Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WILLIAM C. BILLASCH. Parents should carefully consider the inclinations of their children. "The great mistakes of life are owing in a large measure to the fact that young people adopt professions or enter businesses for which they have no natural ability. It is easy to see that if young men could start out in early life in the pursuit for which nature has best adapted them, and if they should persist in that line industriously and energetically, success would be assured in every instance, no matter if they were not possessed with brilliancy or unusual ability; persistence in this one line will bring success. William C. Billasch, foreman painter of the Springfield Wagon Works, has followed his profession from boyhood, having been fortunate in selecting the vocation for which he seems to have been well qualified by nature.
Mr. Billasch was born in Dubuque, Iowa, June 18, 1856. He is a son of George F. Billasch, whose death occurred in Dubuque in 1910 at the age of eighty-three years. He had been inspector in a leather factory there and previously held a similar position in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a native of Germany, from which country he came to America when young and settled in Philadelphia, where he became superintendent of a large tannery. He came west at the age of twenty-nine years, establishing his future home in Dubuque, Iowa. After working there and at Sioux City for some time as leather inspector in factories, he worked as round house foreman for the Illinois Central Railroad Company for a period of forty years, retiring five years prior to his death. While living in Philadelphia he also engaged in the cooperage business for six or seven years. Politically, he was a Republican. He was a life member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, by which lodge he was buried. He belonged to the Lutheran church. His wife, who was Henrietta Louise Reinicka before her marriage, was a native of Germany, from which country she emigrated to the United States when a girl, locating in Philadelphia, and there she and Mr. Billasch were married. Her death occurred also in the year 1910, at the age of eighty-one years. These parents were an excellent old couple, industrious and honest. They were the parents of seven children, namely: William C., subject of this sketch; Theodore died when fourteen years of age; George is engaged in mercantile pursuits in Dubuque, Iowa; Edward is superintendent of a hardware factory in Chicago; Albert lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he is in the employ of the Indianapolis Railway and Construction Company; Henry Louis is deceased; he and Henrietta Louise were twins; she is the wife of August Northdorf, who is employed as foreman for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, of Chicago.
William C. Billasch received a common school education and took a course in a business college in Chicago. He studied two years at a night school. When thirteen years of age he went to work in the A. A. Cooper Wagon Works at Dubuque, Iowa; then worked three years in Chicago in the Schuttler Wagon Works, two and one-half years of which were spent in the painting department, and then was foreman in the plant of the Webber Wagon Company in Chicago for a period of seventeen years, in the painting department, and in that city he also worked a year in the Staver Manufacturing Company. From there he came to Springfield, Missouri, in the fall of 1895, and took a position as foreman painter in the plant of the Springfield Wagon Works, assuming charge of that department, which position he has held continuously for a period of twenty years, which fact would indicate that he has been not only an expert in his line but faithful and reliable all the while.
Mr. Billasch was married August 30, 1879, to Catherine Wyant, a daughter of Peter and Christina (Eckert) Wyant. To our subject and wife six children have been born, one of whom is deceased. They were named as follows: Christina, deceased; Henrietta is the wife of A. A. Scott, a traveling salesman, and they live in Kansas City, Kansas; Louise is the wife of William Powell, who is engaged in the grocery and meat business in Kansas City, Kansas; George is record clerk for the telephone company at Springfield; Fred is clerking in Repp's dry goods store, Springfield; Gertrude, who has remained unmarried, lives at home and is employed as stenographer at the office of the Hall Drug Company, Springfield.
Politically, Mr. Billasch is a Democrat and he has been more or less influential in local public affairs since coming to this city, and for two terms he served as a member of the city council from the fourth ward, under both Mayor Blain and Mayor Lee. His record as councilman was eminently creditable and satisfactory. Fraternally, he belongs to the Loyal Order of Moose and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, his membership in the latter being in Chicago. He is a member of the Reformed Lutheran church.
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