Biography - J Terpinitz

J. E. TERPINITZ, who has been a citizen of Union County for over twenty-five years, and is now conducting a jewelry and music store in Anna, is a native of the Empire of Austria, and was born to Sylvester and Josepha (Zettel) Terpinitz, on the 20th of May, 1836, in the city of Penerbach in the province of Upper Austria. The family is of ancient Russian origin, and possess a coat of arms, a family relic, bearing the date 1590. They emigrated to Silesia, and thence to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, where the father of our subject carried on a mercantile and drug business for years. Some of the members of the family have held high positions under the Austrian Government, an uncle having been for a time Postmaster General at Vienna, the capital of the Empire, and his father was Mayor of his city during the troublesome revolutionary times of that then much oppressed country. Mr. Terpinitz received a liberal education, and his father, being an ardent lover of music, placed him, at the age of nine years, in the conservatory of Prague, in Bohemia, then as now one of the renowned institutions of that musical country. Subsequently, he entered the Polytechnic Institute at Vienna. The memorable month of October, 1848, found him at the age of thirteen in the ranks of the National Guards as a member of the band. When the curtain dropped on that unfortunate struggle for liberty, a fortunate sabre-cut received across his head during the combat laid him up for months in a hospital and saved him from the sad fate of many of his young comrades, who were led out to the sand hills back of Vienna and executed with powder and lead for their youthful mistake of yearning for liberty. After regaining his health, the revolutionary storm having subsided, through the influence of prominent friends of the family he was allowed to resume his studies. Becoming a member of one of those many musical organizations in that country, he had, at one time, the rather gratifying satisfaction to appear in a concert before the imperial family at the castle of Maximilian, a brother of the present Emperor, in Ebenzweyer, the same Maximilian who was afterward the victim of Napoleonic intrigues in Mexico. The yearning for the "land of the free and the home of the brave" becoming very strong, his father concluded to emigrate to the new El Dorado where milk and honey flow, and the pining for freedom from despotic tyranny could be gratified. And so, in the year 1854, the family embarked for foreign shores. After rambling for a while in the Atlantic States and remaining a time in Cincinnati, the family came farther west, with the idea of engaging in agricultural pursuits. A number of farmers, with their families, from Upper Austria, had previously emigrated, and settled three miles south of Jonesboro, and, being well pleased with the fertility of the country, built a church and schoolhouse and gave the settlement the appropriate name of Kornthal (Corndale). Mr. Terpinitz., Sr., was attracted to this settlement, and, procuring the necessary implements, stock, etc., went to work, but the old German adage, ''Shoe-maker, remain by your last," proved only too true. Neither the old gentleman nor any of his sons had the least knowledge of practical farming in the West, except what they had read, and so the enterprise proved a miserable failure, not only absorbing all the means in possession of the family, but also sacrificed the oldest son, Sylvester, who succumbed to the then prevailing malarial fevers. Mr. J. E. Terpinitz then returned to his profession and trade, becoming connected with the jewelry establishment of Grear & Co. in Jonesboro, then the largest establishment of that kind in Southern Illinois. In the fall of 1859, he married Miss Marie Dushel, and moved to the infant city of Anna, where he opened the first watch and jewelry establishment in this city. Mr. Terpinitz may be said to be the veteran musician of Southern Illinois, having been more or less connected with the organization of bands, orchestras and musical societies in this portion of the State for the last twenty-five years. He has met with many reverses in his business career, having been burned out of house and home three times, and had his store burglarized to a large amount. Nevertheless, with the proverbial adhesiveness and industry of his nationality, he remained in our city through prosperity and adversity, and is now one of the old citizens of our rapidly growing town.

Extracted 02 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 86-87.

Templates in Time