HENRY PRANGE, a wealthy German-American citizen and a large land owner of Macoupin County, residing on section 2, Mt. Olive Township, near the village of that name, was born in Prussia, Germany, November 14, 1821. His people were industrious and energetic Germans. His father, Frank H. Prange, was a native of Prussia and a hard working man but was not in very affluent circumstances. He married a Prussian lady, Anna Leimkuller, who was born, reared and died in her native province, departing this life at the age of fifty-three. In religious faith she was a Lutheran.
After her death the father and his family took passage upon a sailing vessel which left Bremen on the 24th of September, 1853, and arrived at New Orleans on the 15th of November. They made their way up the Mississippi River, landing at St. Louis, and then continued their journey to Mt. Olive, Macoupin County, Ill. The father was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, for his death occurred on June 26, 1854, and his remains were laid to rest on the farm now owned by our subject. He was then sixty-eight years of age. He too was a member of the Lutheran Church and a man whom all respected for his sterling worth.
The early life of our subject was spent at hard work upon a farm in his native land, few advantages and privileges being afforded him. He was married in Prussia to Miss Wilhelmina Poppenwert, a native of that province, born December 10, 1825. She has proved a true helpmate to her husband and a faithful wife and mother. Their union has been blessed with nine children, and only one is now deceased - Louis, who died at the age of twenty-four years. Frank H., who wedded Anna Keiser, is living on a farm in Montgomery County; Henry wedded Minnie Elkmeyer and is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cahokia Township; Minnie is a home; William married Ida Ghenter and is a miller of New Douglas Township, Madison County; John F. married Minnie Niehaus and they resided on a farm in Montgomery County; August, who was joined in wedlock with Emma Budde, is engaged in milling at New Douglas; Charles H. wedded Minnie Nollman and operates a farm in Christian County; Edward, who completes the family, is at home.
Mr. Prange has resided upon his present farm since 1854, having there located when it was all wild prairie, entirely destitute of improvements. The county too was new and the village of Mt. Olive had not yet sprung into existence. Although when Mr. Prange came here he was a poor man he has worked hard and by his industry, perseverance and good management has made a fortune. In addition to the large and valuable farm on which he resides he also owns considerable landed property in Madison and Montgomery Counties. He is a man of strong determination who accomplishes whatever he undertakes and thus when he resolved to make of his life a success, adversity and difficulties could not deter him. He made much of his money during the time when the war had inflated all prices, and with a remarkable fore-sight and sagacity he invested his surplus earnings in lands, which, as the country has become more thickly settled, have rapidly arisen in value and made him a wealthy man. He feels a just pride in his success and certainly is entitled to much credit.
In connection with general farming, Mr. Prange was largely interested in opening up the mines at Mt. Olive and was once one of the most extensive stock holders in the Mt. Olive Coal Company. In politics, Mr. Prange is a Republican and has held a number of local offices. Both he and his wife are active members of the Lutheran Church and he gives liberally of his means to its support. The handsome property which he has acquired now enables him to live a retired life and he is resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.
Accompanying this brief biographical notice, the reader will find a lithographic portrait of Mr. Prange.