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Carroll County Biographies

HENRY DIEHL

HENRY DIEHL, an honorable and respected citizen of Carroll county, who is a substantial retired farmer living in his handsome residence at Shannon, for fifty-five years has been identified with this section of Illinois. He was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, eighteen miles from Frankfort-on-the-Main. September 9, 1839, and is a son of Johannus Diehl, who was the seventh of that name living in the same village, all being small farmers. The mother of Henry Diehl was named Catherine (Fisheller) Diehl and married in 1838. She and her husband died in their native land in 1869, a year that was particularly fatal to the family as during its passage father, mother, grandfather and a brother of Mr. Diehl all passed away.

Henry Diehl was the eldest of four brothers. Frederick, the second born, came to the United States and in the course of time became a well to do farmer in Rock Creek township, Carroll county, where he died in 1905, leaving a family of three daughters. John, the third member of the family, is a farmer residing near Mr. Morris, Ill. August, the youngest, died on the home farm in Germany. The parents reared their children in the faith of the Lutheran Church. Henry Diehl attended school, all German boys do that, it being an inflexible law of the land and an excellent one. He was more ambitious than some of his companions and from boyhood cherished the desire to emigrate to America and at the age of eighteen years, in 1851, he was prepared to do this, so bidding his people farewell, he embarked on his long trip. After a voyage on a sailing ship lasting forty-two days, he was safely landed in the harbor of New York, and from there came directly to Carroll county, where he secured work in the harvest fields near what is now the village of Chadwick. He had learned to bind wheat in many a contest in his native land and he proved so expert at the business in Carroll county that he was able to earn two dollars a day while others could earn no more than $1.50 a day. After the harvest season closed he worked by the month for a salary of twelve dollars and during the winter as was the custom, merely for his board and lodging. In the spring of 1858 he engaged to work for Samuel Bowen near Chadwick and during the eight months he remained with that employer saved his wages so that when he drew the money he had a lump sum of $104. He followed this same plan more or less, also working in harvest fields up to 1861, when he went home for a visit. After his return to Carroll county, he and his brother John and several other German young men who had come into the neighborhood, all became citizens on June 21, 1862. He was married in June, 1861, and after marriage he bought eighty acres on section 25 and to that added 160 acres on section 26, Rock Creek township and now owns 240 acres. For his eighty acres of unimproved land he paid fifteen dollars per acre. On it he put up a small frame house and developed the property into a beautiful farm on which he continued to live until 1899, when he turned it over to his son and bought his present fine home at Shannon, where he is surrounded by every comfort.

Mr. Diehl married Catherine Miller, who was born in 1842 in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. In 1847, her parents, Johannus and Mary (Hurst) Miller, came to the United States and settled in Rock Creek township, Carroll county, where he became a leading farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have had seven sons and one daughter. Two sons died in infancy. Conrad and William died at the age of ten years. John Miller lives at Lanark, Ill. George lives at Shannon and Henry lives at Lanark.

To Mr. and Mrs. Diehl the following children were born: Henry, who died at the age of eighteen years; John, who was born August 28, 1864, married Kate Smith and is a farmer in Rock Creek township, issue, - Layman and Lewis; George, who was born April 12, 1866, married Hattie Schanen and lives on the homestead; Mary, who was born June 3, 1869, is the wife of George Schneider, a farmer in Cherry Grove township, issue three children; Fred W., who was born July 17, 1871, is a farmer in Cherry Grove township,and married in 1895 Sarah Deuel, a daughter of the late Horace Deuel, issue, - Florence, Grace and Frank; Emma, who was born January 15, 1874, died March 9, 1874; Charles, who was born October 15, 1875, is a musician and music dealer at Milledgeville; Herman, who was born March 22, 1878, died in December, 1893; Ernest Conrad, who was born January 30, 1880, is a farmer in Elkhorn Grove township, and married, issue, - Bryan; Josephine, who was born June 4, 1881, is the wife of Ralph Wick, who is in the harnessmaking business at Shannon, issue, - Alice, Helen and Ida; Fannie, who was born October 27, 1882, died September 22, 1883; and Albertine, who was born June 15, 1883, died August 20, 1883.

Mr. Diehl succeeded in his agricultural undertaking and at one time was noted for the fine stock he marketed, on one occasion hauling thirty wagon loads of Chester White hogs to Polo, all averaging 450 pounds, for which he received the highest market price. Mr. Diehl cast his vote for candidates of the Republican party for many years but he is a thinking man and realizes that new conditions have come about so that his next vote may be given independent of party and entirely according to his own judgment.

Contributed by Carol Parrish
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County, Vol. II, Munsell Publishing Company, 1913, p. 774-75

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