Immigrant Johannes Schrock, 1801-1875, of Illinois

by Donna Schrock Birkey
Originally published in the Winter 2002 issue (Vol. XXIX, No. 4)
Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly (
(Used with permission of original publisher)

(Additional information has been found about the Johannes Schrock family since this 2002 article and that information is reflected in other sections of the website.)

As I became interested in genealogy twenty-some years ago I realized that both of my parents’ histories were waiting to be found. My mother’s Park family came from England. However, the little information I had ended in Missouri and was sketchy at best. My father’s Schrock ancestors were all Swiss German Anabaptists, but I was not aware that my immigrant third great grandfather Johannes had ever been traced beyond his 1801 birth somewhere in France. Now, after some serious searching, help from many “cousins”, the Internet, and LDS films, I ‘ve become acquainted with my Park relatives back to Sir John Park who was married in Frith, England and died in 1606; and the Schrock connections (with a few specific gaps) go back to Nicklaus in Wynigen, Switzerland in the 1600s.1 How far I have come and how interesting it has been!

My research for Schrock/Schrack/Schrag family members took a great leap forward several years ago after making several contacts that provided new clues. Thus, using all my present (admittedly incomplete) information, this article will focus on Johannes, his immediate birth family, his own children, and my direct line to him. In addition to the genealogical connections I have included stories highlighting the character and lives of my Schrock ancestors as they effected, and were affected by the Mennonite community in Illinois.

French Beginnings

Johannes Schrock (Jean Schrack) grew up during the Napoleonic War and was educated in French.2 He was the son of Joseph Schrack,3 a miller by trade. Joseph married Marie Engel 13 August 1798 at Gosselming, France.4 Their son Joseph, who had been born 8 June 1799 in Gondrexange, died there at the age of five and one half on 9 Feb 1805.5 Before 1801 Marie Engel died (perhaps as a result of child birth) and Joseph had married a second time to Marie’s half-sister, Marie Neuhauser.6

The first born of Joseph’s second wife was John (Johannes) in 1801. In 1802 Joseph is still living in Gondrexange, reporting the birth of a third son Peter (Pierre) on 15 June.7 A fourth son Andrew (André) was born in the same village on 8 Jan 1804.8 Later, in a location yet unknown to me, two daughters were born: Magdalena9 and Barbara.10

In Blamont on 4 Aug 1826,11 Johannes married Catherine Elizabeth Salzman, born 28 Oct 1804 in Sarralbe, died March 1858 in Illinois.12

1831 Immigration

Shortly after the death of his father Joseph, Johannes and Catherine and their two small children Joseph and Catherine, came to America in 1831. They sailed in the spring from the port of Le Havre, France, and after forty-four days disembarked in Baltimore, Maryland.13 One account passed down from generation to generation reports that as they neared the end of their boisterous trip across the Atlantic Ocean their food supply was completely exhausted. In order to keep up their strength to complete the voyage they boiled leather straps from the rigging of the ship to make broth.

Along with the unsettling and sometimes unwelcome cultural changes the families experienced while moving from one country to another, there was a number of resulting name revisions. The Schrags of Switzerland and Germany became the Schracks/Gerarrds14 of France, and eventually the Schrocks of America.

Butler County, Ohio (1832-1850)

From Baltimore Johannes took his family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Later, in 1832 they joined Johannes’ brother Peter in Butler County, Ohio,15 and lived among the settlement of Amish Mennonite immigrants. After settling on land in Section 29 of Lemon Township,16 the same section in which his father-in-law Michael Salzman and his brother Peter lived, Johannes rented a mill and managed it successfully. Milling was his profession in Lorraine, following in his father Joseph’s occupation. While in Butler County Johannes applied for and received citizenship.17

