Lee County Biography

Jacob Betz Jr.
Brooklyn Township


Jacob Betz Jr. one of the best known citizens of Brooklyn Township, where he resides on his well appointed farm on section 20 is a man whose native force of character, far-seeing enterprise and practical ability have placed him among the foremost farmers & and stock­raisers of Lee County, where he has acquired extensive farming interests, and become prominent in its public and political life. He was born in Wayne County, NY July 11, 1841. His father Jacob Betz, an honored pioneer of Northern Illinois, has been associated for nearly half a century with the rise and growth of Bureau County, of which he is still a resident,
The father of our subject is a native of the town of Mentz, Hesse-Dermstadt, Germany and a son of Adam Betz, who was also of German birth and antecedents. The latter served in the army eight years, and was with Napoleon in his raid on Moscow, suffering all the terrible hardships and privations of the retreat through the winter snows from that Russian city. He came to America in 1848, and spent his last years in Bureau County. These six of his children also came to this country; Jacob, John. Mary, George, .Josephine and Catherine.

Our subject's father grew to man's estate in the land of his nativit:y, and was there united in marriage with Gedrich Faubel, who. was also a German. Ambitious to make the most of his life, and thinking that the New World offered better opportunities of success than the old, he resolved to emigrate to these shores. and in 1840 came hither with his wife. He resided in New York until 1848, and after coming here he had the misfortune to be bereft of his companion and helpmate, who had cheerfully left the Fatherland to cross the waters with him and assist in founding a new home in a strange country. In 1843 Mr. Betz came to Illinois, travelling by the way ot the Lakes to Chicago. From that city went with a team to Bureau Couuty, where he found a sparsely inhabited region,with but few settlements, as at that time the northern part of the state was almost in its original wildness, and the greater part of the land was in the hands of the Government. He entered a tract and also bought another partly improved in Clarion Township. For some years there were no railroads in the vicinity, and he had to draw all his grain to Chicago, more than a hundred miles distant. In the course of years he improved a fine farm, and has thus contributed materially to the development of his adopted county, of which he has beon a witness almost from tbe heginning.

The subject of this biography was only two years old when his mother died, and after the death of the mother the father married the sistel of his first wife Elizabeth Faubel. He was two years old when his father brought him to this State where he was reared and educated. He attended the pioneer schools of Bureau County, wnich were taught in log houses, and had seats made of slabs without desks or backs. Holes were bored in the logs, in which were inserted wooden pins and the board laid on them served as a writing desk for the older scholars. As soon as Jacob was large enough he had to do chores and make bimself generally useful on the farm, and when he began bis independent career as a farmer and a stock­raiser he had had a good experience in farming to serve as the foundation of his future success. He remained with his father until 1865, affording him valuable aid in the management of his farm, and then settled in Wyoming Township on a farm which he still owns. In 1875 he removed to the farm on which he now resides, which is finely located on section 25, Brooklyn Township. He now has four hundred seventy acres of well-improved land, amply supplied with well-ordered and conveniently arranged buildings for every purpose, and well-stocked with horses, cattle and hogs of the best breeds.

Mr. Betz has been twice married. In 1865 he wedded Margaret Kessler, a native of Germany, and a daughter of Andrew Kessler. Less than two years of wedded happiness was vouchsafed to them ere her death Feb. 28, 1867. She left one son, Ezra. The second marriage was to Miss Margaret Pope, a native of Germany and a daughter of Jacob Pope. Their union has been blessed by the birth of a son, J. Fred.

A stalwart Republican in politics, Mr. Betz uses his influence to promote party interests. He is a member of the Evangelical Association, and earnestly supports all things that tend to the moral and religious elevation of the community. His eminent fitness for public office has been recognized by his fellow-citizens, and when elected to a position of trust he has given his best efforts to discharge the duties thus imposed upon him. He has served five terms as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and his township never had a better representative, or one who more zealously guarded his interests, while at the same time seeking to promote the general welfare of the county.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 336

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J.F. BETZ
Son of Jacob and Margaret (Pope) Betz

Probably no man in Lee county is better known as a stock breeder and dealer than J.F. Betz, who owns and operates a fine farm of four hundred acres lying on sections 17, 19 and 20, Wyoming township, specializing in the development of his stock-raising interests. He is a native son of this part of Illinois, born in Wyoming township, December 30, 1870, his parents being the late Jacob and Margaret (Pope) Betz. The father was a native of New York state and came to Lee county in 1857, making the journey with his parents. After he grew to manhood he became connected with agricultural interests here and was also active in public affairs. He died in 1894, at the age of forty-nine, and was survived by his wife until 1909, her death occurring when she was sixty-nine years of age. Both are buried in the Four Mile Grove cemetery in LaSalle county.

In the acquirement of an education J.P. Betz attended public school, laying aside his books at the age of sixteen. He afterward assisted his father with the work of the farm until he was twenty-one and then rented the homestead, operating it for a number of years thereafter. In 1907 he purchased a farm of two hundred and forty acres and upon his mother's death inherited another tract of one hundred and sixty acres. His land lies on sections 17, 19 and 20, Wyoming township, and constitutes one of the most valuable farms in this locality. Mr. Betz makes a specialty of pureblooded live stock and has been successful from the beginning, his animals commanding always a high price and a ready sale. The first time he entered exhibits at the International Live Stock Exposition of Chicago he won four ribbons on pure-bred Clydesdale horses and he has since met with widespread recognition in his special field. In addition to this he is president of the First National Bank of Compton and well known in financial circles as a man of ability and enterprise.

In Mendota township, LaSalle county, Illinois, on the 9th of March, 1892, Mr. Betz was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Niebergall, a daughter of John and Catherine Niebergall, the former a pioneer in that locality. The father died in 1908 and is buried in Four Mile Grove cemetery, LaSalle county. His wife survives him and makes her home in Mendota. Mr. and Mrs. Betz have three children: Wellington, at home; Roscoe, who was graduated in 1913 from the Compton high school; and Edwin, a student in high school.

Mr. Betz gives his political allegiance to the progressive party and is now president of the board of education and justice of the peace. He attributes the remarkable success which he has met with in his business to the fact that he has specialized in one line since the beginning of his active career, never neglecting any opportunity to increase his knowledge or promote his efficiency.

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

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