John Karsten, who is now living retired in a commodious and substantial home of his own at Melvin, was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, September 2, 18-42, losing his father when but two years of age. He acquired his education in the schools of his native land and remained in Germany until 1866, when he crossed the Atlantic to America, wishing to take advantage of the broader business opportunities offered in this country. He located in Marshall county, Illinois, where he was employed as a laborer for three years and then rented a tract of land, which he successfully operated for nine years. On the expiration of that period he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 23, Peach Orchard township. Ford county, where he made his home for fifteen years. Having by this time accumulated a handsome competence he put aside the active work of the fields and removed to Melvin in 1894, where he has since resided in the enjoyment of well earned ease. He is now the owner of four hundred acres of land, all on section 23 and 24, Peach Orchard township, and is therefore numbered among the large landholders and progressive citizens of the county.
While still a resident of Germany Mr. Karsten was united in marriage to Miss Dora Haas, who was one of a family of five children. She is now the mother of four children, namely: Mary, the wife of George W. Spelmier, of Ohio; Charles F., who lives in Ford county; Anna, who became the wife of Henry Knox and also resides in this county; and William G., likewise of Ford comity.
In his political views Mr. Karsten is a republican and is quite prominent in the local ranks of his party, having served as school director for thirteen years and as commissioner of highways for seven years. Both he and his wife arc members of the Lutheran church, in the work of which they take an active and helpful interest, Mr. Karsten having acted as trustee for many years. Except for the aid of his estimable wife, he owes his present splendid prosperity entirely to his untiring perseverance and excellent business management, for when he came to the United States he was empty-handed and has since achieved the success which entitles him to a prominent place in the history of the representative and enterprising residents of Ford county. He and his wife have resided in this county for thirty years and are therefore largely familiar with its history from a very early period, being moreover highly esteemed throughout the entire community by reason of their upright and honorable lives and many good traits of heart and mind.

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 499-500.

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