EORGE M. PFEIFER, owner of a fine estate containing 160 acres of valuable, well-improved land, resides on section 20, Seven Hickory Township. He was born Oct. 7, 1849, in Germany, and is the son of Bernhardt and Barbara (Bock) Pfeifer. Bernhardt Pfeifer was a tailor, and during his early life was occupied at that trade; he subsequently bought several tracts of land, which he improved, and had three fine farms; on his city property he erected a stone residence and barn, and also a frame residence and barn on another lot in Wallrabs, in Saxe-Meiningen, Germany, where he resided and brought up his family. He made his money in about two years by building and contracting on the railroad, associated with two of his sons. The eldest son, Casper, has been connected with the road since 1854; he is very popular with the railroad officials, and still retains his position, although now about sixty years of age. (For further history of parents, see sketch of L. W. M. Pfeifer.) |
George M. Pfeifer received a practical education at the public schools in Germany, and in May, 1807, he set sail for the United States, to seek his fortune in a new country. He arrived in New York about the 1st of June, having been fifteen days on the water, and found himself, a mere boy of seventeen, in that great city with but five cents left in his pocket, speaking a foreign language, and unfamiliar with the customs of the country. The occupation to which he had been trained was that of manufacturing meerschaum pipes, and at that time there was but one factory of the kind in operation in New York. The outlook was gloomy, but he bravely set himself to work, seeking for employment, which he finally obtained in a cooper’s shop. He remained there three weeks, earning about enough to pay for his board, when one day, to his surprise, a lady accosted him on the street and asked if his name was not Pfeifer. She had been well acquainted with his family in Germany, and recognized his face, having known him when a little boy. She took him to her home, and her husband found employment for him in a tinshop. He remained there until August, and then having earned enough money for his traveling expenses, came West and joined his brother Louis, who had previously located in Coles County, Ill. The brothers lived together, and during the first year, George was engaged in farming on shares. The following year his father gave him $200, with which to purchase a team, and this amount was all the financial assistance he ever received from any one, with the exception of $25, willed to him by his god-father, when he was thirteen years of age; it was placed on interest, and was used for part of his fare to America, his father supplying the balance.
May 26, 1870, Mr. Pfeifer was married to Miss Paulina Roser, also a native of Germany. There were six children in her parents’ family, all of whom are living in Illinois and Indiana. Her father died in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Pfeifer were married in Charleston by Judge E. M. Peterson. They have an interesting family of five children: Emma M., born April 6, 1871; Clara J., Feb. 17, 1873; Edward, Dec. 5, 1876; Charles, July 14, 1880; and Georgia. William Zehner, an adopted son residing with the family, was born Sept. 10, 1871.
Mr. Pfeifer made his first purchase of land in 1878, buying eighty acres on section 29, just south of his present residence. In 1880 he bought eighty acres on section 20, where the following year he erected a pleasant farm residence. There were no improvements on either place when he purchased them, except a house which was too small and old to be of any practical use, and a well. Mr. Pfeifer is industrious and untiring in cultivating and improving his farm, on which he has about 500 rods of tiling. He raises some broom corn, and also corn and oats, but no wheat, and is to some extent engaged in raising fine stock, Short-horn cattle, Clydesdale and Norman horses, and also has some mules.
Mr. Pfeifer has acquired his property by hard work and the judicious management of his resources. In 1881 he had the misfortune to be stricken down with pleura-pneumonia; the disease was very prostrating, confining him to his bed for a year, and he did not recover from the effects of his illness until 1884. Mr. and Mrs. Pfeifer are members of the Lutheran Church at Arcola. In politics, Mr. Pfeifer is a stanch Republican.