The German-American citizens of the United States have always been numbered among her most loyal sons, and to their industry and energy and sound business enterprise much of the prosperity which this great nation enjoys may be justly attributed. One of the old and honored residents of LaSalle county was William Harth, who lived his last years in retirement from active labors and cares, and for the last eleven years of his life made his home in Peru. He enjoyed the respect of the friends and neighbors who knew him for years, some for almost half a century.
The parents of the above named gentleman were Theodore and Gertrude (Pfeld) Harth, both natives of Germany, their occupation being that of tillers of the soil. The father died when about sixty-three years of age, in 1831, and the mother, whose death took place in 1844, was then in her sixty-fourth year. They were both identified with the Catholic church. Both of the grandfathers of our subject were agriculturists and passed their whole lives in Germany. Grandfather Pfeld died suddenly, when in the full vigor of life, while engaged in plowing a field. His children were three in number. Christian Harth, a brother of our subject, is the only survivor of the parental family, as one by one their six sons and four daughters passed into the silent land.
William Harth was born in the town of Kull, on the banks of the river Rhine, in Germany, March 12, 1821. His boyhood was quietly spent in the usual vocations of a farm and in attendance at the common schools. He continued to live at home until he reached man's estate, and in 1846 he decided to try his fortune in the United States. Almost immediately after his arrival in this country he settled in LaSalle county, Illinois, and, having purchased a quarter section of land in Eagle township, he proceeded to cultivate and improve his property. As the years rolled by he prospered and from time to time he added more land to his possessions until he owned five hundred and forty acres. In 1888 he left the homestead, and thereafter resided in Peru. As good opportunities presented themselves he disposed of his farms, and with abundant means for old age spent his days in well deserved rest and retirement. Thrift and industry were the secrets of his success, for he early learned the lesson that honest toil is the only safe and sure method of earning a livelihood and competence. In political affairs he was always an ally of the Democratic party.
The marriage of William Harth and Katherine Henn, a daughter of Philip and Helena (June) Henn, was solemnized October 17, 1847. They have had four sons and six daughters, namely: John, Joseph, Elizabeth, Henry, Mary, Christina, Anna, Peter, Minnie and Sibella. John and Joseph live in Kansas. The latter chose for his wife Mary Shetzer and the former is also married. Elizabeth became the wife of William Laufenberg and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Henry married Louisa Genter and is a resident of Nebraska. Mary, who wedded John Smith, also lives in Nebraska, her home being in Hartwell. Anna, Mrs. Frank Schinzel. is living in Leonora, Illinois. Peter married Ella Clampler and makes his home in Spring Valley, Illinois. Minnie is the wife of Peter Meisen, of Leonore, this state. Miss Sibella, unmarried, took care of her parents during their last days. William Harth and wife were devout members of the Catholic church, as were their ancestors before them for many generations.
Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 409-410.