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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Lewis Kuder

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


LEWIS KUDER, Kerr Township. The beautiful homestead of the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this biography, forms one of the most attractive spots in the landscape of Champaign County. Its ample and substantial buildings, in which beauty and utility are happily combined, are finely located, and invariably command the admiration of the passer-by as evincing in a marked degree the outlay of ample means and the exercise of cultivated tastes. The dwelling is commodious and has a tasteful style of architecture, and the well built barn, with its adjacent structures for storage of grain and the shelter of stock, is in keeping with the requirements of the modern and progressive farmer.

Mr. Kuder is one of the most extensive land owners in Central Illinois, the home farm alone embracing 900 acres. Besides this he has 230 acres in one tract north, 120 a short distance east, and fifty in Vermilion County. The land is all in high state of cultivation, and yields in abundance the richest crops of the Prairie State. Mr. Kuder manages the home farm while his sons have charge of the others. In addition to general agriculture, Mr. Kuder is largely interested in stock-growing, in which department he has gained quite an enviable reputation and has been remarkably successful. He is in all his operations uniformly systematic and exact, prompt to meet his obligations, and is uniformly ranked among the representative men of one of the most prosperous counties in the State.

Our subject, a native of Ohio, was born near Circleville, Pickaway County, Dec.22, 1819. He was the thirteenth child in a family of fifteen, the offspring of John and Mary (CHAMBERLIN) KUDER. His paternal grandfather, Elias KUDER, was of German extraction, and a native of Bucks County, Pa. He was a carpenter by trade, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War during the entire struggle. His wife was a native of New Jersey, but beyond this the records are lost in oblivion. John Kuder was also a native of Bucks County, Pa., where his father had settled after laying aside the implements of war. He inherited the patriotic impulses of his sire and took part in the War of 1812, being detailed to duty in Northern Ohio.

Lewis Kuder commenced early in life to make his own way in the world, and when quite young began learning the carpenter trade under the instruction of his oldest brother, Solomon. He left the parental roof when eighteen years old, and for a time was employed on the Ohio Canal. Subsequently he returned to his native place where he engaged at his trade, and in the manufacture of wagons. He then determined to seek his fortune in the farther West. He came to this State in 1838, locating at first near Danville, Vermilion County, where, for five years or six years, he continued to follow carpentering. Having, by the exercise of industry and economy acquired sufficient capital, he bought forty acres of partly improved land, and afterward purchased the interest of the other heirs to the estate of which his land formed a part. This constituted a fine property of 240 acres, and from this handsome beginning he steadily progressed to his present position.

The marriage of Lewis Kuder and Miss Susanna WOOD was celebrated in 1844. Mrs. Kuder was the fourth in a family of sixteen children born to Henry and Nancy (HOOVER) WOOD. Her father was a native of Virginia, the son of John and Mary (HARPER) WOOD, also of the Old Dominion. Her mother, a native of Ohio, was the daughter of Daniel and Nancy HOOVER, who were natives of Virginia, of German descent. Mrs. Kuder was born near London, Madison Co., Ohio, Oct. 14, 1826. Mr. Kuder and his wife settled on the Kerr Township farm in 1845. Their first dwelling was a small cabin, located there when our subject purchased the land. Thirty years ago he built a fine residence, which is now in an excellent state of preservation, and is occupied by his family. In 1869 he erected a fine, commodious barn, which accommodates a large number of horses and cattle.

When Mr. Kuder first settled in Kerr Township there were but three cabins within five miles of his farm. Deer and wolves roamed over the prairie and the grass was as high as his little cabin. During the first few years of his residence on the farm he continued to follow his trade, and employed help to run the farm, but a freshet having occurred which swept away many of his valuable horses, cattle and hogs, he gave up his trade and took charge of the farm himself. Among the improvements which he has instituted are five artesian wells which supply his stock with abundance of the best water, and he annually replenishes his pastures with large numbers of young cattle, purchased chiefly from the best to be found in the Chicago market.

Mr. Kuder and his wife have had a family of nine children; Henry; Candus; Nancy; Sarah; Albert; Lincoln; Lydia, and two who died in infancy unnamed. Only two are now living, Albert and Lincoln, who are married, and sketches of whom appear elsewhere in this work. Mr. Kuder has served as Supervisor of Kerr Township for several terms, and has held various local offices, but his farm interest require so much of his time that he has of late declined assuming additional cares, although he attends important elections, and is one of the most conscientious voters of the Republican party.

A view of the handsome home farm of Mr. Kuder is shown on an adjoining page; also the residences of his two sons, who have inherited the thrift and energy of the father and are already numbered among the important members of the agricultural community.

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