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Adam Kroner. In making productive the vast prairies of the Middle West no one class of people has borne a more steady and effective part than the German element, and particularly to those who came as colonists after the German revolutionary troubles of the ’40s. Representing the second generation of this element is Mr. Adam Kroner, concerning whose work and standing as a Champaign County agriculturist only the highest words of praise may be spoken. Mr. and Mrs. Kroner occupy a fine home in Newcomb Township. Mrs. Kroner is also of a prominent German family of the county, and at all times has proved herself a valuable helpmate and counsel to Mr. Kroner in the establishment and building up of their beautiful rural home.
Mr. Kroner was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, July 29, 1865. He was the fourth in a family of six children, five sons and one daughter, whose parents were Frederick and Marie Kroner. Four of these children are still living: Emma, wife of Charles Zimmerman, a farmer at Wiseburg in Dearborn County, Indiana; Adam; Christ, who is unmarried and has a farm at Yorkville in eastern Indiana; and Martin, who is married and owns a good farm home in Dearborn County.
Frederick Kroner was a Bavarian German and was born in the old country in 1825. His death occurred in 1901. He served an apprenticeship and was a journeyman mechanic, but subsequently turned his attention to agriculture. He was educated in German schools and when a young man sailed for America, spending many weeks on the ocean in one of the slow-going sailing vessels. He first located in New York State, afterward lived in Cincinnati and finally in Dearborn County in southern Indiana. There he bought 120 acres, and though he went in debt he kept steadily at the task until he had his land paid for and was rated as one of the substantial agriculturists of that vicinity. Politically he became a Republican. He and his wife were members of the German Lutheran Church. His wife was born in Germany in 1834, and died in 1901, the same year as her husband.
Adam Kroner spent his childhood and early youth in his home county. He attended school and received instruction in both the German and English languages. At the age of twenty-one he started out to make his own fortune in the world. Having no capital he had to depend upon the labor of his hands. His wages for a time were only $12 a month. On such a low salary he was able to test his ability as a thrifty man, and he put aside some of these meager earnings for future use. For seven years he continued to work at farm labor in Indiana and Illinois.
In 1889 he came to Illinois and spent the first year in Piatt County. From there he came to Champaign County and for two years was employed as a wage earner by Mr. Ludwig Liestman. He next rented some land, and by slow and steady progress has raised himself from comparative poverty until he now stands among the successful men of Champaign County.
On October 29, 1893, Mr. Kroner married Miss Lizzie Liestman. Into their home came three sons. In the goodness of their hearts they have also adopted a daughter, Lucile Liestman. Of their sons Frederick L., the oldest, finished the common schools and for three years was a student in the Mahomet High School. After that he taught two years in his home township and in 1915 entered the University of Illinois, where he studied journalism. He is now a student in the dental department of Northwestern University of Chicago, a member of the class of 1919. Politically he is a Democrat, a member of the German Lutheran Church, and belongs to several fraternities. William Otto, the second son, has finished his common school course and has shown unusual energy and ability as a practical farmer and stockman. He, like his brother, is a Democrat and a member of the German Lutheran Church. Louis Albert, the youngest child, is a bright and earnest student now in the third grade of the public schools. Mr. and Mrs. Kroner have always taken the utmost pains with the education and training of their sons.
Mrs. Kroner was born in Piatt County, Illinois, May 23, 1873. She was third in age among a family of twelve children, seven sons and five daughters. She is a daughter of Ludwig and Frederika (Kersten) Liestman. Of their family eight children are still living. Four have their home in Champaign County. Two sons, Herman and Frank, live at Alief in Harris County, Texas. Another son, William, is an agriculturist and gardener in Webster, Florida.
Ludwig Liestman was born near Berlin, Germany, in 1837. His life was a long and useful one, and came to a close in Champaign County in 1914. He grew up in his native land, was educated in the German tongue, and was twenty-two years of age when he came to America in 1859. The voyage was made on a sailing vessel, and he landed from the ship a stranger in a strange land, without money, without friends, and with only his earnest, hard-working German characteristics as a means of opening the door of success. A sister was living in Bloomington, Illinois, and that city was his first destination. He found employment at day wages. He was paid a meager salary, but it offered an opportunity for him to adapt himself to the ways and practices of the new country, and he was not long in getting ahead. He capitalized his earnings until he was justified in buying some land in sections 7 and 18 of Newcomb Township, Champaign County. For one who had come to America a poor immigrant there is scarcely a more striking case of conspicuous success among all the citizens of Champaign County. Out of his prosperity he was able to give 600 acres of rich land to his sons, and besides that he owned a large farm of 480 acres. He reared his large family to lives of usefulness and honor, and his name is still spoken with respect and esteem throughout the county. He was a Democrat and a member of the German Lutheran Church. In 1905 he retired from his farm to the city of Champaign arid spent his last years there. Mr. and Mrs. Kroner have in their home an engraving showing her father in the uniform of a body guard to Kaiser Wilhelm I, father of the present German emperor.
Mrs. Liestman, mother of Mrs. Kroner, was born almost in the same locality as her husband. She died in the city of Champaign in 1902. Life meant to her an unceasing round of devotion and duty performed in her home and to her children, and she was also strikingly generous and the poor and needy were never turned empty handed from her door. She and her husband now rest in Woodlawn Cemetery at Champaign, where a handsome monument stands sacred to their memory.
Mrs. Kroner attended the common schools, and at her marriage was well qualified for the duties of home making and as a counselor to her husband. She is cordial in manner and has a host of friends in Champaign County.
Mr. and Mrs. Kroner are Democrats in politics. They are regular members and aided substantially in the erection of the German Lutheran Church at Osman. Officially Mr. Kroner served four years as road commissioner, and for three years was school director, and Mrs. Kroner has also been a director of the public schools. Their home farm consists of one hundred and sixty acres of land, the southeast quarter of Section Twenty-nine in Newcomb Township. Better land it would be difficult to find anywhere in the length and breadth of Champaign County. Mr. and Mrs. Kroner have remodeled their residence and all the barns and outbuildings, and have shown great taste in securing homelike surroundings as well as developing the farm to a higher degree of efficiency.