Jefferson County Historical Society

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Gust Hamel, druggist, dealer in all kinds of lumber, and manufacturer 
of the Economy School Desk, De Soto, is a native of Wurtemberg, Germany,
and was born in 1831. His parents were Frederick and Lena (Zeiher)
Hamel, natives also of Wurtemberg, Germany, who came to America in 1849
and located in St. Louis. In 1854 they moved to Jefferson County, Mo.,
and bought a farm three miles west of De Soto, upon which a shop was
established, and the father followed his trade, that of a saddler, in
connection with farming. He moved to De Soto in 1858, and died in 1872
at the age of eighty-four years.  His widow died in 1864, aged sixty-
seven years.  Gust Hamel was the third of the seven children born to
them, four of whom are still living.  He was educated in his native
country, and at the age of fifteen commenced learning the saddler's
trade.  In the fall of 1848 he immigrated to the United States, worked
in New York, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis, and in 1860 came to
De Soto, where he followed his trade until 1868.  He then established a
drug store, which he has since continued, and in connection with which,
in 1873, he established and has since conducted a lumber yard and planing 
mill.  In 1884 he patented and began the manufacture of the Economy
School Desk, which has met with good success.  He is also the inventor
and manufacturer of Hamel's reclining chair and lounge, which was 
patented February 8, 1887. Mr. Hamel is one of the most enterprising and
successful business men in De Soto.  In 1852 he married Miss Louisa Schur, 
who was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1837.  They have had seven 
children, viz.: Otto, who is employed on the Iron Mountain Railroad; George 
F., a partner with his father in the drug store and a doctor of medicine; 
Fred G., Gustavus, Charles, Alice (wife of Samuel Hibbert) and Emma.  In 
politics Mr. Hamel is a Democrat.  He was elected county judge of Jefferson 
County in 1871, which position he held two years.  He served as justice of 
the peace eight years, was mayor of De Soto two years, served as alderman 
several years, and was a member of the school board for about twenty years.  
He is a Master Mason in the Masonic fraternity.