Gearhardt H. Missman, one of the most worthy German citizens of Lee County, is now living a retired life in Dixon, his pleasant home being situated on the corner of West Third and Harrison Sts. His life record is as follows; He was born in Oldenburg, Germany, December 4, 1824, and is one of seven children whose parents were Gearhardt and Catherine (Kuhlman) Missman, both of whom were orn in the same locality, where they lived the life of farming people. The father died in his native land, at the age of fifty years. He had long been a member of the Lutheran Church and was an upright and honorable man who had the respect of all with whom he came in contact. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Missman came to America and died at the ome of her daughter, MRs. Catherine Letley ofnelson Township, at an advanced age. She too, was a life-long member of the lLutheran Church and was beloved by all who knew her. Four of the children are yet living, one being still a resident of the Fatherland.

The subject of this sketch was inured to hard labor on his father's farm, where he remained until 18 years of age, when, wishing to try his fortune in the New World, he bade good-by to home and friends and accompanied an older brother Frederick to the United states. They took passage on a sailing vessel, commanded by Capt. Steiman, which weighed anchor at Bremen and after a voyage of five weeks and two days, reached Baltimre Md in 1843. From that city, the two brother made their way to Somerset County PA where our subject began to learn the millers trade with Mathias Zoure, in whose employ he continued for three years. He then worked for another miller in the same county three years.

It was during this time that Mr. Missman was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Leydig, who was born in Somerset County, December 14, 1827 and is a daughter of Daniel and Polly (Martz) Leydig, also natives ot that county, where they were reared and married and spent their entire lives upon a farm in Southampton Township. The death of the father occurred at the age of eighty-five years, and Mrs. Leydiz passed away at the age of 88. His mother had reached the very advanced age of 102 at the time of her death. They were a long-lived people, noted fro robust constitutions and in religious elief they were all Lutherans.

At the time of their marriage, Mr. Missman and his wife were in very limited circumstances. After residing in the Keystone State for a time, at the place where he learned his trade, they determined to try their fortune in the West, and,c arrying out this resolution, located in Lee County, Ill. Our subject made his first purchase ofland in Nelson Township in 1853, obtaining 160 acres from the Government. It was entirely unimproved, not even a furrow having been turned. He located thereon in 1855, and at once began its cultivation and development, laboring untiringly until his farm became one of the best in the community. As hif financial resources increased, he extended its boundaries until it now comprises 280 acres of valuable land, supplied with two sets of good farm buildings. Until 1886 it continued to be his home, in which year he and his wife removed to Dixon, where they are now living retired, enjoying the fruits of their former labors, for the assistance of the estimable wife aided not a little in the success of our subject.

Unto Mr.a nd Mrs. Missman were born six children, five of whom are yet living; Herman, whose sketch appears elsewhere; Daniel, who married Ida Bridges, and is now living on the old homestead; Hannah, wife of W.W. Heckman, a farmer of South Dixon; Milton, who is engaged in the creamery business in Milton, Lee County and Anna at home. One daughter Susan, an excellent young lady, died at the age of 20 years. The parents are both members of the Lutheran Church in which Mr. Missman has served as deacon for some time. They are numbered among the early settlers of this community and in the years which have passed since they located in Lee County they have gained many warm friends, who esteem them highly for their sterling worth. In politics Mr. Missman is a Republican and has been honored with anumber of local offices.

Portrait and Biographical Record Pg 784


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