Close application and unremitting industry are always essential elements of success and when guided by discriminating judgment they never fail to bring a satisfactory reward for labor. This is evidenced in the life of Ferdinand Fricke, now a retired farmer and old settler of Ford county. He is now living in Sibley, deriving a large income from his farming interests. He was born in the province of Brandenburg, Germany, September 9, 1852, about fifteen miles east of Berlin, his parents being Carl D. and Caroline (Hamerlink) Fricke.
The father was a weaver by trade and his family removed to the province of Posen, Germany, where he remained until 1875. In that year he crossed the Atlantic and became a resident of McLean county, Illinois, where he turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits. As the years passed he successfully conducted his farming interests until 1897, when, having acquired a handsome competence, he retired to private life and removed to the town of Anchor, McLean county, where he died in 1900. His first wife, the mother of our subject, had passed away in 1882 and Mr. Fricke was afterward married to Mrs. Henrietta Steinleicht, who still survives him. Six of the children by his first marriage reached adult age, and of those who have passed away three died within two days of cholera, which was then epidemic in the province of Posen. The others are: Augusta, the wife of F. Hoffman, of Anchor, Illinois; Carl, deceased; Ferdinand, whose name introduces this record; Gustave, a resident of Anchor, Illinois; and Paulina, the wife of F. Gerbrock, of Loda.
Ferdinand Fricke was educated in the province of Posen and at the age of nineteen years came to America. He has since 1872 made his home in Ford county and during the early years of his residence here worked as a farm hand in the employ of Mr. Sullivant, then one of the most prominent landowners of this part of the state. He continued in his employ for two years, after which he cultivated land which he rented from Mr. Sullivant for two years. In the meantime he carefully saved his earnings and in 1880 felt justified in the purchase of eighty acres of the old Sullivant farm on section 19, Sullivant township, in the northwestern part of the county, for which he paid twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars. The land was unimproved and Mr. Fricke had to erect all of the buildings and do all of the work, whereby this tract was converted into rich and productive fields. Year after year his labors were carefully conducted until 1891, when he sold the land, for which he received seventy dollars per acre. He had in the meantime erected a fine residence and made other substantial improvements there. Following the sale of the property he removed to McLean county, where he purchased one hundred and seventy acres, for which he gave seventy dollars per acre. This land lies on section 3, Anchor township and is splendidly equipped with a comfortable dwelling, barns, cribs and sheds. It is well tiled and the soil is naturally productive and Mr. Fricke could easily sell for two hundred dollars per acre. In addition to this property he owns one hundred and twenty acres in Wall township, Ford county, which he purchased in 1903 for one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. This farm is also excellently improved in every respect. He purchased his present home in Sibley in 1905, having here a two-story residence of nine rooms, for which he paid forty-five hundred dollars. When he first came to the county it was practically an unimproved district and there was not a house upon the road between Gibson and his place.
On the 2d of March, 1876, Mr. Fricke was married to Miss Marie Scheppleman, a daughter of Louis and Caroline (Lidickie) Scheppleman, who were natives of Germany and became residents of St. Louis in 1854. They were married in that city and thence removed to Pekin, Illinois, residing in Tazewell county for ten years, while in 1868 they became residents of Ford county, settling in the northwestern part of the county. Few roads had been laid out and no bridges had been built. Mr. Scheppleman had two neighbors who lived not far distant but other settlements were four or five miles away. There were various kinds of wild animals which infested the districts, including wolves, bears, wildcats and coons. There were many deer and various kinds of feathered game. Mr. Scheppleman did not at first purchase land but rented land until 1875, when he bought eighty acres near Fairbury. This was slightly improved and he paid thirty-six dollars per acre for it. Subsequently he sold it for about the same price and then purchased three hundred and sixty acres in Sullivant township, which was entirely unimproved, being simply raw prairie land with characteristic energy he began its development and cultivation and it is now one of the best farms of the county worth two hundred dollars per acre. He died upon this place in 1897, while his wife survived him until 1902. They were the parents of ten children, of whom six are yet living, namely: Marie, now Mrs. Fricke; Christ, a resident of East Lynn, Illinois; Louis, also of Illinois; Henry, who makes his home in Sibley; Charles, who resides on the old home farm; and Rudolph, also of Ford county.
Mr. and Mrs. Fricke became the parents of seven children, as follows: Louie, a resident of Melvin; Annie, the wife of Lambert Brithorse. of Ford county; Charley, who makes his home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois; Frederick, of Anchor, Illinois; William, of Bloomington, this state; and Marie and Emanuel, both at home. Mr. and Mrs. Fricke belong to the German Lutheran church and Mr. Fricke is a member of Columbian Lodge, I. O. O. F. He has taken quite an active interest in politics, serving in McLean county as township collector of Anchor township for one term, while at present he is alderman in Sibley. He was also a school director in Anchor township for a number of years. The cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion.
In politics he is a republican, believing that its platform contains the best elements of good government. As time has passed he has worked on steadily and persistently year after year, adding to his capital continually until now in the possession of a handsome competence he finds it unnecessary to continue the active work of the farm, for his income is sufficient to supply all his wants. He may well be proud of the success which he has achieved, as it is said that ninety-five per cent of the men who enter business life never gain prosperity and yet the road to success is open to all. Mr. Fricke had the perseverance to continue therein and he based his business principles and actions upon the rules which govern strict and unswerving integrity and industry.

Extracted 19 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 1, pages 404-406.

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