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Collection: Memoirs of a French Village

The Didier Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Our country, which has been called the melting-pot of nations, has received citizens from every quarter of the known world. All races and peoples have sent their representatives to swell the numbers of our population. And of all these nations none has done more for America than France. Who can ever forget that it was the courageous Frenchmen who first penetrated the wilds of the new world, and, not content with a mere sailing along the coast, ascended its rivers and explored the interior of an unknown and dreaded wilderness? They settled vast areas such as the Mississippi Valley, which was for centuries a New France. Nor could the subsequent waves of emigration from the eastern states entirely obliterate this French civilization, which survives to this day in many names and customs found throughout the Middle West. Mr. Paulin Didier was one of those Frenchman who came to Illinois during the last century. He was born in France on December 26, 1845, and emigrated with his parents in 1847. The family settled in Cahokia, then a thriving city. With the decline of importance of Cahokia, the elder Didier left that place in 1854 and secured a farm in the vicinity of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Here they remained, and here the parents died in 1888. The...

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The Louvier Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now The oldest resident in the town of Prairie du Rocher is John N. Louvier, who was born in the village, in the year 1802, and has since lived in the town or in the vicinity. His father was Antoine Louvier, a Frenchman, who came to Illinois country when a boy. Antoine Louvier was born about the year 1767, and was ten or fifteen years of age when he came to Randolph County. He married Louise Langlois. The Langlois family was one of the earliest and most influential in the community, the first of which to come to Prairie du Rocher was Etenne Langlois. Antoine Louvier was a farmer, and lived a short distance to the south of Prairie du Rocher. Here on the old homestead four children were born and raised. The fourth of these was John N., the subject of this sketch. Only two of his brothers, Cyprian and Benjamin, are now living, both near the town of Prairie du Rocher, John N. Louvier was born in the year of 1802, on the second day of March. There were few schools at that day in Prairie du Rocher. The population then was almost entirely French. Subscription schools were held whenever anyone could be obtained to teach. Mr. Louvier only went to school three months of...

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The Blow Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Among the prominent inhabitants of Prairie du Rocher who are natives of the locality is Mr. W. A. Blow. He was born September 9, 1860, on a farm near the town. He finished the public school and then became the right-hand man of his father, a place which he occupied for twenty-seven years. Finally, in 1887, he rented his own farm. This land became his property in the short space of six years, in 1893, and included 70 acres, but was not large enough to satisfy the ambitious owner, who in the course of time more than doubled it. At the present time he is the proprietor of 155 acres of splendid farm land, situated on the bottom, on Rural Route #4. His parents are now dead, his father having died in April 1912 and his mother in April 1914. On May 15, 1889, Mr. Blow was married to Miss Lucy Gressinger, a daughter of the widely-known farmer John Gressinger. She was born on August 5, 1868, near Prairie du Rocher, and lived at home until her marriage. Her most prominent characteristic is her activity in behalf of the Church. The children are Perry W., Edgar G., Augusta E., and Rosa A. Blow. Mr. Blow has lately become interested in stock raising, which is beginning to...

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La Gui-annee

The celebration of La Gui-annee had been a social custom in France 500 years before these people brought it to Illinois, and in that early day was an answer to certain social conditions of the time. The performers were the poor who sang with sacks in their hands and hopes in their heart of a gift of food for their New Year’s feast.

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The Kribs Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now The best teacher, it is said, is experience. C. J. Kribs, circuit clerk of Randolph County, has had varied experiences. He was born February 19, 1867, in Belleville, Illinois. He attended the parochial and public schools, after which he learned the trade of harness maker in St. Louis. After a residence of five years in this city he went to Chicago and worked for four years as assistant store-keeper in the Illinois Steel Works. Then he went to Prairie du Rocher, and after a short stay...

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The Shea Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now John Shea, farmer, of Red Bud, Illinois, Rural Route #3, was born June 20, 1858, in Randolph County, near Prairie du Rocher. He attended the public school and then worked for his father, Michael Shea, until 1880, when he rented a farm near Prairie du Rocher, and in 1885, he moved to the present location, where he still resides. On September 25, 1883, he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock to Miss Katherine Faherty. Six children came to bless the family ties – two...

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The Wierschem Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now One of our literary geniuses has remarked that the history of any locality is but the history of its great men. The destinies of splendid empires are shaped by the personalities of their rulers, and a whole people sometimes owes its prosperity to the energies of one man, who stands at the head of the state. And in a community this principle is even more forcibly demonstrated, for here the thoughts of a few leaders permeate to the farthest boundaries and shape the thoughts of the masses. Viewed in this light, how significant do the biographies of prominent men become! The subject of our sketch was born in Madonnaville, Monroe County, on August 3, 1868. He was one of a family of fourteen children, whose father was John Wierschem, a known farmer. He attended both the parochial and the public schools, and then remained at home, assisting in the work of the farm until the death of the father in 1892. In that year Mr. Wierschem decided to become master of his own farm, and accordingly bought the farm of 65 acres situated on Rural Route #3, Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. This has been his home up to the present time. On November 30, 1893, he was married to Miss Zoe Thuillier. She was born in...

