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Biography - ALBERT F. SCHOCH

No citizen of Ottawa is more thoroughly representative or more devoted to the promotion of her welfare than Albert F. Schoch, whose name is widely known for the prominent part he has taken in local affairs. Without doubt he is one of the most progressive and public-spirited men of Ottawa, and his means and influence have been used unsparingly in advancing enterprises, industries and improvements in this place, now one of the most flourishing towns of northern Illinois.

One great reason for the interest which Mr. Schoch takes in everything relating to Ottawa is that he is one of her native-born sons, his birth having occurred forty-two years ago, on the 18th of December, 1857. Both of his parents, Philip and Caroline (Sulzberger) Schoch, were born near Strasburg, Germany. The father was born in Gerstheim, Alsace, July 26, 1832, the mother born in Obenheim, Alsace, May 6, 1835. They came to the United States in 185 1, locating in Ottawa. The father had learned the trade of making light and heavy harness in his native land, and he is still carrying on the business which he established in this town nearly half a century ago. The wife and mother departed this life June 1, 1885.

Albert F. Schoch is a gentleman of scholarly tastes and attainments. He is proficient in literature and science, and reads and speaks French and German almost as readily as he does English. He is proud of the fact that he obtained his elementary education in the public grammar and high schools of Ottawa, and subsequently he pursued a special course of study in a French school for two terms. When he was about eighteen years of age he took the competitive examination for admission to West Point, standing second among the twenty-two young men who presented themselves for that rigorous ordeal.

In the fall of 1873 the business career of A. F. Schoch commenced by his accepting a position as a clerk in the postoffice under J. R. Cameron. At the end of sixteen months he became connected with the National City Bank of Ottawa, with which institution he has since been closely identified. He proved his fidelity and perfect trustworthiness as a messenger boy, and at the end of three years was promoted to the post of bookkeeper. Three years more rolled away, and his merits and stability of character being fully recognized by the officials of the bank, he was elected as a member of the board of directors January 13, 1885, and was appointed assistant cashier on the 4th of the following month. At the end of five years, during a part of which period he had acted in the capacity of cashier, he was advanced to the honored office which he has since occupied, that of vice president of the bank. He holds a similar position in the State Bank of Seneca, LaSalle county, having been elected to the vice presidency of the institution at the time of its organization. He is treasurer of the Valley Building & Loan Association, is the owner of considerable valuable real estate and other property, and has numerous investments. In view of the fact that he commenced his business career empty-handed, his success is the more remarkable, and his record must prove an inspiration to many a young man now starting out, as he did, with no capital save brains, integrity, determination and perseverance - which, after all, is the best capital, and without which wealth, influence and position amount to naught.

Had not great financial enterprises and a multiplicity of interests demanded a large share of his time and energy Mr. Schoch might have occupied almost any local office within the gift of the people for many years past. Though he has been overtaxed at times, he has endeavored to do his duty by the public in spite of this fact, as will be seen by the brief summary following: from 1891 to 1895 he was mayor of Ottawa; from 1889 to 1891 he was city treasurer; for two terms he was a member of the board of education; was school treasurer of the congressional township, No. 33, range 3, from 1887 to 1889; was a member of the volunteer fire department for sixteen years, and was prominently mentioned at the last Republican state convention for the state treasurership. While he was mayor he succeeded in having many material improvements instituted in this place, such as the paving of streets, the laying of sewers and the building of the waterworks. He refused to allow his name to be used as a candidate for the mayoralty a third term, and retired from the office with the good will and admiration of the people for his wise, progressive policy. He has been appointed by Governor Tanner as a member of the board of special commissioners to inspect the Chicago drainage channel.

Fraternally Mr. Schoch is eminent commander of Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T., which position he has occupied for three years. At the forty-third annual conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Illinois he was elected to the position of grand warder. He belongs also to Humboldt Lodge, No. 555, F. & A. M., and to Shabbona Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M., and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Upon the 17th of December, 1879, Mr. Schoch married Miss Minnie Wolfe, a daughter of Henry Wolfe, a leading citizen of Ottawa, and they have three children, namely: Carrie S., Lulu C. and Esther S. The home of the family is unpretentious, but is a home in the best sense of the word, and to the most casual observer gives evidence of the culture and excellent taste and traits of character of its inmates.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 60-62.

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