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Biography - William Schatz

WILLIAM SCHATZ. One of Cairo's best known and most busily employed building contractors is William Schatz, who, in the large and continual building growth of the city during the past quarter of a century, has taken a conspicuous part, some of the largest and handsomest edifices that have been erected being his creation. His advent in this city dates fr.om July, 1872, but he is almost indigenous to this latitude and locality, as he grew up at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and received his education and learned his trade there. As his name indicates, Mr. Schatz is a native of Europe, and was born in the village of Schlavige, Herzogtum of Braunschwig, Germany, April 5, 1850. His parents were William and Sophia (Hunce) Schatz, humble people of industry who abandoned their native land in 1856 and came by sailing vessel to New Orleans and then up to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on the Mississippi river. The father was without a trade and was possessed of little knowledge of life except to do common labor, yet he brought up his family as peaceable, honorable and industrious citizens. He died February 21, 1909, at the age of eighty-four years, and his widow still survives him, having reached the age of eighty-two. Their children to grow to maturity were: William; Henry, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Missouri; and Minnie, who is the wife of John Vogelsanger, a Missouri merchant at Cape Girardeau.

William Schatz pursued only the common branches in school and completed his attendance at a rather early age to apprentice himself to a townsman, Hermann Vogelsang, to learn the trade of carpenter. On attaining his majority he had finished it and sought a location where he could profitably carve out his career. He selected Cairo, then a stilt town with some evidences of future growth, and for a number of years he remained a journeyman. Being urged to embark in business for himself by his employer and friends, Mr. Schatz took his first contract among the small jobs then flourishing here and his success encouraged him to eventually handle some of the best work in the city, after he had entered the field more seriously. He built the original Baptist church, the colored Baptist church, the McKnight-Keaton Grocery Company block, the Harris Saddlery Company factory, one of the Halliday Estate buildings, the B. H. Cunningham house, the Cairo Armory, the H. H. Halliday residence and the Oris B. Hastings residence, all of which are mentioned to conspicuously identify him with the building of the metropolis of Southern Illinois. Little else save his personal affairs has secured the attention of William Schatz. The promise of profit and safe investment induced him to take stock in the Cairo Building and Loan Association, the oldest in the city, and he is president of the association. He has held aloof from politics, save as a voter, and upon main issues he is a Democrat. His position upon religious matters encourages the support of religious effort, and his church home is in the Immanuel Lutheran church of Cairo.

On April 22, 1878, Mr. Schatz was married in Cairo to Miss Hannah Volmer, a daughter of Henry Volmer by his first wife, and born January 22, 1854, in Scott county, Missouri. In his first family Mr. Volmer had three children: Mary, who married Frank Umerstall, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Matilda, who married John Meinz, also of that city, and both are deceased; and Mrs. Schatz. Mr. Volmer was married (second) to the sister of his first wife, who was then a widow, and the children born to this union were: Charles, a resident of Stoddard county, Missouri; Lizzie, who married Bert Donald; and Minnie, who married August Jernas and is deceased. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Schatz are: Henry, who passed away in childhood; Fred, who is superintendent of the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, in Cairo, and in October, 1911, married Stella Parks; Edward, who is engaged at the carpenter trade in Cairo; and Clara, who married ~W. L. Russell, of Alton, Illinois, and has a daughter, Charlotte.

Extracted 15 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 2, pages 870-871.


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