GEDMAN, CHARLES - America has long been the refuge of those from foreign lands who are oppressed by their own governments. Some of the best citizens we have are those who have thus sought the religious and political freedom denied them elsewhere. Springfield is fortunate in having many such men, and among the, an excellent example of what a foreigner can accomplish in this county, if he is intelligent and willing to work and learn, is Charles Gedman. Mr. Gedman was born in Russia, August 19, 1870, a son of Michael and Rose (Gemba) Gedman, born in the same place as their son. The father was a farmer, who died in 1887, but his wife survives, residing in Russia. They had two sons and three daughters, who, with the exception of one daughter came to America. The family are all Catholics.
Mr. Gedman was fortunate in possessing an educated mother, who taught him in his youth and implanted in his heart the desire for acquiring more knowledge. He speaks Russian, Polish, Lituanian, English and Bohemian, all learned from contact with men. In addition, he writes English well and reads fluently. While living in Russia he was a miner, but, believing he could do better in America, he came over in 1893 and located in Chicago. There he found employment in different lines, until 1895, when he came to Springfield to begin working in the coal mines. This was his occupation for some years, until he embarked in a coal business, July 1, 1902. His previous experience has served him well and he has developed a large and constantly growing trade.
Mr. Gedman was married in Springfield, October 30, 1899, to Emelia Valtioncys, born in Russia, where her parents died. She has a brother and sister in America, and came in 1899, to join Mr. Gedman. They had bene sweethearts in their native land, and one of his reasons for leaving was to prepare a home for her. Two children have been born to them, Julia, attending St. Mary's Academy, and John. Mr. Gedman belongs to St. Vincent De Paul's Church of Springfield, being a consistent Catholic. He is a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Society, Eagles and the Lithuanian Citizens Club, and has belonged to the Guards of Grand Duke Vitaugh. Independent in politics, he votes for the men and principles he believes best suited to secure the interests of the people. His success is something of which he has every reason to be proud, for he is essentially a self-made man, and one who has had to struggle hard for all he possesses. It is such men who form the backbone of the nation and support it in any emergency.