Lee County Biography

John Stitzel
Nelson Twp.

John Stitzel, an extensive farmer of Nelson Township, has one of the most desirable 0 and attractive locations in the county, his large farm on sections 19 and 2O lying along the east bank of the Rock River, one of the most beautiful streams in the Northwest. Our subject was born in Franklin County, Pa., July 20, 1828, his parents and grandparents being also natives ofthe Keystone State, and of German blood. his grandfather, George Stitzel, was born in BerksCounty, and was a thriving fanner in his day, his life being prolonged to the age of ninety years. His wife was also a Pennsylvania, and she too lived to be over ninety years old. They were members of the German Reformed Church,

They had three children, two sons and one daughter, George Stitzel, Jr., father of our subject, being their second son and second child. He was born in January, 1800, in Berks County, where his parents always lived, and grew to man's estate on his father's farm. He was wedded to Miss Catherine Wagoner, who was born in that county in 1790, and was also of German antecedents. Soon after marriage Mr. and Mrs. Stitzel removed to Franklin County, and lived and labored on a farm in the township of Peter until his death in l876. He was very successful in his farming operations, and was a man of prominence in his community. He served through the semi-annual muster of the State militia, was always prompt in discharging his obligations as a citizen, and the Democratic party found in him an earnest supporter. Religiously, he was a member of the German Reformed Church, as was his wife also. She survived him, removing to Michigan after his death, and making her home in Ypsilanti until her demise, at the age of ninety-four, in 1884.

Our subject is the third of the five children born to his parents, four sons and one daughter, all of whom are living. His brother, George, is a doctor in Nevada, Iowa. John Stitzel early became acquainted with all kinds of farm work on the old Pennsylvania homestead, where he spent the first years of his life, and he began his independent career as a farmer in the State of his nativity. In 1865, he settled up his affairs there in order to take up his residence in Illinois. After his arrival, he pitched his tents in Nachusa Township, but in 1867 he came to Nelson Township, where he has since lived. He has made his home on his farm for fourteen years, and has everything about the place in a fine condition, He has a good sized farm of three hundred and twenty acres, which is well supplied with all the modern improvements, its fields are well-tilled and it is stocked to its full capacity with cattle, horses and swine. During his many years' residence here, Mr. Stitzel has not only displayed large ability as a fanner, but he has made himself very useful as a civic officer, who, as an incumbent of various local offices, has been zealous in promoting internal improveinents, his whole course in such cases marking him as a man of genuine public spirit, who served his community with an eye single to its highest welfare. In politics, he is a thorough-paced Democrat. Religiously, he is a member of the German Reformed Church, while Mrs. Stitzel belongs to the Lutheran Church. Mr. Stitzel was married in Cumberland County Pa., to Miss Agnes F. Rhoades, a native of that county, born at Newville, December 3, 1833. Her parents, Hezekiah and Sarah A. (Miller) Rhoades, natives respectively of Berks and Cumberland Counties, were married in Dauphin County, in their native Pennsylvania. They settled in Cumberland County, and there Mr. Rhoades carried on carpentering for many years, and he and his wife died near where they began their wedded life, Mr. Rhondes being seventy-two years old when he died. He was a son of George Rhoades, who lived and died in the Keystone State. He was a gallant officer in the War of 1812, with the rank of major. He was married in Pennsylvania to Hannah Anden, an English lady who had come to the United States when young, and passed the remainder of her life in Pennsylvania, dying some years before her husband. They were Lutherans in religion, and in that faith reared their son, Hezekiah, and their other children. Mrs. Stitzel's mother survived her husband some years, and died at the age of seventy-five. She too was a member of the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Rhoades' father, Henry Miller, was a German by birth, and was a young man when he came to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania, where he met and married Agnes Ferguson, a life-long resident of that State, dying when full of years. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church, and were very strict in their belief.

Mrs. Stitzel is the eldest of a family of three daughters and one son, all of whom are married and well settled in life. She received a good education in her native town, where she grew to maturity. She is a sensible, well-informed woman, and is the best of wives and mothers. Nine children have neen born to her and our subject, of whom two died young, George H. and Malinda. James B., a merchant at Nelson, has been twice married, Ella Ewell his first wife dying and leaving him and a child. HE was subsequentlv married to Hattie Beggs, nee Stillman; Emma L, is the wife of Thomas R. Callan, a dealer in hardware and farming implements at Odell, Neb.; Sarah C., married Chris C. King, a dealer in stock, residing at Clarksville, Iowa; Alice is wife of John Conard, a railway conductor, residing at CLinton, Iowa; Eva B. married Bert Hostrawse, a telegraph operator at Stanwood, Iowa; Charles M., a brakeman on the Northwestern Railway, makes his home with his parents and Grace C. also lives at home. One grandchild, Harry R. Pearson, is being reared by his grandparents.

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