Brother Peter, fully settled on his Fairview Farm, was satisfied to stay in Ohio where he married and raised seven children, served as minister in the Augspurger congregation and died in 1887. But the Amish Mennonites in mid-Illinois sent back to Butler County stories of a growing new West where acres were cheap and crops abundant. Curious, Johannes took three horses and traveled from Trenton, Ohio, to Pekin, Illinois, to have a look. He liked what he saw. Leaving one horse there, Johannes drove the other two back to the Buckeye State and told his anxious wife Catherine that they were going to Illinois. So, late in 1850 he prepared to move his wife and five children to a farm in Tazewell County near Pekin. They left behind two small graves.18

Putting Down Roots in Illinois

In the fall of 1850 Johannes and Catherine took the family, except for Joseph, to Cincinnati. From there they traveled by boat down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, and then up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Pekin.19 This was the same route taken in 1831 by a group of Amish from Alsace Lorraine when they settled in Wesley City just a few miles south of the present East Peoria–the first Amish community west of Ohio. Joseph, the oldest child at age 22, drove through with the horses, cattle and what goods they had. Perhaps Johannes had worked out a land deal with Benjamin Newkirk on his exploratory journey, for on December 26, 1850 a deed was recorded for the purchase of three tracts totaling 161 acres in Sections 9, 16, and 20 of Elm Grove Township. For these acres Johannes paid $2,000.

Comments about Johannes, his wife Catherine and family appeared in a Pekin-area newspaper at the time of their son John’s death in 1935, describing how they “…farmed, subduing wild land with patent industry until at his decease they were surrounded by numbers of broad acres well cultivated and supporting numerous fine domestic animals. During life they were members of the old Amish Church, and died in that communion. The father entered into his rest in his seventy-fourth year and the mother in her fifty-seventh. The family located in a log house on what is now the Allen Miller farm five miles east of Pekin. They were made at home by the Mennonites here and kindly neighbors; and because they were honorable and thrifty, they prospered.” Johannes died near Pekin, Illinois, 21 Jan 1875, at the age of 74 and is no doubt buried in Railroad Cemetery near Pekin, although no stone is visible. One would assume that Catherine is buried there as well. In 1876 the heirs of Johannes sold two parcels of land, and included as an heir was widow Jacobina Schrock.20

At least three of his siblings also migrated to Tazewell County: Johannes’ sister Magdalena and her husband Christian Smith, his brother Andrew who married Anna Oyer, and sister Barbara who married Joseph “Red Joe” Belsley.

Each of Johannes’ and Catherine’s living children found their unique place in the New World: Joseph, b. 1828; 21 Catherine, b. 1829; 22 Johannes, b. 1834, died in infancy; Jacobina, b.1836, died in infancy; Peter, b.1839; John, b.1843; 23 and Magdalena, b.1845. 24

Peter Schrock (1839-1922) A Kind and Compassionate Man

Johannes’ son Peter was my great-great-grandfather. Pete and Jennie Schrock write in their book, Just Pete: “The fifth child, Peter, was a very kind, compassionate man. Peter seemingly wasn’t able to establish himself as a prosperous farmer like his brother Joseph, or a successful businessman like his brother John, but Peter left a legacy of compassion and kindness to his descendants.

“Peter had long, white whiskers and told one of his grandsons, ‘You’d be a fine feller if you’d let your whiskers grow.’ Of course Pete (the grandson) decided as a little boy that he didn’t like whiskers, and especially if the one who wore whiskers chewed tobacco. Little Pete remembers his grandpa, after he got older, sitting in his big chair in the sitting room with his spittoon by his chair. Peter had a jackknife with the words: ‘Peter Schrock, Fisher, Illinois,’ made in the handle. He used this to cut his chewing tobacco. He also whittled a great deal. Peter raised pigs and kept bees–from 10 to 15 hives.”

Peter was vaguely remembered by his then five-year-old great-granddaughter, Eunice Schrock Kandel, “There he sat in his beautiful big leather chair, spitting tobacco juice into an ornate spittoon nearby. And I remember being in the room as he breathed his last breath.”25

Peter’s wife was Anna (Nancy) Garber, youngest of eleven children of John Garber and Eva Caroline Paithe. Nancy died 20 years before her husband and after her death Peter made his home with his daughters in Fisher. The family was part of the East Bend Mennonite Church and Peter’s daughter Ella was baptized there in 1895 and Lena in 1903, both by Peter Zehr.

At the time of Peter’s death from chronic interstitial nephritis in 1922 he was nearly penniless. There was no distribution of funds to his heirs, as it took all the assets to pay remaining debts.26 But he did leave his Bible with records of his family written in German script (see inset).27

Children of Peter and Anna were: Catharina, b. 30 Sep 1860, d. 2 Aug 1861; John, b. 28 May 1862,28 Samuel, b. 16 Jul 1864,29 Joseph, b. 18 Aug 1866,30 Lydia Anna, b. 26 Apr 1868,31 Moses, b. 16 Apr 1870, d. Dec 1879, a child nine years of age; Ella, b.17 Nov 1876,32 Lena, b. 20 Aug 1885.33

John Schrock (1862-1951) Continuing the Legacy–Helping Those in Need

My great grandfather John was the oldest son of Peter and Anna Schrock. He married Mary Birky34 and they had two children, Albert and Fannie.35 John continued the kind, compassionate legacy of his father Peter. He was gentle and soft-spoken and was a skilled painter of farm buildings in addition to farming. One of John’s granddaughters writes of him:

“John Schrock, my grandfather, was one of the dearest men I ever knew. He was the oldest living child in his family. He had two brothers and three sisters. He had a little brother Moses, who died at about age nine, when Grandpa was about 19. When Grandpa was an old man in his eighties, he still talked about the family’s sadness at giving up little “Mosey.” He had a deep love and concern for his three sisters, one who was separated from her husband, and the other two who had never married. He was so helpful to my mother who had five children and a pastor husband who wasn’t able to help very much with home duties. He was also very much concerned about the wife and children of his only son Albert, who died a premature death. In his quiet way he was an inspiration to his family, and when he died at age 87, it was hard for me to give up this kind man with the smiling face and honest blue eyes.”

Another example of John’s caring spirit was his appointment as conservator of his wife’s brother Amos Birky, who had been judged insane by a Champaign County court. John was appointed in 1898 when Amos was eighteen and served until his death in 1914. Although Amos’ mother cared for him, John was legally responsible for his well being for sixteen years. Later in his life Great Grandpa John Schrock regularly came to our home to prune the grapevines in the garden–just another way of helping his family. And his helpfulness extended to granddaughter Eunice, when he would hoe her large farm garden near Fisher.

Albert Schrock (1886-1917) An Untimely Death

My grandfather Albert Elmer Schrock, was the only son of John and Mary Schrock. In 1907 he married Josephine Yordy.36 The couple moved that year to a farm near Fisher, Illinois, and lived there until Albert became too ill to carry on with farming. There was a sale of farm goods in about 1911, after which the family moved to Colorado with the hope that the climate there would give better health. But after returning to Illinois and spending time at a sanitarium in Ottawa, Albert succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis, or consumption as it was often called.

His son Orval, seven years old at the time, remembers “on Christmas morning 1916, there on the dining room table were a lot of presents, including some toys. There was no Christmas tree. I think my parents had a feeling that it would be our last Christmas together as a family and, sure enough, fifteen days later on January 9, my father died of tuberculosis. The day of the funeral was very cold and snowy and I remember the horse-drawn hearse with the driver sitting out in the open.”

A newspaper account of Albert’s death reads as follows:
Fisher, Jan. 9–(Special.)–Albert Schrock, well known resident of this community, died this morning at his home, two miles north of the village, after an illness of four years, due to tuberculosis. He had been unusually well of late and arose this morning and kindled a fire and shortly afterward was seized with a hemorrhage and died a short time afterwards. The deceased was a son of John and Mary Schrock and was born on January 13, 1886. He was married about eight years ago to Miss Josephine Yordy, who, with two sons, Elmer and Oliver (sic, Orval), survive, as do also his parents. A sister also survives. He was a prominent member of the Amish church. The funeral will be held on Thursday from the Amish church, Rev. Samuel Gerber, of Morton, conducting the services. Burial will be made in the family lot in the Amish cemetery.

