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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN HENKEL. For more than ten years the firm of John Henkel & Son has conducted an extensive mercantile business in Niles and has enjoyed the patronage of both the city and the surrounding country. The uniformly reliable and accurate methods upon which the business has been conducted throughout the history of the house have given it special distinction among the leading establishments of Berrien County and made its name a synonym for propriety of business conduct.

A native of Darmstadt, Germany, Mr. Henkel was born on the 3rd of October, 1838, and is the fourth in a family of five children, three sons and two daughters, all of whom are living. He received a common-school education in his native land, and in his young manhood emigrated to America, settling in Canada, where he clerked in a store for a short time. Prior to this he had clerked in a store in Darmstadt. Having spent four years in Canada, in 1862 he emigrated to the United States, and after landing in New York City proceeded direct to Michigan and located in Niles.

For twelve years Mr. Henkel was in the employ of William B. Beeson, and after the death of that gentleman he was retained by Messrs. Harter & Walker, his successors in business, for a period of three years. Later he went to Mishawaka, Ind., where he remained in a clerical position for three years. He then engaged in business, forming a partnership with his son, under the firm name of John Henkel & Son, and the newly-organized firm embarked in business in 1883. From that date until the present the establishment has enjoyed a large trade among the people of the community, who find there a complete stock of dry-goods, carpets, curtains, oilcloth, and, in fact, everything to be found in a first-class store. The location of the establishment on Main Street is convenient for customers and an admirable site for a mercantile concern.

The marriage of Mr. Henkel occurred in 1860 and united him with Miss Christina, daughter of Philip Leanhart, of Canada. They are the parents of the following children: Henry, the junior member of the firm of Henkel & Son; Maggie, who is the wife of Sanford Soule, residing in Niles; Catherine, Mrs. Fred Stevens, a resident of Bluffton, Ind.; George, a clerk in his father’s store; and Anna, who is at home. In politics a Republican, Mr. Henkel has never been solicitous of public offices, preferring to devote his attention entirely to his business. However, he takes an intelligent and warm interest in local affairs and is in favor of every measure which has for its object the advancement of the community, materially, morally or religiously. In his fraternal relations he is identified with St. Joseph Valley Lodge No. 4, A. F. & A. M.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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