Riverview Cemetery

Zeisberg, Franz J.

Franz (or Francis) Joseph Zeisberg was born on August 21, 1862, in German Silesia. He grew up on a farm, and inherited his parents’ interest in music. His father played many instruments and performed in the church orchestra and a local band, and his mother sang in a choir. It’s no surprise, then, that after Zeisberg immigrated to Jefferson City in 1881, he enjoyed studying at the state teachers’ college, which placed a large emphasis on music.

Zeisberg dabbled in many trades during his early life in Missouri. He briefly owned a farm in Osage County, worked in a brickyard in Jefferson City, and worked as a clerk in a book and music store until he gained a mastery of the English language. Zeisberg then began a career is music education, and established the Jefferson City Conservatory with Professor Carl Preyer.

Preyer later moved to teach at Kansas State University, and Zeisberg spent a short time in Lexington, Missouri, teaching at Elizabeth Aull Seminary. In 1892, he was asked to be directory of the conservatory at Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Virginia. He spent thirty years teaching piano, violin, harmony, composition, and organ. He composed his own works, mostly for educational purposes, and his repertoire included choruses, church music, and almost seventy fugues for piano and organ.

In 1922, Zeisberg retired and moved back to Jefferson City. In 1887, he had married Clara M. Hugershoff, stepdaughter of Fred Binder. The couple had three children, Fred, Carl, and Ella, and all settled on the east coast.