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.
PETER MICHELS, who is now living a retired life in Taylorville, was born December 26, 1824, in Polch, in the Rhenish province of Prussia, between the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. His brother Anthony came to America in 1843 and established himself in business as a carpenter in Taylorville. Nine years later Peter followed him to the New World, and on the 25th of May, 1852, arrived in Springfield. He at once came to Taylorville, where he joined his brother.

He had been reared to agricultural pursuits, but for two years he worked with his brother at the carpenter's trade and also engaged in well-digging. Thomas Cheney, who could obtain no one to dig a well, finally asked Mr. Michels to perform the task. Our subject consented to undertake it, and finding it to be a paying business continued it for fifteen years.

Mr. Michels had about $300 when he came to this county, which he invested in one hundred and twenty acres of land northwest of the city. While engaged in well-digging he made from $6 to $14 per day, and with the capital he acquired he also made other purchases of real estate. He erected a business house on the north side of the square, now used as a saloon, and also the store occupied by Allman's meat-market. Altogether he has four dwellings and two business houses in

His own residence, a fine brick structure, is in the midst of a half-block of ground. Mr. Michels also has two hundred acres of land in May Township, and sixty acres of timber-land. On the 25th of May, 1852, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Weiler, who was reared in the same locality as her husband, their homes being only two miles apart, and on the same vessel, the "Eastern Queen," crossed the Atlantic with him.

They sailed from Havre, France, and after twenty-six days reached the shores of the New World. Their marriage was celebrated the day after their arrival in
Springfield. Mrs. Michels was born near Coblentz [ed., probably Koblenz], June 27, 1831, and by her marriage has become the mother of five children, who are yet living. Amelia Louise is now the wife of Anthony Woggetzer, of Taylorville, by whom she has five children; Margaret is the wife of Sylvester Patterson, of Taylorville, and they have one child; William Sebastian Julius, County Surveyor of Christian County and a resident of Taylorville, married Miss Nellie Sheehan, and they have one child; Katie was educated in the public schools and in St. Ursuline's Convent of Springfield [ed., Springfield Ursuline Convent of St. Joseph]; and Joseph completes the family. They also lost six children in early childhood.

Mr. Michels is a stalwart
Democrat in politics and a warm supporter of President Cleveland. He and his wife are faithful members of the Catholic Church and have reared their children under its auspices. Mr. Michels need never regret his emigration to America, for here he has found a comfortable home, and his labors have been blessed with a handsome competence.


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