This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Ernst Lorenz

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


, the pioneer merchant of Dewey, is one of the independent spirits who was not afraid to risk his fortunes in a new and untried country, having full faith in the abundance of its resources and development. He is a gentleman still in the prime of life, and has watched with unabated interest the growth and prosperity of his adopted State, to which he came with his parents when but a lad. His birthplace was Saxe-Weimer, Germany, and the date thereof, march 7, 1843.

Gotlieb LORENZ, the father of our subject, and a native of the same Province, was born Oct. 18, 1813. He attended school in his youth, and served an apprenticeship to the tailor's trade, after which he engaged in business on his own account in his native country, until 1849. Then, with his wife and family, he set sail from Bremen, and after a voyage of five weeks, landed in New York City safely with his four children and their mother. They located first in Cincinnati, whence after a year they removed to Covington, Ky., of which they remained residents until 1866. Mr. Lorenz then decided to seek his fortune in the western country, and also to change his occupation. After reaching Illinois he came to this county, and purchased a tract of wild land on section 22, in East Bend Township. He at once put up a dwelling into which he removed his family and proceeded with his farming operations. The death of the wife and mother, Mrs. Dorothea (BEISCH) LORENZ, occurred in 1874. Four of their five children are now living: Edward, in Covington, Ky.; Ernst, of our sketch; Anna, the wife of Philip HUMMEL, Jr., and Louis H.

Our subject was the second child of the parental household, and after coming to this country continued his studies in the public schools at Covington. As soon as old enough, in common with his brothers and sister, he assisted his father, remaining a member of the family until 1861. By this time he had become a genuine American, and after the first call for troops to defend the Union, was willing to lay aside his personal and private interests to join the Union army. He enlisted in the 6th Ohio Infantry, and served three years and three months, receiving his first discharge at the expiration of his term of service. He then verteranized in Co. G, 11th Ky. Cav., with which regiment he remained until the close of the war, making more than four years spent in the service of his adopted country. He was one of the first to enlist and one of the last to be mustered out. He was present at many of the important battles of the war, including Shiloh, Stone River, Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge, besides innumerable engagements.

After retiring from military service Mr. Lorenz came West and located in East Bend Township, this county, where he rented land the first year, then purchased forty acres on section 4, put up a house, commenced improving his purchase, and occupied it two years. He then removed to section 31, and leased a farm, upon which he operated four years, and thence removed to Houstonville, in this county, where he established a store of general merchandise, was appointed Postmaster, and remained in business there until 1876. In July of that year he came to the present site of Dewey, and in the middle of an oat field erected the first building of the kind which was utilized as a store, dwelling and post-office. Mr. L. was the first incumbent of the office, which he held until the change of administration in 1885.

The wife of our subject was formerly Miss Catherine BOWMAN, a native of Darke County, Ohio, and daughter of John and Mitchel (BLIZZARD) BOWMAN, natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and of German descent. Their wedding took place in the summer of 1866, and their eight children are, Ida, Dora, Emma, Edward, Carrie, Minnie, Ernst and Annie. Mr. Lorenz is a stanch supporter of the Republican party. He has served as Assessor in East Bend Township for twelve years, Justice of the Peace fifteen, and School Director for an almost equal length of time. Socially he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Fisher Lodge No. 704, and since the organization of Dewey Post No. 282, G.A.R., has been its commander.

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