History Of William F Segelhorst
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
His Early Childhood
My father William, was born on a farm in Grand Prairie Illinois.
Conrad, born at Strohn Hanoverstate Germany was no farmer, but a
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
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
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
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
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.
competent theologian who later moved to St Louis and achieved prominence
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
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
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
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
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,
brother August, was already apprenticed there and either had already
married or was
about to marry Louise, the older daughter of W. H. Temme.
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
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
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
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
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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