Christian G. Ryerson in his life record exemplifies the sterling traits of his Norwegian ancestry, belonging to that race which has long borne a reputation for reliability and industry — qualities which are indispensable in business and are important factors in good citizenship. He now follows farming on section 28, Dix township, where he owns and cultivates a good property. He was born in the land of the midnight sun in 1832, his parents being Ryer and Anna (Larson) Ryerson, both of whom were natives of Norway, where they spent their entire lives. Christian G. Ryerson was there reared and remained a resident of his native land until twenty-four years of age. He acquired his education in the schools of Norway, and in 1857 came to the new world with his brother Peter, who is now following farming in Iowa and is eighty years of age. His second brother. Ole, came to this country in 1855. Another brother, Thomas, is a retired farmer, living at Pontiac, Illinois, while Ananias is a blacksmith living at Norway, La Salle county. Illinois.
On the 7th of May, 1857, Christian G. Ryerson started for America, crossing the Atlantic on a sailing vessel, which ultimately reached the harbor of Quebec, June 23, 1857. He arrived at Chicago July 4, and then went to Ottawa, Illinois, where his two brothers lived. He arrived in this country during the hard times occasioned by the financial panic of 1857. As his financial resources were such as to make immediate employment imperative he began working at farm labor, receiving seventy-five cents per day, or fifteen or sixteen dollars per month. Carefully saving his earnings he was at length enabled to purchase a tract of one hundred and twenty acres of railroad land in the fall of 1867, paying for this eight dollars per acre. It was all raw prairie, not a furrow having been turned nor an improvement made thereon. There were few houses between his farm and Sibley, Illinois, and upon him devolved the arduous task of converting the raw prairie into cultivable fields. In the early days he saw deer and wolves. He raised practically nothing the first two years, for his land was very wet and geese, brants and ducks ate up about all that was raised. With characteristic energy, however, he began to drain the fields and to make improvements thereon and he now has his place under a high state of cultivation, the farm being well tiled, while the latest improved machinery has been secured to facilitate the work. He now owns a place of one hundred and sixty acres, in the midst of which stands a valuable residence. In the early days he did most of his trading at Paxton and the roads at that time were often impassable, especially at the time of the spring rains. When he removed to his farm he built a little house there of one room, which was unplastered, but as the years have passed he has been enabled to add many comforts that go to make life worth living.
In 1860 Mr. Ryerson was married to Miss Inger Knutson, who was born in Norway and came alone to America in 1859 as a passenger on a sailing vessel to Quebec. She was attracted to this country from the fact that she had a sister and a brother living in La Salle, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ryerson have been born ten children, of whom two died in early life. Anna married M. W. Peterson and has three children, Edith, Frances and Reuben. Josie is the wife of M. L. Yeager and has four children, Earl, Azalia, Frances and Raymond. Christina is the next of the family. Celia, now deceased, was the wife of David Cooper and had one child, Lela. Richard, now living in Urbana, is married and has one child, Catherine. Lena is the wife of J. C. Langley. Sarah and Carrie are at home.
In his political views Mr. Ryerson is a republican and has served as school trustee but otherwise has held no public office. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Norwegian Lutheran church. He has now passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey but is still supervising his farm work and displays business energy that is equal to that of many a man of much younger years.

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 524-529.

Templates in Time