Biography of Charles Joseph Boeger

Charles Joseph Boeger is without doubt one of the foremost men in the profession of photography in the State of Kansas. Some years ago he located in Topeka, and with his studio at 707 Kansas Avenue has done work that entitles him to his place in the profession, and his career is also dignified by the fact that he represents a pioneer family in this state.

His father is the honored Joseph Boeger of Decatur County. Joseph Boeger was born in Prussia, Germany, in 1850, and before he left the fatherland became well known and highly respected in Westphalia. When very young he was elected a member of the Provincial Parliament, and had the distinction of being the youngest member of that body. In 1875 he married Miss Ida Betheny. The Betheny family had an authentic record of its antecedents extending back for centuries, and a number of generations ago they were closely connected with the Astors, of the same branch from which the American Astors are descended. An enormous estate belongs to the Betheny family in Germany, and in time the Boegers will doubtless get their share.

In 1881 Joseph Boeger brought his family to America, lived in St. Louis until 1885, and then moved out to Decatur County, Kansas. He located on a homestead eighteen miles south of Oberlin, and became a farmer and stockman. After twenty-five years of an industrious, temperate life he had accumulated a fortune, and at one time owned upwards of 25,000 acres, located in several counties. His connection with that section of Kansas had a very important bearing upon the farming and community welfare. He and his son Charles Joseph became successful contractors for the building of schoolhouses, and erected upwards of two score in Decatur County alone, and many others in Sheridan County and other counties in Northwest Kansas. As a pioneer in Decatur County Joseph Boeger experienced all the hardships and vicissitudes of the early days. In the absence of mills and other industries it not infrequently happened that settlers were put to hard straits in order to secure the staff of life, and they often ground corn in a coffee mill. Joseph Boeger experienced poor crops, hot winds, grasshoppers, destructive storms, but his fortitude and perseverance won out in the long run.

To the marriage of Joseph and Mrs. Boeger were born eleven children. The sons were Frank, Charles Joseph, Anthony, Herman and George. Frank is now living with his parents in Sheridan County. Herman, at the time of this writing, had enlisted as a citizen member of the United States navy, joining for a month’s cruise from Norfolk, Virginia.

Charles Joseph Boeger was born at Dreburg in the District of Westphalia, Prussia, in May, 1879, and was two years of age when he came with his parents to America. He has many reminiscences of the early life of the family in Decatur County. The Rock Island Line has not yet been built across that county, and the only railroad was the B. & M. short line into Oberlin. Mr. Boeger recalls the fact that when he was a boy one of the most interesting sights was the immense herds of antelopes. In a month’s time one could see thousands of these animals, and often in flocks of 100 or 200.

Mr. Boeger is now associated with his brothers, Anthony and George, in the conduct of the photographic studio at Topeka. All these sons are young men of unusual intelligence and special talents, and Charles J. Boeger, in the opinion of men competent to judge, is not surpassed by any in his profession in that state. He has made photography a profession, the object of constant study in order to improve himself and take advantage of every new detail, and has attended many photographers’ conventions, at one time visiting Buffalo, New York, for that purpose.

Since coming to Topeka about six years ago he has built up a splendid patronage, and he resides in one of the beautiful residences of the city. Mr. Boeger is a self made man, and never attended any photographic school, acquiring his knowledge of the art from experience. Some years ago he started out as an amateur, traveling in a covered wagon over Western Kansas, and in that way he had a most interesting experience and also laid the foundation for his present success.

The name Boeger has a significance meaning Chief Archer. When Joseph Boeger was a young man in Prussia he joined the army, and was in the regular service for three years. He also learned the trade of cabinet maker, and that was his occupation until he located in Kansas. He is a man of fine intellect, a close student, a lover and reader of history and mathematics, and with all his experience in practical affairs as a farmer and land owner found time to work out the plan formed in his ingenious mind. On September 19, 1905, he received a patent for the invention of a new type of machine gun. It is claimed that this gun is more efficient than any other gun now in use, and it seems highly probable that in time its principle will be adopted by many governments.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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