Marion County

Biography - THE SCHWARTZ BROTHERS

Eminent business talent is composed of a combination of high mental and moral attributes; although these are essential, there must be sound judgment, breadth of capacity and rapidity of thought, justice and firmness, the foresight to perceive the course of the drifting tides of business and the will and ability to control them. The subjects of this review afford a striking exemplification of this talent, in a very high order of development and of such character as to gain them worthy prestige in business circles and positions of commanding influence.

The Schwartz brothers, Joseph and Frank, are not only twins but their lives and interests have been so closely interwoven, their purposes and ideals so nearly identical and their achievements of such similar character that the history of one is practically the history of both.

As the name indicates the Schwartz family is of German origin; the subject's father, Bernard Schwartz, having been a native of Luxemburg, where his ancestors had lived for many generations. When a young man Bernard Schwartz came to the United States and located at Worcester, Massachusetts, where he worked for some years at the tailor's trade and where in due time he married Christina Lacroix, who was also of German birth. Disposing of his interests in Massachusetts in 1855 he moved to Salem, Illinois, where he opened a shop and conducted a very successful tailoring business for a number of years, the meanwhile by judicious investments and careful management becoming the possessor of a large amount of valuable property in various parts of Marion county, and earning the reputation of an enterprising and praise worthy citizen. From 1868 until his death in the year 1906 Bernard Schwartz lived a life of honorable retirement, but kept in close touch with business matters, amassed considerable wealth and for a number of years was classed with the financially solid and reliable men of Salem. He was a fine type, of the successful German-American, possessed to a marked degree of the sterling qualities for which his nationality is distinguished, did much to promote the material interests of his adopted city and his death was deeply lamented by all who knew him. Bernard and Christina Schwartz were earnest and devout Catholics in their religious belief and trained their children in the faith of the Holy Mother church, to the teaching of which they have been ever true and loyal. Their oldest child, a daughter, by the name of Flora, is the wife of. Michael Berens, and lives in Salem; the twins, Frank and Joseph being the next in order of 'birth; Christine died when four years of age and Bernard, the youngest of the family, a young man of fine business ability and high social standing, departed this life on the 15th day of January, 1907. Like his older brothers, Bernard Schwartz possessed much more than ordinary powers of mind and had reached an important and influential position in the business world, when his brilliant and promising career was untimely terminated by the stern hand of death. He was a graduate of the Salem high school with the honors of his class, after which he took a pharmaceutical course in which he became especially proficient and for a number of years served on the State Board of Pharmacy, to which position he was first appointed by Governor Tanner, and later by Governor Yates and had not death intervened he doubtless could have held the place indefinitely as Governor Deneen signified his intention of reappointing him a short time prior to his demise.

Joseph and Frank Schwartz, to a brief review of whose career the reader's attention is here respectfully invited, were born on August 29th, of the year 1859, in Salem, and spent their childhood and youth in their native town. As indicated in a preceding paragraph their lives having been passed under similar circumstances were in most respects strikingly similar, nevertheless to a better understanding of the purposes and ambitions of each it is deemed proper to give their early lives separately.

Joseph Schwartz was reared under excellent home influences and during his youth received from his parents a thorough instruction in the basic principles of morality and correct conduct so that while a mere lad he became so imbued with these principles as to make them a rule by which his subsequent life should be governed. At the proper age he entered the public schools of Salem and in due time completed the prescribed course of study graduating from the high school with the class of 1877. Actuated by a laudable desire for a more thorough scholastic training he subsequently became a student of the State University at Champaign, where he prosecuted his studies and researches until 1881 when he was graduated with an honorable record, immediately after which he engaged in the drug business with his brother Frank, their place of business being the store room on the site originally occupied by the house in which he was born.

By diligent attention and successful management the Schwartz brothers soon built up a large and lucrative patronage and it was not long until they led the drug business in Salem, their establishment being the largest and most popular of the kind not only in the city but in the county. From the beginning the enterprise prospered beyond their highest expectations and proved the source of an ample income which being judiciously invested in due time placed them on the high road to fortune.

