John Jonas, who is engaged in general farming and stock raising on section 8, Raymond Township, was born in Prussia, June 4. 1839, and has therefore passed the seventy-seventh milestone on life’s journey. He has led a busy and useful life and still keeps in touch with the work of the farm, personally supervising the activities that are there carried on. He is a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Schwartz) Jonas, the former born in 1800 and the latter in 1803, both natives of Prussia, in which country they were married. On coming to the new world in 1854 the family settled in Raymond Township, Racine County. The following year the father purchased a farm of sixty-eight acres, which he afterward sold, purchasing another farm near his son’s place. In the family were six children, but John Jonas is the only one now living. The father departed this life in 1877, having long survived his wife, whose death occurred in 1845. Both were communicants of the Catholic Church and Mr. Jonas was a democrat in his political views. Before coming to America he served for three years in the German army. The hope of bettering his financial condition led him to come to the new world and in the years of his residence in Racine County he won substantial success.
John Jonas was educated in Germany and when a youth of fifteen years accompanied his parents to the new world. He here turned his attention to farming, and in the course of years purchased three hundred and seventy acres of land in Raymond Township. He has since sold a portion of this, but still retains two hundred and twenty acres, and as the years have passed he has won success. He certainly deserves great credit for what he has accomplished, for he had but ten cents when he started out to make his own way in the world. His life record is proof of the fact that success is not a matter of genius or of fortunate circumstances, as some believe, but is the outcome of industry, clear judgment and experience. He carries on general farming and also milks several cows, keeping high grade Holsteins. He also has a Switzer bull. His home is a substantial and commodious residence and there are many other good improvements upon his place, his being one of the valuable and attractive farms of Raymond Township.
In 1863 Mr. Jonas was married to Miss Katherine Shields, who was born in Franklin Township, Milwaukee County, a daughter of Mathias Shields, who settled in that County in 1840. In Germany he served as a member of the army for fourteen years and participated in the Napoleonic wars. Mr. and Mrs. Jonas have become parents of ten children, of whom eight are living: Christine, the wife of Charles Kraiger, of Raymond Township; Mathias, who owns and cultivates forty acres of land in Franklin Township, Milwaukee County; Stephen, living in Raymond Township, Racine County; Mary and Angeline, who are working in Milwaukee; Rosa and Nick, at home; and Anna, the widow of John Drought.
The parents are members of the Catholic Church and have been generous contributors to its support. In polities Mr. Jonas is a democrat, and while he has never held political offices, he has served as a member of the school board for nine years. For sixty-two years he has been a resident of Racine County, so that he has witnessed the greater part of its growth and development, and in its progress along agricultural lines he has taken an active and helpful part. He is well known as one of the early settlers of the County and his life record should serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished even though one has to start out in life empty handed.