Marshall County

GERMAN, William H.

William H. GERMAN, residing on a fine farm of two hundred acres on section 15, Hopewell township, and who is also the owner of another farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 14, of the same township, while making no pretension of great ability in any particular manner, is yet a man who has drawn around him many friends who admire his honesty of heart and such qualities that go to make up the trustful man. His father, John GERMAN, was a native of Zanesville, Ohio, born in 1797, and was a son of Moses and Caroline GERMAN, natives of Pennsylvania, but of German descent.

John GERMAN grew to manhood on his father’s farm near Zanesville, Ohio, and there married Cassandra SMITH, a native of Ohio. In 1831 they moved to Putnam county, Illinois, and settled near Magnolia. After a year he went back to Ohio, but returning to Putnam county for a time, rented farms in Magnolia township. They were the parents of eight children: Samuel, who left home many years ago, and was never afterward heard from; Moses, who lives in Iowa; Rachel, wife of Calvin SHIELDS, of Putnam county, Illinois; Susan, who first married Henry HANNUM, and on his death married Thomas JOHNSON, now lives in Henry, Illinois; Elizabeth, now the wife of Y. A. GLENN, of Putnam county; Gilla, who married Daniel HARNEY, both of whom are now deceased; William H., our subject, and Maria, who died at the age of sixteen years. The mother of these children dying, the father married Elizabeth MORRIS, who is now deceased, and by this marriage were three children – Joseph, now living in Iowa; Eleanor, now the wife of T. W. STONER, of Hopewell township, and Melissa, now the wife of William FETTER, residing in Iowa. John GERMAN was for many years a class leader in the Methodist Episcopal church, and died in the faith. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk war.

The subject of this sketch was born March 12, 1840, on Ox Bow Prairie, near Magnolia, Putnam county, Illinois, and there grew to manhood. His father being in limited circumstances, was unable to give him the education he desired and therefore his school days were but few in number and he may be said to be a self-educated man. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, seventy-seventh Illinois volunteer infantry, and went with his regiment to the front. After a short term of service he was taken sick with the measles at Covington, Kentucky, and lost his voice for a period of three months, for which cause he was honorably discharged.

Returning home, Mr. GERMAN resumed his occupation of farming, and November 12, 1863, married Miss Ada E. STEWART, a native of Hennepin, Illinois, and a daughter of John E. and Sophia H. (CHAPLIN) STEWART, the former a native of Ohio, born in 1814, and the latter of North Carolina, born in 1817. John E. STEWART was a son of John I. STEWART, who came from Scotland. His father was a well educated man, a surveyor by profession, and served as a soldier in the war of 1812. The father of Mrs. GERMAN came to Hennepin in 1832, and there engaged in his trade of tailoring, in which line he continued until 1845, then removed to a farm. Mr. and Mrs. STEWART were the parents of eight children, seven of whom grew to maturity – Mary Jane, now the wife of I. A. GLENN, of Putnam county; Nancy W., now the wife of E. S. FOSTER, living in La Salle county, Illinois; Mrs. GERMAN; Lucinda W., now the wife of John McCLOSKEY, living in Roberts township, Marshall county; Kelp S., who married Rosa Belle GRAVES, now deceased, lives in Washington county, Kansas; Elizabeth Frances, who is now deceased and Ellen, now the wife of W. A. STONER, of Englewood, Illinois. Mrs. STEWART, who was a member of the Baptist church, died April 8, 1892. Mr. STEWART resided in La Salle county, Illinois, up to the date of his death, which occurred January 30, 1896.

To Mrs. And Mrs. GERMAN eight children have been born, three of whom are now living – Charles Stewart, Moses Samuel and Edwin Schon. Immediately after marriage, Mr. and Mrs. GERMAN commenced their domestic life upon a farm in Putnam county, and there rented land until 1866. He then purchased a small farm on Clear creek, in Hennepin township, Putnam county, which was then unimproved timber land. He at once commenced its improvement and after remaining there until 1881 sold out and removed to his present location in Hopewell township, Marshall county, where he has a fine farm of three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is well improved. Mr. GERMAN is engaged in general farming, confining himself to no particular branch, and has been quite successful during the fifteen years of his residence in Marshall county. He has lately remodeled his large barn and built a fine dwelling, in which the family now reside.