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The Frawley Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now A very beloved inhabitant of Prairie du Rocher is Mr. Maurice Frawley. He was born in beautiful Ireland, in County Limerick, in the year 1833. Here he spent his childhood, went through the parish school, and was married to Miss Mary Crimmins on February 4, 1859. Of their children only a daughter is still alive. They came to America in 1862, residing in New York until October, 1865, when they joined the westward tide and came to St. Louis and continued their residence there until 1872....

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The Siegfried Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Anton Siegfried, whose address is Red Bud, Illinois, Rural Route #3, was born in Elsass, Germany, July 26, 1852. After leaving school he worked for his father on a farm until 1872, when he immigrated to America, direct to Red Bud. For a while he worked on a farm, and in 1876 rented a farm. In 1888 he became a dealer in cattle and hogs. In 1891 he went to Ruma and opened a meat market. Seven years later he also opened a general merchandise store. Mr. Siegfried did not confine his buying to live stock, but also bought and sold farm lands. In 1910 he turned the meat market over to his sons and devotes his entire time to his merchandise business. Mr. Siegfried was married August 22, 1878, to Miss Mary Melly. Eight children were born to them, Arnold J., Leo J., Emil A. and Max M. Siegfried. Mr. Siegfried is a Democrat. He was a member of the school board for three years, and president of the Village of Ruma for two years. Besides owning the store he also owns a 120 acre farm. Mrs. Anton Siegfried is the daughter of Mike Melly. She was born May 29, 1852, in Belleville, Illinois. At the age of 7 years her parents moved to Red...

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The Eichenseer Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now John Eichenseer, who gets his mail through Red Bud, Illinois, Rural Route No. 3, was born March 3, 1863, in Madonnaville, Monroe County, Illinois. After leaving the parochial and public schools he worked for his father until his marriage, which took place October 28, 1890. Miss Mary Wierschem was his bride. Then he bought a farm of eighty acres, and has lived here ever since. Mr. Eichenseer reared a family of ten children – four sons, Vincent A., Leo William, Herman A., and Bernhard F; six...

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The Seitz Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now George J. Seitz, the well-known liquor dealer, was born August 11, 1870, in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. After attending the public and parochial schools, learned the trade of butcher and at the age of 20 went to St. Louis, working at his trade for some time; then he returned to Ste. Genevieve, and in 1894 he went to Prairie du Rocher, working for Mr. Hauck, the butcher. From 1906 to 1910 he conducted a hotel and two years later, in 1912, he started a saloon and has...

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The Ellner Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Among the more prominent farmers inhabiting the region of Prairie du Rocher is Mr. John Peter Ellner of Rural Route #2. He is a native of the State of Missouri, where he was born in the town of Herman on August 18, 1872. However, his parents were of an adventurous disposition and not satisfied with the opportunities offered by our neighbor state, removed, in 1876, to Horse Prairie and later, in 1881, to Ruma, Illinois. Here the family at length found a pleasant home and remained...

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The Brickey House of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Nearly every town has an old house with an interesting story. Prairie du Rocher has several, one of which was the Brickey house. Unoccupied for many years, this large three-story, square-framed house with its wide porches, stained glass, shuttered windows, and mansard roof attracted the attention of the most casual visitor to the village. It stood among large trees of a generous plot of ground below the bluff, it silently proclaimed the hospitality that once was known there. The fine iron fence that enclosed the grounds emphasized its air of detachment.

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History of St. Joseph Church Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now St. Joseph Church Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, was established in 1722 as a chapel dependent upon the royally endowed church of Ste. Anne at Fort Chartres. King Louis XIV of France had dreamed of a great French empire in Mid America, but died before he could bring his dream to reality. Following his death in 1715, the regent, Philip of Orleans, ruling for the boy King Louis XV, commissioned Pierre Duque Boisbriant to found Fort Chartres in 1718 on the mighty Mississippi, midway between Quebec and...

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The Palmier Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now M. H. Palmier was born June 5, 1877, near Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. He attended the parochial school and after leaving school worked for his father until 1893, then he went to Prairie du Rocher and worked until 1897, when he went to Red Bud, Illinois, and was clerking in the hotel and cafe. It was here he met his wife (nee Miss Dillie Miller) and married here January 28, 1901. Four children bless their home, viz: Phillip D., Berthram J. L., Wilmarth M., and Goldie...

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