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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN HENRY, a worthy representative of the agricultural interests of Jackson County, residing on section 17, Murphysboro Township, is a native of Rheinpfalz, Germany. He was born June 21, 1828, and is a son of Michael and Martha Henry, both of whom died in their native land. The father was a farmer by occupation, and served as a soldier in the French army. He was for nine years in the service under Napoleon Bonaparte.

John Henry remained in his native land until 1848. According to the laws of his country, he was forced to serve in the German army, and for six months was a private in the Ninth Regular Infantry. The Revolution of 1848 then came on, and he joined the rebels. After participating in two battles, he made his escape to France, and thence to America. Landing in New Orleans, he found himself a stranger in a strange land without a dollar. He was dependent entirely upon his own resources, and whatever success he has achieved in life is the result of his own efforts. Going to St. Charles, he engaged in washing glasses at the bar for three years, and then went to St. Louis, and was employed in a brick yard at Camp Spring. He had learned the trade of brick-making in the Old Country, and it now stood him in good stead. After one season spent in St. Louis, he bought produce, which he intended to ship to New Orleans and there sell, but the boat on which he placed his goods was sunk and he lost all that he had.

In 1853, Mr. Henry was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie Shue, who was born in Prussia in 1832. They became the parents of five children: John; Lizzie, now the wife of Charles Miller; Nick, Jacob, and Mary, who now keeps house for her father. The mother of this family was called to her final rest June 24, 1876.

For some time after his marriage, Mr. Henry engaged in marketing in New Orleans, in fact he carried on this business until 1868. During his residence in that city he belonged to the fire department for twenty years, and was assistant foreman. In 1868 he came to Jackson County, Ill., and purchased sixty acres of wild land, which he at once began to clear and improve, transforming the hitherto barren tract into rich and fertile fields, which were made to yield him a good income. In 1876 he began operating a thresher, and did business along that line for seven years. As his financial resources have increased he has extended the boundaries of his farm, until it now comprises one hundred and fifty acres of valuable land, of which one hundred acres are under cultivation. He raises wheat, corn and hay, and also engages in stock-raising. In 1868 he began the culture of grapes with a vineyard of twenty-five vines. He now has fourteen hundred bearing vines, including fourteen fine varieties, and engages in the manufacture of wine. His orchard covers about eight acres, and is planted in winesap, Ben Davis and other apples.

Socially, Mr. Henry is connected with the Odd Fellows’ society. In politics, he and his sons are Democrats, and he has served as Supervisor of his district. He may truly be called a self-made man, for his success has been achieved through his own efforts. He began life in America empty-handed, but has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming the difficulties and obstacles in his path until he now occupies a position of prominence.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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