Lee County IL Biography


Tobias Sweitzer, is a young man of sterling merit and much ability, who for the past six years has had control of the Genck farm, on section 35, Nelson Township, which is the property of his father-in-law, John Genck, and he is keeping it up to the same high standard that it had attained when it came under his management. He was born in the township of Berlin, Somerset County, PA, March 9, 1857, but he was reared and educated in Westmoreland County, in the same State. His father, Cornelius Sweitzer, was also a native of Somerset County, and was born of Pennsylvania parents, who were of German descent, his ancestors having been among the early pioneer farmers of his native county. He grew up on a farm, and later learned the trade of a blacksmith. He was married in Somerset County to Mary Shaulis, a daughter of Henry Shaulis, a Somerset County farmer who died there when past ninety years old. He married a Pennsylvania lady, who also died in Somerset County. Both were members of the Lutheran Church.

Cornelius Sweitzer and wife lived for some years in Berlin Township after their marriage, and then removed to Mt. Pleasant, in Westmoreland County, and there Mrs. Sweitzer died in 1871, at middle age, leaving behind her a worthy record as a good woman, and one of the saintly Christians of the Lutheran Church, of which she was for many years the member. Mr. Sweitzer carried on his business as a blacksmith in that county until 1875, when he came to Lee County with his children, and here he began to farm in Nelson Township, where he was a second time married, taking as his wife

Mrs. Lena Tolen, nee Osway. She was a native of Germany, who came to this country when a young woman, and was first married in Ogle County, to Mr. Tolen, who died in Dixon after the birth of their two children. In 1887 Mr. and Mrs. Sweitzer removed to Daysvilie, Ogle County, where Mrs. Sweitzer died in middle life, leaving three children by her last marriage, all of whom are living.

Tobias Sweitzer had not attained his majority when he came to this county from his old Pennsylvania home in 1877, he being then in the full flush and vigor of early life, and all but one year since then he has been actively engaged in farming in Nelson Township. The farm that he is now operating is finely improved, is amply supplied with buildings of a good class and with all kinds of modern farming machinery. He has two hundred and forty acres under his control, and is cultivating the soil after the best methods known to the present generation. He is a most excellent manager, is orderly and systematic, and is prompt and sagacious in carrying out his plans. He is a man of a truthful, sincere disposition, who early made a favorable impression on the people among whom he had come to settle, and he maintains a high personal standing in his community. Politically, he is with the Democrats; religiously both he and his amiable wife are Lutherans.

Our subject was married on the farm that he now occupies, which was the home of his bride, Miss Amanda Genck. As much of her life has been passed on this old homestead, Mrs. Sweitzer is well known, and her pleasant social qualities make her popular with her large circle of acquaintances and friends. Her happy marriage with our subject has brought them two children, Claude and Howard. Mrs. Sweitzer was born in Nachusa Township in 1866, but was reared and educated in Nelson Township, whither her parents, John and Barbara (Smith) Genck, had removed when she was a small child. They are natives of Byron, Germany, but came to the United States when young people, and were afterwards married in Illinois. They subsequently established themselves in Nachusa Township, whence they came a few years later to Nelson Township, and settled on a new, unbroken farm on section 35. Mr. Genck improved two good farms at this point, erecting good farm buildings, and supplying them with all the modern conveniences. He has three hundred and sixty acres, the most of which is finely cultivated, and the whole forms a valuable property, worth several thousand dollars. Mr. Genck has thus raised himself to be one of our wealthy men, and is enjoying his riches, for although he is past sixty -eight years of age, he is by no means an old man if his activity^ of body and mind are taken into consideration. He is at present visiting friends and kinsmen in Pennsylvania. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously, a member of the Lutheran Church. His beloved wife, who was also a faithful member of that church, departed this life June 7, 1890, at the age of three-score years.

Transcribed by Christine Walters - Portraits and Biographical Lee Co. 1892

Back Home