An honorable retirement from labor in which to enjoy the fruits of former
toil and the enjoyment which life can offer is the fitting reward of a
useful and active career, in which one, through keen discernment
indefatigable labor and honorable methods advanced steadily toward the goal
of prosperity. Such, briefly stated, is the record of Philip Heltman, who is
now living retired in Olney, Richland county, and through his long
connection with agricultural interests he not only carefully conducted his
farm, but so managed its affairs that he acquired thereby a position among
the substantial residents of the community. Moreover he is entitled to
representation in this volume because he was one of the sons of the
Northland who stood by the flag during the days of the rebellion. He came to
this county over a half century ago, and from those early times down to the
present day he has been an interested witness of its development, taking a
just pride in what he has accomplished and the high rank the county has
among her sister counties of the great Prairie state.
Philip Heltman was born in Clermont county, Ohio, December 6, 1834, the son of John and Elizabeth (Weaver) Heltman, natives of Pennsylvania, of German parentage. John Heltman grew up in the old Keystone state and married there. In 1809 he emigrated with his wife and two children to Cincinnati, Ohio, going down the Ohio river in skiffs. He was a distiller and came to Ohio for the purpose of following that business. This was in an early day, and he was obliged to take refuge in a fort in the Miami valley more than once on account of the Indians. He later located on a farm which is now located in Clermont county, Ohio, near the Hamilton county line, where he died at the age of sixty-eight years, his wife having previously passed away in 1840. Our subject is the youngest of fourteen children and the only one living at this writing. He was about fifteen years of age when his father died. He then went to live with an older brother and was reared on a farm in Clermont county, where he attended public school in the winter in an old log schoolhouse, and one term in a frame, but he applied himself and laid a good foundation for an education which has later been added to by home reading and a contact with the world of men.
In February 1857, Mr. Heltman came to Richland county, Illinois, and soon afterward bought over four hundred acres of raw land in Denver township, on which two log cabins had been built. He at once began work on the place and in time made extensive and radical improvements.
When the war between the states broke out, our subject was not long making up his mind to offer his services in behalf of the nation, consequently he enlisted in June, 1861, in Company D, Eleventh Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and after a faithful service was mustered out in Memphis, Tennessee, in August, 1864, and was paid off in St. Louis. His regiment was assigned to the Mississippi, and opened up the same, raising the blockade on Island No. 10. He soon afterward went to Tiptonville by transport, where his regiment took about five thousand prisoners. Later Mr. Heltman was in the siege of Corinth, his regiment forming the left wing of the army in the fighting there. It was later sent against Bragg and Price at Iuka, where the Confederates were defeated. Then came the engagements at Raymond, Mississippi, the Siege of Vicksburg, and during the latter part of the siege this regiment was in front. After the surrender there, the regiment went to Jackson, Mississippi, and captured that place, the subject having charge of the provost guard the first night at Jackson, when the city was taken. It then returned to Vicksburg and soon afterward went up the Red river to Alexandria. After the Red river expedition, it was sent to Memphis where it was mustered out, and from which place our subject went home.
After the war Mr. Heltman engaged in farming and stock raising for many years, making a success in these lines, for he was a man of good judgment in buying and selling stock, and a most careful farmer, besides a hard worker. He improved a good farm in Denver township, which he still owns, consisting of seven hundred and twenty acres, of very productive soil, having been so carefully and skillfully tilled that the land is just as strong today as when he took possession of it. It is well fenced, has an excellent dwelling and outbuildings on it, in fact, everything about the place shows that a man of thrift and energy has had its management in hand.
In October 1874, Mr. Heltman located in Olney, owning one hundred and twenty acres of valuable land just outside the city limits and eight acres within the city limits, on which he lives. He has a beautiful residence where the many friends of the family often gather and always find good cheer and hospitality unstintingly dispersed. All this Mr. Heltman has made unaided, and in a most honorable manner, therefore he deserves the great credit he is given by his friends who are limited only by the circle of his acquaintance.
Mr. Heltman's married life began in 1854 when he was united in the bonds of wedlock with Laura E. Smith, a native of Clermont county, Ohio, the daughter of Orrin Smith. Four children have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Heltman, namely: Georgiana, the wife of William J. Eichin, of Olney, Illinois; Cora is the second child; Mamie is residing in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, Colorado; Hattie is the wife of Benjamin Holscher, of Linton, Indiana.
In politics our subject was a Republican all his life up to 1896, since which time he has voted the Democratic ticket, except in 1904, when he voted the Prohibition ticket. He says he is a Lincoln Republican or a Bryan Democrat - one and the same thing – and he has always taken an active interest in politics. He has served several terms on the Board of County Supervisors from Denver and Olney townships. He is a member of the Protestant Methodist church, as is also his noble wife. His children are members of the Episcopal church.
Mr. Heltman won definite success in life because he persevered in the pursuit of a worthy purpose, gaining thereby a most satisfactory reward. His life is exemplary in every respect, and he has always supported those interests, which are calculated to uplift and benefit humanity, while his own moral worth is deserving of the highest commendation.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 195-197.