Christian J. Litscher

Page 469-470 - Christian J. Litscher. With the Russian capital, Moscow, in flames at its back, the army of Napoleon turned toward France. A Russian winter closed down on the plodding army, and into the teeth of blinding snowstorms, the starving soldiers, the flower of the French army, began the long journey to their homeland, which only 108,000 of the half million men that entered upon the campaign ever returned. In the decimated ranks of the French army was one Christian Litscher, his wet clothing frozen to his body and his frost bitten fingers clinging desperately to an ice-coated rifle. In the midst of a snowstorm that raged over the Russian steppes on November 6, 1812, Christian Litscher dropped from the ranks for a little rest, a rest that became eternal. Christian Litscher died as he had fought, a noble member of the famous Swiss Guards. But the indomitable spirit of this soldier of Napoleon lives on in a citizen of Grand Rapids, for the fourth of that name, Christian J. Litscher, is prominently identified with the electric supply business in that city. His father came from Switzerland to America and settled in Chicago with his wife, Anna (Rosalie) Litscher, who was born in Switzerland. Christian Litscher had little opportunity for schooling, though he attended the public schools of Chicago until he had completed the eighth grade. In 1895 when he was but a boy he secured a job with an electrical supply house in Chicago as office boy at a weekly wage of four dollars. His industry and close attention to his duty attracted the favorable attention of his superiors through the positions of order clerk, billing clerk, and chief clerk. After a time spent in the last named position he became a traveling salesman for the same house, his territory being the entire state of Michigan. During his nine years spent in this work, he foresaw the possibilities in a similar enterprise established in Grand Rapids, and in 1909 severed his connections with the Chicago firm and opened an electrical supply business in Grand Rapids in a small way. From its inception the business was incorporated in order that the anticipated expansion in business could be handled expeditiously. At the outset Mr. Litscher was not only the president of the company but also the entire sales force, a striking contrast to the present plant, which now employs eight salesmen traveling throughout western Michigan. The original capitalization of the plant was $7,000, and the floor space occupied by the company was approximately 7,000 square feet. The steady growth of the business has been met by corresponding increases in the capitalization of the company and the floor space utilized until at the present time the capital stock stands at $200,000 and the floor space is 25,000 square feet in extent. The C. J. Litscher Electric Company is located at 41-43 Market avenue, where a line of electrical supplies complete in every detail is carried by the concern. Mr. Litscher, by his achievement in building up such a large and flourishing company, is recognized in business circles of the city, and his ability as an executive manager is conceded to be of the highest quality by his associates in business. He is a wide awake and progressive business man, and he loses no opportunity to advance the interests of his company through legitimate competition. He married Sarah Ann MacNeil, the daughter of John MacNeil, one of the pioneers of Northern Michigan, and to this union have been born the following children: Christian, the fifth of that name, Stephen, Daniel, and Benjamin.

Transcriber:  Nancy Myers
Created: 21 August  2003