Rickert family | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Joseph W. Rickert (1840-1941), lawyer, banker, politician, teacher, amateur historian, and civic leader, led a long and productive life and during his term in the State Senate was Acting Governor of Illinois for three days in 1891.
In 1864, after graduating with A.B and A.M. degrees, he taught public school in Marion and Monroe counties. While he was teaching, Rickert also studied law under Judge H.K.S. O'Melveny and with the firm of Johnson and Hartzell at Chester, Illinois.
In addition to his law practice, Rickert pursued other business interests and was active in professional organizations. He established and was President of the Waterloo commercial State Bank and held the titles of: President of the Monroe County Bar Association; President of the Monroe County Fire Insurance Company; President of the Wind Storm Insurance Company; and Director of the East St. Louis, Columbia, and Waterloo Railway.
Rickert's activities as a civic leader propelled him into a number of elected political offices including: County Superintendent of Schools, 1869-1873; State Representative, 1874-1876; State's Attorney for Monroe County, 1876-1880; and State Senator, 1888-1892.
In 1873, Joseph married Wilhemina (Minnie) Ziebold, the daughter of a Waterloo miller, Gottlieb Ziebold. The Rickerts had nine children. Four of them figure importantly in the collection. Nelson, (1878-1971) was a St. Louis lawyer and businessman. The interests of Luella (1884-1961), Marie (1894-1971), and Marguerite (1897-1971) added a cosmopolitan element to the family. These daughters wrote poetry, traveled extensively in Europe, especially Switzerland, and were active in national and international organization.
Wilhemina Rickert died in 1900 and Joseph assumed responsibility of raising his children. Joseph Rickert worked at the commercial State Bank of Waterloo as President until the day he died at the age of 101.