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Jackson County, Illinois



[Source: October 16, 1923 Murphysboro Daily Independent]


That America is a land of opportunity has been proven many times to the satisfaction of everyone except the disgruntled misfits who lack ability to enter the door of success as it is open to them.
That Murphysboro has many citizens who have thus proven their ability to wring success out of the most meager opportunities is proven time and again. Among those outstanding citizens is Henry BORGSMILLER of the Borgsmiller Wholesale Grocery Co.  He came to Murphysboro in 1885, at a time when mining was the sole industry and went to work in the coal mines. In his youth he had learned several fundamental truths which have remained with him through life. To make your way in this world you must work and he had no grievance against that fundamental law; another was that to succeed you must save a part of your earnings. These things he had done before he came to Murphysboro a young man full of purpose and of high ideals, and he has not changed his plans of life.

Immediately after his arrival he became active in St. Andrew's church, the church of his faith from childhood. It was there that he met soon after his arrival Miss Elizabeth BORGERS, daughter of Uncle Henry BORGERS, a pioneer citizen long since passed to his reward. They were married in 1887 and have been the inspiration of a large and healthy family of children which blessed this union.

It was in 1890 that Mr. Borgsmiller first essayed to go into business, in a small building just opposite Park View (then Turner's park) on north Ninth Street. This was the first neighborhood store to be started in Murphysboro, all of the other business establishments being in the down town district. It was a stroke of business genius that meant a success from the start, notwithstanding the fact that the business depression of the early 90's followed soon after.

At that time mines to the north of the city were working full blast and many families were living north of the then city limits. His stock consisted of groceries and general merchandise and while his capital was small he kept up a rapid turnover that meant quick profits. So well had he succeeded in his first venture that six years later he bought the building and stock of the W. C. KENT store one of the old established businesses at 1420 Walnut Street which he conducted successfully for a number of years. In 1902 he started in the wholesale grocery business as Henry BORGSMILLER & Sons with a location on Seventeenth Street just across from the Mobile & Ohio depot. This business has grown until today its large list of customers all over Egypt look to it for their wholesale needs in the grocery line. This business is now managed by Henry BORGSMILLER, Jr., the senior Mr. Borgsmiller having relinquished active management of this store when his sons had grown into the business. He still serves in an advisory capacity in this and other Borgsmiller enterprises, and has never given up his idea that work is one of the blessings of life.

The Borgsmiller Produce Co., located in the same block on Seventeenth Street which has a large and successful business is managed by Herman BORGSMILLER.
The Murphysboro Grocery Co., was established in 1921 and serves a trade within a radius of fifty miles. Under the sole management of Joseph BORGSMILLER, another son, this business has had a remarkable growth and is expanding rapidly. It is located on the corner of Division and Eighteenth Streets in a modern brick building. At the rear of this property Mr. Borgsmiller, Sr., is erecting a modern steel and concrete warehouse with trackage on the Mobile & Ohio railroad.

With Mrs. Borgsmiller and the five unmarried children, Mr. Borgsmiller lives in a beautiful home at Twenty-third and Division streets, where the sons and daughters and the grand children foregather on Sundays and festive occasions.

With a vision of what Murphysboro might be in the future as he started his first small business in 1890, he has seen the community grow and his faith justified. He is still a man of vision and is a firm believer in the future of his adopted city, his home town.

[research information courtesy of Tom Shawcross; from an  internet communication,  August 2006]

(submitted by Karen Souhrada,

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