John A. Stransky

Carroll County IL Biography

John A. Stransky is one of the most prominent citizens of Savanna, being one of its most trusted and able civic officials, and one of its leading men of business and wealth. He is an extensive manufacturer of wagons and buggies, and is a dealer in all kinds of farming implements. He was born in the city of Chotzen, Bohemia, Austria, on the 20th of March, in the year 1841. His great-grandfather, Frank Stransky, was a native of Poland, and was an extensive farmer, owning quite a large estate. He became an exile from his native Poland, because he did not like the Government. He sold his property and removed to Bohemia. He bought a farm of 300 acres near the village of Bachena, which is near Chotzen, and there spent his last years. His son Joseph, grandfather of our subject , was born on the farm, inherited it, and continued to lie on it until the day of his death. The father of our subject, Anton Stransky, was also born on the old homestead, and was there reared to manhood. He learned the trade of weaver, and when he was twenty-three years old went to Chotzen, and, besides plying his trade, dealt in general merchandise. He there married Julia Pelshek, a native of the city, which had been the home of her father, John Pelshek; of her grandfather, Anton Pelshek; and of her forefathers as far back as known: the grandfather and great-grandfather of our subject both spending their entire lives in that city; the grandfather attaining the remarkable old age of one hundred and eight years.

The parents of our subject resided in Chotzen until 1854, and then, with the seven children that had been born to them in their native land, they started for America, sailing from Bremen, Germany, and landing in New York after a voyage of fifty-two days. Mr. Stransky bought a tract of timber land in Racine County, Wis., four miles west of Racine, improved it into a fine farm, on which he made his home until his death, June 21, 1881. The mother of our subject now resides in Wilbur, Saline Co., Neb. To her and her husband were born twelve children, eight of whom grew to maturity, namely: Elizabeth, Anna, John A., Mary, Nettie, Fannie, Rose, and Anton J., the latter having been born in the United States.

John Stransky, of this sketch, attended school in his native city, and was early taught at home to make himself useful, and at the age of seven commenced doing such light work on the farm as a boy could do, and in the winter seasons assisted his father in weaving. The first year after he accompanied his parents to this country he worked on a farm in Caledonia Township, Racine Co., Wis., receiving in return for his services the pitiful sum of $2 a month and his board. The next year his wages were increased to $8 a month. He then commenced to learn the trade of blacksmith, serving an apprenticeship of three years in Racine. He received in payment $3 a week the first year, $3.50 the second, and $4 a week the third year, having to board and clothe himself. He subsequently worked for his employer a year and seven months, and then went to Chicago, where he actively plied his trade until 1863. He then took a position under the Government to do general blacksmithing, and was in the employ of the United States at Cincinnati until after the war closed. He then came to Savanna, and erected a blacksmith shop with the earnings that he had managed to save by frugality and wise economy, he having no other capital. He formed a partnership with S. J. Herman, and they did business together eight years. Their shop was then burned, and, they having no insurance, lost all, and had to start anew; Mr. Herman going West, and our subject commencing again here. He was not at all disheartened by his losses, but, with characteristic energy, established himself once more. He borrowed money to erect a building, and started a manufactory of wagons and buggies, which he still carries on, and has added the sale of all kinds of farming implements. His business has increased so rapidly that he has had to build extra buildings, and is now carrying on a large and profitable trade. He has two brick buildings: the larger 34x56 feet in dimensions, and the smaller 26x40. He has, besides, three frame buildings, whose respective dimensions are 16x100, 20x57, and 34x76. His shops are supplied with all kinds of machinery for his business, which is run by water-power.

Mr. Stransky and Miss Martha B. Krodel were united in marriage Nov. 11, 1872, and to them four children have been born - Mina and Ina, twins, and two who died in infancy. Ina died at the age of six years four months and three days. Mrs. Stransky was born in Pleasant Valley, Jo Daviess Co., Ill. Her father, Frederic Krodel, was born in Germany, and was there reared to manhood. At the age of twenty-two he came to the United States, and located at Racine, Wis., where he engaged in brewing. In the year 1848 he came from that city to Jo Daviess County, residing there until 1853, and then came to Savanna, where he engaged in a saw-mill for a few years, and later in brewing. He continued the latter business for some years and then sold out, and, purchasing a large tract of wild land, he improved a farm, on which he resided a few years. Then, returning to Savanna, he engaged in buying and selling grain, and after that went into the hardware business. In 1874 Mr. Krodel went to Arkansas, and established a hardware store at Little Rock, which he managed for awhile, then traded his stock for land in Lonoke County, that State. He owns a large tract of land there, but makes his home in Little Rock. The maiden name of his wife, mother of Mrs. Stransky, was Anna Barbara Otner, and she was a native of Bavaria. They are the parents of nine children living: Martha, John, Charles, Pauline, Leonard, Anna B., Henry, Lewis, and Franklin.

In his career as a business man Mr. Stransky has displayed good financial talent, indomitable force of will, and great tenacity of purpose. He is an open-hearted, genial man, possessing a vigorous mind and opinions of his own coining. His experience and energy have always been at the disposal of his adopted city, and his name is prominently associated with its government; his fellow-citizens, respecting him as a man, have delighted to honor him by election to the most responsible offices. He served as City Treasurer four years, was at one time Commissioner of Highways, and is now a member of the City Council. He is independent in politics, always casting his vote for whom he judges to be the men best fitted for the office, without regard to his political affiliations.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 968

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