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Ingram, Orrin Henry, 1830-1918 / Autobiography, Orrin Henry Ingram : May, 1830--December, 1912

Paper-mill experience,   pp. 73-75 PDF (641.6 KB)

Page 73

   Soon after the Dells dam was constructed and the water
works installed a small paper mill was built at the dam to make
paper from rags. The first company operated for three or four
years, but from lack of experience and capital it went into the
hands of a receiver. It had borrowed a good deal of money,
some from the Bank of Eau Claire, some from the Eau
Claire National Bank, and some from widows who depended
upon the interest for their living. I was then president of the
Eau Claire National Bank. A syndicate was formed to buy
the property at the receiver's sale. Its indebtedness amounted
to a little less than $50,000. Most of its notes were owned in
Eau Claire. I went to the dam on the day of the receiver's sale.
The syndicate had chosen one of their party to bid for them.
His first bid was $10,000 for the entire property. I felt that
the property ought to sell for enough, and was worth enough,
to pay the indebtedness, if the stockholders would lose what
they had in it. I wanted to protect, so far as I could, the Eau
Claire National Bank and some of the creditors who could ill
afford to lose, and I raised the bid to $15,000. The syndicate
bidder raised to $20,000 and I raised his bid to $25,000. He
then bid $27,000 and I raised his bids up to $42,000. The man-
ager of the syndicate asked the receiver to adjourn the sale
half an hour, which was granted. Meantime, they prevailed
on the receiver to require each bidder to put up a certified
check to cover the amount of his bid. That was satisfactory to
me, and I certified my check on the Eau Claire National Bank.
Being its president I could do that. The receiver announced
that, and the syndicate bidder raised my bid a couple of thous-
and dollars, as I remember. I said to them they must bid
enough to cover the indebtedness or I did not believe the judge
would confirm the sale, and I raised the bid to $48,500. They
then quit bidding, and the property was struck off to me. I

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