Sorg Paper Company. One of Paul J. Sorg's diverse enterprises in Middletown was paper manufacturing. One of the assets of the Sorg Paper Co. at 901 Manchester Avenue traced its founding to the Erwin brothers paper mill, which opened in 1852. "In 1852, John Erwin and brothers built the Middletown Paper Mill, which fronted 160 feet on the hydraulic race [and] extended back 70 feet," wrote George Crout in a paper entitled Middletown: The Paper City. Based on that origin, the mill was regarded as Middletown's oldest industry until it closed in May 15, 2000. The Sorg mill was described as a "specialty paper maker" -- paper for use as tissue or decorative purposes -- when it was closed by its parent company, Wausau-Mosinee Paper Co., based in Mosinee, Wis. Wausau-Mosinee had purchased the Sorg plant in 1983.
George Crout said "April 3, 1852, Middletown entered into an agreement with John W. Erwin, Richard Hendrickson and Joseph Cooper to built a hydraulic power Canal. Even before its completion, John W. Erwin and two brothers, Samuel and Edwin, had constructed the town's first paper mill." The Erwins sold the mill in 1854 to W. B. Oglesby "and other local investors with Oglesby the leading one," Crout wrote in the Middletown Journal May 7, 2000. Oglesby enlarged the company, "adding a new and larxger mill to the company, which operated as the W. B. Oglesby Paper Co. Eventually he split the company, selling off one part which became the Jacoby Paper Co." "After W. B. Oglesby's death, a son, John Henry, became president of the firm," Crout said. In 1902 he sold to a partnership which in 1917 sold to the Paul A. Sorg Paper Co., an adjoining mill. "But Sorg kept the old name on the mill, which became the Oglesby Division of Sorg," according to Crout. "Mill No. 1 (Erwin's original mill), later the Jacoby Paper Co., had been purchased in 1899 by Paul J. Sorg, and renamed for his son, the Paul A. Sorg Paper Co.
He became its president." Sorg said "in 1931, in a reorganization of the company, the W. B. Oglesby, the Frank A. Smith and the Paul A. Sorg paper companies were merged to become simply the Sorg Paper Co. In 1947, Sorg's six paper machines ranked it as third in paper production in Ohio. In 1956, Sorg acquired the Wrenn Paper Co. In 1983 Sorg merged with the Mosinee Paper Corp., which in 1997 became Wausau-Mosinee." (See Middletown Hydraulic.)