From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 177-179, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
A. H. Sielschott, Beardstown, Illinois. - The United States, the
grandest government that shelters a people, possesses alone of all the
governments of the world, the privilege which makes it possible for
each individual to force his way through the ranks of the many and
become one of the few. Emerson says "it is purpose that differences
men," and the man who, by birth or its equivalent, enjoys the
possibilities of a high and noble purpose, under such a government, and
who through energy, tact, and strict integrity overcomes the obstacles
that engulf smaller men, who levels the impossibilities of other men to
his own convenience and makes them his opportunities, is that man of
purpose, and is by the law of natural selection a leader. It is to such
men that society and progression owes its highest attainments; and it
is of one of those whose straightforward career has made his name
worthy the pages of history, that this sketch is written.
A. H. Sielschott was born in the busy province of Hanover,
Germany, in 1835. He is a son of Frederick and Amelia Sielschott, who
were also natives of Hanover. His parents were of that sturdy
conservative element that has enriched the great Empire of Germany and
advanced it to the front rank in the world's history of great soldiers
and statesmen, and placed it in close touch with the advance of
civilization and the fellowship of men. They were farmers owning their
land, and as is characteristic of that eminently worthy husbandry, were
given entirely to the cultivation of their land, leaving travel to
those who were less inspired with the habits of their forefathers. They
were never outside the borders of their loved fatherland, but lived out
their allotted time, happy, and contented, with the pleasures and
prosperity their home life and patriotism afforded them. They each
attained the good age of three score years and ten.
The boyhood of A. H. Sielschott was practically the same as that
of other boys whose parents were devoted to labor and frugality. At the
age customary in his native land, Mr. Sielschott entered the public
schools and acquired a classical education in his native tongue. After
leaving school and being of a decidedly progressive temperament and
endowed with a full share of native pluck, he decided to leave his home
and try for his fortune in the broader fields of America. In the early
part of 1854 he left Bremen on the steamer Hansa, ticketed for New
York. Arriving there he soon pushed boldly westward and reached
Beardstown in the fall of that year. Here he decided to remain, and
here with but a five-dollar gold piece in his picket he began the life
that has been so full of good for himself and also for the community.
Mr. Sielschott did not waste any time looking for an easy job, but with
determination and energy took hold of the first honest work that
presented itself. He was familiar with farm work and naturally bent his
energies in that direction. He engaged to work on a farm, and went at
it with a will. While working and while resting he kept his brain busy
evolving plans for the future, and speculating honestly, and with a
method well worked out, he advanced step by step in popularity and
position until he had acquired not only a comfortable income but the
higher victory, namely, the confidence and respect of all who knew him.
In 1876 he was elected by a large majority to the office of Sheriff,
and so satisfactorily did he discharge the duties of his office that he
was repeatedly re-elected until he had held the office for an unbroken
period of ten years. After ten years in office Mr. Sielschott had
reason to hope for a rest from public service, but he was almost
immediately elected to the office of County Treasurer, and held that
important office until 1890, a period of four years. In 1889 the First
State Bank of Beardstown was organized and Mr. Sielschott was elected
its president, an office which he has continued to hold ever since.
Under his wise direction the bank has prospered, and is to-day one of
the richest banking organizations in the State. Its principles are
sound, and it enjoys a financial solidity far beyond any possible event
or turn in values.
Mr. Sielschott's record in the government affairs in the city
and county is a most unusual and remarkable one. In addition to the
fourteen years in which he discharged the important duties of Sheriff
and Treasurer of the county, he has served five terms as Mayor of the
city of Beardstown. A single term in any office, no matter how
important, seldom determines a man's fitness for high commendation. It
is the repeated voice of the people in recalling a man to public office
- in making him his own successor year after year - that establishes
beyond question that man's ability and worthiness.
Mr. Sielschott has also served many times as delegate to County
and Congressional conventions. He is a Democrat, believing the
principles of that great party to be in closer touch with the needs of
the people, and in greater harmony with the progress of the age than
all the planks, principles and platforms of all other political parties
combined. In a word he believes Democratic doctrine everlastingly
right, and all opposition thereto everlastingly wrong. He has always
supported these principles fully and faithfully, and has done more than
one man's share to establish purity in office and the great truth that
public office is a public trust.
In business life Mr. Sielschott has been a promoter of many
important enterprises, one of the most important of which was the
construction of the fine bridge that spans the Illinois river at
Beardstown. He is, also, identified with many other worthy and
In March, 1862, Mr. Sielschott was married to Miss Ellen Piper,
of Beardstown, a native of Hanover, Germany, who at the age of seven
accompanied her parents to the United States and settled in Beardstown.
They were worthy and consistent members of the Lutheran Church. They
died after having attained the good old age of four-score years.
Mr. and Mrs. Sielschott have three children: A. F. Sielschott,
of the firm of Spring & Sielschott, of Beardstown; Alice A. and
Martha M. are still members of the family home. Both of the young
ladies have received a splendid education, and both are prominent in
social matters. The family worship at the Congregational Church.
Socially Mr. Sielschott is a leading member of the Masonic
fraternity. Personally he is kind, courteous and affable. In a word, he
possesses just such a personality as the intelligent reader would
expect to find in conjunction with such an admirable record.