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William Kerfoot Stewart  



William K. Stewart It is gratifying to note that in Indianapolis are found no small number of the native sons of the city who are here prominently identified with business affairs of wide scope and importance and who are essentially loyal and progressive as citizens
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Of this number is William K Stewart who is a member of one of the old and honored families of the Indiana capital and who is now engaged in the retail book and stationary business having purchased the entire retail department of the well known publishing house of the Bobbs Merrill Company in May 1909. Singular interest attaches to his association with this important concern and with his present line of enterprise as the great business now controlled by the Bobbs Merrill Company is the direct outgrowth of the modest enterprise established fully half a century ago by William Stewart grandfather of him whose name initiates article.

William Kerfoot Stewart was born in on the 26th of July 1875 and is son of Charles G and Martha Meoklar who still maintain their home in Indianapolis where the father is now living retired Charles G Stewart was born in State of Maryland on the 30th of 1836 and his wife was born in Kentucky the 3rd of September of the same year their nine children only three are now living Susan D. at home Charles H. who is in the coffee business in Mexico and William K, who is the immediate subject of this review. Charles G Stewart was reared and in his native state where he completed studies in St, James College after which was for a time employed in the great mercantile establishment of A. T. Stewart then as the merchant prince of New York City a representative of a collateral branch of same family. In 1854 Mr Stewart accompanied his father the late William Stewart his removal to Indianapolis and here the passed the remainder of his life having summoned to his reward in 1860, William Stewart had been engaged in the book stationery business at Hagerstown Maryland and upon coming to Indianapolis he turned his attention to the same line of enterprise An interesting account of the development of the business that he founded appeared in The Indianapolis News at the time that the subject of this sketch secured control of his present fine establishment and from the article in question excerpts are made with slight paraphrase as worthy of perpetuation in this volume The article in question was published under date of May 15 1909 and is Substantially Given in the following paragraphs

William Kerfoot Stewart the grandson of the founder of the business Bobbs Merrill Company has bought the retail department Entire books and stationery department of house This will now be the Bobbs Merrill Known book store operated by W K Stewart Company Which is incorporated under the Laws of the state and of William K Stewart is president and Mr Stewart. In This corporation Mr Stewart owns all of the stock except two complimentary shares one of Which is held by Clemens Vonnegut Jr and the other by Charles W Merrill Bobbs Merrill Company. W. K. Stewart has been with the house four and one-half years. He Began in the sales department, Three years ago he became sales manager in charge of the traveling men of the house, and also did much traveling himself making a number of trips to the Pacific coast

A year ago a reorganization of the house took place At That Time Moorhead Lee Burns, R. L. Moorehad, D. L. Chambers and W. K. Stewart took about half of the common stock the remainder Being in the hands of W. C. Bobbs, Charles Merrill and John J. Curtis. William Stewart grandfather of the new proprietor of the retail business of this old establishment came to Indianapolis from Hagerstown, Maryland about fifty five years ago. He bought a little book store in Washington street owned by a Mr West and took into the partnership Silas T Bowen Who Had Been a teacher in the old McLean Female Seminary. The business prospered from the first and the firm name of Stewart & Bowen was Retained Until the death of Mr Stewart.

The Stewart family for many years Lived at southeast corner of New Jersey and Vermont streets in what at that time was one the finest mansions of the city. This property, three years ago, was bought by the Rev Anthony Séheideler and upon the site and will some day be built a new church congregation for the congregation of St. Mary's Catholic Church.

After the death of William Stewart are his son Charles G. Stewart had an interest in the business the name of the firm changed to Being Bowen, Stewart & Company. Charles G. Stewart some years later left the firm and publishing an Assumed and editorial position on the Indianapolis Sentinel. Some time later the book house of Merrill & Meigs Consolidated With The Bowen house. The name was changed Bowen Merrill Company and on January 1885,the new organization was incorporated. Mr. Bowen died in 1896, On April 7, 1903 the house became the Bobbs Merrill Company with William C. Bobbs as head of the organization. Mr. Bobbs Who Came into the house as a boy had Been with The business many years. Its publishing business began in a small way. Among the first books issued Were the early peoms of James Whitcomb Riley. Since That day the name of the Bobbs Merrill Company Become noted in the trade as Having furnished a large share of the popular novels prominent That taken place Among the best sellers.


Reverting to the Earlier stages of the career of William K. Stewart it May be noted that he secured His early educational discipline in the public schools of Indianapolis after which he entered historic old Yale University In Which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1899 and from Which he Received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the following year be secured employment in the wholesale hardware establishment of W. J. Holliday & Company of Indianapolis but he retained this position only a short time at the expiration of Which He Went to California. Later in 1902 he Was in Cuba, Identified With The Operations of the Cuba Construction Company, He then a in the spring of 1902 returned to Indianapolis Where he again Entered the Employ of W. J. Holliday & Company With Which he remained Until 1905 When He Entered the sales department of the establishment of the Bobbs Merrill Company Concerning His Connection with Which adequate data have Been Given in preceding paragraphs.

In August 1909 Mr Stewart bought the book and stationery business publishing of the famous old Robert Clarke Company of Cincinnati now the largest business of the kind in That section of the country. It is incorporated under the name of The Robert Clarke Company and Mr Stewart holds the position of president He is treasurer. He is Known as one of the aggressive and enterprising business men of the younger generation in His native city and here His popularity is unequivocal order. He is a member of the University Club the Contemporary Club the Commercial Club and the German House.

On the 15th of September 1903 Mr Stewart was united in marriage to Miss Ella N Vonnegut Who Was born and reared in Indianapolis and Who is a daughter of Clemens Vonnegut and Emma Schnüll of this city Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have a winsome little daughter Susan K. They are prominent in Connection with the best social activities of Their home city Where Their circle of friends is coincident With That of Their acquaintances

Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the ..., Volume 2 By Jacob Piatt Dunn pg. 1044-1046






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