Rev. Father Louis W. LAMMERT

Rev. Father Louis W. Lammert, pastor of St. James Roman Catholic Church of Decatur, was born in Iserlohn, Westphalia, Prussia, April 10, 1852, and at the age of twelve years began studying for his life work. When twenty-two years of age he came to the United States. This was in 1874, and in 1876 he finished the theological course in St. Francis Seminary, at Milwaukee, and was ordained in Alton, Ill., on the 29th of June of that year, by Rt. Rev. Peter Baltes. His first work was at East St. Louis, where he served as a substitute in St. Henry's Church. He then went to Cairo, and had charge of St. Joseph's Church until coming to Decatur.

St. James Church, of which he is now pastor, was incorporated in 1877. The previous year a congregation was formed and the church built, which was dedicated on the 1st of January, 1878. The building was erected by Father Joseph Spaeth, who was its pastor for nearly two years. He was succeeded by Father Lammert on the 1st of August, 1879, who has since been in charge. The congregation now numbers about one hundred and fifty families. In 1883, Father Lammert built a parsonage and has recently built an addition to the church and a good schoolhouse. The church property is worth about $12,000.

The St. James parochial school first convened in a part of the church building, and had but a small attendance, but more than one hundred pupils are now enrolled. These are under the care of two efficient lady teachers. The school building was erected in 1890.

Father Lammert holds the official position of Defensor Matrimonii for the diocese of Alton. He has given his entire time to the work of the church and the care of its people, and as the result of his untiring labors the church and its school are in a flouishing condition.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co, Illinois, 1893 - p. 215-216

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Charles LAUX

The present proprietor of the St. Nicholas Hotel of Decatur, Ill., was born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, February 22d, 1834. He came with his father to America in 1854, and settled in Decatur, Ill.; his father remained here until his death in 1859. In 1861 Charles went to California, and while there was employed in different capacities in the hotels of the Pacific coast, and also received his first instruction and experience in operating hotels. He remained there for four and a half years, when he returned to Decatur, and in connection with his brothers, under the name of Laux Brothers, purchased the St. Nicholas Hotel. The partnership continued until January 1st 1880, when he became the sole proprietor. His business life in Decatur commenced with his connection with the hotel interests of the city. Under his vigorous and judicious management the St. Nicholas has earned an enviable reputation among the hotels of the state and with the travelling public. Mr. Laux' long experience in the business has learned him to judge correctly as to the wants of his guests and to administer to their comfort in a manner that has won the approbation and esteem of his patrons. That the St. Nicholas has been and is one of the most prosperous hotels in central Illinois is attributable to that fact. Mr. Laux is of a pleasing and accommodating disposition, which comes naturally to him, and the travelling public soon learn to appreciate efforts made to render them comfortable and give their sojourn with him the pleasant features of a home-like life. Few men in Decatur are better, more widely or favorable known than Mr. Laux. The St. Nicholas is a favorite resort and centre of local attraction, and on all public occasions is thronged with citizens and strangers.

History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p. 155

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Rev. Henry W. LESSMAN

Rev. Henry W. Lessman, Pastor of St. Johannes' Lutheran Church of Decatur, which is located at the corner of Clayton and Orchard Streets, has during his residence in this city, covering a period of three years, not only won the respect and esteem of his own congregation, but has made many friends outside of the denomination. He has labored untiringly in the field which he has chosen, and the best interests of Decatur have certainly been thereby promoted.

Mr. Lessman was born in Hermansburg, Hanover, Germany, on the 12th of March, 1852, and spent the greater part of his youth in his native land, but at the age of seventeen he bade good-bye to home and friends and crossed the Atlantic to the United States. After his arrival here he became a student in the Concordia Theological College, a German Lutheran school of St. Louis, Mo., from which he was graduated, after having completed the course, in the Class of '73. Soon afterward he was ordained at Sherrill's Mound, Dubuque County, Iowa, by the Rev. J. Osterhus, and took charge of the Lutheran Church in that place, continuing as its pastor for five years. On the expiration of that period, he went to Wisconsin and, locating in Berlin, preached for the church in Berlin and the one in Burnett, a neighboring town, for six years. It was in 1890 that he came to Decatur to accept the pastorate of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

On the 4th of June, 1874, Mr. Lessman was united in marriage in Sherrill's Mound, Iowa, with Miss Lizzie Stirnweis, a native of that State. Their union has been blessed with a family of seven children, namely: Tillie, Lydia, Ernest, Emma, Clara, Lena and Walter. Mrs. Lessman has been a faithful helpmate to her husband, aiding him greatly in all his work.

The church of which Rev. Mr. Lessman is now pastor was organized in 1891, being set off from St. Paul's Church. It was established with one hundred and fifty of the two hundred and twenty-five members of St. Paul's Church, and its present membership is one hundred and eighty. The house of worship was erected in 1892, at a cost of $16,000, and dedicated on the 18th of December of that year by our subject, assisted by Prof. Herzer and Rev. Mr. Hermann, of Nokomis, Ill. A pipe organ was put in at a cost of $1,500 and two bells costing $420. The edifice is a brick structure, 42x90 feet, possessing much architectural beauty and tastefully and arranged in the interior. The parochial school carried on in connection with this church and was established in 1887, and has now two hundred and twenty-five pupils, under the care of two competent teachers.

