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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Henry Behrens

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


Henry BEHRENS, who has lived in East Bend township since 1870, was born at Bremen, Germany, on the 16th of September, 1839. His father's name was Aaron BEHRENS, and the subject of this sketch was the youngest of nine children. His early life was spent as a sailor. He followed the sea for a considerable number of years, and met with all the adventures which are usually incident to a "life on the ocean wave." He came to America when fifteen years of age, and the next fifteen years were spent on board American vessels, principally sailing on the coast from New York to Virginia and the Carolinas. During the late war of the rebellion he served on board a vessel chartered by the United States government, and was employed in transporting goods and troops, on the Atlantic coast. The vessel on which he was a sailor was captured by the rebel privateer, the Alabama, which caused such great destruction to American commerce, and he was liberated by being let off on the Jersey coast. After the close of the war, in the spring of 1865, he came to Illinois. He had a brother living near Paxton. After remaining a while in that part of the state he went to Chicago, and for one season he followed his old occupation of sailor on Lake Michigan. In the year 1869 he bought 120 acres of land in section 34, East Bend township, Champaign county, on which he settled and went to farming. This was a pursuit in which he never previously had been engaged, but he has been successful enough as an agriculturist to entitle him to the credit of being a good farmer. When the Havana, Rantoul and Eastern railroad was constructed, a station was established on land belonging to him and called Behrens, which was the name of the town and post-office until recently changed to Dewey. His father came from Germany in 1866, settled in Ford county, and died in East Bend township in 1875. Mr. Behrens was married in July, 1870, to Mary HANGEN, who was at that time living in Aurora, Illinois. They have three children living, Herman, Lewis and George. He has been independent in politics, and has always believed in voting for the best man for office.

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