Among the progressive and enterprising business men of Olney, Illinois,
who have achieved a definite measure of success in their line and have at
the same time assisted materially in the upbuilding and development of their
section of the county, is Henry Gassmann, who is deserving of mention in a
work of the province assigned to the one at hand along with the other
leading citizens of Richland county, because he has led a life that is
highly commendable in every respect.
Henry Gassmann, the well-known wholesale ice cream manufacturer and dealer in soda fountain supplies, was born in New Albany, Indiana, April 22, 1868, the son of Lewis and Caroline (Spangler) Gassmann, natives of Germany, who came to the United States when young and after their marriage in New York state they located at New Albany. During the Civil war they worked in a bakery and after its close began in a bakery business, which they continued successfully until 1878, when they came to Olney, where they established a similar enterprise, carrying on the same in a most gratifying manner until the death of the subject's mother August 2, 1895, the father surviving until December 21, 1902, the former at the age of fifty-two and the latter when sixty-eight years old. They were the parents of five children, three boys and two girls, the subject being the third in order of birth. These children received every attention by their parents, who were regarded as people of the best grade in every respect.
Henry Gassmann was reared in Olney, after his tenth year, having received a fairly good education in the common schools. When twelve years old he went to work in a bakery conducted by his father and learned the trade. When nineteen years old he started out for himself and worked at his trade for three years at various places in Colorado and New Mexico. Returning to Olney he entered the employ of his father, continuing until the death of the latter, having in the meantime acquired an interest in the business and made himself very proficient in this profession. On October 31, 1902, their establishment was destroyed by fire and the loss was most severe since no insurance was carried. This misfortune was followed in December, of the same year, by the death of the subject's father. Mr. Gassmann then purchased such interests as remained from the other heirs and, nothing daunted, he started in a small way in the confectionery and ice cream business, which he built up by patient toil and careful management to large proportions and became prosperous. In the meantime he had built up an extensive wholesale trade in ice cream and in August, 1906, disposed of his retail interests. In the winter following Mr. Gassmann built his present handsome, modern and convenient brick structure, thirty-four by seventy-two feet and equipped the same with all the necessary appliances of latest design, purchasing all the up-to-date machinery necessary in the manufacture of ice cream on a large scale, having a capacity of one thousand gallons a day. He has long supplied a heavy trade within one hundred miles of Olney, and new territory is constantly being added, his ice cream being eagerly sought after, owing to its high grade.
Mr. Gassmann started a few years ago with nothing and he now is prosperous, being regarded by the people of Olney as a good, hustling, all-round business man. He also does an extensive wholesale business in soda water supplies in the way of syrups, crushed fruits, etc.
Mr. Gassmann was united in marriage on November 7, 1894, with Carrie B. Goudy, a native of Claremont township, Richland county, the daughter of John Goudy, of Olney, who for many years was a prosperous farmer in Claremont township. Two sons have been born to the subject and wife; Zean G., born in 1896, and Louis H., who is ten years old in 1908.
In politics our subject is a Republican, and in his fraternal relations is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Olney.
Mrs. Gassmann is a woman of refined tastes and a worthy representative of her noble parents, Mr. and Mrs. John S. and Mary E. (Dayton) Goudy, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were married in Ohio and came to Richland county, Illinois, in 1865.
The present solid prosperity of Mr. Gassmann is due entirely to his own efforts, directed along honorable channels, and today he enjoys an enviable standing among the leading men of his community and the fact that many of his warmest friends are those who have known him longest is proof that his life has been straightforward and honest.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 98-99.