Henry MERDIAN, who resides on section 9, Whitefield township, owns and operates two good farms in Marshall county, one comprising one hundred and sixty acres and the other eighty acres. His life has been given to general agricultural pursuits and his places are both under a high state of cultivation, giving indication of the careful supervision of the owner. Mr. MERDIAN was born in Henry township on the 2d of February, 1867, and is a son of Johann Joseph and Mary Ursula (BURGEN) MERDIAN. The father was born on the Rhine in Bavaria, Germany, November 18, 1811, and in that locality spent the days of his boyhood and youth. At the age of sixteen he entered upon a regular apprenticeship to the wagon maker's trade and thoroughly mastered the business in principle and detail. He was a young man of twenty-five years when in 1836 he emigrated to the new world, working at the wagon maker's trade in New York until his removal to the middle west. While yet residing in New York city he wedded Miss BURGEN on the 24th of January, 1838. She was born in Lothringen, France, February 9, 1822, and five years after their marriage they came to Marshall county, Illinois, stopping at the old landing about one mile below the present city of Henry. Two children had been born to them in the east and Mr. MERDIAN thought that in this new and rapidly growing country he could better provide for his family. However, he was greatly discouraged on his arrival from the fact that he could find nothing to do and had no capital with which to set himself up in business. He therefore determined to return to New York and work again at his trade, but not having money sufficient to pay the expenses of the family on a return trip, he left his wife and children in Marshall county. A short time after his arrival in New York he met his wife's brother who after hearing his story, kindly loaned him five hundred dollars. He then hastened back to join his family and he invested a part of the five hundred dollars in forty acres of land, which became the nucleus of his large landed possessions which he owned at the time of his death. He at once began the improvement of his place and while carrying on the farm work he also continued to work at his trade, conducting a shop on his farm. He was very diligent and his industry and frugality enabled him in the course of years to add to his possessions from time to time until he had valuable farm property in several localities in central Illinois. He raised both stock and grain and his consecutive labor was the secret of his success.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. MERDIAN were born eleven children of whom two died in early youth. The parents lived to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary in 1888 and it was a most enjoyable occasion to all present: They had spent forty-five of the fifty years in Marshall county and were therefore widely known to the early settlers, who joined with them on that happy occasion, where many a tale was told of the early days and the experiences which came in pioneer times. Politically Mr. MERDIAN was a democrat and he and his wife were devoted members of the Catholic church, He contributed generously toward the building of the German Catholic church at Henry and in that faith he died March 8, 1893. He was respected and honored by all who knew him and were familiar with his life history, and . he left to his family not only a generous competence, but also an untarnished name and an example that is in- deed well worthy of emulation.
Henry MERDIAN, whose name introduces this record, has been a life-long resident of Marshall county. He was reared to the occupation of farming, which he has made his life work. He inherited from his father a goodly property, and in its management and care he has displayed excellent executive ability and business acumen. He now owns two farms, one of one hundred and sixty acres and the other of eighty acres, his home being on section 9, Whitefield township. He also owns about thirty acres of timber land in this township. Here are found substantial buildings standing in the midst of well tilled fields. Ample shelter is afforded for grain and stock and the place is conveniently divided by well kept fences.
Mr. MERDIAN has been married twice. On the 21st of January, 1893, he wedded Miss Christina BOGNER, of Whitefield township, a daughter of Louis BOGNER. Unto them was born a daughter, Mary Christina Columbia, now twelve years of age. In 1902 Mr. MERDIAN was again married, his second union being with Gertrude BOGNER, by whom lie has two children, Dorothy and Leonard L.
In his political views Mr. MERDIAN is a democrat and has served as school trustee for eight years, but has never sought or desired office. He is a communicant of the Catholic church, in the faith of which he was reared, and he has been a champion of all movements and measures for the material, intellectual and moral progress of the ____.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.