Lee County Biography

Jacob Rosenkrans

Viola Twp.



Jacob Rosenkrans came to Lee County Ill. many years ago in the full flush and vigor of early manhood, with the intention of building a home for himself. His means were limited, and in order to buy a farm, which was the height of his ambition, he had to earn money to purchase the land. He accomplished his purpose, and today is one of the substantial far­mers of Viola Township.

Mr. Rosenkrans was born in the town of Wallpack, Sussex County, N. J., October 16, 1831. His father, Avert (Everett) Rosenkrans, was also a native of that State, and was a son of Col. Benjamin Rosenkrans, who is thought to bnve been born in the same town as our subject, the date of his birth March 31, 1770. He had five brothers whose names were Levi, Simeon, Jacob, Aleck and John. Col. Rosenkmns was reared on a farm, and farming was his life-long occupation. He owned a large tract of land in Sussex County, N. J., and spent his last years there. At his death his body was interred in the Presbyterian Churchyard in Sandiston, that county. He was Colonel of a regiment during the War of 1812, and was a brave and fearless officer. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Schoonover, and her death also occurred on the old homestead in Wallpack. They had a family of fourteen children, namely: Rachel, John, Roanna, Nicholas, Avert, Levi, Maria, Abraham, Elijah, Sarah, Amanda, Lucinda, Anson and Margaret. Anson died in infancy.

Avert Rosenkrans was reared in the paternal home, early gained a good insight into farming, and when be arrived at years of discretion adopted agriculture as his life-calling. He bought a farm in Wallpack, which he occupied many years and then selling it, bought a home in the same township, and retiring to it to enjoy his ample income, spent his remaining days therein. He was twice married, his first wife, whose maiden name was Mary Smith, dying in 1834 in Wallpack, where she spent her entire life. She left three children; our subject, Benjamin and Phebe. Benjamin was a successful farmer of Sussex county, N. J., owning a well-improved farm of two hundred and forty acres, and at his death, in 1875 left a wife and two children: Philip and Eugene. Phebe married John Swartwood, a mechanic residing in Bushkill, Pa.

When three years old our subject was orphaned by the death of his mother and was reared by his stepmother, who gave him good care in his childhood. He had nine half-brothers and sisters, namely: Martin, a successful lawyer of Newton, N. J.; John, who operates the old homestead of two hundred and eighty acres; Seeley, who is a merchant at East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Sarah, Manda, Maria, Alice, Aquilla, and Celestia, all of whom are married and reside in New Jersey with the exception of Maria, whose home is in Dakota.

In much the usual manner of farmer lads, Jacob Rosenkrans passed his childhood in attendance at the district school and doing chores on the farm. He remained at home and aided his father in the cultivation of the farm until 1856. He had heard much of the great Prairie State and the many ad­vantages offered by its fertile soil to the active young farmer, and accordingly in the year above mentioned he came hither when the country was still in the hands of the pioueers. Not having money enough to invest in land he worked on a farm by the month for a time, and, was finally enabled to buy eighty acres of desirable land, which is now included in his present farm. He has added to his original purchase at different times, and now has two hundred and eighty acres of as product­ive farming land as lies in Viola Township. Its fields are admirably tilled and the improvements on the place are of a substantial and durable order.

The marriage of our subject with Miss Martha Stevens was solemnized February 26, 1861, and to her helpfulness, wise counciI and devotion to household interests, he attributes much of his good fortune in life. They have two children living, Mary and Frank. The latter is a successful teacher in the public schools. Mary is a consis­tent member of the United Brethren Church. Mrs. Rosenkrans is a native of Wayne County, Pa., born October 7, 1830, and is a sister of N. D. Stevens, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Our subject and his amiable wife are people of high character, possessiug many pleas ant personal attributes and none in their commu­nity are more worthy of esteem than they.

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