AUGUSTUS POLLACK, WHEELING
From: West Virginians
Published by The West Virginia Biographical Association, 1928
Submitted by Linda Fluharty.
Augustus Pollack, who died on April 23, 1906, was an eminent type of that adamant spirit which illumines the memory of the great figures of pioneer America. Born in Buende, Province of Westphalia, Germany, July 5, 1830, he studied and graduated in the colleges of Germany, being possessed of a sound culture and versatile talents when he came to America in 1849. In Wheeling, where ultimately he made his lifetime home, his work created great increment of wealth that benefited the city and all its people and he gave unstintingly of his immense energies to the advancement of many important community projects.
The late Mr. Pollack established the first "Crown Stogie" factory in Wheeling in 1871 and made it the foundation on which he built a tobacco manufacturing business which had expanded to world-wide importance at the time of his death, and which he had personally managed all that time. Further, he was one of the organizers of the German newspaper, "The Patriot," and was prominently interested in the German Bank of Wheeling, German Fire Insurance Co., Aetna Iron & Nail Co., and West Virginia Tobacco Co., being president of the last-named.
He was one of those who organized and built the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad into Wheeling, and the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling Railroad similarly. In 1887 he was chosen as arbitrator of the dispute between Wheeling and Pittsburgh glass manufacturers and their employes. So high, indeed, were his qualities held in the esteem of his fellow citizens that he was given the unanimous nomination as Mayor of Wheeling, which he declined. He gave notable service to his community as a director of Linsly Institute and a trustee of Wheeling Female College; he was also president of the first saengerfest in Wheeling, in 1885, and president of the Trades Display in 1887.
Mr. Pollack's entire career was one of remarkable enterprise and energy. After graduating from Buende College, in his native country, at the age of seventeen, he worked for two years in the counting rooms of a large business house. In 1849 he came to America, having previously arranged to work with the firm of Hamilton & Thomas, of Baltimore, Md. After three years with that firm he entered business for himself in Baltimore, but two years later, in 1854, he was induced to remove his interests to Wheeling, where he had numerous friends.
In 1855 Mr. Pollack was married to Miss Rosalie Wineberg of Baltimore, Md., who with one son and six daughters survived him.
In 1858, when the Northwestern Virginia Railway was completed, he established the offices of the Adams Express Company at a number of stations along this road, and made his home and headquarters at Grafton, W. Va., where he administered the affairs of the Adams Express Company, then the leader in its field. In 1960, desirous of settling in Wheeling, he resigned his connection with the Adams Express Company and established himself in the wholesale notion business in Wheeling.
Mr. Pollack was a leader in the Union cause during the Civil War, having organized the first German volunteer company for service in the field, and having given to the government his manufacturing buildings at Grafton,, W. Va., for which he received grateful acknowledgment from Hon. Simon Cameron, then Secretary of War.
All his life a Republican, Mr. Pollack never sought or accepted public office, but on occasion gave himself freely to the advancement of his party's cause. In the campaign of 1888, be made many speeches in behalf of the Harrison-Morton presidential ticket, and was named an elector-at-large on the same ticket.
The building of the first of the stogie factories in 1871 comprised his main interest until his death in 1906.
Mr. Pollack's relations with labor were of the liberal type that anticipated in a certain degree the changes which later were of such great benefit to the working man. Few industrialists of his generation were so successful in their labor problems, which fact is appreciatively and publicly acknowledged by the magnificent monument erected by the labor unions of the United States and placed in the City Building Square, Wheeling, W. Va., to the memory of Augustus Pollack, their friend and benefactor. This is looked on as a signal honor, the only monument ever erected by Labor in tribute to employer.