To The
Carroll County Biographies

WERNER ZUGSCHWERDT

Werner Zugschwerdt is a worthy son of the Fatherland, born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, on the 17th of November, 1825. He comes of an old family resident in that place, where his grandfather, named Casper, was a masterbuilder. The latter had two children, a son named henry, born May 5, 1799 and a daughter, named Anna Elizabeth born March 10, 1800. Henry was the father of Werner, and was reared, educated and married in Hesse-Darmstadt, his wife's maiden name being Elizabeth Catherine Mueller. They were the parents of twelve children of whom three died in infancy; one son, Harry died at the age of twenty years in Germany and the following came to the United States; Armenia, John, Werner, conrad, Christiana, Henry, Theodora, and Eliza. Three are still surviving - Werner, Henry and Theodora. The father of this numerous family came to the US first in 1844, and stayed her until June 1, 1846 when he returned to Germany to see his family, whom he had left behind, In 1847 he came back to the US but returned to Germany in 1852, and in the fall of that year came back to America with his entire family, locating in Fair Haven Twp. Carroll County, where he had previously commenced to improve a farm. On this place the parents lived until their death; the father making one more trip to the Fatherland in the year 1855. He died Dec. 21, 1878; the mother died Jan. 1, 1885.

On April 8, 1846, Werner started from his native country to join his father in America. He took passage on a German sailing vessel named the Lesmona, commanded by Capt. George W. Gergen, the voyage lasting forty-two days, landing in New york City, June 1. When he had got as far as Troy PA., on his way westward, he learned through correspondence that he had passed his father in New York City, the latter being on his way home to Germany. Werner then determined to stay in PA for a time, and he worked there until Sept. 1, 1850 when he came to the county, working out by the month during that fall and winter. In the spring of 1851, in partnership with a Mr. Henry Klein, he rented a farm, but the following spring found him with only a note for $40, which he traded for a claim of 160 acres, of which twenty were under cultivation. When he arrived in this country he had $200, which he had saved in PA, and which he lost on the rented farm, and was in debt $150 besides. He worked the 20 acre claim until the spring of 1853, when he pre-empted 160 acres. Buying a team of oxen on time, he broke prairie and sowed a part of his land to wheat. A bountiful crop rewarded his labor, which, when harvested, brought enough to pay for the entire farm. Thus he got his start in life, and from this humble beginning has grown his present prosperity. Our subject took an active part in the township organization, which was effected in the year 1853, and at the first election of town officers he was elected Constable.

April 29, 1860 Mr. Zugschwerdt was united in marriage iwth Catherine, daughter of John and mary Eiszfelter, natives of Hesse-Darmstadt. Of this union nine children were born, six sons and three daughters, all but one now surviving. William was born Feb. 4, 1861; Mary, Aug. 4, 1862; Carl, April 23, 1864; John, Dec. 28, 1865; Henry E., April 17, 1870, Annie M. March 5, 1872, Lewis, May 23, 1874, and Frank W. Dec. 11, 1876. The deceased child named Mary A., as born March 20, 1868 and died may 3 of the same year. These children have all been reared on the fine farm which is now their father's home.

Great changes have taken place in the country, as well as in the condition of Mr. Zugschwerdt, since he first came to this county. His life upon first coming here was one of hardships and privations but with indomitable will and unbounded energy he encountered and surmounted them. While proving up his original claim he slept in a rail pen with a straw roof, and was by day engaged in the hard labor of breaking the raw prairie. Now in addition to the 160 acres he pre-empted on sections 1 and 2, he owns 712 acres, lying on sections 11,12,13 and 14. Then his grain had to be taken to market by team; now here is a railroad at Chadwick, one and one half miles from his residence. Then thee was no school in the township; now there is a graded school built on a part of his land. his nearest market then, except a mill at Mt. Carroll, was at savanna; now the railroad brings the market almost to his door.

The man whose name heads this sketch has been a potent factor in the prosperity of his township and has contributed liberally to every enterprise calculated to inure to its benefit. He took and active part in getting the town of Chadwick located here, doing much hard work toward that object, and donating $165 to the company which bought the town site. He owns a fourth interest in the hotel at Chadwick, which is a fine, well-built, two-story brick building, well finished and completely furnished and cost over $6,000.

