Jackson County

Biography - John Pfeffer

JOHN A. PFEFFER is a worthy representative of the business interests of Columbia, where he is engaged in general merchandising. As he is widely and favorably known in this community, we feel assured that the record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born in St. Clair County, Ill., August 1, 1844, and is of German descent. His father, John Pfeffer, was born and reared in the city of Candel, Bavaria, Germany, and in 1832 came with his parents to America, the family landing in New Orleans, where the grandfather of our subject died. In 1840 his wife, with her five children, came to Illinois. One of the sisters remained in the Crescent City, and there married Fred Eckel. The family settled on a farm in Centreville Township, St. Clair County, and John Pfeffer and his brother cleared and improved the land, transforming it into a fine farm. They also engaged in steamboating on the Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans.

In the latter place the father of our subject married Margaret Scherrer, a native of Lorraine, France, who came to America in 1836. Mr. Pfeffer afterwards bought a farm of partially improved land in Monroe County and continued its cultivation for a year. He then went to St. Louis, where he worked about five years as an engineer in a distillery. From 1852 until 1856 he again carried on his farm, and then came with his brother-in-law, F. X. Brohammer, to Columbia, where they conducted a saloon and mercantile business. In 1857 the stock was divided, and Mr. Pfeffer continued alone in trade until 1890, when he sold out to his son. His death occurred on the 16th of October following, and his wife died October 12, 1892. They were the parents of fourteen children, but only two are now living, John A., of this sketch, and Mrs. Catherine Dollar, of Columbia. In politics Mr. Pfeffer was a Democrat, and was Trustee of his town. He held membership with the Roman Catholic Church. He was a successful business man, and at his death left an estate valued at $40,000.

Our subject was a lad of twelve when his father established business in Columbia. He clerked in the store until his marriage, when his father gave him the saloon, which he carried on until 1890, when he bought out the mercantile establishment. He has since carried on operations along that line, and by well directed efforts and good management has secured a fine trade. He now occupies a large store, which is well stocked with everything found in his line.

May 22, 1866, Mr. Pfeffer was united in marriage with Miss Johanna K. Funk, daughter of John Funk, of St. Clair County. Her father was a native of Bavaria, Germany, and in 1845 came to the New World, locating in St. Clair County. Mrs. Pfeffer was born in New Orleans, February 10, 1845. By their marriage they had fourteen children, of whom the following are yet living: John Joseph, who is clerking for his father; Joseph F., who is studying medicine in St. Louis; E. A. F., Peter A., Mary, Theodore, Annie; Louis and Katie, twins, and Charlie. Mary Ann died at the age of three years, John at the age of ten months, and Louis at the age of nine days. John Joseph married Bertha Reis, a daughter of Charles P. Reis.

In his political views, Mr. Pfeffer is a Democrat, and has been a member of the Village Board of Trustees, while for eleven years he served as a member of the School Board. In his undertakings he has met with prosperity, and in connection with the interests previously mentioned, he has a farm of two hundred and ninety-three acres that yields to him a good income. His home is a commodious and substantial brick residence. Mr. and Mrs. Pfeffer are noted for their kindliness, and through their generosity gave homes to two adopted children: Elizabeth Smith, who became the wife of Frank L. Riebeling, a wagonmaker of Ava, Jackson County, Ill.; and .Johanna Mary, who is still living with them. Our subject, his wife and children are all members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 411.

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