Charles G. Boerner

Charles G. Boerner, the leading watch-maker and jeweler of Vevay, Ind., was born April 14, 1827, at Artern, in Prussian Saxony. He received a liberal education; is a graduate of the high schools of Artern and the college of Erfurt; also took a special course in chemistry in the Polytechnic Institute. While yet in his boyhood school days he learned the art of watch-making under the instruction of his father, Charles G. Boerner, Sr., who was a watch manufacturer, born July 25, 1800; a graduate of the university, at Halle; an astronomer of considerable note, and in charge of the observatory at Artern. November 10, 1825, he married Miss Frederica M. Ludwig, who died in 1834, leaving two sons and two daughters to mourn his loss. Several years after he married Miss Mary Mann, daughter of Prof. August Mann, government inspector of mines, and two children were born of this union of which only Emily, wife of Dr. King, of Baltimore, survives. After completing his college course, Mr. Boerner decided to avail himself of the experience of others in his profession. He left home and found employment with Mr. Ferdinand Schall, a prominent watch-maker in Leipzia; a year later he was engaged by Mr. Benno Kirchel, watch-maker royal to the court of Saxony, and director of the Museum of Art and Science; in connection with this position Prof. Reichenbach appointed Mr. Boerner first assistant in the Dresden Observatory. In 1847, his father becoming impressed with the grandeur of the great American Republic, resolved to emigrate, and in view of the threatening war cloud of a revolution in Germany, his course became fixed; he disposed of his property, and June 7 the family bade farewell to the dear old home and fatherland. They embarked at Bremen, June 15, and landed in New York, July 30. After a week's rest they proceeded on their journey and arrived at their destination in Detroit, Mich., August 10, 1847. The father and mother died of cholera, September 10, 1852. Charles G. Jr., the subject of this sketch, located in Adrian, Mich.; in 1849, removed to Cincinnati, where he engaged in the jewelry business with Messrs. Palmer & Owens; in 1853 he entered the firm of Messrs. Beggs & Smith, at that time the most prominent in the jewelry trade, and after the retirement of Mr. Beggs, the firm changed to Smith & Boerner. In 1864 Mr. B. was threatened with declining health, and in search for a rural home, his brother Frederic invited him to Vevay, Ind. Disposing of his interest to his successor, Mr. Harry R. Smith, he formed a partnership with his brother under the name of F.A. Boerner & Bro., the house being established in 1854. In 1877 F. A. Boerner disposed of his interest to his brother Charles G., and removed to Ennis, Tex., where he died October 30, 1880. The business has been conducted since by Mr. Boerner, assisted by his two sons, Carl G. and Gustavus A. The family are members of the Presbyterian Church, of which the father is a ruling elder. Mr. Boerner was initiated in the Masonic order in 1849, and for several years has been secretary of the Switzerland Lodge No. 122, F. & A.M. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., of the encampment (Namoi), and for several terms has been a member of the city council. He is a member of the Am. Association A. Science, the Cincinnati Society of Natural History, and corresponding member of other scientific societies. He has been observer of the United States signal service since its organization, and practically engaged in astronomical and meteorological observations. Through his influence and exertion, the chief signal officer has made Vevay a signal station, receiving daily weather telegrams from Washington, D.C. Mr. B. was married, December 14, 1853, to Miss Josephine Thomas, of Chillicothe, Ohio, and the children born of this union are Miss Fredie M., Josephine, (wife of J.W. Faulkner), Carl G., Gustavus A., Emma G., William T., Anna D., and Milton C. Mr. Boerner is an exemplary Christian gentleman, and is held in high esteem as such by the people with whom he is associated. His two sons, Carl G. and Gustavus A., who are associated with him in business are also young men of clever attainments and excellent character. The ancestry of the family dates back to A.D. 1418.