William H. Gilcher was born in Sandusky, Ohio on July 2, 1843 to Peter and Christina (Boos) Gilcher. Peter Gilcher was a native of Germany, and came to Sandusky in the 1830s. He started out as a carpenter, and later embarked on a long and prosperous career in the lumber industry. As a young man, William H. Gilcher went into the lumber business with his father. In 1868, the Gilchers became partners with R.E. Schuck in the lumber business, and the firm was known as Gilcher & Schuck. The office was on Water Street, in the former depot of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. You can see stacks of lumber from the Gilcher & Schuck firm along the waterfront in the picture below.
Hewson Peeke wrote in his book entitled A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio: “For more than half a century the name of William H. Gilcher has been synonymous with the lumber industry around the shores of the Great Lakes.” Since heavy shipments of lumber came down the lake in boats, he aspired to become involved in the shipping industry, eventually becoming one of the founders of the Gilchrist Transportation Company. Unfortunately, the Gilchrist Transportation Company suffered disaster, and the investors and stockholders all lost a great deal of money. Other business ventures with which William H. Gilcher was connected were the White Line Electric Company, later part of the Lake Shore Electric, Cedar Point., and the Third National Exchange Bank.
Mr. Gilcher married Miss Tinnie Rosenbaum in 1868. After Tinnie’s death in 1890, he married Julietta Stimson of Ashtabula in 1902. On March 9, 1922, William H. Gilcher died after a lengthy illness. His obituary, which appears in the 1922 Obituary Notebook, stated that he had been a “pioneer lumber and business man and one of the best known residents of the city.” Funeral services for Mr. Gilcher were held at the family residence on Columbus Avenue, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery.