GEORGE KERN. - George Kern, the secretary and treasurer of the Springfield Elevator & Milling Company, has been very active in the promotion of what is now one of the leading industrial concerns of the city and is still financially interested in it, although the active work he leaves to others. His life has been crowned with a very desirable measure of success and his lines of life have been so cast that he has gained the respect and confidence of his fellow men in the business circles of his adopted city.
Mr. Kern was born in Badenburg, Germany, in 1836, a son of George Kern, a farmer. He came to America in 1854, and after two years spent in Pennsylvania removed to the Mississippi valley, locating in Springfield in 1858. For several years he was employed by Charley Hunt, a pioneer merchant of the city, and for many years he has been connected with the grain trade. In 1865, near the Chicago and Alton Railroad depot, Asa Eastman & Company erected an elevator at a cost of seventy-five thousand dollars. In 1876 this was leased to George Kern, William Broecker, S. W. Currier and W. P. Grimsley, who continued to handle grain for shipment until 1880. In May of that year they purchased the property, having determined to erect a flouring mill in connection with the elevator. The company was organized in 1881 and the work was begun. It was completed in the early part of the winter and in February, 1882, the company began the manufacture of flour. The mill is of brick, seventy-eight by fifty-six feet, four stories in height and basement, with an elevation of one room, ten by sixteen feet, above the roof. The boiler and engine room, north of the main building, is twenty-five by forty feet and twenty-six feet high. The mill has ten runs of bars with all modern improvements and has a capacity of twelve barrels per hour, or three hundred per day. The cost of the mill was forty-five thousand dollars. The elevator has a storage capacity of one hundred and twenty thousand bushels of grain, and owing to the capable management and business ability of Mr. Kern and his associates, the enterprise has proved a most profitable one and of much importance to the industrial life of the city.
In recent years Mr. Kern has been in poor health, but previous to that time took a deep and active interest in municipal affairs and served for many years as alderman, exercising his official prerogatives for the welfare and advancement of the city along lines of substantial progress and permanent improvement. He has also been a supervisor, and the Democracy still receives his earnest endorsement. Socially he is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
On the 5th of May, 1861, Mr. Kern married Elizabeth Holtman, who was born in Hanover, Germany, and came to America in 1852, landing at New Orleans, whence she came to Springfield, where several members of her father's family are living. Mr. and Mrs. Kern had seven children, of whom five are living: Mrs. M.J. Bartle, who has four children; Winfield, at home; Charley, who married Augusta M. Hammond and has one child; Bernard J., who married Kate Nicholas; and George M., who married Mary Hoon and has two children; Mary and Edward died at the ages of six and four years respectively. Mrs. Kern and her children are all members of the Church of the Sacred Heart, Catholic, in Springfield and Mr. Kern belongs to St. John's Lutheran church. He owns the family home at No. 728 South Eights street, and his home and business investments are the visible evidence of his life of thrift and industry. He made no mistake when he determined to come to America, for here he found the advantages he sought and in the enjoyment of the privileges of the new world has found prosperity, contentment and friendship.