Prominent among the more prosperous German farmers of Southern Illinois, and especially Pulaski county, William Schwartz takes high rank as a representative and valuable citizen of his community. From a small beginning in 1890 he has increased his interests from time to time until he now has one of the finest farms in the state, fully equipped with the most modern appliances and with a dwelling and other buildings which would do credit to any man.
Born January 6, 1859, in St. Clair county, Illinois, Mr. Schwartz is a son of Peter Schwartz, a native of Germany who settled in that county many years before the war of the rebellion. He was born in Schleswig-Holstein, on November 2, 1828, in which place he received the advantage of a good education, and was trained in the craft of the blacksmith. He served his country in the army during the war of 1848 and in 1853 he emigrated to America in company with a brother, William, who became a resident of Arizona, near El Paso, Texas. Peter Schwartz was followed to the United States a few years later by a brother and sister, John and Margaret (Luedemann) Schwartz, who settled in St. Clair county. For a number of years following his advent to America and the state of Illinois, Mr. Schwartz followed his trade as a blacksmith, but with the acquisition of a tract of land he was emboldened to branch out into farming, a move which proved to be most profitable on his part, as he proved that he was as capable in the role of a farmer as in that of a blacksmith. In 1856 Mr. Schwartz married Barbara Ruebel, who was born near Weisbaden, Germany: She died in 1868, leaving her husband and four children to mourn her loss, The children are: John, a farmer of St. Clair county; William, of this sketch; Christopher, also a farmer of St. Clair county; and Fritz, who died in East St. Louis on December 20, 1911. Mr. Schwartz contracted a second marriage in later years, when Mary Gauss became his wife. She survives her husband, who passed away in 1899.
The education of William Schwartz was secured in the district schools of his locality, and he was for a short time an attendant at a German school near his home. He came to know the life of a farmer by his actual experience with it, and when he was twenty-three years old his father turned the county home over to him and his brother for cultivation and management. During the years which intervened
before he came to Pulaski county he accumulated some stock, farming implements and other necessary paraphernalia incidental to successful farming, and he came to Southern Illinois prepared to acquire a farm of his own. He purchased a hundred and sixty acres of land possessing rather primitive improvements, and began to raise stock and grain. He reaped a liberal reward from his applied industry and in a comparatively short time was able to add another quarter section to his estate. In 1900, ten years after he located in Pulaski county, Mr. Schwartz built himself a handsome residence, suited in every way to the demands of country life and entirely modern in the best sense of the word, in addition to which he has erected a fine lot of buildings which give him an ideal equipment for the housing of his products and his stock. All things considered, his place is one of the best and most suitably equipped that may be found in the county. In addition to his extensive farming interests, he is a stockholder in the Grand Chain Mercantile Company, one of the leading concerns of the village of Grand Chain. He shares in the political faith of his father, which was that of the Republican party, and is interested in the advancement of the cause, although his time is so fully occupied by his manifold duties in connection with the proper management of his farm that he has little time to devote to political matters. He has been a school-director for his district, giving praiseworthy service in that capacity.
On November 20, 1884, Mr. Schwartz was married to Miss Eva K. Daab, a daughter of Louis and Johanna (Fahrbeck) Daab, both of German birth and residents of Monroe county. Mr. Daab died in 1864, and two of his four children were living at that time. Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz became the parents of six children, all of whom are living. They are: William D., a farmer of Pulaski county, married Miss Lizzie Allif, who died after a few months and he took for his second wife Miss Angie Riffner; Julius, a resident of Belleville; Walter F.; Eddie P.; Frederick W.; and Albert Philip.