While engaged in hunting on the 23d of August, 1873, Mr. GERMAN accidentally shot himself in the left arm, necessitating its amputation above the elbow. Notwithstanding this unfortunate occurrence, he seems to get along as well as most men who have the use of both hands and arms. Fraternally he is a member of Lookout Mountain post, No. 94, G. A. R., and politically he is independent, voting for such men and measures as he thinks will best advance the interests of his town and country. He has been assessor of Hopewell township six years; road commissioner three years, and has also served as school director for a number of years.

Mrs. GERMAN, who was born January 15, 1844, was reared on the farm and received a good education in the district schools, preparing herself as a teacher, and for several terms taught in the public schools of Putnam county, Illinois. She is a kind-hearted, intelligent woman, and has a host of friends throughout Marshall and Putnam counties. The same can also be said of Mr. GERMAN.

Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

William H. GERMAN is a retired farmer, who since 1899 has made his home in Henry. He was born in Putnam county, Illinois, March 12, 1840, and is one of the eight children of John and Cassandra (SMITH) GERMAN. The father was born in Pennsylvania and was of German descent. He came to Illinois in 1832 the year of the Black Hawk war and located near Magnolia. An uncle entered for him a tract of land and he devoted his remaining years to farming, meeting the usual experiences, privations, pleasures and opportunities of pioneer life in the early days and subsequently enjoying the advantages which came through an advanced civilization. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, took an active interest in its work and served as class leader. His political allegiance was given to the democracy. He died in 1863 at the age of sixty-six years, while his wife, who was a native of Ohio, passed away in 1840. She, too, was a devoted member of the Methodist church. Of their eight children Samuel is now deceased; Moses died in 1902 at the age of eighty years; Maria has also passed away; Rachel is the wife of Calvin SHIELDS of Putnam county, Illinois; Susan H. is the widow of Henry HANNUM; Elizabeth is the widow of Young GLENN, who is in Oxbow, Putnam county; Malinda was the wife of Dan HARNEY and both are now deceased.

William H. GERMAN, the youngest member of the family, was reared to farm life and has always carried on general agricultural pursuits. He prospered in his undertakings and is now the owner of a valuable property of three hundred and twenty acres lying in Hopewell township. There he engaged in tilling of the soil for a number of years and improved an excellent property, adding many modern equipments to his farm, whereon he resided until 1899, when he retired from active business cares and took up his abode in Henry. The only interruption to his business cares had been his service in the Civil war, for he had enlisted in defense of the Union cause, becoming a member of Company B, Seventy-seventh Illinois Infantry, with which he remained for almost two years, when he was honorably discharged on account of disability. He then returned to his farm and continuously carried on agricultural pursuits until his labors had brought to him a handsome competence sufficient to supply him with the comforts and many of the luxuries of life throughout his remaining days.

Mr. GERMAN was married November 12, 1863, to Miss Ada E. STEWART, who was born in Hennepin, Illinois, January 15, 1844, a daughter of John E. and Sophia STEWART. Her father was a farmer by occupation and on coming to Illinois settled in Putnam county in 1835. Mr. and Mrs. GERMAN have had eight children: Cassandra S., John H., Nancy E., Gillie M. and William C., all now deceased; Charles S., an optician and jeweler; Moses S., who follows farming; and Edwin S., of Henry, Illinois.

Mr. GERMAN is a member of Henry post, G. A. R., and thus maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades. He has been as loyal to his country in days of peace as when he wore the blue uniform of the nation and followed the old flag upon southern battlefields. He is a public spirited man and local advancement and national progress are both causes dear to his heart. In business affairs he has a most creditable record as one who is ever straightforward and honorable in his dealings, his successful accomplishment resulting from his diligence and enterprise. Mrs. GERMAN is a member of the Women's Relief Corps.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.

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