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Matamoras Minute: Kollmann store

In discussing the history of funeral homes in Matamoras reference was made to the early partnership of Robert H. Cunningham and William Kollmann in the joint venture of undertaking a furniture store. This partnership ended with Cunningham dealing exclusively in the funeral trade and William Kollmann taking over the furniture store. This article will deal with the Kollmann storyline.

William Kollmann was the son of Wilhelm and Elisabeth Kollmann who emmigrated from Germany to the United States. Elisabeth’s maiden name was Knieriem and she had a sister named Christine who married Conrad Moller. The two couples came to the United States Together in 1850 and settled on land only a stone’s throw from each other. I know this well because Conrad and Christine Moller were my great grandparents. Their home in Germany was a small village named Rechtebach.

William Kollmann had two sisters, Martha Elizabeth and Christine Anna, and he married Carrie Paulus who came from Germany as a child with her parents at a separate time. The couple had six children and moved from their farm to Matamoras to become business owners. His sister, Martha, had a child whom she named William and he remained in the country as a farmer. To differentiate between the uncle and his nephew they were referred to as “Furniture” Bill and “Onion” Bill.

Kollmann’s Furniture Store was located on the first block of Front Street above its intersection with Main. The site of the store is now the parking lot of the town’s present day post office. It was a two-storied building which always enjoyed a big business. The measurements were originally 20 x 60 feet and as the store gained popularity it grew to a dimension of 60 x 60. When the oil drilling area was at its height the store drew trade for miles around. Customers came from the back country as far as Woodsfield, Ohio, up and down the river, and the counties of West Virginia which bordered the river.

Kollmann was known for stocking high quality merchandise. In those days oak beds weighing up to 200 pounds sold at the price of $2.75. A number of residents in the area, including myself, own furniture labeled with the Kollmann mark on the back.

William Kollmann died in 1904 but the business stayed open until circa 1925. Carrie died in 1928. They are buried in the Matamoras Cemetery near the gazebo with a huge stone marking the center of their lot.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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