From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 236-237, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Judge John A. Arenz, now retired from active life and living at
his pleasant home on the corner of Sixth and State Streets, was born on
the river Rhine, near Cologne, in 1810, October 28. He is the only
member of the family that came to this country now living. His parents
lived near Cologne, Germany, and the father, Francis, died there when
past ninety years of age; he was a prominent and successful man and was
an officer in the army of his country, and received a pension for some
years before his death. His wife lived to be an old lady over
seventy-five years old.
Mr. Arenz came to this country in 1835, on a sailing vessel from
Bremen. He landed in Baltimore city and another brother followed Mr.
Arenz to this country, and he died in this State some twelve years ago,
leaving a family. Mr. Arenz had been carefully educated in civil
engineering and other branches; was one of the corps of men that
measured the State of Prussia. He was the principal of a public school,
and was given a license to practice as an attorney at law. He was
admitted to the bar bout the time he was elected County Judge. Mr.
Arenz had followed his brother Francis to this country, he having come
some time before, being the first member of the family that left the
old world for the new. Our subject came to this county in 1835, and the
State was still unsettled in great part. His brother's was the only
frame house for miles around and wild game of every kind abounded.
There were no railroads and but few wagon roads. The people were kind
and good hearted. Mr. Arenz had come to the State from Baltimore,
crossing the mountains to Wheeling, West Virginia, coming down the Ohio
river to St. Louis on a boat. It took fourteen days to make the trip,
the boat often sticking on sand bars. After landing in St. Louis he
came to Cass county, and after some time he and his brother Francis
laid out the town of Arenzville in the southern part of Cass county.
There they established a saw mill, gristmill and general store, and ran
it for some time successfully. Later Francis died and Mr. Arenz came to
Beardstown and has made it his home. Francis died in Jacksonville, in
1856, in the prime of life, and was considered one of the foremost men
of the State. He was one of the State Board of Agriculture and was a
Director of the same. He also organized the local board of Cass county,
which has continued ever since. The State Board passed commendable
resolutions on the death of Francis Arenz, for his earnest, hard work.
Mr. John Arenz became prominent as soon as he came to the county
and was soon elected Justice of the Peace, and has held other local
offices. He was elected to the office of Probate Judge, being the
second elected to the office in the county. He held the office for many
years. He was elected first Mayor of Beardstown, in 1850, and has
filled the office twice, subsequently. He has been city Alderman and
Treasurer, and served for many years. H has been an admirer of the
principles of his party, Republican. He was a Whig until the
dissolution of that party and he then ardently espoused the cause of
the new party from the time of its organization. He has always been
regarded as a representative man.
He was married, in Beardstown, to Mary Miller, of Kentucky, and
she died at her home in this city in 1886, aged seventy years. She was
the daughter of Captain William Miller, of Kentucky, a soldier in the
Black Hawk war, having served as Captain of a company from
Jacksonville, Illinois, where he was a pioneer, but later he came to
Beardstown, where he died at an advanced age. He was a prominent man.
Judge Arenz and wife had three children; Francis W. died when young;
Maria L., wife of Philip Kuhl, a merchant of this city, who have two
children; and Anna, wife of Omer S. Spring, of Peoria, Illinois, a
wholesale grocer and confectioner; they have one daughter, Mary L.