One of the outstanding names in the annals of California is that of Schirm, which is of German origin and was transplanted to America by Michael Schirm and his brothers who settled in Ohio and Indiana. Later Michael’s sons, Louis and John S. brought the name to the Pacific coast. Louis Schirm was born in Lafayette, Indiana, March 29, 1863, a son of the late Michael and Josephine (Honer) Schirm, both of whom were born in Württemberg. There were three other children in this family: John Stephen, mentioned above, Frances and Josephine.
John Stephen Schirm, the older brother of Louis Schirm, left his home town of Lafayette in 1883 to go west and located in San Francisco. Later he went to San Diego and there became interested in a general merchandise establishment and in the shipping business. Here he suffered the usual hard times and difficulties left in the wake of the boom times in California but nevertheless prospered. Many of the people who had come west to locate disposed of their holdings for whatever they could get for them and went back to the places from which they had come, but Mr. Schirm held on and proved that old adage that “A rolling stone gathers no moss,” by his perseverance and business ability. Visiting Los Angeles he saw the possibilities of this city for his business and moved his main office here, retaining his business in San Diego. The business established by him is now one of the oldest on the coast. He became interested in lime quarries with the late Carl Lenhart, a contractor who became president of their company. He had also become financially interested in the Southwestern Portland Cement Company at El Paso, Texas, and still later at Victorville, California. Previous to this time all the cement had been imported from Germany and Belgium. John S. Schirm died in 1914 and at that time his brother, Louis Schirm, the subject of this sketch, became president and has since supervised the business which his brother had so successfully brought to a high state of development. Louis had been financially interested in the business and in the Grand Canyon Lime & Cement Company. The original lime quarries are at Nelson, Arizona. Mr. Schirm is also a member of the board of the Southwestern Portland Cement Company.
One June 1, 1892, Louis Schirm was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Dolan, a daughter of Terence and Mary (Dolan) Dolan, both of whom were born in County Cavan Ireland. Terence Dolan left Ireland at an early age and came to America, settling in Lafayette, Indiana, where he became one of the leading citizens. He enlisted in the Union Army and saw active service. After his honorable discharge he returned to his home where he died in 1874 of injuries received in the war. Mrs. Dolan did not marry again and died in California in 1916 at an advanced age. Her family has an interesting history in connection with the land on which they now live on the Shannon River in Ireland. Several generations ago, one of her ancestors was given the land by the king for a deed of valor in battle. It was to remain in the family for “as long as grass grows and water flows.” The taxes are one penny a year. Four children were born to the marriage of Louis Schirm and Margaret Dolan. Louis, Jr., married Harriet Spurck of Peoria, Illinois, and they have three children: Louis, III, Michael Henry and Clara Sheila. Louis Jr. is associated with his father in the J. S. Schirm commercial business in San Diego. Raymond married Mildred Ellingsworth of Los Angeles and they have two children, Raymond Jr. and David. Raymond J is general manager of the Holmes Lime Company at Felton and San Francisco. John Stephen married Elizabeth Lee Granger of Detroit and is also associated with his father’s business in Los Angeles. Margaret J. is the wife of Edward Barrington MacNab of San Francisco who is also connected with the J. S Schirm Commercial Company in San Diego. Two nieces of Mrs. Schirm made their home with her for several years: Mary Creahan, who is now the wife of Edward J. Kern; and Helen Creahan. In all matters of interest to the people of his community, Mr. Schirm has always given his support and has a wise acquaintance in California and the southwest. From the foregoing it will be seen that the name Schirm is inseparably connected with the upbuilding of the Pacific Coast country and deserves a place in the annals of California.
By: Michele Y. Larsen on April 25 16,
Source: California of the South Vol. V, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 684-686, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los
Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2013 Michele Y. Larsen.