The subject of this sketch was born at Westheim, in RheinPfalz, Germany, September 12th, 1835. His parents were John KOCH and Margareta ZUBER. He was the youngest of three children; was raised at Westheim, and had ordinary advantages for obtaining an education. After leaving school, he worked on a farm two years, and then learned the trade of a butcher. In August, 1853, then not quite eighteen years of age, he left his native country to make his home in America. He made the voyage across the Atlantic by himself, and reached New York in September. From New York he went to Chillicothe, Ohio, and from there to Portsmouth, in the same state, where for a time he worked at any thing he could do, and then at the butchering business. In 1855 he and another young bought out their employer, and began business on their own account, and the same year Mr. Koch came to St. Louis. He intended to go to California, and then tried to get a situation with a fur company in the North-west; but failing in his plans, he remained in St. Louis, working at his trade, till 1858. That year he went back to the old country, having promised his parents that he would re-visit them at the expiration of five years. He returned to St. Louis in the fall of 1858. On the 26th of March, 1859, he married Frederika GIESELMANN, daughter of Bernhard Gieselmann. She was born in Westphalia, and came to America in 1853.
In the spring of 1859 he came to Breese, which was then a town of small size and importance. He began business as a butcher, and also dealt in stock and grain. He has followed trading in cattle ever since, and has been very successful in that business. Of his ten children, five are now living, whose names are Fritz, Otto, Henry, Anna and Bertha. Mr. Koch cast his first vote for President in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln, and has been a member of the Republican party from that time to the present. His time has been exclusively devoted to his business, and he has never filled any public position. He has been successful as a business man, and is well-known throughout the county. In the spring of 1881 he engaged in the brick business at Breese. He is also interested in the coal mine which is now being opened in that town. As one of the successful and representative business men of Breese, his name deserves mention in this work.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Pamela Safriet
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