|Birth: ||Jun. 12, 1862|
|Death: ||Feb. 28, 1907|
This gentleman was my great grandpa's cousin. Son of Luther D. Romberger and Francisca Weaver Romberger. Born in Princeton, Bureau County, Illinois. Husband of Ellen "Nellie" Ensign Romberger whom he survived by two months. Brother of Emma Romberger. Father of Emma Theresa Romberger Ahern. Also father to one infant child, and a daughter Louisa, who also died as a child.
Charles was an active contributor to the development of his adopted hometown of Dwight (Livingston County) Illinois. Earning his law degree at the tender age of 19, he had a long career in law and real estate, having partnerships with John C. Hetzel, Frank L. Smith, and John R. Oughton who was a merchant and registered pharmacist. Charles also was manager of the Dwight Opera House, counsel to the railroad, and to the Keeley Institute, aka The Keeley Company headed by Dr. Leslie Keeley, the first organization to treat alcoholism as a disease and not a character flaw. In 1893, after a year as elected president of the board of trustees of the village of Dwight he lost his second bid, and in 1900, Charles also served as a Republican Presidential elector for Illinois.
Charles' wife Nellie became ill on Christmas of 1906 and passed away on December 28. He followed not long thereafter, within two months. His death date of February 28, 1907 is confirmed by the General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1911, by the University of Michigan.
He left a large estate, with generous provisions for his employees, friends, church, and cemetery. He also had his executors invest some of his money so that income could be generated for friends of his in need, as well as so that remembrances could be sent on birthdays and Christmas to his parents.
From "Biographical Record of Livingston and Woodford Counties, Illinois"
CHARLES L. ROMBERGER
Prominent among the enterprising, progressive and successful men of Dwight is the subject of this sketch, who as a lawyer and business man has been prominently identified with its interests for several years. His life history most happily illustrates what may be attained by faithful and continued effort in carrying out an honest purpose. Activity and energy have been the crowning points of his success, and his connection with various enterprises have been of decided advantage to his community, promoting its material welfare in no uncertain manner.
Mr. Romberger was born in a log cabin in Wyanet, Bureau county, Illinois, June 12, 1862. His father, L. D. Romberger, was born in Pennsylvania, April 23, 1831, of German ancestry, and was left an orphan when only a year old. At the age of eight he started out in life for himself and served an apprenticeship to the tinner's trade. He was about twenty-three years of age when he removed to Wyanet, Illinois, where he was married, March 1, 1860, to Francisca L. Weaver, who was also born in Pennsylvania, February 20, 1839, and had come west with her parents, who were engaged in the hotel business.
(The father, Luther) Romberger was engaged in merchandising in Wyanet for a few years and later followed farming for two years, after which he moved to Princeton, Illinois, where he was engaged in the mercantile business until his health failed, in 1880, when he sold out and has since devoted his attention to bee culture, having one of the largest apiaries in the United States. He has always been a stanch Republican in politics, but never an aspirant for office, though he is now serving as justice of the peace.
Of his three children, one died in infancy; Emma L. is now the wife of Frank H. Hoffman, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charles L. completes the family.
The primary education of our subject was obtained in the public schools of Princeton, and he was graduated from the high school of that city at the age of seventeen years. He then entered the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated at the age of nineteen and received the degree of LL. B., March 20, 1882. He was not permitted to practice, however, until he attained his majority, when the state of Michigan forwarded his certificate, and he was admitted to practice at the bar of Illinois, September 24, 1883. After his graduation he located at Ottawa, Illinois, and entered the office of Mayo & Widmer, prominent attorneys of that place, with whom he remained for fifteen months.
In 1884 at the suggestion of Hon. Walter Reeves, now member of congress from this district, Mr. Romberger came to Dwight and opened a law office over the People's
Bank, being alone in business until 1887, when he formed a partnership with John C. Hetzel, a real estate and insurance agent, under the firm name of Hetzel & Romberger. In 1891 he bought out his partner and continued alone until November, 1895, when he sold a half interest in the business to Frank L. Smith, the firm being known as Romberger & Smith. Their specialty is real estate and real estate work, although they do a private banking business for accommodation of friends and acquaintances. Without question the firm does one of the largest loan and real estate businesses in central Illinois, this fact being conceded by all other firms in their line. At present they are extensively interested in Mississippi and Louisiana lands. Their holdings in the latter state are timber lands, which the firm purchased with the view of enhancing their value, and in January 1900 they sold one tract of twelve thousand acres in Madison parish. This is desirable property, being accessible to steamboats and the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific Railroad. The Mississippi land is in the Delta country and is also covered with hardwood lumber, principally oak, pecan and gum. When cleared this will become excellent cotton land. Besides this property the firm has about fifteen hundred acres of fine farming land in Lee county, Illinois, which is well improved and under a high state of cultivation, and also operates largely in biwa and Lidiana lands.
Since coming to Dwight, Romberger has had complete charge of the Keeley Company's legal business, and is attorney for the estate of Dr. Leslie E. Keeley. He is also local attorney for the Chicago & Alton Railroad. He does very little court work, however, his entire legal business being confined to office practice. He is interested in the Keeley Institute, located at No. 1803 Locust street, St. Louis, Missouri, being a partner of Dr. J. E. Blaine, who for eight years was chief of the medical staff of the Leslie E. Keeley Company of Dwight.
