Biography - Ervin Hombrighous

ERVIN HOMRIGHOUS, a jeweler of Shelbyville, Shelby County, bears a high reputation through the county as a business man, and is widely known in social circles for his musical talent and for his connection with the famous Shelbyville Palmer Glee Club as its leader. He is a native of Amanda Township, Fairfield County, Ohio, the date of his birth being March 28, 1836. His father, John Homrighous, a prominent citizen and business man of that place, was born in that county, in the township of Bloom, October 11, 1811, being a son of one of the early pioneers of that part of Ohio, John Homrighous. The latter was born in Deadenshaus, Germany, November 21, 1781. His boyhood was passed in the Fatherland, but before he attained his majority he resolved to try life in America. Accordingly he embarked on the good ship "Speculation," and some weeks later landed at Baltimore. He returned to Germany a year or two later to revisit the scenes of his youth, but he came back to this country in 1805, and was a resident of Baltimore until 1810, when he ventured forth into the wilds of Ohio, and became a pioneer of Lancaster. He was finely educated, and his fellow-pioneers were glad to have him teach their children, so he taught for some time in and about Lancaster, and was one of the very first teachers of Fairfield County. He was a preacher in the German Reformed Church, and administered spiritual food to the people very acceptably. He was withal a man of thrift and industry and the quarter of a section of land that he purchased in Bloom Township under his skillful hand became a fine farm, though it was heavily wooded when it came into his possession. He made it his home until he was called up higher to the realms of the blest. The maiden name of his wife was Alspaugh. She was of German antecedents, but was born in America.

In the county of his nativity, the father of subject grew up under pioneer influences. He learned the trade of a cabinetmaker, and in 1829 established himself at that in connection with undertaking at Royalton, and has been in business there ever since, he being one of the substantial moneyed men of the town. He also owns a farm in Amanda Township, just outside the corporate limits of Royalton. He married in early manhood Miss Magdalina Wagner, and they have traveled life's road together many years. She was born in Amanda Township, December 11, 1811, coming of one of the early pioneer families of Ohio. She is the mother of these five children, — John W., Ervin, Mary A., Lewis and Henry.

Ervin Homrighous was educated in the schools of Royalton, and at the age of twelve years he began to learn the trade of a jeweler, and when fifteen years old commenced to learn the trade of a cabinetmaker of his father. He worked with him until he was twenty-two years of age, and then came to Illinois, and for seven years was actively engaged in farming in Holland Township. In 1865 he came to Shelbyville, but he did not at once establish himself in any particular business. He continued to give his attention to agriculture and superintended the management of his tine farm of five hundred acres in Holland Township, continually making improvements that enhanced its value. In 1881 he embarked in the jewelry business, taking advantage of a fine opening at Shelbyville for a first-class jewelry store, and has continued in it ever since. He has one of the finest establishments of the kind in Central Illinois, handsomely appointed, and stocked with an elegant assortment of jewelry and precious stones of every description to suit all tastes and requirements of even the most fastidious, as our subject is a connoisseur in his line, and makes his selections with nice discrimination and an artistic eye.

Mr. Homrighous was first married in 1858 to Miss Mary Allen, who was, like himself, a native of Amanda Township, Ohio, and was a daughter of Howard and Sarah (Leist) Allen. Mrs. Homrighous died in 1870 and her household was thus deprived of the tender ministrations of a good wife and devoted mother. Four children were the fruit of that marriage, namely, — John, Milo, Metta and Frank. In April, 1871, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Esther Penwell, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of David and Samantha (Carver) Penwell. Mr. and Mrs. Homrighous have a charming home, and their many friends are always sure of a cordial welcome and pleasant entertainment at the hands of a host and hostess of such well-known social qualities as they possess. Two children have blessed their marriage, Charles and Bob.

Mr. Homrighous is not only a practical, wide-awake business man, but he has another side to his nature in that he has inherited from a music-loving race a decided talent for that noble art, and is one of the foremost singers of this county. He received a cartful and thorough training in voice culture in his youth, and ever since he was eighteen years of age he has given vocal lessons, and for some years he has been chorister at the Methodist Episcopal Church. But he has gained his chief distinction as leader of the celebrated Shelbyville Palmer Glee Club, which is widely known for the marked musical ability of its members, and stands without a peer in the United States as a campaign glee club. The four gentlemen who have united with our subject to make the club famous are K. T. Hite, Dr. J. A. Bowman, Edward Silvers and G. R. Graybill. During the political campaign of 1888 the club accompanied Gen. Palmer when he stumped the State for the Governorship, and was received with acclamation cm every hand by the people who assembled to hear the General's political oratory, and who listened with rapt attention to the songs rendered by the club, and testified to their appreciation by generous applause. When the exciting mayoralty contest was being carried on in Chicago in the spring of 1891, the Glee Club was honored by being called to that city to sing at the political gatherings of the Democrats, and if the candidate endorsed by Senator Palmer could have been sung into office, he would undoubtedly have been reelected. As it was, the music-loving populace of the World's Fair City attended the meetings in crowds to hear the singing of the club, and it was highly commended by the press.

In polities, Mr. Homrighous is a Democrat. Socially, he is a member of Jackson Lodge, No. 53, A. F. &. A. M. Religiously, both he and his wife are among the leading members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Extracted 10 Apr 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 503-505.

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