JOHN W. KLAAS. This gentleman is the proprietor of a general merchandise establishment in Meppen, Calhoun County, and is also Postmaster in that village. He keeps a well selected stock of such goods as suit the needs of the residents in the town and surrounding country, displays them invitingly and disposes of them at reasonable rates, thus securing a good share of the trade of the people in this vicinity. Mr. Klaas is well known in this section, having resided in Meppen for several years during the last five of which he has been holding the position of Postmaster. He is a popular member of the community and is held in good repute as a citizen and business man.
Our subject was born in Hanover, Germany, as were Barney and Lukas Klaas, his father and grandfather. The latter was a merchant and spent his entire life in his native land, the father of our subject received a thorough education and began teaching when quite young. He followed the profession until he was incapacitated for its duties by reason of blindness. In 1864 he came to America, settling in Calhoun County, Ill., where his last years were spent. His wife bore the maiden name of Thekala Goessling. They reared a family of ten children, eight of whom came to America.
The natal day of our subject was April 25, 1854. He was therefore ten years old when he accompanied his parents to America and soon after his arrival he took up his residence with a half-brother in St. Louis, Mo. He was apprenticed to the St. Louis Stamping Company to learn the trade of a tinsmith and served thereat four years. He continued in the employ of the company as a journeyman four years and then opened a tinshop at Meppen. Four years later he engaged in business as a merchant, putting in a stock of general merchandise, in the sale of which he is still interested.
In 1884 Mr. Klaas established his own home, having won for his wife Miss Mary E. Wahoff, a lady of housewifely skill, amiability and intelligence. The congenial union has been blessed by the birth of two children, bright boys bearing the names of John and Barney. The family are members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and are held in good repute by their fellow-citizens.
Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 731-732
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