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Antony H. Blue. The poet who said, “Sweet are the uses of adversity,” had a true understanding of life’s meaning, since it is true that those are happiest who have lived most and have had experiences in which the sweet and the bitter have been mingled. It is the prosperity and contentment won by years of faithful toil, self-sacrifice and economy that Mr. and Mrs. Antony H. Blue enjoy in their beautiful home south of Thomasboro. Mr. and Mrs. Blue have lived in Champaign County since 1870. Years have brought their honest endeavors a full reward and besides their material possessions they present the picture of a true companionship, whole-souled personalities and hospitality and kindliness and generosity are everywhere in evidence.
Both of them are natives of Germany. Antony H. Blue was born in North Germany in 1845, a son of Henry A. and Alma Blue. His father was a sailor and in 1863 lost his life in a shipwreck on the North Sea. The ship went down and all hands aboard perished. The country where Antony H. Blue lived as a boy bordered on the North Sea and nearly all the inhabitants were either sailors or fishermen. In those occupations Antony H. Blue had a complete apprenticeship and grew up strong, sturdy and self-reliant, always ready to face the dangers and difficulties unafraid.
In October, 1869, he was married in his native land to Miss Eckeline Mayar, daughter of H. D. and Engel Mayar. She was also born in the north of Germany. It was in the nature of a wedding journey when Antony H. Blue and bride set their faces toward the New World in the spring of 1870, crossed the ocean and came inland until they arrived in Champaign County. They located in Rantoul Township, and their home has never been more than two miles from where they first settled. They were among the early comers, and there were hardships and privations almost without end until their toils were rewarded with comforts beyond their fondest anticipations.
Ten children were born to their marriage, and five died in infancy. Those who grew up were named H. D., Henry, Alma, Carl and Albert. H. D. Blue is now a retired farmer at Webster City, Iowa. He married Maggie Carsons, and their children are Lena, Walter, Eleanor, Raymond and Maggie. Henry Blue married Minnie Shoneman, and he is also a farmer at Webster City, Iowa. His children are Leona, Tony and Arthur. Alma Blue married for her first husband Cordy Buscher, and by that union there were three children, Henry, Gertrude and Eveline. For her second husband she married Henry Eihusen, and they have two small daughters. They are farmers and live near Hastings, Nebraska. Carl Blue lives on the old homestead in Champaign County, and by his marriage to Fannie Mathers has one daughter, Lena. Albert Blue was living at Webster City, Iowa, when he died as the result of an operation for appendicitis at the age of twenty-seven. He married Emma Breidentkamp and left two children, Dorothy and Louise.
When Mr. and Mrs. Blue came to Champaign County they rented a tract of land to farm, and by severe application and economy they were justified in making a contract about a year later to purchase eighty acres at $13 an acre. They gave a mortgage to the amount of $1,100 at 10 per cent interest. This land was on the prairie, and during part of every year it was almost covered with water. The year they bought the land was the year of the great Chicago fire, and lumber was very high priced and hard to get. They contented “themselves with very small buildings at first. Because of his early experience as a sailor perhaps Mr. Blue was not so much discomforted as many others would have been at the situation on almost a swamp. In times of high water he frequently took a boat and rowed between his farm and Rantoul. One advantage the swampy land possessed it was the rendezvous for countless ducks and other water fowl, and these birds furnished an abundance of meat for the table. Those early conditions have long since passed away. Land that was once an infertile swamp is now drained and is considered as productive as any farm land in Champaign County. Mr. Blue’s efforts have brought him an estate of over 400 acres.
Mr. and Mrs. Blue are regular attendants and members of the German Lutheran Church at Flatville, and their children were all baptized in the same faith. Politically he has been a Republican from the time he was granted his first rights as an American citizen. In all things he has been public spirited and has served as a member of the school board and for the last twenty-two years has been president of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company and also agent for the North German Lloyd Steamship Line. Mr. Blue has been able to revisit the fatherland several times, and in 1901 he made an extended trip of two months, being accompanied by his wife, and they visited old scenes and revived many old acquaintances among people whom they had known when they were children.