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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



With the experience acquired through residence in Germany, the land of his birth, and in America, the chosen home of maturity, Mr. Scheunert gives his preference to the land of the free and particularly is he devoted to the great western country. As the chosen place of his home and the center of his business activities, he cherishes the utmost loyalty to Northern California, with whose progress he has been familiar for a long period. Although now more than sixty years of age he retains much of the physical alertness and all of the mental acumen characteristic of earlier life. Not only is he probably one of the oldest commercial travelers in this part of the state, but in addition he ranks as one of the most successful. In the line of his specialty he has built up a large trade in Northern California and Nevada. By so doing he has enlarged the business of the wholesale cigar factory in Sacramento, where his brother, Emil, remains to superintend the city trade.

Through a lifetime of exceptional activity Wilhelm Sclieunert, Sr., held a prominent position among the business men of Zduny, a town of Prussia, not far distant from the borders of Russia. Not only did he own and operate a flour mill in the village, but in addition he managed other important enterprises and also served efficiently as city trustee, being indeed a citizen of such prominence that his demise was mourned as a public loss. His wife, Wilhelmina. also resided in Zduny until her death. Their son, Wilhelm R. H., was born in Prussia November 10, 1849, and attended the national schools of Germany, as well as private institutions of learning in his native kingdom. Following the usual custom of the country he was sent to serve in the army. It was at the time of the Franco- Prussian war and he therefore saw service not only in camp, but also on the battlefield. During 1870-71 he was honorably discharged with the commission of sergeant.

Almost immediately after his return home from the wars Mr. Scheunert began to make preparations to emigrate to the new world. Without any means except sufficient for traveling expenses, he started on the long ocean trip to New York City and this was followed by the journey across the continent to San Francisco, where he found employment. In a few months he came to Sacramento and secured work as a barber. Eighteen months later he went to Virginia City, Nev., and embarked in the cigar business, but in 1875, after the big fire, he removed his business headquarters to Sacramento, the center of all subsequent activities on his part. Since 1876 he has been identified continuously with the cigar business as a manufacturer and jobber. He organized the business as Scheunert Bros., Inc. With him in business is his brother, Emil, born in Prussia in May of 1858, educated in Germany and California, and employed for a time in a dry-goods house that specialized in ladies' furnishings. For several years he engaged extensively in farm pursuits in Mexico, but owing to the yellow fever he was forced to leave that country. After a visit of a few months at his old German home he returned to Mexico to close out his affairs and then joined his brother in Sacramento, where since he has engaged in the cigar business. Fraternally he holds membership with various organizations, including the various degrees of Masonry up to the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. The older brother has been connected prominently with the Knights of Pythias as well as other societies. In 1878 he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Goepel, daughter of Herman Goepel, who in the early days was a well-known resident of Sacramento. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011