MICHAEL WIRTH. The lands across the sea have furnished their quota of good citizens to the Prairie State and many have been instrumental in developing Calhoun County from an untrodden wilderness to an improved and well-settled region. No better representative of the German pioneers can be found here than Michael Wirth, the oldest man of his nationality in Crater Precinct. His home is on section 9, where he owns two hundred and eighty acres of land under good cultivation, and bearing such improvements as make it a comfortable place of abode and the source of a satisfactory income.
In the kingdom of Baden, Germany, February 28, 1826, a son was born to Martin and Mary E. Wirth, and had bestowed upon him the name of Michael. The child grew and thrived, when of sufficient age being sent to school, where he acquired a good German education. He was reared to a knowledge of farm pursuits and has devoted his life to agriculture, first in his native land and then in America, to which he emigrated in 1847. He took passage at Havre on a sail vessel, and after an ocean voyage of fifty-seven days landed in New Orleans, whence he came at once to Calhoun County, Ill.
During the first five years of his residence here Mr. Wirth was engaged in chopping cord wood and in lumbering, receiving seventy-five cents per cord for wood chopping. In 1856 he settled upon one hundred and sixty acres of his present farm, to which he added by subsequent purchase. He cleared the farm, bringing it from a wild condition into one of extreme fertility, and while advancing his own interests, aided largely in promoting the good of the county, as every tract of land that was developed proved a source of encouragement and attraction to those who were looking for a home. Mr. Wirth had no one to start him in life, but has reached comfortable circumstances through his own efforts and frugal life. A view of his pleasant home and estate is shown in this volume.
The first wife of Mr. Wirth bore the maiden name of Barbara Beckdoldt, and bore him six children, of whom the first-born, Frederick, is deceased. The others are Mary, Frances, Philip, Amelia and Catherine. Mary is the wife of Samuel Snyder, their home being in Kansas; Amelia married E. Koofer, who resides in Greene County, Ill.; Catherine is the wife of Alvin Winchell of the same county; Philip makes his home in Washington. The present companion of our subject was known in her maidenhood as Miss Barbara Kamp. This union has been blessed by the birth of three children, of whom Elizabeth and George are now living.
Since he became a citizen of the United States, Mr. Wirth has endeavored to aid all those projects which would tend to the public good and to act when called upon in behalf of the interests of his associates. He has served satisfactorily in the position of School Director. In politics he is a Democrat, and in religion a Roman Catholic. Peaceable and law-abiding, intelligent and enterprising, he stands well in the community and his reputation extends over a large territory.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 522-525
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