Profile of Rugene Walrath

Source: "History of Herkimer County, New York," George A. Hardin, 1893, pp. 515-6.

Rugene Walrath was born in the town of St. Johnsville, Montgomery county, on the 13th of February, 1845. He comes of German ancestry, who were the early settlers of the valley. His father was Martin Walrath, who was a native of St. Johnsville and a respectable farmer, and died in that town in 1885. His mother was Julia Flanders, of Fulton county, and she died in 1892. They had twelve children, as follows: James, now living on the homestead farm; Harlan, deceased; Martha, deceased; Martin, now living in St. Johnsville; Rugene, the subject (the two latter were twins); Charles, deceased; Mary, married Romeyn Youran, of St. Johnsville, and living; Adam, a physician, living at Lasselsville, Fulton county; Joseph, living in St. Johnsville; Alvin, in business with Rugene at Little Falls; George, living at St. Johnsville, and Edwin, who died in infancy.

Rugene Walrath received his education in the district schools, supplemented with three months in a commercial school, which he left at eighteen years of age. He had previous to that time served as a clerk for a period in a store in St. Johnsville, and had determined that he would follow the mercantile business. After leaving the commercial school he clerked a few years at St. Johnsville, and then entered the employ of Burch & Company, of Little Falls, in a similar capacity. In 1873 he went into the office of the Little Falls Knitting Mill Company, of which Titus Sheard was president, to serve as book-keeper. Here he continued about six years until 1879, when he was elected president of the company, succeeding Mr. Sheard. This position he filled with efficiency until 1886, when he resigned and became associated with J. J. Gilbert in the organization of the Astoronga Knitting Mill. Here he remained until 1891, when on 1st of June he left that mill, and in July he took the old milll formerly operated by Green & Girvan under a lease, fitted it up with knitting machinery and gave it the name of the Riverside Knitting Mills. The mill was started in October of that year, and is run chiefly in the manufacture of what are known as French Balbriggan cotton underwear. The business during its short term of existence has been successful, and promises to develop under Mr. Walrath's energetic management into a large establishment. About 100 hands are now (1892) employed. In the various positions of a business character, the duties of which have been entrusted to Mr. Walrath, he has demonstrated his possession of habits of industry and capacity to direct enterprises of broad scope, while his business intercourse with others has been marked by principles of integrity and honorable dealing.

Mr. Walrath is independent in politics, but was formerly a Democrat. His first political office was justice of the peace; he was elected supervisor in 1882 and held the office for six years, viz. : 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, and 1888. It is remarkable that three times he was elected by the Democrats without an opposing candidate. He served as trustee of the village one term and was on the school board one term. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Walrath's public services in these various offices have been such as to gain the approval of the community and to promote its welfare.

Mr. Walrath was married on the 11th of October, 1876, to Ida E. Lewis, daughter of George H. Lewis, of Utica. They have three children, Harlan, Raymond and Rugene.

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