Transcribed by Brandi McLoughlin
24 Aug 2012
William D. Detweiler Pages 1112-1118 [photo]
William D. Detweiler, an enterprising and successful merchant of Whiteside, his native county, was born Jordan Township, October 7, 1862, his parents are Henry M. and Magdalena Detweiler, natives of Pennsylvania. His early education, acquired in the common schools, was supplemented by a thorough course in a business college at Dixon, Illinois. In 1886 he purchased the stock of H. L. John and engaged in the mercantile business at Penrose, meeting with a well merited measure of success in his undertaking. The growth of the trade soon necessitated larger quarters and he there erected a large and commodious store building – one of the finest of its kind in the country. He carries an extensive and well-arranged stock of goods and the straightforward and reliable business methods he has ever followed have insured him a continued and steadily growing patronage. He also holds an interest in the State Bank of Sterling, Illinois, and is a stockholder in the Co-operative Mercantile Company of Chicago. In this latter concern the shareholders each have an equal interest and have found it to be a most satisfactory and profitable investment.
On the 24th of November, 1887, Mr. Detweiler was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth A. Kratz, a daughter of John and Mary (Loux) Kratz, natives of Pennsylvania, who settled in Jordan township, Whiteside county, in 1864.
The founder of the Kratz family in America was John Valentine Kratz, the youngest son of John Philip Kratz, who was born in Germany, October 8, 1665, and died there in 1746 at the age of 80 years. His wife passed away in 1710 and their children were as follows: Anna Eliza, John, John Philip, Anna Marie, Anna, John Valentine and Anna Elizabeth. Of this family John Valentine Kratz was born in 1707 in the Palatinate province of Germany, bordering the Rhine on the east. On the 20th of June, 1727, when twenty years of age, he embarked on the vessel “Friendship,” which brought him to the shores of the new world on the 16th of October following. It is believed that one of his sisters accompanied him on the voyage, though nothing further has been learned of her history. It was an account of religious persecution that John V. Kratz, like many others at that time, left his native land to make his home in a new and practically undeveloped country in order that he might worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. He settled in what was then Salford township, Philadelphia County, now Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, a district in which many wild beasts and savage red men yet abounded. He purchased two tracts of land, one from Gerhart Clemens and one from the commissioners of property. By warrant granted under the lesser seal, bearing date August 3rd, 1734, there was surveyed to him, on the 12th day of March following, a tract of land in Salford township containing 163 acres and 71 perches, with allowance of 6 per cent for roads and highways, and for which he had paid 25 pounds, shillings, 8 pence, receiving a patent thereof on February 14th, 1736. It was located on Upper Salford and extended on both sides of Skeppack road to the crossroad below Salfordville. The other tract, which he purchased from Gerhard Clemens and wife on the 30th of January, 1736, contained 53 acres and cost 53 pounds. This tract was located in Lower Salford and adjoined the first purchase. Here he built the first house, a structure that is now occupied by Milton H. Alderfer. He resolutely set himself to the task of developing the wild land and as the years passed he prospered, owing to his untiring labor and indefatigable energy. He lived the life of a quiet, unassuming American citizen and in his later years was unable to live retired, enjoying in well-earned rest the fruits of his former toil. During the time of British oppression, which resulted in the Revolution, he remained loyal to the American cause and departed this life when the struggle was still at its height, in the year 1780, having attained the age od 73 years. He had wedded Miss Ann Clemens, presumably the daughter of Gerhart Clemens, and she passed away in 1793. They were among the original members of the Mennonite church of Salford. The first meeting house at that place, in which they worshipped, was erected in 1738 and when this became too small, by reason of increased membership, a larger structure was built about 1770, while the present edifice was erected in 1850, and in the graveyard which adjoins the church were laid to rest the remains of John Valentine Kratz and his wife.
Mr. and Mrs. Detweiler have two children: Roy K., born May 9th, 1896; and Earl K., born August 24th, 1899. In his political views Mr. Detweiler is a stanch republican and a public-spirited and entertaining citizen of his community, having filled the offices of township clerk and town treasurer. Both he and his wife hold membership in the United Brethren church and have the warm esteem and friendship of many with whom they have come in contact. In Whiteside County, where he has spent his entire life, our subject is widely recognized as a leading citizen and prosperous business man, and it is therefore with pleasure that we present his records to our readers.