Deer Park township, LaSalle county, Illinois, includes among its
intelligent, thrifty and progressive farmers the subject of this sketch,
Andrew W. Mers, who has been identified with this place since 1853, having
been drawn hither at that time, as he says, "in close pursuit of a young
lady who soon afterward became his wife."' After his arrival here he bought
a small tract of land southeast of Vermillionville and began the work of
developing a farm and, making a home. The land was then almost in its wild
state and only a shell of a house was here to indicate that man had ever
made it his abiding place.
Mr. Mers came to Illinois direct from Kentucky, his native state. He was born in Fleming county, July 21, 1830, a son of Samuel Mers, a native of the same county, born in 1797. Samuel Mers spent his active life as a farmer, and died at Knightstown, Indiana, in 1862. He was a soldier of the United States in our second war with England, and inherited his military inclinations from his father, who was a patriot soldier of the American Revolution. The latter, also named Samuel, was born in Ireland, and was, it is thought, a recruit for Washington's army from the state of Virginia, and from that state entered Kentucky soon after the conclusion of his seven years of army service.
The younger Samuel Mers married Tenna Plank, whose father was of German birth. She died in 1889, at the age of eighty-eight years. The children of Samuel and Tenna Mers were as follows: Margaret, deceased, was the wife of Henry Rice; Frederick, of Pleasant Hill, Missouri; John, who still resides in the home county in Kentucky; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of Henry Keal; Mary, now Mrs. William Beckner, of Rush county, Indiana; Evaline, the wife of Alfred Beckner, of the same county; and Andrew W., whose name introduces this review. There were other children, that died in infancy.
Andrew W. Mers spent his youth on his father's farm and received his education in the private schools near his home, attending only during the winter months. When about eighteen years of age he engaged regularly in farming for himself, and remained in his native state until lured away, as above recorded. Since he came into possession of his first tract of land Mr. Mers has increased the area of his farm to two hundred and six acres, all now nicely improved and well tilled, farming one of the few attractive places on the highway on which it is located.
Mr. Mers was married in 1855, to Miss Mary Newell, a daughter of George Newell. The Newell family came to this state from Brown county, Ohio, in the year 1851. Mr. Newell was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1798, the son of an Irishman, and died in the town of Deer Park, in 1875. One of his children, John H. Newell, is a retired farmer of Deer Park, residing with his son, George A., who is a most highly esteemed and prosperous farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Mers have two sons: Lawrence Webster and Charles D., both worthy citizens of their native town.
Mr. Mers is well known as a Democrat. He has held, at some time, all the offices of his town, except that of supervisor, and is now a justice of the peace. A quarter of a century ago, when the Farm Ridge & Deer Park Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized, Mr. Mers was one of its charter members; and of the thirty-one men whose names were on the charter he is one of six survivors. He has been a director of the company all these years.
Extracted 13 May 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 611-612.