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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Ernest R. Richards

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 647 - 648

Ernest R. Richards is President of the Sheboygan Mineral Water Company. This is an important institution of the Chair City, and from a health-giving standpoint has won much prominence and popularity. The water marketed by this company is procured from two noted springs, one being situated in what is known as Fountain Park, on Eighth Street, between Ontario and Erie Streets, and the other at the works of the company, at the junction of Ontario and North Water Streets. The first-named spring was obtained in 1875, after boring to a depth of fourteen hundred and seventy-five feet. Messrs. Bertschy & Thayer were the original proprietors. The water of the Fountain Park well gave the following results on analysis:

Chloride of sodium306.9436grains
Chloride of potassium14.4822 do
Chloride of lithium0.1062do
Chloride of magnesium54.9139do
Chloride of calcium27.8225do
Bromide of sodium0.1873do
Iodide of sodiumTrace 
Sulphate of lime16.9827do
Sulphate of barytaTrace 
Bi-carbonate of lime13.6585do
Bi-carbonate of iron0.5944do
Bi-carbonate of manganese0.1742do
Phosphate of lime0.0383do
Biborate of sodaTrace 
Alumina0.1283do
Silica0.4665do
Organic matterTrace 
Total436.4986 

The natural flavor of the water was not agreeable, and it was found hard work to successfully introduce it to popular favor. In 1881 the present company was incorporated. The following named gentlemen were the first officers: E. J. Stewart, President; E. R. Richards, Vice-President; L. D. Harvey, Secretary and Treasurer. The water was piped from the original well to the railroad track, at the junction of the track with North Water Street, where the company had erected a commodious plant, with all of the necessary machinery. A second well was sunk at that point to the depth of two hundred and fifty-five feet, the water from which was found to contain valuable medicinal properties. By combining the water of the two wells and subjecting it to a process of preparation, it was found that a valuable and pleasant-flavored water was obtained, which is now sold extensively throughout the country, proving efficacious in the cure of various diseases. The annual sales of the company have now reached between $75,000 and $100,000, the company employing about twenty people.

Ernest R. Richards, President of the company, had previously been connected with the Waukesha Springs, and by testing the virtue of the Sheboygan mineral water in his own case, had become impressed with its superior power and merit. He at once set to work to develop and extend the business, in wdiich laudable undertaking he has been singularly successful.

Mr. Richards was born in Roxbury, Dane County, Wis., February 27, 1851, and is a son of George and Elizabeth (Ball) Richards. Mr. Richards' parents were born in Somerset, England, and emigrated to America in 1843, settling in Dane County, Wis., where the remainder of their lives was spent, both now being deceased. Ernest R. was reared to manhood on a farm in his native county, receiving a common-school education. At twenty-one years of age, he went on the road as a traveling salesman, in which position he remained until 1875, engaging at that time in the mineral-water business in connection with the Waukesha Springs. Mr. Richards continued that connection until June 1, 1876, when he became identified with the present business in Sheboygan. He has since been the active spirit in this enterprise, and through his good management has succeeded in building up an extensive and prosperous business.

Mr. Richards was married at Woodstock, Canada, December 19, 1888, to Miss Eveline Sawtell, a native of that place and a daughter of Rowland Sawtell. Mrs. Richards is a membee{sic} of the Congregational Church. In politics, Mr. Richards is a Republican.


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