James V. Rohan, one of Racine’s most enterprising and energetic manufacturers, president of the Belle City Incubator Company, was born in Racine in 1867, a son of James and Delia Rohan, who arrived in this County about 1840 after coming to the new world from County Limerick, Ireland, of which district they were natives.
James V. Rohan was reared under the parental roof and obtained what education he could in the public schools up to the age of twelve and one-half years, when it seemed necessary for him to provide for his own support and at that time he became an office boy for the Racine Wagon & Carriage Company. After a short period in that position he entered the service of the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company where he remained for seventeen years. There he progressed in experience and knowledge but, being ever alert to the possibilities for success along certain manufacturing lines, he severed his connection with the Case Company, and in 1900 organized the Belle City Incubator Company. In order to establish a basis for this business he purchased the outfit and what good will an incubator firm in Ohio had, moved the plant to Racine, and at once started to push the business. That he has succeeded is denoted by the fact that he is now the largest manufacturer in the world building exclusively one size-one hundred and forty egg incubators, and one hundred and forty chick brooders, and this is due wholly to his ability to pursue a given course and the energy and tenacity to overcome all obstacles. Opportunity knocks at the door of the many and but few open the door. Not so with James V. Rohan. He has always kept the door of opportunity open. From a small beginning, to a capacity of thirty-two hundred incubators and brooders per week is a record worth while. The company employs fifty or more workmen, all skilled, and the output is shipped all over the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia. A complete line of poultry supplies is carried and the company has warehouses in Buffalo, Kansas City and Minneapolis. The plant is located on Fifteenth Street and the St. Paul Railway tracks. Mr. Rohan is also president of the Metronite Company, of Milwaukee, large producers of extenders for paint. His accomplishment is due to the possession of certain qualities but these qualities are such as the individual may cultivate determination, energy, industry. In a word, he has made splendid use of his opportunities. He has learned life’s lessons in the broad school of experience and has thoroughly mastered each.
On the 14th of July, 1903, Mr. Rohan was married to Miss Laura A. Kaempfer, a daughter of Vites and Katharine Kaempfer, of Racine. Their children are Katharine Jane and James K., aged respectively twelve and nine years and now attending private school.
Mr. Rohan is a public-spirited man, recognizing the duties and obligations of citizenship and fully meeting each in turn. Citizens of Racine know his worth and appreciate his devotion to the public good. He has been a member of the park board for several years and its president for the past four years and in this connection has done much to improve and beautify the city. He is a valued member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is now president of the Elk’s Building Association. He is also president of the Somerset Club, an exclusive social organization. For recreation he turns to golf, and is a director of the Racine Country Club. In a word, he is a very courteous, polished gentleman, popular with a large circle of friends, the number of which is constantly growing as the circle of his acquaintance widens. In summing up the story of James V. Rohan’s life, from office boy at twelve years of age to president of one of Racine’s most important industries and presiding officer of four other institutions, we find the story well worth reading-one that establishes the fact that perseverance and unfaltering determination will accomplish all things, the record being such as future generations may well emulate.