22 Aug 2007
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
Levi Bressler is one of the prominent, enterprising farmers of Jordan Township, and is located on section 35. He is the grandson of Peter and Elizabeth (Stoner) Bressler. The former was born in Germany, and was about six years of age when his parents emigrated thence to the United States. They settled in Lancaster Co., Pa., where Peter Bressler grew to man’s estate. He was married there to Elizabeth Stoner, who was of German parentage and American birth. He was a blacksmith and farmer, and both himself and his wife died in Lancaster County.
Their youngest child, and only son, Isaac, was the father of Mr. Bressler, of this present narration. He acquired a complete knowledge of farming in Lancaster County, where he was born, and he was there married to Fanny Neff, a daughter of a Pennsylvania farmer, and a native of the same county. She was of German origin, and became the mother of 12 children, of whom 11 are still living, and who are all married. One resides in Nebraska, two in Pennsylvania, and the remaining eight in Whiteside County. Isaac Bressler was a farmer, and in connection with his agricultural operation, managed an overland transportation business, carried on between the cities of Philadelphia, Wheeling and Pittsburg—the latter being the eastern terminus of the western water route. This was conducted by means of the famous “Conestoga” wagon, having a capacity of four to six tons, and drawn by six horses. This was the limit, as the route crossed the several mountain chains of the Appalachian system. He was a successful stock-grower and dealer. Among his pioneer experiences was that of being a passenger on the first railroad between Columbia and Philadelphia, horses furnishing the motive power. The passengers were on the top of the car, and one was nearly killed while passing under a bridge, neglecting to stoop at the proper time. Associated with the farmers of Lancaster County, he established the Lancaster County Bank, in the city of the same name. He acted as one of the directors of the institution until 1856, when he removed to Whiteside County. He purchased extensive tracts of land in Jordan Township and in other portions of the county, making the aggregate of 700 acres. He built a large residence on his farm in Jordan Township, and a barn of the variety known as a “bank,” or Swisser barn, the first structure of the kind in the township, if not in the county. He was born at the very close of the 18th century, and died March 31, 1881, after a life of active usefulness, during the entire course of which he experienced but a few days’ illness. His death was caused by fatty degeneration of the heart, at 82 years of age. The mother is still living at Sterling. She was born in 1800, and is 85 years of age. She has been for some years nearly blind.
Levi Bressler lived in his native county until he was 25 years of age, and during the last five years, and during the last five years of that time he drove a team for his father in the transportation business. In the spring of 1848 he came to Illinois, and spent the ensuing summer in Whiteside County, returning in the fall to Pennsylvania, where he remained until he exchanged his bachelor condition for that of a benedict. He was united in marriage March 26, 1850, in Lancaster Co., Pa., to Frances Eby. She was born Oct. 10, 1823, in Leacock Township, Lancaster Co., Pa., and is the daughter of a Pennsylvania farmer of German extraction, Abraham and Elizabeth (Groff) Eby. Her parents were lifelong residents of the State of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Bressler died at her home in Jordan Township Jan. 18, 1879, leaving five children. One little one preceded her to the home of eternal peace. She was a devoted adherent of the Mennonite faith. Mary F. died Jan. 31, 1861; Emma E. lives at home; Louisa married John S. Landis, a farmer of Sterling Township; Amanda is the wife of Henry R. Rutt, a farmer of Jordan Township; Lydia is the wife of Frank P. Wilson, and lives on the homestead of her father; Mary is also a resident at home.
In 1850 Mr. Bressler came with his young wife to Jordan Township, and located on section 35. He is now the owner of 240 acres, situated on sections 33, 34 and 35, which is chiefly under excellent tillage, and furnished with first-class farm buildings. In political faith and connections he is a Republican of the genuine stamp.
Accompanying the foregoing sketch, on a page opposite the beginning, is given a good likeness of Mr. Bressler, printed from an engraving on stone. The position which the subject has so justly and meritoriously earned, and for so many years maintained, in the community where he resides, as a citizen and as a gentleman, justifies the insertion of his portrait in the gallery of the Whiteside County collection.