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Saturday, July 6, 2019

For the Record


Major Albert C. Rosencranz, president of the Vulcan Plow Company of Evansville, Indiana, is no more widely and favorably known because of his business interests, which, however, are extensive and important, and constitute a prominent element in the industrial activity of Evansville, than for his philanthropy and public spirit. He was born in Baerwalde, near the city of Berlin, Prussia, October 26, 1842. His father, C. F. Rosencranz, was a watchmaker by trade and a man of some prominence in the affairs of his native village. He left Prussia on account of his connection with the revolution of 1848 and came with his wife and children to America in 1850, settling first near Evansville, Indiana, while later he became a resident of the city and resumed work at his trade. His love for his native land, however, led him to return to Europe in 1867, and he passed away there twenty years later, having for about three years survived his wife, Mrs. Dorothea (Nohse) Rosencranz, who died in 1884.
Albert C. Rosencranz acquired his education in private schools, and in his youthful days was taught the watchmaker's trade by his father. At the outbreak of the Civil war he assisted in organizing Company A of the First Regiment of the Indiana Legion, of which he was made orderly sergeant, and on the 4th of August, 1862, was mustered into the United States service, having been commissioned first lieutenant of Company F, Fourth Cavalry (Seventy-seventh) Regiment Indiana Volunteers, for three years' service. He was promoted to the captaincy February 25, 1863, and was commissioned major May I, 1865, but was never mustered in with the rank of major. His muster out was at Nashville, Tennessee, June 29, 1865. His military record is a highly honorable one. He was in command of General Ebenezer Dumont's bodyguard from September, 1862, until January, 1863 ; in March, 1863, he was detailed for courier service under General Rosecrans between Nashville and Murfreesboro, and Murfreesboro and Woodbury, Tennessee, and acted in that capacity until June, 1863. He next took part in the Tullahoma and Chattanooga campaigns, terminating in the battle of Chickamauga, and afterward moved with his regiment in pursuit of General Wheeler's forces and then proceeded to the relief of General Burnside in East Tennessee. His command spent the winter in that locality, holding the advanced position in all the cavalry movements and engaging in numerous skirmishes, notably at Mossy Creek, Talbot's, Dandridge and Fair Garden, where Captain Rosencranz commanded the Second Battalion of the Fourth in most gallant manner. While in East Tennessee the regiment was forced to live off the devastated country for two months and nearly starved to death. In March, 1864, the command was ordered to join Sherman's army and took part in the famous Atlanta campaign. Captain Rosencranz was wounded in the foot and captured six miles north of Dalton, Georgia, on May 9, 1864, being in command at the time of a battalion of five companies of his regiment engaged in making a reconnoissance as part of the Second Cavalry Brigade under command of General O. F. LaGrange, who was also taken prisoner. He was held a prisoner for ten months at Macon and Savannah, Georgia; Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. When at Charleston he was one of the six hundred federal officers whom the enemy designed to keep within the range of the Union fire for three months. He was afterward sent to Columbia, South Carolina, and was finally held at Charlotte, North Carolina, until March, 1865, when he was paroled at Goldsboro and once more entered the federal lines near Wilmington, North Carolina. He was then sent home from Annapolis on a thirty days' furlough, reporting at Camp Chase, Ohio, where he was eventually exchanged May 3, 1865. He then rejoined his regiment on the march in Georgia and was mustered out with it in June, as above stated.
Upon leaving the army he returned to his home in Evansville, where he engaged in the jewelry business until 1868. In that year he married Miss Mary, daughter of William Heilman, and became office manager for the William Heilman Machine Works, which position he retained for five years. Confinement to office work, however, impaired his general health, and in 1873 ne went to Missouri, where he engaged in stock-raising. Losing both of his children within four weeks at Kirksville, Missouri, he leased his interests there in December, 1876, and returned to Evansville. Here, on the ist of January, 1877, he took charge of the Heilman-Urie Plow Company and two years later bought out the Urie interests, the business being continued under the name of the Heilman Plow Company until the death of Mr. Heilman in September, 1890. The factory was a small concern when he assumed control, but he has since more than quadrupled the capacity of the plant, adding the manufacture of chilled plows to their steel products. Upon the death of Mr. Heilman, his father-in-law, in 1890, his interest was inherited by Mrs. Rosencranz and the works were incorporated under the name of the Heilman Plow Company, with Major Rosencranz as president. He has held the office since that date, and in 1898 changed the name to the Vulcan Plow Company. He is planning extensive improvements in the works and recently increased the capital stock from one hundred and fifty thousand to four hundred thousand dollars. Improvements are planned for many years to come and will be vigorously prosecuted, making the enterprise one of the most important industrial interests of the Ohio valley. The business has long since become recognized as one of the leading undertakings of this character and its rapid and substantial growth in recent years is attributable to the efforts and sound business judgment of Major Rosencranz.
Though his extensive business interests have occupied much of his time, Major Rosencranz is an exceedingly public-spirited citizen and in various ways has contributed to the general welfare and to public progress. He has never sought political office, yet served as a member of the city council from the fifth ward and was made chairman of its finance committee, in which connection he materially assisted in bringing about a satisfactory adjustment of the city debt. He also served as chairman of the waterworks committee. He is a member and ex-president of the Business Men's Association and also a member and director of the Manufacturers' Association. He contributed most liberally toward the erection of the building for the Young Men's Christian Association in 1890, served as treasurer of the building committee, and has since been treasurer of the board of trustees. In 1909 he provided a home for the colored Young Men's Christian Association at the corner of Seventh and Cherry streets, which was dedicated to Major and Mrs. Rosencranz, and from a small community this has grown rapidly with great prospects of doing much good among the colored people. This, together with the splendid work of the colored manual training school and the enlarged domestic science course for the colored girls, will make the coming generations more useful and happy. Major Rosencranz is a zealous member of Trinity Methodist Episcopal church, yet there is no narrow sectarian bias in his religion, and he is deeply and helpfully interested in various projects which are the embodiment of humanitarianism and Christianity. He belongs to Indiana Commandery of the Loyal Legion; Farragut Post, No. 27, G. A. R., of which he has been commander; La Vallette Commandery, No. 15, K. T.; and takes an active interest in promoting the welfare of all these organizations. In the matter of politics he is affiliated with the republican party.
Major and Mrs. Rosencranz have three living children, Olive, Richard and Gertrude, each of whom has received every advantage arising from a cultured home and university training. Major Rosencranz has always been deeply interested in the cause of education, and since 1906 has been president of the school board of Evansville. During that time notable advance has been made for the extension of industrial training and for the concentration of the seventh and eighth grades of the present high school. Suitable buildings have been erected and the interest aroused in the school system has brought about good work in modernizing the sanitary system and in adding to and improving the school grounds. After seven years spent in urging the addition of a manual training school without enlisting the support of the community, Major and Mrs. Rosencranz donated from their own funds the cost of establishing the manual training school, and today several hundred students are being instructed in that splendid institution. He is deeply interested in all the grave and important problems—political, sociological and economic—which are attracting the attention of the best thinking men of the age. During the last two years he has given especial attention to the problem of furnishing better homes to people of moderate means and building apartment houses to be rented at low rates. More of the same work is being planned on lines similar to that which is being carried out in Washington, D. C., and New York, by General Sternberg and others. Major Rosencranz is also making investment of considerable sums of money for the working girls' association. Last year he purchased a home for this association in a suitable location—the Setchell homestead on Second street. Mrs. Rosencranz is very actively connected with him in this work. They have recently purchased the George Lorenz homestead, adjoining the other, and are now planning to greatly extend the facilities of the association. Few men have seemed to recognize so fully the obligations and responsibilities of wealth. Believing in the brotherhood of mankind, Major Rosencranz has put forth most effective effort to alleviate the hard conditions of life and to give to the workers of the world opportunity for advancement, for usefulness and for happiness. His labors find their monument in many tangible results as seen in the lives of those who have been benefited by his efforts.