Daniel M. Sechler, founder of the D. M. Sechler Carriage Company, of Moline, Illinois, was born March 4, 1818, at Danville, Pennsylvania, and died at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 27, 1903.
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Mr. Sechler’s forefathers, in the days of the persecution of John Huss, were obliged to flee for refuge from Austria, taking up their abode in Holland, from which country, in 1685, Mr. Sechler’s great great grandfather emigrated to America, locating near William Penn’s town of Philadelphia. His grandson, John Sechler, a revolutionary soldier, founded the town of Danville, the birthplace not only of the subject of this sketch, but also of his father, Rudolph Sechler, and his mother, Susannah (nee Douty).
His wife’s parents were Thomas and Catharine (nee Angstadt) Mackey.
Mr. and Mrs. Sechler had but one son, Thomas M:, whose biographical sketch follows this one.
Daniel M. Sechler’s early education was acquired in the public schools, of his native town, supplemented by several terms in the local academy.
At seventeen years of age he began his apprenticeship at the carriage maker’s trade, in the City of Port Deposit, Maryland. Four years later he entered into a copartnership with a Mr. Ball, under the firm name of Ball & Sechler, Carriage Manufacturers, at Milton, Pennsylvania. During this period Mr. Ball died. Mr. Sechler continued the business for three years thereafter, producing from fifty to seventy-five carriages per year, and then disposing of his establishment, removed to Wooster, Ohio, where he lived in retirement for a time. Later he operated a foundry in Adams County, Ohio, and in 1852 he took the management of the pattern department of a large machine shop at Ironton, Ohio, and in 1854 erected the Star Nail Mill-now the Bellefont Iron Works-for a company at that place, being the first nail mill erected in Ohio. He continued there until the year 1858, when he removed to Cincinnati, where he opened a large wholesale and retail store, as agent for a rolling mill, located at Pomeroy, Ohio, and iron furnaces in the vicinity of Ironton and Pomeroy.
In the year 1867 Mr. Sechler became a partner in the Swift Iron & Steel Works, at Newport, Kentucky. Two years later, in 1869, we find him interested in the manufacture of pig iron, in Montgomery County, Tennessee, and in 1877 he returned to his original business of manufacturing carriages, under the firm name of Sechler & Company, at Cincinnati, Ohio.
Operating this establishment successfully for a period of ten years, he sold out his interest, with the intention of permanently retiring from active business. Now ensued a period of travel, during which he, with Mrs. Sechler, visited places of interest in Europe.
Returning home, he soon found that the life of ease which he had planned for his future was not so pleasant in realization as it had been in expectation. Of vigorous physique and active brain, and habituated to strenuous business life, the ennui of idleness soon became unbearable. He had learned the lesson that work is necessary to happiness, and acting upon this feeling, he once more launched out in business venture, this time selecting Moline, Illinois, as the scene of his operations. Here he established the D. M. Sechler Carriage Company, which stands today, the splendid monument to his later and greatest enterprise.
To the two acres of floor space, this thriving manufactory, with a capacity of ten thousand vehicles annually, was added, in 1897, the manufacture of the Black Hawk Corn Planter. . The magnitude of this branch of the business will be understood by that fact that, at the time of Mr. Sechler’s death, it was the second largest cornplanter works in the world. The manufactory, under the management of his son, Thomas M. Sechler, who survives him, has kept pace with the onward sweep of the greatest business concerns of the country, and is today one of the great manufacturing establishments of Moline.
Mr. Sechler’s first presidential vote was cast for William Henry Harrison, in 1840. He supported the Whig party until 1856, when he voted for Fremont, from which time on he affiliated with the Republican Party, in National politics.
He was a Mason, made such in Kilwinning Lodge, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1869.
He married Miss Pamela Mackey, of Milton, Pennsylvania, January 19, 1841. The sole issue of this marriage was Thomas Mackey Sechler, a sketch of whose life appears in this book.
Although Mr. Sechler’s home was, to the last, in Cincinnati, he spent much time in Moline, in the oversight of his extensive business. His protracted visits brought him into personal contact with a large number of Moline business men, and resulted in numerous lasting friendships; and his death left a deep sense of loss in all who knew him. Daniel M. Sechler was a courtly gentleman, of the Old School, a man of strict integrity of character, of unvarying honor in business and personal relations, exerting a profound and altogether healthful influence upon the business and social life of Moline.