CONRAD WIRTH, JR., is a representative of our best type of American manhood. By perseverance, determination and honorable effort he has overthrown the obstacles which barred his path to success and reached the goal of prosperity, while his genuine worth, broad mind and public spirit have made him a director of public thought and action. He is now not only a successful business man, but is also serving as one of the aldermen of the city and in his official capacity labors earnestly for the welfare of Springfield.
Mr. Wirth was born in this city September 11, 1872, and is a son of Conrad Wirth, Sr., who is living a retired life in this city at the age of seventy-six years. He was born in Germany, October 16, 1826, acquired his education in the schools of that country and was afterward in the government employ as a mail carrier. He left his home in West Baden at the age of twenty-three years and crossed the Atlantic to America. He first located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and thence went to Louisville, Kentucky. In 1855 he came to Springfield, Illinois, where he was engaged in teaming, following that business for many years. He employed several teams and had an extensive patronage. He was also a large dealer in wood in former years, but since 1896 he has lived a retired life, making his home at No. 905 West Jefferson street, having erected his residence there about 1866. He was one of the first to build in that part of the city. Mr. Wirth is a self-educated as well as a self-made man, and what he has accomplished in life certainly makes him worthy of the esteem and respect of those with whom he has been brought in contact. His political support has been given to the Democracy and he is a member of the German Lutheran church. Although he has now reached the seventy-seventh mile-stone on life's journey, he is still enjoying good health, being of sturdy build and energetic.
Conrad Wirth, Sr., was united in marriage to Miss Mary Bierbaum, who was born in Germany in 1840. She, too, came to America in early life and they were married in Springfield. She was but seven years of age when she crossed the Atlantic with he parents, who located in Indiana and after several years came to this city. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wirth had been previously married and by his first union Mr. Wirth has a daughter, Dora, who is now the wife of Robert Littrell, of Springfield. Mrs. Wirth had a son by her first marriage, John Gaupp, who is superintendent of the Oak Ridge Cemetery of this city. Three children were born of the second marriage, but the daughter Elizabeth died at the age of seventeen years. The eldest of the family was David, who is now the proprietor of a greenhouse on First street in Springfield, and the youngest is the subject of this review. The children were all born, reared and educated in Springfield and are graduates of one of the ward schools of the city and also pursued a German course in the Lutheran schools.
Conrad Wirth, Jr., obtained his education as did the other members of the family, and when seventeen years of age he became connected with the dairy business, beginning operations, however, in a very small way. He had only two cows and he delivered the milk by hand. His business, however, gradually increased, and in 1897 he had twenty cows and one wagon. In that year he purchased the business of O. O. Fought, of St. Louis, known as the St. Louis branch of the Springfield Dairy Company. This business had run down when Mr. Wirth took hold of it, and he therefore directed his energies to its upbuilding. His labors were attended with a fair degree of success, and he now has six retail wagons, which visit all parts of the city, and one wholesale wagon, for he furnishes milk to the leading confectioners of the city. Daily he sells the milk of twelve hundred cows. Most of this is shipped from McLean county. In the summer time he also runs a wagon in Jacksonville and in Beardstown, Illinois. After embarking in business Mr. Wirth purchased six lots at the corner of Glenwood and Jefferson streets and erected a home and a modern stable upon that place. He now furnishes employment to eight men and he gives to the business his active attention. It has now assumed very extensive proportions and his large sales bring to him excellent financial returns.
In November, 1896, was celebrated the marriage of Conrad Wirth, Jr., and Miss Johanna Mester, who was born and educated in St. Louis. They now have three children, Marie, Elizabeth and Conrad. The parents hold membership in the Lutheran church, and in his political views Mr. Wirth has been a stalwart Republican since casting his first presidential ballot. Actively connected with the work of the party, he has frequently served as a delegate to the city, county and congressional conventions, and he was elected alderman in 1901 for a term of two years. He is now chairman of the police committee, is a member of the committee on streets and alleys, of the waterworks and street lighting, the public grounds and buildings and the license and privileges committee. He has labored earnestly for the interests of his constituents and for the progress and improvement of the city, and his efforts have been effective and beneficial. Fraternally he is connected with Capitol Tent, No. 1,
K.O.T.M., and with Young America Camp, M.W.A., the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Wirth may well be classed among the representative young business men of Springfield. Starting out for himself with extremely limited capital, he has persevered and, through his close attention to his business, his laudable ambition and his unremitting diligence, he has gained a place among Springfield's substantial citizens. His worth, too, has been recognized by his fellow men, and in matters of public concern he exercises no little influence.