Biography - William Notbrook

WILLIAM NOTBROOK, deceased, was one of the pioneers of Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, and his name is honored as one of its upbuilders, who faithfully performed his share in the cultivation of its fertile soil, and helped to make this a beautiful and well-improved farming country. He was of foreign birth, born in the village of Beilfield, Province of Westphalia, Prussia, May 10, 1824. He was left an orphan at a very early age. He attended school quite steadily in his youth, and then began life as a shephard.

When he gained his majority, Mr. Notbrook entered the Prussian army, in accordance with the laws of the land, and after serving three years, was honorably discharged. He then came to America, as he thought that the prospects were better for advancement in this country than in the Fatherland, he set sail from Bremerhaven in April, and after a six weeks' voyage landed at New York. He secured a good situation as a clerk in a wholesale commission produce house, and was thus employed in the great metropolis until 1855.

In that year he came to Illinois with his wife, and with his limited means, he having only such money as he had frugally saved from his earnings, he bought forty acres of land in Moweaqua Township. There was a log cabin on the place, and in that humble dwelling he and his wife began life in their new home. Ten years later he sold that land at an advanced price, it having increased in value under his skillful labors, and he then bought the eighty acres in the same township, which is now occupied by his family. He removed the log cabin to his new purchase, and it remained the abode of the family ten years longer, when he replaced it by the residence in which his family are living. It is a commodious frame structure, of modern style, is nicely furnished, and is a most pleasant home. Here he dwelt in peace and contentment, working busily through seed time and harvest year after year, bringing his farm to a fine condition, both as to tillage and the substantial improvements that he placed upon it, until death stayed his hand April 8, 1881, and he rested from his labors in that dreamless sleep that knows no waking. He was an earnest and consistent Christian, and for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he joined soon after coming to America, as did his wife also.

While a resident of New York City, Mr. Notbrook entered into marriage with Miss Wilhelmina Wagemann, a daughter of one of his father's old neighbors in the old country, the ceremony that made them one being performed in 1853. Mrs. Notbrook was born in the same place as her husband, and grew up with him. She came to America in the same vessel that he did. Her parents were Wilhelm and Charlotte Wagamann, who were also natives of the Prussian village that was her birthplace. Two of her brothers came to this country. William is now a resident of Moultrie County. Henry, who is deceased, spent his last years at Moweaqua, where he located after his arrival in America. Mrs. Notbrook is a very estimable woman, possessing those qualities of head and heart that command respect and regard, and she is an exemplary member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She has two children living, Maggie the elder, is the wife of Michael E. Snyder; Wilhelmina lives with her mother, and is her stay and comfort.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 443-444.

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