John F. Ahrens, one of the most prominent and highly esteemed residents of Gillespie now serving as postmaster of this city, is a representative of a family well known and honored in this locality. A native of Macoupin county, Illinois, he was born in Staunton on the 16th of March, 1855, a son of Peter J. and Maria M. (Ruther) Ahrens, both natives of Germany. The former came to this country from the fatherland in 1848, while the latter's family arrived in the United States a year later. The father upon entering the business world became identified with the merchandising enterprise at Staunton and later came to Gillespie, where he followed the same occupation for several years, or until he sold his interests to his son, John F. Ahrens. he was also engaged in the milling business in Gillespie for a time, and was very successful as a business man. he passed away in April, 1900, while his wife survived until December, 1902. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal church of which they were loyal supporters, and in the work of which they were deeply interested. Mr. Ahrens was well known in republican circles in this locality, having served for several years as member of the town council, also as town treasurer and as justice of the peace, and few residents of Gillespie were held in higher regard than Peter J. Ahrens.
In the public schools of Gillespie John F. Ahrens acquired a good education, and after putting aside his text books he entered his father's store, being therein engaged until his nineteenth year. he then took up agricultural pursuits and for about ten years was engaged in general farming, but, his health breaking down, he returned to city life and for about two years was identified with the elevator and grain business in Gillespie. In 1890 he purchased his father's mercantile business, the conduct of which occupied his time for four years, and then for about five years he served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff Davenport and later under Fahrenkrog. In 1898 he was appointed postmaster of Gillespie, and in October of that year assumed the duties of that office, which he has since performed to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. He is not only a very capable and efficient official but also a most popular one, well liked by every class of citizens. he is a stalwart republican in politics, and his fraternal relations are with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Ahrens possesses those characteristics which win and retain warm friendships, and he is well worthy of the prominent position which he occupies in the esteem and regard of his fellow men.