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Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1906.

DEITRICK, DANIEL, retired farmer, residing one mile south of Concord, was born in Union County, Pa., October 20, 1816, a son of Jacob and Mary (Hartley) Deitrick. He attended the common schools of his native State, and at the age of seventeen began learning the trade of a blacksmith. He was thus occupied for about five years in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to which State he emigrated while still a youth, having a shop of his own for two years of this period. Immediately following the presidential election of 1840, at which he cast his first vote for William H. Harrison, he started overland for Illinois, packing his belongings in a trunk which is still a valued relic in the home near Concord. This trunk was made about 1830, and was lined inside with newspapers printed in that year, which are yet in a fairly good state of preservation. In addition to the chattels which he brought with him, Mr. Deitrick had stored away in the bottom of this old trunk $175 in money - a considerable amount of ready cash for a young man in those days - and these savings formed the nucleus around which he has built his present substantial fortune.

Upon his arrival in Morgan County, Mr. Deitrick first located near the cemetery a short distance north of the present homestead, where he erected a workshop and continued to busy himself at his trade. This structure was a rude affair, built entirely of logs, and was the first in that section of the county. It soon became generally known that he was an unusually fine workman, painstaking in the character of his output, and patrons flocked to his little shop from all sections of the county. After devoting three or four years to his trade at that point, he purchased forty acres of prairie land, upon which his home stands, and soon afterward 80 acres of timber land adjacent thereto. Upon this property the original owner had built a small log cabin, with one room. Mr. Deitrick was not content to occupy this hut, however, and soon set about to erect a four room frame dwelling. In 1861 he built the brick house in which he and his family now reside, and which in its day was regarded as one of the rural mansions of the county. Since locating on the farm he has devoted his time to agriculture and stock raising, sometimes feeding as high as 150 head at a time. In the earlier days he also bred and sold draft horses extensively. He has accumulated 660 acres of fertile and finely cultivated land. It is a noteworthy fact that he has never sold a bushel of corn, feeding to his stock all that he has grown.

Mr. Deitrick was reared in the Lutheran Church. In politics he has been a lifelong Republican of the staunchest type, and for many years was active and influential in the local undertakings of that party. For two terms he served as County Commissioner, and for a long period filled the office of School Director, aiming during this time to secure the best possible educational advantages for the children of his neighborhood. He has also given all his own children exceptional advantages in this direction, allowing them to round out their studies by attendance at the colleges in Jacksonville and the East. The best citizens of Morgan County have always exhibited the greatest confidence in his judgment and integrity. He was appointed one of the administrators of the estate of Jacob Strawn, one of the greatest estates ever accumulated in Morgan County, and is the sole survivor of the men in whom this trust was imposed, his co-laborers in this work having been Moore C. Goltra and Daniel Clark.

Mr. Deitrick was united in marriage January 20, 1842, with Mary Rentschler, daughter of George S. Rentschler, who died May 7, 1847. They had one daughter - Ellen, who married D. C. Robinson and died November 24, 1888. Mr. Deitrick's first wife died July 16, 1869, and he married her sister, Matilda Rentschler. They became the parents of the following children: Thomas, who died in infancy; James; Mary, who died October 21, 1892; Samuel, George and Carrie.

Mr. Deitrick is six feet and one inch tall, and until his health became broken a short time since, was possessed of remarkable strength. He has a fine physique, and is a man of most striking appearance. He has always been highly esteemed by all who know him, and his strong character, rugged honesty and integrity, and his devotion to high principles have made his name one which shall be remembered with honor long after he shall have passed to his reward.

1906 Index