Charles A. Gutenkunst (1858 – 1931 )
Charles A. Gutenkunst is the vice president, secretary and manager of the Milwaukee Hay Tool Company and the Malleable & Grey Iron Works, a fact which at once establishes his position in business circles, as these two enterprises employ several hundred workmen and are numbered among the chief productive industries of the city. His contribution, therefore, to the development and upbuilding of Milwaukee is a most substantial one and he ranks with the foremost manufacturers and business men, having advanced step by step to his present position of commercial leadership.
A native of Milwaukee,. Charles A. Gutenkunst was born December 2, 1858, and is a son of Jacob and Catherine (Haas) Gutenkunst, who were natives of Germany and came to America in early life. They were not acquainted until after reaching the new world and were married in New York. In 1849 they removed westward to Wisconsin, arriving the year after the admission of the state into the Union. They were among the early pioneer German families of Milwaukee and through the intervening period to the present time the family name has been closely associated with the development and progress of the city. The father was for a number of years identified with the fire department of Milwaukee, first as a volunteer and later with the paid department, but death ended his labors in 1869. His widow survived him for many years, reaching the advanced age of ninety years. There were five sons in this family, of whom Jacob, the second, became a prominent factor in connection with the fire department, thus following in the footsteps of his father, while the eldest son, William, and the youngest son, Charles A., have long been associated in their business activities with the aforesaid company, two of the five sons having died in infancy.
Charles A. Gutenkunst, the youngest of the three brothers, pursued a public school education in the eighth ward and also attended the Lutheran parochial schools. When sixteen years of age he started out in the business world by becoming associated with his brother, William, in manufacturing interests. About the year 1885 he was admitted to a partnership by his brother, who had established a small machine shop but whose business was steadily growing. With the formation of a partnership the firm style of William & Charles A. Gutenkunst was assumed and later when the business was incorporated it was called the Milwaukee Hay Tool & Manufacturing Company. At a later period Adam Loeffelholz joined the company and the name was changed to its present form, the Milwaukee Hay Tool Company, William Gutenkunst acting as president of the company from the beginning, with Charles A. Gutenkunst as secretary since its incorporation. He is the vice president, as well as secretary, and is the manager of both the Milwaukee Hay Tool Company and the Milwaukee Malleable & Grey Iron Works, an allied industry, which is likewise one of the important manufacturing enterprises of the city. Charles A. Gutenkunst also became secretary of the Joseph Bub Furniture Company and is in other ways a factor in the business life of the city. At all times he has proven himself a forceful and resourceful man, ready for any emergency and for its opportunities. His fairness and persistency of purpose have enabled him to overcome all obstacles and difficulties in his path and to climb steadily to the plane of affluence.
In young manhood Mr. Gutenkunst was united in marriage to Miss Hattie Weide of Milwaukee, who passed away in 1886, leaving a son and a daughter: Hugo A. and Paula. On the 15th of October, 1892, Mr. Gutenkunst wedded Miss Ida Bub, a native of this city, who completed her education in St. Mary’s Convent at Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. She is a daughter of Joseph Bub, long a distinguished figure in business circles here. Mr. and Mrs. Gutenkunst have become parents of three daughters and two sons: Freida, Erma, Eleanor, Charles and Joseph, who are with their parents in an attractive home at 3100 Grand avenue. Through his social relations, as well as in business connections, Mr. Gutenkunst has gained a wide acquaintance. He belongs to the National Union, the Deutscher and Calumet Clubs, the South Side Casino and the Old Settlers Club of Milwaukee county. For five years he was a valued member of the South Side Rifles, afterward known as the Pabst Guards and at one time was affiliated with the Wisconsin National Guard. His political allegiance has been given to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise but he has never sought nor desired political preferment as a reward for party fealty. On the contrary, he has preferred to concentrate his efforts and attention upon his business affairs and his thoroughness, discrimination and progressiveness have made him an important factor in the commercial and industrial upbuilding of the Cream city. His strength of purpose, his fidelity to every trust, his loyalty in matters of public concern have all combined to make him one of the prominent business men and residents of Milwaukee.
Source: HISTORY OF MILWAUKEE CITY AND COUNTY VOLUME III ILLUSTRATED CHICAGO—MILWAUKEE THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY 1922