Biography of Carl Bernhardi, M. D.

One of Rock Island’s long established physicians who has achieved an enviable reputation in his profession, and who is held in high personal regard by all who know him, is Doctor Carl Bernhardi.

He was born September 10, 1843, in the City of Koenigsberg, East Prussia, Germany. Here he spent his boyhood, receiving his preliminary education in the schools and colleges of his native city, and finally entered the medical department of the University of Koenigsberg in 1863. He continued his medical course in this university until the Autumn of 1866, when he went to the University of Berlin. From this latter institution he graduated one year later, August 15, 1867.

Previous to his graduation Doctor Bernhardi served as a volunteer surgeon during the war between Prussia and Austria in 1866. He was present at the battles of Nathod and Skalitz, which occurred June 27 and 28 of that year, and also the battle of Koenigraetz, which occurred July 3. He was discharged at the close of the war which terminated September 3, 1866. He remained in Germany until March, 1869, when he came to the United States, going immediately to old friends at St. Louis. While there he learned that there was an opening for a German physician at Rock Island and consequently decided to locate here. He arrived in Rock Island on April 22, 1869, and has ever since been one of this city’s successful physicians and highly respected citizens.

On October 10, 1873, occurred the nuptials of Doctor Bernhardi and Miss Zoe Olshausen, daughter of Dr. J. J. Olshausen, of Davenport, Iowa. Doctor Olshausen had formerly practiced medicine in St. Louis, and in that city Miss Olshausen was born. To Doctor Bernhardi and his wife four children have been born  Claire Marie, married October 10, 1898, to Doctor Alfred Schalek, then assistant professor of dermatology at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Doctor Schalek is now professor of dermatology in the medical department of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Doctor and Mrs. Schalek have one daughter, Zoe Carola, about six years of age; Anne Ottilie, married June 3, 1903, to H. Woodworth Clum, of Washington, District of Columbia. Mr. Clum has for some time been engaged in newspaper work, and is at present secretary of the board of trade of Trenton, New Jersey. Mr. and Mrs. Clum have two children, Elizabeth Anne, aged three years, and Carl Bernie, aged eight months; Doctor Carl Oscar Bernhardi, a sketch of whose life is given elsewhere in this work and Miss Zoe Julie Bernhardi at home.

In politics Doctor Bernhardi has always been a Republican, and is prominently identified with that party locally, for although the many demands of his professional calling left him but little time to devote to active political work, yet he was always ready to assist his party in any manner that lay in his power. He was twice appointed a member of the public library board; was elected a member of the board of education for a three years term in the early nineties, and was County Physician for several years.

Doctor Bernhardi is a member of the medical staff of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rock Island, and an honorary member of the staff of Mercy Hospital at Davenport, Iowa. He has also been a member of the American .Medical Association since 1888, and of the Illinois State Medical Society since 1872. He was the first president of the Rock Island County Medical Society, and is a member of the Iowa and Illinois District Medical Society.

For years Doctor Bernhardi was an active member of the Rock Island Turner Society. He is now an honorary member of that organization. He is ex-president of the former German-English School Society, and a charter member of Germania Lodge, Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is also a charter member of Camp No. 309, Modern Woodmen of America, and of Home Tribunal, No. 1, Fraternal Tribunes. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having passed through the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, and is a member of Kaaba Temple of the Order of the Mystic Shrine at Davenport, Iowa. He also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

So widely known is Doctor Bernhardi that it seems indeed unnecessary to even attempt a delineation of the character of the man. The collective opinion of those to whom he has ministered in sickness and who know his kind and gentle ways in the sick room, and his untiring efforts to alleviate suffering and to combat. disease, is the best tribute that can be paid him.


Biographical Publishing Company. Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock Island County. Illinois; Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co.

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