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John William Mertz. The wonderful changes that have been brought about by science and the ingenuity of man, even within the ordinary life-time of an individual, seem so marvelous that intelligent and thoughtful earth dwellers of today hesitate about placing a limit to future achievement. In these changes agricultural industries have had place, and a modern American farm, in method of cultivation and its machinery equipments, illustrates unbelievable progress. Such a farm is the property of John William Mertz, a highly respected and substantial citizen of DeKalb County, Indiana, who is proprietor of the Lone Pine Farm in Fairfield Township. He was born in Indiana, as were his parents, Benjamin and Johanna (Auman) Mertz.

The founder of the Indiana branch of the Mertz family was John G. Mertz, who came to the United States before the Civil war. His wife, Mary Anna (Saner) Mertz, was also of German birth. They lived at first in Ohio but before the birth of their son, Benjamin, came to DeKalb County, Indiana. The latter was a farmer like his father, and when he grew to manhood was married to Johanna Auman, who was one of a family of six children born to William and Miss (Bruns) Auman. To Benjamin and Johanna Mertz ten children were born, as follows: John W., Otto E., Walter B., Edward J., Henry A., Theodore A., Daniel B., Metha M., and two who died of diphtheria in early life. The father of this family died June 6, l898, and the mother died on the 25th of July, 1919, at Kendallville, Indiana.

The pioneer Mertz family were charter members of Zion Evangelical Church located in Fairfield Township, near their farm, as early as 1852. There is a parochial school in connection with Zion Church, and it was in that school that John W. Mertz secured his first educational training. Later he was graduated from the Kendallville High School and for three years pursued a literary course of study in the University of Michigan, and in more recent years has attended short courses on special subjects at Purdue University. Since reaching manhood he has been a farmer in Fairfield Township, DeKalb County, and has taken great interest in his work and through his progressive policy has brought the Lone Pine Farm into great prominence. As indicative of the approval of his methods by his fellow agriculturists, it may be mentioned that he is president of the DeKalb County Better Farming Association, which is county wide in its scope, and is also president of the DeKalb County Breeders & Feeders Association, and of the county branch of the Indiana Federation of Farmers. He is a member also of the Indiana Commercial Growers Association.

On February 25, 1906, John W. Mertz was united in marriage to Emma M. Krehl, who died January 11, 1914. She was a daughter of William and Anna (Carl) Krehl, a well known DeKalb County family. She was the mother of three children, namely: Selma Anna, Margaret Ethel and Arthur Benjamin. On January 16, 1917, Mr. Mertz was married a second time, Mrs. Louise (Schneider) Bluhm becoming his wife. Mrs. Mertz has one son born to her former marriage, Erich Bluhm. Mr. Mertz has sent his children to the same parochial school in which he began his education many years ago.

In politics Mr. Mertz, like the older members of his family, has always supported the democratic party from principle and in other ways is worthy of ancestors who during long and useful lives were deserving of the general esteem in which they were held. As a man of progressive thought Mr. Mertz studies agricultural questions intelligently and is ready, in the light of the past, to believe still more wonderful developments in the future. He keeps abreast of the times in farm equipment, carries on a general farming line and specializes in registered livestock. He can remember the day of the ox-team and the gradual development of horse transportation, the coming of the automobile and the farm tractor, and on occasion as he is working in his fields an unusual noise above him tells him that the aerial aeroplane is speeding as a bird with mail and messages from one frontier of his country to the other. He is proud of his country's achievements and is proud of the part his own family has taken in the development of DeKalb County.

("History of Northeast Indiana: LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties," Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1920)

This website created October 17, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
Indiana American History and Genealogy Project