Lee County Biography

John Leonard Lutz
Photos contributed by Nicole Masika

Front Row, L. to R.: John Leonard Lutz, Jr., Mary Margaret (Lutz) Strack,
Anna Mary Barbara (Heilman) Lutz (mother), Bertha Barbara Lutz (Ackland), John Leonard Lutz, Sr. (father).
Back Row, L. to R.: Lawrence Heilman Lutz, Emelia Augusta (Lutz) Loptien,
Johannah Pauline Lutz (Boeck), Anna Mary (Lutz) Kettley, George Martin Lutz

Thirty two years have gone by with their many changes since John Leonard Lutz came to Lee County at the age of twenty years. He brought here no capital, with the exception of a few dollars carefully saved from previous earnings, but he had within himself resources that stood him in good stead, and fortune has crowned his diligence with comparative wealth. Today he occupies a from rant among the farmers and stock-raisers of Willow Creek Township, where he has a farm equal in improvements to the best; and he is also a leading horticulturist, owning and successfully managing a very fine nursery.

Our subject was born in the town of Wernetz Land, Gericht-Rodenburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, May 1, 1839. His father, who bore the name of Leonard Michael Lutz, was also a Bavarian, and was born in the city of Hoff, in 1794. The grandĀ­father of our subject, who was a life-long resident of Bavaria, was a weaver by trade, and he died in the Valley of Wernetz.

The father of our subject was serving his time as a soldier, according to the customs of his country, during the great European war in the early part of this century that witnessed the down-fall of the great Napoleon. After that he followed his trade as a tailor in Bavaria until 1845, when he came to America, accompanied by four of his children. They set sail from Rotterdam in October, in the ship "Manchester," and landed at Philadelphia, January 9, 1846. The father found employment at his trade in the Quaker City, and continued to live there a few years. He then decided to try farming, and was thus engaged his remaining days, on the farm that he bought in Montgomery County, Pa., where his death occurred in 1877. He was twice married, and two children were born of his first marriage - Margaret and John Frederick; and two by his second marriage - our subject and his sister, Anna Barbara. The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Anna Mary Piffel, died in Bavaria, her native land, in 1843. A brother of the father of our subject, named John Frederick, came to this country and spent the remainder of his life in Philadelphia.

He of whom these lines are principally written was in his seventh year when he came to the United States with his father, and still retains a distinct recollection of his native land and of the long ocean voyage that preceded their settlement here. He attended the city schools of Philadelphia quite steadily until he was twelve years old, and at that youthful age commenced working in a cotton factory, receiving $1 a. week and his board for his services. In a short time the mill suspended operations, and he then found employment in a saw and turning mill for two years. After that he tried his hand at butchering. In 1855 he went to New Jersey, and for a year worked by the month on a farm in that State. At the expiration of that time, he returned to his father's home in Montgomery County, Pa., and assisted him in his farm work for awhile. A year later he returned to New Jersey, whence he came to Illinois in 1859.

As his entire wealth at that time was comprised in the sum of $30, he had to look around to find employment whereby he could earn his living, and he obtained a situation as a farm hand for John Gilmore, of Malugin's Grove. He worked for him eight months, and then commenced life for himself as a farmer on rented land. Four years later, he had done so well in that venture he was enabled to buy eighty acres of land on section 6, Willow Creek Township, which has ever since remained in his possession. At the time of purchase, a small frame house, 12 x 16 feet in dimensions and a story and a half high, stood on the place, and a part of the land was under cultivation. That humble dwelling has been replaced by a fine set of commodious frame buildings, and not a farm in its vicinity has a better class of improvements.

Mr. Lutz has added to his landed possessions from time to time, and now has three hundred and seventy-five acres of good land. He is carrying on a thriving business as a general farmer and stock-raiser, and also devoted some of his land to horticultural purposes. He started his nursery in a small way as far back as the year 1868, and for twenty years and more has paid particular attention to the propagation of trees and to fruit-growing. He has made a careful study of the subjects, reading all the best books concerning them, and no man in the county is better informed as to the best methods of managing a nursery than he.

Our subject was married in October, 1862, to Anna Mary Barbara Haeilmaiar, who was born in Bavaria near the same locality which is his birth place. They have eight children, namely; Mary, Emelia E., Anna, John L., Johanna, George M., Lawrence H., and Bertha. Mary married Lewis Strack, and they have five children: Leonard, Julia May and Fay (twins), Amelia and one yet unnamed. Emelia married Henry Loptiner, and they have three children; Walter C., Bertha and Lawrence W. Anna married Thomas Kettley, and they have one child, Ada.

Mr. Lutz was reared in the Moravian Church and Mrs. Lutz in the Lutheran, but both are now members of the Evangelical Association, and in their every day walk show themselves to be true Christians. Our subject is a keen observer, and has acquired many a useful lesson from nature as well as from books, is well posted in topics of general interest, and his progressive spirit adds to his value as a citizen who is desirous to promote the interests of his community.
Lee County Portrait & Biographical 1892

John Lutz Jr. and wife Magdalena (Ross) Lutz


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