Col. Samuel HESS, a veteran of two
wars and a resident of Vienna, was born in Union County, Ill., December
24, 1823. He was reared in the county of his birth, and at the age of
fourteen he commenced to learn the tailor's trade. After serving at
this trade seven years he opened a shop of his own in Marion and
conducted a business there a short time. In 1844 he removed to Vienna
and there established himself in business. In 1846 he enlisted in Capt.
Hacker's company for the Mexican War, and went by way of Texas to
Mexico. He participated in the battle of Buena Vista. At the expiration
of his term of service he returned to Vienna and followed his trade
until 1849, when he went to California, starting from Jonesboro April
16 with a party of sixteen, making the entire journey overland with
horses. At that time there were no white settlements between the
Missouri River and San Francisco
except the Mormons at Salt Lake. Buffaloes were plentiful and roamed at
will over the plains, and the party had all the buffalo meat they could
eat. In August, they arrived in Weaverville.
Col. Hess was engaged in mining
about twelve months while in California, then started on his return
home by the way of the Isthmus of Panama. Upon reaching home he resumed
his trade as a tailor and soon afterward engaged in the mercantile
business. He was thus engaged when the War of the Rebellion began, and
leaving his business with his partner he assisted in raising the
Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, of which he was commissioned Major. The
regiment was mustered into the service of the United States in
February, 1862, and he was promoted to be Lieutenant-Colonel. He had
command of the regiment until 1863, when he resigned and returned to
Vienna, where he was engaged in various kinds of business for some
years. During the past few years he has been engaged in farming.
In 1847, Col. Hess married Augusta
M. Chapman, who was born in Vienna, Johnson County, and was a daughter
of Samuel J. and Mary Chapman. Col. and Mrs. Hess have eight children,
viz: Jerome, William, Alexander, Frank, Augusta, Herbert, George and
Grant. Co1. Hess is a member of Vienna Post No. 221, G. A. R.; of
Vienna Lodge No. 150, A. F. & A. M.; and of Vienna Chapter No.
67, R. A. M.