WILLIAM HEIDEMANN, the leading general merchant of Brighton, established business at that place in October, 1868. He began on a small scale and has steadily worked his way upward, enlarging his stock as the volume of his trade increased until he now has the most important business in the place. His store is well supplied with all kinds of merchandise and by his untiring efforts, his pleasant manner and his fair dealing he has secured a liberal share of the public patronage.
Mr. Heidemann was born in Faren Haultz Depniolt, Germany, on the 10th of February, 1834, and is a son of Fred Heidemann who spent his entire life in the Fatherland, dying at the age of fifty-one years. The mother, whose maiden name was Florentena Karnaman, long survived her husband and at the age of eighty-two crossed the Atlantic with a son and daughter, locating in Brighton, in 1880, where she died two years later, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Heidemann were members of the Evangelical Church.
The subject of this sketch acquired a good education in his native tongue and when about eighteen years of age started out in life for himself. Soon he obtained an excellent position in the home of one of the millionaires of Bremen, being for seven years in the employ of Mr. Oelreach of the German Lloyd steamship line. For some time he was at the head of that gentleman's household affairs, and in 1859, when he decided to emigrate to America, Mr. Oelreach gave him a passage upon a sailing vessel bound for New Orleans. After a voyage of seven weeks he first set foot upon American soil and coming up the Mississippi River made his first location at Brighton but after a short time went to Madison County, where for a time he worked as a farm hand. About 1861, he went to St. Louis, where he secured a position in the well-known dry goods house of Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney. He was a trusted and faithful salesman in that house for several years, during which time he acquired an excellent knowledge of business methods and by economy procured a capital sufficient to embark in business for himself. He then returned to Brighton and opened a general merchandise store in this place, where he has since carried on a successful business.
While residing in St. Louis, Mr. Heidemann was united in marriage with Caroline Gaegel, a native of the Fatherland, born in 1841. She came alone to America in 1859, and made her home in St. Louis until her marriage. She has been a true helpmate to her husband and has faithfully watched over the interests of the household, while Mr. Heidemann has labored to support the family. Unto them were born thirteen children, nine of whom are now living - William, a commercial traveler employed by the Martin Clothing Company of St. Louis; Emma who is at the head of her father's store in Brighton, being a young woman of excellent business ability; Amelia at home; Henry, a liveryman at Brighton; Adolph, who is educating himself for a mechanical engineer and is now engaged with the St. Louis Screw Company; Henrietta, who is assisting her father in the store; Anna, Helena and Hulda at home. The parents of this family are leading members of the Evangelical Church, Mr. Heidemann having given more than any one else for the erection of their house of worship. He is also regarded as a valued and enterprising citizen and has served as Councilman for two years. In politics he is a reliable and stalwart Republican.