A. H. Sielschott
A. H. SIELSCHOTT, Beardstown, Illinois.--The United States, the grandest government that shelters a people, possesses alone of all the goveniments 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 pocket 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 satisfactory 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 prosperous enterprises.
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.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 177-179.
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