August Zelmer, who is one of the most extensive feeders in Macoupin county, owns a fine farm of two hundred acres in North Palmyra township, that he has been cultivating for twenty-four years. He was born in Wisconsin, his natal day having been the 15th of October, 1855. Frederick Zelmer, the father, was born and reared in Prussia, Germany, whence he emigrated to the United States in 1852, locating in St. Louis. After a brief residence in that city he went to Wisconsin, where he spent three years, during which time he met Miss Annette Haupt, also a native of Germany, to whom he was married in 1854. They began their domestic life on a farm in Wisconsin, but later came to Macoupin county and purchased one hundred and fifty-three acres of land in North Palmyra township. Mr. Zelmer engaged in the cultivation of his homestead until his death in 1889, at the age of sixty-six years. He was survived for twenty years by his wife who passed away when she was seventy-one. Mr. and Mrs. Zelmer were the parents of eleven children, of whom the son August is the eldest.
Being the eldest of a large family the educational advantages of August Zelmer were somewhat limited and confined to the brief winter sessions of the district schools in the vicinity of his home. From his earliest boyhood he assisted his father in the work on the farm, remaining under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. He then began to set out for himself and for four years thereafter worked by the month as a farm hand. During that time he managed to acquire sufficient means to enable him to begin his career as an agriculturist, so he rented a farm that he operated until 1887. Unceasing industry, thrift and capable management enabled him to save sufficient to buy his present homestead, which contains two hundred acres of highly cultivated and well improved land that he devotes to general farming. He has always made a specialty of feeding stock for the market, and annually ships from seven to ten carloads of cattle and hogs. Since 1893 he has been giving a great deal of attention to the breeding and raising of Poland China hogs and Shorthorn cattle, having met with most excellent success in his efforts in this direction.
Mr. Zelmer's plans for a home of his own had their culmination in his marriage on the 20th of January, 1881, to Miss Luthella F. Strate, a daughter of Steven B. and Margaret S. (Davis) Strate, natives of Ohio. The father came to Macoupin county when very young, and here he has resided for over sixty years, his people having settled here when this section of the state was little more than a wilderness. With his wife and family he removed to Iowa where he engaged in farming, the occupation he has always followed, for three years, during which time Mrs. Strate passed away. To Mr. and Mrs. Zelmer have been born five children: Bertha E., who married Coy Nevins, a farmer of North Otter township and they have three children: Mildred, Mabel and Eva; Clara L., who became the wife of Edgar Turner, a merchant at Modesto, and they had one child, Marian, who died August 21, 1911; Mamie T., who married Leonard Sullivan, a farmer in North Dakota; the two sons, Steven Harrison and Hurley F. are at home with their parents.
In politics Mr. Zelmer has always been an ardent republican, but his father gave his support to the democratic party. He takes an active interest in township matters and has served as supervisor, school director and assessor. He has met with success in his undertakings, which fact is all the more commendable because it must be attributed to his own efforts solely, and he is now living practically retired, his sons relieving him of much of the care and responsibility of the farm.