The welfare of a city does not depend so much upon the machinery of its government or even upon the men that occupy its offices as it does upon the business enterprises which promote its material growth and development, and each legitimate enterprise wisely conducted adds to the upbuilding of the city. In this connection, therefore, mention should be made of Henry L. Wratten, who was one of the organizers and from the beginning has been the president of the Racine Boiler & Tank Company, which started in business in October, 1913.
Mr. Wratten was born in Racine, January 17, 1860, a son of Jacob and Harriett (Biggs) Wratten, both of whom were natives of England, whence they emigrated to the new world. They established their home in New York and were married in Utica, that state, where they lived until 1844, when they came to Racine. The father was a carpenter contractor and became foreman of the car shops for the Western Union Railway, remaining active in industrial circles in this city up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1868. His widow survived for a long period, passing away in 1885.
Henry L. Wratten was the tenth in order of birth in a family of twelve children and after pursuing a public school education he learned the boiler making trade. giving close attention to every phase of the work and thus promoting his efficiency, which won him advancement from time to time until he became superintendent for the S. Freeman & Sons Mfg. Co. He was with that company for thirty-two years, acting as superintendent for twenty-six years-a fact which stands in incontrovertible evidence of his capability and trustworthiness and his marked devotion to the interests of the house which he represented. Ambitious, however, to engage in business on his own account, in October, 1913, he organized the Racine Boiler & Tank Company, of which he became the president, with James Fahey as the vice president and William Teubner as secretary and treasurer. They employ twelve men and do general contracting and job work in their line. Their plant is located in the Satterly building at Racine Junction and the business is proving a growing and profitable concern.
On the 15th of July, 1883, Mr. Wratten was united in marriage to Miss Statia Santry, of Racine, who passed away December 5, 1893. On the 26th of April, 1896, Mr. Wratten was again married, his second union being with Miss Nettie Fahey, a daughter of Michael Fahey, an early settler of Racine. By this marriage there were born six children, namely: Harriet, who is deceased; Henry, Isabel, Mary, who has also passed away; Wendell and Frances.
Mr. Wratten casts an independent ballot, his vote being determined by the capability of the candidate. He is a member of the Commercial Club, which indicates his interest in the city’s business welfare and development. He belongs to the Elks Lodge and in Masonry has attained the Knights Templar degree, being a worthy exemplar of the craft which is based upon recognition of the brotherhood of man. He has long figured prominently in industrial circles in the city and his ability has brought him prominently to the front in this connection.