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F. G. Eberhart, 1864 - 1933

Biography from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 30, 1943:

Frederick George EberhartEBERHART, Frederic George, manufacturer and banker, was born at Mishawaka, St. Joseph co., Ind., Apr. 1, 1864, son of Adolphus and Sarah Ann (Boyd) Eberhart, grandson of Frederick George and Elizabeth (Weltner) Eberhart and great-grandson of Adolphus and Sophia (Speelman) Eberhart. His great-grand-father, son of John Adam Eberhart, Duke of Alsace, and a native of Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany, came to America about 1776, served throughout the Revolutionary war under Lafayette and later settled at Frederick City, Md. His father operated a large flour mill at Mishawaka, owned a 506 acre farm, was co-inventor with Martin V. Beiger of the first all-knit wool boot and at the time of his death was superintendent and a director of the Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Co.

Frederic G. Eberhart received his preparatory education at grade and high schools of Mishawaka and was graduated in 1886 at the business college of the University of Kentucky. During vacations he worked on his father's farm, in his father's flour mill and in the Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Co. factory.

Following his graduation he entered the service of the woolen company permannently, becoming foremen of the knitting mill. He was made vice president in 1890 and general superintendent in 1894. In 1904 he also became secretary and held both positions until 1930. During 1916-30 he was again vice president and from 1930 until his death was chairman of the board of directors. The company was founded in 1868 by Jacob Beiger and his son, Martin V. Beiger, as the Mishawaka Woolen Co., a small mill making flannels, and was incorporated in 1874 as the Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Co. In 1878 Adolphus Eberhart obtained an interest in the business. Its real success was built on the all- knit wool boot invented by Adolphus Eberhart and Martin V. Beiger (U. S. patent, Sept. 20, 1887).

In 1889 the sales of the company amounted to $65,000. By the time of Frederic G G. Eberhart's death the sales had grown to more than $20,000,000 and the company provided employment at peak capacity to well over 5000 persons. In 1898 a rubber department was added and the firm produced rubber footwear, with later additions of canvas sport shoes and leather work shoes, all being identified by the Ball Band (Red Ball) trade mark. In 1923 the name of the company was changed to the Mishawaka Rubber & Woolen Manufacturing Co. During the first World War it manufactured footwear on an extensive scale for the U. S. and allied governments. Frederic G. Eberhart was an organizer and director of three Mishawaka banks from their charter dates as follows: First National Bank, Jan. 7, 1899; First-Trust & Savings Bank, May 31, 1905, and North Side Trust & Savings Bank, Mar. 17, 1907. He was president of the First National Bank from Oct. 8, 1913, and of the First Trust & Saving Bank and the North Side Trust & Savings Bank from Aug. 2, 1921, until his death. As a business man he was especially noted for his success in settling difficulties with the workers in the factory, his attitude of justice and ability to understand both sides, his courage and strength in all business decisions and his leadership in guiding the banks safely through the depression and bank closings of the 1930's.

During 1922-26 he was a member of the Mishawaka board of public works and public safety. He was a trustee of the South Bend (Ind.) Y. M. C. A., member of the advisory board of the Children's Aid Society and Susie Beiger home for old ladies, both at Mishawaka, vice president of the Middle States Textile Association and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Indiana Society of Chicago, Izaak Walton League of America, Mishawaka chamber of commerce, Knife and Fork, and Rotary clubs (president, 1927) of South Bend, and the Fellowship Club, (president, 1921),Mishawaka. In 1924 he was president of the Miami Country Club. When this club was forced to discontinue in 1929 he bought its property and donated most of it to the city of Mishawaka, which converted it into the Eberhart municipal golf course. He also donated the land on which the Carnegie public library was built. A Christian Scientist in religion, he was one of the organizers in 1898 of First Church of Christ, Scientist, at South Bend, Ind., served it as First Reader and for many years was treasurer and chairman of the board of directors and a teacher of Christian Science. He contributed generously to this church and to churches of all other denominations in his community.

In memory of his father and mother, who were Methodists, he. and his two brothers and sister built in 1912 the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mishawaka.

An aggressive organizer and executive, he was always interested in doing what he could for others. People from all walks of life went to him for encouragement and advice. He was a men of exemplary habits and high character and was genial, frank and friendly. In politics he was a Republican. He was married at Mishawaka, June 14, 1888, to Bertha Elizabeth, daughter of William Henry Judkins, a merchant, of that city, and they had three daughters: Eudora. (Died in infancy); Donna Belle, who married George Walter Blair, and Carol Elisabeth, who married Samuel Dale Hillier. He died at Mishawaka. Mar. 23, 1933.