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George C. Diestilhorst was born in Poile, Hanover, Germany, April 18, 1813, and was there reared to manhood. He received his education in the Lutheran school, of his native place, and his father being a harness-maker by trade, on leaving school he also learned that trade and worked with his father up to the time he was twenty-three years of age, when he emigrated to America, arriving in New York City, May 1, 1836.
He was successful in securing a situation in the government harness manufactory in that city, and remained six months, then went on a prospecting tour, seeking employment, to the cities of Schenectady and Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reaching this latter city in May, 1837, and worked at his trade there until the following October. He was next employed on a keel-boat on the Ohio River, and went to Cincinnati, thence to Louisville, Kentucky, but was unable to secure work because of his unfamiliarity with the English language. From Louisville he went to New Albany, Indiana, where he worked three weeks at his trade, then went down the Ohio River to Smithland, at the confluence of the Cumberland and Ohio rivers and from there traveled overland on foot, with occasional rides in farm wagons, to Princeton, Kentucky, arriving in December, 1837, and secured employment until the spring of 1838.
Next he went to Louisville, from there to Frankfort and thence to Millersburgh, Kentucky, working six months at this latter place, and going from there to North Middleton, same State, where he opened a shop of his own, and while there attended school three months to acquaint himself with the English language. In the spring of 1839 he sold out his shop, but worked in that county for three years after-ward, or until 1842, when he came to Missouri, and after making a short stay. in Booneville, Cooper county, removed to Daviess county, where he has since resided. He established himself in the harness business in Gallatin, in May, 1842, and has uninterruptedly carried on that business ever since,, farming occasionally in connection therewith.
Mr. Diestilhorst. married Miss Martha Smith, of Daviess county, on the 15th of December, 1850. They have four children; named, respectively, Susan, wife of John Keck, of Gallatin; Francis, now residing in Kansas; Alice and Austin, living at home and attending school. Mr. Diestilhorst is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of Gallatin.