Alexander County
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Biography - Henry Hasenjaeger

HENRY HASENJAEGER. A man whose perseverance, industry and business sagacity has been largely instrumental in the establishment of one of the most, important industries of Alexander county, Henry Hasenjaeger deserves more than passing mention in this work. He has lived here since 1863, was for years a prominent soda water manufacturer, and is now in retirement, with his sole business connection as vice-president of the Cairo Brewing Company. To recount the municipal vicissitudes of Cairo since Henry Hasenjaeger has lived in the city would be to narrate the story of its development from almost its day of swaddling-clothes to its status as the metropolis of Southern Illinois, and his relation to it has been as a silent witness, contributing only so much as his modest enterprise, spoke its importance in the industrial acclaim. By nature modest, and with the timidity becoming a young foreigner schooled to the quiet of home life, Mr. Hasenjaeger has played no part in the official life of Cairo. He brought here little besides his mother tongue and a being filled with industry, and upon the latter he sat his dependence for an honorable and successful career. Mr. Hasenjaeger was born in the village of Werther, Province of Westphalia, Germany, and is the only surviving child of the eleven born to his parents. The others who grew to maturity were: William, who died in Vincennes, Indiana, leaving a family; Carolina and Charlotte, who passed their lives in the Fatherland; Adolph, who joined the Dutch navy and died while serving in the West Indies; Louisa, who spent her life in the vicinity of her birthplace.

According to the laws of his native land, Henry Hasenjaeger spent eight years in school. His father, who was a blacksmith, and around whose shop he picked up many useful lessons before he thought seriously about life, put him to work in the coal mines as the close of his schooldays, and he followed that trade while he remained in the old country. In 1863 he sailed on an old converted whaler, the "Ostedius," from Bremen to New York, and after a voyage of several weeks landed at Castle Garden, the once-famous gateway to American opportunities. Coming directly to Cairo, he initiated himself into American ways as a helper in a blacksmith shop, and after he had accumulated sufficient capital established himself in the soda water business on Commercial street, in which he continued until 1903. This business, although modest in its inception, attained immense proportions, and when Mr. Hasenjaeger sold out there were employed a small army of employes and the plant covered eight lots. The Cairo Brewery now occupies the site of his old enterprise, and for two years after he sold out Mr. Hasenjaeger was actively identified with this concern, but overwork caused a physical breakdown and he was compelled to become only an onlooker. He was made vice-president of the brewing company upon its organization and the directorate has selected him continuously since. In a modest way he has been a builder of Cairo, having improved his real estate opposite the brewery, and for the past quarter of a century has lived there.

Mr. Hasenjaeger was married to Miss Carolina Helfrich in Cairo, daughter of Charles Helfrich, and she passed away November 2, 1911, the children of this union being: Rudolph, of Cairo; Emma, the wife of Morris Fitzgerald, of this city; Katie, who lives with her father; Lillie, the wife of Fred Hoffman, of Mound City, Illinois; and Henry, who also resides at the parental home. When he has exercised his elective franchise, Mr. Hasenjaeger has done so as a Democrat, and his fraternal affiliations have been with the Odd Fellows.

Extracted 15 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 2, pages 808-809.


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