During the forty-eight years of its existence the general merchandise firm of Armin B. Pinkel has grown from a small, struggling general store, typical of the country, into one of the largest and most prosperous establishments in Southern Illinois, and its trade, at the start limited to the immediate vicinity, has expanded in comparison and now covers the whole countryside. The growth and development of this business has been commensurate with the growth and development of Waterloo, in the confidence of whose people it is firmly established. The present proprietor, Armin B. Pinkel, a business man of ability and enterprise, is a son of the founder, George Pinkel, and was born September 9, 1864, at Waterloo, the year in which the concern was founded.

George Pinkel was born June 14, 1834, at Nordenstadt, in Herzog Thum, Nassau, Germany, and was brought to the United States by his parents in 1837. At the age of sixteen years he commenced to learn the trade of saddler at Belleville, Illinois, and after following that trade for some time came to Waterloo and opened a modest general store on the present site of the handsome Pinkel Block, which latter was erected in 1893. Mr. Pinkel became one of the leading capitalists of Southern Illinois, and was for a long period identified with the State Bank of Waterloo, holding the office of vice-president of that institution until failing health caused him to refuse re-election. His death occurred April 10, 1898.

Mr. Pinkel married Miss Elizabeth Koechel, who was born at Waterloo, September 12, 1842, and she died May 4, 1877, having been the mother of the following children: Armin B. and Herman, of Waterloo; Albert, cashier of the State Bank of Waterloo; William, who died August 22, 1907, at the age of thirty-eight years; Louisa, who married Dr. Louis Adelsberger; and Mrs. Albert Gauen, wife of the prominent Waterloo merchant.

Armin B. Pinkel was reared in Waterloo, received his education in the public schools of this city, and has spent his whole life here. His entire business career has been devoted to the concern of which he is now the sole owner, and which his progressive ideas and inherent ability have helped to develop. He has always made it a practice to handle only the best grades of goods obtainable, and his stock is well selected as any to be found in Southern Illinois. Enterprise, industry, fair dealing, honest principles, all these traits have combined to make his business successful, and the reputation that is his after so many years of business is proof of the esteem and respect in which he is held. In addition to his mercantile business Mr. Pinkel is the owner of a farm of three hundred and forty-eight acres, situated thirteen miles southwest of Waterloo, this property being in bottom lands and devoted to wheat and corn. He is one of the most public-spirited of Waterloo's citizens, and has been the main factor in a number of movements which have culminated in advancing the welfare of the municipality.

In 1891 Mr. Pinkel was married to Miss Fannie E. Payne, of Waterloo, daughter of Thomas J. and Margaret (Rainer) Payne, the former a native of Missouri and the latter of Illinois, and five children have been born to them: Pearl, who is eighteen years of age; Viola, aged sixteen years; Armina, fourteen years old; Esther, who is eleven; and Robert A., the baby, who has only seen one birthday.

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