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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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 H. THIES, proprietor of the woolen mills of Steeleville, is at the head of one of the leading industries of this place. His business has now assumed extensive proportions, and he receives from the public a liberal patronage, which yields him a good income. As he is widely and favorably known in this community, we feel assured that the record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers.

Mr. Thies was born in Germany, January 10, 1824, and is a son of Frank Thies, a native of the same country. His mother died when he was quite young. In the family were six children, of whom he was the fifth in order of birth. In accordance with the laws of his native land, he attended the public schools until fourteen years of age, when he began earning his own livelihood by working as a farm hand, which pursuit he followed until nineteen years of age. He then entered the German army, joining the Light Cavalry, in which he served for three years. During the last year he was detailed for commissary work, and was mustered out in Munster, Germany, in the year 1846. The succeeding two years and a-half he spent in traveling over Europe.

The spring of 1849 witnessed the emigration of Mr. Thies to America. On reaching the New World, he located in St. Louis, Mo. Cholera was then raging, and business was almost wholly suspended, but he at length secured work in a drug store, where he continued for six months. His next employment was the manufacture of saddle trees, and to that he devoted his energies for a period of ten years. Previous to this time, he had purchased some land in Randolph County, and when a decade had passed away, he came hither. He had left the city during the summer months, and when a favorable opportunity was presented to purchase a tract of good land, he would do so, and when the property had risen in value, dispose of it. In this way he accumulated a considerable competence. In 1859 he removed to a farm near Steeleville, and continued the cultivation of his land until his health failed him, when he rented his property, and in 1866 removed to the town. Building the woolen mills, he has since engaged in their operation with good success. For about ten years he was associated in business with his two brothers-in-law, but since that time he has been alone. The mills have a large output, and the trade is constantly increasing.

In September, 1856, Mr. Thies was united in marriage with Miss Annie Stahlberg, and to them were born ten children, but four of the number died in early childhood. Those still living are: Louisa, wife of the Rev. John L. Sternberg, a resident of Kansas City, Mo.; Annie and Charles, at home; Minnie, wife of E. L. Flouth, a prominent farmer living near Chester; Frank and Edith, who are attending the home school. The mother of this family was called to the home beyond December 19, 1893, at the age of fifty-six years. She was a kind and loving wife, a faithful and devoted mother, and was loved and respected by all. In politics, Mr. Thies is a Republican, and socially is a member of Steeleville Lodge No. 497, A. F. & A. M. He and his family all hold membership with the Methodist Church, to which his wife also belonged.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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