Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
Charles T. Bisch, a funeral director of Springfield, was born in this city, July 28, 1860. His father, Philip Bisch, now deceased, was a native of Alsace-Lorraine, France, born in 1824, and when twenty-eight years of age he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling in Springfield in 1855. He had acquired his education in his native country and was conversant with the French, German and English languages. He had also learned the trade of the cabinet-maker there and had served in the regular army for seven years. On the expiration of that time he came to America. His parents had died in Germany, when well advanced in years and his father, who held a government position, was well-to-do. After locating in Springfield, Philip Bisch followed the trade in which he had embarked as a young man, carrying on cabinet-making until 1878, when he opened a furniture store at No. 111 North Sixth street, there carrying on business until his death. Much of his furniture he manufactured by hand, his workmanship being of a very fine character. In Chicago, in 1854, Philip Bisch was united in marriage to Isabel Lammb, who was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1839, and still lives at the old home on North Sixth street, where her husband purchased a lot and erected a dwelling in 1867. In his political views Mr. Bisch was an earnest Republican, but never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of office. He belonged to the Grace Lutheran church and was a man of unquestioned probity of character, of stalwart patriotism and of upright purpose. To his friends he was one whose word was as good as his bond and who in all life's relations was reliable and trustworthy. Though he began business on a small scale, gradually he worked his way upward, accumulating a comfortable competence, and it afforded him the greatest happiness to provide his family with the comforts and luxuries of life. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bisch were born seven children: Louisa, the wife of F. E. Early, of Springfield; Mary, the wife of Clinton Early, of this city; Charles T., of this review; George F., who is engaged in the furniture business on Fifth street; Adeline, the wife of Thomas R. Humphrey, of Muncie, Indiana; Julia, the wife of Robert E. McLain, of Springfield; and Fannie, the wife of Frank Penneman, of this city. All of the children were born, reared and educated in this city, are graduates of the public schools here and have gone to homes of their own in Springfield with the exception of one daughter. It was in 1888 that Philip Bisch passed away, leaving his family the untarnished record of a good name as well as a comfortable competence acquired through years of earnest and honorable labor.
In the usual manner of city boys Charles T. Bisch pursued his education in Springfield and after graduating from the ward school he spent two years as a student in the high school, which he entered at the very early age of eleven years. When thirteen years of age he left school in order to learn the cabinet-maker's trade with his father, and mastered the business within two years, so that in 1875 he was enabled to accept a clerkship with Thomas DuPleaux, a well known furniture dealer of that time, with whom he remained until 1878. His father then embarked in the furniture business and Charles Bisch became a partner in the new enterprise, the business relations between them continuing until the father's death, in 1888, after which our subject purchased the interest of the other heirs in the business and continued alone until 1893. Owing to ill health he then sold out and spent the succeeding six months in travel, which proved very beneficial to him. In 1893 he returned to Springfield and once more became a factor in business circles here, by the establishment of the carpet store, to which in 1896 he added his undertaking business in the second story. His carpet business increased so rapidly that he was obliged to secure the adjoining room in order to accommodate the large stock necessary to meet the growing demand of his extensive patronage. The undertaking business likewise increased and in January, 1902, he sold his carpet store in order to give this entire attention to business as a funeral director. In his work he has been eminently successful and his diligence and capable management have brought to him a very gratifying competence.
On the 28th of October, 1885, Mr. Bisch married Miss Anna McCaulla, who was born in Springfield, May 22, 1865. Her father was of Scotch parentage and was a well known educator, who at his death left a son, Edward, now in Springfield with the mother, and Mrs. Bisch. Mr. and Mrs. Bisch have one child, Harold P., who now attending business college.
A prominent Mason, Mr. Bisch belong to Springfield Lodge No. 4, A.F. & A.M., and has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish rite in Peoria Consistory, S.P.R.S. He likewise belongs to Capital Lodge, No. 14, K. P.; Medinah Temple, D.O.K.K.; Pawnee Tribe, No. 66, I.O.R.M.; Illini Council, No. 6, D.P.; the Rathbone Sisters, Fraternal Christian Light; Prosperity Camp, No. 1418, M.W.A., and Laurel Council, No. 929, Royal Arcanum. In the Tribe of Red Men he has attained high official honors, having served as great schem in 1898 and 1899, while since the former year he has been a member of the great council of the United States. Exercising his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party, he has firm faith in its principles, but has never consented to accept public office, although solicited many times to do so. Both he and his wife were members of the Grace Lutheran church. He owes his business prominence and success to his own efforts and his standing in trade
circles is a most commendable one. Having always lived in Springfield Mr. Bisch has a wide acquaintance here. Although rather retiring and conservative before the public, he commands the respect of all with whom he comes in contact and his successful career excites admiration.