KESSLER, CHARLES W. - Sangamon County contains the names of some of the bravest pioneers the State ever knew. These hardy forerunners of civilization braved the dangers and hardships of frontier life, and by hard work and thrift turned their prairie holdings into valuable farms. The Kesslers came here at a very early date, and one of their representatives, Charles W. Kessler, of Pawnee, is one of the worthy and respected residents of the county. He was born in Auburn, Ill., December 30, 1862, being a son of Perry H. and Angie E. (Hill) Kessler. The family originated in Germany, whence representatives came to the United States, locating in Virginia, where Mr. Kessler's grandfather was born. He migrated to Sangamon County at an early day, dying here, as did his wife, the latter passing away in 1870. Grandfather Hill was born in Tennessee, and he, too, was a pioneer of Illinois and an earnest worker in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Both he and his wife died in Fayette County, Ill.
Perry H. Kessler was born on Sugar Creek, August 30, 1832, while his wife was born in Eastern Tennessee. Until 1873 Perry H. Kessler farmed in Sangamon County, but in that year moved to Bates County, Mo., and from there in the spring of 1883, to Kansas, where his death occurred in 1888. His widow survived him until February 15, 1904, when she passed away in Kansas City, Mo. There were five children in their family, those living being: Charles; Belle, married John Bennett, of Linn County, Kan., issue, John and Leliah; and Maggie, married Enoch Allen, of Kansas City, Mo., issue, Lucile and Fern; while those who died are Alice and Freddie.
After attending the district school in both Sangamon and Bates Counties, Mr. Kessler helped his father until nineteen years old, when he began learning the blacksmith trade, at which he has since worked. He followed it for a year in Kansas City, then went to Linn County, Kan., but after the death of his father, in 1889, returned to Kansas City, where he found employment in a blacksmith shop, eventually buying out the proprietor. He continued to operate this business until March 12, 1894, when he returned to Sangamon County, locating in Pawnee, where he erected a shop. Since then he has conducted it, and owns one of the best equipped establishments of its kind in his township. During the time he has resided in Pawnee, Mr. Kessler has become a man of considerable prominence. He served as President of the Village Board, and is now one of its Trustees, being elected on the Republican ticket. He has always been in favor of local option, and is a strong temperance man, whose influence for good is felt wherever it is exerted. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen, serving as Counsel of Lodge No. 518 of Pawnee. Mr. Kessler is a Mason, and has served as W.M., S.W., J.W., Secretary, and is now Treasurer. He holds a commission as Grand Lecturer in Illinois. He is also a member of the Eastern Star and Royal Neighbors. A consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, he is active in his efforts to promote its good work and very liberal in his contributions to it.
The marriage of Mr. Kessler occurred in Pawnee to Minnie Fichthorn, born in Indiana, February 20, 1869, a daughter of Daniel and Jennie (McClure) Fichthorn. The father was born in Pennsylvania while his wife was a native of Indiana. The Fichthorn family originated in Pennsylvania and there Mrs. Fichthorn's grandparents both died. The McClure family came from Virginia to Indiana and thence to Sangamon County where they died. After a short residence in Indiana, Mr. and Mrs. Fichthorn moved to Bremer County, Iowa, and thence to Minnesota, where they reside, Mr. Fichthorn being a printer. They had two children, Mrs. Kessler, and one who died at the age of twelve years. Mr. and Mrs. Kessler lost their only child at birth. While Mr. Kessler is not the oldest resident of Pawnee, he is one of the most prominent, and certainly one who exerts an influence for good. An earnest Christian, he seeks to bring the others a realization of the peace and happiness to be found in the right faith. Upright in business, reliable in every relation, strictly honorable in politics, Mr. Kessler is a model citizen and a thoroughly good man, who has the confidence of all who know him.