Anton Reymann Biographical Sketch, 1890
-from “Prominent Men of West Virginia,” Atkinson, Geo. W., 1890, 695-696.
AS the name itself indicates, coupled with the typical German face, and more than typical German geniality of temperament and manner, one could not fail to readily guess that Anton Reymann, one of Wheeling's leading businessmen, is a native of the Fatherland. He was born September 15, 1837, at Gaubickelheim, near Bingen on the Rhine, Hessen Darmstadt. He came to America when not yet sixteen years of age, spent a short time at Galena, Illinois, and settled in Wheeling, Virginia, in 1853. He became an apprentice in the brewing business at Beck's Brewery, April 1st, 1854, and continued the required term of four years. He spent three years in Cincinnati and St. Louis working at his trade; and the latter part of 1861 he was called back to Wheeling to take charge of the Beck Brewery, owing to the sickness and inability of Mr. Beck to carry on the business himself. After the death of Mr. Beck, in 1862, Mr. Reymann became a partner in the brewing business with Mr. Beck's widow. Later on he rented the property and continued the business himself. In a few years more, he purchased the brewery, and continued to operate it for a number of years, when he built the massive establishment in East Wheeling, and January 1st, 1880, he organized the Reymann Brewing Company, of which he has been President from that time to the present. It is considered one of the largest and most successfully managed breweries in the entire South.
For many years Mr. Reymann has been classed among the leading business men of West Virginia. He is always a moving spirit in all public enterprises; invests his money liberally in every channel that tends to advance the interests of the public, and throws into all of his undertakings the energy for which he is noted, and which never fails to secure success. He purchased the Hornbrook Park, four miles from Wheeling, and built a railroad to it for the comfort and convenience of the people. He was for many years President of the West Virginia Exposition and State Fair Association, which has proved a marvelous success. He has stock in a number of business enterprises throughout the city that give employment to hundreds of people, and is also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce.
In private life Mr. Reymann uses his vast wealth generously, hospitably and benevolently. Unostentatious in his charities, as in everything else, he obeys the Divine command to let not his left hand know what his right hand doeth. Nevertheless, his praises are in the mouths of many, and hundreds thank him for benefactions that no newspapers ever record. In business he has been conservative rather than speculative. His investments have been judiciously made in the city of his adoption, and his belief in the growth and enterprise of Wheeling has been rewarded more than a hundred fold.
Mr. Reymann could have had political favors, without number, if he had sought them. He has persistently refused to accept office. He has never, in any sense, been a politician, and, therefore, has all to learn of the wiles and witchery of that large class of his fellow-citizens that have in the years gone by quartered themselves upon the public treasury. His great success in business proves that he chose wisely when he decided to let politics supremely alone.
Of medium height, compactly built, erect and active, with strongly marked features, he walks and talks modestly, but with the terse decision of a man accustomed to command. He carries his fifty-two years as easily as he does the responsibility of the vast business interests in his custody. He holds his friends firmly, and is respected for his integrity, consistency and business sagacity.
Mr. Reymann is a musician of considerable attainments. For years he has been President of the Opera House Orchestra, and when his time permits he plays his instrument, the flute, at many of their exhibitions.