Keweenaw County Michigan

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HENRY DRITTLER, a gentleman of prominence and affluence of Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan, was born in the city of Aalen, Kingdom of Wurtemberg, Germany, June 6, 1826.

Mr. Drittler was educated in a mining school in his native country, and subsequently traveled in France and Switzerland, representing mining interests. Upon his return to Germany he worked at mining for five years, but imbued with the idea of a free country and a republican form of government, he was not content to remain in Germany. Passing into Switzerland, he immigrated to the United States, arriving in 1848, and first made his home in Philadelphia. In the fall of that year he went to Pittsburg, was employed there in a store until 1849, and then came to the Lake Superior region for a Pittsburg mining company. He operated at the Cliff mine on Keweenaw Point until 1858, and then returned to Germany in October of that year, remaining in the fatherland until May, 1859. Upon his return to this section he engaged in work at the Quincy mine near Hancock until 1860, and then erected a building on the site where his sons now conduct their extensive business. He was made recruiting officer at Hancock during the Civil War, and rendered efficient service in that capacity. An instance of his devotion to the cause lies in the story of his difficulty with the Quincy Mining Company, which had sent to Norway and Sweden for men. When the 110 foreigners arrived Mr. Drittler met the boat and enlisted many of them for service in the army. The mining company protested vigorously, but he permitted no interference with the discharge of his duty and went so far as to threaten arrest to the members of the company, which threats would have been carried out had the company persevered in their policy. In 1869 Mr. Drittler's business was destroyed by the great fire which swept the town, but he immediately rebuilt and soon had the business running as before. He erected a handsome brick and stone building, which is one of the largest and best arranged in Houghton County. His business prospered and he carried it on until 1884, when he retired, being succeeded by his three sons, who conduct it under the firm name of Drittler Brothers. Our subject owns a great amount of property and is one of the substantial citizens of Hancock.

In 1852 Mr. Drittler was married to Fredericka Mertz, who was also born in Germany, and is a daughter of Henry Mertz. Of the 12 children born to them seven are deceased, of which number three were accidentally killed. Those living are: Pauline, widow of Joseph Linder, living in Hancock, Michigan; Henry, Jr., a member of the firm of Drittler Brothers; William H., also a member of the firm of Drittler Brothers; Amelia, who married Henry Funkey, of Hancock, Michigan, and has two children, Henry, Jr., and Ruth; and Bismarck, a member of the firm of Drittler Brothers. Henry Drittler, Jr., first married Maggie Ryan, a daughter of Conrad Ryan, and they had one son, Henry. His second marriage was with Clara Scheurman, daughter of Philip Scheurman; they have one son, Philip. Henry Drittler, Jr., is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Elks, Odd Fellows, Sons of Hermann and German Aid Society. William H. Drittler was married at Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Minnie Frank, daughter of William Frank, of Detroit, Michigan, and four children have been born to them: Elsa; William F., deceased; Karl E,; and an infant son. William H. Drittler is a member of the Elks and Sons of Hermann. Bismarck Drittler married Tillie Rosenblatt, daughter of Henry Rosenblatt, and they have a son named Harvon. Bismarck Drittler is a member of the Eagles. The members of the Drittler family belong to the German Lutheran Church.

Henry Drittler has held various offices of public trust. He served three terms as treasurer of Hancock, several years as marshal, three years as justice of the peace and several terms as a member of the Village Council. He is a man of strong personality, and enjoys the friendship of all.