On the 7th of October, 1884, Mr. Romberger married Miss Nellie M. Ensign, a native of Connecticut, and a daughter of Edward H. and Martha S. Ensign. By this union three children were born, the oldest, a daughter, died in infancy. Louise E. died very suddenly of tonsilitis, November 2, 1899, at the age of twelve vears. Emma T., aged eleven years, is attending school in Dwight.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Romberger are members of the Congregational church, and he is also a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity. In 1884 he was made a Master Mason in Livingston Lodge, No. 371, A. F. & M., of Dwight, of which he is now past master, and received the higher degrees in Orient Chapter, No. 31, R. A. M., and Blaney Commandery, No. 5, K. T., of Morris, Illinois; Dwight Chapter, No. 166, O. E. S., of which he is past worthy patron; is a member of the Oriental Consistory and Medinah Temple of the Mystic Shrine, both of Chicago. He is now a member of Wilmington Chapter, No. 142, R. A. M., of which he is past high priest, and Joliet Commandery, No. 4, K. T., of which he is senior warden. Since old enough to vote Mr. Romberger has affiliated with the Republican party, and in 1892 was elected president of the board of trustees of the village of Dwight on the ticket advocating public improvements. He has always taken the lead in anything tending to advance the interests of his town and worked hard to get the sewerage system, electric light and water works adopted and cement sidewalks laid. Therefore during his administration there were more improvements made than at any other time, and he is justly numbered among Dwight's most progressive and public-spirited citizens. He is emphatically a man of enterprise, positive character, indomitable energy, strict integrity and liberal views,
and is thoroughly identified in feeling with the growth and prosperity of his city.
From George William Warvelle's "A compendium of freemasonry in Illinois; embracing a review of the introduction, development and present condition of all rites and degrees; together with biographical sketches of distinquished members of the fraternity (Volume 2, page 111):
CHARLES L. ROMBERGER. The mysteries of the Masonic order, its symbolic rites and the antiquity of its origin, all have a peculiar fascination for men who study and think deeply, particularly those of a legal turn of mind. We consequently find among its most illustrious and devoted adherents members of the legal profession who find in its teachings much to assist them in the study of mankind.
The gentleman whose name heads this
sketch became identified with the Masonic
fraternity in 1884, and has since given his
best thoughts and efforts to its interests.
He was made a Master Mason in Dwight
Livingston Lodge, No. 371, in which he
has held the offices of Junior Warden and
Worshipful Master. He received the de-
gree of R. A. M., in Morris Chapter, hold-
ing the office of High Priest, and that of
Knight Templar in Blaney Commandery,
No. 5. He is a member of Oriental Con-
sistory, as well as of the Order of the
Eastern Star, Dwight Chapter, No. 166, in
which he has held the offices of Past Patron
and High Priest. He is also a member of
Medinah Temple, Mystic Shrine, Chicago,
of Wilmington Chapter, No. 142, and
Joliet Commandery, No. 4. His affilia-
tions with these several branches of Ma-
sonry have always been of the most pleas-
ant character and have made him many
warm personal friends as well as given him
a wide influence and high standing among
Mr. Romberger, who is a prominent at-
torney at law, residing in Dwight, Illinois,
and the senior member of the well-known
law firm of Romberger & Smith, was born
at Wyanet, Illinois, June 12, 1862. His
education was obtained in the public
schools of Princeton, Illinois, and after
completing the course in the high school or
that place he entered the law department
of the University of Michigan, at Ann
Arbor. He was graduated at this institu-
tion in 1882, when only nineteen years of
age, and was admitted to the bar in Ottawa
the same year, but his certificate was with-
held until he reached his majority. He
continued the study of law in Ottawa until
January, 1884, when he located in Dwight,
where he has since made his home.
Mr. Romberger is a man of fine mental
ability, a close student, and gives his un-
divided attention to his professional duties.
He has built up a large practice and has
the confidence and esteem of every one
who has ever been brought into business
relations with him. His office is one of the
handsomest in the city and is an evidence
of the success which has attended his
career. In addition to legal work the firm
carries on a fire-insurance and loan busi-
ness, probably the most extensive in
As president of the village board of
Dwight for one term, Mr. Romberger did
much to advance the interests of the town
and gave proof of his executive ability. He
now holds the responsible positions of
attorney for the Chicago & Alton Railroad
Company and for the Keeley Company.
Mr. Romberger was married in 1885 to
Miss Nellie M. Ensign, of Connecticut, and
they have two daughters, Louise Ensign
and Emma Theresa. The family is popular
in social circles and their hospitable home
is always open to their friends.
Luther D Romberger (1831 - 1908)
Francisca L Weaver Romberger (1840 - 1924)
Ellen "Nellie" Ensign Romberger (____ - 1906)
Louise E. Romberger (1887 - 1899)*
Emma Theresa Romberger Ahern (1888 - 1979)*
Emma Louise Romberger Hoffman (1860 - 1911)*
Charles Luther Romberger (1862 - 1907)
Oak Lawn Cemetery
GPS (lat/lon): 41.09402, -88.48017
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Mar 16, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25317613