Biography - Louis Wagner

LOUIS WAGNER, the pioneer marble dealer of Montgomery County and for over a quarter of a century a representative business man of Hillsboro, is an expert and accurate draughtsman and skillful carver, excelling in both the design and execution of his work. During the Civil War he furnished Harper's Weekly with many of its best sketches, and through the wide circulation of that magazine won for himself deserved recognition as an artist of ability.
Although nearly all of the early recollections of Mr. Wagner are interwoven with the pioneer history of Illinois, he is a native of the kingdom of Wurtemberg, Germany, and was born August 24, 1840. He is the son of George Wagner, a conscientious, earnest man, and passed his childhood years in his birthplace, Germany. When a mere boy, seeing but little opportunity for advancement in the home of his youth, he gathered together his possessions, and, with his elder brother, George, embarked for the New World. Almost a half-century has elapsed since the young emigrant made his long and tedious voyage, and the years that have come and gone have been eventful ones in his life.
Our subject is one of ten children in the parental family, nine of whom reached mature years and reared families. The daughters have all passed away, but four sons still survive: George, John, Fred and Louis, the latter being the youngest son. Louis Wagner was but ten years of age when he went to reside with a brother in Chicago. He laid the foundation for his education in the public schools of the Garden City, but completed his studies at the Hathaway Academy, from which he was graduated with honor in 1861 School life ended, he began an apprenticeship as marble cutter with J. Schurman, whose yard was situated on Clark Street. In 1859, he decided to make a change of location and removed to Hillsboro, Ill.
A little later there came a general call to arms, and with true patriotism our subject enlisted as a private in Company D, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry. Only a short time elapsed before this regiment was facing the enemy in some of the fiercest battles of the late war. Our young volunteer shared the perils and privations of the memorable siege of Vicksburg, and upon various battle-fields had many narrow escapes from capture and death. He received his discharge at Springfield, July 12, 1865. As before mentioned, he enlisted as a private, but was promoted from the ranks successively to Sergeant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, and was mustered out as Captain by brevet.
The war ended, Capt. Wagner returned at once to Hillsboro, and with characteristic energy began the business he has conducted since so successfully. October 13, 1871, he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Bielby, who was born in Yorkshire, England, but was brought by her mother to this country when but two years old. Capt. Wagner and his estimable wife have three children, two sons and a daughter. Leo is preparing himself to enter the medical profession as chemist and physician, and is now at the Henry Heil Chemical Works, St. Louis. Carl is engaged at the marble works with his father. Annette is in school and enjoys the excellent educational advantages now obtainable in Hillsboro.
Our subject and his wife are members of the Lutheran Church, and are always first in social and benevolent work. C'apt. Wagner wears the button of the Grand Army of the Republic and greatly enjoys the social re-unions of the order. He is identified with the M. W. of A., No. 183, and is also a member of Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 51, F. & A. M., and Hillsboro Chapter No. 62, R. A. M. Politically, he is an ardent Republican. He takes a deep interest in public affairs, is a progressive citizen and has been a member of the City Council.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 460-463.

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