The three Lengfelder brothers, Charles R., Louis and Gustavus Adolphus, come of pure German stock, their father and mother both having the blood in their veins of that strain that has given to our country some of its finest men. They have brought to our nervous, excitable, enthusiastic race the deeper intellect and calmer temperament of an older nation, and to the thrift and stability and strength of character of the parents is owing in large measure the success of the children. They are the owners of one of the largest farms in the county, and make a specialty of breeding stock of the purest strains. One of the brothers is the leading poultry raiser west of the Alleghany mountains and is the largest known importer of Imperial Pekin ducks in the country. They have gone into the business of caring for and breeding animals in a scientific manner, and are constantly trying new methods and investing money in improvements that might benefit their business. It would appear that the busiest men are the very ones who have the most time for outside affairs, and these brothers are no exception. They are all prominent in the county affairs, political, educational or economic, and they have alt held various offices, which they filled to the entire satisfaction of their fellow citizens.
Karl Daniel Lengfelder was the founder of this family in America. He was born in Germany on the 17th of June, 1836, He was well educated in his native land, and came of one of the finest families in the country, and since he had perfected himself in bookkeeping and held a fine position in the treasury of his native city, everything pointed towards a peaceful life in the land of his nativity. But it was not to be; Young Karl heard of that wonderful country where one could walk along the shore and pick up chunks of gold as large as one's fist, so nothing would do but that he should set out for that marvelous coast. His enthusiasm fired others and he had soon recruited quite a company, and in June, 1854, they landed in New Orleans with their faces turned toward the gold fields of California. At New Orleans they boarded a steamer and made their slow way up the Mississippi until they reached St. Louis. Here they were told of the long overland trip that took months, of the Indians, the sand storms, the scarcity of water, and then at the goal of
the likelihood of their finding no gold. As it was life in the new country was difficult enough to the young foreigners, and the thought of attempting such a perilous trip, with their utter lack of experience in the country, induced them to abandon their scheme. Karl. Lengfelder remained in St. Louis for one month, and then he located in St. Clair county, where he followed the trade of wagon making for some months. He soon gave this up and went to farming, working at various places until by dint of close economy he had saved enough to buy a farm of his own. He had his eye on a fine farm in St. Clair county, and had made all the preliminary arrangements when, fortunately for Jefferson county, the owner decided not to sell. Looking about for another location, Mr. Lengfelder was struck with the desirability of a farm of one hundred and thirty acres in Dodd's township and he, bought this property in August, 1880. The following winter, in February, he moved his family hither, and from that time he was uniformly successful, adding to his holdings until at the time of his death, in 1900, on the 4th of January, he owned four hundred acres.
Mr. Lengfelder married Katherine Zinlich in May, 1867. She was the daughter of Conrad Zinlich and was born in Germany on the 2nd of November, 1844. She was brought to America by her parents when quite a small child, and lived until 1860 in Baltimore. At this time her family moved to Belleville, Illinois. It was while Mrs. Lengfelder was making a visit to an aunt in 1866 that she met Mr. Lengfelder, and they were married within a year. Eight children were born of this marriage, five of whom are living. These are Charles R., Louis F. and Gustavus Adolphus, who live on the old home place; Annie P., who is Mrs. Grant and lives in Jefferson county; and Henry W. The mother of this family is yet living, at the age of sixty-seven years.
The eldest of the brofhers is Charles R., who was born on the 28th of November, 1868, on a farm in St. Clair county, Englemen township. He was educated in the schools of St. Clair and Jefferson counties. All of his life has been given to farming, he and his brothers operating the original farm of four hundred acres, to which they have added until now the acreage is a thousand acres. Since 1896 they have devoted much of their time to the breeding of horses and cattle, and they are the pioneer importers of registered horses and cattle in Jefferson county. They breed not only registered horses and cattle, but also pedigreed hogs, sheep, and poultry. Charles R. is a loyal devotee of the fraternal orders of which. he is a member. He is affiliated with the Masons of Mount Vernon and with the Knights of Pythias of the same place. His mother and father were both members of the German Evangelical church, but he is a member and sincere supporter of the First Presbyterian church of his home town. He has always been actively interested in politics and has done much to advance the cause of Republicanism in Jefferson county. He served as tax collector of Dodd's township for two terms, from 1894 to 1898, and is now serving his second term as county supervisor. Educational progress has ever been of great interest to him, and he is now serving his fourth term as township school treasurer. He was a candidate for county treasurer and led his ticket in the field, the result of the election giving him two hundred votes ahead of his ticket. This is an example of the popularity of Charles Lengfelder. It is no wonder, however, that the people like him, for he throws his whole soul into whatever he may be doing and since he only stands for the cleanest sort of politics, his neighbors are always anxious to secure him for their representative.
Gustavus Adolphus makes a specialty of poultry and is an expert in all that pertains to the raising and breeding of fowls of every description. His particular variety of chicken is the Barred Plymouth Rock,
which as a general all-round fowl is the most popular chicken among all breeders, therefore it is much more to his credit to have carried off so many prizes than if he were raising some less widely known breed, such as Lackenvelders. His Barred Rocks took practically every prize at the St. Louis Poultry Show in December, 1911, and repeated the same performance at the Illinois State Show. He also breeds Bronze Turkeys, English Toulouse Geese and White Imperial Pekin Ducks. His authorative knowledge on this subject has been recognized in his election to the presidency of the Illinois State Poultry Association. Gustavus A. was born on the 2nd of March, 1882, in Jefferson county, and he acquired his education in the same county, attending the common schools. He married Mary Lurene Williams of Piatt county and they have one child, Elsa Lurene, aged three years. He is a Republican in his political affiliations, and has been an energetic party worker. For four terms he has served as tax collector of Dodd's township. He is now serving as school director. He is a life member of the American Poultry Association, and is much interested in the work which the association as doing for raising the standard of poultry throughout the country. Both he and his wife are members of the First Presbyterian church.
Louis F. was born on the 5th of March, 1871, and lives with his brother Charles R. In addition to the education that he received in the common schools he attended the Normal College at Normal, Illinois. In his later life, after finishing his school work, he gave a great deal of his time to reading, so that now he is well educated and broadly read, therefore is a valuable force in the educational advancement of the community. He has clung to the faith of his fathers and is a member of the German Evangelical church.
The Lengfelders breed Percheron horses, which they ship to all parts of the United States, handling from forty to fifty horses annually. Their cattle are of the Shorthorn breed, and during the season of 1911 they handled about a hundred head. In one year they ship about two hundred and fifty head of hogs, the Poland China being their favorite breed. They also devote considerable attention to the raising of Shropshire sheep, shipping about a hundred head annually. Live, stirring business men are these three brothers, who have brought to their business the valuable assets of well-developed minds and bodies, and who are showing day by day that the modern economic thinkers are right in their cry of “Back to the farm,” for they are proving that the life is not only independent and profitable, but requires the keenest brains and a large amount of originality. The monotony of the farm of fifty years ago, that is the cause of so much of the congestion in our cities today, is a thing of the past. Science and pioneers like these three brothers, who were willing to go ahead and venture experiments without any certainty of the outcome, have together succeeded in giving to farm life the charm of new ideas and broader interests.