No one is more deserving of success than is the man who begins the battle
of life empty-handed and by honest toil, continued through a long period,
accumulates a competence. Such a task, with the additional care and
responsibility of rearing several children to maturity, fitting them to take
part in the struggle for a livelihood, is no light undertaking; and the one
who has successfully performed these duties is worthy of sincere respect, as
in the case of the subject of this article.
George Hafifele, now living retired from business cares, in Peru, is a native of Alsace-Lorraine, his birth having occurred in April, 1836. He is a grandson of John Haffele, who was a carpenter by trade and lived and died in Germany. The parents of our subject were John and Katherine (Harmesser) Haffele, both natives of Alsace-Lorraine. The mother was a daughter of Anton Harmesser. (She had a brother whose death was caused by the falling of a tree upon him.) Mrs. Haffele was one of six children, and by her marriage she became the mother of eight children, two of whom died in childhood, leaving two sons and four daughters. Our subject is the only survivor. The father, who did farming upon a small scale, died in Germany, in 1872, when sixty years of age. His wife departed this life some two years previously.
After he had gained a fair general education and had mastered the various branches of farming, George Haffele decided to try his fortune in America. Crossing the ocean in 1866 he took up his residence in Henry county, Illinois, where he found employment with farmers. He was industrious and economical, and the result was that he soon had a little capital which he invested in ten acres of land. To this he afterward added another ten-acre tract, then twenty acres more, and by this time he was prospering, and spurred on to fresh efforts. As the years rolled by he was enabled to buy forty acres at one time, a farm of like size some time later, and finally eighty-five acres, thus making his possessions amount to over two hundred acres. On this homestead he reared his children and passed the prime of his life, winning the respect of his neighbors and acquaintances by his manly, upright conduct. He still owns the old place in Henry county, it being cultivated and managed by his son-in-law, Robert Clemens. While living there he did not neglect his duties as a citizen, and for fifteen years served in the capacity of school director. Until recently he has been firm in his allegiance to the principles of the Democratic party, but since the issues of the last presidential campaign came up for the consideration of the people he has been independent of party lines.
In October, 1869, Mr. Haffele and Mary Clemens, a daughter of George Clemens, were united in marriage. Lizzie, their eldest-born, is the wife of George Rhode, and resides in Mendota, Illinois. Alice is the wife of Robert Clemens and is living at the home of her childhood. They have two sons and a daughter, namely, Harry, George and Mary Magdalene. In 1889 Mrs. Mary C. Haffele, who was a devout Catholic, died at her home in Henry county, aged forty-six years. In 1892 Mr. Haffele married Mrs. Dora Meyerhoff, widow of John Meyerhoff, and she died the following year. October 18, 1894, Mr. Haffele and Mrs. Magdalene Siler were united in marriage. She was the widow of George Siler, and their two children, Mary and Clara, are both deceased. Mrs. Haffele is a daughter of Sebastian and Maria Magdalene (Dole) Gebhart, who died in Germany in 1858 and 1855, respectively. She continued to reside in the Fatherland until 1870, when the attractions of America led her to seek a home upon these hospitable shores. Following in the faith of his ancestors, Mr. Haffele is a Catholic, as is also his wife.
Extracted 18 Aug 2017 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 522-523.