There is, perhaps, no history in all this volume that indicates more fully what may be accomplished through determined and persistent purpose than that of Simon Grasser for, denied some of the advantages which many boys enjoy, he had to encounter various difficulties and obstacles. His record, however, proves that it is only under the stimulus of adversity and opposition that the strongest and best in man is brought out and developed. His self-sacrifice and determination were called forth and his developing ability and energy have at length brought him to a prominent position in business circles. He is now dealing extensively in flour, feed and produce, owning a large four-story grain elevator with a capacity of over twenty thousand bushels at No. 817 Center street. He started in this business in Sheboygan on April 4, 1887, and now conducts his interests under the firm style of S. Grasser and Company, his son-in-law, Fred Flader, being his partner.
Mr. Grasser is a native of Manitowoc county, his birth having there occurred upon a farm on the 18th of February, 1856, his parents being Stephen and Mary Grasser, both of whom were natives of Germany. On coming to the new world they settled in Manitowoc county, where the father purchased, developed and improved a farm. At length he sold that property and took up his abode in Sheboygan, where he passed away at the venerable age of ninety two years and two months. He had for some time survived his wife, who died when she was about seventy-two years of age.
Simon Grasser spent his youthful days upon the home farm and continued to assist in its cultivation until he reached the age of twenty-four years. He then went to Milwaukee and for three years was employed in the Joseph Schlitz brewery. While a resident of that city he married Miss Margaret Schill, who was also born and reared in Manitowoc county, and after a residence of three years in Milwaukee he returned with his wife to Cleveland, Manitowoc county, where for six years he worked for his brother-in-law, Peter Hoffmann, who was proprietor of a grain elevator and lumberyard.
During the succeeding year Mr. Grasser was in the employ of the Mattoon Manufacturing Company of Sheboygan and on the expiration of that period established his present business in April, 1887. To the time that he was twenty-five years of age he could not read or write English although he was familiar with the German language, his instruction having been in that tongue. Subsequent to his marriage he attended night school and thus made an advance step toward that success which has ultimately rewarded his labors. He began business on a small scale, being located on Center street on the present site of the Rummelle's automobile garage. His investment represented an outlay of only five hundred and fifty dollars and from that small beginning he has developed his present extensive enterprise. He later removed to a building by the railroad tracks near where his cold storage plant now stands. In 1905 he sold that property and erected his present four-story wareroom and elevator. Each year has witnessed an increase in his business which has now reached mammoth proportions as is indicated by the fact that to meet the demands of the trade it was necessary to erect his present elevator with a capacity of twenty thousand bushels. He handles flour, feed and produce and has secured an excellent market, his annual sales returning him a most gratifying income.
Mr. and Mrs. Grasser have become the parents of two children: Elizabeth, who is the wife of Fred Flader, her father's partner in business; and Anna, the wife of Frank C. Schultz, of Fond du Lac. Mrs. Flader has two children, Calvin and Margaret, and Mrs. Schultz one son, Carl. Mr. Grasser and his family hold membership in the Roman Catholic church and he belongs to the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Catholic Knights of Wisconsin and the Modern Woodmen of America. He certainly deserves much credit for what he has accomplished for energy and perseverance have constituted the foundation of his success. He has been actuated by no "vaulting ambition" but has never failed to use the opportunities presented and gradually has gained a position among the leading and prosperous 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