Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties,Illinois
Originally published 1896
S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.
(CD reproduction of original work)
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Historical Society
John Weber, one of the substantial and prominent citizens of Hall township, Bureau county, was for many years actively engaged in agricultural pursuits, but has now laid aside business cares and is resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. The history of his life is an interesting one, his experiences varied and in his travels covering almost half the globe.
Mr. Weber was born in Prussia, Germany, July 22, 1827, a son of Adam and Elizabeth (Sneider) Weber, who never left that country. The father served as a soldier under Napolean at the battle of Waterloo, and was with the army in Russia. He joined the retreat, while many who remained were frozen to death. He walked back to Germany, where he later died at the age of eight-five years. His wife there died at about the same age. Our subject was the youngest in their family of three children. Catherine came to America and married John Debus, a farmer of Iowa, where she died in 1891, at the age of sixty-nine years. Her husband is still living in that state: Martin, the oldest of the family died in the fatherland.
From the age of six to fourteen years, Mr. Weber, of this sketch, attended the schools of his native land, and for the following six years served as a musician in a band, playing almost any instrument, but mostly a cornet. He traveled with the Holland navy, visiting Java and Batavia in 1845. Before and after this he traveled for four years in a circus band. Five times he has crossed the ocean, twice visiting Europe, first in 1876, and later in 1886. At the age of twenty he entered the German army as a musician, serving as regimental bugler for five years, and was in the revolution in Baden in 1849.
In 1854, Mr. Weber emigrated to the new world, arriving in December of that year, and for twelve years was employed in the coal mines at La Salle, Illinois. On his arrival in that place h e had only fifty cents remaining with which to begin life among strangers in a strange land. He has seen much of the rough side of life, has passed through many trying experiences, but has made the most of his opportunities and advantages, until he is today the owner of a handsome property. Together with his sons he owns six hundred and forty aces in Bureau county, and expects soon to buy one hundred and sixty acres more. His first farm was in La Salle county, but in 1877, he sold out there and bought the E. C. Hall farm of two hundred acres on section 21, Hall township, which comprises a part of his present tract. It is one of the model farms of the county, improved with an elegant residence, surrounded by a lovely lawn and stately pines. There is also a good orchard and the barns and outbuildings are neat and substantial. Our subject now rents his land so that he may spend his declining years in ease and retirement.
In Germany, on the 30th of September, 1852, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Weber and Miss Julia Hamel, who died March 5, 1885, at the age of fifty-eight years and one day. She was the daughter of George and Isabel Hamel, who spent their entire lives in Germany. She had one brother in La Salle, Illinois, and another, Henry Hamel, who went to California, and is now worth more than a million.
Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Weber, the birth of the oldest occurring two months after the arrival of his parents in the United States. In order of birth, they are as follows: Henry married Elizabeth Woubben, by whom he has three children - Frank, Henry and Eddie. They live on a farm near Seatonville, Bureau county; John H., who is residing on the Webster farm, east of Spring Valley, married Ann Herboldsheimer, and has one son, Irvin; Emma is the wife of Fred Hummel, a hotel-keeper, of Templeton, Wisconsin, and they gave one child, Anna; Lizzie resides with her sister in Wisconsin; Lewis married Clara Kuster, and resides on the home farm; Ida is the wife of Frank Herboldsheimer, and lives near Princeton. The mother of these children was a member of the Lutheran church.
On the 20th of October, 1887, Mr. Weber was again married, his second union being with Miss Adella Bartlett, a daughter of Schuyler and Esther (Leigh) Bartlett, the former born in Canada, of Scotch parentage, and the latter at SevenOaks, ten miles east of London, England. They now make their home in Princeton. The father was seventy-two in July, 1896, and his wife will be that age in March, 1897. Mrs. Weber is the youngest of their five daughters, the others being Eliza, wife of Levi Neirkirk, a farmer, of Carroll county, Illinois; Hattie, wife of Albert Stickel, of Princeton; Anna, wife of Louis Van Scoyk, of Galesburg, Illinois; Amanda, wife of Charles Pierce, of the same city. One child blesses the second union of our subject, Lena, who is now attending school.
Mr. Weber and his sons, Henry, John, and Louis, are all members of the Masonic fraternity, and he, with John and Louis, belong to S. M. Dalzell Lodge, No. 805, F. & A. M. In politics he votes for the best man regardless of party ties. He us a genial, courteous gentleman, and having been among strangers so much, knows how to make a stranger feel at home, therefore, as an entertainer he has few equal. He is a thorough and skillful farmer, an upright, reliable citizen, a business man of more than ordinary ability, and as such is justly entitled to a place among the representative and influential men of the Bureau county.