John L. Kreitzer has been identified with blacksmithing, farming and merchandising but is now living retired, the activity of his former years being succeeded by a period of well earned rest in which to enjoy the fruits of his former toil. Of foreign birth, he first opened his eyes to the light of day in Prussia, Germany, in 1849, his parents being Rudolph and Wilhelmina (Velkner) Kreitzer, who were also natives of Prussia. The father was a blacksmith and farmer and also practiced veterinary surgery. His wife died in Germany, after which he came to the new world and is now living in Wichita, Kansas.
John L. Kreitzer spent the first sixteen years of his life in the land of his birth and then determined to come to America, believing that he might have better business opportunities in this country. He crossed the Atlantic alone in 1865. He sailed from Liverpool on the boat "Wieland and landed at Quebec, whence he made his way to Milwaukee. Wisconsin. He was employed at an early day as a farm hand by the month by George Nolan and later worked for an uncle in a blacksmith shop at Graften, Wisconsin. Subsequently he spent a short time in the employ of M. L. Sullivan, at Sibley, Illinois, breaking prairie, and afterward worked on the railroad to some extent. He used every opportunity that opened to him for earning an honest living and by untiring industry and careful saving he at length acquired a sum sufficient to justify his purchase of land. In March, 1885, therefore, he invested in one hundred and sixty acres of land in Champaign county, for which he paid forty dollars per acre. He then rented it to Giles Gardner for a year, after which he sold it. in 1888, for forty-seven and a half dollars per acre.
Mr. Kreitzer next bought three hundred and twenty acres from R. Fairbank situated three miles south of Elliott on section 35, Dix township, Ford county. He cultivated this farm for two years and then sold the south half to Charles Johnson for forty-seven and a half dollars per acre, clearing seven and a half dollars per acre on the purchase price. He next invested in forty acres in Indiana, hut traded that property to W. A. Cameron, of Elliott, for a large store in the village. He was afterward identified with merchandising for ten years, from the 1st of March, 1893, until 1903, when he turned the business over to his son, W. A. Kreitzer, who now conducts it. Since that time Mr. Kreitzer has bought and sold different pieces of realty and has usually realized a good profit on his investments. He purchased a house and two lots from Charles Sanberg in the northeast part of Elliott and afterward bought a store building, which he later gave to his daughter Mrs. Jones, she and her husband there conducting a store and restaurant. Mr. Kreitzer purchased a nice home from Mrs. Wilcox in the north part of the town, including four lots and the dwelling. He also bought a lot of Louis Lorenz and sixty acres of land from Clarence Alexander, which lies within the corporation limits of the village at the north. Mr. Kreitzer was the first to put in a concrete sidewalk in Elliott and his son, W. A. Kreitzer, was the second. He now owns two hundred and twenty-six acres of rich and valuable land in Dix township and from his property interests derives a good income which enables him to live retired.
On the 18th of February, 1872, occurred the marriage of Mr. Kreitzer and Miss Avery Stowater, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of August and Fredericka Stowater. Her father was a teacher and taught in both English and German. He also possessed more than ordinary mechanical skill and ability. Coming from Strassburg, Germany, to the new world, he settled in New York city, where he remained for ten years, and then removed to Cleveland, Ohio, after which he became a resident of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. He next purchased four hundred acres of land but rented it. He died about thirty-five years ago and is yet survived by his widow, who resides in Iowa.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kreitzer have been born three children: Gertrude, the wife of Oscar Jones, conducting a store and restaurant in Elliott; Emma, the wife of Charles Cameron, who is connected with his father in the banking business at Elliott; and William, who married Bertha Frederick and is now conducting the large general store which was formerly carried on by his father in Elliott. He is a prominent and leading citizen and business man of the village and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mr. Kreitzer is a stalwart republican in his political views and for one year served as village director. He belongs to the German Lutheran church and is interested in all that pertains to the material, intellectual, political and moral development of the community. Ford county finds in him a worthy and valued citizen and, moreover, he deserves to be classed with the self-made men who have been the architects of their own fortunes and have builded wisely and well. He never had a single cent given him but from an early age has been dependent entirely upon his own resources. He became Mbued with a laudable desire to attain something more than a bare living and through the improvement of his opportunities and the recognition of his possibilities he has gradually worked his way upward, building his prosperity upon a sure foundation of diligence, perseverance and untiring effort. His fellow townsmen respect him for what he has accomplished and admire him for the honorable methods he has followed in attaining his success.

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 456-460.

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