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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Benjamin Schermer

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 465-466 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Among the men of affairs of the city of Herkimer, men who for years have been active and influential in the general commercial and civic affairs of that city, the name of Benjamin Schermer, coal dealer and realtor, is entitled to conspicuous mention. He is one of the Herkimer's native sons and has lived there all his life. He was born on December 18, 1872, and is a son of Louis and Sarah (Kraus) Schermer, the latter of whom is still living in Herkimer, where she has resided for many years. She was born in Austria, May 28, 1845, and has been a resident of this country since she was twenty-two years of age.

The late Louis Schermer also was a native of Austria, born on December 31, 1838, and made his home in his native country until he was twenty-nine years of age, when he came to America and located in Herkimer, where for many years thereafter he was actively identified with the business life of that place, continuing so until his death on May 22, 1913. For thirty years he was engaged in the retail clothing and shoe business in Herkimer, a member of the firm of Deimel & Schermer and also for years was the owner of the Grand Opera House there. He retired from the clothing business in 1898 and was thereafter for fifteen years in the retail coal business, with office and yards at Mohawk. To him and his wife were born seven children, those besides Benjamin of this review being: Joseph L. Schermer, who is now living in Seattle, Washington, where he is in the retail clothing business, and who married Jennie Davis of Seattle, and has three children, Jack, Edith and Lois; Mrs. Ruby T. Douque of Herkimer; Miss Francis M. Schermer, now living with her mother in Herkimer; Morris Schermer, who while playing full-back on the Herkimer football team in 1899, when eighteen years of age, was killed while making a tackle; Emil, who died at the age of three years; and Minna, who died in infancy. Mrs. Douque is the widow of the late William A. Douque, who at the time of his death in Herkimer was engaged in the moving picture business. She was graduated from the Herkimer high school and from the Clinton Liberal Institute at Fort Plains, and has long been active in the general social life of the city in which she lives. She has two children, Lois and William Douque. Miss Francis M. Schermer, who is now engaged in the sale of bonds at Herkimer, was graduated from the Herkimer high school and from the Utica Conservatory of Music. She formerly gave her professional attention to the teaching of elocution and for some time served as vice president of the New York State Association of Elocutionists.

Reared in Herkimer, the place of his birth, Benjamin Schermer was graduated from the Herkimer high school with the historic class of 1889, the first class to be graduated from that school after it had been raised to the rank of an accredited high school. He followed this by a course in Eastman's Business College and in 1890 was graduated from that institution, his studies there having been carried on with a view to becoming an aid in his father's business, and 'until that firm retired from business in 1898 he served as a bookkeeper in the retail clothing and shoe store of Deimel & Schermer. Beginning in 1895 he served as manager of the Grand Opera House, owned by his father, until 1915. Upon his father's retirement from the clothing business in 1898 to take up the retail coal business, Benjamin Schermer became associated with this latter operation and upon his father's death in 1913 he became the executive manager of the extensive coal concern which thus had been built up, and still occupies this position, carrying on the business in behalf of the estate. Mr. Schermer also has considerable real estate interests in and about Herkimer. He is an active member of the Herkimer Chamber of Commerce and was one of the organizers and the first president of the locally influential Exchange Club of that place. He is a Mason of high degree, a republican, a member of the Little Falls Country Club and is affiliated with the Reformed congregation (Jewish) at Syracuse. Mr. Schermer's Masonic affiliations are with Herkimer Lodge, No. 423, F. & A. M., of Herkimer; Ilion Chapter, No. 236, R. A. M.; Johnstown Council, No. 72, R. & S. M.; Yahnundasis Lodge of Perfection; Mohawk Valley Consistory, of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in which he has attained the thirty-second degree; and Ziyara Temple of the Mystic Shrine of Utica, his interest in Freemasonry having been one of the engrossing interests of his life for many years.

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