Rev. Mr. Lessman is a member of the Missouri Synod. It was entirely through his efforts that funds for the erection of St. Johannes' Church, and as a result of his untiring labors he has given to his congregation a very pleasant church home.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co, IL, 1893 - p. 241-242

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The ancestry of the Longstreet family is of Scotch-Irish and German extraction. The grandfather of the subject of this sketch was born in New Jersey. He removed to Ohio about the year 1810, and settled in Warren county. His son, Aaron Longstreet, father of John, is still a resident of that state. He married Mary Galiher. Her father, John Galiher, is still living, although at the advanced age of ninety-two years. Mrs. Longstreet died in 1841. Mr. Longstreet afterward married Nancy Ward. She died in 1876. By the first marriage there were three children--al boys. The subject of this sketch is the eldest of these children. He was born in Butler county, Ohio, September 2d, 1832. Like most farmers; sons, his boyhood was passed upon the farm, assisting in the work during the summer months, and attending the countr schools during the winter. He grew to manhood, and remained beneath the parental roof until his twentieth year, when he commenced life for himself. He leased a farm, and continued its cultivation for three years, when he embarked in the mercantile business in the town of Middletown, Butler county. One year later he and his brother leased the home-farm for two years. He remained in Ohio until 1862, when he came west, and settled in Maroa township, where he has resided and continued farming until the present time.

On the first of November, 1857, while yet a resident of Ohio, he was united in marriage to Miss Vashti Wykoff. She is of German extraction. The Wycoff family were originally from New Jersey. They came west to Ohio, at a period when the city of Cincinnati had but two houses. They were among the very early settlers of the state. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Longstreet has been blessed with seven children, all of whom are living, and yet at home. Mr. Longstreet is an honored member of the order of Freemasonry, and belongs to Maroa Lodge, No. 454, and Goodbrake Chapter of Clinton, Illinois. Politically he is a believer in the principles as enunciated in the platform of the republican party. He has represented his township in the Board of Supervisors for five consecutive terms. He is an influential member of the Board. He is a member of the Finance Committee, and was one of the five of that committee who negatived the refunding of $187,000 of the Macon County Bonds. His frequent re-elections attest his fitness for the responsible place, and is also expressive of the confidence reposed in him by his constituency.

History Of Macon County Illinois - 1880, p. 174

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George V. LORING

George V. Loring is the popular and efficient County Surveyor of Macon County, his home being in Decatur. He was first elected to that office in 1869, and has held the position continuously since, covering a period of almost a quarter of a century. No higher testimonial to his faithfulness and fidelity to duty could be given than the fact of his long-continued service. He had previously been Deputy Surveyor in McLean County for several years, and thus entered the office with experience.

Mr. Loring was born in Worcester County, Mass., May 8, 1837, a son of Lucius and Elizabeth (Moore) Loring. The former was of Scotch descent and was a boot and shoe manufacturer. He died when our subject was only about eight years of age. The Moore family is of Irish origin, and the mother spent her entire life in Massachusetts. Their children were as follows: Elizabeth A., who became the wife of James Babbit, of Oakham, Mass., and who died at the age of thirty, leaving several children; Thomas, a resident farmer of New Braintree Township, Worcester County, Mass.; Lauriet, who became the wife of Ethan Bothwell, and died in Worcester County at the age of thirty-five, leaving a family; Marietta, wife of B. Cornwell, a contractor and builder of Decatur; Theodore, who died at the age of three years; George, of this sketch; and Frank, who resides on the old Loring homestead with the younger brother, Arthur, who married Miss Lizzie Dean, and has five children.

When a lad of nine summers, his father having died the previous year, our subject left home to earn a livelihood, and has since made his own way in the world. He worked on a farm in Massachusetts, and at intervals attended school. He emigrated to McLean County, Ill., in 1857, being then a young man of twenty years, and went to work on his uncle's farm near Bloomington. The next year he purchased an interest in the farm, which was known as the Ocoya Stock Farm, and was located in Livingston County. Mr. Loring helped to lay out the village of Ocoya, Ill., on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and became its first Station Agent and Postmaster.

In the fall of 1861, Mr. Loring sold his farm, and in the following spring entered the service of his country, enlisting in Company E, of the Yates Sharp-shooters for three years. He served in Mississippi and participated in the battle of New Madrid. Later he was detailed to conduct prisoners captured at Island No. 10 to Chicago. When he returned the Union troops had just won the battle of Shiloh, after which his company advanced to Corinth. He participated in the second battle of Corith, October 4, 1862, the battle of Iuka and other engagemeents. After the war was over, he was honorably discharged in Chicago on account of physical disability. He had entered the service as a private, but was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

On returning to his home, Mr. Loring joined a corps of engineers who were surveying in McLean County, and has since been engaged in the business which he to-day follows. He was married in 1868, the lady of his choice being Miss Elizabeth Risley, daughter of A.T. Risley, of Decatur. A family of six children has been born unto them, but Roy died at the age of twelve years, and Cora and Ira both died in infancy. The living members of the family are Frank, a youth of fourteen, who is pursuing a regular college course in St. Louis; Ida May, twelve years of age; and Lucile, a little maiden of six summers. Mr. and Mrs. Loring have a pleasant home at No. 801 East Wood Street. The lady is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Loring is a true and tried Republican, who warmly advocates the principles of the party which was the Union's defense in the hour of peril. Socially, he is a member of the Grand Army Post of Decatur. For his success in life he deserves great credit, as he had many disadvantages and difficulties to meet in early life.

Portrait and Biographical Record Of Macon County Illinois - 1893, p. 210-211

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