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Portrait and biographical record of St. Charles, Lincoln, and Warren counties, Missouri online

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about three months, receiving fift}' cents per day.
Mr. Saiveter next obtained a place as assistant
to a baker at 12.50 per week. When he had been
thus emplo\'ed for about ten months he met with a
misfortune. For uearl}' a week he had worked
double time, and was worn out from loss of sleep.
It was his duty after the dough was all made up
and had raised sufficiently in the trough to call the
baker, who would then take charge of .affairs. An
acquaintance offered to call the j'oung man when
the dough was read.y, and thus allow him to obtain
needed rest, but alas! he proved unfaithful to the
trust, and when our subject awoke he found the
dough had grown so light it had run over the
trough onto the floor. It was now about three
o'clock A. ji., and the dough was sour. The pro-
prietor was very angry, and at once informed his
crestfallen employe that his services were no longer
required. The boy then began clerking in St.
Louis with Ferdinand Overstoltz, at Fourteenth
and Market Streets. At this time he was only
eleven years old, and felt vevy proud of the ^H per
month which he earned. At this place he passed
the next four years, during which time his pay was
gradually raised, and every Sunday he walked the
sixteen miles to his parents' home at Carondelet, .as
he could not afford the omnibus fare, which was
forty cents for the round trip. At last his parents



266



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



removed to Bunker Hill, III., about forty miles
from St. Louis, and after a few weeks young Sal-
veler became so homesick, that lie gave up his
position in the metropolis and set out for home.
He could find nothing to do in the neighborhood,
except to saw wood, at which he earned seventy-
five cents a cord, and so steadily did he work that
he averaged from one to one and .a-half cords a
daj'. For a time he then worked with his father at
house-painting, and later decided to learn a trade.

Under the direction of a Mr. Coates, a house-
builder, Mr. Salveter began an apprenticeship of
three years to the carpenter's trade. In addition
to his board he was paid 84 a month the first year,
$6 the second, and *10 the third year, but besides
his regular work he was obliged to milk four cows,
attend to two horses, run errands, etc. He was an
industrious bO}', and, nothing daunted b3' the many
difficulties he encountered, not only accomplished
his tasks, but worked overtime, and by so doing
often made sevent3'-five cents a week extra. Be-
fore his time was up, his employer found himself
without work, and his apprentice was given his
libertj'. The love of adventure had been alwa3's
verv strong in him, and he determined to run away
from home to see something of the world. An ac-
quaintance of his, a Mr. Black, a fanner and car-
penter as well, was about to move to Shanghai, in
southwestern Missouri. That gentleman had two
farm wagons in which to move his effects, and our
subject obtained the post of driver of one of these,
while Mr. Black drove the other team. He enjoyed
his trip, as the famil_y camped out every night and
had mauy novel experiences. On reaching Shang-
hai, he assisted in putting up a sawmill, and after it
was completed helped to run it for some time.

Mr. Salveter, who was now barely eighteen years
old, worked very steadily for a period, and then,
finding himself in uced of a change, attended a
camp-meeting which was being conducted near
Nevada, Mo. There he met a young lad^', Susan
Hawkins by name, and after a short acquaintance
cnnie to the conclusion that all he needed was a
wife. Some six weeks later the youug couple were
married, but before many weeks had passed the
young man found, as he says, that he "needed
everything but a wife," as he had nothing, not



even work, by which to make a living. He de-
cided to try farming, and rented twenty acres of
land from Green Walton, his brother-in-law, and
accepted the kind offer of his wife's father to lend
him a j'oke of cattle, wagon and plow. He re-
turned with these effects on Saturday night, and
the next day yoked up his cattle and drove to
church. Monday morning he tried his hand at
plowing for the first time, and did pretty well, but
by noon, being very tired, concluded to ride one
of the steers up to the house. Before he had gone
half the distance the animal, being frightened at
something, threw him, and he landed against a tree
which he was passing. Much bruised and down-
cast, he finally managed to make his way to the
house, and after four days or so resumed work.
He raised a nice crop of corn, but was in debt
for almost its full value. Makiug the discov-
ery that one house is too small for two families,
he and his wife made up their minds to start in
for themselves. He had sold his crop and had
about $10 left, and this sum, a feather bed, a skillet
and lid, a teapot and a few dishes were all the
worldl}' possessions the young couple had. These
they loaded into their borrowed wagon and started
for Carthage, where the father of Mrs. Salveter re-
sided. They moved into a small house on the
prairie about three miles from Carthage. 7'his was
a cabin made of logs, and in one corner of it our
subject constructed a bedstead by boring holes in
the walls and placing therein the ends of foot and
side rails, and with slabs he made a table and
stools. Prairie chickens and other game were
plentiful, and Mr. Salveter secured some work from
farmers, and thus they managed to pass the winter
in comparative comfort. His wife's father then
gave them eighty acres of land, on which the young
man erected a house. He had several cows, horses
and hogs, and was making good progress toward
prosperity when the Civil War came on. After
the battle of Carthage, things were very exciting
in his neighborhood, and Mr. Salveter, who pre-
ferred to be neutral, was reported as a rebel to the
Federal forces. They were sent to take everything
he possessed, and what they did not wish the^' de-
stroyed b}' fire. On taking an inventory of what
was left, he found that he had only a yoke of cat-



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



267



tie, but no wagon. A day or two later, hearing
that the troops harl left Carthage, he yoked up his
oxen and went to that village, in order to procure
a vehicle of some description. Arriving there he
found the place deserted by all but a widow,
for whom he had previously done some work.
After a search for a wagon, the only thing that
could be found was an antiquated letter-spring
stage, which had been stored away for years in an
old barn. After greasing the wheels with a piece
of bacon, he hitched the oxen to it, and then to
his kind friend's query as to whether he had any
mone}', Mr. Salveter replied that he was without a
cent. The good woman went into the house and
brought out a sack of cornmeal, some coffee and a
$20 gold-piece, and said, "May God be with you on
your journey." The next day he tore the old
hack to pieces, only saving the running gear, and
then constructed a canvas top. After a few days
of preparation he and his wife left their ruined
home and set out for Arkansas. After a difficult
journey they arrived at Waldron, but along the
route the people were very kind and greatly as-
sisted them. For six months Mr. Salveter engaged
in farming near Waldron, and also worked at
wagon-making in the town.

The conscript act went into force about tliis
time, and our subject, being included under this
measure, was obliged to enter the service. Selling
everything he possessed, he secured a home for his
wife and child with a Mrs. Glass, and became a
member of Company B, Nineteenth Arkansas Vol-
unteers. His regiment was first stationed in the
Choctaw Nation, and then was ordered to Arkan-
sas Post, where thej' built a fort and went into
regular winter quarters. When the battle at that
place came on Mr. Salveter was very ill with ty-
phoid fever, but, nerved by excitement and the
constant cannonading, he dressed with the assist-
ance of his nurse and mounted his horse, which
took him to a place of safety. Though he was a
member of an infantry company, he had accumu-
lated enough money in the following manner to
buy a horse: His spare time he employed in making
envelopes of any kind of paper, and these he sold
to his comrades at twenty-five cents a dozen.
Though tlie halls were flying thick, the sick sol-



dier reached the left wing of the arm}', and dis-
mounted behind the trenches. Later in the night
the gunboats began their work of destruction on
the fort, and he was obliged to retreat to another
point of vantage. Proceeding to some timber near
a large precipice which ran at right angles from
the river, he spread his blanket and knapsack on
the ground, and in the midst of the noise and con-
fusion went to sleep. His forces were cut off from
all supplies, and starvation was imminent, and so
when all was lost and he was obliged to surrender,
he was somewhat compensated by the scanty ra-
tions which were dealt out to him by his conquer-
ors. His next experience was in being placed as a
prisoner on the steamer "Bluewing," where the
men were so densely' packed that standing room
was at a premium. It was very cold and many of
the boys were almost frozen by tiie time that the
boat reached Alton. They were then placed on
trains and started for Camp Douglas, Chicago.
Here our subject remained about four weeks, dur-
ing which time small-pox broke out among his
comrades. When they were examined each morn-
ing by the medical inspector, suspicious cases were
taken aw.ay and none of these ever returned.
When a week had passed, our subject, finding some
indications of the disease on his breast, kept his
own counsel, and, nerved by the emergency, took
the oath of allegiance to the (loveriiraent and was
released. After bu3-ing a suit of clothes, he at
once took the train for Bunker Hill, III., where his
widowed mother, sisters and brothers were still
living.

Entering the Government service, Mr. Salveter
enlisted in St. Louis and was sent to Little Rock,
vvhere he was placed at work on some Government
buildings. At the end of three weeks he obtained
a passport to go through the lines and visit his
family, who had been left near Waldron. This trip
was a task of great risk, as it was through the ene-
my's country, and Quantrell's guerrillas were mak-
ing raids in that locality'. Sometimes he hid for
two or three hours in a cornfield or piece of timber,
and as he proceeded further could travel only dur-
ing the night. In spite of his precautions, a party
of Quantrell's men came upon him, searched him
and threatened him with immediate death, but



268



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



rescue came unexpectedlj', tlic appearance on the
highwa^y of wliat seemed to be a number of cav-
alrymen coming at a rapid rate causing tlie des-
peradoes to flee without their prisoner. He had
many otiier narrow escapes, but the people along
the way gave him food, and at last he arrived
at his destination, where he found his family
well. Only two hours had passed, howevei'. when
Mrs. Glass informed him that a band of busli-
wMiackers was coining. No other plan being avail-
able, Mr. Salveter decided that he would play
that he was a very sick man. He got into bed,
while his wife and Mrs. Glass arranged some medi-
cines on a little stand near, and hid his citizen's
clothing. His wife was in tears, and fear made
our hero look pale, as well as the hardships he had
recently encountered. The men were soon satis-
fied and went away. The nest morning Mr. Sal-
veter started across the street from his liomc, but
had not proceeded manj' j'ards when a party of
ten bushwhackers came galloping and shouting up
the street. Tliey called upon him to halt, dis-
mounted, and our friend thought his tune had
come. Once more he was fortunate, for among
these desperadoes he recognized two of his former
soldier comrades, who had escaped from Arkansas
Post. Though he was released, Mr. Salveter deter-
mined to leave tlie neighborhood, and tlie next da}'
started for Ft. Smith, where he arrived after four
nights of travel.

From Ft. Smith our subject proceeded to Little
Rock, Ark., by boat. He obtained a position as
clerk on the steamer "Sunn j' South," running from
Little Rock to Ft. Gibson. This ill-fated vessel
soon afterward struck a snag in the river and sunk,
the deck hands barely escaping with their lives.
Mr. .Salveter then went to Memphis and hired out
in a shipyard, until he could obtain a place on an-
other steamer. AVhen the "Flora" came into the
dock he went to the owner, Colonel Smallwood,
and was given the position of ship-carpenter. The
"Flora" was about to go into the cotton business,
selling goods to the rebels along the river, and had
a gunboat along for protection. The steamer be-
ing new, there was nothing for Mr. Salveter to do
unless an accident occurred, and he soon began
working as a salesman. At the end of his first day



in this capacity, he turned over $il,000, and his
position was assured. The rebels paid an}' price for
the goods, as they were badly in need of supplies,
calico selling for §1 a yard, and everything else
in proportion. Mr. Salveter's salar}' as ship-car-
penter had been «150 a month, but it was now
raised to $250. The "Flora" went to Vicksburg,
and from there up the Yazoo River. On this trip
the gunboat could not follow, but as the war had
come to an end, they believed danger was past.
According to law, two pilots were necessary, but
one of these becoming sick, Mv. Salveter sometimes
relieved the other pilot while he went to his meals.
The river was vei\y high, and the amateur pilot's
attention being distracted b}' the sight of some
negroes who were on the top of a little log cabin
and shouting for help, he ran the vessel into the
trees. He was relieved of future piloting, but the
boat was little injured. At one landing forty Con-
federate soldiers, who were on their wa}' home and
all equipped with arms, demanded passage. The
owner of the boat was afraid of these men, but was
obliged to take them aboard. Mr. Salveter first un-
dertook to carry out a little plan of his own — that
of making the soldiers give up their arms before
taking passage. To his surprise they assented,
and the unwelcome passengers were dulj- landed
at their destination. On the return trip General
Smallwood sold his boat, and the crew was dis-
banded.

Though promised a good position in the whole-
sale house of General Smallwood, our subject did
not see fit to accept the offer. His first wife had
died in St. Louis, February 10, 1863, and Ma}' 18,
1865, he was married, at Gillespie, III., to Etta
Reynolds. Mr. Salveter followed the carpenter's
trade for a j ear or two, and then obtained a place
in the car shops of the St. Louis, Alton & Terre
Haute Railroad at Litchfield, III. A man b}' the
name of Warren was master car-builder, and under
his supervision our subject began his first work at
car construction and repairs. He soon found that
general carpenter work and this were very differ-
ent, but his superior was lenient with liis mistakes,
and proved a true friend. When Mr. Warren was
promoted to be master mechanic he made our sub-
ject foreman of the cab and tender department.



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



2(!0



Ten months later, when Mr. Warren resigned to
take a ijosition with tlie Missouri Pacific in the
same capacity, he wrote to Mr. Salveter and gave
him a similar position to the one he had been
lately occupying, and for two years the latter was
in the employ' of the IMissoiiri Pacific. At the end
of this time there was a general change of man-
agement and a displacement of former eniploj-es.
Being out of a position, our subject went to Frank-
lin, where for three months he worked in the freight
rep'iir doi)artnient. In the mean lime Mr. Warren,
who had become interested in the Cairo .Short Line,
working in his former capacity, wired our subject
to the effect that if he desired he might have a
place in building depots, roundhouses, tanks, etc.,
on the road. This he did, and when his work had
been completed he went into the shops at East
St. Louis.

The superintendency of what had formerly
been the State's Prison, situated at Jeffersonville,
Ind., and which was to be turned into a car
works, was offered to Mr. Warren, who could
not accept the place, owing to a previous contract
with the Cairo Short Line. On his recommenda-
tion Mr. Salveter was interviewed, and the matter
was arranged. The latter was to receive $150
per month, and was to superintend the extensive
changes which were necessaiT in order to equip the
prison for car building. When this had been accom-
plished, construction of cars progressed, and final-
ly ten cars were turned out each day. For three
years Mr. Salveter had charge of this work, and
had had his salarj' raised to 12,500 a year. His
wife's health giving way, he was obliged to resign,
and went to Kansas with his family on their doc-
tor's advice. He located near Coffeyville, near
which place he owned several farms, and for the
next two years turned his attention to their man-
agement. The Southwestern Car Company being
then in the hands of an assignee and in need of a
practical foreman, Mr. Salveter received a message
which asked if he could take charge of the con-
struction of seven iiundred cars, and was offered a
fine salar}'. He took the contract and placed his
farm in charge of a responsible part}'. Later he
went into the employ of the Western Car Com-
pany as Inspector, and at the end of six months



became master car builder at Galesburg, III., for
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Road. There
were two hundred and seventy men in his depart-
ment, and when he had been with this company
a few months they were turning out ten new
cars per week with half the force. When he
had worked at (ialesburg for a year, Robert H.
Parks, President of the St. Charles Car Company,
interviewed him, and offered him the superinten-
dency of the same. The matter was soon arranged
satisfactorily, and Mr. Salveter became a resident
of St. Charles.

The salary whicli our subject desired, ?>2,500 per
year, was deemed more than the St. Charles Car
Company could pa>-, as their affairs were in a bad
state, but they offered 12,250. Their stock was
onl.y worth five cents on the dollar, and everything
about the works was in a most demoralized condi-
tion. At the end of six months Mr. Salveter had
brought things into good working order, and at
the end of a year the stock advanced twenty-five
cents on a dollar. He was then given $3,000 a
year, and at the end of the second year the com-
pany's stock was worth from sixtv-liveto seventy-
five cents on the dollar. Tlie works were con-
stantly enlarged, and our subject's salary was in-
creased until he received §10,000 a year. He
considered himself a fixture, and was moreover the
owner of about four hundred and fifty shares of
stock. After his connection with the com|jany for
twelve years, owing to dissatisfaction between
himself and the Board of Directors, he resigned.
About 1890 he started a new car works opposite
St. Louis, at a town called Madison. He headed
the subscription list with ¥20,000, and, with the
help of Thomas Johnson, succeeded in raising
$450,000. It had been the intention of our sub-
ject to build a frame car works, but his Board of
Directors insisted on having substantial brick
buildings. When these had been completed, the
new plant was $400,000 in debt. To add to exist-
ing dilliculties, a disastrous Hood inundated the
works. Two million feel of lumber were floated
and in danger of being swept away, and every
possible means were resorted to (o save loss. The
damage to the young industry was at least $60,-
000 and the loss of two months' time. The anxiety



270



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



and care undermined Mr. Salveter's health, and he
was obliged to resign. In 1890 he and his wife
■went to Europe, and during their travels visited
the birthplace of the former. In politics he is
affiliated with the Democratic party.

The second wife of Mr. Salveter, formerly Miss
Reynolds, died in Kansas, October 6, 1875. July
16, 1877, our subject niarried Helen Huff, in Jeffer-
sonville, Ind. This lady died October 23, 1889,
in St. Cliarles. The present wife of our subject,
formerly Miss Eda Meyer, was united in marriage
with bini April 22, 1890. Mr. Salveter is the fa-
ther of seven children, namely: Laura, Fannie,
Nora, Lulu, Mattie, Theodore and Eda-Burtis.



"^



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'TX UGUST REKKR, the efficient Postmaster of
/ — \ Holstein, is also a successful merchant and
prominent business man of that thriving
little city. He is a native of Warren County, and
resides in township 45, range 2, where he was born
August 19, 1862. He is the youngest child born
to William and Charlotte (Stienkamper) Reker,
who were natives of Germany. The father of our
subject came to America in 1845, and located in
Warren County, Mo. He was a farmer in his na-
tive land, and after his arrival in this country' pur-
chased a farm and continued in the same honest
calling until his death, which occurred in 1875.
He was a hard-working, energetic man, and did
much toward the improvement of Warren County.
His good wife, the mother of August, remained
with her children for sixteen years after the de-
raise of her husband, and then she, too, passed over
the river of death to join him in that betler land,
having quietly closed lier eyes in death on the
nth of October, 1891.

The subject of this sketch was born and reared
on his father's farm, receiving his education in
the public schools of Holstein. His boyhood days
were spent much the same as those of other boys
of the period, in assisting in the various duties of
farm life, and engaging in the pleasures and sports



of the neighborhood. At the age of twenty-two
years he started out in life for himself. Having
learned all the "ins and outs" of farm life thor-
oughly while living on the old homestead, he de-
termined to continue in that occupation. After
deciding on this course he purchased one hundred
and fifty-five acres of land, and, being j^oung, en-
ergetic and industrious, he soon had it all under
cultivation. By close attention and good business
management, he became very successful, and for
six years continued to till the soil, attending with
such regularity and good judgment to the rotation
of crops, that he was looked upon as one of the
most prosperous and successful young agricultur-
ists of the county.

In 1891 Mr. Reker determined to try his fort-
unes in another line, and accordingly embarked
in the mercantile business in Holstein, in which he
is successfully engaged at the present time. He
carries a large assortment of dry goods, clothing,
boots, shoes, hats, caps, queensware and groceries.
His store presents a very attractive appearance,
and as his goods are of the highest grade and the
best quality, and the prices alwa3'S the lowest, he
has an immense trade. By his honesty and fair
dealing with his customers, and his affable, courte-
ous manners, he has won the esteem and confidence
of the entire community. Although young in
years, our subject is one of the substantial citizens
of the county, and by his good business ability and
unerring judgment in all matters pertaining to the
local welfare of the village, he occupies a position
second to none.

The marriage of August Reker and Miss Louisa
Eiekhoff was celebrated November 4, 1892. Mrs.
Reker is of German parentage, but is a native of
Warren County, having been born heie August
19, 1862. Two children have blessed this union,
Delia and Albert, bright and interesting children,
the pride of their parents and the admiration of a
host of friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Reker are active workers in the
Evangelical Church, of which they are valued
members, always first in all good work, and ever
ready to assist in anj- enterprise whereby the
cause of Christianity or the good of the community
is involved. Mr. Reker is a stanch Republican,



PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.



271



and lias faitli in the purity of the principles of
his party. Although never having aspired to any
otfice, and differing in his political views from the
administration, he was appointed Postmaster by
President Cleveland, and entered upon the duties
of that oflice in 1892, since whicii time he has
served in that capacity to the satisfaction both of
the people and of the Government.






•< ^ t^ILLlAM R. KLEASNP:R. While St.
\/\/ Charles County' has much in the way



Online LibraryChapman Publishing CompanyPortrait and biographical record of St. Charles, Lincoln, and Warren counties, Missouri → online text (page 31 of 81)