Biography - JOHN RINKER
Among the worthy citizens that Germany has furnished to the New World is John Rinker, who resides near Marseilles. He is now numbered among the early settlers of LaSalle county and at all times he has been loyal to his adopted land, having faithfully served in the Union army during the civil war, while in days of peace he displays the same fidelity to duty which marked his career upon the battle-fields of the south.
Born in the Fatherland, October 17, 1840, he is a son of Christian and Frederica Rinker. His mother died when he was only six years of age, leaving five children, namely: Charles, who was a soldier in the war of the Rebellion and is now living at Marseilles; Fred, who also followed the Stars and Stripes during the period of civil strife, and is now a resident of Hastings, Nebraska; John, of this review; Christian, who is living in LaSalle county; and Frederica, deceased. After the death of his first wife the father was again married, and by the second union also had five children: William, who is living in Great Bend, Kansas; Henry, whose home is near Papillion, Nebraska; Nancy, deceased; Mrs. Jane Shobert. of Nebraska; and Mrs. Lizzie Seybold. who is living near Papillion, Nebraska. In 1853 Christian Rinker left his native land and with his family sailed from Antwerp, Belgium. After a voyage of sixty-seven days he landed at New York and at once proceeded to Chicago, whence he made his way to Ottawa. He then purchased forty acres of land on section 25, Grand Rapids township, seven miles from Ransom, and there carried on agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1898, when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-eight years.
John Rinker has resided in LaSalle county since he was thirteen years of age, and has long been a prominent representative of its agricultural interests. Amid the fields and verdant meadows his youth was passed and he was early trained to the practical work of the farm. When the country became involved in civil war and President Lincoln issued his call for three hundred thousand men, with a marked spirit of patriotism he offered his services to the government, August 12, 1862, and was assigned to Company D, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry, under the command of Captain Collins and Colonel Moore. During the battle at Hartsville, Tennessee, he was taken prisoner, but was soon afterward exchanged and participated in the battles of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. On the 20th of July, 1864, he was wounded by a bullet which lodged in his right ankle, and was sent to the hospital at Nashville. In June, 1865, he was honorably discharged and with a creditable military record he returned to his home to resume the peaceful vocations of civil life.
In 1869 Mr. Rinker was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Sunderifian, daughter of Simon Sunderman, a native of Germany. Fourteen children were born of their union, seven sons and seven daughters, and thirteen of the number are still living, as follows: John, Lizzie, Polly, Ernest, Edwin, Emma, Paul, Bert, August, Minnie, Herman, Ida and Ralph. A little daughter, Kitty, died at the age of two years and nine months. The mother of this family was called to her final rest May 3, 1893, and in 1896 Mr. Rinker was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Ellen S. Wormley, widow of John Wormley. She is a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of B. Bolhouser.
Throughout his business career Mr. Rinker has carried on agricultural pursuits, and is to-day the owner of a valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres, all of which is under a high state of cultivation, and yields to the owner a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon it. The place is improved with a good residence, two large barns and other substantial outbuildings, and the latest improved machinery facilitates and lightens the farm labor. Mr. Rinker gives his political support to the Republican party, and as every true American citizen should do keeps well informed on the issues of the day. For many years he has held the office of justice of the peace, discharging his ditties in a most creditable manner. He and his family attend the Methodist church and are people of the highest respectability, who enjoy and merit the confidence and regard of their friends and neighbors.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 309-311.