Carl Zillier was born at Halberstadt, Germany, on the 18th of April, 1838, and was eleven years of age when his parents emigrated from that land, making their way direct to the then small village of Sheboygan. They soon settled on a farm a short distance from the village and Carl Zillier spent his youth in the work of the fields and in the acquirement of an education.
After leaving school he was for a short time engaged as clerk in a store at Sheboygan Falls, but this occupation did not satisfy him, as his inclination had always been toward the printing trade. In his desire to enter that field, however, he was opposed by his parents and it was some time later before he had the opportunity of carrying out his cherished plan.
Leaving home in the fall of 1853, he went to Illinois and eventually reached Carlinville, where he entered the office of the Macoupin Statesman as a full-fledged printer's devil - his sole ambition being thus satisfied, for he believed it to be the first step in the direction of the goal which was before him. When the foreman of that office, in the summer of 1854, went to Petersburg, the county seat of Menard county, Illinois, to establish a weekly, Mr. Zillier accompanied him and assisted in getting out the first paper ever published in that county. He remained there for nearly a year and then returned to Sheboygan. He was but nineteen years of age when in 1857 he purchased the press and type of the Wisconsin Republikaner and established the National Democrat, with the publication of which he is still connected. He has ever given to the public a progressive journal, devoted largely to the interests of the city and surrounding country. Its position concerning any project of practical value for the improvement and upbuilding of the district has never been an equivocal one.
Aside from his work in journalistic fields Mr. Zillier has been prominent in political circles, holding the office of city clerk and later that of city comptroller. He was elected a member of the lower house of the state legislature in 1862 and became the youngest member of that body when the session convened in 1863. He was re-elected and served through the session of 1864 and was again chosen to office in 1870, when elected county clerk, in which position he continued for six years.
In 1877 he was elected supervisor and was chosen chairman of the county board, acting in that capacity for seven years, or until his retirement from the board in 1884. Three years later he was again chosen its chairman and filled the position most acceptably and creditably during eight consecutive sessions. No higher testimonial of his worth and ability in the office can be given than the fact that he was again and again chosen to the position. He was once more elected supervisor in 1905 and 1900 he had the honor of occupying a seat on the floor, which position he says he enjoyed more than that formerly held by him. He was ever an active working member of the body and his labors were productive of practical results of far-reaching benefit. He served as a delegate in the Democratic national convention held in Chicago in 1884, when the nomination was given Grover Cleveland, of whom he was an ardent supporter and admirer.
In 1886 he was appointed to the position of postmaster, which he continued to fill until January, 1891, and during that term free delivery was established in the city. Again he was appointed in 1895 and held the office until March, 1899, being the first postmaster occupying the new government building. President Grover Cleveland appointed Zillier postmaster of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
At this writing he is president of the board of trustees of the county insane asylum and also president of the board of directors of the public library. Mr. Zillier served for several years as President of the Board of Trustees of the insane asylum.
In 1859 Mr. Zillier was married and in 1909 he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding.
While Mr. Zillier has passed the seventy-fourth milestone on life's journey, he is stil a most active, energetic man; whose labors count for much in the work of general progress and improvement. His entire life has been a serviceable one in the district where the major portion of his time has been passed and even those opposed to his political policy entertain for him the warmest regard and appreciation for his fidelity to principle. Zillier died in Sheboygan, Wisconsin as a result of a broken hip.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL