In the death of Thomas Koenigsmark, which occurred January 14, 1911, at Waterloo, Southern Illinois lost another honored citizen, and his adopted city a man who for more than a quarter of a century had devoted his energies to advancing the interests of his community. A self-made man, who came to this country as a poor imimgrant boy, without money or friends, he in time became a power in the commercial world and the organizer and promoter of vast industries which have made Waterloo an important milling center. Mr. Koenigsmark was born at Merklin, Bohemia, October 2, 1835, and as a youth heard of the wonderful fortunes to be made in the far-off America and yearned to seek success here. Eventually, when he was only thirteen years of age, he succeeded in accumulating enough money to pay his passage to New Orleans, making the journey alone and arriving in that city when it was in the grip of the yellow fever epidemic. In 1855 he came up the river to St. Louis, but subsequently settled at Columbia, where he was first employed as a clerk in Beaird's store. Later he followed the trade of tailor for a short time, and was engaged in the brick business for another short period, owning a yard where the Columbia depot now stands, prior to the building of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.
In 1863 Mr. Koenigsmark entered the mercantile field as the propri
etor of a store, and successfully conducted it until he purchased the old Gardner Mill, at Columbia. When the Chouteau and Edwards Mill, at Waterloo, was completely destroyed by fire in 1884 the citizens of this city asked him to build a new mill, and this he did in 1886, erecting the present Koenigsmark Mill on the old foundations, at that time considered the finest mill in this part of the country. Mr. Koenigsmark was progressive in all things, and was a firm believer in using the most modern machinery and methods. During the thirty-six years that he was engaged in milling he saw many changes in milling methods, and was ever abreast of the times.
While Mr. Koenigsmark's business career kept his time well occupied, he found leisure to enjoy those pleasures that made his home life beautiful. He was a great lover of music, the violin being his favorite instrument, and in his younger days showed considerable talent as a performer. Successful himself, he enjoyed the success of others, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand to those in need of assistance. Any worthy person who appealed to him was sure of receiving valuable advice as well aa pecuniary help, and the full extent of his charities probably will never be known. Mr. Koenigsmark retired from active business affairs in 1899, removed to St. Louis, and there purchased a handsome residence at No. 2911 Russel avenue, where his death occurred. He was a member of the St. Louis Merchants Exchange for many years, and held considerable stock in the Schoening-Koenigsmark Milling Company, at Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Mr. Koenigsmark died a successful man, the result of great energy, thrift and business ability. He was a man of great force of character, and in disposition modest and unassuming. His large and varied business connections made him an important factor in the business life of Waterloo, and his death was a distinct loss to his community.
Mr. Koenigsmark was married to Miss Theresa Geiger, and they had a family of eleven children, of whom four survive: Jacob J., John J., Mrs. Henry Becker and Miss Adela.