The families of Johannes George Spengel, later called George J. Spengel, and Franz Christopher Spengel, who later became Frank, came to the Highland and Pierron area. Their families have produced many of the area businessmen and farmers.
I have record of Johannes George Spengel, who was born in 1801 in Zeuteren, Baden, Germany. It is unknown when the family and children actually came to America, but probably in 1841. Roy Worstell’s genealogy has that the youngest daughter was born in 1845 in Germany. However, Alan Landmann’s genealogy says the youngest three children were born in Saline Township.
The other Spengel family is that Franz Christopher Spengel, the parents of Martin Spengel and the great-grandparents of Robert Spengel. Franz Christopher Spengel was born about 1812, also in Germany. But again, the exact date is unknown. He came to the Highland area with his wife and two children, Franz Carl and Ludwig Julius Spengel. (Ludwig Julius later became Louis Spengel.)
Were Johannes and Franz Christopher brothers?
Alan Landmann’s genealogy says that George and Frances Spengel, by 1850, had six children. Sebastian, age 23; John, 18; and Frances, 14, were all born in Germany. The couple had three additional children who were born here in Illinois: Philip (born in 1842) age 8 in 1950; Louisa (1845) age 5; and Adam (1849) age 1. This information came from the 1850 census.
A copy of that census was sent to me by Alan Landmann, of Washington, Adam Spengel’s great-great-grandson. Alan is related on his mother’s side, as Shirley Suess married Edgar Landmann.
I will start with the oldest son, Sebastian.
Sebastian and his wife, Margaretha, had a total of nine or 10 children and settled in Saline Township, Section 28, just east of the road to Greenville, according to Jacob Eggen’s 1847 map. They were neighbors to Zopf, Bender, Braun, Meyer, and P. Voegli, or Voegele. Sebastian Spengel’s second wife was Ella Brooks Storbeck. His third wife was Wilhelmina (Mina or Minnie) Storbeck (1851-1929). Wilhelmina was listed as his widow when he died in 1892.
Sebastian’s son, Joseph Sebastian Spengel (1884-1976) was the manager of the Pierron elevator until his retirement, when they moved to Highland. Great-grandson Cyril Spengel has supplied much information on the family.
Cyril is be fondly remembered for his long banking career in Highland — first as the loan officer, then the trust officer, then vice president, and then president, until 1978, and remaining with the Farmers & Merchants Bank and its successors until 1987.
Cyril’s brother, Floyd Spengel, was the manager of Spindler Farms and also at Hug Truck Co. before moving to Edwardsville.
Eleonore, called “Ella” Spengel, married Dr. Alois A. Wick, who was mayor of Highland from 1921-1927. It was during Dr. Wick’s administration that treated water was brought into the homes of Highland.
Henry “Heinrich” Johann Spengel (1869-1924) was the manufacturer of butcher blocks, according to the family’s genealogy, and the “Brief History of Highland” from 1893.
“We have one butcher block factory in Highland that does thousands of dollars worth of business each year. Consuming hundreds of Sycamore trees, annually, and shipping blocks to nearly every part of the country,” the history reads.
(That is probably why we have very few Sycamore trees in our area.)
John Heinrich Spengel (1869-1935) was a painter and decorator.
His oldest daughter, Clarice Spengel Gruenenfelder, and her husband, Ray, sold monuments and tombstones.
A son, Harold John Spengel, was a house painter and decorator, like his father. In later years, Harold was in partnership with Ed Hebrank, another painter. Harold died in 1940 at the age of 43. (Information is from his obituary.)
A younger daughter was Anna C. Spengel. Her husband was Roy L. Schwarz, and they had Schwarz Tavern, where 9th Street Cafe is today.
John S. and Maria Raeber Spengel’s daughter was Ida Spengel Frey. Ida’s daughter married Raymond Kustermann, who owned Kustermann Radio & TV at 914 Cypress.
Another grandson of John Spengel, James Frey, owned Frey’s Lawn Care, while another granddaughter, Marilyn Frey Korte, now lives at the Highland Home.
Henry J. Spengel (1895-1970) married Dorothy Yann, the daughter of Christian and Anna Landolt Yann. Henry sold New York Life Insurance and lived at 1417 Broadway, now the teachers’ parking lot for St. Paul School. We have the 30th anniversary plaque of Henry’s association with New York Life in the Highland Home Museum.
Lena Spengel (1895-1961) married Walter W. Knebel, the son of William F. and Johanna F. Schwarz Knebel. Walter Knebel sold Country Life Insurance and Financial.
Franz Christopher “Frank” Spengel’s son, Martin Spengel, and his wife Mary Zimmermann Spengel, in 1868, had a son, Ludwig Julius Spengel, who changed his name to Louis Spengel. (Genealogy information from Robert “Bob” Spengel. This week, I have also received photocopies from his nephew, Patrick Dunn, and some of these will be in the Highland Home Museum.)
Louis Spengel’s store was originally called, “Highland House Furnishing Co.,” but in the early 1900s, it was changed to “Spengel Furniture Store.” It was located at the northeast corner of Broadway and Cypress. Louis Spengel received his embalmer’s certificate in 1904 and his Illinois embalmer’s license in 1906. (Thanks to Jay Boulanger for a photocopy of the 1904 certificate and 1906 license, which will also be in the Highland Home Museum.)
Louis Spengel later purchased the old George Dumbeck Saloon and residence at the northwest corner of Main and Olive streets for his funeral chapel. This is the same building that Carl Basler purchased to start his Basler Electric Co. in 1942. Today, it is the northwest corner of St. Paul School.
The Spengel Furniture Store was continued by Louis’s son, Raymond L. Spengel, and by grandson James “Jim” Spengel. The funeral home was moved to the Wick Home at 9th and Lemon streets by Ray Spengel and was continued by his son, Robert Spengel. It has been enlarged and is now known as Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home.
Thanks to the late Cyril Spengel for his listing of relatives who were in business in this area.