Biography - Thomas Singer

THOMAS SINGER. It seems odd that while our Teutonic neighbors are generally conceded to be rather phlegmatic and slow, and notoriously a home-loving people, that at the same time they should be among the widest traveled people and have accomplished more in advancement, in the general sciences, than any other nationality. Our subject, Thomas Singer, who resides on his farm located on section 6, Tower Hill Township, Shelby County, is a German by birth and education, and his life has been one of varied experiences. Reared as a farmer lad in his own country, he had a taste for military training to which the lads of Germany are subjected.

Mr. Singer was born in Bavaria, Germany, November 8, 1831. He is a son of John and Caroline (Dorn) Singer, and is the only one of the family who have left the home nest and dared the dangers of the three thousand miles of ocean, to come to the United States. A half-brother, John Haberlein, came with him. Our subject came hither in 1852 and after landing proceeded to Fairfield County, Ohio, where for some time he was engaged in work as a hostler.

In 1856. when the gold fever was at its height in California, the original of our sketch crossed the plains in order to seek his fortune in the land then productive of the precious metal, now yielding the richest harvest in its fruits and woods. He there remained for ten years, during that time being engaged as a farm hand for seven years, after which he kept a dairy near San Jose. He was reasonably successful in a financial way while West, although he had to contend with much sickness in his family. In 1866, he returned to the Central States, locating in Shelby County, where he purchased land upon which he now resides. This tract was originally railroad land and at the time of his location was virgin soil, its only product having been the wild flowers of the prairie; for this he paid $13 and $16 per acre. He now owns one hundred and thirty-one and a third acres, which is thoroughly improved and in a fine state of cultivation, the changes having been made by his own efforts.

Mr. Singer has erected a good farm residence upon his place. It is quite new, having been built in 1890. Just before his removal to California, our subject united himself for better or worse to Catherine Leyh. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and was of German parentage, her parents being Nicholas and Elizabeth (Arnolt) Leyh. Several children have come to gladden the hearts and homes of their affectionate parents. Their names are John, George, Thomas, August, Elizabeth, Henry, Ellen and Clara. Politically Mr. Singer favors the Democratic party, its broad platform more nearly approaching the idea which in early life he formed of the freedom of government in America. He, with his family, is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Extracted 17 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 695-696.

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