Monday, May 22, 2017

The Complicated Life of a Montana Whiskey Man

   

In writing about her Montana ancestor, a descendant headlined an article “Franklin James Pierce — A Complicated Man.”  That was an accurate assessment of a saloon keeper and “Green Arbor” liquor dealer whose labyrinthine ways and tangled fortunes might best be narrated as a series of four “complications” to be explored.

Complication #1 — His Name:  Franklin James Pierce was not his real name.  He was born James P. Harshaw in 1866 in Fannon County, Texas, where his father was a rancher.   When James was only nine years old he witnessed the cold-blooded killing of his father by four men who had vowed revenge after he had testified against them in court as cattle rustlers.  According to family lore, the boy was holding his father’s hand when the shots rang out.  

His mother having died earlier, his father had married again, a woman named Mary Helena Pierce.   Although the boy was fond of his stepmother, her father was alleged to have horsewhipped him, resulting in his leaving home at age 13.  With a brother, John, he went to Forth Worth, Texas, where for a time the two ran a gambling wheel in a carnival.   Although John returned to Texas, James, shown right, entrained north to Montana, settling for a time in Anaconda, a copper mining boom town. 

About the same time, he decided to change his name to Franklin J. Pierce, identical to an undistinguished dead President who held the office from 1853-1857, before James Harshaw was born.  He may have selected “Pierce” as a last name from his stepmother but why “Franklin J.”?   My own theory is that because Montana was heavily Democratic in those days and Pierce a Democrat, Pierce/Harshaw may have seen social advantage in the name.

Complication #2 — Marriages:  An Ancestry.com family history has copies of three Pierce marriage certificates issued in the decade from 1890 to 1900.  When he was 24, working as a waiter in Butte, Frank met an Irish immigrant girl named Julia O’Neil by whom he fathered a son.  He subsequently wedded her.  After a relatively short marriage, they divorced and she returned to Ireland with the boy.

Eventually Pierce moved to Missoula, Montana, where he owned and managed the Gem Theatre, a vaudeville house that featured, among others, Mrs. Samoya, a master of “black art,”  the Mohring sisters who sang and danced, and, as announced in the Missoula newspaper:  “Joe Crotty, the American boy, a celebrated clog dancer.  He does the act on a pedestal and is said to rank among the very best.”  

Pierce met and fell in love with 21-year-old entertainer named Lulu Inman, originally from Kansas City, who was performing at the Gem.  They were married on New Years Day 1898.  Lulu rapidly became restless “off the circuit” in Missoula, Montana.  When the chance came to join the Rentz-Santley Novelty & Burlesque Company on the road, she left town and Pierce.  The local newspaper headlined:  “She Refused to Live with Him; Missoula Man Looking for Divorce from His Spouse on the Ground of Desertion.

Before long, however,  Frank found true love in the person of Mary Helena Murphy, born into a New Orleans immigrant Irish family.  She also was a performer at the Gem.  In June 1900 the couple were married by an Episcopal priest at Holy Spirit Church in Missoula.   This marriage was destined to last and produce ten children.  A photo from Missoula taken about 1910 shows Frank and Mary (standing) with five of their brood.  They named the two oldest girls “Missoula” and “Montana”


Complication #3:  Misfortunes in Missoula:  For a time after his marriage events seem to go well for Pierce. While having little formal education he was said to have had good business sense.  While continuing to run the Gem Theater, he opened a fancy restaurant on Missoula’s Front Street that he called “Ye Olde Inn.”  Advertised as “the most elegantly appointed cafe in Montana,” the establishment featured a “ladies orchestra” in the evening.   The local paper enthused:  “Ye Olde Inn is one of the most elegant hostelries in the West and a place of which the Garden City [Missoula] can be proud.”

Pierce’s restaurant also appears to have harbored a semi-clandestine casino.  Gambling was illegal in Montana but generally overlooked by authorities.  When a patron complained that he had lost $95 at a roulette wheel in Pierce’s establishment, however, officials were obliged to act.  The owner was arrested and hauled into court.  Although Pierce appears to have escaped serious consequences, his life as a restauranteur posed other challenges.  

“Ye Olde Inn” experienced two fires he believed to be started by disgruntled employees.  After the second blaze, the insurance company refused to pay off.  By now Pierce was over-extended financially.  According to a descendant:  “Frank had planned on a railroad station locating to Missoula, MT where he could make his fortune.  Instead, the railroad settled on Spokane Washington so his ‘gamble’ did not pay off.”  As a likely result Pierce did not have the money to rebuild “Ye Olde Inn.”  Possibly angry at what had befallen him in Missoula, in 1912 he sold the Gem Theater and real estate holdings there and moved his family to Butte.

Complication #4:  Booze in Butte:  Now firmly middle aged, as shown right, Pierce in effect was being forced to start over — this time with a large and still growing family to feed and clothe.  This time he looked to liquor for an income.
Having owned a restaurant he was well aware that alcohol was by far the most profitable item on any menu.  With the money he had made from his Missoula sales he opened a saloon in Butte, located at 124 Montana Avenue.  

He was began retailing whiskey, buying stock by the barrel and decanting it into half-pint and pint flasks for take-away clientele.  Pierce could buy pre-printed labels to slap on the bottles to give them a personalized appearance, as here.  He chose to call his whiskey “Green Arbor.”  Frank also moved his family into a large house at 1015 West Silver Street, shown here.
Pierce plied the liquor trade despite a major looming complication.  Despite harboring hard-drinking ranchers, cowboys and miners, the West rapidly was filling with folks who sought quieter times and gentility.  By 1912 many of them had become advocates for Prohibition as one by one states beyond the Mississippi River chose a “dry” path.  Montana was no exception. Although a majority of voters in Butte was opposed, in an 1916 referendum the state voted itself dry — but was not in a hurry to impose the ban on alcohol.  The law did not take effect until January 1919.

Before the deadline, Pierce shut down his saloon and in the 1920 census was listed as the proprietor of a soft drink parlor at 11 South Montana, down the street from his old saloon.  As shown here, the building still stands.  Given the hard-drinking reputation of Butte, it should be no surprise that bootlegging flourished.  Pierce became part of it.  While his establishment served soft drinks it also served as a cover for the harder stuff.  One of his descendants, noting the difficulties Pierce faced during those years, has related:  “…He reportedly had to pay a lot of bribes to make the local officials look the other way so he could serve alcohol.

The stress may have taken a toll on Pierce’s health.  Shown here is a photo of Frank with his dog, taken in 1923.  At the time he was only 56 years old with his youngest child only age five, but he looks like a much older man.  Three years later he died in December 1926, the cause given as heart disease. His body was return to Missoula for burial in a family plot.  Shown here, his marker sits on Grave 2, Lot 7, Block 032, of the Missoula Cemetery

Summarizing the persona of a man like Franklin J. Pierce is difficult. From all accounts he was a loving husband to Mary Helena and a good father to his children.  His obituary in the Butte Miner newspaper identified him as a “well-known businessman of Butte” but did not go into details.  Another observer has suggested:  “He rubbed shoulders with respected citizens in the community. He entertained a lot of people during his lifetime….”  For all that, the record remains mixed.  During his lifetime Pierce also was involved in activities such as illegal gambling, illicit liquor sales, and bribes to local officials.  “He took risks,”  one descendant has observed.  True enough and they complicated his life.
Note:  This vignette would not have been possible without the wealth of material found in ancestry.com from the Bumala/Yearian family tree.   Although their relationship to Pierce is not explained, they have assembled multiple photos, public documents and several biographical narratives.  It was while tracking the origins of Green Arbor whiskey bottles that I came upon the site.  Pierce’s story was too rich to ignore.   Most of the information and a majority of the photos in this post originated there.



















