One of the most up-to-date and intelligently managed farms in the county
is that belonging to the subject of this review, Jerome N. Embser, who was
born on May 23, 1869, in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. His father, Francis
Embser, was born on April 22, 1833, in Prussia, Germany. His experiences
would form an interesting story if taken up in detail. Before coming to
America all the family except Francis and one brother fell victims to the
dreaded plague that swept over Europe at that time. Having survived this,
the next problem that faced the boys was the service in the regular army. On
account of its position and the hostility of the surrounding nations,
Germany is compelled to maintain an extensive military system. This involves
a great expense and causes a steady drain on the resources of the people.
Not only that, but it makes it necessary for the government to require
military service from all of its male population. Hence all able bodied men
must enter the national service, most of them for a term of at least three
years. No one is exempted except for physical incapacity. As the time
approached for Francis to enroll in the regular army he began to dread the
prospects and tried to bethink himself of some plan by which he might avoid
this protracted confinement to the life of the soldier. Fortunately for him,
he had an uncle who was captain of a vessel that plied between Germany and
America. It was to him that Francis made known his desires, the result being
that plans were made to smuggle the boy through. This was carefully arranged
and successfully carried out, and after six weeks of sailing on the
Atlantic, he arrived at New York.
Before leaving the Fatherland he had served his apprenticeship as a shoemaker, and upon coming to America he continued his work in that capacity. After going to Pennsylvania, he took up farming in connection with his trade, and continued thus to combine his work even after he came to Marion county, Illinois. He soon became well known as a man of superior intelligence and an excellent workman, and ere long the neighbors made it a point to bring their repairing to Mr. Embser, at his shop on the farm, and to spend the evenings in such discussions and diversions as would spontaneously spring up in their midst. Every one for miles came to know and love "Old Frank Embser". He was not a believer in orthodox religion, and ended his days in this county, in 1905.
Jerome Embser's mother, Elizabeth (Driesbaugh) Embser, was born in Pennsylvania and is still living. Her father, John D. Driesbaugh, was a prominent citizen in western Pennsylvania, was the owner of several flour mills, located on streams in order to utilize the running water for power purposes. Her mother's name was Katie Shoop.
Mr. Embser joined in marriage Jessie N. Spiese, daughter of Wilfred and Alice (Heaton) Spiese, to whom have been born five children, namely: Alice E., Francis W., John T., Anton J., and Leon.
Mr. Embser's education was limited to that of the. common schools of the neighborhood, but he learned early in life to be self-reliant and industrious, and as he advanced in years he applied these traits to his daily life, with the result that he has a most excellent country homestead, a magnificent farm, and an intelligent family. He has the full confidence of neighbors and friends, having been asked to serve his community as Township Treasurer, Highway Commissioner and School Trustee. In all of these duties he has shown himself an able manager and a man of unimpeachable integrity.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 463-465.