VALENTINE NAFFZIGER, Postmaster at Danvers Village, and carrying on a trade in general merchandise, is one of the valuable German citizens of this locality who have contributed so much toward its development and prosperity.
Our subject was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, March 12, 1842, and is the son of Christian and Barbara (Staehly) Naffziger, natives of the same Province, and who are still living, being now residents of Danvers Township. Christian Naffziger was born Jan. 17, 1803, and his wife, Barbara, Jan. 22, 1805.
They emigrated to America in the fall of 1853, and landing in New York City proceeded westward to Chicago, locating in Danvers Township, this county, on the 19th of March, 1854. The father of our subject is a farmer by occupation and the owner of 120 acres of valuable land in Danvers Township. Both parents are members of the Mennonite Church, and Mr. N. is Democratic in politics. He greatly enjoys the political freedom of his adopted country, being a gentleman who enjoys the privilege of expressing his views and maintaining them.
The parental family consisted of ten children, of whom the record is as follows: Elizabeth, Mrs. Steitz, is a resident of St. Louis, Mo.; Catharine married Phillip Klenk, and they live in Seward, Neb.; Peter is a merchant of Stanford, this county; Helena married Mr. H. Naffziger, one of the pioneers of McLean County; Christian is deceased, his wife and daughter live in Princeton, Ill.; Maria died in Germany; Jacob died in Danvers Township; our subject was the eighth in order of birth; John married Miss Mary Imhof, and is living on the home farm; Barbara became the wife of Jacob Brenneman, and lives in Dry Grove Township.
The subject of our sketch remained under the parental roof until he had attained to years of manhood, and on the 28th of February, 1867, was united in marriage with Miss Henrietta Naffziger, the daughter of Frederick and Barbara (Naffziger) Naffziger, natives of Germany, who emigrated to America in 1840, and after a residence of ten years in Ohio removed to Illinois, in 1850. The family consisted of eight children, viz., Augustus, Frederick, Edward, Henrietta, Albert, Julius, Julia, who died in infancy, and Ida, now Mrs. Arthur Hulbert, of Arrowsmith, this county. The wife of our subject was born in Ohio on the 13th of June, 1848.
Mr. Naffziger was reared on his father's farm and received a fair education in the public schools. He remained with his parents until he attained his majority and afterward, for a few months, engaged as clerk for Mr. Abbot, of Danvers.
During the progress of the late war he enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. D, 94th Ill. Vol. Inf. [ed., 94th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a/k/a the “McLean Regiment”], and when this regiment was mustered out was transferred to the 37th [ed., 37th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, nicknamed the “Fremont Rifles” and the “Illinois Greyhounds”]and promoted Corporal. He participated in all of the general engagements around Mobile, Ala., and Ft. Morgan [ed., Passing of Forst Morgan and Gaines], and served along the Rio Grande River for several months.
In July, 1864, his brigade reshipped to New Orleans; he was actively engaged at the siege and capture of Ft. Morgan, Mobile [ed., Passing of Forst Morgan and Gaines] and Spanish Fort, and received his honorable discharge at Huston, Tex. [ed., Houston, Tex.], on the 10th of May, 1866.
After returning from the army he located in Dry Grove Township, and engaged in farming. He emigrated to Kansas in 1870, and returned to Danvers in 1876, and in 1877 established his present business, in which he has met with marked success, having now the largest store in the village.
In 1880 he erected the fine building which he now occupies, and five years later was appointed Postmaster. This position he is filling with credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned. He is a worthy member of the Mennonite Church, a systematic business man, and in politics a Democrat, and is a member of Post No. 146, G. A. R. at Bloomington, Ill.
The household circle of our subject was completed by the birth of eight children, of whom seven are now living: Edwin, Assistant Postmaster, was (in 1886) eighteen years old; Ida, sixteen; Otto, fourteen; Clara, deceased; Theodore is nine years old; Emma, seven; Helena, five, and Charles, one year old.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 312. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.