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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Drew County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  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 Ahrens. Among the young men of the old country who had the pluck, energy and enterprise necessary to brave the hardships of life in a foreign land was Mr. Ahrens, whose birth occurred in Hanover, Germany, on March 14, 1833 and who came to the United States in December, 1856. He is a son of Augustus Ahrens, a native of Bohemia, who lived to a very old age, but the dates of his birth and death are not definitely known. He was a professional book-binder, and removed from Bohemia to Germany during the war with Napoleon, and was in the Austrian army. His wife, the mother of the subject of this sketch, was Sophia Simmons, a native of Hanover, Germany, born near Bremen. She also lived to a very advanced age, and died during the early part of the sixties. Their marriage took place in 1823, and their union was blessed in the birth of eight children, only four of whom are now living: Rosetta (wife of J. N. Israel, of Philadelphia, Penn.), Mary A. (wife of Mark A. Cahue, of Germany), John, and Helena (wife of a Mr. Frosch, of Chicago). Those deceased are: Henry (who died in Drew County, Ark., in 1888), Garson (who died in Germany), and two children who died in infancy. John Ahrens was reared in Hanover, but unlike the majority of German youths his early educational opportunities were not of the best, and at the early age of fifteen he began learning the candle-maker’s trade, continuing eighteen months, then turned his attention to cigar-making, which trade received his attention for four years. At the expiration of this time he turned his attention to farming, continuing three years, but at the time of his removal to the United States he was engaged in merchandising. For two years after his arrival in Arkansas he was engaged in the manufacture of cigars, but has since been engaged in farming, and is now the owner of eighty acres of land in Drew County, and a good home in Monticello. He also gives much of his attention to the fire insurance business, and as agent for the Waters Pierce Oil Company is doing exceptionally well. December 27, 1860, he was united in marriage to Miss Nancy E. Brooks, a native of Alabama, and a daughter of Willis T. Brooks, who is now residing in Ashley County. Mrs. Ahrens passed from this life September 6, 1870, having borne a family consisting of one son and three daughters: Sarah A. (wife of H. O. Moss, resident of Lincoln County), Mary A. (wife of John H. Dellmon, of Pine Bluff, Ark.), Elia (wife of William Evans, a farmer of Ashley County), and one son, William Henry, who was born April 26, 1867, and is now in Texas. Mr. Ahrens’ second marriage took place at Monticello, Drew County, Ark., May 17, 1876, his wife being Miss Emily A. Farrell, who died June 24, 1890, a native of Mississippi, and a daughter of William M. Farrell (who died April 26, 1890) of Bradley County, Ark. Four children have blessed this union also: Darwin, Elmo, Albert A. and Maud. In the month of March, 1862, Mr. Ahrens enlisted in the Confederate service, becoming a member of Company F, Second Arkansas Cavalry, commanded by Col. Slemons, and while serving with Gens. Forrest, Wheeler, Fagan, and other cavalry generals, took an active part in the battles of Corinth (second battle), Middleton, Tenn., Denmark of the same State, and was with Price on his famous Missouri raid. He returned home at the close of the war without parole or discharge. Politically he is a Democrat, and has been justice of the peace. He is a Freethinker, but his wife was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. He is a Master Mason, belonging to Eureka Lodge No. 40 at Monticello.

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This family biography is one of 83 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Drew County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Drew County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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