The business and community interests of Toluca find a worthy and prominent representative in Ferdinand KLINGER, who is closely associated with the material and public affairs of the town. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1864 and is a son of Ferdinand and Catherine (WEILEDER) KLINGER. The parents were likewise natives of Germany, born in Bavaria, the former in 1815 and the latter in 1826. The mother still lives at the old home place in Germany with her son, but the father, who followed farming as a life work, passed away in 1901. In the family were six children. John, born in 1862, is now living in Toluca. Ferdinand is the second of the family. Mary SCHOENHULL, now living in Germany, was born in 1866. She came to America in company with her sister Catherine in 1896, remaining until 1901, when they returned to Germany on receiving word that their father was ill. He lived but a short time after their arrival. Catherine is at home with her mother in Germany, having returned with her sister Mary to their native land. Father Max KLINGER, the fifth member of the family, was born in 1872 and died in April, 1905. He studied in Passau, Germany, for twelve years in preparation for the priesthood and died at Altoetting, where he was in charge of a fine parish. His early death was probably due to study and overwork, as he was very industrious. He was a young man of strong intellectual force and marked ability, who at an early age prepared for the priesthood and became one of the able representatives of the church. His mother made her home with him until his death. Sebastian, the next member of the family, is living on the old homestead in Germany. He was born in 1886, was married in 1904, and his mother now lives with him.
Ferdinand KLINGER, whose name introduces this review, was reared and educated in his native country and according to its laws rendered two years of military service, after which an attempt was made to have him work for a year for nothing. Not desiring such a condition, he hastily left for the new world, and after coming to this country he was married in Peoria, Illinois, in July, 1887, to Miss Annie MYER, who was born in Bavaria, Germany, and had come to the United States about two years before Mr. KLINGER. On the 1st of January, 1888, the young couple removed to Washburn, Illinois, in Woodford county, where Mr. KLINGER established a harness shop, having learned the trade in his native country. He remained there for eleven years and in the meantime opened a branch shop in Toluca, Illinois, conducting both shops for two years. In 1897, however, he removed to Toluca, having the first harness shop in this town. He is now conducting an extensive and profitable business and in the rear of his harness shop he has a carriage and buggy department. Above the store rooms is a nice opera house. In front and back of the stage are large rooms where different lodges meet. Mr. KLINGER lost quite heavily in the failure of the First National Bank of Toluca, about a year and a half ago, but is working hard to retrieve his lost possessions and has a good business, his trade constantly growing in volume and importance.
In community affairs Mr. KLINGER takes an active and helpful interest and is a most public-spirited and progressive citizen. He has served on the school board for three years and has always been a promoter of good schools, spending considerable money in educating his own children and in giving them musical advantages. Joseph, his eldest son, is a fine performer on the violin, taking Streator each week, while Max is being instructed on the piano and Oswald is playing the cornet. There are also twin sons, Alvin and Walter, and Mr. KLINGER says lie expects soon to give them music lessons, so that he can have a band in his own family. The other three boys are frequently engaged to play music for dances and other public functions. The record of the family is as follows: Joseph was graduated at the sisters' school in Toluca and is now assisting his father in the shop, learning the harnessmaking trade and also acting as bookkeeper. Max is a student in Magnolia school. Oswald is attending the sisters' school in Toluca. Alvin and Walter, twins, born in 1897, are also students in the sisters' school and are most interesting boys, who have the greatest attachment for each other.
In his political views Mr. KLINGER is a stalwart democrat and has filled a number of offices, serving for six years as alderman of Toluca, while from 1903 until 1905 he filled the position of mayor, giving to the city a public-spirited and business-like administration, characterized by reform, progress and improvement. He belongs to the Woodmen lodge and also holds membership relations with the Foresters and the Knights of Pythias. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Catholic church, while his wife is a member of the German Lutheran church. Mr. KLINGER deserves much credit for what he has accomplished in the new world. Coming to America with little capital, he has worked his way upward through strong purpose, close application and unremitting energy and is not only controlling a successful business, but has also won a place among the representative citizens of his community, exercising an influence in local affairs that is far-reaching and beneficial.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from
Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties