Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
MARTIN JOSEPH BAUM - In industrial circles in Springfield, representing a business of importance that adds to the commercial activity of the city, Martin J. Baum is well known, being proprietor of the Baum's Stone, Marble & Granite Works and the leading manufacturer and contractor of monumental and building stone in central Illinois. He was born in New York city, March 15, 1857, and is a son of Joseph and Antionette (Schmitz) Baum. The father is now living in Mobile, Alabama, where he has resided the past six years. He came of a prominent and honored German family and Colonel Baum, of the German army, fought with the English in the Revolutionary war. Joseph Baum was born October 3, 1828, in Cologne, Germany. That city was known in early days as Coln and took the name of Cologne because the popular perfume thus called originated there. The sweet smelling water and its later commercial value made the city famous. Joseph Baum acquired his education in Cologne and, according to the laws of the land, he served in the army, giving four years to service with the Prussian troops, entering the Fourth Dragoons in 1848. He saw much hard fighting and lost his right eye in battle. Because of his experience in military life he decided to come to America and in 1854 landed on the soil of the new world. Here he began work at the stone-cutter's trade, which he had learned in his native city. He brought excellent recommendations as a sculptor given him by the builders of the wonderful cathedral of Cologne. For four years in Cologne he had been engaged in making statuary for the cathedral. On reaching New York he was engaged to work on a large church in New York city and later was employed by the well known firm of Fisher & Beard for three years. He then went to Charleston, South Carolina, where he followed his chosen calling until Fort Sumter was fired upon, when, his sympathies being with the Union cause and feeling that he had had enough experience in warfare in his own country, he left he south and made his way to Illinois. He found it very difficult, however, to travel northward, for he was summoned to take up arms for the southern cause. However, an army officer assisted him in securing a pass for the family, but before they had proceeded beyond the danger line their pass was questioned and they were loaded into a cattle car and taken back. As proof of the genuineness of the document, however, was obtained, they were allowed to depart and best they could they made their way to the north. Mr. Baum determined to return to Germany, but upon arriving in New York city was persuaded by his former employers to remain. While he was there a delegation of citizens from Chicago visited New York in search of skilled workmen to aid in the construction of Crosby's Opera House. Mr. Baum was recommended as an artisan of unusual skill and he arranged to go to Chicago, where h e did some notably fine work on the opera house. He then came to Springfield and in 1865 founded the business which is still conducted by his son. It has gradually grown until it is one of the most complete plants in central Illinois.
Joseph Baum was married in Germany in 1854 to Miss Antoinette Schmitz, a native of that country and a representative of a distinguished family of the fatherland. Their marriage has been blessed with eleven children. The eldest is Martin J. of this review. Annie, the second child, was educated in Springfield and was married here to B. F. Curtis. For a time they resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, and now they make their home in New York city, where Mr. Curtis is superintendent of the stereotype foundry. Juliet is the widow of J. B. Strong who was buried in Oak Ridge cemetery. She was married in Cincinnati and removed to Denver, but upon the death of her husband went to Minneapolis and is now residing in Pennsylvania. She and her sister Annie were born in Charleston, South Carolina, as was Joseph J., who was educated in Springfield, and is now a stereotyper of New York city. He is married and has one daughter, Josephine, who was born in Chicago, was educated in Springfield and was married here to Frank Schlanderman, proprietor of the large brewery at Decatur, Illinois. Frank, born and educated in Springfield, is married and has a family of three daughters and a son. They resided in Franklin, Pennsylvania, for a time but are now living in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a stereotyper and a very practical business man. He was sent to Berlin wo work, but remained there only a short time and then went to Madrid, Spain. During the Spanish American war he enlisted for service at Philadelphia and served as second gunner on a gunboat. Antoinette Nettie, born an educated in Springfield, removed with her parents to North Carolina and there became the wife of Barry Searl, who is assayer and mine superintendent. He is a Yale graduate and has always followed civil engineering. He has been an extensive traveler in the interest of his calling and has filled excellent paying positions. For a time he and his wife resided in Venezuela, South American, where he was superintendent of a mine, and he later spent some time at Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was employed in a similar way, but at the breaking out of the Boer war he returned to the United States, for hostilities put an end to mining. He now resides in Montrose, Pennsylvania. He has also made several trips to Alaska and in the interest of his business has seen much of the world. He