WILLIAM DIEHL, a retired merchant in Springfield, Clark County, was born in Reinheim, Prussia, November 28, 1819. His father, John Justus DIEHL, was a farmer. His mother, whose maiden name was Catharine FINGER, died when our subject was but seven years old. In 1832 the father emigrated with his family to America, landing in the city of Baltimore, Md. He came directly to Auglaize County, Ohio, where Indians were yet numerous, and settled on the new farm where he died eighteen months later. The parental household included six children, all of whom grew to maturity. Three are yet living.
The education of young DIEHL was begun in his native land and completed in this country, where he attended the common schools and that at Springfield. At the age of sixteen years he began to learn the trade of a coppersmith in Dayton, where he served an apprenticeship of four years during which he became a master of all branches of the business. He then worked as a journeyman until 1841 when he located at Springfield and started in the coppersmith and tinner’s trade. After a time he sold out his shop and for five years was connected with a grocery and feed house. In 1872 he started in the iron and hardware business in BLACK’S Opera House on West Main Street. There he carried on the business two years when he removed to his present stand on West Main, No. 42, where he continued the business until 1885, when he gave it to his two sons. The latter continuing a successful trade which was established and built up by their father.
In 1844 Mr. DIEHL was united in marriage with Miss Catherine FRANKENBERG, a native of Germany, who died leaving one son, W. W., who married Miss Annettie ZAMMART. In November, 1850, Mr. DIEHL led to the hymeneal altar his second wife, Miss Anna M. ROMSHE, of Auglaize County, Ohio. She is the daughter of Justus and Margaret (MICHAEL) ROMSHE. She has borne four children, three of whom are now living: Anna M. is the wife of J. P. ALBIN; Clara C. married C. M. HUBBARD, of Columbus; George A. married Miss Anna ROSS.
Mr. DIEHL began his career in life without means, but by energy and industry has accumulated a large property which enables him to spend his declining years without the necessity for toil or anxiety. His large brick residence was built in 1864 and he has also built over forty dwellings and business houses in the city. He is one of the stockholders in the Springfield National Bank. He was Appraiser on the Board of Equalization fourteen years. He was formerly an old line Whig, his first Presidential ballot having been cast for Henry CLAY. Upon the disintegration of the Whig party he fell into the Republican ranks and his last vote was given to Gen. HARRISON, our present President. Both himself and wife belong to the First Lutheran Church of which he is a liberal supporter. In April, 1887, he and his wife made a trip to his old home in Europe, spending some time amid the scenes of his boyhood and visiting various points of interest.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio Chapman Bros., Chicago. Copyright 1890.