Our subject is purely a self-made man. Beginning somewhat worse off than having nothing at all, he now has his farms all well-improved and under a perfect state of cultivation. He has a fine, large frame residence, large barns, and all the other necessary buildings for successfully handling his stock and preserving the products of the farm. Of this world's goods he has an ample supply for the comfort and happiness of himself and family. In 1872 he served as Supervisor of the township and has held the school offices. He and his entire family are members of the Lutheran Church, in which he ws reared, and he has the conficence and respect of the entire community.

Contributed by Christine Walters - Portraits and Biographical 1889

WERNER ZUGSCHWERDT (deceased), for many years was one of the active, public spirited and useful men of Carroll county. He was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, November 17, 1825, and was a son of Henry and Elizabeth Catherine (Mueller) Zugschwerdt. The grandfather, Casper Zugschwerdt was a master builder by trade. He had two children, Henry and Elizabeth. Henry Zugschwerdt was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, May 5, 1799, and there was reared, obtained his education, married and became the father of twelve children. He came first to America in 1844 and remained until June, 1846, when he returned to his family in Germany. In the following year he came back to the United States and remained until 1852, when he once more visited his native land but returned to America in the fall of the same year, when he was accompanied by his entire family, his wife and the following children: John, Conrad, Christina, Henry and Theodora, Werner being already in the United States. The father had already provided a home for his family in Fair Haven township, Carroll county, Ill., and on that farm, which he improved to some extent, he and wife died, his death occurring December 21, 1878, and that of his widow, January 1, 1885. Werner Zugschwerdt left his native land on April 8, 1846, to join his father in America, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing ship that required forty-two days to make the passage. He was safely landed in the harbor of New York and started for his father's farm in Carroll county. He had reached Troy, Pa., on his western way, when he learned that he had passed his father in New York, who was then on his way to Germany. The young man then secured work in Pennsylvania in which State he remained until September 1, 1850, when he came on to Carroll county and worked by the month until the spring of 1851, when, in partnership with Henry Klein he rented a farm. This first venture did not prove altogether successful but he then secured a claim of 160 acres of partly cultivated land. Having lost all the money he had saved, he was obliged to go into debt for a team of oxen, with which he broke up the wild prairie, sowed a portion of his land in wheat and the rich soil responded with a generous harvest. This brought a change in his fortunes and from that time on he prospered and became a man of ample fortune in the course of years, through his industry and frugal method of living. To his first 160 acres he had gradually added until, at the time of death he owned 880 acres, situated on sections 1, 2,11,12,13 and 14, Fair Haven township, Carroll county. He was a man of excellent judgment and in the early organization of the township, which was effected in 1853, he was wise, careful and prudent and his advice was very generally followed by his fellow settlers. At the time of the first township election he was chosen as constable. On April 29, 1860, Mr. Zugschwerdt was married to Miss Catherine Eiszfeler, a daughter of Mary and John Eiszfeler, also of Hesse Darmstadt, and to this union six sons and three daughters were born, the second child, Mary, born March 20, 1868, died May 3, 1868, as did the first. The record of the others is as follows: William, who was born February 4, 1861, is a prosperous farmer in Fair Haven township. Mary married Frederick Gildmacher, now retired. Charles is a well known resident of Carroll county. John is a successful farmer of South Dakota. Henry E., who was born April 17, 1870, is a merchant at Chadwick. Annie M., who was born march 5, 1872, is the wife of S. J. Smith, who is a farmer near Chadwick, Ill. Lewis, who was born in 1874, is a prosperous farmer on the old homestead in Fair Haven township. Frank W., who was born December 11, 1876, is assistant cashier of the First national Bank of Chadwick. This family was reared in the faith of the Lutheran Church, of which the parents were members and liberal supporters. Mr. Zugschwerdt saw many changes take place during his long life and he contributed largely to the development of this section. He gave of his means to purchase the town site of Chadwick, helped to build the hotel there which was erected at a cost of $6,000. He assisted in other public enterprises, including helping to raise the necessary amount to secure the extension of the railroad to Chadwick, and in every relation of life was a worthy and good man.

