JOHN A. WERNER, deceased, was one of the most prominent citizens of
Murphysboro, and this work would be incomplete without the record of his
life. He was numbered among the best informed men of the state. In public
work that tended to advance the general welfare he took a leading part, and
his name is inseparably connected with many enterprises.
Born in Coburg, Saxony, Germany, in 1833, our subject was reared in his native land, and in its common schools acquired a good education, which he largely supplemented by extensive reading and study in later years. He was a thorough Greek student, was always well informed on the current topics of the day, possessed a most remarkable memory, and Hon. George W. Hill said of him that he was one of the best posted men in the country. When a young man he crossed the Atlantic to New York, and learned civil engineering, working on the Government survey. He served in the Mexican War, and after that struggle was over went to Kentucky, where he was first married. He there made his home until about 1862, and then came to Murphysboro, where he worked as a civil engineer and also engaged in teaching. In 1868 he was elected County Surveyor, and so well did he discharge his duties, that on the expiration of his first term he was re-elected. On retiring from office, he resumed his labors as a civil engineer, and also engaged in the real-estate business.
While residing in Kentucky Mr. Werner had been twice married, and by his first wife, whose maiden name was Lucy D. Marshall, he had one son, Henry, now a resident of Ohio. After her death he married Sarah Riggs, who died shortly afterward. On the 12th of April, 1865, near Steeleville, Randolph County, he was united in marriage with Miss Nancy Badgley, who was born near Belleville, St. Clair County, as was her father, David Badgley. Her grandfather, Aaron Badgley, was a native of Virginia, and was one of the first to locate in what became known as the Badgley settlement. He served in the Black Hawk War, became a prominent farmer, and died in St. Clair County. The father of Mrs. Werner followed agricultural pursuits in St. Clair County, and afterward removed to Randolph County, where he owned and operated a large farm until his death. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Amy Abbott, was born in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and is a daughter of John Abbott, who died in the Hoosier State. She is now living in St. Louis.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Werner were born seven children, only two of whom are now living, Wallace, a druggist of Paducah, Ky., and Ralph, of Murphysboro. Mr. Werner was a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and to charitable and benevolent work gave his earnest support. He won the friendship of the best minds, for his literary tastes and wide knowledge made him a favorite with people of culture and education. In politics he supported the principles of the Democracy. He was called to his final rest July 2, 1893, and all who knew him mourned his loss. Mrs. Werner shared with her husband in all the joys and sorrows of life and was to him a faithful companion. She too has many friends in the community, and ranks high in social circles. In temperance work she takes a very prominent part, and is now serving her third year as Secretary of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Of the principles of the Prohibition party she is an earnest advocate.
Extracted 26 Mar 2020 by Norma Hass from 1894 Biographical Review of Jackson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 635-636.
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