Bieses Had Comfortable Quarters On West Fifth Street, Prospect Street On Cameron Hill

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2022
  • John Wilson

Charles W. Biese and his son, Robert W., had fine homes on Cameron Hill when it was in its hey day. The Bieses lived at 524 West Fifth St. - at the very end of Fifth at the dead end as the hill rose. Afterward, Robert moved on up to the view at 203 Prospect at the corner of Sixth Street beside the home of attorney Joe Clift.  

Charles W. Biese was a native of Odenburg, Germany who visited England in 1859 and came to America the next year when he was 21. He had come to the U.S. "largely to escape the burden of militarism," but he arrived in time for the Civil War. He was commander of a group of scouts under General William T. Sherman and was a participant in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. He was wounded several months after that and was sent to the hospital on Lookout Mountain for disabled Union officers. 

A brother who accompanied Biese to America died from wounds he received in the war.

Charles Biese was one of the businessmen who fell prey to the failure of the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad. He had a contract with John C. Stanton for building bridges and trestles for the railroad. His contracting firm failed when Stanton went broke. Biese later joined in the organization of the Lookout Ice Company. This firm built a plant on Market Street by the river. It included a well that was 30 feet deep with a tunnel at the bottom extending several hundred feet into the river. 

In the Centennial Year of 1876, Biese was living on Lookout Mountain and working as the bookkeeper for George Ruble. He later lived near the Stanton House, though it must have been a reminder of the earlier bankruptcy. In 1880, he was joined with C.H. Dyer in Dyer & Biese selling farm implements on lower Market Street. He was living then on Missionary Ridge. Then he had a stint as general agent for Blymyer Manufacturing Company, also on Market Street. 

C.W. Biese was married three times. His first wife was Harriet McDonald, and they had four children. He next married Eliza Pryor and they had a son, Adolph. Eliza died in 1899. His third wife was Marie Ryman Mansfield.

The Bieses were in the 524 West Fifth St. house by the mid-1880s. The family included the son, Robert, as well as Adolph, who clerked at the ice company. Carl Biese was an appraiser for T.R. Evans, and Miss Katie Biese worked for H.C. Beck. Later, Robert went into the book business.

Robert Biese was born in 1865 when the family was living at Whiteside, Tn. He married Elizabeth Field in 1887. The couple had three daughters. Robert, like his father, was an active member at Centenary Methodist Church.

Robert learned the buggy business from Fred Wallace. In 1915, he bought Chattanooga Buggy and Auto. He also was a partner in Biese & Dickinson. He and Fred Dickinson were dealing in buggies, carriages, wagons and agricultural implements. He earlier was an assistant mail clerk at the Post Office. 

By 1899, Charles W. Biese was manager of the local office of Prudential Insurance at the Keystone Block. He was living then at 515 West Seventh St., and he afterward moved to 202 High St.

Capt. Charles W. Biese was at his winter home at West Palm Beach, Fla., when he died in January 1921 at the age of 87. Robert Biese died in July 1935, five weeks after his wife Elizabeth had died.

Mrs. E.F. Guthrie and M.J. Connally occupied the spacious home on West Fifth with one upstairs and the other down after the Bieses left. Daniel B. Barnes was there by 1906 taking the whole house. J.G. English and I.L. Faucett later shared the home, as did Mrs. L.O. McArthur and R.R. Dail. In its final years, the Biese house included a basement apartment as well.

Thomas A. Rogers later lived in the Robert Biese house on Prospect Street. Later the address was changed to 603 Boynton Terrace, and R.M. George lived there until he turned it into the George Apartments.  


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