The three Lengfelder brothers, Charles R., Louis and Gustavus Adolphus,
come of pure German stock, their father and mother both having the blood
in their veins of that strain that has given to our country some of its
finest men. They have brought to our nervous, excitable, enthusiastic
race the deeper intellect and calmer temperament of an older nation, and
to the thrift and stability and strength of character of the parents is
owing in large measure the success of the children. They are the owners
of one of the largest farms in the county, and make a specialty of breeding
stock of the purest strains. One of the brothers is the leading poultry
raiser west of the Alleghany ountains and is the largest known importer
of Imperial Pekin ducks in the country. They have gone into the business
of caring for and breeding animals in a scientific manner, and are constantly
trying new methods and investing money in improvements that might benefit
their business. It would appear that the busiest men are the very ones who
have the most time for outside affairs, and these brothers are no exception.
They are all prominent in the county affairs, political, educational or
economic, and they have all held various offices, which they filled to the
entire satisfaction of their fellow citizens.
Karl Daniel Lengfelder was the founder of this family in America. He was
born in Germany on the 17th of June, 1836, He was well educated in his
native land, and came of one of the finest families in the country, and
since he had perfected himself in bookkeeping and held a fine position in
the treasury of his native city, everything pointed towards a peaceful life
in the land of his nativity. But it was not to be; young Karl heard of that
wonderful country where one could walk along the shore and pick up chunks of
gold as large as one's fist, so nothing would do but that he should set out
for that marvelous coast. His enthusiasm fired others and he had soon recruited
quite a company, and in June, 1854, they landed in New Orleans with their faces
turned toward the gold fields of California. At New Orleans they boarded a steamer
and made their slow way up the Mississippi until they reached St. Louis. Here
they were told of the long overland trip that took months, of the Indians, the
sand storms, the scarcity of water, and then at the goal of the likelihood of
their finding no gold. As it was life in the new country was difficult enough
to the young foreigners, and the thought of attempting such a perilous trip, with
their utter lack of experience in the country, induced them to abandon their scheme.
Karl Lengfelder remained in St. Louis for one month, and then he located in St.
Clair county, where he followed the trade of wagon making for some months. He soon
gave this up and went to farming, working at various places until by dint of close
economy he had saved enough to buy a farm of his own. He had his eye on a fine
farm in St. Clair county, and had made all the preliminary arrangements when,
fortunately for Jefferson county, the owner decided not to sell. Looking about
for another location, Mr. Lengfelder was struck with the desirability of a farm
of one hundred and thirty acres in Dodd's township and he, bought this property
in August, 1880. The following winter, in February, he moved his family hither,
and from that time he was uniformly successful, adding to his holdings until at
the time of his death, in 1900, on the 4th of January, he owned four hundred
Mr. Lengfelder married Katherine Zinlich in May, 1867. She was the daughter
of Conrad Zinlich and was born in Germany on the 2nd of November, 1844.
She was brought to America by her parents when quite a small child, and
lived until 1860 in Baltimore. At this time her family moved to Belleville,
Illinois. It was while Mrs. Lengfelder was making a visit to an aunt in 1866
that she met Mr. Lengfelder, and they were married within a year. Eight children
were born of this marriage, five of whom are living. These are Charles R., Louis F.
and Gustavus Adolphus, who live on the old home place; Annie P., who is Mrs. Grant
and lives in Jefferson county; and Henry W. The mother of this family is yet living,
at the age of sixty-seven years. The eldest of the brothers is Charles R., who was
born on the 28th of November, 1868, on a farm in St. Clair county, Englemen township.
He was educated in the schools of St. Clair and Jefferson counties. All of his life
has been given to farming, he and his brothers operating the original farm of four
hundred acres, to which they have added until now the acreage is a thousand acres.
Since 1896 they have devoted much of their time to the breeding of horses and cattle,
and they are the pioneer importers of registered horses and cattle in Jefferson county.
They breed not only registered horses and cattle, but also pedigreed hogs, sheep, and
poultry. Charles R. is a loyal devotee of the fraternal orders of which he is a member.
He is affiliated with the Masons of Mount Vernon and with the Knights of Pythias of
the same place. His mother and father were both members of the German Evangelical
church, but he is a member and sincere supporter of the First Presbyterian church
of his home town. He has always been actively interested in politics and has done
much to advance the cause of Republicanism in Jefferson county. He served as tax
collector of Dodd's township for two terms, from 1894 to 1898, and is now serving
his second term as county supervisor. Educational progress has ever been of great
interest to him, and he is now serving his fourth term as township school treasurer.
He was a candidate for county treasurer and led his ticket in the field, the result
of the election giving him two hundred votes ahead of his ticket. This is an example
of the popularity of Charles Lengfelder. It is no wonder, however, that the people
like him, for he throws his whole soul into whatever he may be doing and since he only
stands for the cleanest sort of politics, his neighbors are always anxious to secure
him for their representative. Gustavus Adolphus makes a specialty of poultry and is
an expert in all that pertains to the raising and breeding of fowls of every description.
His particular variety of chicken is the Barred Plymouth Rock, which as a general all
round fowl is the most popular chicken among all breeders, therefore it is much more
to his credit to have carried off so many prizes than if he were raising some less
widely known breed, such as Lackenvelders. His Barred Rocks took practically every
prize at the St. Louis Poultry Show in December, 1911, and repeated the same performance
at the Illinois State Show. He also breeds Bronze Turkeys, English Toulouse Geese and
White Imperial Pekin Ducks. His authoritative knowledge on this subject has been
recognized in his election to the presidency of the Illinois State Poultry Association.
Gustavus A. was born on the 2nd of March, 1882, in Jefferson county, and he acquired
his education in the same county, attending the common schools.
He married Mary Lurene Williams of Piatt county and they have one child, Elsa Lurene,
aged three years. He is a Republican in his political affiliations, and has been an
energetic party worker. For four terms he has served as tax collector of Dodd's
township. He is now serving as school director. He is a life member of the American
Poultry Association, and is much interested in the work which the association as
doing for raising the standard of poultry throughout the country. Both he and his
wife are members of the First Presbyterian church. Louis F. was born on the 5th of
March, 1871, and lives with his brother Charles R. In addition to the education
that he received in the common schools he attended the Normal College at Normal,
Illinois. In his later life, after finishing his school work, he gave a great deal
of his time to reading, so that now he is well educated and broadly read, therefore
is a valuable force in the educational advancement of the community. He has clung
to the faith of his fathers and is a member of the German Evangelical church.
The Lengfelders breed Percheron horses, which they ship to all parts of the United
States, handling from forty to fifty horses annually. Their cattle are of the
Shorthorn breed, and during the season of 1911 they handled about a hundred head.
In one year they ship about two hundred and fifty head of hogs, the Poland China
being their favorite breed. They also devote onsiderable attention to the raising
of Shropshire sheep, shipping about a hundred head annually. Live, stirring business
men are these three brothers, who have brought to their business the valuable assets
of well-developed minds and bodies, and who are showing day by day that the modern
economic thinkers are right in their cry of Back to the farm, for they are
proving that the life is not only independent and profitable, but requires the keenest
brains and a large amount of originality. The monotony of the farm of fifty years ago,
that is the cause of so much of the congestion in our cities today, is a thing of the
past. Science and pioneers like these three brothers, who were willing to go ahead and
venture experiments without any certainty of the outcome, have together succeeded in
giving to farm life the charm of new ideas and broader interests.
Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith,
M. A. VOLUME I - III ILLUSTRATED
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 1912 Page 1520 - 1522
Submitted by Robert W. Loman