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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Lewis Kuder

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


LEWIS KUDER. The oldest settler now in Kerr township, is Lewis Kuder, who has lived on his present farm since 1846. His father's ancestors, were Pennsylvania Germans; and his father and grandfather, were among the first settlers of Ohio; settling near Circleville, Piqua county, Ohio, on the Scioto river, in the year 1805. His father, John KUDER, and his mother, Mary CHAMBERLAIN, both came from Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, and had fifteen children, of whom ten grew to maturity. Five sons: Solomon, Christopher, John, Lewis and Elias, came to Illinois, and lived in Vermilion and Champaign counties.

Lewis Kuder was born, December 22d, 1819, in Piqua county, Ohio. About 1821 or 1822, his father removed to Hocking county, Ohio, and here the subject of this sketch was raised. He worked on the farm during the summer, and in the winter attended the old-fashioned schools, which were the only means of education for the boys of that day. In 1837, when nearly eighteen, he came with his brother, Peter KUDER, to Danville, Illinois. His brother died in February, 1838, and the following August, Mr. Kuder took his widowed sister-in-law back to Ohio, and in the fall returned with his father, who settled where Mr. Kuder now lives, section 28, township 22, range 14. He learned the carpenter's trade with his brother Solomon, at Danville. After his father's death, in 1842, he bought out the other heirs, and moved on his father's farm in 1846. He still followed his trade. Part of his occupation was making coffins, and he supplied the whole country on Middle Fork with this necessary article, from Partlow Grove, in Vermilion, to Ten Mile Grove, in Ford county. He now owns 800 acres of land, all lying in one body, in sections 20, 21, 28 and 29, township 22, range 14; and all in fence and under cultivation, or in pasture.

This farm is in excellent condition, and is called the model farm of the county. In building his barn, he has followed out the inclinations he derived from his Pennsylvania ancestors, who always believed in having fine barns, and comfortable quarters for stock and cattle. His barn was built in 1870 at a cost of $4,000. The lower part is built with an eight foot and a half wall, the stone for which, he brought from Kankakee; its dimensions are forty-two by sixty feet, with twenty foot posts, and the distance to the comb, is over fifty feet. It has forty-two glass windows, and has accommodations for stabling fifty head of horses. It is built throughout in the most substantial manner, and is arranged with every convenience. Mr. Kuder's farm is supplied with several artesian wells, which have been bored at considerable expense, and which supply stock with an abundance of water.

His marriage occurred in February, 1844, to Susannah WOOD, who was born in Fayette county, Ohio, October, 1826. Her father, Henry WOOD, was from Virginia, came to Ohio at an early day, and emigrating to Illinois settled on the North Fork, in Vermillion county, eight miles north of Danville, in 1829, and was one of the earliest pioneers of that part of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Kuder have had nine children, of whom two sons, Albert Lewis and Christopher Lincoln, are now living.

When Mr. Kuder removed to this part of the state, it was almost a wilderness, and where his house now stands he has killed deer in great numbers. He has been one of the foremost citizens of Kerr township, which for three different terms, he has represented on the Board of Supervisors. While serving as supervisor, he superintended the construction of the iron bridge over Middle Fork, a quarter of a mile east of his present residence. This is the finest structure of the kind in the county. It rests on solid stone abutments, with a single iron span of 120 feet, the longest span of any bridge in the county. The county decided on the construction of this bridge, chiefly through Mr. Kuder's influence, while on the Board of Supervisors, and he had charge of the work during its erection. It was managed with thoroughness and economy, and the bridge committee, on its completion, reported that the work had been done one thousand dollars cheaper than any other similar structure in the county. He was formerly a Whig in politics, and in the exciting presidential campaign of 1844, he voted for Henry Clay. On the disruption of the Whig party, he became a Republican, and was one of the earliest members of that party in this part of the state.

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