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SCHRUP, Nicholas J. Sr.
SCHRUP, Nicholas John. (Luxembourg, Aug. 23, 1853--Dubuque, IA, Nov. 10, 1924). John and Mary Schrup, the parents of Nicholas, emigrated to the United States when Nicholas was two years old. (1) They settled in Dubuque County and began farming. Schrup worked on his father's farm and ran the threshing machine at harvest. He still managed to organize a baseball team in Mosalem Township, play first base, and served as its manager. (2)
Schrup remained on the family farm until he was twenty-one. He then attended the Wisconsin Normal School of St. Francis in Milwaukee and graduated from a three-year program which enabled him to teach. (3) For five years he taught in Cascade and sold insurance for the German Insurance Company of Freeport, Illinois. He entered politics by running for the position of assessor in Table Mound township. He lost. (4) He served as Dubuque County deputy auditor from 1880 to 1883. An article in 1896 alleged he was the first man to resign a "lucrative political position" when he resigned in 1883. (5)
In 1883 Schrup was involved in the organization of the BANK AND INSURANCE BUILDING COMPANY and the DUBUQUE FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY. He served that company originally as secretary and general manager under John J. LINEHAN, the president. Schrup succeeded John Peter ELLWANGER to become the fifth president of the company. (6) He served as its president until July 10, 1917, when he became chairman of the board.
Three of the directors of the insurance company were also directors of the GERMAN SAVINGS BANK. In 1894 Schrup was the vice president of the bank and became president in 1897. In 1905 the bank opened a branch office on the corner of 18th and Couler Avenue to serve the needs of the rapidly developing northern portion of the city.
By 1911 Schrup and others recognized that the success of the branch bank indicated an opportunity to establish another bank. They were granted a charter on December 27, 1911, by the State of Iowa for the GERMAN AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK that opened for business in January 1912. Schrup served as the bank's first president. The directors, shareholders, and articles of incorporation of the two banks were generally the same. Schrup also served on the board of education and as a director and stockholder of the Bank and Insurance Building. (7)
As a result of anti-German feelings brought about by WORLD WAR I, German American Savings Bank was renamed AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK and German Savings Bank became PIONEER SAVINGS BANK AND TRUST COMPANY. Schrup served as president of the latter and the National Reserve Insurance Company which he founded in 1919. (8) He was a director of the CONSOLIDATED NATIONAL BANK into which Pioneer Savings Banks and Trust had been merged, regent of COLUMBIA COLLEGE, and president of the local board of education. In 1910 Schrup was elected a state senator by the largest majority ever given a candidate until that time. Schrup served two terms as state senator and was knighted by the King of Belgium for his contributions to relief efforts in Belgium during WORLD WAR I. (9)
Nicholas J. Schrup was succeeded by his son Charles Joseph SCHRUP who served as the president of American Trust from 1924 until 1949.
1. "N. J. Schrup's Life Interesting Story," Telegraph-Herald, November 12, 1924, p. 2
5. "N. J. Schrup," Dubuque Herald Souvenir Edition, January 25, 1896, p. 31
6. "N. J. Schrup's Life..."
9. Cooper, Brian, "Nicholas J. Schrup," "Tri-States' German Heritage," Telegraph Herald, June 7, 2018, p. 69
Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911, p. 592
"Our History...the Beginning," an American Trust Publication, compiled by Jerry ENZLER, Winter 2011