Albert was baptized by Peter Zehr in 1903 and became part of the East Bend Mennonite Church. He had been a good student of the Bible, served as superintendent of the Sunday school, and before his death was considered a candidate for minister, along with Levi Birky and Joseph A. Heiser. In the early Amish Mennonite tradition the pastors of churches were chosen through “the lot,” and that is how Joseph Heiser became minister. Albert’s only sibling was a sister Fannie who had married Joseph and was to become a minister’s wife whether she liked it or not.

Wife Josephine prepared food baskets for the needy. She was instrumental in beginning a women’s “sewing circle” and managed food service when East Bend hosted Illinois Mennonite conferences. Albert and Josephine had three children: Elmer Raymond,37 Orval Leo, and Eunice Lois.38 After her husband’s death Josephine raised the three children with the help of her husband’s family. Later, after the boys were married she worked as housemother at Goshen College and as a practical nurse at Maple Lawn Home in Eureka where she lived her last years.

Orval Leo Schrock (1910-2002) A Long, Honorable Life

My father, born 9 Sep 1910, is the middle child of Albert and Josephine. After his father’s death the family was kept together and financed by the proceeds of a forty-acre farm and the help of neighbors and friends. When sister Eunice was still very young, probably one and one half years old, the family harvested the twenty-acre corn crop by using a large baby buggy equipped to be pulled behind the wagon. Eunice was dressed warmly and put into the buggy. Josephine, Elmer and Orval would husk three rows up and back. Then the boys left for school and Josephine would husk two rows up and back, take the wagon to the crib and put the horses in the barn. In the evening after school the boys finished by scooping the corn into the crib. After completing eight grades in a country school Orval helped his Uncle Joseph Heiser farm his land, and in return his uncle provided the equipment and helped Albert’s family farm their forty acres.

On Dec. 24, 1931, Orval was married to Mae Park39 at the home of her parents. The couple’s first home was on the farm where he had grown up. Those first years were very lean economically; one of Orval’s first jobs paid one dollar a day. In September 1935, Orval and Mae moved to a home that was purchased for $1,100, the home in which they lived 66 years and in which Orval died. He owned and operated Schrock Soil Service for many years.

Rev. C. F. Derstine’s evangelistic meetings held at the East Bend Mennonite Church were influential in Orval’s early spiritual life. Later, in the early 1940’s, evangelist John Kasteline ministered in the community, and the effect was that Orval and his family became more active in Christian service. An organization of laymen that conducted evangelistic tent meetings resulted in the formation of what is now the Gibson City Bible Church. Orval contributed many hours and took a very active part in the leadership of the church. He also developed a keen interest in foreign evangelism and gave liberally to mission work over the years.

In his 91st year and just nine months before his death, Orval and his wife Mae celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in December of 2001. At his funeral the following August, his wisdom, honesty, unique humor, and most importantly his faithfulness to the Lord were celebrated by relatives and friends who honored his long life.

In Retrospect

At various points along the way during the past 150 years, the family of immigrant Johannes and Catherine Saltzman Schrock directly influenced the forming of the Illinois Mennonite community. Quite a number of descendants of John and Mary Birky Schrock have been and still are involved in Christian ministry of one kind or another within Illinois and far beyond. With my children and grandchildren, I have a heritage to appreciate and a responsibility to continue, both of which have been so well exampled by our ancestors before us. That heritage and responsibility is a commitment to Christ and his church, the building of character in our families, and the use of resources for others and God’s kingdom. Our ancestors were not perfect, but priorities and goals were kept in line with what they believed God’s Word taught. They understood and practiced the Sermon on the Mount, and because of them our lives have been enriched and blessed.

