CAPT. FRANK O. WALRICH, a member of the firm of Walrich A Parsons, general merchants of Piper City, was born in the Province of Hanover, Germany, December 21, 1844, and is a son of Otto R. Walrich, a farmer by occupation, who served in the army of the Fatherland for three years and married Margaret Hempken, who was born and reared in the .same locality as her husband. With their five children, they sailed to America in April, 1857, and after nine weeks and two days spent upon the bosom of the Atlantic, landed in New Orleans, whence they went up the river to Alton, Ill. In the spring of 1858, they settled on a farm near Washburn, Woodford County, Ill., and in 1859 came to a farm near Chatsworth, which is still in possession of the family. The father died upon that farm and the mother there still makes her home. In politics, he was a Republican and himself and wife were members of the Lutheran Church. Their family numbered twelve children, one of whom died in infancy. The Captain is the eldest; Fredericka is the wife of John McKinney, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Mary, wife of John Hiden, of Peoria, died in 1874; Thomas resides in Piper City; Christina is the wife of G. W. Madden, a grain dealer and Justice of the Peace of Charlotte, Livingston County; Maggie, wife of James Kief, of Piper City; Hannah J., widow of Jesse D. Parsons, is the partner of Capt. Walrich; Theresa, wife of F. Beckmann, of Chatsworth, Ill.; Cordelia, wife of M. Madden, of Sullivant, Livingston County; Elizabeth, wife of H. Flessner, who is living on the old home farm; and Willie, who was bitten by a rattlesnake at the age of four years and died in 1865.

Our subject began his school life in Germany, attended for three months at Dorsey Station, Madison County, Ill., and in the winter of 1861-62 was a student in the schools of Avoca, Livingston County. This completed his school life, for on the 21st of February, 1862, when a little past sixteen years of age, he laid aside his books and entered his country's service as a member of Company B, Sixty-fifth Illinois Infantry, which was organized at Camp Douglas, Chicago. He went on duty the first night after his arrival in camp, guarding prisoners captured at Ft. Donelson. In May, he was sent to Martinsburg, Va., where he did guard duty until the 1st of September. The first engagements in which he participated were skirmishes in the vicinity of Falling Waters and Winchester, Va.; these were followed by the battle of Harper's Ferry, where he was captured but was soon afterward parolled. The succeeding winter was spent mostly at Camp Douglas, Chicago, and in the spring his regiment was transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where they saw much hard marching and service. In the fall, the troops prepared for the Knoxville campaign and the Sixty-fifth Regiment suffered much during the siege of Knoxville. Mr. Walrich re-enlisted, March 30, 1864, and went home on a veteran furlough. After his return, he took part in Sherman's campaign, and at the battle of Resaca the brigade lost live hundred men. He participated in the battles of Dallas Woods, Lost Mountain, Chattahoochee River, Atlanta, Rough and Ready Station, and Jonesboro; he then transferred to Pulaski, Tenn., to meet Gen. Hood. He was also in the engagements at Columbia, Franklin and Nashville, following Gen. Hood on his retreat as far as Clifton, Tenn. The Sixty-fifth was sent by transports to Cincinnati, thence by rail to Washington and on to Annapolis, where the brigade assembled. Embarking on transports, they proceeded, by way of Fortress Monroe, to Ft. Fisher, experiencing the usual unpleasantness of a sea voyage around Cape Hatteras. Capt. Walrich was at the capture of Ft. Anderson and subsequently took part in the engagement at Old Town Creek, when his regiment and the Twelfth Kentucky captured a brigade, including a battery; helped capture Wilmington and took part in the sharp engagement at Kinston, N. C., the last conflict in which he took part. Having marched from Goldsboro to Raleigh and on to Greensboro, where Johnston's army surrendered, the Fifty-sixth assisted in caring for the captured property. Capt. Walrich was discharged July 13, 1865, and was mustered out of service at Camp Douglas. Returning home, he resumed farming. He was a faithful soldier, ever found at the post of duty, and his army record is one of which he may well be proud.

On the 4th of August, 1870, Capt. Walrich married Miss Sebrina C. Hamlin, daughter of Alonzo and Esther Hamlin, who came from Vermont to Illinois. With his wife, he came to Piper City and entered the employ of Mr. McKinney, a lumber and hardware merchant, with whom he remained three years, when, in 1873, he secured a position with Conrow & Co., the successors to Montelius & Son. That firm sold out to John Clark, but our subject retained his position as confidential clerk until May 2, 1880, when he became a partner in the firm of Pulver, Walrich & Co. In January, 1883, J. D. Parsons bought out his partner's interest and continued with Mr. Walrich until his death, April 11, 1884, since which time Mrs. Parsons has owned the interest in the business.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Walrich have been born the following children: Lorenzo O., who was born in Piper City, educated in the public schools and at Onarga Seminary, is now book-keeper for his father; Frederick Alanson and Margaretta E. are still at home. The family is one of prominence in the community, holding a high position in social circles.

Capt. Walrich cast his first Presidential vote for U. S. Grant in 1868, and has since been a supporter of Republican principles. He has served as a member of the Village Board of Trustees, was also its President, and from 1876 until 1885 was a member of the National Guards, serving as Lieutenant and Captain for nearly eight years. He is a member of the Odd Fellows' society; was the first Commander of the Grand Army Post of Piper City, serving for four terms in that office; and is a member of the Presbyterian Church, to which his family also belongs. His life has indeed been a successful and an honorable one. He possesses excellent business ability and by his persistent industry, perseverance and good management has acquired a handsome competence. His record as a soldier and citizen is as worthy of commendation as his business record. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman and his friends throughout the community are many.

Extracted 14 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 195-197.

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