Biography of Carl Wilhelm Spoehrle

Carl Wilhelm Spoehrle. Since his arrival in Champaign County in 1873 the career of Carl Wilhelm Spoehrle has been one in which industry, integrity and fidelity have served to give him an ever-increasing success, a standing as a reputable and substantial citizen, and the respect of the community in which he has so long resided. At the time of his arrival he was in modest circumstances, and he found the new community in which he settled little more than a raw prairie. His own development from his former position to one of affluence has kept steady pace with the progress of the county to its present proud position among the leading agricultural centers of the state.

Mr. Spoehrle was born in Germany, a son of Gottlieb and Katherine Spoehrle, natives of that country, where their entire lives were spent. Carl W. was given an ordinary educational training by honorable parents who were possessed of only moderate financial means, and in his youth showed himself ambitious to make something of himself. The opportunities in his native land, however, were not any too plentiful, and his future did not seem bright, so that when nineteen years of age he was glad to accept the invitation of his sister, Christina Magdalina, who had preceded him, to come to the United States. He accordingly took passage on a sailing vessel, and after a voyage of more than forty days arrived in America and immediately made his way to the home of his sister at Atlanta, Illinois. There he secured employment of an agricultural nature and, being intelligent and alert, soon picked up American customs and methods, as well as the language of this country. By 1873 he felt himself ready to enter upon a career of his own, and in that year came to Champaign County, which he found to consist of prairie land. For seven years he worked hard and faithfully, and with native economy saved his earnings, so that at the end of that time he was able to purchase his first tract of land, for which he paid $35 an acre. This was in the vicinity of the home of his sister, Mrs. Christina Summit, who did much to cheer and encourage him, and but for whose advice the entire trend of his life might have been changed. When still little more than a youth, with the ambition and venturesome spirit of young manhood, he was about to allow himself to answer the call of the great West, lured there by stories of the wonderful fortunes to be won by young men of energy and ambition. His sister, with her mature wisdom, however, entreated the young man to remain in Illinois, and her judgment prevailed. Mr. Spoehrle has never had cause to regret his decision of remaining in the Prairie State, where he has found position, a comfortable competence, the friendship of his neighbors, the respect of his fellow citizens and the love and affection of those near and dear to him.

From the time that he became a landholder Mr. Spoehrle’s industry increased in volume and his ambition was encouraged. There was not a tree on his farm when he bought it, nor was there drainage of any kind, although there were plenty of sloughs. Setting to work, he planted trees, drained off the sloughs and put in up-to-date drainage, subsequently made other improvements and erected substantial and commodious buildings and a large, comfortable residence. Through his industry and the straightforward manner he had of doing business it was not long before he came to be looked upon as one of the substantial men of his community, a desirable and reliable citizen who added strength and worth to the locality’s agricultural prestige. He has retained a young heart, and is cheery, kind and hospitable, and his pleasant home, located two miles south of Ludlow, is the scene of numerous gatherings of his many friends. In politics Mr. Spoehrle is a Republican, but he has not been an office holder, although always a supporter of good men and measures and of public spirited movements. He was reared in the faith of the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Germany, but after coming to America became a Methodist, and now belongs to the Ludlow Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a liberal supporter. His farm consists of 140 acres, all under a high state of cultivation.

Mr. Spoehrle is unmarried, and his home is presided over by his niece, Miss Lydia Summit, a daughter of his sister Christina, who first persuaded him to come to this country and later to stay in Illinois. Mrs. Summit’s other children are Scott, Sarah and Minnie, the last having been christened Wilhelmina, in honor of Mr. Spoehrle, whose middle name is Wilhelm. Lydia is not only housekeeper for her uncle; she is also counselor and adviser to him, and manager of many of his affairs. Her presence in her uncle’s household assures his visitors of the best cheer that could be offered by any household manager, and in Mr. Spoehrle’s declining years she is a source of great comfort to him. Miss Summit is a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Ludlow, is active in good works and kind deeds, and is held in great esteem in the community by those who know her intelligent mind and large heart.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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