Michael E. Rapp was born in Wurtenburg, Germany, April 3, 1843, the son
of Leonhart and Margaret (Eberhardt) Rapp, both natives of Germany, where
they were married and where they lived on a farm until 1853, when they
emigrated to the United States, having come across the Atlantic in a sailing
vessel, the voyage requiring fifty days. They did not encounter many storms
on the way, but the slow passage was caused by the absence of winds. They
landed in New York, where they remained a few days when they went to
Buffalo, touching at Albany, Philadelphia and other points on the way,
having been three days making the trip. The parents of the subject settled
at Buffalo and remained there until their death, the father dying about
1891, at the age of nearly seventy-five years, having been survived by his
widow for about two years, she dying in 1893, having reached the age of
seventy-five. Both are buried in the city cemetery there. They were the
parents of five children, only two of whom grew to maturity, three having
died in childhood, the subject being the oldest in order of birth. He
remained with his parents until he was about twelve years of age, when he
came to Ohio to live with an uncle who was engaged in the smelting business
where he remained for nearly two years, when he came to Indiana, and later
returned to Buffalo, New York, where he undertook to learn the brass
finishing business, but he remained at this for only about two years, when
hard times caused the shop to practically close down. The subject then went
back to Indiana, working on a farm in Vanderburg county by the month until
the war broke out, when he enlisted and on August 18, 1862, was mustered
into service at Indianapolis, Company E, Thirty-second Indiana Volunteer
Infantry, under the command of Captain Eslinger. The subject was at once
sent south and immediately marched to the front, joining the regiment just
after the battle of Shiloh. From that time on he was in all the engagements
of his regiment, but was never captured or wounded, however, he had many
"close calls" from both. Some of the principal battles in which he fought in
a most gallant manner, according to his comrades, were: Stone River, Liberty
Gap, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge. The regiment was later sent to Knoxville
to re-enforce Burnside, where they remained during the winter of 1863 and
1864, having suffered greatly from cold weather and exposure, and lack of
clothing. In the following summer the subject took part in every engagement
from Tunnel Hill to Atlanta, Georgia, and endured many great hardships and
privations. He was mustered out of service at the close of the war, June 25,
1865, having been honorably discharged.
Mr. Rapp then returned to Indiana and on November 24, 1868, was united in marriage with Catherine Frye, in Evansville. She was born in Posey county, Indiana, December 24, 1848, the daughter of Michael and Charlotte (Stauff) Frye, both natives of Wurtenburg, Germany, where they married. They came to the United States about 1840, landing in New York, but soon came on to Indiana, settling in Posey county on a farm in the midst of the wilderness where they experienced many hardships in clearing the land and developing a home for themselves and family. They remained there the rest of their lives, their home having been in Parker township. The mother of Mrs. Rapp died in August 1850, at the age of thirty-two years, the father having survived several years, later remarrying. They were the parents of six children, four of whom grew to maturity, Mrs. Rapp being the youngest of the number. Mr. Frye's death occurred February 16, 1861, at the age of fifty-one years. He was buried in the St. Peter cemetery and his wife in the Methodist cemetery of the old Brick church, Parker township. Mrs. Rapp remained at home with her parents until her father's death when the home was broken up and she went to work out for herself, which she continued to do until her marriage with the subject. Her education was obtained in the German schools of Posey county, but she never learned to read or write English, for she was not permitted to attend school long in those early days. The same was true with our subject who attended school for a time in Germany before he came to the United States. He also went to school a short time in Buffalo, New York, learning to read and write German, but received only a meager English education.
When our subject and his wife were married they lived in Evansville, where Mr. Rapp worked as a stationary engineer until he moved to Illinois in March, 1876, when they settled in Richland county, in Denver township, near the Clay county line on a farm where they lived for about two years, when they moved to the place where they now live.
Ten children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Rapp, nine of whom have grown to maturity, one having died in childhood. They are: George M., Edward Frederick, deceased; Michael, deceased; John Henry, Caroline, Catherine, Daniel W., Margaret, Eve Charlotte and Mary E. George M., who married Celia Ruppert, resides on a farm in Denver township. Catherine is the wife of Walter Coffee, residing in Stonington, Christian county, Illinois. The other children are all single and make their home with their parents on the farm.
Mr. Rapp has served on the County Board as Supervisor in Denver township for two years, and an unexpired term of Township Clerk, also served as School Trustee for a period of nine years. His son held the office of Township Clerk at the time of his death. Mr. Rapp has always been a Republican. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. and Mrs. Rapp and some of their children are members of the Methodist church in Denver township, having long taken an active part in church work, the subject having been a steward in the church for several years, which office he now very creditably holds.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 246-248.