In a history of Ford county it is fitting that mention be made of Joseph Burger, now deceased, who for many years figured in agricultural circles as one who contributed in substantial measure to the development of the rich farm lands of this portion of the state and who by his close application and earnest purpose advanced from a humble financial position to one of affluence. There is perhaps in this volume no record which better illustrates the fact that prosperity may be gained by diligence and honest effort.
Mr. Burger was born near the Black Forest in Baden, Germany, on the 31st of August, 1833. His father, Franz A. Burger, had a family of wife and seven children, four sons and three daughters, whom he brought with him to America in 1850, settling in New London, Connecticut, where both he and his wife died. Of their children, Jacob passed away in that state; John died in Brenton township; George is deceased; Mrs. Mary Haubach resides near La Hogue; and Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips is also deceased.
Joseph Burger, the youngest of the family, attended the public schools of his native country between the ages of six and fourteen years and when a youth of seventeen crossed the briny deep with his parents, after which he provided for the support of himself and family by farm work in Connecticut until 1866. In 1854 he was married in that state to Miss Mary Gore, a native of New London and a daughter of Asa Gore, who was born in Pennsylvania. He was one of the survivors of the Wyoming massacre, being spared by the Indians owing to his delicate health. They thought he would die soon enough but he lived to be over eighty years of age and reared a family of eleven children, of whom ]Mrs. Burger was the youngest. In November, 1854, she gave her hand in marriage to Joseph Burger and they continued to reside in New London county, Connecticut, for twelve years or until 1866, when they removed westward to Fulton county, Illinois.
Two years later, in the spring of 1869, they arrived in Piper City and the remainder of their lives was passed upon a farm in Brenton township. He secured a tract of raw prairie land and with characteristic energy began its cultivation and improvement, gradually adding to his first purchase until he was one of the extensive landowners of the community. His home place on section 2 comprised two hundred and forty acres of rich land and he also owned other farm property, aggregating four hundred and eighty acres. Besides he had farm land in Iowa. In earlier years he had need to help the other members of his father's family as well as provide for his own support. His success was acquired entirely through his own labors and well directed management and he lived a life of unremitting activity and enterprise. He was making plans for future investment at the time of his death, being suddenly taken ill while returning from a trip to southwestern Missouri to look for lands there with a view to purchase. His illness of but a few days' duration was terminated in death January 24, 1900.
Mr. Burger was a democrat in his political views but very independent, not considering himself bound by party ties. He stood as the champion of various measures and movements Which he believed to be right. For seventeen years he served as supervisor of Brenton township and no higher testimonial of his capability could be given than the fact that he was so long retained in this office. In 1884 he was named as a candidate for the legislature on the greenback ticket and although the county did not advocate its party principles he carried the county, showing his popularity in the district Where he was best known. He served at different times as road commissioner and school officer and was treasurer of the Bella and Brenton township drainage district. He circulated the first petition to establish a system of drainage, Which has been of the utmost value and benefit to this section. He was treasurer of the Farmers' Insurance Company for many years, continuing in that position up to the time of his death. His life in its various phases was honorable and upright. Neither influence nor opposition could cause him to turn from a course which he believed to be right. He was straightforward in all of his business affairs and his record proves that success and an honorable name may be won simultaneously. He left to his children not only valuable property but also an untarnished name and his memory is yet cherished by those who knew him. He lost his wife on the 10th of January, 1896, when she was seventy-seven years of age.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Burger had two children: Ruth Augusta, now the wife of August Vogelbacher, of Brenton township, who is mentioned elsewhere in this volume; and Asa E. Burger. The latter was born in Preston, New London county, Connecticut, November 1, 1860, and was brought by his parents to Illinois in 1866, while for forty years he has been a resident of Ford county. He was reared to the occupation of farming and successfully and energetically carried on general agricultural pursuits until 1903, when he removed to Piper City, where he built his present fine home, an attractive and commodious modern residence, in which he is now living retired, having good property interests from which he derives a gratifying annual income.
Asa Burger was married in 1888 to Miss Mary L. Jeffery, who was born in this county, September 25, 1866, and is a daughter of Thomas and Isabella (Forbes) Jeffery, who were natives of England. Mr. and Mrs. Burger had four children but lost their first two: Hattie, at the age of three years; and Alice at about two years old. The others are Joseph E. and Etta L. The family is prominent in the community, Mr. and Mrs. Burger occupying an enviable position in the social circles in which they move.

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 569-571.

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