Among representative men of German ancestry in Clinton county none stand higher in esteem than the present county clerk, who is a native of this county. He was born in Looking Glass township, Nov. 12th, 1847. His father, Peter Schurmann, was a native of Westphalia, Germany, and was born near the city of Muenster. He emigrated to America in 1846, and settled in Looking Glass township, where he remained until his death, which occurred three years later, or in 1849.
In his native country he was a land owner, and came from a family who were farmers, and possessors of landed estate. While yet a resident of Germany he married Anna A. BLOMKER, a native of the same place. After the death of Peter Schurmann his widow married C. SCHWAKE. She died in Germantown in 1872.
The subject of this sketch is the only offspring of the first marriage. By the second marriage there was also one child, a son, Henry Schurmann was raised upon the farm, and passed his boyhood days at work and in attending the public schools of his neighborhood, where he received a fair English education. When he was twelve years of age he was placed in the college of St. Morice, Indiana, but remained there only one year, then returned to his motherís home in Germantown, to which place she had removed after the death of her husband. Henry remained beneath the maternal roof until his sixteenth year, when he went to work in the flouring mill at Hanover, nailing up barrels and doing such other light work as he was capable of. He worked one year, then was apprenticeship of three years, after which he went to St. Louis and entered Jonesí Commercial College and took a course in book-keeping and business education. He was the solicited to return to the mill and take the position of second miller, which he accepted. He remained in that capacity until June, 1869, when he was made general manager. He conducted the business of the mill until the 10th of November of the same year, when it was sold, and he bought a third interest in it in connection with Messrs. USSELMANN & SPREHE. That partnership continued until Sept. of 1878, or until the death of USSELMANN, when the surviving partners purchased his interest, January 19th, 1897. The firm was then known as SPREHE & SCHURMANN, which continued until Dec., 1880, when Mr. SPREHE died. On the 23d of April, 1881, Mr. SCHURMANN became the sole owner and proprietor of the mills, and has so continued to the present. Under his management and ownership they have been remodeled, enlarged and fitted up with the latest improved machinery, and their capacity has been increased from 200 to 250 barrels per day.
Politically Mr. SCHURMANN is a Democrat. In 1873 he was nominated, without his solicitation, for the office of county clerk, and was elected by 1,200 majority, which was largely in excess of his part's vote. In 1877 his admirable manner of conducting the affairs of the office, and his fidelity to public trusts received still further evidence of the approbation of the people by being nominated by his party, endorsed by the people and elected without opposition, and is now serving his second term, which will, under the new law, expire in 1882. There is no doubt but that Mr. SCHURMANN has been one of the best officers the county of Clinton ever had. He brought to the office method and the same correct business principles that characterize his own private affairs. When he retires the people may rest assured that everything will be in complete order and ready to turn over to his successor.
On the 18th of Feb., 1870, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth ALBERS, a native of Germantown, Clinton county, Ills. Her parents, Franz and Elizabeth ALBERS, were natives of Hanover, Germany, and came to America at an early date, and were among the first German settlers of Illinois. By this marriage there have been born to them six children, five of whom are living. Their names, in the order of their birth are: Anna, John Henry, Bernhard Edward, Lizzie M., who died in infancy; Ferdinand August, and Mary Caroline. Mr. SCHURMANN and his family are members of the Catholic Church. He is also a member of the beneficiary order of Catholic Knights of America.
Mr. SCHURMANN is one of Clinton county's most public-spirited and enterprising business men. He has lived among these people since his birth. Among those who know him best he has always borne the reputation of an honorable man and good citizen, enjoying the confidence and esteem of all those with whom he comes in contact in business relations or otherwise. In manners he is a pleasant and affable gentleman.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
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