducted a cabinet shop for several years in New York state and in 1853 came to Sheboygan. He was first employed in a shipyard and worked on the first dredge that was used in opening the harbor here. His wife died in 1857 leaving eight children as follows: Orthonette, Mary E., Watson D., Ara D., Roger E., Silas B., Eva M., and Martha K. The father, Silas R. Crocker, was one of the first to engage in manufacturing in Sheboygan. In 1866 he, with his eldest son, Watson D., and I. V. Bliss, purchased the old Gurrey Hotel building on Pennsylvania avenue and they put in a sawmill and machinery for manufacturing chairs.

Silas R. Crocker was one of the progressive and enterprising citizens of that period and did much to promote the industrrial and commercial development of the county. He also figured in the political life of the community, giving his allegiance to the democratic party, and was one of the city's early aldermen. He lived to attain the venerable age of about eighty-four years, and passed away in 1896. Both parents are buried in Wildwood cemetery.

Silas B. Crocker, who was only a child of about five years when his parents located in Sheboygan, acquired the greater part of his education through private instruction. When he was seven years of age he left the parental roof and started out to make his own way in the world, spending ten years in the Adirondack mountains, and then he began his business career in Chicago, where he held a clerkship for two years. At the end of that period he returned home and became associated with his father and brothers, Watson D., Roger E. and Ara D., in founding the Crocker abd Bliss Chair Company in 1868.

The last named, Ara D. Crocker, passed away on April 9, 1902. They had been engaged in the operation of this industry for four years, had their business well established and had built up an extensive patronage when their plant was destroyed by fire. The same year, in 1872, the father retired and they reorganized under the name of The Phoenix Chair Company; but eight years later they disposed of this enterprise and established the Crocker Chair Company, which has now been in active operation for thirty-two years. Mr. Crocker has been officially connected with it ever since its organization.

On the 29th of November, 1878, Mr. Crocker was united in marriage to Miss Mary Rait, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Rait of Waupaca, where for many years the father engaged in farming. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Crocker: Elizabeth, who married Julian Mogenson, sales manager for W. J. Duntley, of Chicago; and Myron K., clerk for the Bell Telephone Company at Milwaukee. The family home is located at 1204 North Fourth street, where Mr. Crocker erected a very comfortable residence in 1899.

Mr. and Mrs. Crocker are members of the Congregational church. His political support he gives to the republican party and for a time served as alderman from the second ward. He has always led a life of activity and business enterprise and has prospered in his undertakings.


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