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Bohmer and Son - J & L Boehmer

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin:
Last known City: Portland
Last known State: OR
Start/Birth date: 1843
Death/End date: 1912

A harness and saddlery firm was founded by Jacob and Lewis Boehmer circa 1865 at 119 2nd
Street. Unusual is the fact that this identification was made as J and L BOEHMER (Jacob and Lewis) in 1865, but no further mention is made of the Boehmer leather workers in the business sections of
Portland City Directories until 1890. The Boehmer enterprise functioned for a number of years,
yet somehow managed to go unrecognized in the business community of Portland. Tracking the
business requires a page by page search of the residential enumerations in said directories and
subsequent address comparisons. It is possible that they worked the family business out of their
home. They were not enumerated in the industrial census of either 1870 or 1880.

Jacob Boehmer was born in Bavaria, January 1843. He married circa 1866, Mary Cady, born in
Ireland, September 1837. Their children were both born in Oregon: Christian, born 1869 and
Jacob, born 1871. Both become saddle and harness makers.

In 1866 Lewis Boehmer is identified as a saddler at 143 1st Street. 1 James Bennett appears to have
worked either for or with him in that year. Jacob A. Boehmer appears in 1867 as a saddler at 80
Front Street, again with James Bennett, as either the employer or employee. In 1868 and 1869
Lewis and James (sic) [Jacob] Boehmer are saddlers again at 80 Front Street, and both are working
with James Bennett, whom I would now identify as an employee. Only in 1869 does an “F.”
Boehmer appear, and this person is shown at the address of Samuel Sherlock. Jacob seems in
charge of a saddlery until 1877, at which time the directory shows him as a saddler. Yet another
Jacob, residing at the same address, is listed in the same year as a harness maker. We can rule out
Jacob the founder’s six year old son, which leaves an ambiguous question of identity.
The next change comes about in 1879, when Jacob Boehmer becomes foreman of the newly
formed Bennett & Harvey Saddle and Harness Shop. This arrangement may have lasted
until the late 1880’s. The records are clear that in 1887, Jacob was the foreman at the saddlery of
J.B. Congle, and Louis was a harness maker for Congle, with Christian as a clerk at the same
establishment. Note that J.B. Congle died in 1888.

By 1890 the Beohmers are independent again, their shop then listed in the Directory as
BOEHMER and SON, [Christian] at 247 Front Street. Louis, a saddler, both worked and resided in
the saddlery shop; possibly a brother of Jacob Sr. Louis died 10 March 1893, the result of too
much bad whiskey, but the shop continued on. In 1893 Jacob was listed without an occupation,
and his son Jacob Jr. was a grocer. Christian was a harness maker living at 633 2nd Street. The
Saint Mary’s Cemetery record states that Christian Boehmer died 9 May 1897 of tuberculosis,
leaving Jacob Sr. again practicing harness making, and Jacob Jr. again a harness maker, both
living at 73 10th Street.

In 1900, the census enumerator was not able to determine, or failed to indicate the naturalization
status of Jacob Boehmer and family. He was then aged 57, having been married for 34 years. His
wife Mary was then 62, and son Jacob was 29, a harness maker, single and in the household of his
parents. This arrangement continued until about 1906. One of the Jacob’s was then a harness
maker for JCP Westengard. After that date there is no further record of an independent saddlery
by the name of Boehmer. Jacob Junior succumbed to tuberculosis 19 April 1907, at age 36, and his
father died 11 April 1912 of nephritis. All were buried at old Saint Mary’s Cemetery, and all
1 A Louis Boehmer filed for CW pension, 5 April 1888, from Oregon. This person was a member of
Co. A, 13th US Infantry. Certificate # 405048.

43 remains were moved to Mt. Calvary in the 1930’s. Unrelated to all the above, another Boehmer,
Paul, son of Herman a carpenter in Portland, was a saddler for George Lawrence Co. in 1906.
[No maker marks have been reported from any Boehmer ]
[This establishment was doing business from 1865 until 1906, not always together]

Research by Richard and Dorothy Egan

 

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