Carroll County Biographies

William Lichtenberger
Savanna, Illinois

William Lichtenberger, a member of the Board of Carroll County Supervisors, is a fine representative of the business men of Savanna who are prominent in her public life, and who are actively promoting her highest interests, socially, morally and financially. He has a well-appointed and well-stocked hardware establishment in this ciyt, and has a large and lucrative trade. He was born in the town of Wolfstein, near the song-famed "Bingen on the Rhine," in the Province of Bavaria, Germany, Sept. 21, 1842. His father, Frederic Jacob Lichtenberger, was born in the same place, and was there reared, and married Catherine Hoffer; a native of France, becoming his wife. Her father, George Hoffer, was also a native of that country and served for some years in the French army, and was a pensioner during the last years of his life.

In 1847 Mr. Lichtenberger, accompanied by his family, emigrated to this country, setting sail from Havre, and landing in New orleans on the 25th of December. There he found employment at various kinds of work, and continued to reside there until August of the following year. Then, as the climate was too warm to suit him, he embarked on board of a steamer bound up the Mississippi, and with his wife and children came to Galena. A few weeks later he hired a team to take him and his family from that place to Freeport, then a small inland town of less than 1,000 inhabitants. Mr. Lichtenberger bought property at the very low prices demanded in those days, and became one of the pioneer merchants of the place. He bought a small stock of goods, getting his supplies from Galena, which was then a place of more importance than Chicago. He made frequent trips to that town with a team, taking pork and flour there to sell, in exchange for goods for his store. He continued in business until 1857, and after that lived in retirement until his death in 1863. His wife is still l iving in Freeport. They were the parents of 12 children of whom the following grew to maturity: George, Henry, Catherine, Caroline, William, Mary, Theresa and Frances; the latter being the only one born in America.

The subject of this sketch was five years old when his parents brought him to the U.S. and he was reared and educated in the city of Freeport. At the age of 16 he learned the trade of tinsmith, serving an apprenticeship of three years; he then worked as a journeyman for five years, being industrious and prudent, he wisely saved his earnings and was enabled to go into business on his own account, and forming a partnership with Mr. Burrell, they opened a hardware store at Durand, Ill. Three years later they sold out and established themselves in the same business at Freeport. A short time afterward our subject removed his stock of goods to Shannon, where he remained until 1878. In that year he came to Savanna, and has been engaged in the hardware trade here ever since, and has been well prospered.

Mr. Lichtenberger was married in 1866 (January 1, 1867 Stephenson Co #346), to Mary E. Moran, and nine children have blessed their union - Joseph, Hatie, Fannie, Bertrand, Frederick, Jacob, William, Bessie, Nellie and Marie. The family are all consistent and valued members of the Catholic Church.

It is to such men as our subject that Savanna owes her elevation to her present position as one of the wealthiest and most important cities of Carroll County. He has heartily assisted in extending its business and commercial relations with the outside world, and as its representative on the County Board of Supervisors he has always exerted his influence to advance its highest interests in a manner highly satisfactory to his constituents, as may be judged by the fact that he has been re-elected to that office every year since his first election in 1885, and is now iserving his fourth term. He has had other valuable experience in public life, having been a member of the Town School Board and School Director six years while a resident of Shannon, and he has served six years as Alderman in Savanna. In politics, he is a Democrat and is prominent in party councils in Carroll County.

Portraits & Biographical Carroll County 1889

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