Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
BIESENTHAL, FRED (deceased) - The profession of farming, as now practiced by the intelligent and industrious agriculturist, is as different from the farming of several decades ago, as could be imagined. The day of the work hardened, horny-handed farmer has past. In these days we see the agriculturist who used scientific methods retire in time to spend the remaining years of his life in enjoyment of a well-earned competence. The late Fred Biesenthal, for many years a resident of Sangamon County, belonged to the new order of farmers, and in addition had the distinction of being a self-made man. Born in 1844, in Germany, he was a son of Frederick and Sophia Biesenthal, natives of the Fatherland.
Mr. Biesenthal's mother passed away in Germany when he was still a small lad, and he was but eighteen years old when he came to America to try to win his fortune. He had secured a public school education in his native country and on coming to Springfield, he secured a position with the Bunn Bank, with which he was associated until 1870. At this time, deciding that there was better future for him in farming, he took up a tract of land in Sangamon County, and subsequently he purchased a farm near Curran, which he continued to operate successfully. He died September 13, 1893. In1895, the family came to Springfield, and Mrs. Biesenthal is now residing in a comfortable home at No. 100 West Edwards street. Mr. Biesenthal was a stanch Democrat all of his life, and he took a great interest in public matters, especially those pertaining to education, serving as Director of the Sangamon County School Board for many years. He showed his public spirit in many ways and was always a leader in movements for the public welfare. His religious faith was that of the German Lutheran Church.
On February 15, 1867, Mr. Biesenthal was united in marriage with Sophie Kuhn, and to this union there were born eleven children, five of whom are living, namely: William born September 22, 1870, who is married and conducting a farm adjoining his mother's farm near Curran; Charles, born November 11, 1868, who is married and engaged in farming north of Springfield; Sophia, born January 11, 880, married to Gus Siebert and residing in Springfield; Louise, born February 2, 1875, died January 8, 1912; Katherine, born December 29, 1882; and Wilhelmena, born February 25, 188, the last two named living with their mother.