“…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me. But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.” (Exodus 20:5,6)


1 Schrag families were identified as “Anabaptists” in several villages of the Emmental as early as 1700. Their civil records go back to the tumultuous 1600s. Near the village of Wynigen, the family nicknamed Schrag probably worked as carpenters or cabinetmakers in addition to being farmers. Two hofs have been identified as Schrag homes: Loumberg and Mistelhof. The Schrags were one of only three prominent Amish names that originate in the Emmental area of Switzerland (along with Troyer and Schwarzentruber). The surname appears in the 1798 listing of “Men of Bern.”

A number of Schrag families moved from their homeland of Switzerland into the Palatine area around Zweibrucken, Germany, where there were relative peace and opportunities for work, perhaps going there by way of the Jura region. They lived on various hofs in the Palatinate, including Heckenaschbacherhof and Kaplaneyhof. The royal family of Zweibrucken owned several estates surrounding the city, and this is where the Mennonites and Amish are known to have lived. The Zweibrucken Schrag families emigrated to America at various times and by a number of routes: before 1840, via the Palatinate, northern Alsace and Lorraine, and after 1870, via Volhynia, Russia.

Caspar Schrag, son of Niklaus, was born in Wynigen, Switzerland, in 1685. He must have left for Germany early 1700s, for he lived on Ingweilerhof near Zweibrucken in 1761. He had two brothers, Ulrich and Hans. The second Caspar was born after the Anabaptist Schrag families left Switzerland and while they lived in Zweibrucken, Germany, on the Ingweilerhof. He married Elisabeth Weiss, and had at least two brothers, Ulrich and Johannes. In his book, Amish Mennonites in Germany, Hermann Guth writes, “In a list of Anabaptists in the Staatsarchiv in Bern, Switzerland, two brothers, Christian (b.1729) and Bendicht Schrag (b.1731), sons of Ulrich Schrag (b. 1687), are named in 1765. They move from Wynigen-Leumberg in Switzerland to the Munstertal. About this time Schrags of Zweibrucken were already living here. Ulrich Schrag (b. 1710), who is leaseholder (Bestander) on the Ernstweilerhof in 1735, was a son of Caspar Schrag (b. 1685). A Caspar Schrag is on the Ingeweilerhof in 1761. It is not clear whether these two individuals were father and son or brothers; the author assumes the latter. In that case, they would both be sons of Caspar Schrag (b.1685), the father of Ulrich Schrag (b.1710), who does not otherwise appear in the Palatinate. The…arrangement of descendants of the two brothers has not been proven and is based in part on assumptions.”

The third Caspar is found at Ernstweilerhof near Zweibrucken, with a sister, Elizabeth. Not much is known about his family. The fourth Casper married Barbe Ruvennach (secondly Marie Blaiser) and was the father of Joseph Schrag, grandfather of Johannes the immigrant.

2 Johannes (Jean) Schrack was born in Gondrexange according to his marriage document. However, LDS Film #01896605 does not contain his birth record. Even though his father Joseph and Marie Engel’s son Joseph was born and died in Gondrexange, and his brothers Peter and Andrew were born there (all these records are on the film), the death of Marie Engel, the marriage of Joseph to Marie Neuhauser (Nayhauser), and the birth document of Johannes I have not found. The birth date used by other Schrock family researchers heretofore has been 17 Aug 1801, but the marriage document states otherwise.

3 Joseph was born in about 1772/4 at Bellegrade, and died in Rhodes, France, in 1830. The farm “la Bellegrade” is near Bistroff and the lake Bischwald. The “moulin (mill) de Bischwald” existed from 1682 to 1857 and was situated between the lake and the farm. His family spent at least several years there, since we know Joseph’s brother Jean was living at the mill in 1798. At the time of Jean’s marriage Joseph was a miller at the “moulin” de Bachats near Rhodes. At the time of his son Jean’s marriage Joseph was a miller at the “moulin de Bachats” near Rhodes.

