WILLIAM OETGEN, one of the old settlers and successful farmers living in Cass county, was born in Hanover,
Germany, May 31, 1817. He came of pure German ancestry. His father, G. Henry, was a native of the same place in Germany, born in 1787 and died December 26, 1820. He was a blacksmith, as were all his brothers, and his father before. They were all members of the Lutheran Church. The name of his mother was Helen L. Veslage, a native of Hanover, who survived her first husband, and in 1823 married Dr. J. C. A. Seeger, who came to the United States in 1831, and in 1832 was joined by his wife and our subject. The family settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September, 1832, where Mr. Oetgen learned the shoemaker's trade. Mr. Oetgen made a quick passage of twenty-eight days and landed in New York City. In 1834 his parents came to Beardstown, and were joined a year later by our subject. They both died here, but left no children: hence Mr. Oetgen is the only one of his family now living that came from Germany. Mr. Oetgen landed in this county July 25, 1835. He began here a poor boy and worked for years for $8 a month; later he received as much as $12.50 a month, and in 1843 farmed one year as a renter, and in 1844 purchased his first land not far from Beardstown city. This consisted of 290 acres, which he improved, and in 1859 he purchased 126 acres of section 20, township 18, range 11, where he now lives. He later added 120 acres, and then seventy acres more, and again eighty acres, all of which is valuable and some of which is worth more than $100 an acre. He has been one of the leading men of the county, and has had all the experiences of a pioneer. Being a smart and intelligent man he has a fine memory, and can tell in a very interesting manner of the condition of things in the past history of the county. He has been a good citizen.
He was married, in Cass county, to Catherine Middlebusher, born in Hanover, near Osnabruck, December 23, 1826, and came to the United States in 1835, and to Cass county with her parents, Adam and Petro N. (Ketwick) Middlebusher, who died here of cholera two weeks after landing in Beardstown. They were members of the Lutheran Church, and while only in this country a short time they came in a day when their names should be associated with the other pioneers. Mrs. Oetgen was yet very young when her parents died, and was partly reared by the mother and step-father of Mr. Oetgen. She is yet living. She was married, April 7, 1843, to Mr. Oetgen, and has proved herself a good, true wife. They are the parents of eight children, of whom Mary and Hannah died young. John recently died in Beardstown, leaving a wife and two bright children. He had been educated at Poughkeepsie, New York, and was book-keeper for Henry Keil. At the time of his death he was a promising young man and a worthy member of the family. The living are: Helen Fricke, of Lafayette county, Missouri; Henry William, who married Augusta Hansmier, a farmer in Schuyler county; and George C., who married Henrietta Reichert, and also on the old homestead; Martha, wife of Louis Leonhard, working Mr. Oetgen's farm in this township; and Edward L., on the home farm. The latter was appointed in 1890 as a census enumerator in this county. The children are all smart and self-sustaining, and are all active Republicans.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 142-143.
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