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Biography - Ernst Seefeldt

ERNST JULIUS SEEFELDT, a prominent and wealthy German-American farmer of Bond County, is the subject of this notice. He is the owner of a fine place located on the north edge of Pocahontas, where his friends and acquaintances often enjoy his hospitality.

The birth of Mr. Seefeldt took place in the village of Pyritz, Pomerania, in Prussian-Germany, twenty miles northeast of the city of Berlin, April 24, 1824. The father of our subject was Gotfreid Seefeldt, and at the same place as his son's birth occurred. By occupation he was a farmer, and then became a soldier under King William III in the wars of his country with the French in the time of the great Napoleon. About four years of his life were spent in the service. He became a large farmer, and owned about two hundred and twenty acres of land in his native country, and died October 2, 1848, having been a member of the Lutheran Church. His wife was Mary Schultz, who was born in the same place, and she was the mother of seven boys, who were August, Carroll and William, deceased; Fritz Ernst, Julius, Henry and Gustaf. The mother died when forty-seven years old, having been a member of the. Lutheran Church. She was the daughter of Christian Schultz, a native of the same place, who was a farmer of moderate means, and who died in his native land at the age of eighty-two years.

Our subject was reared on the farm of his father, and was sent to the nearest schools from his seventh to his fourteenth years, and then he went to learn the trade of a gunsmith, at which he remained for six or seven years, and then learned the machinist's trade. He came to America in the spring of 1849, or, rather, he started in the spring, but it was July before he reached the United States, being thirty-four days on the ocean. His arrival in this country was during the prevalence of cholera, but fortunately he did not take the dread disease. He landed in New York on the afternoon of July 10, 1849, and went to Wisconsin by way of Milwaukee, but at that time he could find no work.

A stranger in a strange land, with the difficulties of an unknown language to con tend with, our subject walked eighty miles until he reached a farm near Waukesha, where he obtained employment. Soon after this he found work he could do in a water, saw and grist mill, and was given $8 a month. How large that looked to him then much larger than a hundred dollars would appear now. From this place in the woods he went to Guttenburg, Iowa, but had found that in St. Louis he could obtain good wages at work in a foundry.

This quiet young man had a romance in his life. Away back across the ocean he had left a dear, flaxen-haired sweetheart, and as soon as he found that the new country would give him promise of a support so that he could make her happy, he sent for her to come, and when she readied Waukesha, September 15, 1851, he was there to meet her, and they were married. Her name was Wilhelmina Miller, and her birth occurred in Prussia, January 4, 1825. She was the daughter of Gotleib and Elizabeth (Papka) Miller, both of whom were born in a Prussian province. Her father was a farmer on twenty acres of land, which was as much as the most of the farmers of his neighborhood owned. Mrs. Seefeldt was an only child.

After marriage our subject settled in St. Louis and worked in a foundry for four years, and the name, which he remembers well, was the Eagle Foundry. He left there to move into Old Ripley Township, where he and his brother Henry, the only one of his family now in America, bought a farm of one hundred and forty-five acres of prairie land, twenty of it in timber. There were no improvements, but he built a log house, and there began his agricultural life. The place was very wild, great droves of deer often passing his home, but he never hunted the innocent creatures. The wolves disturbed his sleep at night, and would have very seriously disturbed his cattle and stock if he had not protected them. He improved that farm and bought eighty-eight acres in this place, to which he moved in 1879, and has made extensive improvements. The house was here, but he has remodeled it, and has expended $1,800 in beautifying and cultivating.

The land owned by our subject at the present time amounts to two hundred and fifty-nine acres, and upon it he has carried on a system of mixed farming, and handles considerable stock. He has the reputation among his neighbors of being a careful and successful farmer, and his judgment is considered of value in all agricultural matters. Five children have come into the pleasant home j of Mr. and Mrs. Seefeldt, and they are Ollie, Elizabeth, Caroline, Bertha and Augusta. They are members of the church of their parents, which is the Lutheran, and to this Mr. Seefeldt has always contributed according to his means. When he first began to study the politics of this country, he decided that in the Republican party he could find those principles which should govern a free and independent people like the American race.

Mr. Seefeldt is a man whose pleasant, genial nature makes him friends, and in all the relations of life he has borne himself as a kind husband and father and a true friend, as well as an honest man of business.

Extracted 20 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 424-426.

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