ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


American Cigar Co



If the citizens of Watertown will assist in securing a suitable site for the erection of buildings, the American Cigar Co., of New York, will erect a large tobacco packing and sorting plant in our city.  Nathan P. Strauss, of Madison, the Wisconsin representative of the company, was here last week Thursday and addressed a meeting of businessmen on the subject of the city hall.  The company has large plants at Sparta, Janesville and Madison.  An option has been secured on the Heinrichs plant in this city, and if it is secured it will be enlarged and remodeled, and a new brick building with a frontage of 125 feet will be added on the south of the present.  Tobacco would be received at the plant here for sorting and packing, and about 20 hands would be employed from December until May each year, most of the labor being men.  Day labor would be paid from 7 cents to $1.75 per day, and piece workers from $4 to $10 per week. 


Tobacco raised within a radius of 35 miles of this city would be sorted and packed here, which would certainly attract considerable new trade to our businessmen.  If the company locates here, about $20,000 would be expended in its plant.  Our citizens fully realize its benefits, and an effort will be made to donate the site wanted.   WLeader



A Bonus of 87,500 Asked in Order to Secure the location of Large Tobacco Warehouse at Watertown 


Last Monday afternoon, Mr. Nathan P. Strause, of Madison, the accredited representative of the American Cigar Cos., of New York, was in Watertown and met a number of the leading business men of our city in the council rooms of the city hall.  After an informal or familiar talk giving somewhat in detail the particulars of the manner in which the business he represents is conducted, as well as stating the benefits that have already actually accrued to the people of all classes in the cities in which the American Cigar Company are located and are operating and are likely to accrue to our people should the company locate a plant here, Mr. Strause renewed his proposition of a year or more ago to the effect that if the people of Watertown would donate the site heretofore selected, namely the Philip Heinrich plant on First Street, that the American Cigar Cos., would remodel and enlarge the buildings already on the site, and would establish a large tobacco storehouse here for the receiving, storing and handling of Wisconsin-grown tobacco.  As an option on the property referred to has been promised for the net sum of $7,5U0, the proposition simply stated means that if the people of Watertown will give a . . . . .   Watertown Republican, 07 12 1902, col 3. 




The branch tobacco sorting and packaging plant of the American Cigar company has been shut down for the season and will not reopen until next fall.  The office force will be maintained during the summer.  During the season just ended 80 carloads of tobacco were received here, giving employment to 280 persons.  Wages amounting to about $24,000 were paid out during the season just closed.  It is expected and looked for by the managers next season that a notable increase in the weekly wages will take place.  This season most of the help was new and being unused to the work, naturally could not earn as much as older hands.  The release of such an amount of money in wages was felt by business men generally in the city as a large share of it found its way into the stores in return for goods purchased.




Wm. F. Earle, Superintendent of the Watertown branch of the American Cigar Co. has been on a business trip for some weeks past through the tobacco sections of Wisconsin, and succeeded in buying the product of 800 acres of tobacco.  It will be shipped to the company's warehouses here as soon as the weather will allow the producers to strip and pack it.   WL



               Earle occupied two buildings and employed 60 males and 140 females. [Twelfth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, State of Wisconsin, 1905, 1906]


01 23       The American Cigar Co.’s, warehouse is a busy place these days.  Over two hundred and fifty men and women are engaged in sorting and packing leaf tobacco.  There are two large sorting rooms each of which is well-lighted and steam heated, comfortable and scrupulously.  There are wash-rooms and lavatories on both floors, not a single convenience being forgotten for the comfort of the employees.  During working hours everything is quiet in the sorting room, there being no talking or laughing, each sorter arriving to accomplish all the work possible, as she sorts by the hundred pound scales and some of the girls earn $1.50 per day.  The establishment is run as regular as clockwork and each hand of tobacco is so checked, that after being packed, it can be traced, should it be necessary, back to the farmer who raised it.  It is an immense concern much larger than most of the people of this city are aware and is well worth a visit.  W. F. Earle is resident manager; Donald Mclnnis superintendent; Carl Link, bookkeeper.  The writer is under obligations to Mr. Earle for showing him through the establishment and giving him information as to the work.   WG



07 23       On Tuesday the American Cigar Co. closed its warehouses and sorting plant here and they are to remain closed permanently.  It appears the company is concentrating their assorting plants as far as possible to the tobacco growing districts to save cost of freight and handling.  Superintendent Earl will be taken care of elsewhere by the company.  Our people regret very much the departure of himself and family from the city.   WG


12 03       Tobacco Plant in New Hands—The United Tobacco Co. has leased the plant of the American Cigar Co. in this city and will in a short time put a large force of people at work therein.   WG



Cross References:

Tobacco—Dodge County—A few days since, in the town of Oak Grove, Dodge County, we saw a very fine field of tobacco, which we have since learned has come to maturity and proved to be a fine quality.  There is no doubt but what this crop could be successfully cultivated in this State.   Watertown Democrat, 09 16 1858




Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin