Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Voices from the Past: Omer F. Immell (1917)

The following blurb was sent in to me by Gary Miller. It is a nifty history of Omer F. Immell, the legendary lure designer responsible for one of the most iconic baits in history: the Chippewa. Immel was a fascinating guy and this is a neat history of him.

Omer F. Immell, hustling agent for the New York Life Insurance company, was born on a farm three miles east of Blair, April 22, 1872,  son of Francis M. and Anna (Storley) Immell. Francis M. Immell was born in Ohio, came to Wisconsin in 1851, lived at Black River Falls four years, came to Trempealeau County in 1856, located three miles east of Blair, and lived there until he moved to the village, where he died in 1913, his good wife having passed away the previous year. Omer F. Immell started out for himself while a boy in his early teens. As a youth he did farm work. For several years he was a clerk in the Farmers' Trading Association store at Blair.  For one year he traveled for the Ramer Candy Company, of Winona, and for six years the Winona Candy Company, of that city.  Later he traveled for seven years for the Kratchwil Candy Company, of La Crosse.  In 1913, he established at Blair, the Immell Bait Company for the manufacture of the "Chippewa Bait." 

Jan. 25, 1915, he accepted his present agency. In this capacity he has several times led the State organization in number of applications obtained, and in February and March, 1915, he led the district comprising Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and part of Canada.  The enclosed extract, taken from a journalistic source, is a well-merited tribute to his ability in the line of industry he follows:  "O. F. Immell, agent for the New York Life Insurance Company, has the honor of being one of seven to win a vice-presidency in what is termed by the company the $100,000 class. To be in this class an agent must sell over $100,000 worth of insurance.  Mr. Immell came close to doubling this figure, selling a total of $183,000 work of insurance for the year (1917).  By so doing he automatically elected himself a delegate from this district to the convention of that company at Atlantic City, which is held Thursday and Friday of this week.  Mr. Immell has worked hard for this honor and only a close attention to this business, coupled with the fact that he is well posted on insurance matters and represents one of the best companies, enabled him to win.  The company has this to say of him:  'He has the honor of having a larger volume, $183,000, than any other official in the club.  He is so close to the $200,000 club that we shall expect to see him there without fail one year from now.'

Mr. Immell was married Jan. 1, 1895, to Margaret McKivergin, a native of Trempealeau County, daughter of James McKivergin.  This union has resulted in two children:  Orrie and Florence.

(Transcribed from the "History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917", pages 628 - 629).

Thanks, Gary! This is a neat piece of Immel Chippewa history.

-- Dr. Todd

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