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 Johann Frederick Wilhelm Meyer

Johann Frederick Wilhelm Meyer

Death 7 Sep 1910 (aged 85)
Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA
Burial Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA
Memorial ID 19298497 · View Source
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Son of Johann Heinrich Meyer(1779-1834) & Margrethe Louisa Hoolt(1794-1846)
Husband of Caroline Schroeder(1823-1859)
Husband of Anna Maria Juliana Gerke(1841-1917)


JFW Meyer Pioneer Druggist in Fort Wayne Dies at Age of 85 Years--Had Been Ill But a Few Days and Death Was Rather Unexpected--Had Resided in Fort Wayne More Than Sixty Years

JFW Meyer, veteran Fort Wayne druggist, and for more than sixty years a resident of the city, died at 5:15 o'clock Wednesday morning at his home, 522 Meyer Avenue. Death was due to infirmities of age. Mr Meyer was 85 years of age and lacked but a few months of passing the 86th year stone.

The pioneer druggist had only been seriously ill since Friday and death was rather sudden and unexpected. He had been suffering from a recurrent attack of kidney trouble with which he had been afflicted at intervals for the past few years.

It was not generally known that the veteran business man was ill and news of his death reached the downtown district with the beginning of business for the day, casting a pall of sorrow in business circles where he was well known and highly esteemed. His death comes as a personal sorrow to thousands who have been associated with him in social and business circles as probably no other man had been more actively identified with the city's commercial growth than Mr Meyer.

Members of the family remained at his bedside Tuesday night until midnight. It was thought he would survive through the night. Relatives were summoned early yesterday morning but not all were able to reach his bedside before he had breathed his last.

Mr Meyer was one of the oldest business men in Fort Wayne and his career in the drug business made his name well known throughout the whole central west. He was the head of a large retail drug business in this city and also one of the founders of an immense wholesale drug house at St Louis.

While practically the whole of his time until but a few weeks ago had been given to business, he was always ready and willing to take hold of other affairs of the city. He had served as a member of the city council and of the board of waterworks trustees in Fort Wayne. He was trustee of the Hope (Parkview) hospital and of the Allen county orphans' home and was also a devout member of the Lutheran church.

Mr Meyer was born in Holden, Westphalia, Germany, December 13, 1824 making his age 85 years, 8 months and 19 days. His German ancestry was traceable in direct line back to the year 1417. His parents were in humble circumstances and his boyhood was given over largely to herding sheep in the hills and valleys of his native land. When he was nine years of age his father died, leaving a widow and six children. Her death occurred in 1846.

The next year, the son, with the younger brother Frederick came to America landing at New Orleans on October 3. They had acquaintances in the old country who later had settled in Adams county, Indiana and it was to this part of America that the two boys set out. They journeyed for two months by boat, on foot and by stage. On December 3, 1847 they arrived at Monmouth, Indiana.

Mr Meyer's first employment in America was clearing land in Adams county. In March 1848, the young man obtained a position driving a team on the old Wabash and Erie canal.

It was this work that brought him to Fort Wayne and once here he became acquainted with Hugh B Reed then conducting a drug store at Calhoun and Columbia streets. On February 7, 1849 the young man was given employment by Mr Reed as a bottle washer and errand boy in the drug store. He worked early and late and soon mastered the business and in 1853 he became a partner in the drug house of Wall & Meyer.

This was the very beginning of the great Meyer drug business. The firm was located on East Columbia street until 1862 when the store suffered a total loss by fire. But two days after the fire however, a complete stock of goods had been started on its way to Fort Wayne and in due time the firm was actively in operation again. In 1865 the store was removed to a site near the present location of the Calhoun and Columbia street store and during the same year the wholesale branch at St Louis was started, operating under the firm name of Meyer Bros & Co. Later other houses were established in Kansas City and Dallas and it was not long until the firm grew to be one of the largest concerns of its kind in America. This rank is still maintained today. Some years ago the firm was incorporated as the Meyer Bros Drug company and Mr Meyer was elected president. Although in recent years most of Mr Meyer's attention had been given to his business in this city, he still retained an interest in the wholesale business until the day of his death.

