The subject of this sketch is one of the progressive agriculturists of
Richland, whose fine farm ranks with the best in this locality, having been
improved by Mr. Schilt to its present high state of excellency by years of
patient toil and skillful management. His success has been won entirely
along lines of old and time-tried maxims, "honesty is the best policy," and
"there is no excellence without labor."
Fred W. Schilt was born in the township where he now resides, March 1, 1868, the son of Christian and Barbara (Schilt) Schilt, natives of Canton Bern, Switzerland, who came to the United States with their parents. John Schilt, the subject's paternal grandfather, also emigrated to the United States, bringing his wife and children in 1852, and settled in Claremont township, Richland county. He improved a good farm on which he lived until his death. Christian was a young man when the family came to this country. He soon afterward bought a farm in Preston township which he improved and he married here. He had a brother in the Civil war. He remained on his farm in Preston township until his death, May 12, 1889, at the age of sixty-two years. His widow is still living on the old homestead. Of nine children born to them, six are living in 1908, our subject having been the seventh in order of birth.
Fred W. Schilt was reared on a farm in Preston township and received a common school education, having remained at home assisting with the work on the place until he was twenty-one years old. He then bought a farm of ninety acres in German township, where he soon located and where he lived and prospered for twelve years, during which time he bought forty-five acres more. In the fall of 1902 he became a candidate for County Treasurer on the Democratic ticket and was subsequently elected. This resulted in his removal to Olney, where he carried on the duties of this office in a manner that reflects much credit on his native ability and careful business methods. When his term of four years expired his successor found the affairs of this office in a most excellent shape. He had previously served in a praiseworthy manner as Supervisor for two terms of two years each, having been chairman of the County Board for one term. After retiring from the Treasurer's office he resided in Olney for one year, and in 1907 located on his present fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Preston township, about four and one-half miles north of Olney, which he had recently bought. It is one of the best farms in the township, well fenced, well drained, and on it stand a commodious dwelling and convenient outbuildings, including a large barn, recently erected. General farming is carried on and much attention is given to stock raising, especially cattle and hogs, the latter of the Berkshire breed, of which Mr. Schilt always has some fine specimens to show. He has an orchard of sixteen acres of carefully selected trees, which bear a good quality of fruit.
Mr. Schilt was united in marriage August 25, 1889, to Anna Jorris, a native of Poland, Indiana, daughter of Peter and Aletta (Mermon) Jorris, natives of Germany, having been born near the Rhine river, who came to the United States when young, married here and settled in Wisconsin, later lived in Indiana and Illinois. Mrs. Schilt's father died in Poland, Indiana, October 25, 1891, and his wife died in 1898.
Mr. and Mrs. Schilt are the parents of four children, namely: Verna May, Christian Franklin Jorris; Esther Magdalena and Paul Frederick Foster.
The subject in his fraternal relations is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America at Dundas. He and his wife are members of the German Reformed church in Preston township, the former being a deacon in the same, having served several years as such. In manner Mr. Schilt is cordial, in disposition, genial: in temperament, kindly, and his many sterling traits have won for him the warm friendship of those with whom he has been brought into contact.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 354-356.