William Froehlich

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

WILLIAM FROEHLICH, pension attorney and Notary Public of Oquawka, is one of the worthy citizens that Germany has furnished this locality, for he was born in the Rhine Province in Prussia. The date of this event was March 21, 1835. His father, Peter Froehlich, was a tanner by trade, and lived and died in Germany. The family numbered seven children, but four of the number died in infancy, and another, Francis, is also now deceased. Joseph, a ranchman of San Diego, Cal., and Gottfried Frederick William, of this sketch, are the only ones now living.

Our subject lost his mother when he was only four days old, and was reared by his grandmother. He acquired his early education in the village schools, but afterwards pursued his studies in the High School of Bonn. In 1851, he entered the chemical factory of that place, where he was employed as clerk for a year, and in 1852 he emigrated to America. The voyage was made in a sailing-vessel, and after fifty-two days spent upon the bosom of the Atlantic, anchor was dropped in the harbor of New Orleans, and the human cargo was landed in the Crescent City. Mr. Froehlich did not tarry long in the South, however, but by boat he at once proceeded up the Mississippi and located in Oquawka. For a year after his arrival, he was clerk in the store of F. Odendahl, which position he filled until he began learning the harness-maker's trade in Warsaw. There he remained from 1853 until 1856, when he went to Carthage, where he was employed as a journey- man until 1857. The following year was spent in working at his trade through Illinois and Iowa, and in 1858 he returned to Oquawka, where he engaged in harness-making and in teaching school until 1861.

Mr. Froehlich had given considerable time to the study of the questions which brought on the Civil War, and, warmly advocating the Union cause, he at once responded to the President's first call for seventy-five thousand volunteers. On the 23d of April, 1861, he enlisted as a member of Company D, Tenth Illinois Infantry, and at Cairo, Ill., was mustered out, July 29, 1861. On the 11th of September of the same year, however, he again entered the service as a member of Company G, Tenth Missouri Infantry, and participated in the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Yazoo Pass Expedition, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, the siege of Vicksburg and the battle of Mission Ridge. At Corinth, on the 4th of October, 1862, he was wounded in the forehead, and at the battle of Champion Hills was wounded in the right leg. His injuries were quite serious, but, nevertheless, he remained with his company until honorably discharged, September 29, 1864. He was then employed in the civil sen*ice in Nashville, as clerk in the Ordinance Department. At his own expense, he returned home to vote for Lincoln, and then again went to Nashville, where he remained until September, 1865, when we once more find him at Oquawka, where he has since made his home.

Mr. Froehlich's eye-sight having failed him, so that he could no longer follow his trade, he en- gaged as clerk for a time, and was then elected Constable, in 1866, filling the office for two years. He served as Deputy Assessor in 1867, 1868 and 1869, having half of the county in charge, and in 1868 became Deputy County Clerk, which office he filled until 1877, with the exception of one year. He was then elected County Clerk, which position he continuously filled until 1890, when he became pension attorney and Notary Public. Other offices he has filled, having served as Deputy Circuit Clerk and as Deputy Sheriff, and for five terms he has been Village Clerk, a position which he now occupies. When first elected County Clerk he received a majority of one hundred and ten. At the second election he carried the county by three hundred and seventy-nine; and at the third election by a majority of eleven hundred and twenty-five. No higher testimonial to his efficient and faithful service could be given. The prompt and able manner in which he discharged his duties has gained him the confidence and trust of the entire community, and, feeling that no better officer could be secured, many of the opposing party gave him their votes.

Mr. Froehlich was married November 21, 1865, to Mrs. Margaret Herbertz, who was also a native of Germany. There are four children by Mrs. Froehlich's former marriage, namely: Charles Herbertz, a miner in Colorado; Sophie, residing with her mother; William P., a traveling insurance and building association agent; and Herman J., editor of the Times at Roseville, Warren County, Ill.

Our subject has never had occasion to regret the fact that he sought a home in the New World about the time he started out in life for himself, for here he has made for himself a good living, and has won many friends, who give him their high regard. In politics, he has been a stanch Republican since casting his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He belongs to Ellsworth Post No. 172, G.A.R., and has served as its Commander, as Adjutant, Quartermaster, Sergeant-Major and as Quartermaster-Sergeant.