SANER, BENEDICT. - Contracting and building operations assume important proportions in a city like Springfield, and those conducting them reap a large benefit provided their work is honest and they live up to their contracts. One of the men for many years associated with these lines of endeavor is Benedict Saner, born in Switzerland, January 23, 1826, a son of John and Sallie (Horner) Saner, both born in the same country. The father was owner of a saw mill, but came to America in 1852, locating near Utica, in New York State, to be with his son, Benedict, who had come a year before. After a short stay he returned to Switzerland, where he died, but his widow survived him some years, finally passing away in Sangamon County. There were four sons and three daughters in the family, but Benedict Saner is the only survivor. A brother, Edward, died in Springfield February 8, 1911, at the age of eighty-one years.
Benedict Saner lived in New York State ten years, and then in 1862 came to Springfield. He had received a good education in his own land and learned the saw mill business from his father. When only eighteen years old he entered the regular army and was stationed at Naples for four years, and witn4essed many marvelous events, including the eruption of Vesuvius. After coming to Springfield he learned the trade of plastering with a brother-in-law, and evolved into a contract plasterer, continuing in this line of business until his retirement a few years since. He has held and carried out contracts on some of the most important buildings in Springfield, including the first Leland Hotel.
Before leaving Switzerland, in 1849, Mr. Saner was married to Johanna Saner, a school mate but no relation, and a native of Switzerland, whose parents remained in their native land, where they died. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Saner, six sons and three daughters. Two were born before the family emigration. Those living are: Barbara, who keeps house for her father; Carried, wife of Matthias Kramer; Mrs. Mary Reece of LeRoy, Ill.; Albert and Charles J., plasterers, who live in Springfield. There are thirteen grandchildren in the family, as well as three great grandchildren.
Mr. Saner is a Roman Catholic, belonging to the Church of the Sacred Heart, and is a member of St. Vincent's Society. In politics he is a Democrat. He is one of the oldest residents of Springfield. He was personally acquainted with Mr. Lincoln and remembers that great man reverently and tenderly. The pleasant family home at No. 516 South Eleventh Street has been the residence of Mr. Saner for half a century, and is his own property. He also has other holdings in the city. A man who stands high in the estimation of those who know and love him, he is one of the representative men of this locality, and his recollections of early days are exceedingly entertaining.