Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
JOHN C. L. ACKERMAN , of Springfield, who is now a traveling salesman for the Tolman wholesale grocery house of Chicago, his territory being Illinois, was born in Seneca county, New York, December 14, 1857, his birthplace being on a farm. The family is of German lineage, and the grandfather of our subject was at one time the owner of the land on which now stands the city of Brooklyn, New York. William Ackerman, the father of our subject, was born in Brooklyn in 1831, and after arriving at years of maturity, he engaged in farming in New York. He was a well read man of good business judgment and belonged to that substantial class of citizens who form the real strength of a city or county. Removing to the west he engaged in the produce commission business in Fremont, Indiana, where his death occurred in 1874. His political support was given to the Democracy, but he was never an aspirant for office. Both he and his wife were members of the Congregational Church, and their many excellent traits of character won for them the love and good will of all with whom they came in contact. Mrs. Ackerman bore the maiden name of Mary A. Kuns, and was born in New York in 1834. By her marriage she became the mother of five children, of whom four were born in New York and one in Michigan, in which state the family lived for about seven years before going to Fremont, Indiana. Mary is now the wife of Eugene Shupp, a lumber merchant and landowner of Fremont; John C. L. is the next of the family; Minerva is the wife of John Wolf, a retired farmer and large landowner of Fremont; Edward is married and lives in Ohio, where he is engaged in the shoe business; and William died in Fremont, Indiana, at the age of eleven years. The children pursued their educations in the schools of New York, Michigan and of Indiana. The daughters were graduates of the high school of Fremont and also of Valparaiso, Indiana, and both taught in the public schools of the former place.
John C. L. Ackerman, like the other members of the family, pursued his studies in the three states mentioned, and when sixteen years of age he went into his father's store, having charge of the retail department of the produce commission business. After he was seventeen years of age, in order to better qualify himself for business life, he pursued a course in the Fremont Business College, and he remained with his father as manager of the store up to the time of his marriage. He then severed his business connections with his father and removed to a farm near Fremont, whereon he lived for two years, and when he abandoned agricultural pursuits he accepted a position as a traveling salesman, handling various lines of goods in Indiana and Michigan. For eighteen years he remained upon the road and was a popular salesman, his genial manner, unfailing courtesy and reliable business methods winning for him the favor and friendship of many with whom he came in contact. In November, 1887, he removed to Springfield, and was employed by a sewing machine company as traveling salesman and collector and also established agencies. For eight years he continued in that business and then embarked in a carpet cleaning enterprise on a small scale on East Adams Street. He was the first to engage in that line in Springfield, and later he extended the field of his labors by adding a rug manufacturing department to his establishment, which was also the first of its kind in the city. He began operations in both lines on a small scale, but gradually increased the volume of his business, and in June, 1899, he removed to the place where he was last engaged in business, purchasing the property. He had the building equipped with all modern machinery for the manufacture of rugs, and the plant was operated by gasoline engines. He employed about twelve people in the operation of the rug machines, and before putting in modern machinery he had a force of thirty-five. He had five solicitors and his work came form various sections of Illinois and adjacent states. His business was extended by judicious advertising during the state fairs and reached profitable proportions. Before removing to the location now occupied by the rug factory Mr. Ackerman sold the carpet cleaning department. He began the manufacture of rugs with a capacity of ten yards per day, and when he sold out had a daily capacity of fifty yards, his trade constantly increasing as his excellent workmanship became known to the public. He made beautiful and useful rugs from wool ingrain, tapestry and body brussels carpets, and received the endorsement of many prominent people of Springfield.
In Fremont, Indiana, November 24, 1879, Mr. Ackerman was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Geedy, who was born in Pennsylvania. Her father was a native of England and her mother of Germany. By this marriage there are five children. Artemus Ward, who was born in Indiana in 1881, and is a graduate of one of the ward schools of Springfield, superintended his father's manufacturing business, but is now in the Springfield Watch factory. He married Miss Mary McKans and has a son Royce. Ulah, born in Michigan in 1883, is also a graduate of the ward schools of Springfield. She is the wife of Walter Kerns of Indiana. William, born in 1885, attended a business college and is now employed in Staley's shoe store. He has been connected with the store since the age of nine years, and is an experienced salesman. On November 7, 1903, he married Mabel Ball, of Springfield. Hazel and Pearl are still in school.
Mr. Ackerman votes with the Democracy, but has never taken an active part in politics. He was, however, a member of the committee and one of the village directors to secure the annexation of Payne to the city. He belongs to the Second Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is serving on the official board, and socially he is connected with the Loyal Americans and the Fraternal Tribunes.