It is true of the present time that young men, and those approaching middle age, are at the front in the conduct of the world’s business activities, and it is also true that the persistent energy and well-directed aggressiveness of these classes have placed them well in the van as to political preferment and in the exercise of public functions. In this class the subject of this sketch properly belongs; and where honor is due, the truth is most becoming.                                                                                                      William J. Conzelman was born at St. Louis, Mo., on May 20, 1865. His father, Dr. John Conzelman, is a native of Stuttgart, Wurtemberg, Germany, and a graduate of the medical college at that place. For many years he was an eminent practicing physician in St. Louis, a man of high character, and an honored member of the community in which he lived. Dr. Conzelman was married to Miss Louisa Graf, of Hermann, Mo., and to this union were born eleven children, the subject of this sketch being the fifth child. Mayor Conzelman was graduated from the St. Louis High School in 1882. Subsequently he was connected for seven years with the Simmons’ Hardware Company as salesman and bookkeeper. For the two years following he was with E. H. Lindley, and then engaged in the real estate business until April, 1891, when he came to Pekin. His residence of thirteen years in Pekin has been one of ceaseless activity. He has ever been loyal to the city, pushing her interests whenever the opportunity offered. Frequently he created the occasion himself, when he believed an enterprise to be for the good of the community. He was one of the managers of the Globe Distilling Company, and now holds the same position with its successor, the Standard Distilling and Distributing Company, of Pekin. He is President of the Tazewell Hotel Company, and is interested as a stockholder in J & G. Herget Company and the Pekin Stave and Manufacturing Company; is President of the Library Board, Secretary of the Cemetery Association, and served as President of the Roosevelt, Deneen and Graff Club. He was also Colonel on Governor Richard Yates’ Military Staff. On October 21, 1891, Mr. Conzelman was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Herget, daughter of Hon. John Herget, deceased, and Ernestine Herget.                                                                                                                       
In May, 1901, our subject was elected Mayor of Pekin, carrying every ward in the city, and in 1903 was re-elected to that office, being still its incumbent. His administration as Mayor is justly notable for its energy in the promotion of the city’s welfare. Whatever has been attempted has been along conservative, and yet public spirited and progressive lines. He has been particularly active in the formation of the Pekin Park District, and, as a member. of the Park Board, has been one of the chief promoters of the improvements now being made in the public grounds.                                                                                                             
Mayor Conzelman is pre-eminently devoted to the interests of Pekin, as most fittingly becomes its chief executive officer, and one of its most prominent and public-spirited citizens. In the administration of public affairs, as well as in the conduct of his large business interests, he is ever devoted to the accomplishment of those ends which make for the good of all concerned. He is sternly opposed to the rule- or-ruin politics, and generously recognizes the right of all men to think and act as they may choose. Personally, he is always a gentleman. His private character is without flaw or blemish, and no breath of calumny has ever tarnished his good name. He is respected among all his acquaintances for those sterling qualities of manhood which leave their impress on civic and social life. He binds his friends closely to him and never deserts them. Take him all-in-all, he is a model officer, a liberal, progressive citizen, and a thorough business man—honored anti worthy in all relations of life.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 988
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