February 4, 1911: Frank Hartman Sells Carriage Works to Skilled Employees


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

February 4, 1911: The Boyertown Carriage Works (forerunner of the Boyertown Auto Body Works) has been given over to four of its most dedicated employees. The owner, Frank Hartman, wishes to retire from the company which he bought in 1887 and expanded into a big business. He has chosen Milton Derr, a wood worker; Morris Gilbert, a painter; Al Shuler, a trimmer; and John Landis, a blacksmith, to continue the enterprise they had helped to build.

Because they are master mechanics at their particular trades, but not well-versed in the sales end of the operation, Hartman will remain with them for the next year and coach them in the selling and buying part of the industry. He is confident that his company will continue to prosper with these men taking the reins.

Derr became president and Gilbert Secretary-Treasurer. Shuler left the firm in 1912 and relocated in Reading and Landis quit four years later to sell life insurance.

(Tragedy had stalked Frank Hartman. In 1884 his first wife and only child, four-year-old Maggie, had died of typhoid fever. He was remarried, and in 1908 his 14-year-old daughter Carrie, his niece Verna and nephew Charles were all killed in the Rhoads Opera House fire.)

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