William Momberger was born on June 7, 1829, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. He studied painting and lithography in his homeland before emigrating to the United States in 1848, a year of revolution in Europe. Settling in New York City, he set up a lithography firm, Coughey and Momberger, as early as 1852. His partner was John Coughey (or Caughey), a wood engraver.
Throughout the 1850s and '60s, Momberger created lithographs and engravings for books, newspapers, banknotes, and other documents. He illustrated Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of American Literature (1856) and the Gallery of American Landscape Artists. He may have been in Indiana as early as 1855 when his illustrations appeared in the book New Purchase, or Early Years in the Far West by Robert Carlton (New Albany, Indiana: Nunemacher, 1855). Momberger also created images from the Civil War and traveled in Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Extant lithographs place him in Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Vincennes, Indiana.