Alexander County

Biography - Paul G. Schuh

PAUL GUSTAVE SCHUH might appropriately be termed the father of the wholesale drug business of Cairo and Southern Illinois, if his long association with that industry can give any claim to the distinction. He came to Cairo during the first year of the Civil war as a soldier of the Union, and his residence began with his discharge from the army, continuing without interruption during the years which have followed. So closely has his life been interwoven with that of Cairo that it would indeed be difficult to speak extendedly of the one without mention of the other. A drug merchant from an early day and ever an active and helpful participant in commercial affairs, the Schuh Drug Company, to whose nurturing and upbuilding he has given the best energies of his vigorous mind and robust body, is a most fitting monument to the success of his career.

Mr. Schuh came to the United States happily unembarrassed by any lack of preparation for a career involving industry and intellectual training. He had the advantages of higher education, had studied the classics, and had in his youth been encouraged by the atmosphere of an intellectual home. His father was a Lutheran minister in the Black Forest of Wurtemberg, where Paul Schuh was born on January 8, 1830. The father, Christian Michael Schuh, was born in 1790, and was properly educated for his high calling. He passed away in 1858, after a long and useful career as an expounder and exponent of the Lutheran faith. The mother of Paul Gustave Schuh was Augusta Geysel, and he is the youngest of their eleven children. Those of the family who came to America were Carl Alexander, who spent his life at Easton and other Pennsylvania points, settling in Cairo just prior to his death. He left four sons: Harry W., Samuel H., Hermann C. and Franklin, who died in Charleston, Missouri. Hermann died in Columbia, Illinois, leaving two children. Charlotte, a sister, was twice married, and died at Runge, Texas, the mother of three children. Paul Gustave was the fourth and last of this German-American group.

The year 1853 is memorable with Paul Schuh as being the year of his advent in the United States. He joined his brother Hermann in St. Louis, and the two engaged in the drug business in that city, and later in Alton, Illinois. It was there that Paul Schuh was enlisted in the "Yeager" Company in April, 1861, being among the first to answer the call to arms. His company was ordered to Springfield and mustered in with the Ninth Illinois Infantry, with Colonel Payne in command. The regiment was sent to Cairo, where Mr. Schuh's enlistment period expired, and he immediately re-enlisted on July 21st and served in the medical purveyor's office until his detail to the post hospital. He was discharged in January, 1863, on account of a myopic affection of the eyes. Taking up civil pursuits once more, Mr. Schuh put in a small stock of drugs three doors below Sixth street, where he was located for eight years. He then moved one block north on Commercial street, at which place he subsequently erected a business block, and there he has since been located, associated now, however, with his sons, the firm name having been changed to Paul G. Schuh & Sons. In 1880 Mr. Schuh began a small jobbing business in drugs and in 1893 he formed the Schuh Drug Company, erecting a three-story brick building at Tenth and Commercial streets. The new company was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000 and Paul Schuh was chosen president, Walter Denzel is its secretary and treasurer, and Harry W. Schuh is vice president and general manager. The institution has come to be one of the most important wholesale houses of Cairoi and is the only wholesale drug house in Southern Illinois; a unique feature, as well as one that is highly conducive to the future prosperity of the concern. The business has grown apace since its inception, and it is recognized as one of the solid and representative corporations of that section.

In addition to his connection with the drug business, Mr. Schuh has found leisure to become identified with various other organizations, among them being the Greater Cairo Building & Loan Association, of which he is president, and the First State Bank & Trust Company, he having been a member of the directorate of that institution since its organization. Mr. Schuh is also prominent as a fraternalist. He is a past master in Masonry and has belonged to the craft of the "square and compass" for more than forty years. He has taken the Royal Arch degree in Masonry and holds membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Mr. Schuh has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Julia Horsmeyer, born at Lippe-Detmold, Germany. She died after three years of wedded life, leaving one son, Julius P., now engaged in the manufacture of lumber in Louisiana. In 1871, Mr. Schuh was again married, and the children of Mr. and Mrs. Schuh are: Carl H., who is a member of the firm of Paul G. Schuh and Sons, and Alma, the youngest of the family, who is the wife of Frank Murray, of the Schuh Drug Company.

Extracted 06 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 3, pages 1703-1704.

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