Biography - Francis R. Woelfle

FRANCIS RODMAN WOELFLE. The shrewd business acumen of the financiers of Johnson county have placed the banking institutions of this section on a sound foundation, and their knowledge of men and conditions has enabled them to pilot their monetary crafts through the storms of financial distress that have struck the country and to bring them safely into the port of public confidence. The Drovers State Bank of Vienna, one of the secure and solid institutions of Southern Illinois, is fortunate in having for its officials men with unquestioned reputations as safe and far-seeing financiers, and much of the credit for the bank's present prosperous condition must be given to its able and trustworthy cashier, Francis Rodman Woelfle. Mr. Woelfle is a native of Jonesboro, Illinois, and was born September 16, 1867, a son of Dr. John M. and Anna (Clark) Woelfle.

John M. Woelfle was born in Germany, in 1831, and received his education in the schools of his native land. Deciding upon a medical career early in life, he studied medicine until entering the German army, in which he served five years, and in 1848, or thereabouts, came to the United States and located at Buffalo, New York. There he was engaged in an official capacity until 1859, when he came West to Alton, Illinois, and when the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Union army, rising to the rank of captain of Company B, First Missouri Light Artillery. During his four years of service he participated in many important engagements, and was with General Sherman on his famous "March to the Sea." The record he established during his military career was an excellent one, but it was equaled by his record as a private citizen and member of the medical profession. He began to practice in 1867, at Jonesboro, but later removed to Anna, from whence he returned to Jonesboro, and there died in 1882. He married Anna Clark, and they reared a family of six children, namely: Alpha, Omega, Francis Rodman, Minnie, James and Gertrude.

Francis Rodman Woelfle was educated in the Anna public schools and at Centralia, Illinois, being sixteen years of age when he was graduated from the high school of the latter city. Entering the milling business at Vienna, he began at the bottom of the ladder, and when he resigned his position in 1896 he had thoroughly mastered every detail of that trade. He then removed to Canton, Missouri, where he followed the same line on his own account until 1903, and in that year returned to Vienna and became identified with the Drovers State Bank as cashier and stockholder. He has farming interests to the extent of one hundred and fifteen acres in Johnson county, and is the proprietor of a successful grain and elevator business at Belknap, Johnson county. Fraternally Mr. Woelfle is connected with the A. F. & A. M. having attained to the Knight Templer degree, also with I. O. 0. F. lodge and encampment, and the Modern Woodmen of America. His religious connection is with the Methodist Episcopal church.

In 1889 Mr. Woelfle was married to Miss Carrie Kuykendall, daughter of J. B. Kuykendall, and they have had one son, Joseph Rodman, who is now a bright and interesting lad of eleven years. Mr. Woelfle started out in life empty-handed and may truly be called a self-made man, for he has labored earnestly and untiringly and the property he now enjoys is the reward of perseverance and good management. He is ever ready to enter into any feasible undertaking that will benefit Vienna and is looked upon as one of the city's representative public-spirited citizens.

Extracted 14 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 686-687.

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