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

Page 1593

JOHN P. STEIL - John P. Steil, now deceased, was long active in business life in Sangamon county and while he never sought to figure before the public in any way, he belonged to that class of citizens who faithfully performed each daily duty and continued as active factors in commercial or industrial activity and thus promoted communities. He arrived in Springfield in 1864 and after working as a common laborer for a few years, during which time he carefully saved his money, he turned his attention to farming, making a judicious investment in a tract of land.

A native of Germany, Mr. Steil was born on the 2d of August, 1835, a son of Mr. And Mrs. Jacob Steil, who spent their entire lives in that country. The subject of this review was the only one of the family that ever came to America. He passed the days of his boyhood and youth in his native country, and when about twenty-nine years of age determined to seek his home in the new world, wishing to test the favorable reports which he had heard concerning America and its opportunities. Accordingly he severed the ties that bound him to his native land and in 1864 sailed for New York city. On landing there he at once proceeded to Buffalo, New York, where he worked as a laborer for two months and then came to Springfield. In the city he was employed in various ways until the time of his marriage, when he purchased a farm in Cartwright township, Sangamon county, and there carried on agricultural pursuits for three years. He then sold that property and purchased a tract of land near Bradford Station, where he continued to engaged in general agricultural pursuits for five years. Again selling out he took up his abode in Springfield, where he engaged in teaming for a few years, after which he secured a good position in the Wabash Railroad car shops, being retained in that service up to the time of his death.

On the 24th of October, 1867, Mr. Steil was married to Miss Mary Paulus, also a native of Germany, born June 21, 1848, a daughter of Henry and Mary (Trosch) Paulus, who spent their entire lives in Germany. Mr. And Mrs. Steil became the parents of eleven children: Maggie, who is now the wife of Joseph Rodems, of Jacksonville, Illinois; John P., who resides with his mother and is engaged in the retail grocery business; Mary, the wife of Henry Preusing, of California; Lena, who is living in Jacksonville, Illinois; Matthew and Lizzie, at home; Annie, the wife of Jacob Gardner, of Erie, Pennsylvania; Fred, Frank and Paul, all at home; and Joseph who died at the age of six years, two months and five days. The death of Mr. Steil occurred on the 21st of July, 1897. Both he and his wife were members of the Sacred Heart German Catholic church of Springfield and he gave his political allegiance to the Democracy. There is in his life history nothing that would attract a reader in search of a sensational chapter, for his career was characterized by steady perseverance, and year by year he worked on, saved from his income such a sum as he could, and at the end of his earthly career he left his wife in comfortable circumstances. She owns a nice residence at No. 1028 South Eleventh street, and she has built a store on an adjoining lot and established her son in a grocery business in which he is now securing a large trade.

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