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Hon. Joseph Reinhardt, of Peru, LaSalle county, was a native of Germany, having been born in the town of Fulda, in Hesse, Prussia, January 11, 1828. His parents, Conrad and Clara (Malkmas) Reinhardt, lived and died in Germany, where the father was a physician of ability. Joseph was the only son in the family who grew to adult years and to him was accorded an excellent education. After receiving a liberal education in other branches, he entered the University at Jena, where he took a course in the agricultural department, preparing himself to prosecute intelligently that branch of labor.

When twenty-four years of age he contracted marriage with Miss Bertha Brennemann, also a native of Prussia, and the same year, 1852, started for the United States. Five children were born to them, who became honorable and useful citizens. They are: Adolph, a resident of Spring Valley; Emma, wife of Julius Brennemann, of Peru; Mary, wife of John G. Feldes, of Chicago; Helen, wife of C. W. Leimbach, of Chicago; and Lina, wife of E. J. Robinson, of Arkansas. The wife and mother passed to her reward August 2, 1887, after the family had made their home in Peru. When he first arrived in this country, Mr. Reinhardt settled on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Putnam county, Illinois, eight miles south of this city. There he lived and toiled for thirty-one years, well knowing what it was to work, for he labored early and late, acknowledging no defeat and overcoming all obstacles that stood between himself and prosperity. With true German perseverance and pluck, he plowed his fields and prepared his seed, using not only his acquired knowledge, but his native shrewdness in preparing for the harvest, and was rewarded by being able to turn his abundant yield into money and land. In this way he continued until he had accumulated a large acreage, consisting of several farms in Putnam county. Owing to his good judgment, industry and frugality, he prospered far above the average, and much credit is due him for placing farming, in that community, on a broader and more scientific scale than it formerly occupied. After more than a quarter of a century of hard labor, he moved his family permanently to Peru, where he spent his last days in retirement from the arduous duties of active business life.

He supported the cause of Republicanism and took a deep interest in all affairs of state and nation. Being a strong friend to education he was a prominent worker for that cause, serving as school director for many years. In 1870 he was elected to the Illinois legislature, serving two years, and in 1885 was elected to the state senate for four years from LaSalle county. Both in legislative halls and senate chamber he so discharged the duties devolving upon him as to receive the highest commendation and approbation. As a legislator, Mr. Reinhardt reflected credit on his constituents and won for himself a splendid reputation. After taking up his residence in Peru he was for several years a member of the school board and was a most active citizen in working for the public welfare. For years he was treasurer of the Peru Farmers' Insurance Company. His character was above reproach and the probity of his official life admits of no question. His death occurred October 22, 1899, in the seventy-second year of his life.

Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 418-419.

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