Biography - Garrett Carstens

GARRETT CARSTENS is one of the wide-awake, energetic and successful young business men of Nokomis. He has made his own way in life, and is in the enjoyment of a competency that is the result of his unaided efforts. He is a member of the large grain and elevator house of John Carstens & Son, an establishment well known throughout the county, the members of which are conceded to be honorable business men in every respect. Garrett Carstens was born at Alton, Ill., July 8, 1863, and is the eldest of five children born to Hon. John and Jeanette (Hughs) Carstens. The father, who is the head of the firm, is a German by birth, and was born at Haltland, March 22, 1837. He came to the United States in 1852, and for many years thereafter was engaged in coal-mining at Alton, Ill.
At the first call made by President Lincoln for troops in 1861, John Carstens tendered his services, and was enrolled in Company K, of the Ninth Illinois Infantry. During his term, of service, he was taken sick, and upon its expiration he returned to his business at Alton. In 1864, he organized what was known as the "Preachers' Company," it being largely made up of young ministers from Shurtleff College, of Alton, and was known as Company D, of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois Infantry. Of this company Mr. Carstens was made Captain and served as such until the war closed.
In 1868, John Carstens came to Nokomis and engaged in the hardware and grain business, and has continuously followed that occupation up to the present. Meanwhile he has become well known over a large territory, and as a business man he has ever occupied a high position in the estimation of his fellow-citizens. In 1888, he was elected to the State Legislature on the Republican ticket and served until 1890, making an able, active and intelligent legislator. He is one of the wealthiest business men and one of the foremost citizens of the town, is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Independent Order Odd Fellows, and in all enterprises of a worthy nature his name is foremost on the list. His wife was of Scotch descent, her parents having been born in the "land of thistles and oatmeal." They became early settlers of Alton, Ill., and in that city their daughter Jeanette was born.
In the public schools of Nokomis, Garrett Carstens was educated, and after graduating from the High School he entered the Jones Commercial College, of St. Louis, in 1882, and soon after completing his education he took an extended trip through Europe with his father, visiting England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. After his return from this trip, he accepted a position in a wholesale establishment in St. Louis as book-keeper, and there remained until 1884, when he became the junior member of the grain house of John Carstens & Son.
For five years Mr. Carstens was the City Treasurer of Nokomis. In 1890, he was elected a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and so satisfactory were his services in this capacity that he was re-elected in 1892 for another term of two years. Like his honored father, he is a useful, progressive and public-spirited citizen, alive to the interests of this section and ever ready to aid any worthy cause. Miss Annie L. Halcomb, who was born at Waterloo, Ill., became his wife in 1885. She is the youngest of seven daughters born to A. J. Halcomb, now a resident of Nokomis. Mr. Carstens is a member of the Sons of Veterans and belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a member of the Grand Lodge of these two societies. He is a strong Republican and is a general favorite in social as well as business and political circles.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 427-428.

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