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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John F. Schweizer

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


JOHN F. SCHWEIZER - Among the many foreign-born residents of our county none stand higher, or are more respected, than he whose portrait adorns the head of this article. John F. SCHWEIZER was born in Obersielunngan, O. Stuttgard, Kingdom of Wirtemburg, Germany, on the 14th day of March, 1827. His father, Jacob SCHWEIZER, and mother, Margaret SCHWEIZER, were natives of that country. There were eighteen children born to them. Of that number fourteen were boys and four girls. Seven of the children are still living. The father died in 1865. The mother still lives in her native place. Two of the children, viz. the subject of this sketch and George G., who is a resident of Philadelphia, came to America. John F. worked at home in his father's hotel until he reached the age of twenty-one. On the 4th of March, 1848, he emigrated to this country, and landed here on the 1st of June following. He worked on a farm in New Jersey for two months after arriving here, after which he went to Philadelphia, where he worked at the butchering business, and then again went to farming. After that he tended bar in a hotel, and continued in that business from the winter of 1848 until the spring of 1852. He then left Philadelphia and went to Cincinnati, and worked in the Galt House as a cook. He remained in that capacity but a short time. He obtained a situation in the wholesale clothing house of Mack Bros., and remained with them until 1856, after which he embarked in the dry goods and notion trade, and remained so engaged until the 24th of May, 1857, when he emigrated to Urbana, Champaign county, where he opened a clothing house. He continued in the same business in Urbana until the spring of 1862, when he removed to Champaign, where he still resides and continues in the clothing and merchant tailoring business. In October, 1855, he married Ann Barbara HERBSTREIT, a native of Germany, but a resident of Cincinnati at the time of her marriage. There have been two children born to them to bless their union, one boy and a girl. The daughter, Vinnie, married Paul W. WOODY, Esq., a resident of Champaign, and a member of the firm of Schweizer and Woody. The son is unmarried, and remains yet under the parental roof. Mrs. Schweizer departed this life at her home in Champaign on the 4th of July, 1878, at the age of 43 years. She was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In politics, Mr. Schweizer is a Republican, and cast his first vote for John C. Fremont in 1856. He has acted and voted with that party ever since. On the 16th of May, 1874, Mr. Schweizer paid a visit to the home of his birth, and spent some time with his mother and remaining members of the family. He returned the same year, and since has given his entire time to his large and constantly increasing business. He has carried out of his business a comfortable competency, but he has not been without some serious reverses. His stock and buildings were twice destroyed by fire, but he each time redoubled his efforts, and such was his energy and industry that he soon regained what he had lost by fire. In 1868 he enlarged his business and added thereto the merchant tailoring business, and now in this department the reputation of the firm is second to none in Central Illinois. Mr. Schweizer has been eminently successful, and it is attributable to his correct method of doing business. He is honest and honorable in all of his dealings with his fellow-man, and the word of John F. Schweizer in the community where he resides and is best known is as good as his bond.

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