Judge John A. Arenz
JUDGE JOHN A. ARENZ, now retired from active life and living at his pleasant home on the corner of Sixth and State Streets, was born on the river Rhine, near Cologne, in 1810, October 28. He is the only member of the family that came to this country now living, His parents lived near Cologne, Germany, and the father, Francis, died there when past ninety years of age; he was a prominent and successful man and was an officer in the army of his country, and received a pension for some years before his death. His wife lived to be an old lady over seventy-five years old.
Mr. Arenz came to this country in 1835, on a sailing vessel from Bremen. He landed in Baltimore city and another brother followed Mr. Arenz to this country, and he died in this State some twelve years ago, leaving a family. Mr. Arenz had been carefully educated in civil engineering and other branches; was one of the corps of men that measured the State of Prussia. He was the principal of a public school, and was given a license to practice as an attorney at law. He was admitted to the bar about the time he was elected County Judge. Mr. Arenz had followed his brother Francis to this country, he having come some time before, being the first member of the family that left the old world for the new. Our subject came to this county in 1835, and the State was still unsettled in great part. His brother's was the only frame house for miles around and wild game of every kind abounded. There were no railroads and but few wagon roads. The people were kind and good hearted. Mr. Arenz had come to the State from Baltimore, crossing the mountains to Wheeling, West Virginia, coming down the Ohio river to St. Louis on a boat. It took fourteen days to make the trip, the boat often sticking on sand bars. After landing in St. Louis he came to Cass county, and after some time he and his brother Francis laid out the town of Arenzville in the southern part of Cass county. There they established a saw mill, gristmill and general store, and ran it for some time successfully. Later Francis died and Mr. Arenz came to Beardstown and has since made it his home. Francis died in Jacksonville, in 1856, in the prime of life, and was considered one of the foremost men of the State. He was one of the State Board of Agriculture and was a Director of the same. He also organized the local board of Cass county, which has continued ever since. The State Board passed commendable resolutions on the death of Mr. Francis Arenz, for his earnest, hard work.
Mr. John Arenz became prominent as soon as he came to the county and was soon elected Justice of the Peace, and has held other local offices. He was elected to the office of Probate Judge, being the second elected in the county. He held the office for many years. He was elected first Mayor of Beardstown, in 1850, and has filled the office twice, subsequently. He has been city Alderman and Treasurer, and served for many years. He has been an admirer of the principles of his party, Republican. He was a Whig until the dissolution of that party and he then ardently espoused the cause of the new party from the time of its organization. He has always been regarded as a representative man.
He was married, in Beardstown, to Mary Miller, of Kentucky, and she died at her home in this city in 1886, aged seventy years. She was the daughter of Captain William Miller, of Kentucky, a soldier in the Black Hawk war, having served as Captain of a company from Jacksonville, Illinois, where he was a pioneer, but later he came to Beardstown, where he died at an advanced age. He was a prominent man. Judge Arenz and wife had three children; Francis W. died when young; Maria L., wife of Philip Kuhl, a merchant of this city, who have two children; and Anna, wife of Omer S. Spring, of Peoria, Illinois, a wholesale grocer and confectioner; they have one daughter, Mary L.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 236-237.
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