Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
William Kanitz


WILLIAM KANITZ. One of the substantial farmers of the township and a man who, having had experience in two countries in his chosen calling, and having profited by the example and results in original experiments among the Germans in an agricultural way. Mr. Kanitz has been enabled to make a success of buccolic life, that while it has not been void of pleasure and beauty, has been an advantage to him pecuniarily. He is now a resident on section 34, of Lowe Township, Moultrie County, whereon he has a fine farm that boasts of the best improvements. It is as fertile and prolific as constant cultivation and intelligent care will make it.

Mr. Kanitz is a native of Germany, as his name would indicate, having been born in Saxony, March 26, 1830, and being a son of Godfried and Theresa Kanitz. There were seven children in the family, four sons and three daughters, and of these three sons were attracted to the United States by the superior advantages that it offered young men who are industrious and ambitious to acquire homes and fortunes for themselves. The three who came hither are Charles, who is a farmer in Moultrie County, Edward, who, however, was killed by lightning in Christian County, this State, and our subject.

The original of our sketch passed his boyhood on the farm in his native land, and in addition to the manifold duties of the farmer's lad, which he early learned, he acquired the miller's trade, and having this for his main resource, in 1853, accompanied by his brother, Charles, he came to the United States. Their passage hither was made in a sailing vessel which landed in New Orleans, and in that strange cosmopolitan city, they met many of their own countrymen, and divers were the advices given the young men as to the best place to locate, but with a customary German confidence in one's own judgment, they determined to decide that important matter for themselves. They went to St. Louis and were occupied in that city as common laborers. At the time, our subject was afflicted with that dread disease which attacks many foreigners who have not yet become acclimated, and many a time, while shaking with ague, has he longed for his native land, but he was in the position of the general who had burned his bridges behind him, for he was without money, and so obliged to remain here.

In 1854, he of whom we write came to this State and located in Sangamon County, where he was engaged for several years as a farm hand. From there he went to Marion County, and four years later, in 1871, he came to Moultrie County, first settling in Arthur, where he purchased some land, a part of which, however, he donated for railroad purposes. In 1871 he traded this land for that which he now owns in Lowe Township. His is now the proprietor of three hundred and sixty acres of good land which bears fair improvement. Although he is a general farmer, for some years he has followed stock-raising and in that specialty has made great advancement in the breeding of fine stock.

Mr. Kanitz, while in St. Louis, took upon himself the responsibilities and obligations of married life. In 1856 he was married to Caroline Hines, who was born in Lowenstein, Germany. She came with our subject and one brother to this country, and the friendship that was formed on the way over ripened into an affection that ended in a wedding. Mr. Kanitz's brother, with whom she came hither, was by name Frank Hines who died later in Montana.

Mr. and Mrs. Kanitz are the parents of nine children whose names are Richard, Frank, Henry, Joseph, Charles, Emma, Josephine, Ella and Anna. They are all bright and intelligent young people, who are bound to make themselves a place in the world. Politically our subject is a Democrat, his early training preparing him for a recognition of the merits and advantages of that party. In his church relations, he with his amiable and admirable wife who has ever been a loving and tender helpmate to him and a fond and careful mother, is a Baptist.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 344/347

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb