Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
CHARLES R. BUSCH. From the life record of Charles R. Busch many useful lessons may be gleaned by the youth starting out on the road to success in railroad service, for he has been a man who believed in the wise saying of an old philosopher, "Lose no time in getting off the wrong road as soon as you discover that you are traveling it." He has been an advocate of progress in all phases of life, progress at any sacrifice, and, this being a fact, he has achieved a somewhat unusual degree of success for so young a man, but he began early to advance himself in his chosen arena of endeavor and has left no stone unturned whereby he might do so, and the future for him is redolent with promise.
Mr. Busch, who is chief clerk of the reclamation plant of the South Side Frisco shops, Springfield, was born in this city January 29, 1892. He is a son of Charles J. Busch, who was born near the River Rhine, in Germany, and who was brought to America by his parents when he was four years of age, and was educated at Litchfield, Illinois, in both German and English, receiving a fine education, although he left school when seventeen years of age. He soon became foreman for his father in the Litchfield Car and Foundry Company, holding this position for four years, when he went to Quincy, Illinois, as machinist for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad and worked there a year. He located in Springfield in 1877 and began working as machinist in the Frisco North Side shops, being promoted to machinist foreman there in 1889, which position he filled until 1899, and in that year was promoted to general foreman, which position he held until his death, on February 7, 1913, at the age of fifty-five years. Politically, he was a Democrat and was prominent in the affairs of his party. He was county committeeman of Greene county for a period of twenty years and was a member of the city council. He did much for the general welfare of Springfield and was one of the city's most valuable and influential citizens for some two decades. Fraternally, he was a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Modern Woodmen of America, a charter member of the Improved Order of Red Men, and also belonged to the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Catholic church. He belonged to the Germania Hall German Society, and was one of the most influential Teutons of Springfield. In 1876 Charles J. Busch married Catherine Holland, a daughter of Charles M. and Annie M. Holland. She was reared and educated in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was at one time a tobacco planter and lived at Cincinnati many years. She was educated in a convent. She is now living with her son, our subject, and is now fifty-one years of age.
Five children were born to Charles J. Busch and wife, namely: Lena died in infancy; Edna married J. J. O'Dowd, chief clerk to the president of the Southern Pacific railroad, and he lives at Tucson, Arizona; Charles R. of this review; Julions is deceased; and Leo, who is attending school at this writing.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was also named Charles Busch and he was a native of Germany, and a coffin maker by trade. He grew up in the Fatherland and there received his education and learned his trade, remaining there until he was about twenty-three years of age when he immigrated to America and located in Buffalo, New York, where he remained two years working as a cabinet maker, then went to Litchfield, Illinois, where he opened up the Litchfield Car and Foundry Company, which concern made all the equipment for all railroads west of Chicago for some time. He remained thus successfully engaged until 1895, at which time the foundry was sold to the American Car and Foundry Company, when he resigned and retired from active life. He was general manager of the concern which he founded, and through his exceptional business acumen and industry it grew to very large proportions and made him wealthy. He was the largest stockholder in the company. He is still living, being eighty-five years of age, and makes his home in Litchfield, Illinois. He started in business in this country on a small scale, manufacturing wheelbarrows and other small conveyances, and gradually, but surely, he became one of the leading and well known manufacturers of the Middle West, and solely by his own efforts forged ahead from an humble beginning to a man of wealth and influence in the manufacturing world. He is a Scottish Rite Mason.
Charles R. Busch was educated in the public and high schools and St. Joseph's Catholic school. Thus well equipped for his life work, he began his railroad career. In 1909 as stock clerk in the stock room of the Frisco's North Side shops, Springfield, where he remained until October 13, 1910, when he took a trip to Tucson, Arizona, with his brother-in-law, J. J. O—Dowd, the latter having lost his health and believing that the climate of the Southwest would benefit him. Our subject accepted a position with the general manager of the Mountain States Telegraph Company as private secretary, but three months later the company sold out to the Bell Telephone Company. He then entered the service of the Arizona & Eastern railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico as accountant, with offices at Tucson. He remained there until January, 1912, when he was promoted to the position of traveling accountant, covering all the western lines of these companies. While at Tucson he studied at the University of Arizona, taking up law and economics, studying at night. On September 1, 1913, he came to Springfield, Missouri, on account of the illness of his father, and here secured a position as foreman at the North Side Frisco shops in the general store department then was promoted to accountant at the general stores; then became assistant chief clerk to A. H. Young, September 24, 1913 resigning and accepting a position as foreman of the reclamation plant, and on October 24, 1913, was promoted to chief clerk of this department in the South Side shops, under R. F. Whalen, which position he is holding at this writing, the duties of which he is discharging in his usual high grade and faithful manner.
In 1912 Mr. Busch was detailed by certain American interests to collect various data and information concerning varied enterprises in the states of Sonora, Cinaloa and the territory of Tepic, Mexico, he made a trip in a motor car over a vast part of the southern republic, and, being a man of keen observation and quick perceptive faculties, secured the information desired in a short time, and while there saw something of the great revolution, and upon his return to Arizona wrote a graphic, interesting and valuable article on his trip, telling of his varied experiences, the manners and customs of the natives, the resources of the countries he visited, and touched upon such other points in a manner that would have been a credit to a trained and experienced man of letters.
Mr. Busch has remained unmarried. Politically, he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Delta Omikron Omikron. Fraternally, he belongs to the Knights and Ladies of Security and the Loyal Order of Moose. He is a member of the Catholic church. Personally, he is popular with all who know him owing to his genial and obliging manners and genuine worth which the stranger at once perceives upon meeting him.
Springfield-Greene County Library