William H. Stuart, a marble dealer and stone cutter, sold drugs as a sideline. He emigrated from Pennsylvania in 1816. His brother, Edward R. Stuart, was a partner in the publishing of the News-Democrat in 1859. They were significant land owners in south Belleville, and in 1864, Washington Public School was built on 14 of their lots. In 1819, their father, Alphonzo, was killed in the infamous Stuart-Bennett duel — the only pistol duel fought in the history of the State of Illinois. It has not been determined who raised the two orphans.
The Stanley family traveled from New York to PA, SC, NC and finally to Illinois. John and Elizabeth purchased land at Ogles Station in the west end of Belleville. By 1824, Brother Stanley was hosting Methodist church sessions, and Stanley women had married into the Ogle and Phillips pioneer families. Richard Stanley served in the Civil War, learned the nailing trade and returned to Ogle Station to open a nail mill. As many farmers did, he mined coal for fuel. In 1874, Zachariah Stanley sold the farm he had lived on for more than 50 years to the Hazard/Wilson Mining Co. Richard moved his nail mill enterprise to a rapidly developing industrial area near Grand, Douglas and East B Streets. Stanley made wire nails, cut nails, tacks and all sizes of staples.
In 1803, Reverend Thomas Harrison, grandfather of Theopolis, arrived in Illinois, and unknown wilderness. Ten years later he built a cotton gin, the beginning of a very successful milling business. Harrison, who migrated from N. Carolina, was of Scot-Irish descent. He had 10 children. By 1831 the Harrisons built the first steam operated mill in the state. The mill, at the west end of Main Street on Richland Creek, burned down and was rebuilt. By 1844, Harrison Mills reported annual sales of a million dollars.
Another Harrison enterprise in Belleville was Harrison machine Works. Theopolis Harrison, a grandson of Reverend Thomas, invested in Middlecoff’s Agricultural Equipment Foundry in 1855. For 95 years, HMW manufactured threshing machines, steam engines, straw carriers and pea pickers. It should be noted that in 1838, Thomas Harrison served as “President” of the Town of Belleville. In addition to his milling enterprise, Harrison built the “Mansion House” in 1840. It was the site of many historical happenings in Belleville including the infamous Charles Dickens. The Lincoln Theater replaced the Mansion House in 1920.
The Gundlachs manufactured tools of their own invention. Immediately after the Civil War, Philip M. Gundlach built a new iron foundry powered with Gundlach coal. His son, Joseph, operated the railroad to transport the coal. The P.M. Gundlach Agricultural Mfg. Co. was staffed by his sons: Philip A., Gen. Mgr.; John P., Engr.; Aloys, foreman. They manufactured grain drills, cleaners, hay rakes, wheel hubs and more modern products such as “Packing for Piston Rods and the like”. The family emigrated from Frankfurt, Germany in 1842. The 20th Century Gundlachs were equally inventive. Some were self-educated machinists and tool designers. They respected foundry practices. Gundlach companies include: Gundlach Machinery, founded 1908; T.J. Gundlach Machine Co., founded 1919; Beno J. Gundlach Machine Co., founded 1927; Gundlach Roofing ca. 1900; Specialty Tool ca. 1920.
Simon Eimer became one of the wealthiest industrialists of his day — a biographer states: “Eimer was prominent in every activity good for a city”. He arrived in 1844. In 1848, he built a bath house, followed by an entertainment park south of the Public Square and a hall on West Main Street. He served as a member of the Board of Education. As an alderman, he was appointed to a committee to plan for a new Market Square, a new Engine House and a new City Hall. He was a pioneer in the brewing industry of the Mississippi Valley and opened the Washington Brewery in 1846. The rebuilt brewery in 1859 was the largest brewery west of the Allegheny Mountains. The cellars were two stories deep in the ground. His nephew, John, also emigrated from Germany to help him manage his affairs which included investments in New Orleans and California.
© 2011-2013 Family Tree Helper All Rights Reserved