HENRY HOELLMER. In the past twenty years the Prairie State has perhaps undergone as important changes as have any of the sisterhood of Central States. There were not originally so many difficulties to overcome as in States where the contour of the land was so rugged. Boulders had not to be broken up nor forests felled before the agriculturist could plow and sow and reap. Farmers here have the advantage, for in the fertile lands the sod has simply to be broken and the plow put in the land to bring forth a rich harvest of cereals that are a fortune in themselves. The wealth of the State depends as much upon its farming element as upon the manufactures for which it is so noted, and the people from every nation have assisted in making this one of the noted agricultural districts of the world.
Our subject, who is of German origin, has lent his aid to developing the country, having for the past twenty years devoted his efforts to the improvement and cultivation of his farm located on section 1, Mt. Olive Township. The tract of land which he has under cultivation is not noticeable for its extent, comprising only eighty acres, but every acre is made to produce as much as nature will allow.
He of whom we write came to the county in 1865 and has always lived on the farm where he now resides. He came hither from Morgan County where he lived four years after coming to the United States. He was born in what is now the Province of Hanover, Germany, June 21, 1838. His parents were Herman and Catherine (Straven) Hoellmer, who were natives of the same Province in which our subject was born. They lived in their native province until their family of children were all born. The children were five in number and of these three are yet living. In 1857 the parents and family left Germany and emigrated to the United States, taking a ship at Bremen on a sailer and landing after a voyage of several weeks at New Orleans. they came thence to St. Louis, afterward to Morgan County, and thence to Mt. Olive Township, in this county, and have lived here since that time. The mother died in 1870 at the age of sixty-eight years. She left a lasting regret in the hearts of her husband and children, for she was a kind and affectionate wife and mother, unselfish and unswerving in her sense of duty to her family. She was a member of the Lutheran Church. The father is now ninety years of age, and is the loved charge of our subject, who has taken care of him since reaching twenty one years of age. He is yet active in mind, although feeble in body. All his life has been spent in the hardest work until he grew so old as to be incapacitated for such heavy labor. He, like his wife, is a Lutheran, in his church relations.
Our subject was eighteen years of age when his parents came to the United States and ever since that time he has devoted himself to making a position in the world. His marriage took place at Mt. Olive, his wife's maiden name being Anna Saathoff. She was born in Hanover, Germany, April 12, 1847, and is a daughter of Charles and Wepke (Gilliam) Saathoff, both natives of Hanover. Her father, who was a farm laborer, died in his native kingdom while yet in middle life. His wife and children who survive him came to this country in 1865 and settled in New York, there the mother died two years later at the age of fifty-five years. She and her husband were members of the Lutheran Church;. Mrs. Hoellmer, the wife of our subject, after landing in New York City with her family lived there for seven months, and then came on to Mt. Olive, making that place her home thereafter until her marriage.
Our subject and his amiable wife are the parents of ten children, only one of whom, Anna, is deceased. She passed to the better land while a mere child, being only four years of age. The living children are Herman H., Lena, Wilhelmina, Deitrich C., Meta M., Henry, William, Maria, and Edward H. The eldest son is still at home and is his father's strongest helper on the farm; Lena became the wife of Fred W. Daberkow, a minister in the Lutheran Church at Monroe, Minn. The other children are all still at home and fill the house with their merry jests and gay badinage while they are the help and comfort of their parents. Both our subject and his wife are members of the German Lutheran Church as also their children. Mr. Hoellmer is in his political preference a Republican.