Franz Hardware advertisements featuring the convenience of gas (1906) and comfort of coal (1914).
Webb City Area Genealogical Society
We recently featured a trade token from the Franz Hardware Company that was owned and operated by E. W. Franz.
Ehrhardt William “E. W.” Franz was born on Sept. 10, 1867, in Los Lunas, N.M. He was the son of Ehrhardt D. and Sophie Dietzel Franz.
Ehrhardt and Sophie Franz moved their family to St. Louisi in 1871, where they had large real estate holdings. In 1915, Sophie Franz gave 5.32 acres to the city of St. Louis for a park and playground in honor of her late husband, who died in 1898. The park is still in use today and is known as Franz Park.
E. W. Franz got his start in the hardware business in 1893 when he went to Santa Fe, N.M. to manage a store for his father, who was a wholesale merchandiser. He married Margaret Elizabeth Leftwich on June 8, 1893, in McLennan, Texas.
E. W. and Elizabeth had two daughters, Eugenia, born July 8, 1894, in Santa Fe, and Marguerite, born Oct. 11, 1896, in Waco, Texas.
E. W. continued to work for his father, operating another hardware store in Albuquerque, N.M., until moving to Webb City in 1899 to establish his own hardware and mining supply store at Second and Allen (Main) streets. By 1905 the store was using the name Franz-Howell Hardware Company, when a new partner, W. R. McCain, was brought in and the name was changed to the Franz-McCain Hardware Company. Things did not work out between the partners and McCain brought suit against E. W. Franz in May 1906. It is not known how the lawsuit turned out. E. W. continued to operate the store and retired in 1919.
E. W. and Margaret divorced and he married Belle Winters on July 27, 1921. He had become quite wealthy from his business interests and from an inheritance of Burroughs Adding Machine Company stock and was widely known in the district for his philanthropy.
E. W. Franz died on Nov. 23, 1952, in Joplin. He is buried near his family in St. Louis at Valhalla Cemetery. Belle died on Feb. 16, 1955, in Joplin. She is also buried in Valhalla Cemetery.
The Howell Biscuit Company was located in the former Franz Howell Hardware Company building. The building caught fire in August 1979. The top floor was eventually removed and the building, across Main Street from City Hall (originally Empire District Electric’s office), is still in use today by Country Care Heating & Cooling. (PHOTO DONATED BY DON HOWARD)
The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.
Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.
WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Geadalogy Room.
Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.