Frank Schwartz, like his brother, spent his early life pretty much after the manner of the majority of town lads but unlike many was not permitted to eat of the bread of idleness, during the formative period of his character when fancy paints with glowing colors the future and holds out to the unwary those pleasures which have no substantial foundation and which if identified invariably terminate in regret and remorse. Under the guidance of his parents he grew up to the full stature of well-rounded manhood with a proper conception of life and its duties and responsibilities and with the idea ever paramount that all true success and advancement must depend upon consecutive toil and endeavor. After obtaining a good practical education in the public schools of Salem, he entered at the age of sixteen the drug store of D. K. Green & Son, where he clerked for a period of four years, during which time he devoted his, attention very carefully to the business with the object in view of ultimately engaging in the trade upon his own responsibility. At the expiration of the time indicated he purchased an interest in the establishment, which during the following year was conducted under the name of Green & Schwartz; his brother, Joseph, then bought Mr. Green's interest and under the firm name of Schwartz Brothers, the business grew rapidly in magnitude and importance and, as already stated, soon became the leading establishment of the kind in Salem, and proved to be the source from which no small part of their subsequent fortune grew.

Meanwhile the Schwartz Brothers turned their attention to various other lines of business becoming largely interested in real estate, agriculture and horticulture, which with other enterprises of an industrial and financial nature paved the way to the high position they now hold in business circles, and gave them much more than local repute as capable, judicious and eminently honorable business men. Without following in detail the different lines of enterprise to which the Schwartz brothers have given attention, suffice it to state that all of their undertakings have been prosperous and they are today not only the leading business men of their own city and county, but occupy a conspicuous place among the leaders of industry in the southern part of the state. In 1907 they disposed of their drug house, since which time they have not been actively identified with any particular enterprise, devoting their attention to their large property interests and other investments, being heavy stockholders in the Salem State Bank and owning extensive tracts of real estate in Marion and other counties, including one fruit farm of one hundred and sixty acres, two and a fourth miles southeast of Salem, another consisting of eight hundred acres within a reasonable distance of the county seat, besides being associated with Mr. Rogers in the fruit evaporating business, under the firm name of Rogers & Schwartz Brothers, they do an immense and far reaching business. They are also members of the real estate firm of Telford & Schwartz, which with loans and insurance, constitutes the most successful business of the kind in the city. They own the Schwartz Block, one of the largest and most valuable properties in Salem, and as members of the firm of Rainey & Schwartz, own Rainey Lake, also a large pear orchard, which adds much to their liberal and constantly growing income. In addition to the interests enumerated the Schwartz brothers have many other valuable holdings in both city and country, including the business block occupied by the Sweeney & Company's drug stock, a large lot at the rear of the State Bank, also quite a number of private dwellings in various parts of the town to say nothing of a vast amount of valuable personal property and bank accounts, comparing favorably in bulk with those of any other depositor in the county.

Under the name of Schwartz Brothers, by which the firm has always been known, Joseph and Frank Schwartz have filled a prominent place in the business affairs of Salem and Marion county, and from the beginning their careers present a series of continued successes which have placed them among the most progressive men of their day and generation in southern Illinois and earned them state wide reputation in business and financial circles.

They are politicians of the Democratic school and alive to all that concerns the best interest of their party. Religiously they are loyal to the tenets of the Roman Catholic church in which they were reared and for which they have the most profound love and regard contributing liberally to its material support and by their daily lives exemplifying the beauty and value of the principles and doctrines upon which it is based.

Joseph Schwartz was married in the year 1886 to Clara Rose, of Salem, daughter of Gordon Rose, an engineer on the Baltimore & Ohio road, and a most excellent and praiseworthy citizen. The pledges of this union are two bright and interesting daughters, namely: Helen, born in 1893, and Christine, whose birth occurred in the year 1905. The domestic life of Frank Schwartz dates from the 8th day of July, 1896, at which time he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock at Indianapolis, Indiana, with Annie Trimpe, of that city, a union terminated by the death of the wife on Thanksgiving day, 1903, after bearing her husband two children, Mattie Christine and Emma Gertrude, born in 1897 and 190I, respectively. On September 19, 1907, Mr. Schwartz chose a second wife and companion in the person of Mrs. Fannie Simpson, of Salem, a lady of many estimable qualities, who presides over his household with grace and dignity and who is deeply concerned in all of his undertakings making his interests her own and contributing not a little to his success. Fraternally Joseph Schwartz is identified with the ancient and honorable Masonic brotherhood and also holds membership with the Orders of Woodmen and Ben Hur, in all of which he is an active and influential worker, which may also be recorded of his brother, Frank.

Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 248-251.


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