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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor

Page 261

Bengel Brothers is the name of a well known firm of Springfield composed of Fred J. and John G. Bengel. As stated in connection with the sketch of their father, George B. Bengel, they were born in Germany and since 1868 they have been engaged in business in Springfield. They are now conducting the largest grocery establishment which has had a continuous existence in this city, an they likewise occupy a foremost place in business circles, their enterprise having become an extensive and profitable one which adds to the commercial prosperity of the city as well as to their individual success.

Fred J. Bengel was born on the 16th of June, 1847, and was therefore but six years of age when brought to America by his parents. He pursued his education in the schools of this city and in 1869 he was united in marriage to Miss Carrie Wiesenmyer, who was born in 1849 in New York city. She is a daughter of Charles and Dora Wiesenmyer, who became residents of Springfield in 1851. Her father was a carpenter and followed that pursuit throughout his business career. His wife died in 1891 and he passed away in 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Bengel have three living children: Charles G., who married Kate Frederick, of Springfield; Elizabeth, the wife of Paul Hensen, of this city; and Rosa, the widow of W. J. Keeler, of Springfield. The family home is at No. 1003 North Sixth street and was erected in 1885. The parents are members of St. John's German Lutheran church. He belongs to Liberty Camp, No. 1534, M.W.A. and for ten years has been its clerk. His political support is given the Democracy and in matters of citizenship he manifests a deep interest, withholding his support from no movement that he deems will prove of benefit to the community or will contribute to its substantial improvement.

John G. Bengel, the junior member of the well known firm of Springfield, was born in Germany, May 12, 1850, and like his brother spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home in this city, pursuing his education in the public schools. He was married on the 12th of May, 1878, to Miss Rosa C. Miller, a daughter of Henry and Rosena Miller. Her father was one of the first butchers of Springfield, coming to this city from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1853, while from Germany he crossed the Atlantic to America in 1847. He became a successful business man and the owner of considerable valuable real estate and personal property. He was likewise a director in the Marine Bank and was interested in the Capital Coal Company, while at an early day he followed his trade as superintendent of Lamb's slaughter house. He died in 1882, but his widow is still living and now makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. John Bengel. Unto John G. Bengel and his wife have been born four children. Henry G., born in 1880, is now employed in the Illinois National Bank. Ivy, born in 1885, is at home. George B., born in 1887, is a student in the high school. Alma, born in 1892, is also attending school. John G. Bengel and his wife are members of St. John's Lutheran church and he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and the Travelers Protective Association. He, too, votes with the Democracy and while he has firm faith in its principles he has always refused office, preferring that his attention should be given in an undivided manner to his business affairs. His home is at No. 914 North First street.

Adam J. Bengel, the youngest son in the family of George B. Bengel, was born in Springfield in 1854. He pursued a common-school education. He learned the printer's trade n the office of the Journal and for twenty-two years he has been connected with the office of the supreme court reporter, in which capacity he went to Bloomington seven years ago and has since made his home there. He married Miss Teresa Wiesenmyer and both are well known in Springfield as well as in Bloomington.

The Bengal family has long been connected with business affairs in Springfield and thirty years have passed since the firm of Bengel Brothers established their grocery business. Throughout this long period they have worked together in absolute harmony, the labors of one supplementing and rounding out the efforts of the other until the firm has taken first rank among the grocery merchants of the capital city and at the same time the house sustains an unassailable reputation.

As before stated the Bengel Brothers have been active factors in the business circles of Springfield since 1868. In that year they formed a partnership and engaged in the barber business, which they continued until 1873, in which year they established their grocery store. This they have since conducted with excellent success, constantly enlarging their stock in order to meet the growing demands of their trade until they now have a business of large proportions their extensive sales annually returning to them a good income. Their store is well equipped with a large and carefully selected line of staple and fancy groceries and everything that the market affords and their own efforts to please their customers secure them a continuance of trade. The younger brother is also interested in the Williamsville Coal Company an has been its president since its organization in 1892. This company has an output of five hundred tons of coal per day and its mines are located along the Chicago & Alton Railroad ten miles from Springfield. He likewise owns realty in different part of the city.

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