  

































Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tracking Max Selliger in His Climb to Whiskey Glory


I am no handwriting expert but looking at Max Selliger’s signature above, particularly noting the curlicues on the capital letters, it seems to exude confidence.   He was 30 years old at the time, in the midst of his climb up the Kentucky distilling ladder, beginning as a poorly paid clerk and ending as the sole proprietor of two major Louisville distilleries, maintaining offices in the heart of the city’s “Whiskey Row,” and selling his bourbon coast to coast.

Selliger was born in Louisville in 1852, the son of Caroline and Samuel Selliger. His father ran a millinery store.  Max was provided an elementary and some secondary education in local schools but by the age of 18 was recorded working as a clerk, possibly in his father’s shop.  Given the importance that making and selling whiskey had assumed in Louisville during that era, selling women’s hats may have seemed like a dead end to an ambitious youth like Max.  By 1872 he had gone to work for Barkhouse Bros. & Co., wholesale liquor dealers located at 69 Main Street near Third Road.

The brothers, Julius and Louis Barkhouse, were relative newcomers to the Louisville whiskey scene, but ambitious.  Originally they were wholesalers and “rectifiers” — that is, blending whiskey to achieve smoothness, taste and color.  They must have seen promise in the 20-year-old Selliger and made him their bookkeeper.  It was a post of considerable trust because Max would have been responsible for making the entries on whiskey purchases and rectifications as required by Federal law.  Carelessness or mistakes could result in court action and potential confiscation of stocks and equipment.

By 1876 Barkhouse brothers had determined, as many rectifiers did, that in order to assure whiskey for blending, it was advantageous to own their own distillery.  Accordingly in 1876 they built a plant at 278-300 Story Avenue, near Ohio Street.  They released Selliger from his desk-bound job and green eyeshade to become a salesman for what they now called the Kentucky Distilling Company.  Max made the rounds of Louisville area saloons hawking such brands as “Beargrass,” “Gold Dust” and “Kentucky Pride.”

After three years on this job, Selliger left the Barkhouses to team with Nathan Hofheimer, who came from an established Louisville whiskey clan, including Ernest and Sigmund Hofheimer who ran a wholesale whiskey business on Main Street.  Nathan also was kin to the Cincinnati-based Hofheimer Bros., who owned the White Mills distillery in Louisville.  

The new company, Hofheimer & Selliger, was located at 8 Main Street below First St.  Likely helped by their important connections, from the beginning the partners were successful.  “This wholesale liquor company had exclusive control of many of Kentucky’s finest bourbons,” according to the Encyclopedia of Louisville (2001).  Those brands included “Crystal Springs,”  “G. W. S. Mellwood,” and “Glencoe.”  [For further information on Glencoe, see my post of July 10, 2012.]

Meanwhile another scion of a well-known local whiskey family was fulfilling his ambitions in the liquor trade.  He was George H. Moore, who in 1865 had returned to Louisville from a Union prison camp at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, where he had been interned after being captured in the battle of Allatoona, Georgia.  He went to work in the whiskey operation of his uncle, Jesse Moore.  Beginning in 1881, likely with Jesse’s financial help, George built the Astor Distillery, shown above, located in Louisville between Lexington (later Breckenridge) and Arbegust Streets.  Subsequently Moore built a second plant immediately adjacent, shown below, and called it the Belmont Distillery.

Insurance records show the Astor and Belmont Distilleries adjacent at the site.  Each of the two stills was of brick construction as were four shared warehouses with fireproof metal or slate roofs.  Warehouse A, located 40 feet east of the stills was used for Astor storage and Warehouse B, located 45 feet northeast, likely was assigned to Belmont.  Warehouses C and D sat south of the stills.  The Astor made a sweet mash whiskey called “Astor” and the Belmont was producing “Belmont” and “Nutwood,” both sour mash bourbons.

