Biography - John Schroeder
JOHN M. SCHROEDER Perhaps no very thrilling event has happened in the life of this steady-going and reliable citizen, but he is one of those who have assisted in establishing the financial prosperity of Jackson County and upholding the standard of morality. His life occupation has been that of a farmer, in which he has been very successful, accumulating a valuable properly and fortifying himself against the days when he may wish to retire from active labor. His homestead lies in the southern portion of Somerset Township, and with its well tilled fields, substantial buildings and general air of comfort, forms an attractive picture in the landscape of that region.
A native of Prussia, the subject of this sketch was born February 2, 1833, and is a son of Henry and Elizabeth Schroeder, natives of Germany. At the age of eight years he was orphaned by his mother's death, and three years afterward, in company with his father and the other members of the family, he emigrated to America, taking passage on a sailing-vessel and arriving in New Orleans after a tedious voyage of about forty days. From that city the family went north to St. Louis, and after a short sojourn there, removed to St. Clair County, Ill. in 1844, settling near Belleville, when that now nourishing city was a small village. Soon after locating there the father died. He is survived by the following children: Elizabeth, wife of Michael Seifert, a resident of Perry County, III.; John M., of this sketch; Michael J., living in DuQuoin. III., and Adam, whose home is in St. Clair County, this state.
Owing to the death of his father, our subject was in youth thrown upon his own resources and was obliged to be self-supporting. His educational advantages were therefore limited. For a time he attended a subscription school in St. Clair County. The schoolhouse was built of logs; slabs and planks were utilized for seats, upon which the youthful seekers after knowledge passed the tedious hours. When necessary to heat the room, a fire was built in the large fireplace, and the smoke was coaxed to ascend outward by means of a stick and mud chimney, all not escaping in that way finding ready access to the outer air through the numerous cracks in the walls.
Although his school facilities were so meager, yet Mr. Schroeder there laid the foundation of the love of learning that remains with him to the present time, and by' abundant and judiciously selected reading he has supplied the lack of a better education in his youth. In 1853 he went to California via New Orleans and the Isthmus of Panama, and for two and one-half years engaged in working in the gold mines of that state, meeting with fair success. He returned home by practically the same route as he went, and resumed farming operations in St. Clair County, where he remained until 1887. That year witnessed his arrival in Jackson County and his location in Somerset Township. In 1891 he came to the farm where he now resides. He is the owner of eighty acres of valuable land, and his wife also owns an eighty-acre tract.
The first marriage of Mr. Schroeder united him with Looma Wilderman, who became the mother of four children: Lulu, wife of M. Bollion; Maggie, a teacher in the public schools of St. Clair County; Joseph, living in Murphysboro, Ill; and Elizabeth, wife of H. Bost. The present wife of Mr. Schroeder bore the maiden name of Alice N. Wilderman, and their union has resulted in the birth of one child, John. Since coming to Jackson County, our subject has been actively identified with Somerset Grange No. 370, and for several years has served as Master of the lodge. While residing in St. Clair County he served as Master of St. Clair Lodge No. 24, A. F. & A. M., at Belleville, and is now identified with the lodge at Murphysboro. At the time of the laying of the corner stone of the present state capitol at Springfield he was present, having been a delegate from the Masonic order of St. Clair County. In politics he is a stanch adherent of the Democratic party. Having learned the trade of chair-making in that city, for several years he manufactured chairs there, and at one time employed as high as thirty laborers and mechanics in the business.
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 330.