ROTGER FREESMEYER, Sr., is one of the oldest German pioneers of Calhoun County. He is a well-known resident of Hamburg Precinct, his home on section 12, and he is one of the most extensive landowners and farmers in this part of the State. He was born in Prussia, Germany, March 3, 1822, a son of Bernhard and Mary (Jacob) Freesmeyer, natives of Germany. He grew to maturity in the Fatherland, passing his early life principally on a farm, and receiving an excellent education in the local schools. Since coming to this country he has picked up a fair knowledge of the English language, and is quite well informed. During the winter seasons after he was fifteen years old he was engaged in making wooden shoes until the year 1855, when he abandoned that trade. He was married in Germany in the year 1851, to Elizabeth Dirksmeyer, who was also of German birth and antecedents, and is a sister of Anton Dirksmeyer, of whom appears a sketch in this volume. By this marriage our subject and his wife have become the parents of nine children: Ann, wife of Casper Reichter; Stephen, deceased; Elizabeth, wife of Albert Sevier; Mary, wife of Frederick Peters; Frances, wife of Gottlieb Quiller; Rotger; Gertrude, wife of William Baugh; John and Josephine.
In the fall of 1853 our subject and his good wife started for this country with the two children that had been born to them in the Fatherland. They took passage on a sailing-vessel at Bremen, and after a voyage of seven weeks landed at New Orleans whence they made their way to St. Louis, where they arrived after a journey of nine days. From there they came to their destination in Calhoun County, and for several years Mr. Freesmeyer engaged principally in chopping cordwood, making staves, and in the summer time raised some corn. When he first came here he worked for twenty five cents a day, and took his pay in corn and wheat. In 1854 or 1855 he settled on the farm where he now lives, having purchased forty acres of land for which he paid $90. He removed with his family into an old log cabin which stood on the place and immediately entered upon the task of redeeming his land from the wilderness, it being just about as the Indians had left it. He has since increased the acreage of his real estate by subsequent purchases from time to time, until he now owns several tracts of valuable land in various parts of the county. He has done much hard pioneer labor in the accumulation of his estate, and is entitled to a high place among the pioneers of Calhoun County, who have been most active in reclaiming it from its wild condition. He has been nobly assisted in his work by his devoted wife who has been to him a true helpmate and a wise counselor.
Mr. Freesmeyer is held in high consideration by the entire community, and has frequently been solicited to fill minor offices of trust, but would not accept the honor, preferring the quietude of his comfortable home. He and his wife are true and consistent members of the Roman Catholic Church and are eminently worthy people. He is a sound Democrat in politics and it has been his aim to do what he could to advance the interests of his adopted country.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, page 571
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