Contributed by Carol Parrish -
Transcribed from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County, Vol. II, Munsell Publishing Company, 1913, p. 935.

Descendants of Werner Zugschwerdt, a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, are numerous in the Chadwick area. Werner was born Nov. 17, 1825, one of a family of twelve children, representing an old family line in the former province of Hesse in western Germany where his grandfather, Casper, was a master builder.

Henry Zugschwerdt, Werner's father, came to the United States first in 1844 and stayed here until 1846 when he returned to Germany to see his family whom he had left behind. In 1847 he came back to the United States but returned to Germany in 1852. In the fall of that year he came back to America with his entire family, locating in Fair Haven Township, Carroll county, where he had previously commenced to improve a farm.

On April 8, 1846, Werner Zugschwerdt started from his native country to join his father in America. He took passage on a German sailing vessel, named the "Lesmona." The voyage lasted forty-two days; he landed in New York City June 1. When he reached Troy, Pa. on his way westward, he learned through correspondence that he had passed his father in New York City, the latter being on his way home to Germany.

Werner then determined to stay in Pennsylvania for a time, and he worked there until September 1, 1850. At that time he came to Carroll county, and worked out by the month during that fall and winter.

In the spring of 1851, in partnership with a Mr. Henry Klein, he rented a farm, but the following spring found him with only a note for S40. He traded this for a claim of 160 acres, of which twenty acres were under cultivation. When he arrived in Carroll county he had $200 which he had saved in Pennsylvania. He lost this on the rented farm and was in debt $150 besides. He worked the 20 acre claim until the spring of 1853, when he preempted 160 acres. Buying a team of oxen on time, he broke the prairie and sowed a part of his land to wheat. A bountiful crop rewarded his labor, which, when harvested, brought enough to pay for the entire farm.Thus he got his start in life, and from this humble beginning grew to present prosperity. He took an active part in the township organization, which was effected in the year 1853, and at the first election of town officers, he was elected constable.

On April 29, 1860, Werner Zugschwerdt was united in marriage to Catherine. daughter of John and Mary Eiszfelter, natives of Hesse-Darmstadt. Of this union, nine children s~ere born: William, 1861; Mary, 1862: Charles, 1864; John, 1865; Henry, 1870; Annie, 1872; Lewis, 1874; and Frank, 1876. Another child,Mary, born in 1868, died in infancy. These children were all raised on the family farm a mile south of Chadwick.

Werner Zugschwerdt became a prosperous man after settling in Carroll county. While proving up his original claim, he slept in a rail pen with a straw roof, and was by day engaged in the hard labor of breaking raw prairie. To the first 160 acres he preempted on Sections 1 and 2, he added 712 acres lying in sections 11. 12, 13. and 14. Until the railroad came through Chadv. ick, he took his grain to market by team. Except for a mill at Mt. Carroll, the nearest market at that time was at Savanna.

Zugschwerdt was a potent factor in the prosperity of Fair Haven township. He contributed liberally to everr enterprise planned for its benefit. He took an active part in getting the town of Chad'.~ ick located where it is, doing much hard work toward that end, and donating $l65 to the company which bought the town site. The Chadwick school is built on a part of his land. In 1872, he served as supervisor of the township, and has held school offices. He and his family were members of the Lutheran Chruch.

Much of the land owned by Werner Zugschwerdt is still owned by his descendants. The original family farm is owned by his grandaughter and husband, William and Gertrude Zugschwerdt Linker. Three generations of the family were born on this farm; William Zugschwerdt, Mrs. Linker, and Duane Linker. Another farm, which also was a portion of the land owned by Werner Zugschwerdt. A third farm is owned by Mrs. Guy Mackey. All are grandchildren of Werner Zugschwerdt. Elmer Zugschwerdt is the son of Charles Zugschwerdt, and MRs. Linker and Mrs. Mackey are daughters of WIlliam Zugschwerdt.

Source: A Goodly Heritage

Back home