John F. Ahrens, a prominent and respected citizen of Gillespie, Macoupin County, where he is postmaster, was born at Staunton, this county, March 16, 1855, and is a son of Peter J. and Maria M. (Ruther) Ahrens.
Peter J. Ahrens was born in Germany about 1826, and came to America in 1848, a poor boy seeking his fortune. He was educated in the German schools and after coming to this country learned the English language. He engaged in a mercantile business at Staunton, Illinois, until 1856,k and then retired to a farm until 1861, in which year he resumed his former business at Staunton which he continued until he permanently retired in 1890, selling his business to his son, John F. Mr. Ahrens was a very strong supporter of the Republican party and was one of the party's three adherents in the town at the time he settled in Staunton. he was a man of such upright character that his fellow citizens elected him to office on many occasions and he served as justice of the peace for two terms, for 16 years was a township treasurer and for 15 years was a member of the School Board. He was prominent also in religious matters and belonged to the Methodist church, to which he was a liberal contributor and of which he was a regular attendant. At the time of his demise, April 10, 1901, he left a large estate which he had accumulated through his own efforts. He married Maria M. Ruther, who was born near Hanover, Germany, and came with her parents to Illinois. They had 10 children born to them, the six survivors being: John F.; Mrs. Christine Golightly of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; George C., connected with the Wabash Railroad at St. Louis, Missouri; Karl W., of Gillespie, Macoupin County; Fannie L., who is attending a commercial college at St. Louis, Missouri; and Rosa L., also a student in a business college at St. Louis, who had been connected with the Gillespie post office for four years. The mother of this family died in 1902, at the age of 66 years. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Church, and a woman of most beautiful, amiable character.
John F. Ahrens completed the common school course and had an ambition to go to college, which his father, needing his services at home, could not gratify at that time. he assisted in the store and then spent 10 years on the farm, two years in an elevator business and several years in insurance and other lines, and purchased his father's mercantile business in 1890. Prior to this he had served four years as deputy-sheriff under Sheriff Davenport. In politics he has always been actively identified with the Republican party and has faithfully served in local offices, at present being chairman of the street commissioners of Gillespie. For 12 years he was a notary public, and since October, 1898, he has been the popular postmaster of Gillespie. Fraternally Mr. Ahrens is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of Pythias. He is unmarried.