The agricultural interests of Cahokia township can claim no more worthy representative than Henry J. Heyen, who for twenty years past has been living retired from active labor, having acquired through energy and ability one of the richest and most productive farms in this section of the state. He was born in Germany, September 24, 1832, a son of John and Anna (Klein) Heyen, both of whom passed their entire lives in the old country.
Henry J. Heyen received his early education in the common schools of Germany and as a boy he was instructed by his father in the details pertaining to agriculture and stock-raising. He continued in his native land until several years after reaching his majority and then, on September 4, 1858, embarked at Bremen in a sailing vessel which was bound for New Orleans. The voyage required eleven weeks and the ship arrived in port November 20. Mr. Heyen came up the Mississippi river in a steamboat to St. Louis and thence to Alton where he spent about a week. At the end of the time named he came to Macoupin county and secured employment as a farm hand, continuing in that capacity for about fifteen months. he then rented land from his brother, Heye Heyen, who had preceded him to Illinois, and proved unusually successful as a corn raiser. The brother died the year following and Mr. Heyen associated with another brother, William, who came to America in 1851 and rented the same farm which had been in charge of their brother Heye, continuing in partnership for five years. Mr. Heyen of this review then farmed upon his own account until 1872, when he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Cahokia township which became the nucleus of his present farm. He labored diligently and persistently at all seasons of the year, and as opportunity offered acquired more land until today he owns four hundred and eighty-five acres of as good land as can be found in Macoupin county. He bent every energy to his work and his success is evidence of his sound, practical judgment.
In 1866 Mr. Heyen was married to Miss Tillie Lambertus, who was born in Germany and came to America in 1865. They are the parents of thirteen children, eleven of whom survive, namely: Albert, who is engaged in stock-buying and makes his home at Gillespie; John, a farmer of Cahokia township; William, who is associated with his brother Albert in stock-buying; George, also a farmer of Gillespie township; Heye, record of whom appears elsewhere in this work, at home; Lena, who married Edward Meyer, of Cahokia township; Laura, the wife of Charles Young, of Cahokia township; Jessie, who married Elmer Burge, of Montgomery county; Frederica, who became the wife of Ambrose Burge, of Gillespie; and Tillie and Cora, both of whom are at home.
In politics Mr. Heyen gives his support to the democratic party. He has never been a seeker for public office but served for six years most creditably as a member of the school board. He and his family are actively identified with the Evangelical Lutheran church. When he landed in America his cash capital amounted to seventy dollars, but he bravely faced the problems which were presented in a new country and for many years he has been known as one of the wealthy men of Macoupin county. It would be difficult to find a more striking illustration in the United States for ambitious young men than is presented in the record of Henry J. Heyen. He is deeply respected by the people of the township, as he has fairly earned the comforts he enjoys, through his thrift and business sagacity.