Traver, R. A.
The following data is extracted from Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Charleston Township.
R. A. Traver, of the firm of Traver & Nixon, manufacturers of and dealers in brooms, brushes, etc., Charleston; was born in Schenectady Co., N. Y., Aug. 19, 1837; he was raised on a farm; in 1856, he removed with his parents to Brooklyn, N. Y., where, for two years, he was employed as a book-keeper for A. W. Hendrickson & Co., coal-dealers; in 1858, he went to Harrison Co., W. Va., where he was engaged in farming and carpentering till 1867; he then came to Clark Co., Ill., and engaged in the broom business, but soon afterward removed to Charleston, where he established the Charleston Broom-Factory, and has been an enterprising citizen of the city ever since; he is at present a member of the Board of Aldermen. His partner in the business, M. C. Nixon, is a native of Harrison Co., W. Va., his father being one of the most prominent farmers in that part of the State; at the age of 18, he went to Pittsburgh, Penn., where he received a thorough business education in the Iron City Business College; he then spent a few years in traveling in the West, and, in 1874, came to Charleston and entered into partnership with Mr. Traver. When Mr. Traver came to Charleston, there were but about fifteen acres of broomcorn cultivated in Coles Co.; its culture is now one of the chief sources of wealth, especially in the northern part of the county; there are thousands of acres cultivated annually, and the amount is constantly increasing; this firm alone has raised, during the past year, 500 acres. The importance of this enterprise to the city of Charleston will appear when it is considered that they employ in their factory about seventy men and boys, who, were it not for this, would be obliged to seek employment elsewhere; they do a business of $60,000 per annum, manufacturing 30,000 dozen brooms yearly, besides a large quantity of brushes and toy brooms; they pay out yearly to their employees fully $15,000; they keep three salesmen on the road, including Mr. Nixon, and their trade extends to all parts of the country, the most of it being in the Southern States, New Orleans being their heaviest shipping point, their next heaviest trade being in Georgia and Texas; the extent of their trade can be estimated from the fact that, during the past fall they were 1,000 dozen behind their orders, notwithstanding they were turning out at the time a 100 dozen brooms a day; they are the owners of the Charleston Elevator and Broom Warehouse, and also own a broom-corn compress for rebaling the corn for shipment, being, probably, the only machine of its kind in the United States. Mr. Traver is the author of " Traver's Broom-Corn Culturist and Broom-Makers' Manual," the only work on the subject in the country, a well-written pamphlet, giving directions for the raising, cutting, curing and preparing of broom-corn for market, etc.; they are also dealers in broom machines, of which they ship large numbers to the Western States and Territories.
Source: Biographical Sketches, Coles County, Illinois - Charleston Township