Stories from the Grave

John H. Ebeling: 1836-1918

Posted August 25, 2020

I was born in Holstein, now part of Germany, on February 23, 1836 to Johan H. and Anna Ebeling. My father was a miller by trade and taught me how to run and operate a grist mill to produce flour. My brother Henry and I left the port of Hamburger on March 5, 1864, I arrived at New York City on March 24, 1864. I then made my way to Wisconsin and settle in Mishicot where I worked for a local miller. In 1866, I made my way to Green Bay and eventually operated a flour mill in New Franken. My flour mill barely escaped the flames of the Great Fire of 1871, only to catch fire and burn to the ground on November 4, 1876.

I then moved back to Green Bay and partnered with Henry Straubel to construct a new flour mill on South Washington Street at the base of Doty Street. When Mr. Straubel decided to retire, I purchase his share of the business and ran it with my sons. I decided to trademark my brand name “Cream of Wheat” flour, but I learned that three other mills in the country were using that same name. I hired a patent lawyer from Milwaukee and went to court. Since I was able to prove the age of my mill, I won the case and trade marked the brand.

In 1907, I retired from the flour mill, turning over control to my sons. My wife and I moved to Los Angeles because the winters were starting to affect my body. It was there on January 15, 1918, that I pass away. I started this life with limited income and leave it a wealthy man. I invested much of my money into stocks, and my wealth was estimated at $405,000, or in value of today 8.5 million dollars. As for my flour mill, it is sold to outside investors from Minnesota in 1933 and closed. In 1938, the owners sold the mill as salvage, and it is soon torn down.