Claus Johannsen, who carries on general farming on section 22, Dix township, was born in Germany in West Hamburg in 1858, his parents being Claus and Margaret (Hanson) Johannsen, who were farming people. The father was seventy years of age at the time of his death, which occurred in 1899. The mother came to America on a visit in 1894 and remained for eight months, after Which she returned to the old home in Germany, where she is now residing. They were the parents of seven children, namely: Phebe, who lives in Germany; Hans, who follows farming in Wall township, Ford county; Claus, of this review; Margaret, Cathrina and Christian, all of whom have passed away; and Christina, who also makes her home in Germany.
No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for Claus Johannsen in his boyhood days. He assisted his father in the cultivation of the fields and in the public schools acquired his education. He was twenty years of age when he joined the German army, rendering three years' military service to his country between 1878 and 1881 and receiving a medal for cannon firing. The year after leaving the army he came to America, landing at New York city in July, 1882. He made his way direct from the metropolis to Anchor, McLean county, Illinois, where for a time he worked by the day in order to provide for his support, for he brought no capital with him on his emigration to the new world. Believing that his labors might prove more beneficial to himself if he was not in the employ of others, he rented a small place north of Gibson City and there lived for five years. He afterward rented a farm three miles east of his present home from a Mr. Peters and also continued there for five years. He next removed to the John Richardson farm two miles north of Elliott, where he resided for five years, and in 1899 he purchased his present place then comprising two hundred acres of very wet swampy land, for which he paid sixty-one and a half dollars per acre. Later a dredge ditch was built through and Mr. Johannsen now owns one of the best drained farms in the county, the soil being especially adapted for the raising of various cereals, especially corn and oats. He has built nice barns and cribs upon his place, has his buildings all painted and has a comfortable residence. In fact everything about the place is indicative of his progressive spirit and his unremitting care.
Just prior to his emigration to the new world, Mr. Johannsen was married on the 12th of May, 1882, to Miss Dora Semmelhack, who was born in Germany and lived in the same neighborhood as the Johannsen family. She is a daughter of Nicklaus and Magretha (McGrote) Semmelhack. Her mother died in 1901, at the age of seventy-four years. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Johannsen have been born three children: John, who married Maud Thompson and is a station agent in South Dakota; and Willie and Henry, at home.
Mr. Johannsen is a republican who, keeping well informed on the questions and issues of the day, is able to support his position by intelligent argument; He belongs to the German Lutheran church and his life is an honorable and upright one in harmony with his professions. He has always realized that "there is no excellence without labor" and his entire career has been characterized by an unfaltering diligence and unflagging perseverance which have made him one of the prosperous citizens of this part of the county.

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 614-615.

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