JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
BIOGRAPHIES

LENGFELDER BROTHERS



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 
acres. 

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 


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