FERDINAND WINTER was born in Brunswick, Germany, February 28th, 1817. His father was a sheep-raiser. Ferdinand is the only son in a family of three children. At the age of thirteen he was hired out to attend sheep. At the age of twenty-two years he was drafted into the army. He served out his time. He afterwrd rented a place to keep sheep, where he remained until he was twenty-eight years of age. In the year 1845 he left his native land and came to America, landing at New Orleans in June of that year. On the 4th of July he came to St. Louis, where he engaged in the butchering business for a short time. He afterwards engaged in the produce trade and stock-shipping to New Orleans. He followed that business until 1847, when he came to Sangamon county, Illinois, and raised sheep for Charles Hoppel. He remained with him for five years, after which he went into the sheep raising business for himself. He remained in Sangamon county for eight years, when he removed to Macoupin county and purchased land in section one, Carlinville township. He aftewards purchased more land, some of which he has sold; but he still has over seven hundred acres remaining. Here he devoted all of his time and his land to sheep raising and grazinag. He was, a few years ago, one of the largest sheep owners in the country. So long as he could find range for his sheep the business was profitable, and yielded him a large annual income. In the years 1863 and '64 he cleared thirty-two thousand dollars in the business. His intention was at one time to go west to New Mexico or California and engage in the business more extensively, as he could there find unlimited range for his sheep. With this idea in view, he contracted to sell his land here for forty-five thousand dollars, but the purchasers failing to meet the contract, the sale fell through, and the pet scheme and great desire of Mr. Winter's life to become the sheep king of the Western world resulted in disappointment. With his superior knowledge of the business, and the captial that he then could have commanded, there is not doubt that he would have amassed a great fortune in the business. He regards the Spanish Merino the best sheep for large flocks, and the Coswolds for small flocks. He did much to improve the breed of sheep in this part of the state.
He married Elizabeth Kustine. Two children were born to them, a boy and girl, both deceased. The son, Ferdinand Winter, enlisted in the late civil war in the 13th Illinois Cavalry for three years. He served out his time, and was at Memphis, in camp, on his way home, and while waiting for the boat, the camp was surprised by Gen. Forrest's forces and in the fight that ensued he was shot, and died from the wounds a few days afterward. As soon as the news came home, his step-mother left for Memphis, where she arrived in time to get the body. She was taken sick, and died a short time after her return. Her name before marriage for Sophia Berdoff. He afterwards married Caroline Lutcher, his present wife. One child, Harry, has been the fruit of this marriage. There is also one boy by his second wife. Both he and his wife are members of the German Lutheran Church. Mr. Winter came to this country a poor man; what he now has is the accumulation of years of toil, frugality, and economy. He is a large land owner, and is among the solid men of Macoupin county.