City directories for 1881-1883 indicate that while maintaining their wholesale liquor business, Selliger early on joined Moore’s distillery company as treasurer and Hofheimer became corporate secretary.  This cozy arrangement proceeded until 1884, when Max left Hofheimer to join Moore full-time in a new firm, one they called Moore and Selliger.  Considered one of the wealthiest men in Louisville and seventeen years older than Selliger, Moore must have seen considerable talent in the younger man to take him as a partner.  With this move Max had made the jump from rectifier — always viewed as second class to actual distillers in Kentucky — to part ownership of two major facilities.

As he was climbing the ladder to whiskey success, Max had remained a bachelor.   Now as a bonafide distiller, in 1882 at the age of 30, he married Nannie Rosenthal, Kentucky-born of German immigrant parents, a woman several years younger than he.  They may have taken a honeymoon aboard because Selliger applied for a passport that same year.  The document provides a description of Max as a young man:  Five feet, eight inches tall; blue eyes;  black hair; long face, and dark complexion.  Over time the couple would have a family of two girls, Leah and Jessie.

Moore & Selliger Co. packaged its whiskeys in clear glass bottles, sized from half-pint and pint flasks to “fifths” and full quarts.  They all carried paper labels.  The Belmont brand displayed a particularly well-designed label involving a large bell and the statement that: “This Whiskey Was Mashed in Little Tubs and Distilled in the Old Fashioned Hand Made Sour Mash Press.”   The partners early saw the benefits of registering their trademarks with the federal government, patenting Astor in 1888, Belmont in 1889 and Nutwood in 1894. .

During the twelve years from 1882 to 1896 the company flourished under the two men.  By the mid -1890s the Astor Distillery was consuming 725 bushels a day to produce sweet-mash whiskey and the Belmont Distillery 760 bushels for sour-mash.  Warehouse capacity had been expanded to 42,000 barrels.  The plants employed a large work staff.  A fire in the Belmont mash room in 1891 that caused $1,000 damage was quickly repaired and whisky-making resumed.

 As he aged, George Moore’s heath deteriorated markedly. After taking breakfast with his family in January 1896 he died quietly, sitting in an armchair. The verdict was a heart attack.  Now the former clerk was running both distilleries as the sole proprietor.  He promptly changed the name to the Max Selliger Company.  In a climb of 26 years at last he had reached the pinnacle of success, recognized as a true Kentucky “whiskey baron.”  For the next 24 years Selliger continued to manage both distilleries, establishing his three major whiskeys as national brands.  After trademark reforms by Congress in 1904, within two years he had registered his Astor, Belmont, and Nutwood brands a second time.

Once in full charge of the whiskey-making Selliger stepped up his merchandising, providing an attractive reverse glass sign and shot glasses to saloons and restaurants using his liquor.   As a result of this intense marketing he developed a wide market for his whiskey as attested by a letterhead from Denver that includes the Belmont logo and by a shot glass from a California saloon. 

Shut down by the advent of National Prohibition in 1920,  Max continued to be listed as a distiller in the federal census of that year.  By the 1930 census, however, he was recorded as “ex-distiller” and “financier.”  In 1933 as Repeal was imminent, Selliger, now 81 years old and with no son to take over the business,  sold his idled distilleries and brands to a group that also bought the Bernheim Distilleries.  Eventually, as shown below, Schenley picked up the Belmont name and motif.

In 1936 Max and Nannie Selliger were still listed in Louisville directories, living at 1022 South Third Street.  With them was their unmarried daughter, Jessie.  The Max Selliger company was still extant, now with a hired manager.  As he relaxed in virtual retirement, Max must have thought frequently about the timely careers moves he had made, decisions that had seen him rise from clerk to whiskey nobility — and smiled.  In April 1838 while on a visit to Philadelphia, at the age of 86, Selliger was stricken with a heart attack and died.  His body was returned to Louisville for interment, with Nannie, Jessie and a granddaughter among the mourners.

Note: In February of this year three unopened “fifth” bottles of Selliger’s Belmont whiskey were sold at auction.  The label identified all three as having been distilled in 1902 and aged for eight years at the Louisville facility.  Although a small part of the contents had evaporated from each bottle, as shown right, most of the whiskey still remained and would be considered potable.  The three bottles each were knocked down at prices ranging from $1,230 to $1,476 — each sip an expensive one.  Max Selliger would be proud.



























