Charles F. Schafer is one of Mount Pulaski's prominent business men, whose success in life is due alone to his own efforts. He is a native of Germany, born in Würtemberg on the 22d of February, 1847, and is a son of Adam and Christian (Koch) Schafer, who were also born in that country. The year 1853 witnessed the emigration of the family to the new world and on reaching this country they located in Mount Pulaski, Illinois, where the father, who was a blacksmith by trade, opened a shop and engaged in business. He was not permitted to enjoy his new home for long, however, as he died in 1854 at the age of fifty-four years. Prior to coming to America he had served in the German army and was reared in the Lutheran church, to which faith he always adhered. His wife survived him for some time, dying in 1867 at the age of sixty-four years. She was a faithful member of the German Methodist church. In their family were five children, of whom our subject is the fourth in order of birth.
At the age of fifteen years Charles F. Schafer began learning the tinner's trade with Robert Goram, with whom he served his apprenticeship and was subsequently in the employ of Frank Frorer at Lincoln for two and one-half years. In 1865 he started a tin shop of his own in Mount Pulaski with money borrowed from his mother and brother-and Frank Frorer furnished him his first stock. But in 1868 his health failed and he turned his attention to farming a half mile from Mount Pulaski and for three years he devoted his time to that pursuit, and then returned to the city and resumed business, dealing in tinware, hardware and agricultural implements. This enterprise he has since carried on with marked success and today enjoys an enviable trade. In 1877 he erected a brick business block at the southeast corner of the square forty-two by eighty feet in dimensions and two stories in height. Subsequently he sold the north half of this building to the Masons, but in 1909 bought it back. About 1900 he erected an addition, making his building now one hundred and forty feet in length and two stories in height throughout. He now has the largest establishment of the kind in Logan county and besides his city property owns two hundred and sixty-five acres of fine farming land.
On the 17th of October, 1867, Mr. Schafer was united in marriage to Miss Anna R. Vonderleith, who was born in Mount Pulaski, March 26, 1850, and is one of a family of seven children. Her parents were Henry and Katrina (Wecker) Vonderleith, who came from Germany to this country at an early day and settled in Mount Pulaski, where her father worked at his trade as a bricklayer. He also engaged in farming to some extent. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Schafer are as follows: Henry W., John Frederick and Walter A., who are in the store; Annie, at home; Clara, the wife of William Jenner, who is in the employ of her father; and Bertha and Grace, at home.
The family hold membership in St. John's Lutheran church, of which Mr. Schafer is trustee, and is a liberal contributor toward its support. He is also prominent in the Masons, being a member of Mount Pulaski Lodge, No. 87, A. F. & A. M., of which he is past master and is also past commander of the commandery to which he belongs. He is affiliated with Mount Pulaski Lodge, No. 454 Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a charter member of the Modern Woodmen of America camp at the same place. In politics he is an unswerving democrat and his fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, have called upon him to serve for nine years as town treasurer and also as a member of the school board, being president of the latter for three successive terms. He is also president of the People's Loan & Savings Association of Mount Pulaski, of which he was one of the organizers thirty years ago, and which, under his able management, has become one of the most flourishing financial institutions of the kind in this part of the state. He is a wide-awake, progressive business man of known reliability, who usually carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes.
Source: Skinner, Lawrence B., History of Logan County, Vol. II, [Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911] p. 9-11.
Submitted by Cheryl Rothwell who is not related to Charles Schafer.