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Biography of Robert A. Holekamp

Robert A. Holekamp, president of the Holekamp Lumber Company and a dominant factor in the industrial development of St. Louis and the state, was born at Nordstemmen, in the province of Hanover, Germany, May 4, 1848, his parents being the Rev. Frederick F. and Amelia (Koch) Holekamp, who lived and died in Hanover. The father was a Lutheran minister, devoting his entire life to the work of the church. Robert A. Holekamp was reared and educated in his native country, acquiring his early education under his father’s personal instruction. When fourteen years of age he was sent away to Hildesheim to attend college and there remained for several years. Later he entered upon an apprenticeship to the mercantile business and in 1868 be joined the German army as a yearly volunteer. He served for one year, leaving the army as a non-commissioned officer and having his certificate with the privilege of a commission in the army. In 1870, however, he came to the United States, settling in St. Louis where he found employment in the hardware and implement house of Henry Kuhlemann, with whom he continued for three and a half years. He next accepted the position of teller in The Bank of the West, a small bank on Third and Market streets, which two years later closed out its business. For a brief period thereafter Mr. Holekamp occupied a clerkship in a vinegar factory and then became manager for the firm of James Gray & Son, wholesale manufacturers and dealers in sash and doors. Three years later James Gray passed away, and his son and Mr. Holekamp then...

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