RUDOLPH KENCKE, farmer, Sec. 27; P.O.
Freeport; born in Washington Co., Wis., Oct. 10, 1844; came to
Stephenson Co., Ill., in 1859; has a farm of 83 acres, in good
condition, with comfortable residence, etc. During the civil war
Mr. Kencke gave four and a half years of faithful service to preserve
the Union, being a member of Co. G, 46th Regt. I. V. I., participating
with his command in the battles of Ft. Donelson, Ft. Henry, Pittsburg
Landing, siege of Corinth, Holly Springs, Hatchie River, siege of
Vicksburg, Ft. Blakeley, etc., being discharged at the close of the war
as Orderly Sergeant of his company. In politics he is a
Republican; has been School Director of his district. He was
married in 1867 to Miss Martha E. Smith, a native of Stephenson Co.;
they have four children - Edgar, Flora, Henry and Arthur. Mrs.
Kencke is a daughter of Samuel Smith (deceased); one of the oldest and
best known of the early settlers in
Stephenson Co.; he came to this county from Rockbridge Co., Va., in the
fall of 1836, and was during all the subsequent years intimately
connected with the best material interests of his community; he owned
some 400 acres of land at the time of his death, and had probably broken
up more of the wild land here than any other man in the county.
His habits of industry were kept up to the day of his death, which was
caused by a railroad accident on the 19th of November, 1878.
STEPHENSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS 1880; Biographical Sketches Lancaster
Township; pages 754/755.
Submitted by: Kay
Gavin on 1/13/02
RUDOLPH KENCKE was born
Oct. 10, 1844, in Newburg, Washington Co., Wis., and has been a resident
of Stephenson County since the spring of 1858. At that time,
accompanied by his elder brother, Frederick, he started out from his
native town, and after reaching this State took up his abode in
Lancaster Township. Not long afterward he became proprietor of a
tract of land on section 27, which he has since brought to a good state
of cultivation. His real estate, although not remarkably
extensive, has been well cared for and finely improved, each acre of the
soil being utilized in the wisest manner.
Frederick Kencke, the brother of our subject, soon
after his arrival in this county became connected with the Freeport
Tribune, and Rudolph for a time and during the existence of the paper,
was also employed there . He was afterward occupied at farm labor
until the outbreak of the Civil War. During 1861 he enlisted in
Co. G, 46th Ill. Vol. Inf., in which he served four years and five
months and participated with his comrades in some of the most important
battles of the war. He was promoted to Orderly Sergeant, and
although experiencing many hairbreadth escapes, returned home sound in
body and mind, the only discomfort with which he was visited having been
a brief attack of lung fever, which kept him in the hospital about
fourteen days. By his courage and fidelity he received the
approval of his superior officers and the respect of his comrades.
Upon returning to Lancaster Township he employed himself at whatever his
hands could find to do, subsequently engaging in farming, and on the
11th of June, 1867, took the first important step toward the
establishment of a home of his own. This was his marriage with
Miss Martha E. Smith, who was born in Lancaster Township, Jan. 12, 1849,
and is the eldest child of Samuel and Reliance (Sprague) Smith, natives
of Ohio and early settlers of this county. They were married in
Clinton, DeWitt Co., Ill. The father by a former wife had seven
children, and the mother by her former husband had four children.
They thus commenced life together with a family of eleven children, and
in the due time five more were added to the household circle. Mr.
Smith was accidentally killed during the fall of 1878, being run over by
a train on the C. & N.W. R. R., near his home in Lancaster Township.
The mother is still living, aged seventy-one years, and a resident of
Lincoln, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Kencke are the parents of twelve
children, of whom Edgar, Henry , Arthur, William and Freddie are living,
while Hattie, Flora, Frank, Charles, Nellie, Alice and Martha are
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Kenbcke settled on
a part of the land included in their present homestead. Mr. K. has
been successful in the cultivation of the soil and in his investments,
and while pursuing general farming put up a good set of frame buildings
and has made everything comfortable otherwise for his family. He
is a Republican in politics and has served as Commissioner of Highways,
which position he now occupies. Both he and his wife are members
in good standing of the Second Presbyterian Church at Freeport.
The homestead is pleasantly located and forms one of the attractive
spots of Lancaster Township.
Samuel Smith, the father of Mrs. Kencke, who
emigrated from Virginia to this State, is entitled to special mention as
having broken a greater area of prairie in this county than any other
man. He was strictly temperate in his habits, enterprising and
industrious, and always bore the reputation of a useful and worthy
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL
ALBUM STEPHENSON COUNTY, IL.,1888, pages 334/335.
Submitted by: Kay
Gavin on 1/13/02