Sunday, May 14, 2017

Who Blew Up Gotham’s Macy & Jenkins — and Why?


New York, according to the Harper’s Weekly of April 11, 1857, was “…A huge semi-barbarous metropolis...not well-governed nor ill-governed, but simply not governed at all — with filthy and unlighted streets, no practical or efficient security for either life or property, a police not worthy of the name, and expenses steadily and enormously increasing.”

Charles B. Macy and Francis Jenkins might have agreed with that harsh assessment. They had been involved in liquor sales for more than a decade in Manhattan at 149 Fulton Street as Macy & Jenkins when on March 4, 1857, an attempt was made blow their establishment to smithereens.  Who was behind the blast — and why were they targeted?

The year 1857 was one of extreme unrest in Gotham City.  Two major riots had rocked the scene.  One occurred in June when New York Municipal Police clashed violently with Metropolitan Police over the Mayor’s allegedly corrupt appointment of the city’s Street Commissioner.  Shown above, the spectacle of cops fighting cops was concluded only by the intervention of the New York State militia. 
Much more serious was a melee that consisted of widespread violence and looting called the “Dead Rabbits Riot” after one of the Irish gangs involved.  A newspaper illustration above caught the mayhem.  This altercation, lasting July 4 and 5, accounted for at least eight deaths, multiple serious injuries and extensive property damage.  The fighting was stopped only by a second intervention by  regiments of the New York State Militia who marched on the rioters with fixed bayonets.  With police help they were able to intimidate gang members to retreat back to their hideouts.

This was the environment in which Macy and Jenkins did business.  The first floor of their Fulton Street store typically was crowded with barrels and casks of whiskey and other items.  Just after dark on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening when the store was closed a tremendous explosion rocked the building.  It blew out the doors and windows front and back.  The rear windows that had been secured by iron shutters were blown open by the violence of the concussion as were windows in the cellar.  Fragments of the front doors were thrown across the street. 

An investigation afterward revealed that an effort had been made to blow up the building with gunpowder and, in the estimate of officials, to cause a raging fire.  The explosive material had been been placed between a barrel of whiskey and a stairway and lighted with a slow match, seemingly designed to burst the cask, ignite the whiskey and throw flames in every direction.  In reality, the resulting blaze was negligible.  A policeman and a fire fighter — known in those days as “an insurance patrolman”    were nearby, ran to the scene and extinguished the fire with a few buckets of water.

The proprietors quickly were called to the scene.  They found their safe untouched, nothing of value missing, and their stock largely in the same condition as it was before the blast.   The total damage was estimated at not more than fifty dollars.  Macy and Jenkins had gotten off lightly.  If the partners had an idea who had perpetrated the explosion and why, they did not share it with the press.  Before long, however, they moved their enterprise to a more staid neighborhood at 67 Liberty Street, a five story building between Broadway and Nassau Street in the Financial District, next to the New York Chamber of Commerce.

How these partners came to link their fortunes is unclear. Charles Macy was the oldest, born in Hudson, Columbia County, New York, in 1807, the first of six children of Benjamin and Lydia Bunker Macy.  Members of the Macy family had a habit of dying young.  Before he reached 20, Charles had experienced the death of his father and two younger sisters.  Jenkins was eight years Macy’s junior. He was a native New Yorker who, according to the census, still lived with his elderly father, Jonathan, and other siblings at the age of 32.  He would marry later and raise a family.


Having survived the blast and moved to more prestigious quarters, the partners saw their business thrive.  At the new location with additional space they were able to operate as “rectifiers,”  that is, blending their own whiskeys to achieve color, taste and smoothness.  They called their flagship brand, “Old Club House,”  a name initially they never bothered to trademark.  Their advertising promised that this brand was “warranted pure and softened by age only.”

