SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 315-317.
B. Loewenstein & Bro. - Perhaps no single case better illustrates the phenomenal commercial growth of the towns of Milam county during the last twenty years than does that of B. Loewensten & Bro., of Rockdale, a firm that enjoys the distinction of being one of the pioneers of that place and on e of the first in commercial strength in the county. They had been in business in Rockdale just twenty years, having opened their first stock of goods here December 24, 1873. That was before the International & Great Northern Railroad had reached this place, and when the town of Rockdale was as yet only a small opening among the post-oaks. During the time that Rockdale remained the terminus of the railroad everything about the place was in that unsettled condition characteristic of new western towns, the business of the Messrs. Loewenstein being no exception; but, with the departure of the terminal, things rapidly settled down to a solid basis. Then it was that the Messers. Loewenstein began to lay their plans to establish themselves in a staple business and grown with what promised to be a legitimate growth of the community. With the influx of immigration they extended their acquaintance, and let it be known that they had come to stay. They increased their stock as their trade demanded, and raised the grade of goods as the buying public became educated to better qualities and prices. The swiftly passing years have wrought a wonderful change in their fortunes. From a low handfuls of goods, representing only $200 or $300 investment, their stock has increased to one varying from $40,000 to $50,000, and they do a cash business of $75,000 a year. They handle dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes and groceries the same as when they began twenty years ago, but they have classified and arranged their stock, systemized their business and conduct it in an entirely different manner from that observed in former years. One of the most important changes which they have made has been from the credit to the cash basis. This change was made in 1880, and their business instead of suffering from it has increased and is better now than it ever was. They occupy commodious quarters: a double-front, two-story brick house, fronting on two streets, built by themselves at a cost of $6,000, and admirably arranged for the safe, convenient and expeditions handling of their trade. They employ a corps of ten clerks, and during the fall season especially their place is a hive of industry.
The firm is composed of Benjamin and Joseph Loewenstein, brother, both of whom is natives of Prussia, both were reared in their native country and come to America, Benjamin in 1866 and Joseph in 1867. Benjamin came to Texas in 1868 and Joseph in 1869, and from that date until they settled in Rockdale they lived in Colorado and Austin counties. In the twenty-five years that they have lived in this country they have become thoroughly Americanized, and are as much attached to all of the interest and institutions of their adopted home as they could be had they been born on the soil. They are public-spirited to a degree seldom witnessed in those of foreign birth, standing read at all times to put their money in any legitimate enterprise and subscribing liberally for the promotion of local industries. Benjamin is vice-president and member of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Rockdale, which he helped to organize. He is a stockholder in the Rockdale Cotton Platform Company; and the firm established the Rockdale Brick Works, representing an investment of $12,000, with a capacity of 2,000,000 bricks annually, which they conducted successfully until recently disposed of by sale. During the time that they ran these works they erected seven brick business buildings in Rockdale, besides a number of dwellings, and were constantly buying and improving property in the place as well as contracting and building for others.
Joseph has been a member of the Board of Aldermen for seven years, and Benjamin has served half as long on the School Board. Both are Republicans in politics, but have never sought any public office, and in fact take but little interest in political matter. Benjamin belongs to the A.O.U.W.(1), and Joseph to the Masons, Knight of Honor and American Legion of Honor, and both to the Hebrew order, Bínai Bírith.
In April 1873, Benjamin married Miss Carrie Malsch of Colorado county, this State, but a native of Germany, having been brought by her parents to America when small and reared in Texas. March 16, 1881, Joseph married Miss Sarah Levine of Galveston, she being a native of New York but of German ancestry. Each of the brothers has children, each has an elegant home in Rockdale and a host of friends.
(1) A.O.U.W. - Ancient Order of United Workers was a Fraternal Benefits Society based on the simple premise that every person is his or her "brothers keeper", and therefore have a moral responsibility to each other.
We must say a special thank you to Vanessa Deshazer of Menifee, CA, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 11 Sept 2003 and last revised on ____________