Lee County Biography

John George Yetter
Willow Creek Twp.

John Yetter of Willow Creek Township is well and favorably known throughout Lee County, among whose progressive, well informed and skillful farmers and stock­raisers he occupies a high position. His landed possessions lie in Willow Creek and Alto Town­ships, and his farm is among the best in its vicinity in its appointments and in regard to product.

Our subject was born in Rheinpfalz, Germany, December 18, 1835. His father, John G. Yetter, was a native of the same place, and was but three years old when his father died. He was cared for by his mother, and was reared to the life of a farmer. He followed his vocation in his native land until 1854, when he emigrated to America. He was a resident of New York City for a short time, but in March, 1855 came to Illinois and located near Hennepin, Putnam County. In 1862 he came from there to Lee County, and spent his last days with his son, our subject, dying in his home in March, 1890, at the venerable age of eighty-two years. His wife died during their residence near Hennepin, in 1857, at the age of fifty­-three years. She was born in the same German province as himself, and her maiden name was Katherina Meyer. They reared eleven children, all of whom came to America, and the following are their names: Kathrenia, Elizabeth, John, Mar­garet, Mary, George, Anna, Lena, Maria, Philip and Julia. Geor'ge, who was a member of the Twentieth Illinois Infantry, gave up his life for his adopted country, while bravely fighting at the battle of Raymond, Miss.

He of whom these lines are principally written received an excellent education in the schools of his native land, which he attended steadily until he was thirteen years old. From that time until 1854, he worked on the home farm in Rheinpfalz, and then on the 1st of March he set sail from Havre on the ship"Helvetia," bound for the United States of America, and thirty-seven days later landed at New York City. He was employed in that Metropolis for nine months, and at the end of that time started Westward and came to Illinois by team to LaSalle, and from there by team to Henne­pin. He rented a farm in that vicinity, and remained there until the fall of 1859, when he came to Willow Creek Township. He farmed here as a renter for two years, and in 1860 bought a quarter section of wild prairie, at $12 an acre, the land now being included in his present place. He located upon it in 1861, and has been constantly improving it ever since. He has bought other land, and now has three hundred and thirteen acres of fine farming land, lying in Willow Creek and Alto Townships, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation, has erected a neat set of buildings, and has everything in good shape for carrying on agriculture profitably.

Mr. Yetter was married November 23, 1857, to Lena Schonholz, who was born in the same province as himself, July 16, 1835. (Birthdate is questionable - see following source) -- To her he is indebted for the many conforts that he enjoys in his cozy home, and she has been a factor in bring­ing about his prosperity by her helpfulness in var­ious directions. They have nine children, who are named John P., Carl T., Lena, Mary, George, Jacob, Fred, Frank and May.

Our subject is in the truest sense of the term a self made man and has taken advantage of every opportunity offered to improve his position and to make his life as full and complete as possible. He has good mental endowments, is a close observer of men and affairs and finds time to indulge his liking for reading and so is informed on a variety of subjects and keeps well posted on what is going on in the outside world. He is one of the leading citizens of his township and represented it as one of the members of the County Board of Supervisors for eight years, his fellow citizens having a just appreciation of the value of the services of a man of his calibre in helping to carry on public affairs. In politics he is a Republican. He possesses sound religious convictions and he and his wife and three of their children are members of the Evangelical church.

Transcribed by Christine Walters - Lee County Portrait & Biographical Pg 802


Magdelena (Schoenholz) Yetter
Magdalena, born 17 July, 1835, in Germany, was the daughter of Philip J. Schoenholz and Eva Elizabeth Kaufer. Magdalena married John Yetter on 23 November 1857 in Hennepin, Putnam County, Illinois. They moved to Lee County, IL about 1859, and started their own farm. Family stories say that John, who was very active in the church, would bring home traveling preachers, and Magdalena had to prepare a dinner on short notice. Magdalena died on 29 September, 1899, twenty-six years before her husband, John passed away.

Contributed by Karen Holt -- Burial: Steward Cemetery Steward Lee County Illinois, USA
Also posted on Find-A-Grave - with 17 July birthdate.


Mary Alice (Critchlow) Yetter
- Birth: Aug. 8, 1871 Cherry Valley, Butler County Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jul. 24, 1970 Rockford Winnebago County Illinois, USA
Mary Alice Critchlow Yetter was the daughter of Richard Dunmore Critchlow and his wife, Susan. Mary was the wife of Jacob Joseph Yetter. She attended Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, PA, when it was a normal school for teachers.
Burial: Steward Cemetery, Steward, Lee County, Illinois
Contributed by Karen Holt


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