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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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DR. HERMAN SCHROEDER, proprietor Grand Opera House, Bloomington; was born in the town of Althaldensleben, near the city of Magdeburg, in Prussia, in 1821. His father was one of the great Napoleon’s old soldiers, who gave the signal of retreat from Moscow on the side of the Emperor. On his deportation to Siberia he escaped from Russian slavery, and found, after a long wandering, a home and wife in Althaldensleben. Here the doctor was born in a year of great famine, and taken in a basket to the Kloyster Fields, by his laboring mother; he had the best schools the town and Kloyster could afford, and, being of Catholic parents, was selected to become a priest. As his parents were poor—aristocratic people, and even the Bishop, took hold of this remarkable scholar, and furnished him with the means to study, but after the death of his mother, he abandoned the idea of becoming a priest, and commenced the study of natural philosophy and medicine. At the height of his studies, his main protector, Herr Nathusius, died, and he commenced the study and work of an architect; here he succeeded so well that soon he became the contractor of Government buildings, and made money, with a great prospect before him. He then married, in 1846, the youngest daughter of the late Baronet Prince von Buchau who was the General Adjutant of the great Gen. Blucher, at Waterloo, and last commander of Cassel. But, with his thorough study of history and love for Republican principles, our doctor became an agitator in press and public speeches, and, in the great historical year 1848, we find him upon the barricades and among the revolutionary speakers, and, as a contra revolution took place, our doctor was prosecuted, and would have been shot, if he had not escaped at night with his young wife to free America, disguised, in one of the old, rotten, wooden ships. In New York, he soon found out that he could not succeed, so he wandered as an emigrant to Cleveland, Ohio; here he found kind friends, and took up again the old study of medicine, and, after two years became a physician of note; after practicing medicine in Mansfield and Mt. Gilead, Ohio, for a while, he traveled by wagon to the West, and landed in the then little town of Bloomington, Ill. He settled, in 1852, near the Illinois Central depot, then a prairie, and constructed a shanty out of the first old log house ever built in Bloomington, and practiced medicine. Our doctor had a sharp eye to business, and bought of Mr. Wm. Dimmet nine town-lots, and erected, in the course of two years, thereon, thirteen houses, from lumber he made himself from twenty acres of timber-land, which he bought. Rents were high then, and soon the doctor accumulated money to buy from the Illinois Central Railroad 120 acres of land, now the south side of El Paso, and 80 acres, now the city of Gilman; he named it Schroederville; he laid it out in lots, but sold it, in 1856, for a good price then, and commenced grape culture, and probably the first vineyards in the West. His success was great, particularly in the propagation of grape vines and plants; he soon became the leading man in his new business, and has sold by this time, over twenty millions of young vines all over America, even to France and Germany; his ambition and profits were great, and in 1866, he built the opera house, with two stores, opposite the Court House Square, in this city; in 1869, he helped build Minerva Block, the finest building in the city. Other valuable blocks and city property he added year by year, besides nearly 10,000 acres of Western lands. He invested in the Bloomington Coal Mine, and owned nearly one-fifth of the stock; was twice President of the mine, but sold out at a great loss, to devote his time to his nursery business. In 1878, he erected his Steam Sausage and Meat Pressing Factory, on South Main street, a business of great promise. His vineyards are laid out in Schroeder’s Addition. The doctor has two daughters—America and Minerva, and one son, Franklin. As a jovial, literary and business man, he will not soon be forgotten in Bloomington.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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