Joseph C. Wieser, a jeweler and watchmaker at Roodhouse, was born in Bavaria, Germany, January 26, 1830. He attended the public schools of his native land and afterward received private instruction in Latin. Later he attended a polytechnic school at Amberg, where he was graduated with the class of 1843. the following year he enlisted in the German uprising or rebellion against Brigadier-General Franz Seigel, of the regular army, but the movement did not prove successful and the soldiers who fought against the government were obliged to flee. Mr. Wieser made his way to France but afterward returned to Germany for his discharge from the army and soon afterward followed his former commander, General Seigel, to America and like him fought in the Civil war.
It was in 1850 that Mr. Wieser sailed from the fatherland and after thirty-six days spent upon the water landed at New York, whence he afterward made his way westward to St. Louis in 1853. A year later he went to Jerseyville, Illinois, where he also spent a year and then removed to Winchester, Illinois, where he resided until 1870, since which time he has made his home in Roodhouse. While living in Winchester, Mr. Wieser enlisted, in 1862, in defense of the Union cause, becoming a member of Company H, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry. He served as a private for a year and was then detailed to act as bugler at headquarters. He also worked at his trade to some extent while in the army. He was in the Army of the Cumberland under General Joseph Hooker, with the Twentieth Corps. participated in a number of engagements, went with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea, was in the grand review in Washington, and received his final discharge at Camp Fry, in Chicago, marching all the way there from the capital city in the fall of 1865. After the war was over Mr. Wieser returned to Winchester, Illinois, where he remained until 1879, when he came to Roodhouse, where he is now engaged in business as a jeweler and watchmaker. He has superior skill in the latter line and is doing an excellent repair business. he also carries a well selected stock of jewelry and is enjoying a gratifying patronage, while his business methods and principles commend him to the generous support and trust of the public.
In 1856 Mr. Wieser was married to Miss Margaret E. VanWinkle, a daughter of Abner VanWinkle, and a native of Monticello county, Kentucky. They were the parents of two children: Sylvester, who was born in 1858, married Annie Ewen and is a resident farmer of Scott County, Illinois; and Homer J., born in 1862, is now engaged in the jewelry and watch-making business in California. For his second wife Joseph C. Wieser chose Miss Mary Longnecker, a daughter of Joseph and Nancy Longnecker, natives of Pennsylvania, who now reside in Winchester, Illinois. they have seven children: Nannie, who was educated in the Valparaiso Normal School of Indiana, was for fifteen years a successful and competent teacher, filling positions in the schools of Winchester and of Roodhouse, and is now the wife of Carl Savage, who is acting as a salesman in the store of Gilmore & Jordan at Roodhouse; F. J. resides in St. Louis; Nellie is at home; Lutie, who was also a student in the Valparaiso Normal School, engaged in teaching for three years in Winchester and for three years has been a teacher in Roodhouse; Joseph C. is in St. Louis; and Charles E. and Ella, twins, were born in December, 1886. The son has been attending school in St. Louis since the 1st of October, 1904, and the daughter was graduated from the high school of Roodhouse in 1904. Nearly all of the older members of the family have also been graduated from the high school of Roodhouse. Mr. Wieser has provided his children with excellent school privileges, fully appreciating the value of education.
The family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Wieser is a Democrat in his political views. he is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and in 1856 he was made a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Winchester, with which he still affiliates. he has filled all the office in the lodge there and has several times been representative to the grand lodge. In 1858 he was made a Mason at Winchester and in 1879 he demitted and became a charter member of E.M. Husted Lodge, A.F. & A.M., in Roodhouse. He also belongs to the chapter and commandery in Jacksonville. he is now senior warden in the local lodge and has been past master. He is in hearty sympathy with the teachings and tenets of the craft and is a man honored in business and in citizenship as well as in fraternal and social circles. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to seek a home in the new world for he has found business conditions that he could utilize and while acquiring a comfortable competence through his well directed commercial efforts he has enjoyed the benefits of a life in a free country. As a citizen he has always been loyal to his adopted land and her institutions and he rendered to the country signal service at the time of the Civil war.