A. F. Meuser has been a resident of Illinois and the greater part of Champaign County for fully fifty years, and his labors long since became so productive as to enable him to live in retirement. He and his wife now have a large and comfortable home in Rantoul, on Grove Avenue. In earlier years they worked hard, were content with simple comforts and necessities, and were willing to sacrifice many things in order to secure a home, rear their children properly, and have a competence for their later years. In all this they have succeeded, and they deserve the respect and honor paid to hard working and excellent citizens.
Mr. Meuser was born at Garz on the River Oder, Germany, one of the seven children of John D. and Minnie (Bishof) Meuser. When he was three years of age his mother died, and his father subsequently married again and came to America.
Mr. A. F. Meuser was twenty years old when he came to this country in 1867, in company with his brother Frederick. They landed at New York, went west to Chicago, and from there A. F. Meuser journeyed to Minonk, Illinois, where his married sister, Fredericka Westermann, lived. He found employment with his brother at the carpenter trade, and subsequently engaged in farming.
In 1875 Mr. Meuser laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Fredericka Bermaum. She was born in the village of Voigstdorf, Germany, a daughter of Gustave and Sophia (Casdorf) Bermaum. The Bermaum family and also the parents of Gustave and Sophia came to America, and Grandfather and Grandmother Casdorf died and were buried in Champaign County.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Meuser started farming on a place three miles northwest of Rantoul. It was prairie land, eighty acres, which Mr. Meuser’s father had bought from the Illinois Central Railway Company in 1868. They paid $12 an acre for it, though now it is worth many times that sum. Mr. Meuser knows full well the condition of Champaign County fifty years ago. Much of the land was raw prairie, there were numerous sloughs filled with water a large part of the year, and in the swampy section wild game abounded, especially water birds, geese, ducks and cranes being counted by the thousands. Mr. and Mrs. Meuser began housekeeping in a small place fourteen by twenty feet. One compensation for such small quarters in the estimation of Mrs. Meuser is that in those days she was not troubled with extensive housecleaning operations. This couple possessed the qualities of German progressiveness, energy and economy, they worked diligently, and were always buoyed up with hope of the future and by the widening opportunities of life in the New World.
Into their, home there came in time three children, William, Gustave and Rosa. The daughter died at the age of twelve years. The children were educated in the Ludlow Center school. This school was three miles away, and frequently the roads were very bad, but the children went back and forth every day.
In the meantime Mr. Meuser found opportunity to add to his possessions, bought small tracts of land from time to time, and finally found himself possessed of a full half section, which he still owns.
Both of his sturdy sons married sisters, daughters of ‘John and Lena Blue, a well known Champaign County family. William Meuser married Alma Blue, and their three children are Minnie, Herman and Gertrude. Gustave Meuser married Jane Blue and has four children, Augusta, Albert, Rosa and John. William Meuser is a successful farmer in Ludlow Township, a mile and a half from Rantoul, and Gustave does his farming in the same township.
Mr. and Mrs. Meuser are active members of the German Lutheran Church, and their sons were confirmed in the same faith. In a public way Mr. Meuser has always done what he could to promote the public welfare. He served three terms as drainage commissioner, was a member of the town council at Rantoul three years, and one year was mayor. He takes a broad-minded view of politics and government, and believes that the man rather than the party is chiefly entitled to support. Mr. and Mrs. Meuser are loyal Americans, and have reared their sons with the same sturdy principles which have guided their own lives so prosperously. Mr. and Mrs. Meuser have lived in the town of Rantoul for the past eighteen years.
Among their old family possessions is a book which for age is probably the oldest in Champaign County. It was published 400 years ago, and is a collection of sermons of German Lutheran Evangelical preachers. This book was the property of Mr. Meuser’s stepmother. She so prized it that she requested it to be buried with her. At the time of her death the family hunted diligently but were unable to find the volume. Later, when it was found, the pastor of the church told them not to worry since the book was of more value above ground than in the grave. Mr. and Mrs. Meuser also have a book of hymns which was published fully 100 years ago.