WILLIAM KLOCKE. The kingdom of Prussia, Germany, has furnished to the American republic thousands of its best citizens and there is scarcely a community of importance in the United States in which natives of Prussia may not be found. William Klocke, a prominent and influential farmer of Gillespie township, is a native of Prussia. He was born April 17, 1846, and is a son of John H. and Mary (Heyman) Klocke, both of whom were born in the old country. The father died in his native land and in 1866 the mother with two of her children, William and Elizabeth, went aboard a vessel at Bremen and crossed the ocean to the new world, landing in New Orleans after a voyage of fourteen weeks in a slow going sailing vessel. The travelers completed the journey to St. Louis in a steamer, being nine days on the trip. Henry Klocke, a brother of our subject, had arrived in America in 1840 and established himself in St. Louis. The mother and daughter took up their residence in his home.
William Klocke was a musician in his younger days and for several years served as a member of his brother's band in Germany. After arriving in St. Louis he became a member of John Frey's band, which consisted of fourteen pieces and was constantly employed during the summer months. He continued with this band for two years, in the meantime becoming acquainted with the language and customs of the country in which he decided to spend the remainder of his life. After giving up music as a profession he found employment at various occupations in St. Louis until 1876 when he came to Macoupin county and rented land in Mount Olive township. After twenty years as an agriculturist and stock raiser he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Gillespie township upon which he has since lived. He has prospered in his business and is assured of a good income as his farm is one of the most productive of its size in the township. When he arrived in America he had no money and was in debt to his brother sixty dollars for part of his passage across the ocean, but he is now one of the substantial and representative citizens of Macoupin county.
On December 24, 1871, Mr. Klocke was married to Miss Henrietta Tremme, who was born in the same neighborhood as himself in Prussia. They are the parents of nine children, seven of whom survive. William H. is a farmer of Gillespie township. Henry William is living with his parents on the home place. Ida married William Klekamp, of Montgomery county, Illinois. Anna is the wife of Fred Soller, of St. Louis, Missouri. Edward and August are also living at home. Louis is in charge of the office of the Superior Coal Company, of Gillespie.
Mr. Klocke was baptized when a child in the Evangelical Lutheran church and has never departed from the teachings which he learned at his mother's knee. His wife and children are also identified with the same religious denomination. He cast his first ballot after arriving under the stars and stripes in behalf of the republican party and has seen no reason to change his political affiliation. A patriotic and liberty loving man, his influence has ever been exerted in behalf of the principles of truth and integrity and his record reflects credit upon his family and honor upon his chosen country. He may truly be designated as among the fortunate ones whose names are recorded in this work.