4 According to her marriage record Marie was born at Alking, a farm near Gosselming, the daughter of Christian Engel and Catherine Rothzeeker. Marie was 26 years of age when she married 25-year-old Joseph. Witnesses to the marriage were Jean Schrag (brother of Joseph), Jean Kamp, Jean Neuhauser (stepbrother of Marie), and Sebastian Ohmer. After the death of her husband Christian Engel, Catheirne Rothzeeker married Nicolas Neuhauser. Their daughter Marie became Joseph’s second wife.

5 LDS Film 01896605, Civil Records of Gondrexange, Moselle, France. Birth was recorded 20 prairial an 7.

6 After the death of her husband Christian Engel, Catherine Rothzeeker married Nicolas Neuhauser. It seems likely that it was their daughter Marie who became Joseph’s second wife. This relationship between Marie Engel and Marie Neuhauser has not been proven, but is very likely.

7 Pierre Schrack birth record (16 floreal an 10) LDS Film 01896605, Civil records of Gondrexange, Moselle, France. Peter settled and remained in Butler Co., Ohio. He married first Magdalena Zimmerman, and second Magdalena Rediger. His son Peter married Elizabeth Augspurger,
granddaughter of well-known Butler Co., Ohio pioneer, Christian Augspurger. The Augspurger family opened their home to many migrating Amish who used Butler County as a stopping place before moving further west. They were known for their hospitality.

8 Andre Schrack birth record (14 nivose an 12) LDS film 01896605, civil records of Gondrexange, Moselle, France. Andrew married Anna Oyer and lived in Tazewell Co., Illinois. One night during 3857 Andrew stayed wtih a neighbor who had cholera. The same night he became sick with the disease and died before morning, leaving a family of small children, the oldest sixteen and the youngest born after his death. In August of 1857 Johannes and son Joseph, along with Peter Guth, signed a $10,000 bond at the appointment of Anna Schrock as guardian of the minor children.

9 Magdalena Schrack, and Christian Schmidt her husband, moved to Illinois from Butler Co., Ohio. In 1848 they sold their five acres in Lemon Township (situated within an 80-acre plot Peter had purchased in 1845) to Magdalena’s brother Peter. In Illinois they lived near Congerville with seven children. During the cholera epidemic of 1855, Christian died in his log cabin home. Three days later Magdalena died, followed by the death of her nineteen-year-old daughter Barbara and a few hours later by her six-year-old son John, leaving four orphaned children.

10 Barbara Schrack married Joseph Belsley, and although I have not yet documented the marriage, the most likely husband is “Red Joe” born 28 Mar 1802 in Rhodes, France. It is not known whether Barbara and Joseph married in France or in America. They had one child, Christian, and Barbara died while he was very young. Red Joe later married Barbara Engel, daughter of Bishop Christian Engel.

11 6 brumaire an 13, LDS Film #1981660. Daughter of Michael Saltzmann and Catherine Hirgi, granddaughter of Michael Saltzman and Catherine Weiss.

12 At the time of their marriage Jean was living in Blamont and Catherine in Bistroff. Andre Chertz, age 33, uncle of the bride by marriage, was a witness.

13 To my knowledge, the record of the ship passage to Baltimore has not been found. I have searched several films of Baltimore arrivals to no avail. However, there is a ship that arrived in Baltimore on June 30, 1831, carrying Johannes’ father-in-law and his family. It would seem that Johannes and Catherine might have come on the same ship, but I have not found their names. There is oral tradition in the family about a brother Joseph who immigrated to America with family members in 1831, but during the confusion in the days after arrival in port became separated from them and was not heard from again. We will probably never know whether this was a deliberate act of someone who desired to be independent and self-sufficient, or, more likely, became prey to the many unscrupulous predators of unsuspecting immigrants. Either way, it must have been a devastating blow to the family, and imagine their pain in having to leave Baltimore without Joseph. (More research is needed to document this brother Joseph. Joseph, son of his father’s first marriage, died at age five, so he cannot be the one who disappeared. But there is the possibility that another son, named Joseph, was born in the second marriage to Marie Neuhauser. However, that has not been determined at this date. )

14 At least one line of the Schrag family in France became known as Gerard. Andreas (1777/80-1848), son of Andreas Schrag, took the surname Gerard, kept by his descendants in France. His son, Andreas, who came to America was known here as Andrew Schrock.

