For the past quarter of a century Grand Chain has known Charles Stahlheber as one of her successful and progressive farmers. Coming to this place in 1886 from Monroe county, Illinois, he located here and while the first years of his residence as a farmer were attended by more than unusual hardships, there is nothing in his life today to indicate that he has not always been the prosperous and representative citizen which he now is.
Charles Stahlheber was born near Hecker, a small town in Monroe county, on January 25, 1851. He is the son of Martin. Stahlheber, a German immigrant born at Michaelstadt, a small province of the German Empire, in about 1820. When Martin Stahlheber was twenty-one years of age he immigrated to America, stopping at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for perhaps twelve years. He there married Miss Katie Kunkel, who died after the removal of the family to Monroe county, Illinois, in 1855, when she was forty years of age. Ten children were born of their union. They included: John, of Pinckneyville, Illinois; David, a farmer in St. Clair county, Illinois; William, of St. Louis; Charles, of Grand Chain; George and Henry, of Hecker, Illinois; Wilhelmina, the wife of Charles Esienfelder, of Pinckneyville, Illinois; Sophia, the wife of Henry Schaffer, of Freeburg, Illinois; and Mary, who married John Hepp, of Hecker, Illinois.
Such education as was possible to the Stahlhebers was of a most meager order, and Charles came to manhood with but a limited knowledge of books. He continued to be an active support of the parental home until he reached the age of twenty-eight years, when he married and established a new house of Stahlheber in the midst of the community. While he lived in his native county he resided on a rented farm, but he later removed to Pulaski county, where he became a property owner. He was one of the first German farmers to settle in Grand Chain. After he had rented a few years he was able to purchase eighty acres of farm land, which forms the center of his present estate. His industry at grain and stock raising brought him a degree of prosperity sufficient to enable him to purchase another eighty acres in five years, and thus he has continued to add to his holdings from time to time, so that he now ranks among the foremost farmers of his locality. The success which Mr. Stahlheber has enjoyed has been the positive result of his constant, unremitting toil in the years that have elapsed since he first located in Grand Chain. “Rome was not built in a day,” neither is it possible to make a verdant and prolific farm out of a stump-covered area of disheartened looking land without the application of time, money and genuine hard labor. His hands and those of his growing family have ever been busy in the making of this fine homestead, until now the sons and daughters of the home have gone out in to the world to make careers for themselves, and the burden of the years has begun to leave its mark upon the master of the house and his faithful helpmate.
On March 30, 1880, Mr. Stahlheber married in Monroe county, Illinois, Miss Louisa Ramseger, a daughter of George Ramseger, who was born at Kelen, Rhine Province, Germany, and, coming to the United States, married Miss Kate Schneider in Monroe county. Mrs. Stahlheber was born November 11, 1857, and is the eldest child of her parents. The others were Peter, who died near Grand Chain in 1911; Mary, who
married Abraham Seitz; and Lizzie, who became the wife of Joseph Cange. Mr. Ramseger died near Grand Chain in 1891, at the age of seventy-seven, and his wife passed away in Monroe county.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Stahlheber are: Lizzie, who married Arthur Gaskill, a Pulaski county farmer; Jacob is a farmer and is married to Annie Barthel; Emma is the wife of Edward Weisenbor, of Grand Chain; and Henry is still in the parental home. The Stahlheber family are communicants of the Lutheran church, and the male members of the family are adherents to principles of Republicanism, although not especially active in political circles.