Lee County Biography


It is sometimes thought by superficial people who know nothing of agriculture, that no special intelligence is required to till the soil, and indeed, if the mechanical work were all that is necessary this would be so, but, as in every branch of industry, the thoughtful and logical carry out theories that have been proved by experiment and science to be advantageous and to the profit of the farmer. He of whom we write is of the class who believes in progress and advancement. He is the owner of a fine farm of three hundred and sixteen acres, on section 22, Palmyra Township, where he is living a retired life from the active duties of farm work. The estate of Mr. Stager is supplied with all needful farm buildings which are the work of his own hands, he being a mechanic as well as a farmer. He began his active life as an agriculturist in Palmyra Township in 1861 or 1862, and since that time has been wonderfully successful, having started for himself a poor man, and his possessions are the direct result of his good management and perseverance. He came to Dixon in 1856, and to the State in 1852, locating first at Cedarville, Stephenson County, where he learned the trade of a carpenter. He worked at his trade there until 1855, when he went to Iowa, but only remained there a few months, however, when he returned to this State and located in Lee County.

Our subject was born in Lebanon County, Pa., in 1833, and is the son of John and Sarah (Fensler) Stager, also natives of the Keystone State, the former tracing his ancestry back to Switzerland and the mother to England. The parents were farmers by occupation, in Lebanon County, and lived and died in Shaffertown, Heidleburg Township, at the respective ages of eighty-three and seventy-five years. They were active members of the German Reformed Church, and were highly esteemed by all who knew them. Ten children were included in the parental family, of ????, John F. was the fourth in order of birth. He was married in Palmyra Township, this County, in 1859, on the farm he now owns, the lady of his choice being Miss Harriet Seavey. Mrs. Stager was born in Sandwich Township in 1839, and was brought by her parents, Jesse and Sarah (Norris) Seavey, to this county early in the '40s, where they located on an unbroken tract of land which had been taken up from the Government, and which the father brought to a good state of cultivation. They made that their home until 1862, when the father died in middle life. The mother is still living at the advanced age of seventy-eight years, and makes her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a daughter, Mrs. Joseph Renchin. Mrs. Harriet Stager passed from this life December 1, 1887, at Pasadena, Cal., whither she had gone hoping to regain her health. Mr. Stager realizes that he owes much of his success in life to the good management and advice of his faithful wife. She had become the mother of four children, only one of whom is living at the present time. Lillian became Mrs. E. L. Smith, and died when young; John died when sixteen years of age; Lloyd when two years. Hattie L., who was born January 30, 1884, is residing with her father. In politics, Mr. Stager is a true-blue Republican, and his influence for good is felt in the community, where he is respected for his sterling character and true kindness.

Source: Portraits & Biographical Lee County 1892 Pg 319


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