Henry A. Bernardin, a dealer in lumber, lime, cement, stone, etc., at West Brooklyn, was born at Portsmouth, Ohio, September 1, 1868, and comes of French ancestry. His grandparents, Peter and Mary (Boffy) Bernardin, were natives of France and with a family of seven children crossed the Atlantic, settling in Scioto county, Ohio. A subsequent removal made them residents of Lee county and their remains now he interred in the family lot in the West Brooklyn cemetery. Joseph C. Bernardin, father of Henry A. Bernardin, was born in France, came to America in 1855 and remained a resident of the state of Ohio until 1870, when he removed to Lee county, Illinois, taking up his abode upon a farm in Viola township, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits for a number of years. At length he retired from farm life and removed to Amboy in 1898, there passing away October 13, 1911, when he was seventy-two years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Palmere Ranger, was also a native of France and died in the year 1874, at the age of thirty years. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Bernardin were the parents of two sons and a daughter, the brother of our subject being Charles J. Bernardin, who occupies a farm in Viola township, and the sister is Mrs. John Arnold, of the same township.

Henry A. Bernardin was only two years of age when his parents left Ohio and brought their family to Lee county. He became a pupil in the country schools near the old home but after reaching the age of fifteen years was able to attend only through the winter months, the summer seasons being devoted to farm work. He continued to assist in the development of the home farm until twenty-four years of age, when he purchased a tract of land in Viola township and began its further development. After two years he sold that property and bought another farm of one hundred and twenty acres two and one-half miles from West Brooklyn. This was in the year 1894. He continued upon that place until 1900, when he removed to West Brooklyn and established a Iumber and coal business which he now conducts. In the year 1907 he extended the scope of his activities by adding a stock of furniture. In 1908 he purchased the Fox & Hamilton building at Compton and opened a furniture and house-furnishing business which is in charge of Mrs. Bernardin. In his yards at West Brooklyn he carries an extensive stock of lumber, doors, sash, blinds, cedar posts and poles, coal, lime, cement and stone. He is an active factor in commercial circles here and, moreover, he has done much for the upbuilding of the town. In addition to the conduct of his lumber and coal yard and his furniture store he has erected three different residences.

It was on starting out in life independently that Mr. Bernardin was married in Bradford township, February 7, 1893, to Miss Mary A. Mehlhausen, a native of Germany, daughter of August and Margaret Mehlhausen, who emigrated to America and became farming people of this county and are now residents of West Brooklyn. Mrs. Bernardin has been of great assistance to her husband and shows excellent business ability in the management of the store at Compton. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bernardin have been born three children: Palmere S., Kathryn T. and Joseph A., all residing at home.

Mr. Bernardin is a democrat in his political views. He has served as justice of the peace and has been judge of election for six years. He belongs to the Knights of Columbus, his membership being in the Amboy Lodge. He has made a most creditable record since he turned from agricultural to commercial pursuits, proving himself to be a wide-awake business man of indefatigable energy and of most creditable persistency of purpose.

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

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