Adam Henry Pohlman had been in business in Natoma longer than any other person, man or woman, when he died in Salina, Kansas on March 4, 1932.
Adam Henry Pohlman (known as “Henry”), founder of Pohlman’s Funeral Service in Natoma, was born February 18, 1869, in Kleinschwarzenback, in the state of Byern, at Helmbrechts, Germany. He arrived in the Paradise Creek Valley and the new town of Natoma in October 1893 after serving three years in the German army. In the winter of 1895 Henry entered into a contracting business with Louis Beisner and among the jobs they first undertook was that of building the historic Natoma Presbyterian Church (1898). He continued the contracting business and the next year opened a furniture store, which soon brought an income to justify discontinuing the contracting business.
Henry started the furniture store in an old frame building with a stock of furniture and implements valued at about $300.00. Banking at the time was done at Plainville and the only public buildings at that time in Natoma were the schoolhouse and the Presbyterian Church.
Adam Henry Pohlman was united in marriage to Emma Margaret Taubald at Osborne, Kansas, on July 1, 1900.
In 1901 the undertaking department was added to the business. For 10 years the combined furniture and now-also implement business went on together and the proprietor added to his income by continuing in the contracting business. In 1911 the implement department was sold and the furniture and undertaking continued.
Henry’s son, Adam Frederick Pohlman – “Fred” as most people knew him – lived nearly all his life in Natoma. After the death of his mother as a young boy he lived with his aunt and uncle on a farm in Ellis County, Kansas, for two years. He then returned to Natoma and lived in the back of the store as he went to school. Later, he moved to Salina, Kansas, and worked for the Standard Oil Company. He later returned to Salina and worked for the National Refining Company. As a young he began working for funeral homes while attending the Williams Institute of Mortuary Science.
After graduation from the Institute Fred began working for the Champion Company of Springfield, Ohio, a funeral supply organization, for more than twenty years. Beginning in 1924 Fred had a special appliances department in his father’s store at Natoma.
On September 3, 1927, Fred was united in marriage to Irene Gladys Kaiser at Council Bluff, Iowa. After his father’s death in 1932 Fred purchased the firm and constructed a new funeral home building.
In 1951 Fred purchased what was known as the Boughner Ranch near Natoma and named the location Pohlman’s Angus Ranch, a profession he dearly loved. In 1972 he sold the ranch to Rueben and Doris Maier.
The Pohlman Home Furnishing Company was closed at the end of 1965. In 1972 Fred and Irene moved to Russell to make their home and continued to operate the funeral business. The ambulance service which began in 1927 was discontinued on November 30, 1971. When Fred’s health began to decline the Natoma Funeral Home was purchased by his son Henry Jr. in August 1976.
Throughout his life he was a person who gave much of himself and expected little praise. He was a member of the Natoma Presbyterian Church, of the Natoma Masonic Lodge, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Isis Shrine and Consistory of Salina, the Russell Shrine Club, and the Elks Lodge. Adam Frederick Pohlman’s passed away on August 23, 1977, at Russell and was buried in the Natoma Cemetery.
Together Henry and Fred Pohlman owned and operated their various businesses in Natoma for 77 years and so played a vital role in the economic development and history of southern Osborne County.
The Pohlman success story is one to be studied and emulated.