Colonel Charles Gottfried Stifel, 5th USRC USV
(1819 Germany-1900 MO)
Original Member of the Missouri Commandery of MOLLUS
MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.205, 02Jun1900
Original Photo from the MO Commandery of MOLLUS Photograph collection
Located at the Missouri State Historical Society Library and Archives, St. Louis, MO
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Charles Gottfried Stifel was born January 28, 1819 in Neuffen, in the Kingdom of Wuertemberg, Germany. He came to the United States in 1838 first settling in Wheeling, West Virginia where two of his brothers had preceded him. After sometime in trading in the South, he moved to St. Louis and began a sucessful career in the beer brewing industry. Atthough beset with many ordinary and extraordinary difficulties during the many years of his activity, he not only overcame them all, but it was done in such a way that when the Civil War began in 1861, he was looked upon as the leader of the Union element in the northern part of the city.
And manfully and courageously, he discharged the moral obilgation thrust upon him. In order to fully appreciate the situation at that time, it is necessary to bear in mind the fact that St. Louis in April, 1861, was apparently a disloyal city. The visible indications seemed all to point in that direction. Almost all public utterances were disloyal. The so-called State troops near the city were known to be at least unfriendly to the Union and ready at a moment's notice to serve the Secession element, and all publci raising and flaunting of non-descript flags was engaged by those who were plotting treason. To openly espouse the cause of one's country at such a time and place, as a leader, meant the hazarding of life, fortune, and the welfare of all those dear to him. Our companion was equal to the demands of the occasion and the call.
On May 7, 1861, when through the efforts and representations of Generals Blair and Lyon, authority was given by the Government to raise five additional regiments of volunteers, he assumed to raise the fifth, and on May 11th, with a full regiment, was mustered into the service for a period of three months in the US Arsenal. The times required resolute and quick action, and in consequence of the determined stand taken by such leaders and their followers, public sentiment in St. Louis was largely turned in favor of the Union, and the city and a large part of the State were saved to faithfully serve the sacred cause of preserving a united country.
The Fifth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, United States Reserve Corps, of which companion Stifel was Colonel, was retained in service until August, 1861, and during that time participated in the affairs at Blue Mills and Brunswick, MO, and other skirmishes in which Colonel Stifel manifested that he was the "right man in the right place." The business losses entailed upon the Colonel during this short period of his absence, and his advanced age reminded him of the duty which he owed his home and led him to serve his country thereafter by a faithful adherence to the cause and zealous and unremitting home efforts for the benefit of those who had gone to the front.
After the close of the Civil War Colonel Stifel continued in the beer brewing industry, to which he had devoted himself with great success, until 1889, when he retired to private life and enjoyment of the results of an honest and successful business career.
Charles manifested his artistic taste and greateful appreciation of his obligation to the city of his adoption by presenting to the city with the beautiful bronze statue of the Poet Schiller which was erected in 1898 in the St. Louis Park immediately south of St. Louis Ave. The munificent gift will add his name to the list of names of public benefactors when that honorable list is prepared for our city.
Although aided in the beginning of life's struggle with but a few worldly goods, he amassed a large fortune. Public opinion, as a rule, ascribes such a result as luck. But in this case, as is the fact in most cases, a plucky and courageous application of strong and persistent thought and effort, showing excellent judgement and forethought, largely accounted for the material success, and for which he merits well deserved credit.
It must also be said of him that he never forgot his obligation to the poor and unfortunate. His services in upbuilding and supporting the German General Protestant Orphan Asylum and his constant contributions to the charities of the city procured for him an encomium more enduring than bronze or marble. His liberal subscription towards the erection of a German Home for the aged put him at the head of those benevolent people who have undertaken this gracious and priaseworthy task.
He was married to Louisa ? and is known to have the following children: Clara, Otto Frederick, and Louisa (Stifel) Conrades. Charles died March 18, 1900 in St. Louis, MO and is buried at the Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.
Colonel Charles Gottfried Stifel, 5th USRC USV was elected a Companion the MO Commandery on November 1, 1894, Insignia #10689. His son Otto Frederick Stifel MO#?? elected a hereditary member of the MO Commandery on September 23, 1912. Charles was also a member of the Frank P. Blair Post #1, Dept. of MO, GAR sicne June 27, 1883. While the condition of his health and the load of his advanced age precluded his frequest attendance at meeting and public functions of either organization, he at all times, by voluntary contributions in aid of their undertakings and charities, manifested a deep interst in their welfare and an abiding participation in the purposes of theri existence.
1) MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.205, 02Jun1900
2) MO Commandery of Mollus, Circular No.407, 27May1912
3) MO Commandery of Mollus, Circular No.408, 23Sep1912
4) Membership Records of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS
Copyright (c) 2000 Douglas Niermeyer, MO Commandery of the MOLLUS