Lee County Biography


Bernhardt Missman came here in pioneer times and proved a valuable assistant to the men who were struggling to develop the agricultural resources of the county. He labored hard, and placed an extensive area of land under cultivation, thus promoting the improvement of this section; he made money by his operations as a farmer and stock-raiser, so that in time he was enabled to abandon business and retire to a leisurely life, and is still making his home on section 13, South Dixon Township.

The birth of our subject took place in Oldenburg, Germany, May 10, 1827. His father was G. H. Missman, who was also a native of that province. He was a farmer and died in Oldenburg at the age of forty-eight. By his untimely death his community was deprived of one of its most worthy citizens. He was an active member of the Lutheran Church, as were his forefathers before him from the days of Martin Luther, tho great reformer. He was married in his native province to Catherine Kulman, who also belonged there, and was descended from an ancestry that had been farmers for generations. They were Lutherans in their religious beliefs. The mother of our subject came to this country with her children after the death of the father, and her last days were spent in Nelson Township, where she died when past seventy years old. She was a life-long member of the Lutheran Church.

Bernhardt Missman was nineteen years old when he came with his mother and other members of the family on that memorable ocean voyage to the United States, in 1846, sailing from Bremerhaven in the spring of the year, and landing at Baltimore eight weeks later. They proceeded thence to Pennsylvania, where they lived some seven years prior to coming to Illinois, in 1853. He attained his majority in the Keystone State, and was a miller in Somerset County some five years before his migration hither. He is a typical self-made man, as success has come to him through his own efforts, and his whole career is illustrative of the fact that push and energy, together with a clear head, cool judgment and a good insight into business methods, are better capital than mere money without them, for a young man when he is starting out in life. Besides these, Mr. Missman possesses characteristics that have won him the perfect confidence of all who know him, and thus he has not only been prominent as a successful farmer, but likewise has taken a leading part in the public life of the community, being called thereto by his fellow-citizens in just recognition of his fitness for civic positions. He was Road Commissioner for twelve years,and has been an incumbent of various other township offices. In his political sympathies he is in full accord with the Republicans and stands firmly by his party. Religiously, he and his wife and their children are members of the Lutheran Church.

During his residence in Somerset County, Pa., Mr. Missman was married to Miss Elizabeth Fritz, who has been to him a true and devoted wife. Of the seven children born to them two died in infancy. The others are John D., a farmer in South Dixon Township, who married Elizabeth Cleaver; William II., a carpenter at Dixon, who married Anna Bollman; Simon, a farmer in South Dixon Township, who married Fidelia Fellows; Ellen, wife of Albert Brierton, a farmer in Nelson Township; Addison,a farmer in Nachusa Township, who married Alice Frederick.

Mrs. Missman was born and reared where her marriage took place, and is a daughter of the late John and Eve (Mowrer) Fritz, who were also natives of Somerset County, Pa., where they passed their early years. In 1856 they came to Illinois, and Mr. Fritz, who was a man of means, purchased more than seven hundred acres of land in South Dixon Township, the most of which he improved and owned until It is death,which occurred in 1874, at the age of seventy years. His wife is now living with her daughter, Mrs. Herman Lindeman. She is now past ninety-three years of age, yet she retains her mental and physical faculties well. She has been a life-long member of the Lutheran Church, as was her husband also, they having been reared in that faith.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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