Monday, July 7, 2014

John Niehaus - A Cutter for C. B. Cones Overall Factory in Indianapolis -- 52 Ancestors Challenge

     John Niehaus was a life-long resident of Indianapolis, Indiana (1889-1956) except for a short period of time on a job assignment in Lynchburg, Virginia.  He was my paternal grandfather, the father of my father, Frank Niehaus. Employees of C. B. Cones & Son Manufacturing in Lynchburg, VA.  John Niehaus is in the center. I wrote an earlier post about memories of my grandfather.   John was born in Indianapolis on July 4, 1889, the tenth child of  Joseph and Gertrude (Wilmsen) Niehaus, immigrants from Westphalia, Germany.
     But about that employment I mentioned….I was sorting through memorabilia recently while packing for our move to a larger home.  You know how moving can unearth those treasures!  Well, I came across a special photo of my grandfather that belonged to my dad.  Dad constructed by hand a frame and displayed this photo prominently in his home.  In the picture on the left John Niehaus is with two fellowC. B. Cones & Son Manufacturing building in Lynchburg, VA. C. B. Cones & Sons Manufacturing Company employees.  He stands in the middle as they pose outside the factory in Lynchburg, Virginia.   I'm posting the photo outside the frame so that it's more viewable here.  But, I am preserving them together for posterity.   
     John Niehaus worked as a cutter for the C. B. Cones & Sons Manufacturing Company for 33 years.  Most of that time was spent at the facility in Indianapolis.  As close as I can determine those years with the company spanned 1910 to 1943, age 21 until he was 54 years old.  The company in Indianapolis was established in 1879.  They manufactured overalls, shirts and other clothing for laborers.  As yet I am unable to find when they closed. 
    My father told me a story of how his father was asked by the C. B. Cones Co. to go to Lynchburg, Virginia, in the early 1930s to assist with an expansion of the company.  This coincides with the history of the growth in the textile and clothes manufacturing industries in Lynchburg in the 1920s and 1930s.  John reportedly told his employer that if he could move his entire family to Virginia he would go.  So, John and Ruth and their six children moved to Lynchburg.  In the photo of the men you can see their place of employment behind them.  I believe this is the same building, although abandoned today,  in the photo on the right.  I found this photo on Flickr, posted by Kipp Teague, Retronaut on Flickr. I thank him for allowing me to post the C. B. Cones building here.
C. B. Cones advertisement, Indianapolis, IN, 1901    After some unknown period of time in Lynchburg, reports are that it was not a lengthy stay, John requested to return to Indianapolis. Two of his sons, Frank and Robert, stayed a while at their jobs with Cones in Virginia, earning money to help support the family in those difficult times of the early 1930s.  John returned to his job in his hometown and was employed their until 1943 or 1944. I don't have a photo of the manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, but I was able to locate the ad for their products that you can see at the left. (This ad is from the website: The C. B. Cones & Son Mfg. Co. was located on South Meridian Street, a few miles from John's home.  The overalls, shirts, jackets and other workers' clothing produced at the factory remained popular for many years.
     Do you have more details of John Niehaus's C. B. Cones story?  Or other interesting facts on this Indianapolis company?  I welcome your comments below.  Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.
     Here are related posts you may want to read:
     Joseph Niehaus Family in 1900
     Descendants of John Niehaus

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Niehaus Hurley

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