History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney (Oregon)Counties - Pages 574 and 575
Erwin A. Rieger--The subject of this sketch is one of the younger men who have achieved brilliant success in the business world of the west, being located in Ontario, where he has an important interest in the Oregon Forwarding Company, one of the largest general merchandise establishments of the eastern part of Oregon, which owes much of its unbounded success to the keen business ability and fine executive force of Mr. Rieger.The birth of Erwin A. occurred in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on January 28, 1873, being the son of Fredrick J. and Mary (Kiesel) Rieger.The father was a leading attorney of his country, and our subject received a good education in the common schools and in the Heilbronn King Carli College, then studied law and was admitted to its practice in his native town at the age of twenty-one.Soon after this important event, he bade the fatherland adieu, took farewell of friends and embarked for the United States.The spring of 1894 marks the date of his landing in New York, having sailed in the steamer Scandia.From the metropolis he came direct to Ogden, then to Parma, Idaho.He visited these places and others for the purpose of getting acquanted with the American people and their ways, and also he dovoted some time to farming, then went to Haley, Idaho, and thence to Salt Lake City, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits with his brother.It was in 1896 that he came to Ontario and here in 1902 he entered into partnership with Mr. Beckman, the firm being known as the Oregon Forwarding Company.That name was changed to Beckman and Rieger in January, 1902, and in April of the same year the old name was again assumed.They carry a large and complete line of goods in all of the following lines, gents' furnishing goods, dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, hardware, farming implements, and crockery and other lines as well, making their establishment one of mammoth proportions.The business is done in a large brick building, being the most commodious in the town, and they also use in storing their goods five large warehouses.The trade of this company reaches in great directions to every point of the compass and they have builded for themselves a patronage and reputation that surpasses, doubtless, that of any competing establishment in the the entire country.
On November 27, 1901, Mr. Rieger married Miss Sylvia, daughter of George and Nellie (Stevens) Lyells, early pioneers of Baker City.Fraternally, he is affiliated with the A. F. & A. M., Acacia Lodge No. 118, of Ontario, being secretary of the same; also of the Eastern Star; and the A. O. U. W., No. 87, of Ontario.Mr. Kiesel, an uncle of our subject, owns a large interest in the company but lives at Ogden, Utah.Mr. Rieger has a fine residence in a pleasent portion of the town and with gracious dignity his estimable wife presides there, making it a center of refined hospitality.Mr. Reiger is a man of ability, as his successful work will show.He manifested this first in acquiring, in an exceedingly short time, mastery of the intricate English language, as well as in all of his business operations.