Twig, Tree and Treasure; A Genealogical Sojourn Segelhorst Family

A History Of  William F Segelhorst

Compiled By

Gustave William Segelhorst - 1974

The following is a copy of the handwritten history of William Segelhorst, recorded by Gustave William Segelhorst, in 1974 when he was 75 years old, as received through his father William (Conrad’s son) Photocopies of the documents were sent by Elbert Segelhorst to Linda Bianchi. Linda transcribed them taking care to preserve the original “flavor” of the writing. Reprinted here with permission  from the Segelhorst family.
The Grand Prarie Illinois area he mentions is the current Okawville, Illinois area.

W.F. Segelhorst, Manufacturer of Wagons and Carriages and Dealer In Farm Instruments

His Early Childhood

 My father William, was born on a farm in Grand Prairie Illinois.  His father, Conrad, born at Strohn Hanoverstate Germany was no farmer, but a skilled woodworker, specializing in Art Glass frames for churches.  Samples of his craft still remain in some of the old churches like at New Minden and Hoyleton.  At this time Grand Prairie maintained its own Church and School with a teacher. I recall that the Venedy and Okawville Congregations celebrated the annual Mission Festival at Grand Prairie up to 1918.  Little William attended school at Grand Prairie until the age of 13 and he often spoke of his teacher as an efficient, kind, and loving man.

Big Changes For Little William

     When William was 12, his mother - a Huelskoetter - died.  A year or so later his father Conrad remarried.  But the step-mother was an ill-tempered woman who had no use for little William. She would beat him hard often.  His father, Conrad, gave the poor boy no protection.  He had a miserable life at home. Matters got still worse when his stepmother had a baby.  William felt totally rejected.  He became depressed.  When he was 13, he said to his Dad, “Let me go to stay with my Grandfather in Venedy.”  It was Grandpa Huelskoetter who built the house we had in Venedy.  It had  four rooms plus 2 rooms on the second floor.  It was well-built and looked nice.  It had two fireplaces that worked nicely.
     Grandpa was a lover of tree and gardens.  The big Pecan north side of the house was planted by him.  He also maintained a good-sized orchard of over 25 trees of many varieties of apples, pears, peaches and plums.  Most of these were still in production when I was a child.  He also maintained a huge vineyard and cultivated red raspberries
     It is regrettable that our forbearers left little or no records of any kind, but circumstances make it possible for us to patch things together somewhat I think we can safely assume Grandpa Huelskoetter came from Wehdem, Germany because when we were there is 1972, we found a number of tombstones in the cemetery with that name on it.  As for his wife, we don’t even know her family name.
 Since Wehdem and Strohn - where Conrad Segelhorst came from - are less than 20 miles apart, it is possible that the two knew each other before coming to America, or a least harbored a certain kinship to each other, which led to Conrad marrying their daughter, solemnized in the Venedy Church.

How Young William Fared At Grandpa’s In Venedy.

     William being the youngest of a family of five, he was well received by Grandpa and Grandma.  The town of Venedy, with three active stores, a huge mill, a popular saloon, a big well-known church, a brickyard, was a lively trading center at that time.  We don’t know what time of the year he arrived at Grandpa’s but he was nearing the age of confirmation. The Pastor of the Congregation was Rev. Mangelsdort, a competent theologian who later moved to St Louis and achieved prominence  there .
     The teacher of the German-Luthern School, was Teacher Backhaus, a tall, gaunt, ill-humored man in charge of the school of some 40 or more students.  Since new students were admitted only between the age 7 & 8, by the time they reached confirmation, the girls were almost young women and the boys teen-agers!
     Backhaus’s basic Principals of Education were: 1) Discipline first 2) Learning.  They didn’t learn much, but the students were supposed to remember what they did learn.  He had a unique approach to make this work, a real simple one.  At any time, out of the clear blue sky, he would pop a question to anyone of the forty students, and if the students response failed to satisfy him, that student would be taken into the hall and given a severe beating!
     This approach kept the students on the alert, because of fear of being next.  Students were reluctant to complain at home,  because the rule was: “If a kid got a beating at school, he would get another one at home.”  It was said that the parents were proud of their school for having perfect order.  “Enter a classroom anytime, and the quiet that prevailed was that of a Morgue”, it was reported.
     Shortly after William entered the School, he became a victim of the Backhaus approach.  This is how my dad related it to me. Out of the clear blue sky, the Teacher popped this question to him, “What is the difference between two square feet and two feet squared?”  William was at a loss to answer it, was marched off to the hall and given a severe beating.
     Backhaus was widely known for his exemplary discipline and was promoted as professor at the prestigious Teachers Seminary at Addison Illinois.  He died Sept. 1915, the year I got to River Forest.  I went to his funeral at Melrose Park, with the entire student body.

Young William Leaves for Missouri:

     Altho’ his stay with his Grandparents was pleasant, he didn’t see any future for himself at Venedy.  His relationship with his father, Conrad, continued to deteriorate.  With the birth of another baby there - two now - Conrad Jr and John - William considered himself forgotten by his Dad.  Moreover, he yearned for his older brother August and his sister Anna, already married to Henry Temme to whom he felt close.
     William must have been about 15 when he left for Missouri.  He was taken in by his sister, Anna, quite a bit older than he and thus was able to be somewhat like a mother to him.  Anna’s husband, Henry Temme, had a diversified farm and was able to give his young brother-in-law employment which lasted probably 2 or 3 years. But his heart was not in farming. He had a leaning towards woodworking something like his father was doing.
     Not too far away. Probably one/half,  mile was the William H Temme Wagon Maker Shop which manufactured farm wagons for the surrounding community, His brother August, was already apprenticed there and either had already married or was about to marry Louise, the older daughter of W. H. Temme.  August however, discontinued his apprenticeship on the advice of his father-in-law because he was prone to making mistakes in his work.  August now established himself on a farm where he was quite successful.  William, his younger brother, took his place in the shop and proved himself much more adaptable.

