Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
William Thunemann


Portrait of William Thunemann

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WILLIAM THUNEMANN is a dealer in and manufacturer of harness and saddlery in Sullivan, Moultrie County, and is located on the north side of the public square where he has been in business for many years, having opened his establishment here in 1861. He first began in a small way and has since built up a large business and a good trade, having been located in three different places ia the city since coming here. He has an enviable reputation as a skilled workman and turns out some very fine pieces of work.

Our subject came to Sullivan from Chicago in 1858, but worked on a farm until 1861. He had come to Chicago from Philadelphia, where he had been for two years, as he first located there on coming to this country from Germany in 1856. His native home was in one of the Rhenish Provinces, and he was born September 8, 1820, upon the banks of the beautiful and picturesque river Rhine. His parents William and Anna M. (Putz) Thunemann were of pure German stock, the former being born in Saxony and the latter upon the river Rhine. They were married and began life near near her native home during the period of the Napoleonic wars. The father worked in the Government service, superintending a large harness shop which furnished equipments for the Russian Army, and he was thus engaged throughout the war. Later in life he started in business on his own account and died near his native home in 1852, being then sixty-two years old. His wife passed away six years later at the age of seventy-nine. She was a devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church but her husband brought up the children in his own faith, that of the Evangelical Church.

Our subject is the youngest of the parental household, of whom but two are now living, his brother Jacob being a harness-maker in the Rhenish Province of Odenkiecken, and being now seventy-four years old, a well preserved and active business man. One of his sons, Paul, a fine young business man, is with his uncle in business. Mr. Thunemann learned his trade when about fourteen years of age and has continued in its exercise ever since. He was married in his native province to Anna M. Gilbert, who was born February, 22, 1828, of good German stock, her father being a weaver of fine cloth and a farmer. Both he and his faithful wife, who like himself, spent her entire days in her native land, found in the Evangelical Church a religious home.

Mrs. Thunemann was reared in her native province and after her marriage she became the mother of two children before emigrating to this country. The little family left Antwerp on a sailing vessel which bore the name of "Matilda," and after five weeks upon the ocean they landed in New York City and traveled from there to Philadelphia. Somewhat later they came West, stopping first at Chicago in the fall of 1857, before coming to Sullivan which they reached in 1858.

In May, 1875, our subject and his wife returned to their Fatherland and visited the old home. They had the pleasure of seeing the Emperor William and in October of the same year they returned to their home in Sullivan. They are the parents of four children, namely: Johanna, the wife of Edward J. Gilham, who is traveling for a St. Louis House in Southern Illinois; Mary, the wife of Charles Barnhart, the manager of the new Litchfield House at Litchfield; Margaret, who is a teacher in the public schools of Spokane Falls, Wash., and Emma, who is at home and a teacher of music. The members of the family belong to the Presbyterian Church and are active in the exercise of their religious duties. Mr. Thunemann is an intelligent student of our American institutions and a Republican in politics. He has been for thirteen years one of the City Aldermen.

In connection with this biographical notice a portrait of Mr. Thunemann is presented to our readers.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 565/566

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb