Pulaski County

Biography - August Reichert

AUGUST REICHERT. Among the numerous Pulaski county farming men who have achieved a high degree of success in their chosen industry and who have contributed no little share to the progress of the county in a substantial way, August Reichert takes foremost rank. His operations in an agricultural way have been as important to the community as to himself, and his constant application of the zeal and industry which is the birthright of the true German have been valuable factors in the sum of his accomplishments.

August Reichert is a native of Illinois. He is the son of German parents who settled in St. Clair county when they immigrated from the Fatherland. The father, Jacob Reichert, was born near Heidelberg in the German state of Baden in 1828, and when he grew to young manhood and immigrated to America he was followed hither by his aged parents, in the hope of bettering their condition in another land. Jacob Reichert, Sr., the grandfather of August Reichert, died in St. Clair county in 1863 at the age of eighty years. Jacob, Jr., was one of six children, the others being Joseph, John, Catherine, who married J. F. Weist, Agnes, who became Mrs. Philip Koestore and is now deceased, and Therese. who married John Ditzel. The wife of Jacob Reichert, Jr., and the mother of August was Frieda Hammann, and he was one of eight children born to them. They were: Theresa, who married Charles Arnold and passed away as a resident of St. Clair county; John Frederick, who is another of the more successful farmers of the Grand Chain district; August, previously mentioned; Jacob, a resident of Freeberg, Illinois; John, of Seattle, Washington; Rosa, of St. Clair county; Mary, who died as the wife of Edward Cole, of St. Louis; and Frieda, who married Fred Henslet, of San Diego, California. The mother of this sturdy family lived to see fifty years of wedded joys and sorrows, and she passed quietly away at the home of the family in St. Clair county in February, 1902, on her golden wedding anniversary. The father, Jacob Reichert, Jr., saw his first glimpse of the United States at New Orleans in 1848, and he worked his passage up the Mississippi river to St. Louis as a fireman. He located near Freeburg, Illinois, and passed many years as a farmer, moving by stages from the small tiller of the soil to the position of a more prosperous agriculturist, and becoming known as one of the solid men of his community. In later years he entered into the brewing business and conducted a brewery at Freeport with much success for a number of years. He passed away in 1901, at the age of seventy-three years, his well beloved wife following him in the next year.

When August Reichert began to cast about for a means of livelihood for the future he was fairly well equipped in an educational way. He had attended the common schools and the Catholic school at Freeburg as a boy and youth, and the business of farming which he decided to make his interests might well be conducted with such knowledge as he possessed. His later life, however, bears evidence that he has permitted no opportunity to escape which might add to his knowledge of business, and he has been a close student of the science of modern agriculture, so that the passing of years has produced a man of excellent ability, who has accomplished a success worthy of any man's effort. When Mr. Reichert came down to Pulaski county as a young man he brought all his worldly possessions of stock and farming implements in one car, and he had in addition fifteen dollars in coin of the realm. In St. Louis he sold one of his mules for one hundred and sixty dollars and with this he made the first payment on his farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which tract formed the nucleus of his now extensive estate. The land was partly timbered, and there were stumps in plenty and some little frontier improvements. That portion of Pulaski county, while in an old and settled section of Illinois, was yet in a most primitive state. Few settlers had pitched their tents there permanently until after the close of the rebellion, and the farming done by them even then was carried on in a most shiftless and half-hearted manner. It required the vim and vigor of such men as August Reichert and his brother, John Frederick, to bring that neglected section up to the high standard made possible by its natural excellence and the splendid facilities for agricultural prosperity which the whole district affords. These truly admirable traits of vim and vigor, industry and courage, were thoroughly implanted in the character of August Reichert, and he applied them in lavish measure to the work of reducing his new farm to that state at which it might justly be regarded as a home. He multiplied his little handful of stock until his herds assumed a nice proportion; he fed his corn to his hogs and raised more hogs; he grazed his cattle and winter and summer disposed of his marketable stuff. He was able to meet his payments on his land promptly, and bought more land adjacent to his original quarter section, tenant labor making them productive for him. He built barns and sheds for the comfort of his stock and completed a long line of valuable improvements in his property when he built his present handsome residence, which is a model of excellence and is typical of the best in country homes. His farm has increased to an average of seven hundred and sixty acres and it provides a home for a goodly number of tenant families and gives labor to many people. In brief, the horoscope of August Reichert read from the stars at the time he began his career in Pulaski county could hardly have been so glitterig an account as his actual achievements show it. Grand Chain has always been his principal trading point, owing to its nearness and its numerous other conveniences. He encouraged the establishment of a bank at the little town by taking generously of its stock, and he is also a member of the Grand Chain Mercantile Company, one of the leading concerns of the place, and has in many ways exerted a beneficial influence upon the town and surrounding country. Mr. Reichert has always been an adherent of the Democratic party and has given his hearty support to the cause. He will always be found to have an opinion and -voice in matters concerning the welfare of his community, and his influence may be depended upon to further the cause of justice and honor at all times.

Mr. Reichert was married on September 6, 1880, to Miss Louisa Rauth, the daughter of Fred Rauth, a German immigrant and a farmer. A fine family of eleven sturdy sons and daughters have been reared in the Reichert home. They are: Lena, the wife of Ed. Merchant, of Kansas City, Missouri; John A., who married Clara Roach and is one of the successful Grand Chain farmers; Frederick married Lucy Stevers, and they are located in the near vicinity of the old home; Adam, August, Robert, Ida, Katie, Clara, Parmelia and Alene are yet in the shelter of the parental home.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 3, pages 1628-1630


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