Joseph ZIEGLER, deceased, was at one time prominently identified with farming interests in Marshall county and his record was one worthy of emulation and commendation, showing what could be accomplished by determination and honorable purpose. He was born in Baden, Germany, February 17, 1840, and spent the first seventeen years of his life in the land of his nativity, there acquiring a good education. Investigation into business conditions and careful consideration of the outlook before him in his native land led him to seek a home in the new world and in 1857 he crossed the Atlantic. He did not tarry on the seaboard, but made his way at once into the interior of the country and settled in Marshall county, Illinois, where he was first employed at farm labor, but he was ambitious to engage in farming on his own account and as soon as his work had brought him a little capital he rented a farm in Putnam county. He afterward removed to High Prairie and secured four hundred acres of land in Saratoga township. This extensive farm was the visible proof of his life of industry and enterprise and for many years he successfully carried on general agricultural pursuits, carefully tilling the soil and bringing his fields under a high state of cultivation, so that he annually harvested rich crops. He also added good buildings to the place and supplied it with all modern equipments and accessories.
On the 13th of February, 1865, Mr. ZIEGLER was united in marriage to Miss Catherine THOMAS, a native of Prussia, Germany, who was eight years of age when she was brought to America by her parents, Peter and Eva (BOCOH) THOMAS. Her father was a farmer by occupation and both her parents are now deceased. Unto Mr. and Mrs. ZIEGLER were born fourteen children, thirteen of whom are yet living: Peter, who resides in Missouri; Michael, who follows farming in Saratoga township; Kate, the wife of Peter SWARTZ, of Oklahoma; Charles, Joseph and William, who are operating the home farm; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Barney SWARTZ; George, who is living at McNabb, Illinois; Frank, who is farming in Saratoga township; John, who resides in Henry; Louis, upon the home farm; Amelia, at home; Matilda, who is a clerk in the Watercott store in Henry; and one who died when sixteen months old.
In his political affiliation Mr. ZIEGLER was a stalwart democrat, thoroughly in sympathy with the principles and policy of the party. He filled the office of school director for sixteen years and was road commissioner for twelve years. He held membership in the Catholic church and was ever faithful to its teachings. After many years of active and successful connection with farming operations he at length put aside business cares and removed to Henry, but scarcely had settled down in his new home when he was called from this life on January 8, 1903. He had become widely known in the county and many friends mourned his loss. He was a self-made man, whose prosperity came as the direct reward of diligence, enterprise and laudable ambition and his history may well serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.