Louis H. Hartman, prominent among the business men of San Jose, who for a number of years has been closely identified with the business interests of the city, is a man of keen discrimination and rare judgment, and his executive ability and excellent management have brought to the brewing company with which he is connected a large degree of success. The safe policy which he inaugurated in his business career has secured to the company a patronage which makes the volume of trade transacted of considerable magnitude.

Mr. Hartman was born in this city November 21, 2862, and is a son of Joseph and Dorothy (Messing) Hartman, both of whom are natives of Germany. The father crossed the Atlantic to New York in 1850 and in 1852 came to California, making a voyage around Cape Horn. After a short stay in San Francisco he continued his journey to San Jose and established the first brewery in Santa Clara county, manufacturing the first keg of beer in Balback's blacksmith shop. He then embarked in business on a small scale, making from twenty-five to fifty barrels per year, but his patronage steadily increased and in 1856 he erected a plant at the corner of Market street and St. Carlos avenue. At the time of his demise in 1879 the product of the brewery was about three thousand barrels per year. At his death he was succeeded by his son-in-law, George Scherer, who conducted the business up to the time of his death in 1898, when Mrs. Scherer and Mr. Louis H. Hartman--the only son of the family--became proprietors. Mr. Hartman had been connected with the business from his boyhood days and was well qualified to assume control.

It was in the public schools of San Jose that Louis H. Hartman acquired his education, continuing his studies until he reached the age of sixteen years, when he entered the brewery and there served his time as a regular apprentice in order to gain a thorough and complete knowledge of the business. After a few years he was made foreman of the plant, which position he held up to the time he assumed the management upon the death of his brother-in-law. The plant now has a capacity of about twenty-five thousand barrels annually and manufactures nothing but steam beer, the product being well known throughout the country as Old Joe's Steam Beer. It is principally sold in Santa Clara county, there being a good home market.

In 1888 Mr. Hartman was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bourdette, a native of San Francisco and a daughter of Peter Bourdette, who was a California pioneer. They now have two sons, Joseph and Mourdette, both of whom are students in the College of St. Joseph. Mr. Hartman belongs to the Native Sons of the Golden West, to the Eagles, the Foresters, Herman's Sons and many other fraternal organizations.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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