Biography of W. B. Kurtz
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It is given to few to attain prominence in politics, honor in military affairs or fame in literary life, but respect and esteem await every man who lives worthily, who performs the duties of public and private life faithfully and promptly, and in business has strict regard for commercial ethics. Such an one is W. B. Kurtz, proprietor of the Weiser flouring mill, which was built in 1890, and represents one of the leading industrial interests of the city in which it is located.
Mr. Kurtz is a native of Berks county, Pennsylvania, born November 1, 1846, and is of German descent. His grandfather, Jacob Kurtz, was born in Germany and in his early boyhood crossed the Atlantic to America, becoming a resident of the Keystone state, where he was reared to manhood and married Miss Mary Shingle, a native of Pennsylvania. He fought in the Revolutionary war on the side of the colonies, and lived to be seventy-seven years of age. His son, John Kurtz, was born in Pennsylvania, and having arrived at years of maturity married Miss Harriet Gabrial, a lady of Scotch-Irish ancestry. They had five sons and five daughters, eight of whom are now living. Through his active business career the father engaged in the milling business, manufacturing flour. In his religious views he was an Episcopalian, and he was highly esteemed for his sterling worth and devotion to duty.
Mr. Kurtz of this review was educated in the public schools of his native state, and in his boyhood learned the miller’s trade, which he has followed as a life work. By close application he soon mastered the business, and for four years carried on operations along that line in Rock Falls, Illinois. In 1878 he came to Idaho, locating in Boise, where for fourteen years he had the management of the Ridenbaugh mill. His long connection with that enterprise plainly indicates his reliability and his effective service, qualities which won him the entire respect and confidence of his employer. In 1890 he came to Weiser and in connection with others erected the Weiser flouring mill, of which he has since had charge. It is a full roller-process mill with a capacity of one hundred and twenty barrels of flour per day. The main building is forty by forty feet, and in height three stories, attic and basement. The elevator is fifty by forty feet and forty feet in height, and has a capacity of fifty thousand bushels of wheat. There is also a brick engine-room, and the entire plant is complete in every appointment and detail. They manufacture the Lily of the Valley brand of flour, for which there is a great home demand, and an excellent market is thus furnished for the wheat raised in this locality. Mr. Kurtz, who is one of the owners as well as the manager, is a practical miller of many years’ experience, and under his direction the enterprise has become a profitable one and has proven of great importance to the community.
On the 10th of July 1887, Mr. Kurtz was united in marriage to Miss Lenora B. Babcock, a native of Galesburg, Illinois, who prior to her marriage was a most capable and successful schoolteacher of Boise. They now have a daughter, Hazel. They are valued members of the Congregational church, in which Mr. Kurtz is serving as trustee, while his wife is a teacher in the Sunday school. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias fraternity, and he and his wife are highly esteemed citizens of Weiser.