Lee County Biography


William Auchstetter is now living retired at West Brooklyn but for a number of years was actively engaged in farming in Lee county. Since 1902 he has occupied his present home in the town, where he has valuable property holdings that return to him a gratifying income. His birth occurred in Lee Center township, February 6, 1870, his parents being Joseph and Mary (Thies) Auchstetter. The father came from Germany about 1845 and, making his way into the interior of the country, settled in Lee county. There were no railroads between Chicago and this district at that time. He was one of the pioneers of Lee county, which he found to he largely a tract of undeveloped prairie at the time of his arrival. Only here and there had settlements been made and much of the land was still in its primitive condition. Mr. Auchstetter purchased an undeveloped tract which he began converting into tillable land, bringing it ultimately under a high state of cultivation. He was a popular man in the neighborhood and was recognized as a faithful friend and a devoted husband. He reached the venerable age of eighty-four years, passing away in 1908, and his wife departed this life the following year, at the age of seventy-five. Their religious faith was that of the Catholic church.

William Auchstetter acquired his education in the country schools, which he attended until he reached the age of sixteen years. He afterward assisted his father upon the home farm until attaining his majority, when his father gave him one hundred and twenty acres of land. He then began the development of the property and by purchase added to it a fifteen acre tract. At length he and his brother inherited the old homestead but afterward William Auchstetter sold his interest in the farm to his brother Joseph and purchased the property which he now owns. This he developed, transforming the wild land into productive fields, and everything about the place came to indicate the practical methods and progressive spirit of the owner. In 1902 he retired from active farm life and erected a residence in West Brooklyn which is one of the fine homes of the town. The same spring he purchased one of the business blocks in West Brooklyn and his property interests now return to him a substantial income in rentals.

On the 23d of February, 1897, in West Brooklyn, Mr. Auchstetter was united in marriage to Miss Susie Gehant, a daughter of Modest and Olympia (Chaon) Gehant, the former a pioneer farmer of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Auchstetter have a daughter, Flossie, who is attending school. The parents are members of the Catholic church and Mr. Auchstetter belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters. His political support is given to the democratic party. As the years have passed he has won success, which is largely due to his utilization of the opportunities that have come to him. He has always lived in Lee county and the energy and capability which he has displayed in the management of his business affairs have been the source of his present prosperity, enabling him now to live retired.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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