Joseph J. Matern, of Tonica, LaSalle county, is in the prime of manhood,
as he was born April 24, 1861. He is one of the ten children of Adam and
Theressa (Amrehn) Matern, who were natives of Bavaria, Germany, and became
loyal, respected citizens of the United States. The father, who has made
farming his chief occupation in life, located in Putnam county, this state,
in 1844, and now, after fifty-five years passed in that locality, he is
living retired from the active toil in which he was engaged until recently.
Beginning his career as a common laborer on farms, he prospered, on account
of his industry and economy, and within a few years after landing in this
country, a stranger to its people, language and customs, he had bought a
farm and had made substantial improvements upon the place. He reared his
sons and daughters to be useful, patriotic citizens, and the regard and
respect of all who know him is his in gratifying measure. His wife, who
faithfully seconded all of his plans, and was a true helpmate in every
respect, was summoned to the silent land in 1895, when she was in her
sixty-third year. Both have been identified with the Catholic church since
childhood. Their respective fathers passed their entire lives in Germany,
where they were engaged in managing farms.
Joseph J. Matern is one of the seven children of the parental household who are yet living. His brothers, Michael and Bernard, are residents of Wesley, Iowa, as also is the elder sister. Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Gates. Theressa, William and Henry are living in Mount Palatine, Illinois. Two sons and a daughter died in childhood.
Near the towm last mentioned the birth of our subject occurred, and there, on his father's farm, he learned the elementary principles of business and good citizenship under the wise guidance of his elders. He remained at home, giving his aid to his father in the care of the farm until he had reached maturity, in the meantime acquiring a practical education in the local schools. His father then being well along in years, the young man took charge of the old homestead, which he continued to carry on with distinct success until 1898. the year of his coming to Tonica. Here he entered into partnership with C. F. Austin, and transacted a large business in grain, coal and tile until the spring of 1899, when he purchased Mr. Austin's interest, and is running his affairs alone at present. His business is constantly increasing, and his patrons are. without exception, on the best of terms with him, for he is accommodating and genial, prompt in filling orders and perfectly fair and just in all of his dealings.
On the 19th of April, 1898, Mr. Matern married Miss Anna Lawrence, a daughter of Anton and Frances Lawrence, and they have become the parents of a little daughter, Irene. Mr. and Mrs. Matern are Catholics in their religious faith, as were their ancestors before them.
While living in Putnam county, our subject served for three years as the assessor of Magnolia township, and was the collector for four years, making an enviable record as a public official. He uses his franchise in favor of the Democratic party.
Extracted 13 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 669-670.