The gentleman to whom the biographer now calls the reader's attention was
not favored by inherited wealth or the assistance of influential friends,
but in spite of this, by perseverance, industry and a wise economy, he has
attained a comfortable station in life, and is well and favorably known
throughout Tonti and surrounding townships, Marion county, as a result of
the industrious life he has lived there for over a half century.
George J. Heaver was born in Crawford county, Ohio, December 8, 1838, the son of George Jacob and Christena (Fritz) Heaver, both natives of Wertenburg, Germany. They married in the Fatherland where two children were born to them. Deciding that greater opportunities were to be found in the United States they landed at Sandusky, Ohio, July 3, 1838, and before becoming hardly established in the new country the father died December 1, 1838. His widow remarried in 1841, her second husband being Levi Kline, of Crawford county, Ohio, and in 1849 they emigrated to Marion county, Illinois, locating west of Salem, where they lived until 1854, when Mr. Kline died, and his widow was again married, her third husband being George Kline; both are now deceased.
The first marriage of Christena Fritz resulted in the birth of four children, two boys and two girls, all deceased but the subject of this sketch. George J. Heaver remained at home under the parental roof-tree until he reached maturity. His educational advantages were very limited but he early acquired enough schooling to read and write, but being by nature an intelligent man, he has succeeded admirably well without technical training. Our subject was one of those loyal sons of the North, who, when the fierce fires of rebellion were raging in the Southland, felt it his duty to forsake home ties and offer his services in behalf of the stars and stripes, consequently he enlisted in Company A, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, on August 12, 1862, under Capt. Amos Clark, of Salem, Illinois, and was in camp at that place. He was called to Camp Marshall where he remained until October 31, 1862, when his company was sent to Columbus, Kentucky, and was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, later taking part in the battle at Resaca, Georgia, and the strenuous Atlanta campaign, also in Sherman's famous march to the sea. Our subject also came back with Sherman's army through the Carolinas to Washington City. He was mustered out here after rendering conspicuous and valuable service, and returned to Springfield, Illinois, on June 6, 1865. He was wounded on May 13, 1864, which resulted in his being absent from duty for some time. He rejoined his regiment at Rome, Georgia, after he had recovered. After his career in the army our subject returned to Salem, this state, and engaged in farming.
Mr. Heaver was united in marriage in 1866 to Maggie Williams, of Salem, who was born in Ohio, February 13, 1838. She was a woman of many fine characteristics, and after a harmonious wedded life of twenty-six years she was called to her rest in the fall of 1902. Four children were born to our subject and wife as follows: George W. was born February 19, 1870; Louie C. was born September 29, 1874; William W. was born October 1, 1869, died aged seven years; Charles W. was born in 1879.
Mr. Heaver was in Texas for a period of eight years where he made a financial success of his labors, but he returned to this county in 1885. He is now the owner of sixty-five acres of land in Tonti township which he farmed with the greatest results attending his efforts, for he understands well all the details of managing a farm successfully. His fields are well fenced and cleanly kept. Most of the corn the place produces is fed on the farm to various kinds of stock. He has a nice and comfortable dwelling and plenty of good out buildings. His son, George W., and daughter, Louie C., live with him.
In his social relations our subject is a member of the Salem Post, No. 202, Grand Army of the Republic, in which he takes a great interest, as might be expected. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, a regular attendant at the local gatherings of this denomination in which he has long taken a delight. In his political affiliations he is a loyal Democrat, and faithfully served the public as Commissioner of Highways and Road Supervisor. He is regarded by every one who knows him as a man of sound business principles, honest and kind.
Extracted 07 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 298-299.