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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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The Pioneer, a monthly supplement to the Sheboygan Press

Sheboygan Press - August 24, 1925

Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement

Mrs. Helene Zaegel

The ranks of Sheboygan's pioneers have thinned nearly to the vanishing point. Of the few who are still with us in the flesh there are still fewer who came here as adults. Most of them came as little children, and their memory does not go back vividly to early times.

All the more do we feel the loss when those pass away who settled down in our city in its own infancy but in their years of young manhood and young womanhood.

Of these latter pioneers was Mrs. Helene Zaegel, who passed from this life Wednesday morning, the 20th inst., as announced in The Press on that day, and when a brief sketch of the deceased appeared in connection with the announcement.

Mrs. Zaegel came to Sheboygan in 1856, directly from her native land, Germany, the young bride of another Sheboygan pioneer, who had come from the Vaterland several years before then and had made a trip back there for the express purpose of marrying and bringing her here.

Carl Zaegel had from the time of his settling here identified himself with the business and social life of the then embryo city. He commanded considerable means when he first came here, and to this day there stands as a monument to his enterprise the business block on North Eighth street in which are now housed the big Woolworth store, the Wisconsin Telephone company's local headquarters and exchange and a number of professional men's offices. It was for many years known as the Zaegel Block, and in the course of those years it was tenanted by various stores, city officers, printing offices, physicians and other professionals, and in 1868 the entire building was converted into a hotel named for its enterprising proprietor, John Beekman Cole, the Beekman House, which for many years following its opening was the center of social activities.

Previous to his death (in 1859) Mr. Zaegel had met with financial reverses, the title to the Zaegel Block became involved in litigation, and he passed on leaving his young widow with two small children to face the battle of life alone, which she did bravely and to the admiration of all her friends. Aided by her own fine mental equipment and education and untiring industry and skill in handwork, Mrs. Zaegel reared her two fatherless children to take their places as useful and respected members of this community, who survive to thank their mother for the fine training she gave them in their youth.

Despite the handicap of early widowhood, Mrs. Zaegel, from the time of her coming here through the many years preceding the time when old age overtook her, contributed generously of her helpful personality and training to the economic and social life of our city, always a modest, unambitious but nonetheless effective way. Her thoughtfulness and consideration of others assured her of a host of real friends, and her devotion to her children as well as the memory of her departed husband caused her to pass her whole life in widowhood, although her engaging personality was in her younger days and obstacle in the path of the life she thus pursued.

At the time of her death Mrs. Zaegel was in her eighty-third year. For the past four years she had resided in the Anna M. Reiss Home for the Aged. Up to about a year ago she had enjoyed good health all her life, but the infirmities of advanced age at last weighed so heavily upon her that death was a welcome deliverer.

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