William H. Temme, Wagon Maker

     The owner of the Shop, near Beaufort, Mo., W.H. Temme came from Detmold, Germany, a city of some 25,000 in the Hanover District. His father was involved in politics. Some say that he was Burgermeister - Mayor - of the city, but more likely, he
was a member of the City Council.  Young William H apprenticed himself to be a wagon-maker. At what age, he came over we don’t know, but he was not married yet, because he soon married a Strehlman girl, the beautiful daughter of a prominent Beaufort merchant.  William H Temme erected his good-sized shop about a mile west of Beaufort.
     Beaufort was not an incorporated city, but it was a well established settlement on the Rock Island R. R. leading to Jefferson City. The Temme Home was located a block from the Shop and had an excellent view of the mighty Rock Island train passing over a 100 ft. embankment to and from Beaufort and Leslie, Mo’.
     The Temme family consisted of 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls.  Henry was a diversified farmer with a Steam Jumbo for thrashing.  August, on Flint Hill, was a farmer and Fred was a successful undertaker, Louise was married to August.


 William F Segelhorst Obituary
 from the Venedy 1945 Newspaper

The following relatives from a distance attended the funeral of Wm. F. Segelhorst Friday at the local church: Mr. And  Mrs. Fred Kappelman and daughters, Alma and Alice.  Mrs. Ida Temme, Mrs. Anna Kappelman, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Segelhorst and son William, all of Beaufort and Leslie, Mo.  Prof. And Mrs. Gustav Segelhorst and family of Springfield, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Segelhorst and daughter Jean of Saint Louis.

William F Segelhorst

     Wm. Fred. Segelhorst was born on December 11, 1866, at Grand Prairie, a son of the late Conrad Segelhorst and wife Louise, nee Huelskoetter.  He was christened at the Grand Prairie Lutheran Church by Rev. Streckenfuss.  The greater part of his elementary schooling was received in the parish school of aforesaid congregation under the direction of Teacher Mueller, whom he had always held in loving memory and to whose faithful and painstaking work he often referred in the course of his life.
     Mr, Segelhorst had the misfortune to loose his mother at an early age.  His father remarried, but in a few years his home life suffered another serious interruption when his father died.  The family was broken  up and the boy was placed in the home of his grandfather, Wm. Huelskotter of Venedy.  Here he completed his elementary schooling and was confirmed the following spring by Rev. Achenbach.  The next two years he spent in the environs of Venedy and Grand Prairie, helping out with the farm work.  At the age of 16 he left Illinois and made his home with his sister Anna, who was married to Hy. Temme of Beaufort, Mo.  At first he helped his brother-in-law on the farm, but later apprenticed himself to Wm. F. Temme of Beaufort, under whose direction he learned the wagonmakers trade.
     The years spent with the Temme family were filled with many happy associations and memories, together with the Temme boys and his own brother August, he not only learned his trade but also engaged in the various pastimes offered by the community of those  times, particularly fishing, turkey hunting, and baseball.
     When he was 17 years old the Beaufort Lutheran church found themselves in dire need of an organist.  The pastor and congregation had observed musical tendencies in this young parishioner and saw in him possibilities as a future organist.  It was soon arranged that the congregation place at his disposal the church organ, on which to practice, with the understanding that as soon as possible he would serve the congregation as an organist.  After three months of diligent application at the keyboard he reported for duty to the pastor.
     On June 23, 1898, he was united in marriage with Miss Anna Temme of Beaufort, Mo. The ceremony being performed by Rev. A. Mueller.  The following year they moved to Venedy, where he operated a wagon-maker's shop, which trade he has followed. Sine 1933 he was acting postmaster and also served as village board member and village clerk of Venedy many years ago.  He acted as sub-organist from 1899 to 1919 and from 1919 until his death was regular organist of the Lutheran Church at Venedy.
      Tragedy occurred Wednesday, April 11 when he was killed at 3:30 p.m. at Venedy Station by the eastbound L. & N. flyer, as he crossed the tracks.  He has attained the advanced age of 78 years and 4 months.  Hi wife preceded him in death March 19, 1934.
     He leaves to mourn: three sons, Gustav of Springfield, Otto of Venedy and Elmer of St Louis; three daughters-in-law; ten grandchildren; his brother August; and his sister Mrs. Anna Temme, of Beaufort, Mo; a sister Mrs. Jacobs of California; two half-brothers Conrad of Philadelphia and John of Stow Ohio; and other relatives and friends.
     Funeral services were held from Brueggemann Funeral Home to the Lutheran church Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock.  Rev. Armand Graf officiated.  Interment was made in the Lutheran cemetery. The funeral text was Psalm 112:6.  The school children sang, "For Me To Live Is Jesus."  The floral offerings were beautiful.  The bereaved family wishes to express its sincere thanks to all who in word or deed have expressed their sympathy.
     Pallbearers were: Hy. Koch, Jul. Going, Wm. Sieving, Adolph Brockschmidt, Harry Bergmann, Hy. Marguard, John Huelskoetter, Hubert Helms, Gustav Pietzmeyer and Edward Marquard.

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