Simon P. Kramer. During the greater part of the years since 1880, Simon P. Kramer had been a resident of Kansas and had been identified with the milling industry. He is one of the oldest flour millers in the state and had operated in many different towns. In 1915 he removed to Topeka, where he bought and reorganized the Topeka Flour Mills Company, of which he is now president. He had now one of the finest mills in equipment and service in this section of the state. It is equipped throughout with Allis-Chalmers machinery and only recently he gave an order for an oil burning engine to replace the old engine. Mr. Kramer is a thoroughly progressive and alert business man, and under his administration he intends to make the Topeka mills one of the finest plants of the kind in the Middle West.
His business interests have taken him to many states, and he had been more or less on the move ever since early manhood. But contrary to the old proverb he had accumnlated a generous share of material prosperity while going from place to place, He was born in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, February 15, 1858, one of the twelve children of Jacob and Mary (Miller) Kramer. His father was also a miller by trade, and spent his lifetime in that occupation. He conducted a water power mill on his own farm back in Ohio, and died there in December, 1883.
With an early education asquired in the common schools of Wayne County, Ohio, Simon P. Kramer at the same time acquired more or less of a practical training on his father’s farm and in the mill. At the age of seventeen he began work regularly in a mill. At that time when learning a trade a boy was called an apprentice, and it was usually necessary to serve three years before one could become a miller. However, Mr. Kramer had the mechanical genius and the previous experience which gave him a great advantage at the start, and after one year of apprenticeship he was offered a position as second miller in the city mills at Wooster, Ohio. At that time the Wooster mills were among the finest in the State of Ohio. He was in love with his work, and by industry and application stood high in the favor of his superiors and employers. He remained a second miller until he was twenty years of age.
Then came his first important move when he went to McKinney, Texas, and became head miller and was in complete charge of the plant at the age of twenty-one. He was not satisfied with the locality and working conditions, and after about a year he indulged a fancy for experience on the cattle ranges. Going to southern Texas, he joined an outfit of cattle men, and somewhat later helped to take a herd of horses north to Kansas. Thus in 1880 he arrived at Caldwell, Kansas, where the horses were sold. During that trip Mr. Kramer had spent thirteen weeks in the saddle. It furnished him with a satisfving experience of a cow puncher’s life. On coming from southern Texas to Kansas he had passed through a country desolate of improvements. While going through Oklahoma he saw the United States soldiers taking Captain Payne and his band of “boomers” out of the territory where they had trled to settle before the laws permitted.
From Caldwell Mr. Kramer went to Hutchinson, and became a second miller in the first water power mill ever established in that city. A short time later he was in Burton, Kansas, and was head miller there for two years. His next location was at Chatham, Illinois, where he remained in charge of a mill for a year. At that time his brother was a member of the firm of Thayer & Kramer Milling Company at Springfield, Illinois. The company had only recently, installed a new roller process mill, and Simon Kramer was given charge of it and remained there two years. It was during his residence in Springfield that Mr. Kramer met and married Anna Bellamy. Mr. and Mrs. Kramer have two children; Frank and Mary.
From Illinois Mr. Kramer returned to Kansas, and became one of the organizers of a mill at Garfield, whither he soon brought his family and established his home. He remained as head miller until selling his interests two years later. He then became a partner with his brother Joseph E. under the firm name of Kramer Brothers. This firm existed for many years and conducted extensive milling and other business operations in this state. They first bought and operated a mill at Virden, Illinois, until 1890, when they moved the plant to Caldwell, Kansas, the first Kansas town with which Mr. Kramer was identified. They operated their mill in that then banner wheat growing county of Kansas until 1898. In 1897 the Kramer Brothers bought the Aetna Mills at Wellington, Kansas, and after operating both plants for a year they sold their interests at Caldwell and concentrated their attention upon the mills at Wellington. These mills they improved and enlarged, adding more elevators, and conducted them until 1904. They then bought the Poorman Milling Company at Anthony, Kansas, and in many ways improved and enlarged that enterprise and conducted it until 1911.
At that time, after selling out, Mr. S. P. Kramer moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and spent four years as active manager and president of the Portland Cement Company of that city. From Kansas City he came to Topeka and resumed the milling business in the manner already described.