HENRY BATH, a farmer living on section 21, township 12, range 7, is a conspicuous illustration of what may be accomplished by energy, industry and good management. His father, John Bath, was born in Germany and remained in his native country during his life. His wife also died in Germany and was the mother of eleven children. Frcderica, Minnie, Mary and Louisa died in Germany; Fritz and Caroline died in the United States, the latter in Pope County; Fritzie is deceased; Henry is the subject of this sketch; Sophie is the wife of John Blezalt; John died in Germany; and Theodore is also deceased.
Henry Bath, the eighth child, was born in Prussia January 30, 1840. He was brought up to work on the farm and received a fairly good common-school education. When about twenty-one years old he was married to Hannah Hawker, a native of Germany, and when twenty-nine years old, having heard a great deal of the advantages of living in the United States, he concluded to come here and try to make his living in this country. He crossed the ocean in a sailing-vessel named the "Prince Albert, leaving his native country April 27, and reaching New York June 27, experiencing all kinds of weather on the sea. When he arrived in New York he counted up his assets and found he had just $10 left with which to get to their destination and begin life in a new country. They went first to Chicago, where Mr. Bath found work in a lumberyard, and after working there for some time and accumulating a little money he removed to Pope County, Ill., and leased some land one and a-half miles from his present location. He leased for five years a tract of unimproved timber land in the wilderness, upon which he built a log cabin, moved into it and began work; this being in 1870. He cut down trees, rolled the logs together, burned them, split rails, cleared up his land, and worked hard for many years, but had few of the comforts of life, such as farmers enjoy at the present time. He paid $11 per barrel for flour, and in consequence of the high price of this article his family was often without bread for days at a time, living on potatoes and occasionally a little meat, which, like flour, was high in price, pork being often as high as ten cents per pound. His wife helped him with the work and they were successful. With characteristic thrift and economy they made progress and in the fifth year of their occupancy of the farm they cleared $900. He was now in a condition to buy a farm, and selecting a good place near by, containing one hundred and eighty acres, he bought it and moved into the log cabin already erected on the place. This was the first home they owned, and the feeling of pleasure connected with ownership after so long a period of living on rented land can readily be appreciated by anyone who has gone through the same experience. His success as a farmer has been remarkable. The old log house stands there still, but he has since erected a brick residence which is large and commodious, and in addition he has built good barns and other outbuildings, such as are needed on every well-regulated farm. To his original one hundred and eighty acres he has since added from time to time, until he now owns four hundred and forty-five acres of good land, one of the best farms in Pope County. He and his good, hard-working wife are enjoying the results and sweets of their labors.
Our subject and his wife are the parents of eleven children, viz: Caroline, wife of Anton Volkert, of Hardin County; Henry, born February 25, 1865; Mary and Louisa, deceased; Theodore born December 2, 1869; Lizzie, January 9, 1872; Minnie, January 3, 1873; Emma. October 18. 1874; John, December 2, 1876; Amelia, October 4, 1879; and Herman, May 21, 1881. Mr. Bath is giving his children a good education. Politically, he is a Democrat, and both he and his wife are members of the Lutheran Church. He is one of the most progressive farmers of this county and raises fine cattle, hogs and sheep. His success has been such, and his character is such, that he has the respect of the entire community.
Extracted from Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, published in 1893, page 606
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