John Weidlein,  a retired farmer of Edford Township, resident at Geneseo, came to Henry County in 1851. He was born Jan. 17, 1812, in Bavaria, Germany. While a resident of his native land he was subject to the legal regulations of the country, through which the government takes the control of all the sons born to the subjects of the emperor except that of their support, which remains the burden of the parents. Mr. Weidlein attended school until he was 14 years of age, and then worked on the farm until he was 16. He was then apprenticed to learn the trade of a blacksmith and he served two years. After working three years as a journeyman blacksmith, he was old enough to enter the army, in which he served three years. He then obtained a substitute to fill his place, and with his father’s family he sailed for the United States. The voyage consumed seven weeks, and the vessel discharged her passengers at Baltimore. Immediately after landing the family all went to Bedford Co., Pa. There the father bought a farm, and there the son made his home between two and a half years.

   He then, in 1839, established his own household. He was married March 11, of that year to Eleonora C. Emmert. She was also a native of Bavaria. The newly married pair took possession of a rented farm in Bedford County, which they occupied seven years. At the end of that time Mr. Weidlein bought a farm in the same county. He retained its ownership until 1850, when he sold it, and in the next year came to Illinois. The journey was made over land by team to Wheeling, Va., where they took passage on a steamer and traveled on the rivers, which constitutes the river route between the East and the West. The water was low, and three weeks where passed on the trip. They landed at Rock Island, where the father bought a team, and came thence to Henry County. He entered land on section 9 of township 16, range 2 east, which is now the township of Osco. The proprietor built on the place a small structure, which served as a shelter for the family until he could press the work of improvement along to a point of profit; and after he had placed 150 acres under the plow, he proceeded to erect a house, to which the first building formed the kitchen. He drew the lumber and other materials used in the new houses from Moline. He also set out a considerable number of shade-trees. He was in fair circumstances on his arrival in Henry County, as he was the possessor of $1,000, all of which was the fruits of his industry and frugality on the farm he rented in Pennsylvania. When he was married he was not the owner of an unincumbered dollar. In 1856 he sold his farm in Osco Township and he then bought 3210 acres in Edford Township, for which he paid $650. There had been 40 acres broken and fenced and a small frame house had been begun. He at once proceeded to put the property in first-class condition for the accommodation of his family, as he had abundant means and facilities for doing, erecting excellent frame buildings, planting shade and fruit trees, and making all the improvements common to the best type of farms in the county.  He occupied the place until 1880, when he removed to Geneseo and bought the place he has since occupied there.

   Eight of the children born to him and wife are still living. Andrew is a resident of Geneseo, and is the owner of a farm in Osco Township. Philip lives in Topeka, Kan. Lewis is a resident in Marion Co., Kan. Jacob lives in the county last named. This homestead in Edford Township is under the management of George J. Edward lives in Butler Co., Kan. Caroline is the wife of George Drehmer. Valentine is also a resident in Marion Co., Kan. The parents are members of the Lutheran Church.

Pg. 698    1885 Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry Co., Illinois

Transcribed by Jan Roggy

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Illinois Ancestors