Family Stories

Henry Hansmeyer, Biography

from Schuyler and Brown Counties

Henry Hansmeyer was born in Lippe-Detmold, Prussia, Germany, in 1833.  He came of pure German ancestry and of hardy stock.  His father, Fred Hansmeyer, married Wilhelmina Hoy of the same province.  In 1849 they took passage for America and landed in New Orleans after a seven-weeks voyage.  Thence the family came up the Mississippi, to St. Louis, where the mother and one child died of the cholera after being there one week.  The father and four children came on to Chicago, where Henry was attacked by the cholera and confined to the house for two weeks, later he joined his father and the other children at Watertown, and it was near there that the father died about one year later, being then in middle life.

Henry Hansmeyer is the second of the four sons yet living.  He came to this country in 1849 and lived on a farm in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, until 1851, working for $10 a month.  He came to Beardstown in 1851 and still worked by the month, for a time for $10; he saved his money, became a stock dealer and trader and did various things until he accumulated enough to purchase land.  In 1865 he found himself on safe ground for business, which he carried on successfully and extensively.  He was an active farmer and stock-raiser until 1880.  In that year he retired from business and moved into Beardstown.  He owns a fine farm of 306 acres, 250 acres of which is under the plow and the rest is pasture, good land and all supplied with first-class farm buildings.  He purchased this farm in 1865 and also owns some good residence prroperty in Beardstown, the opera house building at Mount Olive, Illinois, and other residence property there.

He was married in Beardstown, in 1857, to Miss Catharina Schmidt.  She was born in Hesse-Darmstadt.  She was the daughter of the Rev. George and Kate Schmidt, who came to the United States in 1856, settling in Beardstown, where they died.  Mr. Schmidt was for many years pastor of the Lutheran.  He was a fine minister and an anti-slavery advocate, a Republican in politics and a leader in his community.  Mrs. Hansmeyer is a great worker in the Lutheran Church and a very fine woman.  They have four children:  Augusta, wife of Henry Oetgen, a farmer in Schuyler County; Minna, wife of Henry Stock; Katie, wife of John Duvall, First State Bank of Beardstown; William, a miller by trade.  Mr. Hansmeyer is a public-spirited citizen, a Republican in politics and a member of the Fourth Street Lutheran Church, of which he has been a trustee for sixteen years.

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