Monday, November 17, 2014

Jacob Mertz, Pioneer Hardware Merchant

Jacob Mertz was born in Wurttemberg, Germany in the 1830s. He came to the United States in the 1850s, and after living for at time in Norwalk, Ohio, he settled in Sandusky.  A biographical sketch about Jacob Mertz found in History of the Western Reserve (Lewis Publishing Company, 1910), opened with these sentences:  “The great empire of Germany has contributed a most valuable element to the cosmopolitan social fabric of our American republic, which has had much to gain and nothing to lose from this source. Among those of German birth and ancestry who have attained to success and precedence in connection with business activities in the city of Sandusky is Jacob Mertz, a citizen of sterling character and one honored by all who know him.” 

Mr. Mertz married Teresa Hemmerle in 1856, and they had eight children. In 1860 he opened a hardware store and tin shop on Washington Street. In 1865 he moved his business to the southeast corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky.  He was the sole proprietor until 1885, when his sons became partners and the business became known as J. Mertz and Sons.

In 1910, J. Mertz and Sons carried a variety of hardware, builders’ materials, stoves, ranges, and household furnishings. 

Jacob Mertz, Sr. died on December 26, 1913, after a brief illness. His sons, John, George, and Jacob, Jr. ran the business after his death. The Mertz Hardware Store stayed in operation in Sandusky until about 1935. The Braunstein Furniture Store occupied the site at the corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets from about 1941 until 1961.  Currently this location is a multi-unit apartment building.

Several members of the extended Mertz family are buried in the family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

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