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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Pfister, Charles [Frederick] 1859 - 1927

Definition:

businessman, financier, publisher, politician, b. Milwaukee. He was the son of Guido Pfister (q.v.). In 1876 he entered the Pfister and Vogel Leather Co., in which his father was one of the original partners, and Charles ultimately became treasurer and president. Upon his father's death in 1889, Pfister succeeded him in many of his large business enterprises. He played a prominent role in the formation of the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co., and also served in executive capacities and on the board of directors of such firms as the First Wisconsin National Bank, the Milwaukee Mechanics Insurance Co., and the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. Pfister acquired a large fortune and eventually channeled a great portion of his wealth into his interest in Republican party politics. During the last decade of the 19th century, he became a "power" in the Stalwart faction of the state Republican party, although Pfister himself never ran for public office. In 1896 he joined Henry C. Payne (q.v.) and Philetus Sawyer (q.v.) in successfully supporting Edward Scofield (q.v.) as the Republican gubernatorial candidate in an effort to check the growing power of Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (q.v.). Pfister was also active on the local level in Milwaukee politics, and in 1900 supported Democrat David S. Rose (q.v.) for mayor, largely in the hope that Rose would be favorably disposed toward Pfister's public-utility interests in the city. In 1900 Pfister purchased the Milwaukee Sentinel and, as publisher of that paper from 1900 until it was sold to William Randolph Hearst in 1924, made it a powerful organ in support of conservative Republicanism and a vigorous anti-La Follette journal. Pfister maintained his home in Milwaukee until his death. B. Still, Milwaukee (Madison, 1948); Amer. Biog.... Cyclopedia, 37 (1929); R. S. Maxwell, La Follette and the Rise of the Progressives .. . [Madison, 1956]; Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 12, 1927; Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov. 13, 1927.

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]

4 records found

Payne, Henry Clay 1843 - 1904
Pfister, Charles [Frederick] 1859 - 1927
Sawyer, Philetus 1816 - 1900
Wight, William Ward 1849 - 1931

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