BIOGRAPHY - John Rohrbach

JOHN ROHRBACH, who is engaged in general farming on section 26, Brenton Township, has the honor of being a native of Illinois. He was born in Tazewell County, September 22, 1851, and is a son of Conrad and Mary (Dingledine) Rohrbach, both of whom were natives of Germany. The grandfather was a German soldier and served under Napoleon through the Italian campaign, until the battle of Waterloo. The father of our subject came to America in 1832, when thirteen years of age, sailing from Havre to New Orleans and up the river to Havana, Ill. After one year spent at that place, he went to Peoria, Ill., which was then called Ft. Clark. He learned the cooper's trade, which he followed some years and also engaged in teaming to Chicago when that city contained only a hotel, a fort and a few cabins. He could have bought a quarter-section of land in that locality for a yoke of oxen.

Mr. Rohrbacli was married, in Tazewell County, to Miss Dingledine, who came from Germany to this country when a maiden of sixteen summers. In that county he cleared and improved a farm and also followed his trade until the winter of 1858, when he came to Ford County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, the farm upon which our subject now resides, to which he removed his family in 1861. The land was all wild and uncultivated and much of it was still in the possession of the Government. His nearest neighbor was two miles away, and wild game of all kinds was plentiful. Mr. Rohrbach resided upon his farm until 1875, when he removed to Piper City where his death occurred July 12, 1884, at the age of sixty-three years. His wife died August 14, 1889. She was a member of the Lutheran Church and afterward joined the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Rohrbach held membership with the Reformed Church. He took considerable interest in political affairs and supported the Democratic party until 1860, after which he voted with the Republican party until 1880, when he again supported the Democratic party. He held a number of local offices and was a member of the Masonic fraternity. From the age of thirteen years, he made his own way in the world, and for his success in life deserved much credit.

Four children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Rohrbach: Henry, now deceased; Kate, wife of B. E., Lamborn, a resident of Thawville, Iroquois County; John, of this sketch; and Mary Matilda, deceased, who was the wife of W. W. Post, of Piper City. All of these children were born in Tazewell County.

Our subject has been a resident of Ford County since nine years of age. His early education, acquired in the common schools, was supplemented by a course in Onarga Seminary, after which he engaged in teaching school for four years, and at the same time read law under the instruction of Gilbert Wyman, of Chatsworth, and then engaged in teaching school in Indiana for three terms. He was admitted to the Bar in that State in 1876, and engaged in practice for some time at North Manchester, Wabash County, when he abandoned that profession and returned to the old home farm, of which he assumed the management. He has resided upon the farm since 1877, and the highly cultivated fields, with their many excellent improvements, tell that his life has been a busy and useful one.

On the 17th of June, 1884, in Piper City, Mr. Rohrbach led to the marriage altar Miss Alice Jeffery, daughter of Thomas Jeffery, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. She was born in Brenton Township. By their union, they have three children: Marietta, John Henry and Eva Isabel. The family hold a high position in social circles.

Mr. Rohrbach is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows' society of Piper City, and cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant in 1872, since which time he has been a stalwart Republican. He aided in the organization of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Brenton Township, and was First Lieutenant of the company of militia in Piper City for some years. He is an intelligent, well-informed man, industrious, energetic, public-spirited and progressive. He is numbered among the representative citizens of the community where he has so long made his home.

Extracted 31 Jul 2020 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 295-296.

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