genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
PHILIP B. KEMMERER, who is now living a retired life in Assumption, is one of the honored early settlers of the county, who dates his residence here from April, 1857. He is recognized as one of the enterprising and substantial men of the community and this work would be incomplete without a record of his life.

A native of Ohio, he was born in Fairfield County January 16, 1826. His father, Joseph Kemmerer, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1796, while the grandfather, Philip Kemmerer, was also a native of the Keystone State. John Kemmerer, the great-grandfather, was a native of Scotland, and was one of the Huguenots who came to America with William Penn.

Philip Kemmerer served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. In 1801 he removed with his family to Ohio, locating in the forests of Fairfield County, near Lancaster, where he cleared and opened up a farm.

The father of our subject was there reared to manhood and married Siloma Bowser, a native of Switzerland, who came to the New World when a child of two years with her father, John Jacob Bowser, a pioneer of Fairfield County of 1812.

After his marriage Mr. Kemmerer located upon a part of his father's farm, which he purchased, and began its development and improvement, for it was then wild land. There he reared his family and spent his remaining days, dying at the age of fifty-four years, on the 1st of September, 1847.

The family numbered six sons and four daughters, all of whom grew to mature years. The eldest brother, Emanuel, however, died in 1845, when a young man studying for the ministry. The survivors of the family are Philip B., of this sketch; John, who is now living in Assumption; Mrs. John Harper, of Shelby County, Ill.; and Mrs. P. L. Myers, of Assumption.

The subject of this sketch, who was the fourth in order of birth, grew to manhood in Fairfield County, Ohio, and in the common schools acquired his education. At the age of eighteen he began teaching, and while following that profession also pursued a course of study. He taught in Ohio for eleven years and in Illinois for two years.

In 1855 he came to Christian County and purchased two hundred acres of land, which he still owns, but he did not make a permanent location until 1857. At that time he settled on land in Assumption Township, and devoted his time and attention to its cultivation, he continued agricultural pursuits until 1870, when he rented his land and came to Assumption. He had made all necessary improvements upon his place, had erected a good residence and outbuildings, and in fact had made his place one of the model farms of the county.

On the 13th of January, 1876, our subject married Miss Sarah A. Kemmerer, a daughter of Martin and Sarah Kemmerer, of Allentown, Pa., where the wedding was celebrated. The lady was born in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pa., and was there educated. Mr. and Mrs. Kemmerer have always made their home in this community.

In politics, our subject has been a Democrat since casting his first Presidential vote for Franklin Pierce in 1852. He has taken quite an active part in local politics, was elected the first Assessor of Assumption in 1872, was re-elected and served for four consecutive years. He was then elected Justice of the Peace and is now serving his second term as Police Magistrate. He has frequently served as delegate to the conventions of his party. Since coming to Assumption he has lived a retired life, yet has improved fourteen residence properties in the village. He now owns about one thousand acres of land, two hundred and sixty-three acres in one farm in Clay County, and seven hundred and thirty-two acres in Assumption Township, divided into four well-improved and highly cultivated farms.

He is one of the industrious and successful business men of the county. Himself and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he belongs to Brownwell Lodge No. 451, A. F. & A. M. His public duties have been discharged with a promptness and fidelity that have won him the commendation of all concerned.

For thirty-six long years he has been a resident of Christian County and has witnessed its growth and development. He is well known throughout its borders and is a man of upright character and worth, who in connection with his estimable wife holds an enviable position in the regard of their many friends.


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