SUVCW Dept. of Wisconsin Commanders:|
Felix August Kremer
Lawyer, Real Estate Investor, Newspaperman|
A 34-year old bachelor, Felix A. Kremer of Madison, was elected Dept. Commander at the 1907 Wisconsin Dept. Encampment, held June 3-6 in Oshkosh. Two years earlier, he had been appointed to the Resolutions Committee and was elected the National Encampment delegate. He was also nominated for Dept. Commander, but lost the election. In 1906, he was elected Dept. Sr. Vice Commander.
Kremer, a self-made man, was one of nine children. His father, John M. Kremer, had emigrated from Germany and had served as a private and quartermaster’s clerk in the 146th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. After the war, he returned to farming.
Felix was born on his father’s farm, south of Mount Carroll, Illinois, on October 18, 1872. After laboring there, he used the money he saved to attend the Northern Illinois College of Law in 1893. After graduating in 1897, he did not practice law, but returned to college to teach. He lived in Menomonee, Wisconsin, for a time, but then came to Madison to practice law in 1899. His office occupied a little two-story building on the site of today’s Churchill (Gay) Building at 16 Carroll Street. He was one of the first occupants of the Gay Building, the city’s first skyscraper at nine stories, when it was completed in 1915. There, he not only practiced law, but conducted some real estate activities too. In 1905, he organized The Defenders, a fraternal insurance firm, meant to reform the insurance industry. The firm eventually became National Mutual Benefit.
He was a one-time partner of former Madison Mayor John W. Groves in the Kremer-Groves Investment Company. He bought the printing company at Black Earth and established the Dane County News. By 1915, Br. Kremer owned 1100 acres of land in Portage County.
Br. Kremer soon joined Madison’s newly chartered Henry Harnden Camp #2. The Sons of Veterans was one of 15 fraternal orders that he belonged to.
During his term as Dept. Commander, Col. H. M. Enos Camp #16 was mustered at Waukesha. The Department’s membership had reached a plateau; there were 541 members in 19 Camps. At the 1908 Dept. Encampment in Racine, when Kremer stepped down as Dept. Commander, former Mayor M.M. Secor presented him with a bouquet of roses. The local WRC also presented him with flowers.
After his term as Dept. Commander, he was appointed a Dept. Mustering Officer. In 1914, he was appointed Patriotic Instructor and by 1920, was serving as Dept. Counselor. The following year, he began a 3-year stint as a Camp Organizer.
In 1916, he married Alice M. Lowe of Bluemounds, Wisconsin, who was 17 years his junior. They moved to Phillips, Wisconsin, where they had three children: John (1920-1963), Josephine (1923) and Felix Jr. (1927-1982). John and Felix , Jr., were WWII vets.
He also presumably formed Phillips Camp #29 with 16 other men. The Camp, chartered in 1917, remained viable until its demise in late 1923.
In December 1917, Governor E.L. Philipp (also a Sons member) appointed Kremer as District Attorney of Price County. Later, he served as the county’s municipal judge.
Br. Kremer also edited a country paper, the monthly Wisconsin Homestead, and sold books. He was an active and zealous member of the Republican Party. He served as an Assemblyman from Price County in the Legislature from 1937 to 1938.
He also served as treasurer of the State Association of County Fairs, Secretary of the Price County Fair and secretary of the Wisconsin Association of Real Estate Brokers.
Br. Kremer died January 11, 1940, of heart failure at Madison General Hospital. He was 67. He had suffered from cardio vascular renal disease for five years. PDC Kremer was buried in Mount Horeb.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Department of Wisconsin