Conspicuous among the successful, self-made men of Hancock county is Max Herrlich, an enterprising citizen of New Palestine, who, as the name implies, belongs to the Teutonic race. He was born October 3, 1857, in Saxony, Germany, and at the age of eleven years came to the United States. He is a son of Ferdinand and Johanna (Teufel) Herrlich, who were also natives of Germany. By occupation Ferdinand Herrlich was a weaver and dyer, learning both trades in his native country and following the same for some years after coming to America, which was in 1865. He worked for some time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Indianapolis, Indiana, where he afterwards resided until his death, which occurred on the 20th day of December, 1881; his wife survived him till 1891, on January 21 of which year she too was called to the other world. Ferdinand and Johanna Herrlich had a family of ten children, of whom four, three sons and one daughter, are living at the present time. Their names are as follows: Herrman resides in Indianapolis; Emil is a resident of Malden, Missouri; Emma lives in the capital city, and Max, whose name introduces this sketch.
As stated above, Max Herrlich was eleven years old when he bade adieu to the familiar scenes of the fatherland and entered upon a new destiny in a country far removed from the place of his birth. While a lad he learned painting, paper-hanging, decorating and frescoing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and subsequently came to Indiana, working for some time in the city of Indianapolis. While there he followed different vocations until engaging in business for himself as proprietor of a sample room, which he conducted for a period of twelve years, meeting with good success the meanwhile. Disposing of his interests in the capital city in March, 1885, Mr. Herrlich opened a sample room in New Palestine, which he continued to run about two years, when he quit the business and in August, 1886, engaged in the undertaking business. At that time there were in the town two undertaking establishments which were conducted by Ludwig Schmits and Calvin Bennett, respectively, both of which the subject purchased and consolidated. On taking possession of the business he at once enlarged the capacity of his establishment, and, in increasing the stock and adding fine funeral equipages, was prepared with a full equipment to attend to all business coming within his sphere. From 1886 to the present time he has attended nearly every funeral in New Palestine and a goodly portion of Hancock county, his skill as embalmer and tact as a funeral director having long since brought him to the favorable notice of the public as a person eminently qualified for the duties of undertaking. Mr Herrlich carries a full stock of caskets of the latest designs, burial robes, etc., in fact, complete lines of all goods carried in first-class undertaking houses, in addition to which his equipages, including funeral cars, hacks and ambulance, are of the highest grade of workmanship, representing a capital of several thousand dollars. In his work his daughter Emma is his most valuable assistant, being the first and for a number of years the only female embalmer in this part of the state. She began studying the art when but fifteen years of age and is now considered an expert, as the state license which she holds fully attests. From the beginning of his career as an independent factor to the present time Mr. Herrlich has advanced steadily, overcoming many obstacles in his way and forging to the front until he now ranks with the successful business men of the town in which he lives. His dealings have been honorable, his integrity beyond question, while his judgment and keen discernment have borne legitimate fruitage in the comfortable fortune which is now his. Industrious and energetic, he took advantage of every opportunity that came his way and while possessor of a liberal share of this worlds goods, every dollar of his competence was earned by honorable methods. In March, 1902, Mr. Herrlich engaged in an enterprise of which New Palestine has long been in need, the inauguration of a water works. He has furnished the capital for the construction of the works and the enterprise is entirely under his control.
Mr. Herrlich was married September 9, 1877, to Miss Marh Bechert, daughter of John BEchert, formerly a prominent business man of Indianapolis. To Mr. and Mrs. Herrlich have been born the following children: Emma, Lulu, Charles, Anna, Nellie, Julia and Luciel.
Fraternally Mr. Herrlich is identified with several organizations, namely: New Palestine Lodge No. 215, K. of P.; Tribe No. 217, I.O.R. M.; Court of Honor No. 518; Camp No. 6922, M. W. A.; Morristown Lodge, A. O. R. W., and the Masonic order, Lodge No. 424, of New Palestine. In politics he is a stanch supporter of the Democratic party and in religion a member of the German Evangelical church. He is a notable example of what a man, beginning life with no capital, can accomplish under the fostering influences of American laws and American institutions. Beginning at the bottom of the ladder, without a dollar he could call his own, he has steadily ascended, being directed andcontrolled throughout his career by correct principles. His industry and energy early became proverbial, as did also the honesty of all his purposes.
Pre-eminently a man of his word, he long ago won the respect and confidence of all with whom he had business relations, and from the beginning to the present time he has maintained a reputation untarnished by the commission of a single unworthy act. Such in brief are the record and principal characteristics of a self-made man, whose life, measured by the usual standards of success, presents much that is worthy of emulation. Am American by adoption, he is loyal and true to the county in which his success has been achieved; a business man whose career demonstrates that fortune is a fickle goddess to be wooed before won, his example may be studied with profit by the young man just starting in the world.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 378-380.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 29, 2002.
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