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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Frederick Demlo

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


FREDERICK DEMLO. Among the self-made men of this county who were born on foreign soil and commenced life humbly and with little means, the subject of this history deserves more than a passing notice. He was born in the town of Bowersdorf, Province of Pomerania, Prussia, Oct. 2, 1834. His parents were Jacob and Fredricka DEMLO, natives of the same country. In 1863 they emigrated with their family to the United States, and at once sought the prairies of Illinois. Mr. D. located in Champaign County and made it his home until his death, which occurred in 1876. The mother is still living in Champaign, and is now seventy-nine years old. Their seven children were Christ, John, Frederick, Fredricka, Sophia, Dora and Mary, all of whom came with their parents to Champaign. All are now married and reside in this county. The subject of this sketch was the third child of the family, and in accordance with the laws and customs of his native country, was placed in school at an early age and continued his studies until fourteen years old. At that age also he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He soon afterward left home and commenced working on a farm, receiving for his services about $20 per year, and a certain amount of linen and woolen cloth, which his mother manufactured into wearing apparel. After arriving at years of manhood our subject was married in his native town to Miss Fredricka OHEMKY, who was also born there and baptized in the same church as her husband. Two years later they set sail from Hamburg for the new World, embarking on the 1st of June and landing in New York City in July, after a voyage of six weeks. From there they proceeded directly Westward, locating at once in Champaign County. They were comparatively among strangers, and Mr. D. was in debt. He did not lose any time, however, deploring his difficulties, but immediately began to search for employment, in which he was successful. He engaged at farm work for four years following, by the day or month, saving in the meantime as much of his earnings as possible. At the expiration of this time he purchased a team and engaged to work on the Wabash Railroad, which was then being built from Decatur to Champaign. After several months' labor without recompense, the contractors ran away and cheated him out of his hard earnings. During the time, however, in which Mr. Demlo had been a resident of this locality he had by honesty and industry secured for himself substantial friends who were ready to do for him all that he was disposed to ask of them. He located upon a tract of rented land, which he cultivated one year successfully, and then purchased sixty-eight acres in Tolono Township. This he occupied four years, then sold out and purchased eighty acres in Scott Township, where he lived until 1881. In that year he sold this also, and secured possession of the farm which he now owns and occupies. Upon this he has brought about great improvements and has more than doubled its value. He has a shapely and substantial set of frame buildings, and his stock, machinery and other farm appurtenances are well cared for and kept in first-class condition. The premises in all respects indicate the industry and energy of the proprietor. Mr. and Mrs. Demlo became the parents of six children as follows: John, who lives at home; Annie, the wife of John GRIERR, of Champaign; Sophia, William, Phenie and Charles, at home. Our subject is Republican in politics, and both he and his wife soon after coming to this county became members of the Presbyterian Church, to the support of which they have contributed liberally and cheerfully, and by the various members of which they are held in high esteem. Our subject on starting out in life was particularly fortunate in his choice of a companion, Mrs. D. having been the true helpmeet of her husband in all his undertakings, and materially assisted him in the establishment of the homestead and obtaining the competency which they now enjoy.

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