R. G. FELDKAMP has resided in Springfield since before the incorporation of the city. He was born in the province of Hanover, Germany, January 6, 1838, a son of Greed and Grazina (Rosette) Feldkamp. The days of his boyhood and youth were passed in his native country, and in 1867 he crossed the Atlantic to America, establishing his home in Springfield. While in Germany he had passed an examination permitting of his appointment to mate and captain of vessels and became chief of several vessels cruising all over the world. He spent sixteen years as a sailor, visiting many ports in the civilized countries, and the two coasts of America as well. When twenty-nine years of age, however, he determined to leave the sea and take up his abode in the land of the free. Accordingly he came to Springfield, Illinois, and accepted here any position that would yield him an honest living. In the year 1871 he established a grocery store and has been in that line of business for thirty-two years at his present location. This fact alone indicates that his career has been a successful one. He has had a large patronage, and when once the trade of a customer is secured it is seldom lost, except in the case of removal or some such cause. Year by year his sales have enabled him to add somewhat to his capital, and now he is in possession of a very comfortable competence. His life history proves what can be accomplished in this country where opportunity is open to all who have ambition, energy and determination.
Mr. Feldkamp was married March 20, 1869, to Miss Christina Henrietta Lavin, a daughter of John Lavin. They have four children: Mary and Jennie, both at home; Bertie, the wife of Albert Schulke; and Elizabeth, who married Shelby Nelson. Mr. Feldkamp has given his children the advantage of good school privileges, and they are cultured people, holding responsible positions in Springfield. Mr. Feldkamp lived in this city at the time when he took his children to school on horseback, riding over the wide prairie, there being few houses or settlements in some of the districts of the county. He has assisted materially in the upbuilding of this portion of the city and has been an interested witness of its development and progress. He can remember the first street cars, when mules were used as a motive power, at a later date when Springfield was incorporated and Mr. Feldkamp aided in its organization and became one of its first trustees. The date of incorporation was July 27, 1882.
He also held the office of highway commissioner and has been deeply and actively interested in many measures for general progress and advancement. He was once quite active in politics and was a supporter of the Democratic party, but now leaves all that to the younger members of the party. His wife and children are members of the Grace Lutheran Church and he has contributed generously to its support and also assisted in erecting the DuBois school. Feldkamp avenue in Springfield was named in his honor, a fact which shows that he is recognized by his fellow townsmen as a progressive citizen and one whose labors have been of marked benefit to Springfield.