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Bals, Charles

Born:  September 17, 1822

Died:  December 12, 1876

Buried:  Crown Hill Cemetery 

Who is one of our prosperous business men, came to this place in the year 1839.  He is of Teutonic birth, and inherits the peculiar traits of his countrymen.

Charlie was not only poor when he first came to this city, but he owed in the old country a debt of one hundred and thirty dollars, which he was in honor bound and must pay before he could lay by anything in this country.

He was first employed by one of our respectable citizens as a man of all work at five dollars per month, and then for a short time by West & Meeker delivering flour from their mills to their customers in this city.

In the fall of 1847 he was engaged in the wholesale liquor establishment of the late P. B. L. Smith, and there remained nine years, and acquired a thorough knowledge of the rectifying and wholesale liquor business, which knowledge has proved to be of incalculable value to him since.

Soon after leaving Mr. Smith's establishment he engaged in business on his own account, since which time he has been successful, and is now a partner in the house of Hahn & Bals, one of the large and popular wholesale houses of the city.

Charlie arrived at the conclusion that many others had, i.e., that he lost a large amount of money by not having a greater amount of whisky on hand at the time the tax of two dollars per gallon was ordered to be levied on that afterwards manufactured.

The senior partner of this establishment, Mr. Charles F. Hahn, is also from the old country, but a citizen of this city since 1849, and has been engaged in active business since that time.  Mr. Hahn is now engaged in building, on South Meridian street, a fine business house, to be occupied by them as a store.  This building will rank with any other house of that kind in the city.


Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp. 380-381


Transcribed by Sherri Morem Bergman