Andrew J. Neimeyer
The necessary quality in a man's mental make-up, if he would be sure of success in his business undertakings, is faith in his own ability. One who has had this confidence in himself, and who has, in consequence, wrested his share of wealth from the forests, is Andrew Johnson Neimeyer, of St. Louis, Missouri, at the head of the A.J. Neimeyer Lumber Company.
He was born near Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio, April 6, 1852. His father and mother were both originally Pennsylvanians, but went to Ohio and settled there in 1834. The elder Neimeyer was a farmer, and also operated a small sash sawmill, which he erected on the home place about a year before the son's birth. It was under his father's supervision that A. J. Neimeyer began his first efforts at self-support, devoting his later boyhood and earlier manhood years to cultivating the soil. During the winter months he attended the common schools of his neighborhood, which training constituted the whole of his scholastic experience.
His first practical experience in the lumber business began in a retail yard. In 1869 he was given employment in the yard of his brother, John Neimeyer, at Atlantic, Iowa, being then seventeen years of age. In 1878 he took charge as manager, at Atlantic, of a yard owned by his brother-in-law, Robert Major, which position he retained until 1880. In May of that year he opened a yard at Dorchester, Nebraska, and the purchase and sale of lumber yards followed each other rapidly from that time. He followed his Dorchester purchase by starting a yard at Odell, Nebraska, in 1881. Twelve months later he bought out E.M. Allen, at Juniata, Nebraska. In the same year, 1882, he sold out the yards at Dorchester and Odell, and, in 1883, opened yards at Kenesaw and Minden, Nebraska.
Athough already a busy man, from 1880 to 1883 he attended to the buying for the yard at Atlantic, Iowa. In 1883-6 he conducted his operations from headquarters at Minden, and, in 1885, established yards at Dorchester, Friend, Nelson and Edgar, Nebraska. This left him in active ownership of seven yards. In the following year he opened a yard at Hastings, Nebraska, and there he operated also in sash, doors and blinds.
The manufacturing field was entered by Mr. Neimeyer in 1887, when he organized, with C. R. Jones, of Juniata, Nebraska, the A.J. Neimeyer Lumber Company, and operations were started at New Lewisville, Lafayette County, Arkansas. He became president of the company, which opened an office at Texarkana, Arkansas. In 1888 the concern added a planing mill at Waldo, Arkansas, and moved its headquarters to St. Louis, Missouri, where a general wholesale business was carried on until 1890.
Following Mr. Neimeyer's disposal of his retail yards in 1889, occurred his first and only financial reverse. In the year named he moved to Denver, Colorado, attracted by the possibilities of coal mining. He had charge of his Colorado interests for one year, but, being outside of his natural element, the results were disastrous. He had retained, however, his interests in the South and after his coal experience he assumed charge of the plant at Waldo, Arkansas. In 1891 the sales offices of the Neimeyer company were reopened in St. Louis, having been abandoned in 1889, and Mr. Neimeyer has made his headquarters there ever since. In 1901 the company cut out at Waldo and the business was closed up, the concern having cut about 15,000,000 feet of lumber a year during its active operations.
Subsequent to his disposition of his retail interests in 1889, Mr. Neimeyer again entered the retail field. In January, 1901, together with G. M. Maas, he organized the Maas-Neimeyer Lumber Company, of Indianapolis, Indiana, though in September, 1902, Mr. Neimeyer sold his interest in this business to his partner.
In 1895 Mr. Neimeyer and others organized the Saginaw Lumber Company, at Saginaw, Arkansas. The company, of which Mr. Neimeyer is president, is operating at that point, cutting yellow pine to the extent of about 15,000,000 feet annually and having, in connection, a logging road twenty-three miles long. It has several years' cut yet in sight and available timber back of that for further operations.
One of the best-known organizations of which Mr. Neimeyer is the executive head is the Monarch Lumber Company, of St. Louis, a wholesale concern. It was organized February 15, 1898, as a selling agency for the A.J. Neimeyer Lumber Company, the Freeman Lumber Company, the Saginaw Lumber Company and the Bluff City Lumber Company. A reorganization of the selling concern was made January 1, 1900, when the Saginaw company alone was retained as an affiliated company. Since then, however, two other concerns -- the Bienville Lumber Company, of Alberta, Louisiana, and the Columbia Lumber Company, of Lumber, Arkansas -- have been taken over. The Saginaw company's plant has an output of about 65,000 feet a day; the Bienville company, 125,000 feet daily, and the Columbia company, 60,000 feet a day. The Bienville company has timber holdings approximating 100,000,000 feet, having bought 40,000,000 feet of pine timber in Bienville and Red River parishes late in 1904. Mr. Neimeyer is president of the three companies named.
One of the larger interests of Mr. Neimeyer is in 80,000 acres of mixed pine and hardwood timber lands in Pulaski, Saline and Perry counties, Arkansas. Mr. Neimeyer bought this timber and organized the A.J. Neimeyer Lumber Company, of Little Rock, Arkansas, of which corporation he is president. Associated with him in the enterprise were W.A. Davenport, who became vice president; Frank Neimeyer, secretary and treasurer; Joseph Fuess and Charles Becker, the latter two of Belleville, Illinois. The company was incorporated with an authorized capital of $750,000. An estimate of 69,979.91 acres of this land showed it contained 316,776,300 feet of pine and 81,961,190 feet of oak, a total of 398,737,490 feet, or an average of about 5,697 feet to the acre. While operations have not been started on the timber, plans have been drawn for the building of a modern mill and surveys made for a railroad.
Mr. Neimeyer has been a strong association man. Upon the organization of the Arkansas & Missouri Yellow Pine Company, in 1895, he was made president and held that position until its disbandment in 1897. Since 1891 he has been treasurer or director of the Southern Lumber Manufacturers' Association.
Mr. Neimeyer married Miss Salena M. Hollcroft, of Emporia, Kansas, March 1, 1883. His immediate family consists of only himself and his wife and the couple make their home in St. Louis, enjoying the social life of that city.
Mr. Neimeyer is a member of the Mercantile Club of St. Louis, and is a good and loyal Hoo-Hoo, having been among the earlier members of that fraternity. He is devoted to tennis and other outdoor sports and is an enthusiastic baseball supporter. He has surrounded himself in business with capable lieutenants, and, because of their able assistance, he impresses the casual observer as a man of unusual leisure, though he is, in business hours, one of the busiest of men in a busy community.