Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

J. W. LEDERBRAND. - J. W. Lederbrand, whose excellent business ability, keen foresight and executive force have been the salient features in bringing him success, now resides in Rochester township, where he has valuable property interests. He was born at Crow's Mill, in Sangamon county, July 6, 1864, and is a son of Henry and Christina (Colstead) Lederbrand, both of whom were natives of Berlin, Germany. They crossed the Atlantic to America in 1850 and located in Cincinnati, Ohio, whence they came to Cotton Hill township, Sangamon county, in 1851. They took up their abode on the George Brunk place, which constituted a tract of twenty acres of timber land. This Mr. Lederbrand cleared and sold his wood to Abraham Lincoln and other residents of Springfield. He soon saved enough money to buy fifteen acres of land, which he located at Crow's Mill, in Ball township, and as his financial resources increased he kept adding to this farm from time to time until he was the owner of two hundred and twenty-six acres of valuable land at the time of his death, which occurred in 1898. His wife would often help him in the field and would go to Springfield and sell berries while he sold wood. He did not owe a single cent at the time of his demise, which occurred when he was seventy-seven years of age, and his life record is certainly one well worthy of emulation and proves the power of honesty and industry in all active affairs of this world. His wife passed away in September, 1878, when fifty-six years of age, and in 1880 he was again married, his second union being with Miss Bertha Olsen, of Springfield. By his first marriage he had eleven children, nine of whom are yet living, while of the eight children born of the second marriage six are yet living. His second wife still survives him and resides in Cotton Hill township.

J. W. Lederbrand received but limited educational privileges, attending school only between the ages of six and eight years. He then went to work on his father's place and remained at home until fourteen years of age, when he ran away intended to inflict upon him. He secured work as a farm hand in the neighborhood and was employed in that manner until seventeen years of age, when his father offered him twenty dollars per month if he would return and work on the old homestead. He decided to accept this offer and remained with his father until his marriage which important event in his life occurred on the 2d of January, 1883, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Ellen Carey, of Cotton Hill township, Sangamon County, who was born in Ohio, November 1, 1864, and was brought to this county in her infancy by her parents, who died on the old family homestead in Cotton Hill township.

Mr. Lederbrand engaged in chopping wood at seventy-five cents per cord in order to buy the first dishes used in his little home. His wife earned the money to buy them a bed and bed clothing and a few other necessary household equipments by working by the week before her marriage and a friend went his security, so that Mr. Lederbrand could buy a stove, chairs and other needful household articles at an auction. Three children have been born of this union: Lester, whose birth occurred March 7, 1891; Ernest, born January 9, 1896; and A. R., who died when six months old.

Mr. Lederbrand possesses a natural propensity for trading and this he has turned to good account in his business career. After his marriage he rented a small tract of land and began trading horses, making as often as seventeen trades in a single day. He made some money out of his first lease of land, and then he leased it back to the owner for a bonus, because the latter objected to his having a country dance on his place. Mr. Lederbrand then secured another farm and continued the buying and trading of stock until he was in very comfortable circumstances. In 1893, however, he lost everything that he had and found himself thirteen thousand dollars in debt. A friend insisted on loaning him five hundred dollars and with this he got a new start. Prosperity has attended his efforts and he is now well to do. At the present writing he is interested with Bruce Highmore in a business in Rochester. He also owns three hundred and sixty acres of land, included within the boundaries of three farms, and he has an interest in town lots and live stock and also has sold mortgages on farming property. His income from his rentals alone amounts to fifteen hundred dollars yearly. Mr. Lederbrand is a very industrious man, of keen insight into business affairs, and is also of a jovial nature, good hearted, generous and kindly. His excellent business capacity and his personal traits of character have won him the confidence, respect and warm friendship of many with whom he has been associated.

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