The March 3, 1899 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the formation of a new corporation called Kirkman, Rae & Geis. William V. Geis was named as one of the three principals.
Walter B. Kirkman, Albert F. Rae of Far Rockaway, and William V. Geis of 218 East One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Street, Manhattan, have associated together under the incorporated name of Kirkman, Rae & Geis for the manufacture of mineral waters and other similar beverages. The capital stock is $7,500 and its principal place of business will be at Far Rockaway.
The 1899 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens listed the business of Kirkman, Rae & Geis in Far Rockaway at William n Crescent, Far Rockaway, under both ‘bottlers” and “manufacturers of mineral water” headings. Subsequently, the 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908-1909 and 1912 Trow Business Directories of the Borough of Queens all listed Wm V. Geis at the same location. Based on these records, I’m guessing Geis bought out Kirkman and Rae and became a sole proprietor sometime between 1899 and 1901.
In addition to mineral water, Geis also bottled beer, apparently acting as an agent and bottler for Pabst. He placed an advertisement in the “Wave of Long Island”, a weekly newspaper for delivery of two-dozen bottles of Pabst for $1.25. The advertisements were found in the Sept 7, 1901 and July 5, 1902 issues.
In 1905 Geis purchased the long time Far Rockaway mineral water business of Brock L. Carroll. An item announcing the purchase appeared in the April 15, 1905 edition of the American Bottler.
Mrs. B. L. Carroll has sold the mineral water business conducted at Far Rockaway, N. Y., for many years by her late husband, to William Geis.
Geis never listed the Carroll plant in the Queens directories, suggesting that he consolidated both operations at his William street plant.
More on Brock Carroll’s business, which dated back to the late 1870’s, can be found in another post on this web site. Brock L Carroll, Far Rockaway L.I.
In 1909, Geis joined with Sidney Jackier forming the Geis-Jackier Company. An item in the November 27, 1909 issue of the Brooklyn’s Times Union reported:
A certificate of incorporation of the Geis-Jackier Company of the Borough of Queens has been filed with the Secretary of State. It is proposed to deal in mineral waters, wines, liquors, cigars, etc., with a capital of $10,000, divided into shares of $100 each. The directors for the first year are Sidney Jackier, William V. Geis, Hattie Jackier and Elsie C. Geis, of Far Rockaway.
According to a story written years later, in the October 23, 1915 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sidney Jackier had signed a five year lease to operate the Haffner Neptune Park Hotel in August of 1909, three months prior to incorporating Geis-Jackier. Back then it was fairly typical for hotels to maintain a bottling operation as part of their business and I’m fairly certain that Geis Jackier was established to serve as the bottler for the hotel operation.
N.Y.S. records indicate that Geis Jackier was a liquor tax certificate holder up through September, 1914, however, the business came to a practical end sometime before that, likely in late 1913 or early 1914, when according to the October 23, 1915 Brooklyn Daily Eagle story, Jackier missed the final year’s payment on the hotel lease and declared bankrupt.
Around the same time Geis-Jackier was nearing its end, Geis became proprietor of the Hewlett Inn located at McLean and Sherman Ave in Hewlett, Long Island. He’s first listed as a liquor tax certificate holder there in the Annual Report of the New York State Commissioner of Excise for the year ending September 30, 1913.
For a short time he continued to operate his bottling business in Far Rockaway where’s he’s listed individually, as a liquor tax certificate holder through September 30, 1915. After that, the Hewlett Inn appears to be his sole interest.
I haven’t seen a Geis bottle with “Hewlett” embossing so I have to think he was out of the bottling business by this time.
He remained with the Hewlett Inn until his tragic accidental death in 1921. According to a story in the October 15, 1921 issue of the N.Y. Times he died in an accidental shooting.
While preparing to start on a hunting trip in the Adirondacks early yesterday morning, William V. Geis, proprietor of the Hewlett Inn at Hewlett, L.I., was accidentally shot by Paul Weidman of Woodmere, L.I., one of three friends who were to have accompanied him. Geis was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital at Far Rockaway, where he died several hours later. When dying he made a statement to Justice of the Peace Raisig exonerating Weldman from all blame.
Weidman, dazed from what had just occurred, ran from the house after the shooting, muttering that if his friend died he would end his own life. Up until late last night Weidman, who is a prosperous bus owner, had not returned home and his family were apprehensive. Mrs. Elsie Geis, widow of the dead man, also exonerated Weidman.
Sheriff Charles Smith, after an investigation, said he was entirely satisfied that the gun had been accidentally discharged by Weidman during an exhibition as to how he would handle a hold-up man if the occasion arose.
Paul Weidman did resurface two days later in what one story called “an extremely bad nervous condition.”
Both Crescent and William in Far Rockaway have changed names over the years. Crescent is now Brunswick and William is now Wheatley. Wheatley near Brunswick puts the business about a block from the LIRR Far Rockaway station.
I’ve found varying type bottles, including tooled blob tops (8oz), tooled crowns (8, 12 and 28 oz) and machine made crowns (8 and 28 oz). The 12 oz bottles were brown…maybe containing the Pabst Blue Ribbon mentioned in the advertisement? All others are aqua. The pictures show an assortment of mouth blown bottles. All are embossed Far Rockaway.