CAPT. WILLIAM NUNGESSER
Portrait And Biographical Record Of Northern Michigan
Containing Portraits And Biographical Sketches Of Prominent
And Representative Citizens
Record Publishing Co., 1895
|Capt. William Nungessser, the present Sheriff of Manistee County. Whatever
the natural resources of a country, or its business facilities, its history
must nevertheless depend upon the men who reside there, and who by their
energy and ability have added to the wealth and promoted the prosperity of
that locality. The subject of this sketch figures prominently among such
men, the seat of his labors being the city of Manistee, where he conducts
a large business as a dealer in general furniture, also as undertaker and
funeral director, at No. 421 River Street. In addition to the management
of this business, he is also filling the responsible position of Sheriff
of Manistee County.
In Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, the subject of this notice was born October 8, 1837, being the son of William and Margaret Nungesser. In childhood he accompanied his parents to the United States and settled on a farm in Washington County, Wis., where he grew to manhood. At Madison, Wis., in 1861, he enlisted as a member of Company D, Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry, Col. George E. Bryan commanding. He was assigned to the Seventeenth Corps, Army of Tennessee, under General McPherson. Enlisting as a private, he was promoted to be Sergeant, then became Orderly-Sergeant, later was made First Lieutenant, and finally became Captain of Company D, being promoted to the last-named position in December, 1863, as the successor of Captain Price, who was made Major.
As Lieutenant, our subject had charge of the company around Atlanta and at Rome, Ga. After he was promoted to be Captain, he led his company until the close of the war, taking part in all the engagements with Sherman's army in the march to the sea. While engaged at Johnston in North Carolina, his command learned of Lee's surrender, and immediately marched on to Washington, where they took part in the Grand Review. Several times during his service the Captain was in very close quarters, but never surrendered. He was uninjured, with the exception of two slight wounds. At Vicksburg, and at Atlanta on the day that General McPherson, the commander of the corps, was killed, Company D stood in the thickest of the fight and was conspicuous for its valor. Two hundred and sixty-five men had enlisted at the opening of the war as members of the company, but only eighty were mustered out at its close.
On the return of peace, the Captain resumed farm work in Wisconsin, and continued thus engaged until 1869, when he came to Manistee. Here, in partnership with his brother George, he opened a general mercantile store, which he continued until a disastrous fire in 1871 caused the loss of store and residence, together with the large stock carried in the former. Obliged to again begin the battle of life at the bottom of the ladder, he began as a laborer, working by the day in order that he might gain a livelihood for his wife and three little children. For three years he was occupied as a teamster, and, saving his earnings, was then enabled to enter the furniture business as a member of the firm of Lucas & Nungesser. His connection with Jacob Lucas continued for ten years, after which he sold out to his partner and opened up another store. He has a large trade and has given to his business the closest attention and most painstaking care.
Though interested in public affairs, Captain Nungesser has never sought office. He is a case where the office sought the man. For two years he served as Alderman, for one term as City Treasurer, and is now filling the position of Supervisor of the Second Ward. In 1894 he was elected Sheriff, which position he has since filled with marked efficiency and to the satisfaction of the people, being the candidate of the Republican party. For four years he was a member of the School Board, and during that time was Chairman of the Building Committee when the central, Union and other schoolhouses were built. Socially he is identified with the Grand Army of the republic, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, having been the Financial Secretary of the latter organization for four years.
January 22, 1866, Captain Nungesser married Miss Amelia Feldschneider, of Jefferson County, Wis. They have four children, namely: J. George, of Chicago; Mary, wife of George Austin, of Manistee; Minnie, who died February 22, 1893, aged twenty-two; and Charles, who is assistant to his father. The family is identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which the Captain is a Trustee, and also Treasurer of the Official Board.