Some years ago the retail business in Fort Wayne was entirely divorced from the western interests of the firm and was incorporated as Meyer Bros & Co., admitting as stockholders many of the men who had long been with the firm as employees. Mr Meyer was elected present of the company and the business has grown to such an extent that the company is now operating four handsome retail drug stores in Fort Wayne. During his more than sixty years of business in Fort Wayne, Mr Meyer has taught the drug business to a large number of men who have been in his employ, and scores of successful druggists in Fort Wayne and elsewhere today will proudly declare that no small portion of credit for their success is due to the training, commercially and morally received at the veteran druggist's hands.

Mr Meyer was a devout believer in the Lutheran faith. While residing in the old Meyer homestead on West Washington boulevard, now the K of P hall, he attended and was a member of St Paul's church. When the Emmaus church was established about ten years ago his membership was transferred to the southside congregation.

Mr Meyer was twice married his first union having been to Miss Caroline Schroeder in 1851 at a time when Mr Meyer amusingly recalled he was earning a salary of but $15 per month. Mrs Meyer's death occurred in 1859 and in the following year he was united in marriage to Miss Julia Gerke in the blissful union of which death has now severed after more than fifty years. The ceremony was performed by Rev Mr Rohns then an assistant pastor of St Paul's Lutheran church in this city and it was the first marriage ceremony at which the young man officiated.

On May 22 last, Mr and Mrs Meyer celebrated at their home in this city the golden anniversary of their marriage. It was a happy gathering attended by their children and a company of close friends who attested their love and esteem for the aged couple who had completed fifty years of wedded life. Mrs Meyers survives together with the following children: Mrs GF Burkhardt of Boston; F G Meyer of New York; William I Meyer of St Louis; Mrs John M Landenberger and Mrs William Paul of this city; Theodore G Meyer of St Louis and Mrs GC Strieder of Chicago. There are sixteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - September 8, 1910

Retail Merchants' Association Passes Resolutions in Memoriam

In tribute to the memory of Mr JFW Meyer, the veteran druggist whose death occurred a few days ago, the Fort Wayne Retail Merchants' association, at its regular meeting Monday night, adopted the following resolutions:

"During the last week occurred the death of JFW Meyer, the president of the Meyer Drug company of this city. At the suggestion of the president of this club I have prepared the following testimonial to our departed friend and brother merchant: "Mr William Meyer as he was familiarly known, was born Dec 10, 1824, at Westphalia, Germany and was, therefore at the time of his death nearly 86 years of age. He came to this country in 1847 when 23 years of age. His first employment in America was clearing of timber land in Adams county, but in the spring following he became the driver of a team on the Wabash and Erie canal. In 1849 he entered the drug store of Hugh B Reed at the corner of Calhoun and Columbia streets. In 1853, he became a partner of the drug house of Wall & Meyer and thus was started the Meyer Drug company, which has continued in business up to the present day. With the exception of Mr Christian Tresselt, he was the oldest merchant in Fort Wayne, having been continuously in business for himself for fifty-seven years. He remained in the harness to the last, as regular, as active and energetic at his place of business as a man of fifty.

"Fort Wayne has never numbered among its citizens a finer character. He came nearer to living in his daily walk and conservation the real Christ life than any man I have ever met. I had known him long and well, but if I were asked in the thirty-five years of my acquaintance with him, to single out even one solitary act of his that was not in accordance with the simple Christian life he led, I could not do it. He was always kind, always generous, always sympathetic, always helpful. His word was as good as his bond. He inspired universal confidence in all who met him. He was the interested friend and counsellor of many thousands of those who knew him and they were all his friends. No higher eulogy can be passed upon him than to say that the world is appreciably better because William Meyer has lived in it. He left to his children no heritage so precious as the memory of the splendid life he lived in his quiet, cheerful, helpful, way.

"Resolved, That we do hereby express our grief and sorrow at his death, our reverence for his memory, and our sincerest sympathy with the loved ones he has left behind and that they may know in what high and affectionate estimation he was held by his associates of the business world, be it further

"Resolved, That a copy of this testimonial to his character and worth as a man and as a citizen be sent to his bereaved family and be also spread upon the record of the proceedings of this meeting." Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - September 14, 1910




  • Created by: Sue Allen
  • Added: 8 May 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19298497
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Johann Frederick Wilhelm Meyer (19 Dec 1824–7 Sep 1910), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19298497, citing Concordia Lutheran Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Sue Allen (contributor 46871407) .