Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
John Fetter, devoting his time and energies to farming and stock-raising on section 4, Clear Lake township, has since the 31st of March, 1855, resided in this county. He was at that time a young man of twenty years, his birth having occurred in Wurtemberg, Germany October 25, 1835. His father, John Fetter, Sr., was born and reared in Wurtemberg and was a weaver by trade. He also engaged to some extent in farming and he reared his family and spent his entire life in the fatherland. It was there that John Fetter remained through the period of his boyhood and youth and in 1853, attracted by the business possibilities of the new world, he crossed the Atlantic to New York. Soon afterward, however, he started westward and spent sometime in Michigan and in Ohio, working at farm labor or at anything that would yield him an honest living. In 1855 he arrived in Sangamon county and for several years was employed by the month as a farm laborer.
Mr. Fetter manifested his loyalty to his adopted country when in 1862 he donned the blue uniform of the nation and enlisted as a defender of the Union cause in Company B, One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. With his command he went south and participated in the battles of Champion Hills, Magnolia Hill, Black River, Jackson and the siege of Vicksburg. He was also in the Red River expedition and was taken prisoner at Mansfield, Louisiana, after which he was incarcerated at Fort Tyler, Texas, where he remained until the close of the war. He was then sent to New Orleans and afterward proceeded northward to St. Louis, thence to Springfield, where he was mustered out, receiving an honorable discharge at Camp Butler in Springfield in June, 1865. He lost no time through illness, but was always found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the old flag and the cause it represented. After the war he worked for a year by the month as a farmhand and then purchased an interest in a sawmill and engaged in the manufacture of native lumber for eighteen years. This venture proved a profitable one and with the proceeds of his labor he purchased some land, first becoming owner of one hundred and fifty-three acres of timber land, which he cleared, converting the trees into lumber. He built upon the place and opened up a farm and from time to time he has extended its boundaries until it now comprises three hundred acres on section 4 in Clear Lake and Williamsville townships. This is a well improved property on which are two sets of farm buildings. He also owns several tracts of land in Missouri, including a farm of one hundred and seventy-two acres in Benton county.
In 1869 in Williamsville Mr. Fetter was married to Miss Carrie Copp, who was born in Germany, but was reared in Missouri. They had two children: George C., who is now married and follows farming in Sangamon county, and Mary Ann, deceased. The son supplemented his public school education by a course in the Springfield Business College and then engaged in clerking for the Riverton Coal Company, serving as head clerk for two years. On the expiration of that period he resigned and returned to the farm. He married Birdie Smith, of Riverton, and they are well known young people of their locality. They have three children: John, Arthur and George. John Fetter is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge at Riverton, in which he has filled all the chairs, and he is now president of the Masonic Hall Association, having occupied the position for the past six years. He is a past high priest of Springfield Chapter, R.A.M., and he also belongs to the Knight Templar Commandery.
Politically John Fetter is a stanch Democrat where national issues are involved. The honors and emoluments of office, however, have had not attraction for him. He was reared in the Lutheran church, while his wife was a member of the Catholic church. Fraternally he is a Master Mason, his membership being with the lodge at Riverton. During almost half a century he has been a resident of this county and is one of its honored and respected agriculturists, who has allied his interests with the community and has put forth effective effort in behalf of public progress and improvement.