Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of
Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


HON. CARL SCHURZ. The village of Liblar, near Cologne, Germany, was the birthplace of the well-known politician, Carl Schurz, where he was born March 2, 1828. He came of a highly respected and well-to-do family, and received his preparatory education in the Gymnasium in Cologne, after which he entered the celebrated university at Bonn, where be took a course of classics, history and philosophy. During the revolution of 1848 in his country, he, like many other students, took great interest in the agitation of the times, and with Prof. Gottfried Kinkel, started a liberal or revolutionary paper, for which they were forced to flee from their homes, and for some time were refugees in the Palatinate. Here he took service as adjutant with Gustav Nickolaus Tiedemann, commander of the revolutionary forces, but at the surrender of Rastadt he was made prisoner, and although Tiedemann was condemned and shot August 11, 1849, Schurz previously escaped from the fortress, concealed himself three days and nights in a sewer, through which he reached the river Rhine. All this time he was without food or drink. He made his way to Switzerland and remained concealed in Zurich until 1850, then determined to rescue his friend Kinkel, who had been sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment in the fortress of Spandau, and for this purpose he made his way to Berlin, where he remained three months, endeavoring to form suitable relations with the guards, and finally Kinkel's cell was opened November 6, 1850. He was taken to the roof of the prison and was lowered from the top of the outer wall to the ground. The two friends fled across the frontier to Mecklenburgh at night, thence to Rostock, thence by schooner to Leith, and from that place Mr. Schurz went to Paris. He remained there as a correspondent for German newspaper's until June, 1851, when be went to London, where be supported himself by teaching languages and music until July 1852,. at which time he married Miss Margaret Meyer, a daughter of a wealthy merchant of Hamburg, Germany, and very soon after came to the United States, and during the three years that be resided in Philadelphia he studied the English language and the history and laws of the United States. He -next became a resident of Watertown, Wis., and there for some time resided on a farm which he purchased. In 1856 he espoused the cause of the Republican party in Wisconsin, and became noted as an orator in his native tongue, and in 1857 became candidate for lieutenant-governor of the State, but was defeated. He made his first public speech in English at Chicago, in 1858, in support of Mr. Lincoln, and this speech was published by the press far and wide and attracted great attention. The spring of the following year he delivered a very able address at Faneuil Hall, Boston, on Americanism. Previous to this be had moved to Milwaukee, had been admitted to the bar and had commenced the practice of law. He was a prominent delegate in the national Republican convention which nominated Mr. Lincoln for the Presidency at Chicago, in June, 1860, entered into the canvass with great zeal and delivered many eloquent addresses throughout the Northern States in both English and German. He spoke with great fluency, eloquence and force, was masterly in his handling of the English language and thousands flocked to hear him. In 1861 Mr. Lincoln appointed Mr. Schurz Minister of the United States to the Court of Spain, and in the summer of 1861 he went to Madrid. In December he requested to be recalled, as be wished to enter the military service, against the rebellion; his desire was granted, and he returned to this country, entering the field as brigadier-general in Sigel's corps. He served with distinction in the campaign of 1862, at the second battle of Bull Run, and in 1863 at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, where he won the rank of major-general. He delivered a powerful and eloquent speech in favor of emancipation, in March, 1862, and in August, 1863, joined Gen. Sherman and took command of a division which he held until the war closed. He went North on a leave of absence in 1864, and made many speeches in support of Mr. Lincoln's re-election, and after Johnson became President was sent South by him to report upon the course to be pursued in order to bring about a more friendly feeling in that region. His report did not please the President, although it was generally supported by the people. In 1866 be took charge of the Detroit Daily Post, and in 1867 purchased an interest in the Westliche Post, of St. Louis, and removed to that city, becoming principal editor of the paper. He became an active politician, and in January, 1869, was elected United States Senator, which greatly pleased his many German friends and admirers. His career as a senator added greatly to his reputation as a statesman and soldier, scholar and orator, and although he was not at all times able to vote with the body of Republican senators, he at all times frankly gave his reasons therefor. He was not in accord with the President on many measures, but his views were almost identical with those of his intimate friend, Charles Sumner. In 1870 he declared in favor of the removal of disfrachisement of the citizens of Missouri who had engaged in the Rebellion, and for this was bitterly denounced by radical Republicans, but pursued the course he considered right and just. In 1812 he joined the National Liberal party; was president of the convention at Cincinnati which nominated Mr. Greeley for President and made many speeches in favor of that gentleman's election. After making a tour of Europe with his family, he returned to this country in the spring of 1875, and during the campaign of that summer and fall in Ohio he espoused the cause of the Republican party, and did much to bring about the election of Gen.. Hayes to the governorship. In the Presidential campaign of 1876 he again supported the Republican ticket, and upon the inauguration of Mr. Hayes, he called Mr. Schurz to his cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, which high position he filled with distinguished ability. He introduced many reforms especially in the Department of Public Lands and Indian Affairs, which commanded the general approval of the country, without regard to party. Up to that time he was in all essentials a Republican, but since that time he has been found on many sides of many questions, but without doubt is one of the ablest and most distinguished citizens of this country of foreign birth, and few of our native statesmen and scholars can excel him in the precision, fluency and power with which he uses the English. language, either in writing or speaking. In 1876, in the month of March, he lost his accomplished and beloved wife.

176-180]


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y

Keyword Search | Pictorial and Genealogical Home

Springfield-Greene County Library