Theodore Weichselbaum. It is interesting and instructive to chronicle the worthy achievements of so honorable and industrious a life as that of the late Theodore Weichselbaum, for many years active in the business affairs of Riley County, Kansas, for fifty-seven of these being a resident of Ogden. Founded on a sound education, Mr. Weichselbaum’s natural sagacity, shrewdness and great business sense were brought into play and he accumulated a vast fortune through entirely legitimate channels.
Theodore Weichselbaum was born June 10, 1834, at Furth, in the Province of Bavaria, Germany, and he died at Ogden, Riley County, Kansas, March 9, 1914. His father, Dr. Moritz Weichselbaum, was born also at Furth, in 1802. He was a graduate of the University of Wurtzburg, Germany, and for sixty-one years was an able practitioner of medicine in his native city. He was fortunate in his choice of wife, marrying Betty Kohn, a native of Wurtzburg. Fourteen children were born to them and she was spared into old age, her descendants still remembering her many virtues.
Of his parents’ family Theodore Weichselbaum was the second oldest child. He was given excellent educational advantages according to the efficient methods prevailing in every German province, and to this fact he attributed some of the success that attended his unusual business career. When he left school he engaged as a clerk with a merchant at Furth, Bavaria, serving an apprenticeship of four years, and then engaged in business for himself, accepting a position as traveling salesman for an Amsterdam house, selling mirrors in Holland. He was quite successful in that line of work in which he continued until ambition led him to look into conditions in the United States for enterprising young men and with the result that in June, 1856, he landed in the City of New York. He remained there for ten months and then made his way westward as far as Kansas City, Missouri, where he became a clerk for Philip Rothchild and later purchased his employer’s stock and continued the business in his own right. A few months later, however, he moved the goods to Ogden, Kansas, then a promising location, and here Mr. Weichselbaum continued actively in business until the close of his life.
Business foresight was one of Mr. Weichselbaum’s essential qualities. In 1869 he began to buy farms offered for sale and eventually in this line alone accumulated more than an ample fortune. He went into extensive farming and became also a breeder of shorthorn and Holstein cattle and horses of Norman and Hambletonian pedigree. In considering his mighty herds the line “cattle on a thousand hills” seemed an appropriate description. He ably managed all his interests but by no means gave all his attention to personal affairs. He became because of his integrity, his stability and earnest good citizenship, a leading man in all that concerned this section especially relating to Riley County and Ogden, and through choice of his fellow citizens frequently assumed the responsibilities of public office. He was treasurer of Ogden Township, was mayor and postmaster of Ogden for many years and at the time of death was a member of the school board. On one occasion he permitted the use of his name as candidate on the democratic ticket for the office of state treasurer, but he was not disappointed when the great republican vote in the state carried all before it. He was reared in the Jewish faith and never departed from its tenets.
Mr. Weichselbaum was married June 10, 1862, to Miss Fannie Blumenstein, who was born in Gunsenhausen, Bavaria. She came to the United States just two days prior to her marriage, her betrothal to Mr. Weichselbaum having previously taken place. She was an admirable woman in every relation of life and her surviving children cherish tender memories of her. To this marriage the following children were born: Josephine; Samuel; Edwin, who died at the age of forty-five years; Bettie, who died at the age of twenty-six years; Albert and Joseph, both of whom died in childhood; and Johanna, who is the wife of J. J. Waxelbaum, of Macon, Georgia. The mother of these children died in 1896 and some years later Mr. Weichselbaum married a second wife who survives him. He was identified with business and benevolent organizations and belonged also to the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.
Samuel Weichselbaum, eldest son of Theodore and Fannie (Blumenstein) Weichselbaum, was born at Ogden, Kansas, July 24, 1866, and with the exception of brief periods spent in the line of business at Macon, Georgia, and at Chattanooga, Tennessee, he has always lived at his birthplace. Like his late father he is a thorough-going business man and is extensively engaged in farming and stockraising.
In 1908 Mr. Weichselbaum was married to Miss Rose Ottenheimer, of Chicago, Illinois. He is a Master Mason and belongs also to the order of Elks.