PAST AND PRESENT
OF
MENARD COUNTY, ILLINOIS - 1905

Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company


Page 505

JEP P. GROSBOLL, who follows farming in the vicinity of Petersburg, was born September 7, 1853, in Schleswig, and is a son of Powell J. and Annie M. (Rosenbom) Grosboll, natives of Schleswig, which was then a province of Denmark, but in 1864 this district, through the fortunes of war, passed into possession of Germany and on that account the Grosboll family, not desiring to become German citizens, emigrated to America, leaving Denmark in April, 1872. They had resided upon a farm in Schleswig, and the subject of this review attended school in his native province until the emigration to the new world. He had pursued the regular course and had also studied the German language. It was his intention when he first came to America to remain for only five years and to become an American citizen, after which he would return to Schleswig and thus be exempt from army service. He went back at the end of five years and remained for only two years, but found that if he stayed for the entire two years he would be liable for military duty, so was married and again crossed the Atlantic to the new world.

It was in May, 1878, that Mr. Grosboll wedded Miss Anna Mary Frank, a daughter of Hans and Elizabeth S. Frank, who were farming people of Schleswig. They had three children, of whom mrs. Grosboll was the second. Catherine, the eldest, became the wife of Hans Vannel, who is a wealthy farmer residing in Schleswig. Nels Hanson Frank, the youngest, was married in 1879, to Gene Grosboll, a cousin of our subject. They reside on the Frank homestead and have seven children, who are all under the parental roof. Mrs. Grosboll was educated in Schleswig, attended school there for eleven years and remained at home up to the time of her marriage in 1878, save when she was in Copenhagen for a year, where she took a special course in housekeeping. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Grosboll have been born four children: Powell J., born September 28, 1879, was graduated from Lincoln University at Lincoln, Illinois, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts and had the honor of winning the gold medal for oratory. He is a Mason, belonging to the lodge at Petersburg. For two years he has been engaged in teaching and is now the principal of the third ward school in Petersburg. John B. Grosboll, born July 22, 1881, was for one year principal at Edelstein and is now connected with the schools of Atterberry. He, too, is a graduate of the Lincoln University, in which he won the degree of Bachelor of Science. He was editor and manager of the school journal and he is also a member of the Masonic lodge at Petersburg. Harmon S., born October 9, 1883, is a graduate of the Petersburg high school, spent one term in the Northwestern University at Evanston and is now teaching in the Brush school near home. He completed a four years' course in three years while in Petersburg. Annie Elizabeth, born October 19, 1885, completed the common school course, but did not have the opportunity of going away to school because of her mother's death, which occurred December 16, 1900, when she was forty-six years, three months and twenty-two days. Her remains were interred in Oakland cemetery. Since the mother's death the daughter has had charge of the household affairs.

Mr. Grosboll's business career has been marked by steady progress. When he first came to Menard county he began working as a farm hand, being employed by the month. The first one of his countrymen that he saw after arriving in the United States was his brother, who joined him the following year. When J. P. Grosboll returned to America with his wife he began agricultural pursuits on the farm owned by Henry Shirding, known as the Hatfield farm. There he lived for twelve years, and during that entire period he never had any lease or any papers, the contract between them being an oral one. During his third year a disastrous fire occurred on the 4th of August, 1883, and he lost nearly everything he had, including his household goods. When he interviewed Mr. Shirding the next morning the first question that was asked him was, "Is any one hurt?" Mr. Grosboll replied in the negative and Mr. Shirding then said: "Then it is all right. We will soon put up a new house." He continued upon the farm until the spring of 1892, when he removed to the tract of land which he had purchased in 1883, known as the old David Pantier farm. He purchased one hundred and seventy-five acres at that time and one hundred and ten acres since, making two hundred and eighty-five acres in all. He has since tiled and cleared the farm, has placed it under a high state of cultivation and in connection with the raising of cereals best adapted to this part of the country he has engaged in feeding cattle for the market.

In his political views Mr. Grosboll has been a Republican and has given his ballot to the party since becoming a naturalized American citizen. He was reared in the Lutheran faith and is now a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Fraternally Mr. Grosboll is connected with Clinton lodge, No. 19, A.F. & A.M., at Petersburg. In 1888 he returned to his native land with his family, remaining four months abroad, during which time he visited Germany and England and renewed many of the acquaintances of his boyhood days in his native province. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to seek a home in the United States, for here he has found the business opportunities that he sought and which have made him a prosperous man and in addition has enjoyed the liberty and freedom of this great and growing country.


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