All of the Borgsmillers in the United States are the descendants of Henry Borgsmiller, Sr. He was born in Germany in 1867 as Henry Borgsmüller, but the last name was changed to Borgsmiller when he emigrated to the United States. As far as I know, only his descendants use this spelling of the name; it is unique to the United States. Other similar names can still be found in Germany, such as Borgsmueller, Burgsmueller and Burgmueller.
The following is excerpted from "History of Illinois and Her People" published in 1927:
Henry was a boy when his father died, subsequently his step-father came to America in 1880 and found employment in the coal mines of Southern Illinois. The remainder of the family joined him at DuQuoin in Perry County. Henry Borgsmiller was then thirteen years of age and was without the command of a word of English when he arrived in this country. For a time he attended parochial schools, and at the age of sixteen went to work in the mines. Up to the age of eighteen he had only the prospects of whose life had been one of manual labor and with very meager educational equipment.
In 1885 Mr. Borgsmiller moved to Murphysboro in Jackson County. There he met and married his wife, Elizabeth Borgers. After moving to Murphysboro, he continued his labors in the coal mines until 1890. After his marriage he acquired a little home on North Ninth (then known as Cherry) Street, and had a savings account of about four hundred dollars. He became acquainted with a traveling salesman and soon his four hundred dollars was invested in a stock of groceries which was put on display in the front room of his cottage. Mrs. Borgsmiller looked after the store while Henry took outside work. After a few months, from the profits of the store and his earnings outside, Mr. Borgsmiller built a small frame store building on old Cherry Street, opposite the old Turners Park. In 1896 he bought the stock of W. C. Kent, together with the store building, and from that time had two retail stores in operation.
It was in 1902 that he advanced to the stage of wholesaling, with a warehouse on North Seventeenth Street. He was his own traveling salesman, covering the territory within a radius of forty miles from Murphysboro. In the meantime his retail business was discontinued and from the age of fourteen their son, Henry, was an industrious and intelligent factor in the business.
Mr. Borgsmiller in 1918 erected a large business structure on North Seventeenth Street. This structure was entirely destroyed by the tornado of March 1925. The business was incorporated as H. Borgsmiller & Sons. He became president, his son Henry, vice president, his son Herman, secretary and treasurer, while two other sons, Joseph and William, are directors. Borgsmiller Produce Company was started in 1919. Herman was the manager of that company. The manager of H. Borgsmiller & Sons wholesale Grocery was Henry Borgsmiller, Jr. The other wholesale business was handled under the name of Murphysboro Grocery Company, the manager being Joseph Borgsmiller, assisted by John and Theodore.
Henry and Elizabeth had twelve children, eleven of which lived to adulthood. You can explore the Borgsmiller family tree through the links below.
This page was last updated on 04/15/04.