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One of the most extensive business enterprises conducted in the City of Rock Island is the wholesale drug house of Hartz & Bahnsen Company. It is a business that, although modest in its inception, has attained immense proportions, until today it occupies a magnificent four-story building on Third Avenue and Nineteenth Street, and for its successful operation requires the employment of a small army of clerks. It is one of the founders of this large concern and its president, whose life we propose to take up in this sketch, and as a specific example of what integrity, perseverance and industry can accomplish, it will certainly be of interest to every reader.
Ben C. Hartz was born December 5, 1856, in the town of Altona, Germany, his parents being J. H. and Theresa Hartz. The father was a contractor and manufacturer of furniture. He died in his native land of Germany in 1871. After his death the mother made her home with her children in Rock Island, passing away September, 1888.
Their son came in the United States in 1873 and located in Rock Island. Previous to leaving Germany, he had served an apprenticeship of three years in a wholesale and retail drug and paint business in Hamburg. Having thus fitted himself as a practical pharmacist he found no difficulty in obtaining employment in his chosen line upon coming to Rock Island, and after having served for six years in that capacity as an employee of others, in 1879 he entered into partnership with F. W. Bahnsen in the retail drug business under the firm name of Hartz & Bahnsen. Their venture was a successful and prosperous one, and in 1891 they disposed of their retail drug business and incorporated as Hartz & Bahnsen Company, and from that date to the present time they have been actively engaged in the wholesale drug business exclusively. Upon the formation of the new corporation, Mr. Hartz was elected its president, an office that he has ever since held, devoting his time exclusively to the duties and responsibilities which necessarily devolved upon him.
In religious conviction Mr. Hartz is a Lutheran, and was confirmed in the Lutheran Evangelical Church. In politics he is a Republican. For twenty-seven years he has been a member of Ucal Lodge, No. 608, of Odd Fellows. He is also a director of the Rock Island Club. He is a progressive and respected citizen of Rock Island, and the business that he and his early partner, Mr. Bahnsen, have built up and carry on, stands as a monument to the business sagacity of both those gentlemen.