H. H. Marbold, a prominent representative of the business interests of Greenview and Menard county, has made consecutive advancement in an active career, wherein success has been won through methods which neither seek or require disguise. Watchful of opportunity, he has made good use of the advantages which are common to all, and by his unfaltering diligence and careful investment has gained gratifying prosperity. As a banker and livestock dealer he is well known and to the latter industry has devoted his energies since his boyhood days.
Mr. Marbold was born in Badbergen, the province of Hanover, Germany, April 21, 1835, his parents being John H. and Maria E. (Sherhorn) Marbold, both of whom were natives of Hanover, the former born May 7, 1800, while the birth of the latter occurred on the 2d of February, 1809. His name was John H. Wernsing, but he was adopted by his aunt, Mrs. Catherine (Adlheit) Marbold, the provision being named that he was to assume her name. He was married on the 3d of November, 1829, to Marie E. Sherhorn, and they became the parents of six children, of whom two are now living. The mother departed this life in September, 1843, and the other members of the family came to America in 1847, landing at New Orleans on the 17th of November. In 1846 J. W. Wernsing, an own brother of J. H. Marbold, went with his wife to Germany to visit Mr. Marbold, who had a fine farm in the province of Hanover. After discussing with his brother the possibilities and opportunities of the two countries Mr. Marbold decided to sell his farm in Germany and come to America, which he did in 1847. After a short time spent in New Orleans, they made their way to Petersburg, Menard county, where they arrived on the 6th of December, 1847. They remained in Petersburg for about three years, after which the father purchased two hundred acres of land near the village of Greenview, and the family settled thereon. Since that time the property has constituted the Marbold homestead.
H. H. Marbold acquired a good literary education and also received good training in business methods under the direction of his father, who furnished him means with which to enable him to trade in cattle when quite young. He has since successfully followed the business and by careful purchases and judicious sales has added annually to his income. As he found opportunity he also added to his landed possessions which now aggregate four thousand acres, upon which he grazes and feeds a large number of cattle each year. The extent of his operations in this direction have made him one of the leading stock dealers of central Illinois.
A man of resourceful business activity he has also extended his efforts into other lines and as a banker is also widely known. In 1876 he erected a large two-story brick building in the village of Greenview, at a cost of twelve thousand dollars, in which was established a bank, conducted under the firm name of Marbold, Alkire & Company. The relationship was maintained until 1879, when Mr. Alkire withdrew, M. M. Engle, who was the silent partner of the firm, continued with Mr. Marbold until 1883, when he, too, disposed of his interests, leaving Mr. Marbold as sole proprietor of what is recognized as one of the most reliable and trustworthy financial concerns of this part of the county. He has followed a safe, conservative policy and yet one in which progress has kept him abreast with the spirit of the times in business affairs. In 1890 he acquired one hundred shares of the capital stock of the First National Bank of Petersburg and in May, 1891, secured twenty more, while later an additional purchase made him the holder of two hundred and forty shares altogether. Long business experience and careful consideration of possibilities and trade conditions have enabled him to so conduct his affairs as rarely, if ever, to make a mistake in matters of business judgment, and the straightforward policy to which he has ever closely adhered proves what many are inclined to dispute, that prosperity and an honorable name may be won simultaneously.
On the 28th of June, 1860, Mr. Marbold was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Hackman, who was born near Ueffeln, in the province of Hanover, Germany, January 14, 1840, and came to America in 1857. They were married in Beardstown, Illinois, and became the parents of six children, three of who are living. Those deceased are Dora, who was born July 24, 1871, and died February 26, 1877; Henry H., who was born April 6, 1874, and died February 19, 1877; and a babe, who died in infancy. The living are Anna M., the wife of Henry Wernsing, born August 21, 1861; H. J., born April 17, 1865; and Benjamin F., born December 14, 1877. In 1870 Mr. Marbold returned to his native country with his father, his wife and two of their children, but they were blockaded on account of the German and French war and had to return by way of Holland to Grimsby, England, thence to Liverpool and on to New York city. In 1896 Mr. Marbold again crossed the water, this time being accompanied by his wife and sister, Mrs. Annie Engle, and his son Benjamin, who had just graduated from the military school at Worcester, Massachusetts. While in the fatherland he found and purchased an old desk that had been in the Marbold family for almost two hundred years and had it shipped to his home in Menard county. It is a very large piece of furniture -- a desk and bookcase combined -- made from oak and veneered with black walnut finely finished inside and out. It contains mainly secret drawers, containing some of the laws made by Napoleon, which the people were ordered to destroy after the French emperor was banished.
Mr. Marbold is a man of strong domestic tastes, and his devotion to his family has ever been one of his salient characteristics. The death of his wife therefore came as a particularly telling blow to the family. On the 24th of August, 1903, Mrs. Marbold, accompanied by her daughter, Mrs. Wernsing, started for the north on a visit and pleasure trip. She was not in good health at the time, but no alarm was felt. While visiting in Duluth, Minnesota, however, she was taken ill and a summons brought her husband and children to her bedside. She passed away September 15, 1903. Her friends cherish her memory, for she was one of the most beloved women of Menard county, possessing the traits of character which endeared her to all with whom she came in contact. She presided over her attractive home with gracious and cordial hospitality, and her kindly spirit was manifest in her tactful treatment of all. Elmwood, the beautiful family home, was the center of her universe, and all felt better who come within the radius of its cheering influence. The funeral services were held in the German Lutheran church and interment made at Rose Hill. Many and beautiful were the floral tokens of love and respect seen about the bier, and the church was inadequate for the large concourse of people who thus attested their love and friendship. Many from neighboring towns and more remote places were in attendance; hers was the largest funeral ever held in Greenview.
The three surviving children occupy homes which were given them by their father, those of H. J. Marbold and Mrs. Wernsing being among the finest residences of this part of the state, while Benjamin F. resides at the old home once occupied by his sister Mrs. Wernsing. The present elegant home of Mrs. Wernsing would grace the boulevards of any of the finest and largest cities of either America or Europe. It is built entirely of stone with great broad verandahs on three sides and the interior finishing is thoroughly in keeping with the outside. It is without doubt the finest residence in central Illinois and there is nothing to compare with it in Menard county.
Mr. Marbold has been a student of the conditions of the county and its possibilities and his support can always be counted upon in relation to measures which have for their object the general welfare. In fact, statistics show that the Marbold family have done more toward the development and improvement of Menard county than any other family here living. Mr. Marbold came to this country as an American citizen and has the strongest attachment for the country and her institutions. His political allegiance is given the Democratic party, and he is a firm believer in the principle of free trade, having given thoughtful and earnest consideration to the question, his opinions being fostered by study at home and also of conditions abroad.
In the summer of 1904 Mr. Marbold gave a tract of eight acres of land to be used as a cemetery for Greenview and at this writing, in November, 1904, he is erecting a memorial gate in memory of his wife. It is built of pressed brick and Bedford stone and granite, the memorial inscription to be upon the granite. This beautiful city of the dead is a splendid tribute to the memory of one whose life was devoted so largely to promoting the comfort and happiness of those around her and whose many acts of kindness cause her memory to remain as a beneficent influence with all who knew her.
Mr. Marbold has been liberal in his contributions to moral and educational enterprises, and the churches and schools of his neighborhood have found in him a warm friend. Menard county owes much to his progressive spirit and too much can not be said in his praise, for he has been indeed the advance agent of prosperity to the community at large and it is with the greatest pleasure that we present the history of himself and family to the readers of this volume, knowing that therein the younger generation will find a worthy example to pattern after. He is a man of unabating energy, of unfaltering honesty and industry that never flags, whether in connection with public affairs or private interests, and without invidious distinction may well be termed one of the foremost men of Menard county.