Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
Of the various classes who have contributed to the growth of the West and the development of its resources, none among those of foreign birth have proved better citizens, or are worthy of more credit, than the German population. It is difficult, indeed, to imagine what would have been the condition of progress in the Mississippi Valley without their aid. Their numbers are sufficiently large to make them a powerful and influential part of every community. They are largely of that class which adds to the wealth of a nation, instead of forming a tax upon its resources. Their ability and industry make them valuable citizens. In Menard, as throughout the State, they have been active in contributing to the welfare of the community, and the County owes a large share of its prosperity to their presence as citizens.
Wolfgang Feulner was one of these German immigrants, coming to America twenty-four years ago, when at the age of twenty-seven. His birthplace was the village of Bauk, a small town of Bavaria, Germany, where he was ushered into the world, September 25, 1823. His father was Henry Feulner, who followed the peaceful occupation of a farmer, as the grandfather, Albert Feulner, had done before him. In this quiet locality he spent the early years of his boyhood, attending school and receiving the training common to German boys of the class to which he belonged. He thus lived with his father on the farm until he was fourteen years old, when he went to the town of Bintlog, where his uncle, George Schmidtt, carried on the business of brewer. He became an apprentice to his uncle's business, and remained here four years, during which he was full initiated into the mysteries of the occupation. After leaving his uncle he followed the business of brewer, at the town of Munchen, for a period of about four months, and then returned to his home. Soon after his return his father died. His mother had died some years before, when he was only nine years of age. He was the oldest of the children, who were four in number, two boys and two girls, and the management of the farm devolved upon him. He assumed the responsibility, and for six years was thus employed. Attracted by the reports of the opportunities for success in life in America, he determined to dispose of his interest in the farm and seek a home in the New World.
He had already been married in July, 1843, previous to taking charge of his father's farm, to Margaret Bauer, and with his wife and family he embarked for America. He landed at New Orleans in December, 1850. He made his way to St. Louis, and after stopping there for some time, he proceeded to Sangamon County, and settled near Springfield. On arriving in Illinois, he began farming on land rented of Mirrian Edwards and Judge Logan. Twelve years were spent in this locality, in which his agricultural efforts met with successful results, and then he came to Menard County, and purchased the old Petersburg brewery, with the intention of undertaking the business which he had learned in his youthful days in Germany. The brewery was then only a small concern, and Mr. Feulner immediately proceeded with a system of improvements by which its capacity was greatly increased. He carried on this business with satisfactory success.
While engaged in farming in Sangamon County, he sustained a sad bereavement in the death of his wife, by whom he had had four children, two boys and two girls. In 1853, his second marriage occurred, to Miss Elizabeth M. Keiffner, by whom he has also had four children, three boys and one girl. He has a fine residence on the east side of the Sangamon River, opposite Petersburg.
Mr. Feulner's political record has been honorable to himself. On his arrival in America he began to take a deep interest in the affairs of his adopted land, and early became a naturalized citizen, transferring his allegiance from the land of his birth to the home of his own choice and seeking. He has always been faithful and conscientious in the performance of his duties as a citizen of the Republic. His intelligence and independence of thought have enabled him to form his own opinions in regard to the political issues of the day, and his convictions on questions of national importance have been firm and decided. His sympathies were first given to the principles of government as set forth by the Democratic party. His first vote for President was cast in 1856, for James Buchanan, and he has since supported Democratic candidates for office, and done all in his power for the success of the party. In the political campaign of 1874 he was frequently solicited by his friends to become a candidate for Sheriff. The primary elections in Menard County were held in the several precincts throughout the County by the Democrats on September 26, 1874, and, as the result, Mr. Feulner received the nomination for Sheriff. He has the confidence of the people, and his habits of sociability and liberality have made him popular. No one ever doubted his integrity.