15 Butler Co., Ohio, 1840 census record.
16 A Butler Co., Ohio, land deed shows Johannes’ 81 acres in Section 29 was sold to John Shirtz (Shertz) in 1855 for $569.24.

17 In 1842 Johannes recorded his (and one son 15 years of age) intention to become an American citizen. On this document his name was given as John Schrock. Then, in September 1844, he renounced his allegiance to the King of France at Hamilton, Ohio, with Michael Salzmann, his father-in-law, and Jacob Taylor acting as character witnesses.

18 Johannes (b. 11 Jul 1834 – d. 12 Oct 1835); Jacobina (b.23 Aug 1836 – d. 12 Sep 1837) Are these the two infants buried in the Butler Co., Ohio, Mennonite Cemetery, Lot 48, listed as “Two unknown children died migrating West?” Or, do they rest in the earlier Mennonite burial ground established on Jacob Augspurger’s farm near Trenton in 1817?

19 The family was still in Butler Co., Ohio, at the end of October 1850, as they were listed as family number 1316, dwelling 1175 on the census schedule. Catherine’s father, stepmother and siblings were family number 1317, dwelling 1176.

20 I had never seen mention of a second marriage by Johannes, so the fact that he had a widow listed as an heir was a complete surprise when I found the record last October at the Tazewell County Recorder’s office. How long would it take to find out who this Jacobina was? After a day in the Pekin area I kept an appointment with Steve Estes the next morning in Metamora. I told Steve about my discovery and with a bit of collaboration it turned out that my Johannes was the answer to one of Steve’s mysteries—the “who-is-this-John Schrock” husband of Jacobina “Phebe” King! They were married in 1861 in McLean County.

21 “Joseph Schrock, a well-to-do and successful farmer and stock-raiser of Montgomery Township…village of Congerville, which was begun in the spring of 1888, is situated on a portion of his farm…when a child in Ohio in the summer assisted on the farm and in the mill, thus acquiring a practical knowledge of agricultural matters, and getting a good insight into business transactions while an employee in his father’s mill. He was of legal age, but unmarried, when he came to this state. While a resident of Tazewell County, he was united in marriage with the lady of his choice, Miss Magdalena Guingrich…Mr. and Mrs. Schrock are good, intelligent German people, industrious, thrifty, and provident, and although not mingling in political matters, yet make excellent citizens, and are worthy members of the New Amish Church.” Joseph’s land first became a small village named Schrock, but later it was changed to Congerville, according to the booklet “Along the Line.” For information on Joseph’s family see Joseph Gingerich (1804-1875) of Woodford County, by Ardys Serpette, Illinois Mennonite Heritage,Winter 2001, page 62.

22 Catherine married Joseph Oyer.
23 John married Barbara Rediger. At his death a Pekin, IL newspaper wrote of him: “As John grew older he worked out in saw mills, gristmills, and brickyards. He could do a tremendous day’s work, even in the days when a big day’s work was expected of all men. He himself carried from the sawmill every tie and plank for the first bridge over the river here–the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville R.R. bridge. Three men would be assigned to such a job nowadays and work only half as many hours. They told of him that he could cut with an axe and rack five cords of wood in a day. Four men wouldn’t want to do that today.
“In 1876, Mr. Schrock bought the home east of Pekin in which the first child born in that home still lives. He is Edward Schrock, president of the Farm Bureau. The family looks to it as the old family home.

“In 1903, the sons built a nice home at 714 South Ninth Street for the parents and they moved to town. There they lived in comfort. Mrs. Schrock died on Aug. 3, 1911. Although Mr. Schrock was near 70 then, he has clung to life for 24 years more. He was a man of excellent character, good habits, and moral strength, and to this is attributed his long years. Three years ago on his 89th birthday, he spaded in his garden. On his 90th birthday the family gathered for a great reunion and celebration, but he took pneumonia that day. None expected him to survive; but he lived; and he even weathered another attack of pneumonia this winter. Even till yesterday he was up; but two strokes had weakened him and death came to him quietly at 7:15 this morning in his 93rd year.

