Lee County Illinois


John M. Killmer is a retired farmer living in Ashton. His present prosperity is attributable entirely to his persistent, earnest and intelligently directed efforts while he was engaged in farming. He was born in Binghamton, Lee county, Illinois on the 28th of October, 1857, and is a son of Nicholas and Mary (Halbmaier) Killmer, who were natives of Germany. He remained at home until he reached the age of twenty-five years, pursuing his education in the district schools and in the schools of Ashton, while through vacation periods he was engaged in farm work and thus gained the experience which fitted them for practical duties later on. His first purchase of land comprised eighty acres on section 3. Bradford township, which had already been cultivated and improved to some extent. He received one hundred and sixty acres in section 10, from home and later purchased eighty acres in section 3. He afterward invested in one hundred and sixty acres on section 10 of the same township and there he built a new dwelling and made his home until about seven years ago. He bent his energies to the further development and cultivation of the fields and converted his farm into a richly productive tract of land, from which he annually gathered good harvests. Everything about his place was neat and thrifty in appearance, and his progressive methods resulted in the attainment of success. About seven years ago he erected a beautiful residence in Ashton, since which time he has lived retired, enjoying the rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves. His wife owns one hundred and sixty-five acres on section 3, Bradford township, adjoining her husband's land, and she has also purchased the Wilburn Paddock property in Ashton with money inherited from her father's estate.

It was in 1883 that Mr. Killmer was united in marriage to Miss Martha Kersten, who was born in Lee county in 1858, and is a daughter of John and Christina Kersten, who were natives of Germany and became early settlers of Lee county, but are now deceased. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Killmer have been born three children, but their two sons have passed away, William N. dying at the age of ten years and Frank at the age of nineteen. The daughter, Emma, who is a graduate of the Ashton high school, is at home.

The parents and daughter are members of the United Evangelical church and are interested in the moral progress of the community. For thirty years Mr. Killmer served as one of the church stewards and is now one of its trustees. He exercises his right of franchise in supporting the men and measures of the republican party. He filled the office of road overseer and road commissioner while on the farm and was also a school director. He is a stockholder and also a director in the Farmers State Bank at Ashton, Illinois. He stands for progress and improvement along all those lines which contribute to the welfare and upbuilding of the community, and his own life proves that success and an honored name may be won simultaneously.

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



William Killmer was born upon the farm in Bradford township which he operated for twenty years from the time of his marriage, and during most of his active life has been connected with agricultural interests of this locality, being today numbered among its representative and successful farmers. His birth occurred January 31, 1859, his parents being Nicholas and Mary (Halbmaier) Killmer. natives of Germany. The father came to the United States in 1852, settling in Lee county, Illinois, and some months later the mother also arrived in Lee county, where they were married. In 1884 they removed to Ashton, where they resided during the remainder of their lives, the father dying in 1892 and the mother in 1893. They were the parents of six children, of whom two survive.

William Killmer acquired his education in the district schools of Bradford township and remained at home until his marriage. He then rented the old home farm and after operating it for some years inherited it. This comprises one hundred and twenty acres of excellent land and upon it Mr. Killmer has made excellent improvements, bringing the fields under a high state of cultivation and erecting substantial barns and outbuildings. In addition to this property he owns a livery barn and a modern dwelling in Ashton and his wife has ninety-two acres of land in Ashton township and a residence property in Ashton. For nine years Mr. Killmer was engaged in the livery business in Ashton and he built a garage which he has since sold. His son Alfred conducts the home farm, while another son, George, is conducting his mother's place, and Mr. Killmer expects soon to engage in the automobile and garage business in Ashton.

When he was twenty-five years of age Mr. Killmer married Miss Mary E. Ross, who was born in Lee county, Illinois, a daughter of William and Katherine E. (Aschenbrenner) Ross, natives of Germany, both of whom died in Lee county. Mr. and Mrs. Killmer became the parents of four children: George M., who was born February 9, 1885; Alfred W., born December 1, 1887; Mary Elizabeth, born June 2, 1890; and Anna W., whose birth occurred May 2, 1892.

The parents and children are members of the United Evangelical church and Mr. Killmer gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He has served as school trustee and is progressive and public-spirited in all matters of citizenship, cooperating heartily in movements for the general good. A resident of Lee county since his birth, he is well known throughout the community and his energy and enterprise have gained him the respect and confidence of all who come in contact with him.

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

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