Lee County Biography


Among the former prominent business men of Amboy, who now in his declining years is living retired from active labor and in the enjoyment of a competency, is the gentleman whose name introduces these paragraphs. Possessing the thrift and perse­verance which characterize the German nationality, he brought these qualities to bear upon his work and success crowned his painstaking efforts. Having been a resident of Amboy since 1855, he is thoroughly identified with its progress and a man of influence throughout this section of country. Not only has he been an interested witness of the growth of b'the thriving village where he makes his home, but he has contributed his quota to aid in the attainment of its present prosperity.

Mr. Klein was born in the city of Sindelfingen, Wurtemburg, Germany, May 7, 1833, and is the son of John Henry and Christiana (Leibfred) Klein, the former being a baker by trade. There was another son in the family, John Gottleib, who came to Amboy many years ago and was engaged in the restaurant business until his death about ten years ago. In his youth our subject received a good common school education and learned the baker's trade of his father. In 1851 he came to the United States and first stopped in Luzerne County, Pa., where he worked in a mine. But feeling dissatisfied with that kind of a life he sought the West in the fall of 1854 and settling in Lee County, this State, worked as a farm hand for one year.

Upon locating in Amboy in the year 1855 Mr. Klein embarked in the bakery and restaurant business, and after serving as a clerk for two months, engaged in business for himself and continued steadily and uninterruptedly in business for thirty years, meeting with a fair degree of success and becoming known as a reliable dealer and public-spirited citizen. He was married in 1858 to Miss Caroline, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Sthare) Bacher, and a native of Pennsylvania. Six children have blessed this union, viz.: Henry, Mary L., wife of John Engel,of Franklin Grove; Amelia C , who married J. W. Gaver, of Chicago; Ida, who became the wife of J. D. Derr, of West Brooklyn, 111.; Clara H., who is at home and a music teacher; and Rena F. at home.

The business which Mr. Klein carried on successfully for thirty years is now managed by his son Henry, who has a fine establishment in the business block erected by his father. Mr. Klein is a large property owner as besides the house and lot which he owns in Amboy and his business block, he also owns tour hundred and eighty acres of land in Cherokee County, Iowa. His religious sentiments have brought him into affiliation with the Lutheran Church, of which he and his family are consistent members and he is an active worker in all benevolent undertakings. In his political views he is a stanch Democrat, but has never been an office seeker, preferring to devote himself entirely to his business.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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