The company bottled Old Club House in a distinctive glass bottle with a handle, giving the appearance of a jug or decanter.  Their names appeared on embossing on the base of the container, which came in varying shades of amber.   A paper label overlay the glass.  Shown below the label referenced the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, a common and meaningless ploy by wholesalers.

By 1906 the original owners were gone from the company, taken by death. Macy was the first to pass, in February 1869 at the age of 61.  He was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, shown here.  In the years that followed Francis Jenkins carried on alone, eventually bringing a son, William B. Jenkins, into the business.  Francis died at the age of 77 in October 1893, leaving William thereafter to guide Macy & Jenkins.  Francis too was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Under William Jenkin’s guidance, the liquor house moved into the 20th Century and continued to thrive.  The American Carbonator and Bottler publication hailed it by writing:  “Bottlers who want find wines and liquors for the holiday trade or for family or office use will find just what they want in the superior stock of wine and liquors kept by the famous old house of Macy & Jenkins, 67 Liberty Street, New York.”  The firm continued to feature Old Club House whiskey as its flagship brand.  With the strengthening of trademark laws in 1904, William Jenkins saw the benefit of registering the name with the federal government for the first time in 1905.  
The last New York City directory listing for the firm that I can find is for 1918.  As a result of the onset of National Prohibition, the next year Macy & Jenkins would be forced to shut down after almost 80 years in business  To the end the liquor house was located at 67 Liberty Street in Manhattan. 

This brief history of Macy & Jenkins fails to shed definitive light on why in 1857 someone tried to destroy their store.  Assessing the lawlessness that ran rampant over New York City during that time, my guess is that the partners were targeted for refusing the blandishments of gang members to buy “protection.”  Gotham gangs like Dead Rabbits, Bowery Boys, Atlantic Guards and Roach Guards were known to engage in those kinds of extortion schemes.  When Macy and Jenkins apparently refused to play ball with the thugs, they put their business in jeopardy.   

Note:  Earlier in this century the Macy & Jenkins building was turned into residences and additional stories placed on top.  Here is a picture of the structure as the construction progressed and how it was expected to look at the end.  One writer put it this way:  “Something wacky this way comes at 67 Liberty Street in the Financial District, where a boarded up five-story commercial building is quickly adding floors….And that rooftop addition?  Oh, it’s just going to be 15 stories.”  Only in New York City.




























Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Milwaukee’s August Greulich — Pioneer and Politico

     
When  German immigrant August Greulich arrived on the Wisconsin lakeshore near Milwaukee in 1842, he faced a heavily wooded landscape of scrub oak and tamarack.  He stayed for the rest of his life, working as a farmer, newspaper editor, political office holder, philanthropist, and for much of his life, successful whiskey merchant.  When he died Greulich left behind a thriving city of more than 200,000 souls.

 Shown right, Greulich (pronounced “groo-lick”) was born in 1813 on his father’s farm in Baden, Germany.  Educated in local schools, he may have spent a period of time as an apprentice in a butcher shop.   At 21, an age when many young Germans left their homeland, he emigrated to the American shores, landing in New York.  He was recorded working as a butcher in Boston for nine months, then moving on to Buffalo and Cleveland, traveling ever westward. 

By 1836, August was in living in Detroit and running his own butcher shop.  He found a wife there, Margaret Ann Alter, herself an immigrant from Baden, marrying her about 1837.   Their first two children were born there, Cecelia Catherine and Andrew Francis.  As a pioneer merchant in Detroit, Greulich began to recognize his leadership skills, became active in politics and was involved in passing the first Michigan constitution. 

It remains unclear why, after five years in Detroit, he decided to uproot his small family and move to even more primitive Wisconsin, still a territory on the Northwest Frontier.  It may have been the prospect of cheap land, available for clearing and growing crops.   Gruelich tried farming south of Milwaukee for several years, likely find it grueling work and unrewarding.  By 1845 he had left agriculture and with a partner opened a general store in Milwaukee.
  
