Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

CAPTAIN CHARLES WERNER - Earning his living when but a small boy by selling newspapers and cigars, Captain Charles Werner has since been dependent upon his own resources, and that he is now one of the thrifty and substantial farmers of Sangamon county is due to his persistent efforts and unfaltering energy. He lives on section 21, Clear Lake township, where he has one hundred and twenty-two acres of land, and his possessions are an indication of his life of enterprise. Many years have passed since he came to this county, for he has been a resident here since 1857. He arrived when a little lad of less than four years, his birth having occurred in New Haven, Connecticut, November 1, 1852. His father, Charles Werner, Sr., was a native of Germany born in Prussia in 1828. There he was reared and when a young man he came to America in 1850, settling in New Haven, Connecticut. He possessed considerable mechanical ability and was a machinist and railroad engineer, acting in the latter capacity on the New Haven & New London Railroad. After his removal to the east he was employed as an engineer by the Wabash and by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroads. In November 1851, in New Haven, he wedded Mary Sharp, who was born in Hesse, Germany. It was in 1857 that they removed to Illinois, and after residing in Springfield for three or four years Mr. Werner left the railroad service and took up his abode upon a farm, purchasing a tract of timber land, which he cleared, fenced and improved, developing a good property of one hundred and twenty-two acres. He erected a substantial residence, good barns and outbuildings, and carried on the work of progress and improvement until his farm became a very valuable one. In his later years he removed to Springfield, where he lived retired until his death on the 5th of August, 1902. His wife survives him and yet makes her home in the capital city. In their family were two daughters: Amelia, now the wife of William B. Curry, of Springfield; and Augusta, the wife of William L. Black, of Springfield.

Charles Werner, the only son, spent his boyhood days upon his father's farm, attended the home schools of his neighborhood and also continued his studies in the schools of Springfield. During the Civil war, when a mere lad, he was engaged in selling paper, cigars and tobacco at Camp Butler, working thus until the close of the hostilities. He afterward assisted in carrying on the old homestead farm, and when his father removed to Springfield he assumed its management. In his work as an agriculturist he is wide awake, industrious and enterprising, and his labors are therefore attended with a creditable measure of success. He feeds some stock for the market and his annual sales of grain bring him a good income.

In 1882 occurred the marriage of Captain Werner and Miss Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who was born and reared in Springfield, a daughter of Morris Fitzgerald, one of the early settlers of Springfield. Six children have been born of this union: Charles A., Ellen, Marie, Katie, Morris and Elizabeth.

That Mr. Werner is a loyal citizen and that patriotism is one of the strong elements in his nature is indicated by the fact that at the time of the Spanish-American war he raised a company for the service, but the aid of his men was not needed and the company was therefore never called out. Politically he is a stanch Democrat, his first vote having been cast for Samuel J. Tilden in 1876. He has been honored with a number of local positions, having been elected twenty successive years to office, serving for twelve years as commissioner of highways and eight years as supervisor, acting as chairman of a number of important committees. He is now the preset chairman of the honorary county board and his co-operation is ever given to measures for the benefit of his community and for the advancement of general progress. At this writing he is chairman of the county central committee of his party and he has been a delegate to numerous county and state conventions. For twenty-one years he has served on the school board and is now district secretary. A member of the Masonic fraternity he belongs to Riverton Lodge, A.F. & A.M., and is also identified with other fraternal orders. He and his wife were reared in the Catholic faith and now attend the church at Riverton. Almost his entire life has been spent in Sangamon county, and his history is, therefore, well known to its citizens, while he has won a reputation as a man of tried integrity and worth. Dependent upon his own resources from an early age, he has steadily advanced toward the goal of prosperity and has justly won the proud American title of a self-made man.

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