LOUIS H. ZUMBROOK - Few of Springfield's residents have longer resided in the city than has Louis H. Zumbrook, who through many decades has witnessed the changes that have occurred here, watching with interest as progress has been advanced and bearing an active part in the work of improvement in as far as lay in his power. His mind bears the impress of many historic annals of the state, and events which are matters of record to others are to him matters of memory. He was born in the province of Walbenberg, near the village of Rastade, Germany, on the 22d of April, 1841, his parents being Herman and Betta (Miller) Zumbrook. The father was a farmer and shoemaker by occupation. In the family were six children, and Louis H. Zumbrook, like the others of the household, pursued his education according to the public school system of his native land. In early life he learned the tinner's trade and for twenty years was engaged in business along that line in the employ of others. He then began business operations on his own account and is now the senior member of the firm of Zumbrook & Son, hardware merchants and tinners. of Springfield, located at No. 409 East Monroe Street.
It was in the year 1850 that his parents, who resided in the northern part of Germany, decided to sell their possessions there, comprising eight acres of ground and a straw-covered house, and emigrate to the new world. They had been married for thirty years and their family then numbered six children. The advantages which the poor of Germany had were very few and Mr. Zumbrook had resolved to try his fortune in a land where opportunity is not hampered by caste or class. Accordingly he made arrangements to cross the Atlantic, taking passage on a westward-bound sailing vessel, which was sixty-nine days upon the water in that voyage. The wind and wave tossed the little vessel and it seemed that the journey was almost endless, but eventually anchor was dropped in the harbor of New York. After two weeks of travel by steamboat and rail the family arrived in Springfield, their eyes being gladdened one beautiful fall morning by the sight of the little town which was their destination, and which Mr. Zumbrook, of this review, says has grown dearer to him day by day since that time. He was then but thirteen years of age - a boy who had been deprived of many of the comforts and privileges which other children enjoyed. He had never worn a coat up to that time and he made up his mind that the first money he should earn would be expended for that article of apparel. In October he went to live with Dr. Wohlgemuth, who on Christmas day gave him two dollars. One was a Mexican coin, another a bill in the wildcat currency of Illinois. A month later he again paid the boy two dollars, and young Zumbrook then made his way to the clothing store of Mr. Wood and invested his four dollars in a coat. He says he was then the proudest boy in all Springfield. Great changes have occurred in this city since that time and many of the men who were then prominent in business and in public life have now passed away, their names being now upon the tombstones in Oak Ridge cemetery. Mr. Zumbrook tells of how he saw George Carpenter by a stove in an old frame grocery which occupied a one-story building at the northwest corner of Washington and Sixth streets. He was one of the largest landowners of central Illinois. Other leading men of that day were Colonel Williams, Major Iles, N. H. Ridgely, R. Latham, Dr. Wallace, Dr. Todd, John Priest, John Roll, C. N. Smith, R. Diller and John Veedersburg. The last named gentleman on one occasion pulled Mr. Zumbrook's ear because he tied his horse to a young tree, but the next day he gave the youth a quarter and thus did away with all unpleasant feeling. High among the citizens, however, not only of Springfield, but of the nation, was Abraham Lincoln, and Mr. Zumbrook was one of his most earnest admirers. He took a very active part in winning victory for the leader of the new Republican party and aided inc celebrating his victory on the night of the election in 1860, when with many others he went to the courtroom in what was then the statehouse, but is now the courthouse of Sangamon County, Lincoln occupying the justice's chair and receiving the good news. Cheer after cheer went up from his followers as the favorable dispatches came in. No other man did more to bring Springfield into prominence than did Abraham Lincoln, and his name stands out on the pages of history in connection with two others, which is a splendid triumvirate in America - Columbus, the discoverer; Washington, the founder; and Lincoln, the preserver of the country. Great bitterness was displayed during the campaign, for differences of opinion would cause hatred between brother and brother, and children and father. Mr. Zumbrook felt the situation so keenly that he would often get upon his knees and pray that his fellow men might be influenced to give their support to Lincoln. Speaking of the martyred president Mr. Zumbrook said: "The last time I saw him he was standing on the rear end of a passenger car on the north side of Monroe street in front of the old Wabash passenger depot, bidding us his final farewell. I remember yet his little address, which was as follows: "Dear Friends - No man that has not been in my place is able to share with me the feeling of sadness in leaving you. To you I am obligated for all that I am. Here my children were born and one lies buried here. I do not know how soon I shall see you again. Duties of the greatest magnitude since the days of Washington life before me. Washington would, without the assistance of Providence, have accomplished nothing. I know that I also without that assistance would be a failure. I therefore look to the Almighty for His guidance. I hope you, my friends, will ask it for me. Again I bid you a hearty farewell." Sad were the faces of many who gathered to bid him adieu on that occasion, but sadder still when he was returned to his home the victim of an assassin's hand. A noble life was ended, but out memory of him will never end."
Springfield in those early days had no paved streets, even around the square there were nothing but mud roads, and the farmer coming to town would unhitch his horse, tying it to the back of the wagon, in which he would put grain and hay, thus letting it eat. This would attract the cows, hogs and geese, and the square would thus be turned into a barnyard. Today, however, Springfield has splendidly paved streets and is lacking in no important equipment. At times great fires have devastated portions of the city, Mr. Zumbrook mentioning one in particular on the west side of the square, but not there are no one story frame houses to be seen, and the business blocks, which were limited almost entirely to the square, now extend for long distances in every direction. There is also great difference in the style of architecture seen in the residences and the boundaries of the city have been greatly extended, so that it covers a much larger area than it did at the time of his arrival.
On the 10th of January, 1863, in Springfield, Illinois, Louis H. Zumbrook was united in marriage to Miss Annie Mary Everhardt, who was born in 1845, a daughter of Matthew Everhardt, a veteran of the Civil War, and Christina (Pfefferly) Everhardt, who were natives of Wurtemberg, Germany. During her early girlhood days Mrs. Zumbrook was brought to Sangamon county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Zumbrook has been born a son, Charles W., who is now the junior partner in the firm of Zumbrook & Son. For many years Mr. Zumbrook has been a well-known factor in business circles of the city, and not to know him in Springfield is to argue one's self unknown. He has exerted considerable influence in public affairs and twice served as alderman from the fourth ward of Springfield. His political support has been given to the Republican party, and fraternally he affiliates with the Modern Woodmen of America, while in religious faith he is a Methodist. His has been an honorable and upright life, and while his influence has
been more quietly exerted, perhaps, than that of some other men, he has been none the less a strong factor in behalf of good government, of progress, improvement, of justice and of right, and when he, too, shall have passed from this life his memory will be revered and honored by those ho have known him during his long residence in Springfield.