“Death of Mr. Schrock removes one of the links with Pekin’s pioneer past. He lived in the day when pigeons came in flocks that shut out the sun; when wild turkey were in abundance; and deer were to be shot in the woods. The turn of his life has seen the coming of the modern age; but thru it all there has been no change in the fact that a man of honor and honest and clean living thrives best. His children today rise up to bless his memory.

24 Magdalena married Joseph Yoder.
25 Early Memories. Unpublished manuscript by Eunice Schrock Kandel.
26 Probate records, Champaign Co., Illinois.
27 The Bible is presently in the possession of great great grandchild, Al Schrock.
28 Died 28 July 1951.

29 Samuel married Ellen Zendner and his story can be found the the book, “Just Pete.” Samuel lived in Fisher until 1907 when his family moved to Colorado. He died in 1943 in Thurman.

30 Joseph married Anna Salomi King. He died in 1947 in Bryan, Ohio.
31 Lydia Anna married Christian Eicher. Chris developed a drinking problem and after the birth of two girls he disappeared and was never heard from again. Lydia then lived with her sisters in Fisher and was cared for by her family. At her death on 6 Feb 1938 she had been an invalid for nearly seven years, following a stroke of paralysis.

32 Ella never married. She died in 1951 in Gibson City, IL.
33 Lena never married. She died in 1950 in Fisher, IL. She and Ella owned and operated a boarding house in Fisher and worked as the village telephone operators.

34 Daughter of Andrew and Veronica Sutter Birky, who were among the first families to move from Tazewell County to Champaign County. Andrew purchased land and donated a small tract to be used as a cemetery, which became the present East Bend Mennonite Cemetery. It happened that Andrew was the first to be buried there and all following descendents mentioned in this article are buried in that same cemetery.

35 Fannie was born 18 Jul 1889, died 17 Dec 1950.
36 Daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Roeschley Yordy, born 14 Aug 1886, died 3 Jan 1977.

37 Elmer taught school for some time, then owned and operated a feed mill business in Fisher. He married Mabel Zehr. In 1936, Elmer and Samuel M. Zehr started the annual Bible School at East Bend Mennonite Church. Elmer was also on the first publication committee for the East Bend Trumpet in 1945. After the death of Mabel he married Eileen Bruehl Heiser. He died 11 Dec 1989 in Montgomery, AL.

38 Born five months after the death of her father, on 25 June 1917. As a young girl Eunice lived at the “old people’s home” in Eureka where her mother worked. Since she really never had a “home” she always took along a plaque that Grandmother Mary Schrock had given her: “Home is Where the Heart is.” After graduating from Goshen College and while teaching in Ohio, Eunice met and married Olen Kandel. She taught school in Fisher for many years. On March 15 of this year Eunice died following an accident on the way to Illinois from Florida.

39 Daughter of Grover and Effie Park. The Park family from Missouri was integrated into the Mennonite community as a direct result of kindly neighbors, including the Schrock family, and the wonderful singing they heard on Sunday mornings as they fished from the Sangamon River bridge near the church. Another daughter, Mamie, married Roy Cender.


Johannes Schrock, his Children and Grandchildren. Unpublished manuscript received from Willard Smith
The Schrag-Schrock Family. Unpublished manuscript edited by Eugene C. Schrock, 1996
Early Memories. Unpublished manuscript by Eunice Schrock Kandel
Just Pete, c.1980 by Pete and Jennie Schrock
Amish Mennonites in Germany, by Hermann Guth, c.1995 Masthof Press
Both Sides of the Ocean, by Virgil Miller, c.2002 Masthof Press
Correspondence with and articles by Virgil Miller
Mennonite Family History
Illinois Mennonite Heritage

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