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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 BAER, a highly respected farmer residing on section 20, township 3, range 8 west, Monroe County, was born in the province of Hessen, Germany, March 2, 1818, and in the land of his birth spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He was educated in its public schools and there learned the tailor’s trade. In 1838, at the age of twenty years, be came to the United States, landing in Baltimore, Md., whence he went to Louisville, Ky., making the journey in a flatboat from Wheeling. In Louisville he worked at his trade for about two years and then removed to St. Louis. On leaving that city he took up his residence in Belleville, Ill., and later came to Monroe County, where for a time he worked as a farm hand.

In 1840 Mr. Baer’s parents came to America and entered a farm near Lebanon, St. Clair County. Our subject aided in its operation for two years and then came with his father, William Baer, to Monroe County, where the latter entered Government land on Prairie du Round. This was a wood land tract, but the labors of the father and sons cleared it, making of it a good farm, upon which Mr. Baer, Sr., spent his remaining days. In the family were five children, but only two are now living, John and Catherine.

In May, 1847, John Baer enlisted in the Mexican War, in Company B of the St. Louis Legion, under Captain Wachner and Colonel Easton. He continued in the service for eighteen months, and was mustered out in Independence, Mo., in October, 1848. When the war was over, Mr. Baer returned to this county and was given a land grant of one hundred and sixty acres in recognition of his services. He began farming for himself in 1850, and in 1851 chose as a companion and helpmate on life’s journey Miss Barbara Welsch, whose parents were natives of Germany. His farm was a wild and unimproved tract, not a furrow having been turned nor an improvement made thereon, but he at once began clearing it, and in course of time the timber land was transformed into rich and fertile fields. For a number of years he carried on general farming and stock-raising, but his place is now rented.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baer were born thirteen children, twelve of whom are yet living: William, a farmer of Washington; Henry, an agriculturist of Belleville, Ill.; John, who is living in San Francisco; Louisa, wife of John Wicklein; John Jacob; Sophia, wife of John Valentine, of Monroe County; George August and Ernest William, both of whom are farmers of Washington; Catherine Mary, wife of Carl Hartman, a merchant of Burksville; Magdelena, wife of Herbert Burt, of Washington; August, Carl and Carrie, who are still at home.

In politics Mr. Baer is a supporter of Republican principles. For one year he served as Township Supervisor, and for many years has been School Director. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend and he takes an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. He is a member of the Evangelical Church, and is one of the oldest settlers of the township. He can relate many interesting incidents of the days when this was a pioneer settlement, and he lived in true frontier style. His life has been well and worthily passed, and by his own industrious efforts he has acquired the competence which now enables him to live retired.

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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 Monroe County, Illinois family biographies here: Monroe County, Illinois Biographies

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