WILLIAM J. BEHME, who is residing on section 22, Brushy Mound township, where he successfully engages in general farming and stock raising, was born in Clyde, Cahokie township, Macoupin county, on the 1st of October, 1861. He is the eldest child of William C. and Catharine (Brechencamp) Behme, natives of Germany, the father having been born in Brunswick and the mother in the vicinity of Berlin. They emigrated to America in the late forties with their parents, who located in Illinois. During the early years of his active business career William C. Behme engaged in paper hanging in St. Louis, Missouri. He withdrew from that occupation after his marriage, however, and devoted his energies to farming, locating at Clyde. Two years later he removed to Brushy Mound township, renting sixty acres of land on section 22. The cultivation of this farm proved so successful that he was subsequently able to buy one hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 4 and 9 in the river bottom. There he resided for sixteen years when he removed to his father's farm, where our subject now lives. Here he passed away on the 12th of September, 1909, having survived his wife three years, her demise occurring on the 17th of March. The paternal grandfather, Julius Behme, was born in Brunswick in 1806 and died in Macoupin county in 1893, on the farm where William J. Behme now lives, his wife died in Clyde. He was a carpenter by trade, but for many years was engaged in farming in this county. To Mr. and Mrs. William C. Behme were born five children, those beside our subject, in order of birth, are: Henry, who is a farmer in Brushy Mound township, where his wife formerly Jerusiah Emerick, was reared; Amelia, the wife of George Smith, a farmer of Plainview; Matilda, the wife of William Hacke, a farmer of Brushy Mound township; and Charlotta, who died in infancy.
Nearly the entire life of William J. Behme has been spent in Brushy Mound township, whose district schools afforded him a good, practical education, while he was being trained in agricultural methods under the capable supervision of his father. He remained at home with his parents, cultivating the old farm, until he was thirty-one years of age, when he married and began work for himself. As his father wished to retire, he rented his farm, which he cultivated until the former's death in 1909, when he removed to the place where he now lives, formerly his grandfather's homestead. He owns eighty acres in the home place and sixty-eight acres adjoining on the west, sixteen acres of his land being natural timber, fine oak and hickory trees. He engages in general farming and stock raising, making a specialty of feeding cattle and hogs for the market.
On the 2d of November, 1892, Mr. Behme was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Taylor, daughter of William E. and Martha (Keltner) Taylor, both natives of this country, the father having been born in Gillespie township on the 27th of July, 1837, while the mother's birth occurred in Brushy Mound township. William E. Taylor engaged in agricultural pursuits in Macoupin county, where he spent his entire life with the exception of years from 1860 to 1863 when he was prospecting in Nevada and California. He passed away on his farm on section 22, Brushy Mound township, on the 15th of June, 1906. Mrs. Taylor is living and continues to reside on the farm where she and her husband removed to in 1880. To Mr. and Mrs. Behme there have been born three daughters: Nellie May, Flossie Ellen and Grace Lillian, all of whom are attending school in district No. 110.
Mrs. Behme and her three daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Mount Pleasant, and fraternally he is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, Carlinville Camp. In politics he is a republican and has been a school trustee in Brushy Mound township for seventeen years, while for the past two years he has been a director in school district No. 110. Mr. Behme is one of the progressive and enterprising citizens of the township whose energy and enthusiasm is not all consumed in the development of his personal interests but is also expended in advancing the public affairs of the community.