During the prevalence of the wars of 1848-9 in Germany, many of her citizens, and not a few of her soldiers, sought homes across the sea in America. Among the latter Dr. H. M. Schaefer, at the time company surgeon at home, on furlough, slipped away, taking passage on the boat Helena, in the Bremen trade, and came hither. As the vessel set sail from the harbor of Bremen, she was twice intercepted and chased back, a third attempt proved successful, a favoring wind lending aid to her flight, and she on a northwestward course soon left pursuing Danish sails far in her wake. Fearing to encounter the enemy they pursued their way far to the north, passing between the Shetland and Orkney Islands. When clear of such fear they raised the flag of their country, and reached the port of New York after a voyage of seven weeks, less one day, on the ocean. Before leaving Bremen the captain of the vessel thought of raising the Russian flag for safety, but finally concluded, without colors, to make to sea.

Dr. H. M. Schaefer was born in Niesky, in lower Silesia, Prussia, April 14th, 1821. His father, John Gottlieb Schaefer, was a potter by occupation. His mother's maiden name was Christina Koch. He had a brother and two sisters. One of the sisters, Marie Louisa Voekel, died, the wife of a missionary of the Moravian faith to the West Indies, on the island of St Croix, in 1854. She had been at her post of duty since 1848. The doctor landed in New York city, July 3d, 1849, so that almost the first pleasing sight to greet his vision were flags and bunting in great profusion displaying our national colors on the natal day of American Independence. July 22d, of the same year, found him in West Salem, his objective point upon bidding adieu to his native land. At the age of fourteen years he had commenced the study of his chosen profession, that of medicine, which he was quietly pursuing when called into the Prussian service, in which he remained about three years. His attention had been directed to the northeastern part of Edwards county, by Rev. Mr. Houser, Moravian divine, and founder of West Salem.

On the 30th of March, 1850, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth Hedrick, daughter of George Hedrick, one of the old settlers here. By this union they have had thirteen children, seven of whom are living. He is a firm, outspoken Republican in politics, and during the war was an officer in the Union League. In politics he has taken a somewhat prominent part. In the Moravian church he is active, and has held many positions of honor. His faith is deep and abiding. In 1878, his house was destroyed by fire, but a new structure of beautiful proportions was built by him as a permanent home. As a physician he takes high rank among his brethren of the profession. He comes of a long-lived family, his mother having attained the age of 84, and grandfather 86 years.

Extracted 29 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 A Combined History of Edwards, Lawrence, and Wabash Counties, Illinois, page 316.

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