BISCH, CHARLES T. - Probably there is no man better known in the Masonic fraternity the State over, than Charles T. Bisch, of Springfield, whose devotion to the order, his zeal in furthering its work and his knowledge of its ceremonies and benefits make his services especially valuable in connection with his order. He is recognized as a man of high purpose thoroughly imbued with the majesty and significance of the ritual, and earnest in his endeavor to extend the influence of the order in all its degrees. There is scarcely any honor that can be accorded a Mason that has not been, or could not be, his, yet he is just as much interested in the work of the Blue Lodge as that of the Commandery. He enjoys in a high degree the respect of his brother Masons, who know and appreciate what he has been and is to Masonry. He is well known, however, outside of fraternal circles, for he has spent his life in Springfield and from boyhood has employed his time in advancing his interests, broadening his mind, and assisting in the development of the city. Merchant and capitalist, his various business interests have led gradually to his present work and he is now perhaps the most efficient and capable funeral director in his part of Illinois. Born in Springfield, July 28, 1860, he comes of good German stock on the paternal side, his father, Philip Bisch, having been born in Lorraine, Germany, September 24, 1825. In 1852 Philip Bisch came to America, locating in what was then the village of Chicago, in 1853. There he met and married, February 20, 1855, Isabelle French, born near Buffalo, N.Y., March 14, 1839. For a year succeeding their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Bisch resided in Chicago, then went to Kansas City, but believing it was too far west, then came back to Illinois, and settled in Springfield in 1856, that city continuing to be their home. The father established himself in a furniture business, becoming a prosperous merchant and much esteemed citizen. His death occurred January 10, 1889, but his widow survives, still making her home in Springfield. Seven children were born to this couple, six of whom are living, and of them all Charles T. is the eldest. Philip Bisch was one of those sturdy, upright men, whose desire was to do his full duty and live according to the teachings of the Lutheran Church, of which he was a consistent member.
Charles T. Bisch grew up in Springfield as a happy, healthy, normal lad, attending school and forming and enjoying friendships with his mates. Like a sensible man, his father had him learn cabinet making, and this has influenced his business life, for all his operations have been along lines connected with this trade. After a three years' apprenticeship, in 1875, he accepted a clerkship with a furniture firm, and within two years became so efficient that he was made manager. In 1880 he, with his father and brother, formed a partnership for the purpose of handling furniture, but at the death of the father Mr. Bisch purchased all the interests and continued the business alone, until 1893, when he sold to engage almost immediately in a carpet business. Until 1901 he remained in the latter line, but selling out, turned his attention to undertaking and has found employment in this work for his abilities and sympathetic capabilities. Not only must a man have training and experience, to be a good funeral director, but he must be born with that comprehension and appreciation of the sufferings of others that allow him to sympathize and express his sorrow so as not to intrude upon the grief of the afflicted.
Mr. Bisch belongs to Springfield Lodge No. 4, A.F. & A.M.; Peoria Consistory S.P.R.S., thirty-second degree; Mohammed Temple of Mystic Shrine; Lalla Rookh Chapter, No. 218, Eastern Star; Princess of Jerusalem White Shrine Sangamon Lodge No. 6, I.O.O.F.; Prairie State Encampment, No. 16; Lilla Lodge No. 63, S. of R.; Pawnee Tribe No. 66, I.O.R.M.; Illini Council No. 6, D. of P.; Loft No. 66½ Haymakers; Capitol Lodge No. 14 K. of P.; Tekoa Temple No. 99, Pythian Sisters; Medina Temple, No. 99, D.O.K.K.; Springfield Lodge No. 158, B.P.O.E.; Laurel Council No. 929, R.A.; Prosperity Camp No. 1418, M.W.A.; Capitol District Court No. 20, C. of H. He has served officially in several lodges, and in 1898 was elected Great Sachem of Illinois by the Great Council of Illinois Improved Order of Red Men, and has served the order as Great Representative to the Great Council of the United States for ten years. In addition to these various fraternal connections, Mr. Bisch has found time to be active in the Y.M.C.A., of which he has been a member for thirty years, serving at one time as its Treasurer, and is now Vice-President and Director. He is an independent Republican. Since 1875 he has been a member of Grace Lutheran Church.
On October 28, 1884, Mr. Bisch was married in Springfield to Anna McCaulla, born in Springfield, May 22, 1865, whose parents were natives of Pennsylvania. Mr. McCaulla served during the Civil War, but died at its close in 1865. His widow survived him until 1907, when she too passed away. One son, Harold P. Bisch, was born August 14, 1885, in the city of Springfield. In 1906, when the son attained his majority, his father celebrated the event by taking him into full partnership, and now has the assistance of this promising young man in all his operations.
All his life Mr. Bisch has been interested in traveling and he and Mrs. Bisch have been in every State and Territory of the Union. In addition he has traveled extensively in Cuba and Canada, and he and his wife are contemplating a tour of the world in the near future. It is only justice to add that there is not a transaction in his life of which he feels ashamed, nor any that he would wish to live over because of neglect of duty or failure to give just due to others. His record is clean, his honor unsullied, and among his fellow citizens, his name stands for what is best and truest.