Prominent among the men of Noble township, Richland county, who have
attained a competence through their individual efforts is John Bower, fruit
grower and farmer. Despite his years, for he is nearing the sixty-ninth
milestone, Mr. Bower is an active man, and gives close personal attention to
his business. He has spent almost a half a century in the community in which
he now resides, and holds a high place in the estimation of his neighbors,
who know him as a man of probity and integrity. He is of German parentage.
Mr. Bower was born in Ross county, Ohio, April 10, 1840, and came to Richland county, Illinois, in March, 1865. His parents, Robert and Geneva Bower, were born in Germany. For seven years the father of the subject served in the German army, and was with Blucher in the famous battles of Leipsic and Waterloo. He was wounded twice in these engagements, receiving a sabre thrust and a bullet in the leg. He was the father of eleven children, John being the tenth in the order or birth.
John Bower was married twice, his first wife being Catherine Martin, daughter of Joseph Martin, of Clermont county, Ohio. This alliance was contracted January 21, 1864, and as a result thereof the following children were born: Clara, died in infancy; Flora is a missionary in Forida; Louis J., a resident of British Columbia; Ella is in St. Louis; Charles lives with his parents. Mr. Bower's first wife died May 9, 1880. It was two years later when the subject took unto himself a second help-mate in the person of Jemima Hammet, daughter of William and Rebecca Hammet, who came to Olney township from Clermont county, Ohio, with her parents when a little girl. Five children were the fruits of this union, two of them dying in infancy. Of the survivors Bessie is a teacher at Cerro Gordo, Piatt county, Illinois, while Hazel and Paul are at home.
In his early youth Mr. Bower attended the country schools, and when he had completed his course there, evinced such a great desire to continue his studies that one of his brothers loaned him sufficient money to enable him to attend college in Missouri, where he remained for some time. The subject learned the trade of stone cutting, but finally abandoned the business for fruit growing and farming. His orchard of forty acres is conceded to be one of the finest and most productive in Noble township, and besides this he owns a well cultivated lands in Noble. Preston and Olney townships, consisting in all of about two hundred and forty-six acres. It will be seen from this that Mr. Bower is well supplied with this world's good which are the fruits of a life of industry.
Mr. Bower is not a member of any religious denomination or fraternal organization, but he is a man of unimpeachable character, who has done much toward advancing the business interests of Noble township, being always ready and willing to contribute his share toward insuring the success of any project that has for its purpose the weal and welfare of that section of Richland county. Mr. Bower is a Democrat, but in his political belief is neither "hide-bound" nor partisan, always giving his franchise to men whom he believes will best subserve the interests of the people.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 474-476.