Lee County Biography


John Mensch was scarcely more than a boy when he enlisted in an Illinois regiment during the war, but not withstanding his youth he did good service as a soldier. He is now making himself useful as a general farmer and stock-raiser, who holds an honorable place among the men of his class in Palmyra Township, where he has a good farm of eighty acres of exceedingly fertile land, lying on section 23. Born May 29, 1846, our subject's home during the first eight years of his life was in Columbia County, Pa. His parents were Christian and Peggy (Cromley) Mensch. They came to Illinois in April, 1854, and located in Jordan Township, Whiteside County, on a farm, which they made their home until death sealed their eyes in the sleep that knows no waking, the father dying in 1887 at the age of sixty-four year's, the mother having passed away two years previously at the age of three-score. They were firm Christians, and devoted members of the Lutheran Church. Our subject was the second of their eight children, all of whom are living but one daughter, who died at the age of twenty-three.

John Mensch of this notice was reared to the life of a farmer on his father's farm in Whiteside County, and every day was adding to his experience in that line when the rebellion broke out. He was a boy too young to take up arms in defense of his country's honor, but he longed to do so with all the ardent patriotism of youth, and at length when he was seventeen years old, he was permitted to enroll his name among those of the soldiers that formed the One Hundred Fortieth Illinois Infantry he being assigned to Company A, which was organized at the last call for troops in 1864. Our subject went with his comrades to the front, and served nine months. He saw no active fighting, but did fully an important work in keeping guard, for which his regiment was detailed and he was honorably discharged at the close of the war, with a good record for fidelity to duty and unfaltering devotion to the cause, which would well have become a veteran.

When he left the army Mr. Mensch returned to his old home, and was a resident of Whiteside Comity until 1870. In the month of September, that year he purchased the farm that he now occupies in Palmyra Township, and settled on it in the spring of 1880. He is constantly adding to its improvements, has it under a high state of tillage, and the cattle, horses and hogs that he raises upon it are of excellent stock. Our subject is a man of sturdy round-about, common sense, has an even temper, is thoroughly reliable in all respects, an upright man, an honorable citizen, a husband kind and true, a tender father and a pleasant neighbor. His political creed is that of the Democratic party, and in religion he is a Lutheran, both he and his wife belonging to the church of that denomination and they have had their children baptized, dedicating them to the church.

Mr. Mensch and Miss Lydia Gruver were married in Nelson Township. She also is a native of Columbia County, Pa., and a daughter of Uriah Graver, a Pennsylvania!) by birth, who was one of the pioneers of Lee County. After living some twelve years In Nashua Township he bought two hundred and forty acres of land in Nelson Township. He lived upon that farm some years and then retired to Dixon to enjoy the competence that he had accumulated at his leisure. His first wife, mother of Mrs. Mensch, died during their residence in Nachusa Township when she was only forty-two years old. She was a member of the Lutheran Church and left behind her the memory of a true Christian womanhood. Mr. Graver is a faithful follower of the Republican party in polities. Religiously, he is of the Methodist Episcopal faith, and he and his present wife are members of that church.

Mr. and Mrs. Mensch have been abundantly blessed in their married life, and eight children add to their happiness, named as follows—Charles, Mary, Harry, Mabel, Kate, Edward, Evaline and a baby named Iva.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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