JOHN FREDERICK REICHERT.
Pulaski county is undeniably rich in her prosperous farmers. Her fertile lands have ever been an attraction to men of pluck and energy, and many a goodly fortune has been forthcoming from the soil in the form of golden grain and other kindred products of Southern Illinois. No man who has achieved success in an agricultural way in Pulaski county has done so at the cost of greater effort than John Frederick Reichert, nor has any one realized a more phenomenal degree of success in that work than has he. John Frederick Reichert represents the acme of industrial effort; he has brought forth worthy accomplishments in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and is an example of thrift and prosperity which might well be studied and emulated. Aside from his extensive farming interests, he has found opportunity to reach out into other fields, and his attention has been turned to banking, mechandising and real estate. He is undoubtedly one of the foremost men of his town and county, and as such is recognized by all.
Born near Freeburg, Illinois, June 16, 1853, Mr. Reichert is a son of Jacob Reichert and a brother of August Reichert. He had but slight acquaintance with the schoolroom as boy and youth, his education being chiefly of an industrial character as a helper on his father's farm. In the winters it was his wont to secure employment in the coal mines, which supplemented the family income from the farm, and he remained with the old folks until he was twenty-six years old. At 9 P. M. July 29, 1883, he entered Pulaski county as the fore-runner of German settlement in and about Grand Chain. He brought his personal property with him in a wagon, and with $350 loaned him by a friend, Joe Erlinger, he contracted for the purchase of a tract of one hundred acres of land. This primal purchase represents the center of energy about which all the activities of his now widespread domain revolves. Pulaski county, in the part he chose for his home, was in an unsettled condition, and from the first ill-health was the portion of the family. Unacclimated as they were, their bodily strength and vigor was sapped by the unhealthful conditions, and death came to the little home on several occasions. These and other troubles followed Mr. Reichert and for a time ruin stared him in the face. But with the restoration of health Fortune ceased to frown upon his labors, and soon the results of his unrelenting toil were everywhere apparent. A few short years found him firmly established and making rapid progress towards financial independence. He continued to add to his holdings until he was the owner of more than eleven hundred acres of farm land, but he has since reduced his ranch proper to something like 570 acres, and it is unnecessary to say that the reducing of this land to a producing condition has involved much labor of a most strenuous sort, the results of which fully justify the cost. In 1892 Mr. Reichert erected a handsome brick dwelling, which, with the other splendid buildings he has built from time to time, add much to the appearance and value of his country home. At first grain and stock raising occupied his attention entirely, but for a number of years he has been a buyer and shipper of both products. Mr. Reichert was the founder of one of the principal business concerns in Grand Chain, known as the Grand Chain Mercantile Company, and he is the owner of the fine modern building in which the company carries on its business. He is a director and one of the organizers of the First State Bank of Mound City, and is a dealer in real estate in and about Grand Chain. A Republican in his political convictions, he is concerned in the welfare of the party, but is inactive in a political way. He was nominated for the office of county commissioner against his protest in recent years and was elected, but he declined to qualify disclaiming any desire for public
office of any kind and not having sufficient time for such office aside from his private interests. Mr. Reichert is a member of the B. P. 0. E. Lodge No. 651, in Cairo, Illinois.
Mr. Reichert married in St. Clair county Louisa Erlinger, the daughter of German parents of Freeburg. She was born May 1, 1854, and died January 7, 1890. She is buried at her old home. Five children were born to them, all of whom were yet at a tender age when death robbed them of the care of a mother. Their father has proved himself a parent indeed in his care of his family. He has looked after their education, given them careful home training, taught them the value of industry and integrity for its own sake, and has seen the majority of them establish homes of their own and enter upon successful agricultural or commercial careers. Their names are as follows: Theodore, born November 28, 1880, is secretary and treasurer of the Grand Chain Mercantile Company, and is married to Tillie Beyke; Edmund August, born November 21, 1882, is a farmer; Albert C., born March 25, 1885, is a farmer; John Fritz Theodore, born August 29, 1887, is at home, not married; and Andreas Prank, born November 17, 1889, died in infancy.