Onno Arends is the owner of valuable farming property in Peach Orchard township, his home being on section 4. He was born in Peoria, Illinois, September 15, 1857, a son of George O. and Henrietta (Athen) Arends, who were natives of Ostfriesland, Germany. The father came to Illinois in the '40s, settling at Peoria, where he was married. His wife died there when her son Onno was about four years of age and later the father returned to Germany where he married again. In his business life he met with prosperity and at his death left an estate of five hundred acres of rich and valuable land in Peach Orchard township, including the home place, constituting the northwest quarter of section 4. Almost his entire life was devoted to agricultural pursuits but he spent his last five years in Melvin. He was one of the pioneers of this section of the county, coming here when the country was largely wild and unimproved. The railroad was not built, the village of Melvin was not then founded and Chatsworth and Paxton were his nearest markets. He aided largely in the material development and substantial progress of his community and died in Melvin, May 20, 1900, at the age of seventy years, respected by all who knew him. By his first marriage he had three children: Onno, Henry and one who died in infancy. By his second marriage there were eight children, of whom six are yet living.
When ten years of age Onno Arends came with his father to Peach Orchard township and has since resided upon section 4. He has one hundred and sixty acres on this section, eighty acres on section 3, and one hundred and sixty acres on section 5, making a total of four hundred acres of valuable land. All his possessions have been acquired through his own efforts. He never received assistance from any one but placed his dependence upon the safe substantial qualities of energy and determination. Today he is the owner of two farms and two good sets of buildings and those upon the home place have been erected by him. He conducted his place as a stock farm for a number of years, successfully raising stock for the market. Whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion and holds to high ideals concerning the best methods of carrying on agricultural pursuits.
On the 9th of June, 1883, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Arends and Miss Elizabeth Fisher, of Norden Friesland, Germany, born May 19, 1861. She came to Melvin in 1882, in company with a sister and brother-in-law and has since resided in Ford county. Her parents, John and Anna ( Arends) Fisher, both died in Germany before she came to the United States. In their family were eight children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Onno Arends were born the following children: Dina, the wife of Henry Merle, who is living upon her father's farm and by whom she has one child, Helen; Ida; Mary; George; Anna; Alma; Lillian; Gilbert; and Laura. Two children are deceased: Annetta, who died at the age of seven years; and Emma, who died in infancy.
Mr. Arends has always been interested in the welfare of the community and has given active and helpful support to many measures and movements of the public good. For the past twenty-eight years he has been a school director of district No. 59 and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. He is now serving for the second term as highway commissioner. In politics he is a republican and has always voted that ticket. He belongs to the German Methodist Episcopal church of Melvin, is one of the trustees and is active in Sunday school work, for the past twenty-five years serving as treasurer of the Sunday school. His life has been guided by high and honorable principles and his fellowmen have naught to say against his business integrity nor the honesty of his methods in any relation of life.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 653-655.

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