has five children. Alexander, who is engaged in the marble business at Sylva, North Carolina, also superintends his father's interests there. He was born and educated in Springfield. Frances, who was born and educated in this city, was married in Sylva, North Carolina, to William Perry, who is an accountant and storekeeper for a dredging company and resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Isabella, who in early childhood died, was laid to rest in Oak Ridge cemetery. William F., who was born and reared in this city, carried on the marble business at Mobile, Alabama, where his father established that enterprise for him. AT the time of the Spanish-American war he enlisted from Mobile for service in the regular army and formerly he had been a member of the Alabama Guards. He was detailed to the medical staff and served until the close of hostilities, after which he went to Alaska, where he engaged in prospecting. He took with him a chest of medicine and because of the aid which he rendered in this way and because of his sterling personal characteristics he became popular with both natives and prospectors, but he was last seen at St. Michaels in 1899 and no trace has ever been heard of him since that time. Mr. Searls afterward made a trip in order to discover what he could and found many of the personal effects of William F. Baum and proof of his ownership to many claims which were disposed of in due form. He was a bright young man of twenty-five years of age and he seemed to have an excellent future before him. Joseph Baum, the father of this family, is a well educated man, thoroughly informed on all topics of the day. He has been very active and successful in business and now has valuable real estate holdings in North Carolina as well as in Mobile, Alabama. In 1888 he left Springfield, turning over his business to the care of his son Martin, who purchased it in 1890. In politics the father is a Democrat, but has never been an aspirant for office. He belong to the German Catholic church, but his views are liberal, telling his children that it is good to belong to any church as the same Go rules them all. Mr. Baum certainly has no occasion to regret his determination to come to America, for here he has found excellent business opportunities and has prospered in his work.
Martin Joseph Baum, who name introduces this record, was educated in private schools and in 1880 he went to Cologne, Germany, where he pursued a course in architectural drawing in a seminary there, continuing his studies for a year. While in Europe he also traveled extensively, visiting Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. He gained many ideas relative to his business and also gained much interesting information concerning historic and modern scenes, events and places. After his return in 1882 he remained ten months in Springfield and then went west for one year. Again returning to Springfield in 1883 he became associated in business with his father, who gave him an interest in the enterprise. He has since had the management of the business and through his capable control he has developed an enterprise of large proportions, which annually returns a good income. During his younger days he traveled extensively for his health and to see the country, but in recent years the increased business has made greater and greater demands upon his time. When his father left the city in 1888 the entire management devolved upon him and in 1890 he became sole owner. During the past ten years the business has doubled and he now employs about twenty experienced workmen in order to meet all contracts. He has an extensive patronage in heavy contracting work and in later years he has turned his attention largely to the manufacture of monumental work and building stone. He also manufactures artificial stone. He has practical knowledge of the trade in all of its branches and to the business he gives his personal attention.
On the 29th of September, 1891, in Springfield, Mr. Baum was united in marriage to Miss Nettie Ramstetter, who was born in this city in 1867, and is a daughter of Henry Ramstetter, who is now living retired in this city. This marriage was blessed with five children, but Martin M. died in early childhood. Those still living are: Alice M., Elmer H. and Beatrice I., who are all in school; and Dorothy, the baby. The family home is at No. 708 South Fifth street, Mr. Baum having recently purchased this property. He also owns his former house at No. 1800 South Seventh street.
He has never taken an active part in politics, although he has often been solicited to do so. He holds membership with the Church of the Immaculate Conception and he is a member of Navarre Lodge, K. P., and the Court of Honor, No. 481. When he closes up his year's business he frequently takes his family for a pleasure trip to the south and west and he finds his greatest enjoyment in promoting the happiness of his wife and children. Honored and respected by all, he occupies an enviable position in the commercial and industrial circles of the city, not only because of the success he has achieved, but also because of the straightforward business policy he has ever followed. It is true that he entered upon a business already established, but many a man of less resolute purpose would have failed in extending its scope. He, however, with practical ideas and sound business judgment, took up the work, and a constantly growing trade gives proof of his efficiency and shows that success is not a matter of genius,
but rather the result of discrimination and experience.