Jackson County


As postmaster of the village of Oraville, Illinois, Edward H. Birkner has been identified with the public interests of Jackson county for the past two years, but this is not his first public office, as prior to his advent here he had been selected to hold other positions of trust by the townsmen of the vicinity in which he made his home. He has proven a faithful, efficient and courteous official, giving to his work the same conscientious regard that has made him successful as a merchant, and the esteem in which he is universally held is manifested by the large number of people who are pleased to call him friend. Mr. Birkner is a native of Jackson county and has resided here all of his life. Like many of the successful merchants of this part of the state, -he is the product of the farm, having been born on his father's homestead in Ora township, December 27, 1876, a son of Peter and Emma (Meuschke) Birkner.

Peter Birkner was born September 21, 1844, at Belleville, St. Clair county, Illinois, his parents having settled in the St. Clair colony at the time of their arrival in this country from Germany. As a youth Peter Birkner was reared to habits of frugality and industry, traits which make the Germans such excellent citizens, and he was brought up to engage in agricultural pursuits. In 1861 he accompanied his parents to Jackson county, settling in Ora township, and here he was married to Miss Emma Meuschke, of Jackson county, and they had three children: Amelia, who is deceased; Annie, who became the wife of Frank Shermann, a Jackson county agriculturist; and Edward H. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Birkner settled down to clear and cultivate their land, and they are still residing in Ora township, and are respected by all who know them. They are faithful members of the Lutheran church, and the loyalty with which Mr. Birkner has supported Republican principles has won him the recognition of his party and caused him to be elected to various township offices.

Edward H. Birkner spent his early life in Ora township, securing his education in the common schools, and assisting his father until he reached the age of twenty-five. At that time, deciding on a mercantile career, he established himself in business at Sato, a little mining town, but after three years found that his business had outgrown his field, and went to Herrin, where he had better facilities. After three years spent at the latter place he came to Oraville, and opened the general merchandise store which he now owns and operates, and where he does an excellent business. Progressive ideas and up-to-date methods have gained him a large and lucrative trade, these being associated with a pleasant personality and straightforward manner of doing business. He has found that the best way to gain and hold trade is to be absolutely above-board in all of his dealings, and his success may be said to have been caused by this policy. In 1909 Mr. Birkner received the appointment to the office of postmaster, and, as heretofore mentioned, he has made a highly satisfactory official.

In 1899 Mr. Birkner was married to Dolly Mae Wills, of Ora township, daughter of Benjamin "Wills, and four children have been born to this union, namely: Vera, Clarence, Marguerite and Lillian. Mr. and Mrs. Birkner are members of the Lutheran church, and have many warm friends among its congregation. Mr. Birkner holds membership in the local lodge of the Modern Woodmen of America.

Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, pages 1182-1183.

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