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In taking up the history of James Cape, Sr., we present to our readers the life record of a substantial citizen whose well directed efforts brought to him all of the success which he enjoyed. His was an active and useful life and his record illustrates what can be accomplished when perseverance and determination point out the way. He was a native of England, where his parents lived and died. He was reared in that country, was married there and in 1853 came to the United States, landing at New York city. He had learned the trade of shoemaking in England and began business along that line in New York city, carrying a stock of shoes as well as doing repair work. After about two years spent in that place he removed westward to Delaván, Wisconsin, and a short time afterward came to Racine. Here he entered the employ of John Beck and subsequently was employed by the Joseph Miller Shoe Company. At a later date he was joined by his sons in a teaming contracting business, in which he continued throughout his remaining days. He lived a life of industry and thrift and whatever success he achieved was attributable entirely to his own efforts. His political allegiance was given to the Democratic Party and at one time he served as supervisor from the first ward. Both he and his wife died in 1909 and were laid to rest in Mound cemetery,
In the family of Mr. and Mrs. James Cape, Sr., were fourteen children, of whom five are living, as follows: James, who is chief of the fire department of Racine; Elizabeth, who is the widow of C. T. Williams and is living in Oklahoma City; Charles, who is president of the contracting firm composed of the Cape brothers; Albert F., who is a member of the firm; and Benjamin P., who is also connected with the business.
It was in 1910 that the business was incorporated under the name of the James Cape & Sons Company, general contractors. They have made a specialty of taking paving contracts and their operations extend to various other sections of the state and even beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Theirs is one of the important business projects of Racine and the brothers rank high in industrial circles.
Albert F. Cape, vice-president of the James Cape & Sons Company, was born in Racine, December 16, 1866, and attended school here. He was married in 1894 to Miss Louise Kammerer. The second brother, Benjamin P. Cape, secretary and treasurer of the company, was born in Racine, April 23, 1877, was educated in the public schools and throughout his business career has been connected with the contracting firm. He was married in 1905 to Miss Sina Bislow and they have four children: Benjamin M., Ruth, Donald and Gordon. Charles Cape, president of the James Cape & Sons Company, also resides in Racine. He was educated here, married Mrs. Mary Monroe and has two children, Marion and Marjorie.
In politics A. F. and B. P. Cape are stalwart democrats, following in the political footsteps of their father. Both sons and father served on the old call fire department for years, so continuing until 1896, and B. P. Cape still goes to the fires, having his helmet and. his suit upon the wagon, with a bell in his office notifying him in case of fire.
The brothers are members of the Episcopal Church and Benjamin P. Cape is identified with the Sons of St. George and also with the Elks and the Eagles, while Albert F. Cape is connected with the Sons of St. George and is also a member of the Royal League. Both are identified with the Firemen’s Relief Association. The family has long been represented in Racine and is prominent here. The sons have followed the example of their father, becoming progressive and. representative business men, and their contracting interests are among the most extensive and important in this part of the state. Their plans are always well formulated and carefully executed and they carry forward to successful completion whatever they begin.