Residents of Champion House
1854 – The Champions
Patience Champion bought the lots that included 218 South Charles in 1854. The Belleville Advocate reports the completion of a double two story brick mansion in 1854. (3 Jan 1855, p 3) Patience Champion was a wealthy widow. She lived at this residence with son B. F. Champion.
Her husband was Federal Champion, who established the Champion pill factory on South High Street. Dr. Champion’s Celebrated Age Medicine, made with quinine, and Dr. Champion’s Vegetable Anti-Dyspeptic, Purifying and Cathartic Pill, which were sold around the country. B. J. Champion took over the business. Patience Champion sold the house in 1864.
Federal Champion died on November 3rd 1847 leaving their home on Lot 30, which is about 120 S Church St, to his wife Patience Champion. 7 years later in 1854, the Belleville Advocate reported completion of a two story brick mansion, 218 S Charles St.
1864 – Sebastian Fietsam
A subsequent owner is believed to have been Sebastian Fietsam. Fietsam was president of People’s Bank, publisher of the Belleville Zeitung, and county clerk.
1880’s – William Kueffner
William Kueffner fought in the Civil War and mustered out as a brevet brigadier general at age 26. He became an attorney. Julius Liese bought 218 from Elise, William Kueffner’s widow, in 1893.
1893 – Julius Liese
Julius Lease bought 218 S Charles St from Keuffner’s widow in 1893. By this point Liese’s career as conductor of the Belleville Philharmonic was over, but he remained president of Liese Lumber, which he had founded in the 1870s. In 1905 he retired and returned to his native Germany with the intent of coming back to Belleville. He never did. World War I had complicated his planning. Other members of the Liese family lived at 218 during this period, the last being Herman C. Liese.
1916 – Herman C. Liese
Hermann was a metallurgist who worked for Mexican mines and smelters, married a Mexican national, knew Poncho Villa, and returned to Belleville, living at 218 from about 1916 to 1919.
2006 – David and Andrea Cox
The last residents of 218 were David and Andrea Cox. David was a charter member of the Belleville Historical Society. Andrea was a trained Austrian carpenter. They were both sticklers for historical accuracy in the work that they completed on the first floor of 218.
2021 – Rob Campbell
Rob Campbell, a local real estate investor, purchased the home to ”flip” in September 2021, after seeing the home show up as a new listing. To survive this large renovation project, he ultimately moved into Champion House, living in parts of the mansion while renovating other parts.