SEIG, ROBIRDS, BURLEIGH
Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 7/14/2021 at 21:28:48
SOURCE: Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County, Iowa. American Biographical Publishing Company, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co. Proprietors. 1895
REINHOLDT SEIG was born in Magdeburg, Germany, December 10, 1828. His parents were trades-people, in good circumstances, and he had the advantages of a good elementary education at the pay schools of his native town.
His first employment was as clerk in a wholesale grocery store in his native place, where he remained some years. Here he married his first wife, and soon after determined to seek his fortune in the new world . He came to America in 1819, and spent two or three years in travel in the States, looking for a favorable location for business. His parents had died when he was about thirteen years of age and left him in comfortable circumstances. His observation and inclination deter mined him to locate in Davenport, and forming a partnership with a Mr. Meyer, now of Chicago, he engaged in the tobacco business under the firm name of Seig & Meyer. They engaged in both the wholesale and retail trade, and prospered in their venture. This partnership continued till 1866, when the business was disposed of and for two or three years Mr. Seig was engaged in no active pursuit. His energetic nature rebelled against a life of leisure, however, and he formed a co - partnership with the late Alexander F. Williams in the iron business. They dealt in heavy hardware and built up a large and prosperous business, which continued without change till the death of Mr. Williams, which occurred in 1887. Upon the death of Mr. Williams his interest in the business was withdrawn, and Mr. Seig organized a stock company, with small shares, in order that all his employees might purchase stock, and thus share in the profits of the business. Mr. Seig became president of the company thus organized and continued in that capacity till his death . It was known and is still known as the Seig Iron Company, the business being continued by Mr. Seig's heirs.
Mr. Seig's death was sudden and unexpected, and was a great shock to his many friends. His health had not been good for something like a year before his death, but nothing serious was contemplated. On the twenty-seventh of November, 1890, he was stricken with heart failure, and died within an hour of the first intimation of the trouble.
In his death Davenport lost one of its valued citizens. He had lived a quiet unassuming life, had never figured in public affairs, always refusing office and position, yet he was recognized by all as one of the worthiest citizens of the city. He was of very positive character, of great determination, and of unflinching integrity ; questioned his honesty of expression or action. His word was taken wherever uttered , and his promise was as good as his bond. He was a humane man, one who considered the rights and interests of others as well as his own, and especially was this true of his employees. He considered that they had helped to earn for him the wealth that he had acquired, and he was ever watchful of their interests.
He was a man who never took pains to court or win popularity, and so but few people understood or appreciated him at his full worth ; only among the few who knew him intimately and well were the best qualities of the man given deserved recognition.
Being modest and retiring by nature his reserve was sometimes misconstrued, but the fact remains, and is fully appreciated by those who were closest to him, that but few enterprises that had for their object the improvement and upbuilding of Davenport ever failed to receive his support and encouragement. He was one of the foremost in helping to organize and put under way many of the leading financial enterprises of the city. He was a stockholder in the Citizens' Bank and also in the Iowa National Bank, and was one of the original stockholders in the Davenport Canning Factory and in the D. I. & D. R. R. He was also one of the promoters of and stockholders in the Masonic Temple, and in various ways assisted in building up the city of his adoption.
He was much attached to his home and family and cared nothing for those allurements of club or society that call men away from the enjoyment of their own fireside. His first wife died April 19, 1883. There was no issue by this marriage, but they had adopted a daughter, Alice Camille, who received the same care that would have been bestowed on offspring of their own. On April 24, 1884, he was again married, this time to Mrs. Victoria Robirds (nee Burleigh ). By this marriage there are two children, Minnie and Martha.
There was one marked characteristic of both Mr. and Mrs. Seig that is deserving of special recognition and mention and that was the nature and extent of their private charities and benefactions. One of Mr. Seig's lifelong friends, who knew him as intimately, perhaps, as did any one in Davenport, says that it affords him great pleasure to testify to this worthy trait in the character of his old associate, many instances having come to his knowledge of Mr. Seig and his noble -hearted spouse having cared for and in a great measure supported families and individuals even through a period of years, where they had been especially unfortunate ; and this was done so quietly and unobtrusively that but few even of their most intimate friends knew of, or suspected the fact.
The parents of the present Mrs. Seig were southerners. The family was at one time a wealthy and prominent one in Louisiana. Her father was an editor and later in life a merchant. She has one brother, who was a captain in the Union army and an aid - de- camp to General Rosecrans. One of her maternal uncles was a soldier in Jackson's army.
Mrs. Seig was first married in Pekin, Ill . , to George Robirds. There is one son by this marriage, George Lawrence Robirds, who is now a student in the military academy at Orchard Lake, Michigan.
Scott Biographies maintained by Lynn McCleary.
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