WILLIAM NEIMEYER. For a number of years, the late William Neimeyer was one of the progressive and enterprising business men of Mount Olive, Macoupin County, Illinois, and vice-president of the Keiser & Neimeyer Mercantile Company. Mr. Neimeyer was born July 5, 1844, in Holzfeld, Prussia, and was a son of F. William and C. M. (Meddewag) Neimeyer. Both parents passed their lives in their native land, where the father was engaged in farming. Both were worthy members of the Lutheran Church.
In 1865, William Neimeyer decided to seek his fortune across the Atlantic, took passage on the vessel "Stella," and after a voyage of 56 days reached the port of New York. Remembering that he was but a lad of 16 years, with limited capital and no knowledge of either the language or customs of the new land in which he was then forced to make his way unaided, it speaks well for his industry, pluck and ability, that in a comparatively short time he was established in a business of his own. In search of work, he drifted to St. Louis, Missouri, working his way honestly and economically until at last, at Mount Olive, he secured an appreciative employer in the late John C. Niemann, himself a native of Germany. For three years he worked at farm labor for Mr. Niemann, each year proving more and more valuable to his employer, and then entered Mr. Niemann's store as a clerk. In 1873, the business was reorganized and Mr. Neimeyer, who had become a member of Mr. Niemann's family by marriage, was given an interest, and the present firm of Keiser & Neimeyer was established. It has developed into the largest mercantile establishment in Macoupin County, and is the oldest business house in Mount Olive. At a later date, Mr. Niemann retired and the firm was again reorganized, with C. J. Keiser, president; F. G. Droste, secretary; William Neimeyer, vice-president and H. H. Droste, treasurer.
The late William Neimeyer undoubtedly possessed an unusual business faculty. Few of his enterprises were unsuccessful and his advice was considered by his fellow citizens of inestimable value. He accumulated much property, both in Mount Olive and in Macoupin County and in various portions of the West. A late investment was the purchase of a tract of wooded land, in the vicinity of Mount Olive, with the idea of establishing here a summer resort which would secure the ready patronage of residents of St. Louis and neighboring cities. The stocking of the reservoir with a fine school of fish is recalled as one of his public spirited acts.
Mr. Neimeyer owned probably the finest home in Mount Olive - a beautiful residence, fitted with every modern improvement. The building of this home and the installing of his family was a source of the greatest gratification to Mr. Neimeyer, who was always most devoted to wife and children.
On April 29, 1869, William Neimeyer was united in marriage with Sophia Niemann, the second daughter of the late John C. Niemann, a sketch of whom will be found in this work. The father of Mrs. Neimeyer was born April 12, 1817, and died September 9, 1896, one of the largest capitalists of his section. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Neimeyer; Edward, who died June 21, 1897; William, who died in infancy; Emily, who has succeeded his father in business; and Juliet, who in February, 1904, became the wife of A. E. Fisher, the junior member of the drug firm of Koch & Fisher. On September 2, 1903, Emily Neimeyer married Nettie A. Birtley, who is a daughter of J. V. Birtley, a coal magnate of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The late William Neimeyer was a worthy member and a liberal supporter of Zion Lutheran Church, of Mount Olive, of which his family are also members. He was known for his many acts of generosity, for his genial, cheery temperament and for those, honest, manly virtues, which will cause him to be long recalled with feelings of the highest esteem in the city where he spent so many useful, busy years.