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John Piper, now living a retired life in Freeport, was born Feb. 7, 1832, in Washington county, Maryland, at the place where, thirty years later, the great battle of Antietam was fought. His parents were Jacob and Anna (Kitzmiller) Piper, both of Washington county, and his grandfather, Daniel Piper, was born February 4, 1780, and died March 3, 1857. He was a farmer and spent all of his life in the above county. His wife, whose maiden name was Brown, was born September 2, 1774, and died July 8, 1851. Grandmother Kitzmiller was born January 23, 1777, and died July 30, 1860.
May 15, 1845, Jacob Piper started for the west by wagon train, in a pasty composed of twenty-one persons, eleven of whom are now living, as follows : Mrs. Henry Dovenberger, Forreston, Illinois; John Dovenberger, Forreston; D. J. Piper, Brookville township, Ogle county, Illinois; Elizabeth Shearer (now married), Maryland township, Ogle county; Mrs. August Bergman, Freeport; Mrs. D. D. Iler, Ridott Village; Sarah Kitzmiller, Ridott; John Piper, subject of sketch; Elizabeth A. Trime, Le Grande, Iowa; Jacob W. Piper, Le Grande, Iowa; J. M. Piper, county superintendent of schools of Ogle county, Illinois. Those deceased are: Jacob Piper and wife; Anna Piper; Henry Shearer and wife; Mrs. Shearer; Jacob Dovenber and wife ; Henry Dovenberger; Mrs. Geo. Dowel; Samuel Fiper (soldier in Union Army); John Kitzmiller (drafted in the war of 1812). Only two of the above died under seventy-five years of age and the oldest was ninety-one. None now living are under fifty-five.
Jacob Piper located on a farm in Ogle county, Illinois, where he died, August 1897, at the age ninety-one years, twenty-four days, his wife having preceded him November 20, 1894, at the age of eighty-three years, nine months. They had six children, five of whom are now living, as follows : Daniel, proprietor of a farm and nursery in Forreston, Illinois; John, subject of sketch; Elizabeth A., widow of T. II. Trine, lives in Le Grande, Iowa; Joseph M., county superintendent of schools of Ogle county, Illinois. Samuel, died in the hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1862, while in the army; and Jacob, a minister in the Christian church at Le Grande, Iowa. All were given good educations, some at Mt. Morris, Illinois, some at Ann Arbor, Mich., and others at Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
John Piper began life as a farmer in Ridott township, Stephenson county, also working at the carpenter’s trade in Ogle county. While there, on April 6, 1854, he married Mary Myers, daughter of Jacob Myers who came west in 1837 and settled on a farm in Ogle county, Illinois, where he died in 1876, aged 75 years. Mrs. Piper was born in Washington county, Maryland, May 2, 1833, and died June 16, 1867, leaving six children, as follows : William H., married Margaret Allen, and is in the . well-drilling and windmill and machine business in Ogle county; Elizabeth Ann, died at the age of ten years; Emma E., wife of S. P. Allen, a hardware merchant, lives in Ogle county; Samuel F., now in Byron, Illinois, “Jack of all trades ” and a good carpenter, married Ida Jones ; Lydia J., wife of John D. Williams, farmer, lives in Ogle county; and Mary, wife of S. E. Stine, a carpenter, lives in Lena, Illinois.
September 28, 1868, Mr. Piper married Eleanor Humphreys of Marion, Lynn county, Iowa. She was born May 14, 1843, and is the daughter of David and Jane (Jones) Humphreys, both of Montgomeryshire, England. They came to America in 1850, locating for a time in Utica, New York, and from there removed to Racine, Wisconsin, where he worked in a tannery, later moved to Winnebago county, Illinois, and from there went to a farm in Lynn county, Iowa. He now resides in Buchanan county, Iowa, at the advanced age of eightytwo years. His wife died in February, 1897, aged eighty-two years. By his second wife Mr. Piper has four children: Anna M., residing with her parents; David J., married Lizzie Grove and lives on his father’s farm in Ridott township; Mertie A., died at the age of three years; and Bessie E., lives with her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Piper are members of the Christian church. After his first marriage Mr. Piper remained in Ogle county two years, then purchased a farm in Ridott township, Stephenson county, which he improved, built his house and other buildings, and remained there until 1893 when he moved to Freeport.
Mr. Piper, who is one of the prominent and wealthy citizens of Freeport, made his start in life with an old corn sheller, and has shelled over one million bushels of corn. He now owns over six hundred acres of land in the counties of Lynn, Iowa, and Ogle and Stephenson, Illinois; also his beautiful residence which he built at 35 Jefferson street, in the edge of Freeport, where he lives retired.
Mr. Piper was school director for twenty years and road commissioner eight years. He is a democrat in politics.