John Hoberg, President of John Hoberg Company, killed in Green Bay industrial accident

From the Brown County Library’s archives of Green Bay newspapers, one hundred and eleven years ago the death of John Hoberg made front-page news. Sourcing and verbatim reporting appear in italics:

Green Bay Advocate, Monday, July 11, 1904

JOHN HOBERG HURT

Caught in Belt and Thrown a Distance of Twenty Feet

John Hoberg, president of the John Hoberg Company, was injured late Saturday afternoon at the mill on the north side. One of his arms was badly injured and he was otherwise bruised. The accident, however, will lay Mr. Hoberg up for a short time, but no serious results are expected.

Just how the accident happened is not known. Mr. Hoberg was supervising the installation of some new machinery in the mill when he was caught in one of the belts and thrown a distance of several feet.

Green Bay Advocate, Monday, July 18, 1904

DEATH AFTER A SHORT ILLNESS

John Hoberg Dies From Injuries Received at Mill Last Week —Funeral Will be Held Thursday Forenoon

The death of John Hoberg, a prominent citizen and business man of this city occurred at his home on Willow Street(now University Avenue) at 18 minutes after 12 Sunday morning. Death came as the result of injuries received in the Hoberg mill last week. Arrangements have been made to hold the funeral on Thursday morning at 7:30 o’clock from the cathedral. The body will be taken from the church to the 9:20 Northwestern train where it will be shipped to Sheboygan for burial. It is probable that out of town relatives will come to Green Bay for the funeral but as yet they have not been heard from.

Mr. Hoberg was born in Prussia in 1840. When still an infant his parents moved to this country and for seven years lived in Detroit, Mich. At the end of that time he went with his parents to Sheboygan where he received an education in the public schools. From 1858 he was in business in Sheboygan trading for produce in the Lake Superior country and shipping the same. He was engaged in various mercantile interests in Sheboygan until 1879 when he moved to North Kaukauna and built the first exclusive pulp mill in that city. Until 1880 he conducted this mill when he opened up a liquor store and also continued the shipping of produce, being the first, in 1881 to ship a carload of grain from that town.

In 1882 he moved to South Kaukauna and again engaged in the real estate business. He again moved in 1886, this time to Bessemer, Mich., where he took up the real estate and general mercantile business. After a two years residence he again moved back to South Kaukauna where he commenced the manufacture of paper. Mr. Hoberg came to Green Bay in the fall of 1895, nine years ago, and built the Hoberg paper mill, in which business he was activity engaged at the time of his death. The business will be carried on by his six sons who live in the city, in the same manner as heretofore.

Mr. Hoberg was married in June 1867 to Miss Latina Friemont. Besides his wife, he leaves seven children to mourn his loss. They are Frank H., John J, of this city, Rosa of Kaukauna, Harvey, George O., William and Antoine of this city.

The John Hoberg Company was located about where the American Foods Group Company is located today, north of the East River. The Hoberg Company later became part of the Charmin Company.

Just goes to show that industrial fatalities have a profound effect on families, employees, businesses…and history. Don’t let it happen at your business!

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Charles P. Howes (www.charleshowes.com) is a Safety Consultant and Trainer in Green Bay, WI. He has over thirty years of experience in industrial safety and security.

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