Gerhard Bergman & Sons ad from the May 20, 1955 Vincennes Sun-Commercial

Gerhard Bergman & Sons advertisement from the May 20, 1955 Vincennes Sun-Commercial.

In the beginning years of the 20th century, blacksmiths, harness-makers, carriage makers, and others who made their living crafting items to be used with the horse, still one of the chief means of transportation, had to gradually adapt to the coming of the automobile. One of these men locally was German immigrant Gerhard Bergman, who started out as a blacksmith and wagon maker, and successfully made the transition into one of Vincennes’ big auto dealers.

Gerhard Bergman immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1887. He made his way to Vincennes where, in 1889, he established a blacksmith shop on the northeast corner of Second and Buntin streets. That same year, he married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Korbman, and the couple proceeded to raise a large family. All five sons, Lawrence, Gerhard, Jr., B. Frank, Edmond, and Anthony (Tony,) joined their father in various capacities in his business, which became known for the rest of its history as Gerhard Bergman & Sons. There were three daughters, Marie, Amelia, and Elizabeth, and a sixth son, Mathias, who died before reaching adulthood.

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