Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 315 - 316
George B. Mattoon, President of the Mattoon Manufacturing Company of Sheboygan, is a native of the Empire State,
born in Troy, February 27, 1847. His father, Samuel Mattoon, was a native of Northfield, Mass., where the most of
his life was spent. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Vaughn, was a native of New York State. In 1842
they located in Troy, which they made their home for some ten years, then moving to Swanzey, N.H. They father died
in Sheboygan while visiting his son; the mother spent her last days in Troy. Of their nine children, but four are
living, George B. being the youngest.
The educational privileges of Mr. Mattoon were very meager, as he was not permitted to attend school after reaching
his twelfth year; however, his experience in business affairs has given him a fund of practical knowledge more
valuable than information gained from books. When twelve years of age he asked his father for the privilege of
beginning the battle of life for himself. His request being granted, he went to Swanzey, N.H., and worked three
months on a farm, receiving for his services a three-year-old heifer, which he traded for a horse and a silver
watch. It will thus be seen that he early had a genius for business. We next find him at Ashuelot, N.H., where
he worked in a hotel for his board, and went to school for a time. A year and a-half later he went to Northfield,
Mass., and again worked in a hotel. Saving his earnings, he accumulated $200.
Although not fifteen years of age, he enlisted, September 12, 1861, at Brattleboro, Vt., in the First Vermont
Cavalry. During three years and two months service he took part in seventy engagements, of which forty-three were
regular battles. Two horses were shot from under him; one at the battle of Gettysburg, and the other at the battle
of Culpeper Court House. At the battle of Cedar Creek, where Sheridan made his famous ride, "the First in that
brilliant charge captured sixty-one prisoners, twenty-three pieces of artillery, three battle flags, fourteen
caissons, seventeen army wagons, six ambulances, eighty-three sets of artillery harness, seventy-five sets of wagon
harness, ninety-eight horses, and sixty-nine mules. The whole army took forty-eight pieces of artillery."
Sheridan states that no regiment up to that time had captured so much in a single charge. When Mr. Mattoon entered
the service he weighed one hundred and sixty pounds, and when discharged one hundred and eighty pounds, although but
eighteen years and seven months. During his term of service he was neither wounded nor taken prisoner, and was
never absent or in the hospital one day. Mr. Mattoon's father served the Union cause three years, and his brother
Charles three years.
Upon the conclusion of the battle of Cedar Creek, Mr. Mattoon received an honorable discharge, and in the spring of
1865 came to Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and entered the chair factory of his brother as a day laborer, working there
three years. Having bought a retail store of his brother, and conducted it alone for three years, he took as
partner William Parker. They also established stores at Sheboygan and Plymouth, continuing all about three years.
The second year Mr. Mattoon bought his partner out. He also engaged in the manufacture of furniture, employing some
eight men, and doing all the work by hand. On starting the store in Sheboygan in 1871, he moved to that city, which
has since been his home. IN 1881 he bought some machinery, run in connection with a planing mill, and began the
manufacture of furniture, employing about fifteen men. Two years later he sold his store in Sheboygan to Hanchett
Bros., and purchased the grounds where his present factory stands, though it was but a swamp. A new three-story
building was erected, 50 X 100 feet, into which the machinery was moved, and manufacturing was begun on an extended
scale, thirty-five men being employed. A year later the capacity of the building was doubled, and from that time
to the present business has constantly increased. In 1886 the Mattoon Manufacturing Company was incorporated, with
a capital stock of $300,000, which has since increased to $500,000. In 1887 the factory burned, entailing heavy
loss. Thereupon a new plant was erected, the factory proper consisting of two buildings, respectively 50 X 200 feet
and 40 X 200 feet; a finishing room, 75 X 150 feet; a warehouse, 30 X 218 feet; a second warehouse, 50 X 150 feet.
All of the above buildings are four-story except the last, which is three-story. At his plant some nine hundred and
fifty-two hands are employed. Besides, the company has a sawmill fifteen miles south of Anti, where one hundred and
seventy-five men are employed. They own about two thousand acres of timberland surrounding the mill, to which they
have built twelve miles of railroad. The output of the concern in 1892 was valued at $1,063,000. In order to
facilitate the sale and shipment of goods, a large warehouse and salesroom are kept in Chicago. The officers of the
company are G. B. Mattoon, President; F. S. Merrill, Vice-President; and E. E. Panzer, Secretary and Treasurer.
Our subject is also interested in the Halstead Manufacturing Company and the Sheboygan Novelty Company, and in the
Electric Light Plant and City Railway. Politically, he is a Republican, and, socially, is a member of Gustav
Wintermeyer Post No. 187; G. A. R., of Sheboygan.
Mr. Mattoon was married in Sheboygan, in July, 1878, to Nellie F., a daughter of Warren Smith, a pioneer settler of
the county. Mrs. Mattoon was born in this county. Their family consists of two children, Laura and Robert. Their
first-born, Warren, died in infancy.
Mr. Mattoon has made a war record of which anyone might be justly proud, and as a business man, he has put on foot
enterprises that will be of lasting benefit to the city and county.
Copyright 1997 - 2009 by Debie Blindauer