VENNEMAN, THEODORE, (deceased), achieved prominence as a farmer in Sangamon County. He was born in Prussia April 17, 1842, a son of William and Eliza (Hilkenberch) Venneman, farmers, who lived out their days and died in their native land. Of the four sons and three daughters of the family there are living, besides the subject of this sketch, two sons and one daughter in Prussia. Mr. Venneman was educated in his native land, attending school until he was fourteen years old, and worked for his father on the farm through the days of his youth, while dreaming of America and planning some day to go to that far off country of promise. He landed in New York in 1857, when he was not yet sixteen years of age, and came direct to Springfield, Ill. His first work in the United States was on a farm, but he was variously employed until 1861, when he enlisted at Springfield in Company A, Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he served through the war except during seven awful months during which he saw more fearful service in Libby Prison, at Richmond. He participated in the Battle of Chickamauga, in the operations around Vicksburg, and in numerous other hard-fought battles and minor engagements. Returning to Springfield, after his honorable discharge, he was employed for a time in driving a government wagon to and from Camp Butler. Then, after working a year in a machine shop, he came back to the soil, renting a farm north of Springfield. It was not long, however, before he moved to Christian County, Ill., where he carried on farming three years. Then, returning to Sangamon County, he farmed successfully until his death, which occurred January 4, 1907. His family removed to Buffalo, where the home is yet maintained. Besides a farm in Southern Illinois, his widow owns the town home and considerable other village property, the former amounting to 160 acres of land.
Mr. Venneman was a Roman Catholic and the surviving members of his family belong to St. Joseph's Catholic church of Buffalo, Ill. He was long an enthusiastic Grand Army man. His marriage took place at Springfield, Ill., October 24, 1865, when he was united with Catharine Mathies, born in Bavaria, May 18, 1840, daughter of Valentine Mathies, who brought his family to America in 1848, sailing from Havre, France, and landing fifty-five days later at New Orleans, after a voyage of much discomfort and peril. Mr. Mathies, a cabinet-maker by trade, settled at Centerville, St. Clair County, Ill., where his wife died in 1849 and he, in 1854. After her father's death Mrs. Venneman lived for a short time at Belleville, Ill., whence she removed to Springfield with her brothers Leonard and Valentine. She has a sister in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Venneman had nine children, seven of whom survive: Leonard, the eldest, is a farmer in Sangamon County; Johanna is the wife of Maurice Madden, a farmer of Iowa; Henry lives on the old Venneman home farm; Catharine is the wife of William Mulcahy, who is farming west of Springfield; Elizabeth married Joseph Costello, a Sangamon County farmer; Sister Frances is a nun in Charity Hospital, New Orleans, La.; Anna is a member of her mother's household. Mrs. Venneman rejoices in twenty grandchildren.