No history of the industrial development of Racine would be complete were there failure to make reference to Michael N. Freeman and his associates, whose important and extensive interests are conducted under the name of the S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company. With this business Michael N. Freeman, who is now the vice president of the company, has been continuously connected since reaching the age of thirteen years and there is no phase of the undertaking with which he is not familiar. He was born in Centralia, Illinois, January 14, 1860, and is a son of S. Freeman, the founder of the business, and a brother of Charles Freeman, who is president of the company and who is mentioned at length on another page of this work. When a youth of seven years Michael N. Freeman was brought by his parents to Racine, where the father soon afterward established a boiler and machine shop which was the nucleus of the present great enterprise. The son was put in school and pursued a public school course until he reached the age of thirteen, when, desirous of becoming a factor in business circles, he was set to work by his father and acquainted himself with the trade. He gradually worked his way upward, not only becoming familiar with the practical processes of the business but also with the management and control of a constantly and rapidly growing enterprise. He was admitted to a partnership and following the death of his father, in 1889, was elected vice president of the company after having previously served as treasurer during the intervening period which covered the time between the incorporation of the business and his father’s death. This undertaking is now one of the foremost concerns that has brought to Racine its well established reputation as a great manufacturing center. Their output includes boilers and many kinds of farm machinery and their trade not only covers America, for their output is also sent to many other sections of the world.
In. 1881 Mr. Freeman was united in marriage to Miss Lillian C. Porter, a daughter of L. C. Porter, of Racine, and they have become parents of three children: Bessie, now the wife of Percy Borman, a resident of Racine; Frank, who is associated with the S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company and married Carolin Blake, of Racine, and Roy, who married Ethel Meinland, of this city, and is engaged in farming in Racine County.
The parents adhere to the faith of the Congregational church and Mr. Freeman gives his political allegiance to the Democratic Party. He is neglectful of no duty of citizenship, but has never sought office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, and the thoroughness with which he mastered the trade and acquainted himself with every feature of the business has been one of the strong elements of the growing success of this undertaking.