About the same time he joined one of Milwaukee’s volunteer fire companies, eventually rising to the position of foreman.  This was a post elected by the volunteers himself and may have rekindled Greulich's political instincts.  In 1848 he was elected from Milwaukee’s Second Ward as a legislator in the first Wisconsin legislature.  This was only the first of his elective offices.  In 1856 he was again elected to the State Assembly and in 1857 and 1858 was raised to the State Senate.  

In the meantime, August had abandoned mercantile pursuits in favor of buying an interest in the Seebote German-language newspaper.  This move may have been dictated by Greulich’s political ambitions.  Many of his constituents were German, as was he, and read German newspapers like the Seebote Oriented to the Democratic Party, to which August adhered, the paper was an important political tool.  After buying a half interest in 1852,  Greulich became the managing editor.  
By 1860 publishing a newspaper had lost its attraction and August turned his attention back to commerce.  His general store had made him considerable money with alcohol sales as the major profit center.  Taking with him as a partner his son-in-law, Julius Kersting, he bought out an existing Milwaukee liquor house, calling the new firm “The Aug. Greulich Co.”  Its initial location was 341-345 Third Street, moving to 342-346 Fourth Street in 1867.

Unlike several other Milwaukee whiskey merchants,  Greulich was not blending and selling his own brands of whiskey.  Rather, he featured national brands purchased from distillers and sold at retail in his establishment.   Among them were “Jockey Club Bourbon,” trademarked by the Halliday Company of New York, “Chimney Corner Bourbon” from the Squibb family of Lawrenceburg, Indiana [See my post of March 2016], and “Montebello Whiskey,” likely from a Baltimore area distiller.   The company advertised that  “Fine old rye and malt whiskeys from the most famous distilleries of Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Maryland are…specialties.”

In 1868, Kersting died while on a trip to Switzerland leaving August’s daughter a young widow.  Greulich went on as sole proprietor of the liquor house.  By this time the politically active German immigrant had a family of five, four girls and Andrew F. whom he eventually took into the firm.  He gave his son advanced education and a two-year “grand tour” of Europe, possibly to keep the youth out of the Civil War draft.   When the company incorporated in 1891 with $65,000 capital, equivalent to $1.6 million today, Andrew was taken as a partner.  The publication, “Milwaukee — A Half Century of Progress” opined:  “The trade is large and influential in this city and throughout the Middle and Western States and is annually increasing.”

Even as he was building his liquor business,  Greulich was continuing his political life.  For more than a decade during the 1860s and 1870s he was elected to the Milwaukee City Council, where for a time he headed an investigation into corruption in City Hall. He also served as a member of the County Board of Supervisors and spent two years on the Milwaukee School Board.   Greulich’s most enduring commitment was to the St. Emelianus Orphans Asylum, in the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis, shown below.  He served on the board of managers of the orphanage for 20 years and was a principal source of its financial support. 

As he aged, Greulich received considerable recognition for his contributions to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.  Said one publication under the headline “Milwaukee Pioneer”:  “Although now well advanced in years, Mr. Greulich has by no means outlived his usefulness….,” citing August's continuing interest in civic betterment.  An 1881 article said:  “Mr. Greulich…has been highly respected by his fellow citizens; and during all the years of his public life had an eye to the best interests of the city.”

In January 1893 at the age of 79 Greulich died in the home he had built for his family 45 years earlier.  He was buried in Milwaukee’s Catholic Calvary Cemetery, Block 9, Row 141.  August’s grave is marked with a large statue that appears to be Mary Magdalene mourning at the cross.  Almost exactly two years later his wife, Margaret died and was interred next to him.

With Greulich’s death the liquor house underwent a management reshuffle.  John Seiben, who had been brought in as a vice president in 1891, became president with Andrew Greulich as secretary-treasurer.   The last entry for the company in Milwaukee directories was 1908, well in advance of National Prohibition.   Andrew Greulich died in 1912 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery not far from his parents.