Biography of William H. Fiscel

In the heart of Lee County, Illinois, William H. Fiscel (1832-1889) epitomized the pioneering spirit of the 19th century. Born in Adams County, Pennsylvania, into a lineage of diligent farmers, Fiscel ventured to Lee County in 1849, laying down roots that would flourish across generations. Alongside his wife, Elizabeth Stambaugh (1846-?), and their children, Fiscel transformed a humble government tract into a prosperous family homestead, demonstrating unwavering perseverance and commitment to the agricultural development of his chosen land. This introduction retraces the journey of William H. Fiscel and his family, from their early Pennsylvania origins to their enduring legacy in Illinois, offering a glimpse into the life of a man whose efforts helped shape the landscape of rural America.

William H. Fiscel, deceased, is numbered among the early settlers of Lee County, arriving in 1849, and here he made his home for forty years until his death on April 23, 1889. A native of Adams County, Pennsylvania, he was born on May 14, 1832, and came from old families of the Keystone State. His ancestors were farming people who resided in York and Adams Counties. His parents were David and Mary A. (Herbst) Fiscel, natives of Adams County, where they resided for some years after their marriage. Later, they removed to Washington County, Maryland, and in 1849, with teams, started overland for Lee County, Illinois. The three years following their arrival were spent in China Township, after which Mr. Fiscel purchased a tract of land from the Government on section 32, Nachusa Township, where, devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits, he spent the remainder of his days. His death occurred in 1865, at the age of forty-nine years. He was a successful farmer who, through his industry, perseverance, and good management, accumulated a handsome property. In his political views, he was a Democrat, and with the German Baptist Church, he held membership. Since the death of her husband, Mrs. Fiscel has resided with her children and is now living with the wife of our subject. Although she has reached the allotted age of three-score years and ten, she yet retains her health in a remarkable degree, and her mental faculties are little impaired.

William H. Fiscel was the eldest in a family of four sons and three daughters, and his brothers and sisters are all yet living, with five being residents of Iowa. With his parents, he came to Lee County in 1849, and with them, he removed from China Township to Nachusa Township in 1852. He aided in the laborious task of developing a new farm and eventually became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 32, where he had a comfortable home. The many improvements there stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise, for he was an energetic and progressive man who labored untiringly in whatever line of work he undertook.

In the township where his widow still resides, Mr. Fiscel was united in holy matrimony with Miss Elizabeth Stambaugh, a native of Adams County, Pa., born on December 25, 1846. She was a young maiden when she came West with her parents, George and Christina (Wolf) Stambaugh, the family settling in Nachusa Township, Lee County, where the father and mother spent the remainder of their days. They were only a little past middle life when called to their final rest. In politics, Mr. Stambaugh was a Democrat, and his wife was a member of the German Baptist Church. Their union was blessed with six sons and four daughters, and the family circle is yet unbroken. The children are now all married and have families.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fiscel were born three children, E. Franklin, Ray W., and Leroy, who are still at home with their mother. Our subject was a lifelong member of the German Baptist Church, and in politics was a stalwart supporter of the Republican party. He lived a quiet, unassuming life, taking no prominent part in public affairs, content rather to devote his energies to his business and spent his leisure time in the enjoyment of home. In his death, the county lost one of its best citizens, and his family a loving and faithful husband and father. Mrs. Fiscel manages the farm located on section 32, Nachusa Township, and in its care displays considerable executive ability. She is a lady of high social standing and, like her husband, has been a member of the German Baptist Church from her childhood.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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