Joseph ETSCHEID has departed this life, leaving behind a record of an honorable, industrious and upright career. All who knew him respected him for his fidelity to honorable, manly principles, and he left to his family the priceless heritage of an untarnished name as well as a goodly estate. Born in Germany on the 27th of February, 1831, he came to America in 1856, when about twenty-five years of age, and made his way at once to Peru, Illinois, and later to Hennepin, where he began earning his own living as a laborer. He carried brick and mortar for masons and thus earned his first wages in the new world. After a few months he came to Hennepin, where he was employed at different times in distilleries, on boats and at the mason's trade. He assisted in the building of the corner brick store and the brick schoolhouse, both of which are still standing. After a few years residence in Hennepin, however, he and his wife hired out to work on what was then called the FILLINGER farm, Mr. ETSCHEID being employed in the fields, while his wife did the housework. They there remained for two or three years, at the end of which time his employer assisted Mr. ETSCHEID in obtaining a team and tools, after which he rented a farm near Hennepin, where he lived for seven years. During that time he suffered greatly through fire, losing all of his household goods, but, undiscouraged by this disaster, he resolutely set to work to retrieve his lost possessions. In 1866 he purchased a farm of one hundred and eighty acres, upon which he afterward made his home. At that time there was upon the place a log stable and a small frame dwelling. A little clearing had been made, but the work of cultivation and improvement had scarcely been begun. He cleared up much of the land, built thereon a large frame house and good barns and outbuildings and continued the work of improvement and development as the years went by until his was one of the valuable and desirable farm properties of the locality. All this represented a life of untiring industry and perseverance qualities which were salient features in the record of Mr. ETSCHEID.
In 1855, before leaving the fatherland, Mr. ETSCHEID was married to Miss Helen Katrine COFFEE, who proved to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey for about eleven years, but who died July 3, 1866, soon after they located on their own farm. He afterward wedded Mary APPEL, who is still living with her son Peter on the old homestead. By his first marriage there were two children: Margaret, who was born in 1864, became the wife of Valentine BOGNER and lived upon a farm in Whitefield township, Marshall county, up to the time of her death, which occurred in December, 1903. She left five children. The other member of the family was Peter ETSCHEID, who is still living upon the old homestead and of whom further mention will be made later.
The father was always a most industrious worker and thus he advanced from a humble position to one of wealth and affluence. A few years prior to his demise he removed to Henry, Illinois, where he died on the 19th of October, 1900. He had been in failing health for about a year, but was thought to be improving, and his death came as a great surprise to all, and was the occasion of widespread regret, for he had many friends in this part of the state. His remains were laid to rest in the family cemetery in Hennepin. He was a man of rather retiring disposition, entirely free from ostentation or display. He was, however, always courteous and was respected and liked by all who know him. He was a lifelong communicant of the Catholic church and he gave his political allegiance to the democratic party. For nineteen years he filled the office of road commissioner and held other local positions, although he was not a politician in the sense of office seeking. The offices came to him unsought, but when his fellow townsmen thus manifested their desire that he should serve them in some public position he always discharged his duties with promptness and fidelity. At the time of his death his estate consisted of seven hundred and eight acres of good land and his residence in Henry, all of which was a monument to his life of industry and thrift. He certainly deserves great credit for what he accomplished, for he came to America empty handed, possessing only strong determination and enterprise to aid him in his struggle to secure a good home and comfortable living for his family. In this country, where labor is unhampered by caste or class, he succeeded beyond his expectations and his life record should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished.
Peter ETSCHEID, the surviving son of the family, was born February 14, 1866, and still occupies the old homestead. He was reared upon the farm and was educated in the country schools and in Hennepin. At the age of twenty years he engaged in farming on his own account near Hennepin, where he lived for about three years. On the expiration of that period he went to Missouri, where he followed farming for two years, after which he returned to Putnam county and located on the old homestead farm, where he has since resided. After his father's death he came into possession of this property and has since carried on the work of improvement and development instituted by Joseph ETSCHEID.
On the 14th of February, 1899, was celebrated the marriage of Peter ETSCHEID and Miss Lizzie COLBY, who was born in Putnam county, Illinois, August 22, 1877, a daughter of August and Minnie COLBY. She died of typhoid fever in December, 1904. One child had passed away prior to the mother's death and a son, Joseph, aged five years, and Frank, who is a son by a former marriage, survive and are at home with their father.
Peter ETSCHEID is one of the prosperous young farmers of the county and in addition to carrying on the work of tilling the soil he deals extensively in cattle, buying and shipping throughout the year. He is a member of the Catholic church of Hennepin and he gives his political allegiance to the democracy. For nine years he has served as road commissioner and is the present incumbent in that office. He has also acted as school director and school treasurer for several years and he manifests a public-spirited interest in everything pertaining to the welfare and improvement of the county. Like his father, he is regarded as one of the leading agriculturists of the community and has made a creditable record in the management of his farming interests.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.