HERMAN THEODORE BECHTOLD, M. D.
To become eminent in any profession, or more than ordinarily successful in any calling, requires certain qualifications, not all of which are gifts of Nature. Heredity, no
doubt, has a great determining influence, but to become perfectly competent and able to meet and overcome competition, there must be perseverance, concentration of energies and practical training. This is as true in its application to medical science as to any line of activity. In this connection may be mentiond one of the leading professional men of St. Clair county, Dr. Herman Theodore Bechtold, whose residence and immediate field of practice is at O'Fallon. He was born at Belleville, Illinois, November 10, 1853, and is a son of Frederick and Eugenia (De Bassomppiere) Bechtold.
Frederick Bechtold was born at Mainz, Germany, in May, 1819, where he was reared in a home of refinement and was afforded educational advantages. In 1849 he came to America, and after a short period of residence in the city of New York he came to Illinois, locating at Belleville. Shortly afterward he pre-empted a claim near St. Paul, Minnesota, and endeavored to clear his land and put it under cultivation, but he was totally unused to exposure and had never been trained to manual work, and after a trial of three years abandoned the venture. He established himself in the furniture and upholstering business at Belleville, and through honorable business methods so gained the confidence of his fellow citizens that at the opening of the Civil war he was given an important political position, within the gift of the Republican party, being made collector and assessor of what was then the Twelfth congressional district of Illinois. In 1866 he embarked in insurance and did a large volume of business, subsequent to his death, September 22, 1894, from an attack of pneumonia, having retired. He was married at Brussels, Belgium, to Eugenia A. F. De Bassomppiere, who died July 4, 1882. She was a daughter of F. George De Bassomppiere, a counselor at law and one of the royal ministers to King Leopold. To this union twelve children were born, as follows: Eugenia; Frederick W., who is a banker at Bellaire, Michigan; Louis J., who is a surgeon of note, residing at Belleville, Illinois; Rudolph, who is deceased, was a retired capitalist; Louisa, who is Mrs. M. Fuirer; Eliza, who is Mrs. Adolph Newhoff, residing at Belleville; Herman T.; Adelle, who is the wife of Dr. John Massey, of Belleville; Flora and Florian, both of whom are deceased; William G., who is a physician at Breese, Illinois; and Adolph O., who is now deceased, was a physician at Freeburg, Illinois. The parents of the above family attended the Evangelical church.
Herman Theodore Bechtold attended the public schools of Belleville until 1868, and in the following year entered a drug store at Belleville to learn the drug business, but after two years he became a student in Washington University, at St. Louis, Missouri, and in 1875 was graduated in the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Returning to Belleville he continued in the drug business there until 1877, when he entered seriously upon the study of medicine, for which his previous studies had well prepared him, and in 1880 he was graduated from the Missouri Medical College. Immediately afterward he located at O'Fallon and has continued in active practice here ever since and has likewise identified himself with the leading interests of the place. He is second vice president of the First National Bank of O'Fallon and has made large property investments, owning a beautiful residence here.
Dr. Bechtold was married September 13, 1881, to Miss Katie S. Pffefer, of Lebanon, Illinois, who died December 6, 1904. His second marriage took place on November 17, 1910, to Mrs. Ella Merk Bechtold, widow of Dr. Adolph O. Bechtold. Mrs. Bechtold had two children by her first marriage.
In politics Dr. Bechtold is a Republican and at present is serving in his third continuous term as president of the board of education, of
which he had previously been a member for some years. For a prolonged period he served as a trustee of McKendree College. He is a Mason of prominence, a Knight Templar, thirty-second degree and a Shriner. Dr. Bechtold makes a specialty in his practice of diseases of the eye, nose, throat and ear, and the year 1896 he spent traveling in Europe, during which time he attended clinics in Germany, the acknowledged home of medical scientific knowledge. He is a valued member of the St. Clair County Medical Society.