Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data and images may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or for other presentation without express permission by the contributor(s).

By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

ERNST HERLAN - Business interests of Divernon have largely been promoted through the energy and activity of Ernst Herlan, who is numbered among the most progressive, enterprising and far-sighted men of Divernon and his part of the county. In his early manhood he had no capital nor could he place his dependence upon the assistance of influential or wealthy friends. He met life's battles alone, and he has achieved the victory single-handed. Today he is successfully engaged in contracting and building in Divernon, is also operating a planing mill and conducting a lumber yard and hardware business and the extent and importance of his interests have made him one of the prosperous men of his community.

Mr. Herlan was born in Baden, Germany, September 12, 1862, a son of Henry and Christena (Hormung) Herlan, both natives of Germany, the former born in Baden. He was a shoemaker and followed that trade throughout his active business career. Their son Ernst was the youngest of seven children and he now has a brother, Gustaff, and a sister, Paulina, who are yet living.

Ernst Herlan was reared in his native country, where he enjoyed good school advantages in his native tongue, but his knowledge of English has been entirely self-acquired. He served a two and a half years' apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade in Baden and in 1880 he emigrated to America, joining an uncle in Rochester township, this county. He began work on a farm, being thus employed for four years, during which time he also worked to a limited extent at carpentering. In 1884 he returned to his native country, being on the Atlantic on his twenty-second birthday. He visited his old home and other points of interest in the fatherland and in the fall of the same year came again to the new world. While he still has a love for Germany as the land of his birth and of his people, his strongest attachment is for the land of his adoption, which has offered to him the business opportunities which have enabled him to win a place among the substantial citizens of the community in which he makes his home. About 1888 he came to Divernon, where he has since been actively engaged in contracting and building for fifteen years. He employs a number of men throughout the busy season and has erected many business blocks and residences and public buildings, together with a large number of dwellings and barns in the adjacent farming districts. His patronage in this line exceeds that of any other contractor of the district. He has built four residences of his own in Divernon, and his efforts have been of great value in the improvement of the town. Since 1896 he has been engaged in the lumber and hardware business. He has a good lumber yard and planing mill and also a large stock of hardware and in all branches of his business he is meeting with prosperity.

On the 29th of August, 1893, Mr. Herlan was married to Miss Caroline Reichert, who was born in Illinois, a daughter of Benedict Reichert, of German birth. They have three living children - Benedict E., Christena L. and Frederick W., and their daughter Florence died at the age of eighteen months. Mrs. Herlan is a member of the Presbyterian church and Mr. Herlan's membership relations are with the Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of Divernon. He was a member of the town board for one term, but he never sought or desired office, but keeps well informed on the issues of the day, as every true American citizen should do, and gives his support to the Republican party. He has become an American citizen in thought, purpose and intent, loyal to the best interest of town, state and nation. He has been active in the progress, development and substantial upbuilding of one of the villages of central Illinois, and his worth in community affairs is widely acknowledged. Making the most of his opportunities and creating others where none existed, he has in his useful and honorable career won a very gratifying position among the most energetic and successful men of Divernon.

Return to 1904 Biographies Index
Return to Sangamon County ILGenWeb