KRESS, PHILLIP. - Few men are more independent than the farmer of Illinois, for the fertile soil of the Prairie State responds readily to their care, and the land has so increased in value that those who are fortunate enough to own any of it are reaping abundant profits. A representative of this class in Sangamon County is Phillip Kress, residing on Section 32, Woodside Township. Mr. Kress was born near New Berlin, Ill., June 26, 1860, a son of Arnold and Rebecca (Williams) Kress. The former was born in Bavaria, Germany, June 17, 1832, while his wife was a native of West Virginia. Arnold Kress came to America in November, 1854, landing in New York City. He came direct to New Berlin, Ill., where his brother, John Kress, had already settled, and the father of these two also came there. William Kress died in Old Berlin,, after the close of the war, and his widow died in 1876. Arnold Kress died February 2, 1911, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery.
Phillip Kress received a good common school education in his native place, and at the same time helped his father on the farm, remaining at home until he was eighteen years old. He has spent his life in farming and understands it thoroughly. In 1896, he began farming for himself on his present farm, which consists of 260 acres of rich land as can be found in this country. Prior to that he had some experience working on a farm for Emil Walner and another for J. H. Drennan, and has always been successful, for he is industrious and earnest in all he undertakes.
Mr. Kress engaged in general farming, as well as stock raising, specializing on cattle and hogs. His premises show the result of his care and attention. For years he has been interested in securing the most improved farm machinery, and his methods are followed by a number of his neighbors. The Kress family has been actively identified with agricultural interests in Sangamon County for many years. Two uncles of Mr. Kress, John and Phillip Kress, were among the early settlers there, while two of his brothers are also farmers, they being Joseph A. and Alfred. These two brothers, with Mr. Kress and two sisters, Mary E. Morrisey, wife of Patrick Morrisey, of Bates, Ill., and Rebecca J. Morrisey, wife of John Morrisey, are all that remain of the nine children born to their parents.
The marriage of Mr. Kress occurred at New Berlin, Ill., January 25, 1888, being solemnized by the Rev. Father Mohr to Mary E. Gorey, daughter of Patrick and Margaret Gorey, the former born in 1838 and the latter March 23, 1843. They were natives of Ireland who came to Springfield in the fifties. Mr. Gorey died February 26, 1898, but the mother survives, residing at Chatham, Ill., aged sixty-seven years. One son has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kress, William Charles.
Mr. Kress is a member of the order of Owls, No. 1191, of Springfield, and is interested in its work. The Roman Catholic Church holds his membership, and he is connected with Immaculate Conception Parish, of Springfield. In politics he is a Democrat, being elected School Director in 1901, and serving six years in his township. He was also elected Collector of Woodside Township in 1907, serving in that office for one term. As a public official Mr. Kress proved himself conscientious and conservative, looking towards the interests of his township and doing all he could to conserve the affairs of his constituents in a public spirited manner. He has been eminently successful, but has risen through his own unaided efforts to be one of the prosperous agriculturists of the county.