Biography of Andrew S. Witwer
Will County, Il Biographies





Andrew S. Witwer, president and general manager of the Joliet Manufacturing Company, is a native of Joliet, where he was born Feb. 21, 1894, a son of Clement S. and Mary Elizabeth (Shreffler) Witwer.

Clement S. Witwer was born in Ashland County, Ohio, Feb. 26, 1862, and died April 16, 1919. His father, Rev. George Witwer was born in Earl Township, Lancaster County, Ohio, Aug. 28, 1824, a son of Isaac Witwer. George Witwer engaged in the general merchandise business and served as postmaster at Ashland, Ohio. He was a preacher of the Dunkard faith. In 1863 he settled in La Porte, Ind., where he engaged in farming and ministerial work. In 1867 he went to Missouri as agent for the Studebaker Brothers, where he established an agricultural implement store at Hamilton. In 1881 he returned to South Bend, Ind., where he became affiliated with the Studebaker Brothers factory. He married Elizabeth Studebaker, who was born in Lancaster, Pa. To them were born nine children: John S., T. W., vice president of the Joliet Manufacturing Company; George M., Clement S., Edward C., J. F., H. E., Mrs. Joseph Kopesay, and Mrs. J. H. Mohler. Rev. George Witwer died in October, 1866.

Clement S. Witwer attended the public schools. He worked as a clerk in a general store at Hamilton, Ohio, and in his spare time herded cattle for Dwight & Booth. At fifteen years of age he was given $500 by his employers and sent 20 miles on horseback to buy cattle. After this purchase he drove the cattle to the nearest railroad, which was at Kidder, Mo. From 1879 to 1881 he was employed as an assistant to Studebaker Brothers, at South Bend. While there he joined the South Bend Light Guards, which membership he continued when he was a student at DePauw University in 1881-82. He then went on the road as inspector, buyer and traveling salesman for the Studebaker Company. In 1883 he went to Dallas, Texas, where for two years he managed the business of his brother, J. S. Witwer. During 1885 he traveled for the Studebaker Company, and in 1887 identified himself with the Joliet Manufacturing Company, later succeeding to the presidency of the company, which position he held until his death. He married, on Oct. 5, 1887, Miss Mary E. Shreffler, a daughter of Andrew H. Shreffler, a prominent citizen of that section of the country. Mrs. Witwer died in 1905. Mr. and Mrs. Witwer were the parents of two children: Andrew S., the subject of this sketch; and Irene, born July 17, 1890, died Sept. 30, 1891.

Andrew S. Witwer graduated in 1912 from the Joliet High School and attended Culver Military Academy for one year. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1916, after which he became assistant superintendent of the Joliet Manufacturing Company. Only July 20, 1917, he enlisted in the U. S. Army Ordinance Department and was sent to San Antonio, Tex., and assigned to the training school of the Ordnance Department and was appointed ordnance sergeant. He later was transferred to the 131st Ordnance Depot, Camp Kearney, Calif„ and served as first sergeant of the company. He was transferred to Camp Hancock, Augusta, Gad., later to Westervleit Arsenal, New York, where he received his appointment to the F. A. C. O. T. S. at Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Ay., and was commissioned a second lieutenant Field Artillery, and assigned to duty with Battery F, 4th Regiment, Field Artillery Replacement Depot, Camp Taylor. He was discharged Dec. 21, 1918, and returned to Joliet. At the death of his father in April, 1919, he became president and general manager of the Joliet Manufacturing Company.

In 1919 Mr. Witwer was married to Miss Margaret Robinson, a daughter of Cory E. and Nellie (Kinsey) Robinson, natives of Illinois. Mr. Robinson, deceased, was active and well known in the steel industry of this section and was general manager of the American Can Company, of Rockdale, Ill. His widow resides in Joliet. Mr. and Mrs. Witwer have a son, Andrew S., Jr., born Sept. 4, 1920.

Mr. Witwer is a Republican. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the following local clubs: Chamber of Commerce, Joliet Country Club, Y. M. C. A., Morning Star Mission, and Joliet Manufacturers Association. He belongs to Phi Gamma Delta, past officer, and The Scabbard and Blade, honorary military fraternity, American Legion, and Isaac. Walton League. He attends the Methodist Church.

From:
History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1928


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