Ernest Floto (deceased). In the death of Ernest Floto, on April 17, 1900, Ogle County lost the strong and unique personality of one who had shared its manifold advantages for many years of his active life. Mr. Floto was born in Hanover, Northern Germany, February 1, 1820, and when only thirteen years old, came to the United States in a sailing vessel, having at the time the advantage of several friends of himself and family living in this country. He first went to Pittsburgh, Pa; where a half-brother was engaged in coal mining, and the youth was similarly employed for about a year, in the meantime rapidly picking up the language of his adopted country.
Finding coal mining a gloomy and depressing occupation, Mr. Floto made his way to Chicago, and from there walked all the way to Grand Detour, Ogle County, where lived an old friend of his father. He soon after got work in the plow works and built himself a log house, and sent for his half-brother back in Pennsylvania. After a severe attack of malaria, he located on a farm in Pine Creek Township, a few miles from Oregon, and after clearing about 160 acres, sold his property and bought another farm in Mount Morris Township, which remained his home until 1890. The old log house that he built sixty years ago is still standing. The half brother, Lewis Floto, lived until very old at Grand Detour, and finally died in Dixon at the age of eighty-two years. From the farm Ernest Floto moved to Forreston, into a residence built by Matt Blair, a carpenter, who at one stage of his life has been glad of a home in Mr. Floto's corn crib. Another occupant of the hospitable corn crib was Henry Appel, and the friendship between these three men never waned, Mr. Blair dying first, and Mr. Appel, now of Forreston, being the only survivor.
At Grand Detour, Mr. Floto was united in marriage to Elizabeth Zumdahl, who earlier had come from Hanover, Germany with her parents, and who was her husband's senior by twenty-five years. Mrs. Floto was invalid for the last sixteen years of her life and required constant attention. Her ailment was peculiar, having been examined by almost fifty physicians who could come to no definite or satisfactory diagnosis of her case. For many years she could not sleep except when under the influence of morphine. During that time, and until her death, Mr. Floto was the soul of devotion. In 1891 he married for his second wife, Margaret Roth, of Marshalltown, Iowa, who had by a former marriage, two daughters-Mrs. Sasha and Mrs. Hammond. Herman Hammond was a great friend of Mr. Floto's, and it was through him that he met the widow who became his second helpmate, and who still surviving, occupies the town homestead. Mr. Floto was a particularly agreeable and accomodating man, was always ready to loan money upon reasonable security and sometimes without interest, and many now in prosperous circumstances owe their start to the practical assistance and confidence which he extended to them.
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