One of the leading representative men and farmers of Clement township is Mr. GERDES. He was born in Hanover, Germany, Nov. 12, 1838. His father, Bernhard I., was a silversmith by trade, and followed that calling through life. He brought his family to America in 1849. They landed in Baltimore, and went to Cumberland, in Maryland, where Mr. Gerdes followed his trade. In the spring of 1851 he removed west to Vandalia, in Fayette county, Ill.; there he continued his trade, working at it until his death, which occurred in the year 1858. His wife died in 1856. He was the father of four children, two sons and two daughters. The subject of this sketch is the youngest of the family. He was educated in the German schools of Cumberland, Md. After he came to Vandalia he attended the English schools, and in both received a good common-school education. He learned the trade of silversmith with his father, and worked at the trade until 1861. then he enlisted in a company of cavalry that was attached to the 30th Regt. Ill. Inft. The cavalry continued with the regiment until after the battle of Shiloh, when the companies attached to the 30th and 31st Regiments Ill. Inft. were consolidated into what was known as "Stewart's Battalion," and afterwards the 15th Ill. Cavalry, under command of Col. Bacon. Mr. Gerdes remained in the cavalry service for over two years, then he was taken sick and rendered unfit for military duty, and was soon after mustered out and honorably discharged. He returned home and regained his health. In Mary, 1864 he enlisted in the 145th Regt. Ill. Vols., and remained in the service until the regiment was mustered out and discharged. In 1865 he removed to Clinton county, Ill., and commenced farming on Sec. 12, Tp. 2, R. 2. There were some slight improvements on the place, but the fine dwelling-house that now ornaments the farm was erected by Mr. Gerdes in 1880.
On the 22d of February, 1865, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary C. HUGHSON, a native of Clinton county. She was born Sept. 10, 1840. Abraham Hughson, her father, is a native of New York. He married Miss Mary SHELLY, of Lancaster county, Pa. Mr. Hughson is one of the early settlers of Clinton county. He is still a resident of Clement township. There have been four children born to B. I. and M. C. Gerdes, all sons. Their names are George Abraham, Charles B., Isaac Franklin, and John Hughson Gerdes.
Mr. Gerdes was formerly a democrat. He voted for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. He then went into the army, and since then has voted as he shot. He has remained a firm and consistent republican from that time to the present. He has held various local offices in his township, and has been township collector for several years. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and belongs to Clement Lodge.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
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