WILLIAM M. SCHUWERK.
Pre-eminent among the many important factors in the political life of Evansville and Randolph county stands Judge William M. Schuwerk, judge of Randolph county, and for many years recognized as a particularly able exponent of the legal fraternity in his section of the state. A resident of Evansville since his early youth, he is correspondingly well known in that place, and as a skillful lawyer, a successful and honored judge, as a man of family, and the friend of the people, his place in his community is most firmly established.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, April 12, 1856, William M. Schuwerk is the son of Paul Schuwerk. The latter was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1814, and migrated to this country in 1844. In Cleveland he married Miss Elizabeth Moser, a young woman of Swiss extraction, born in 1828, and who died in Evansville in 1891. Paul Schuwerk passed away in 1869. The issue of their union were William M., Mary, who became the wife of Henry G. Meyerott, of St. Louis, and Annie, who married A. C. Douglass and also resides in St. Louis.
The childhood and youth of Judge Schuwerk were passed upon his father's farm in Randolph county, and his early schooling was received in the parochial schools of Evansville, wherein he was taught in the mother tongue of his parents. Later he was sent to the public schools that he might become thoroughly grounded in English, and following his graduation from the public schools he entered McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois. He finished a scientific course in that institution, graduating therefrom in 1882, with the degree of M. S., and later he finished a course in law with the degree of LL. B. He was admitted to the bar of the state of Illinois upon presentation of his diploma, and he became a member of the bar of the state courts and of the Federal courts at about the same time.
Prior to the completion of his college courses, Judge Schuwerk spent some little time as a teacher in the public schools, and following his graduation he resumed that work for a period of three years, concluding his pedagogic experience when he was principal of the Evansville schools. He then established a law office in Evansville, entering into a partnership with a Mr. Hood, of Chester, Illinois, in 1885, from which time an office was maintained in each of the two towns, the firm name being Hood and Schuwerk.
As the conditions of rural practice necessitate, Mr. Schuwerk followed all branches of the law, conducting cases through all the courts with appellate jurisdiction as they chanced to reach there. In criminal cases he was always a defender, and many of his cases have either resulted in the establishment of a new precedent, or in giving rise to a new interpretation of the law. His political relations Judge Schuwerk has extended through the channels of Democracy. He has held few offices, his first official position being that of chancery judge of Randolph county and his second that of county judge, to which latter position he was elected as a Democratic candidate in November, 1910, the successor of Judge Taylor. In 1889 he was chosen to represent his county in the Illinois general assembly. He belonged to the minority party of that body, looking with a feeling something like chagrin upon the many transactions of the lower house, although its proceedings were dictated by many of the old and what might be termed political statesmen of the Republican party of that day.
The corporations of Evansville have been aided in their ambitions for a charter existence by the machinations of Judge Schnwerk. He assisted in the organization of the Evansville Building & Loan Association, the Evansville Telephone Company, and the N. & W. Sauer Milling Company. He also was an active factor in the securing of the Illinois Southern Railroad for this point, in raising the cash bonus of fourteen thousand dollars, and also in securing a portion of the right-of-way, all of which have been very material aids to the growth and prosperity of Evansville. Judge Schuwerk has always been more or less interested in farming and is the owner of some especially fine farm land adjacent to this locality in the Okaw bottoms.
On June 7, 1883, Judge Schuwerk married Miss Mary M. Hoffman, a daughter of Michael and Josephine Hoffman, of Mascoutah, Illinois. Mr. Hoffman was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, but his wife is of Swiss birth. Mrs. Schuwerk was born in Macon county, Illinois, June 25, 1862, and she and Judge Schuwerk are the parents of Myrtle M., the wife of H. P. Sauer, of Etherton, Illinois; William M., a law student in the father's office; Walter J., a student in McKendree College; and Paul Edward, the youngest of the family.
Fraternally Judge Schuwerk is affiliated with a number of important societies. He is master of Kaskaskia lodge, No. 86, A. F. & A. M., the first masonic body established or organized in Illinois, and he has on several occasions represented it in the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He is deputy grand master of Elwood Lodge, No. 895, I. 0. 0. F., and a member of Hercules lodge, No. 285, Knights of Pythias, of Chester. He is the present representative of the Evansville I. 0. 0. F. to the State Grand lodge, and he also belongs to the Stanley Chapter, No. 103, Royal Arch Masons, at Sparta, Illinois, and to Murphysboro lodge, No. 572, of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.