Highland News Leader

Andrew Weder arrived in Looking Glass Prairie a year before Koepfli-Suppiger that founded Highland

Andrew Weder's headstone at the Grantfork UCC Cemetery.
Andrew Weder's headstone at the Grantfork UCC Cemetery. Provided

Andrew Weder of Saritz, Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland, came with his wife to the Looking Glass Prairie area in 1829 or 1830, with his three brothers, Jake, John and David Weder.

The Weder brothers settled in the Marine Township area, close to Little Silver Creek. (The Weder brothers were settled in Marine Township before the 15-person Koepfli-Suppiger Swiss Commune Party came on Oct. 15, 1831, and had their dinner with my great-great-great grandfather, James G. Reynolds, his wife and family, in Helvetia Township.)

“Andrew Weder Sr.’s parents, John Andrew Weder and his wife, came later with Mrs. Ulrich and the Hildis, or Hintis, family. Andrew Sr.'s parents also came to Marine Township and settled where Leta Weder Oestringer and her husband, Arthur Oestringer, lived.

"The young children of Andrew Weder Sr. and his wife, Henrietta Washington Deck Weder, a granddaughter of Pvt. Michael Deck of the Revolutionary War, were:

  • Joseph Weder, born in 1863, but died as an infant;

  • Andrew Jr., born in 1865 (the father of August and Joseph Weder);

  • David Weder, born in 1866 (the father of Sedelia Weder Mueller and Leta Weder Oestringer);

  • John Weder, born in 1868, but died in infancy;

  • Henrietta Weder Bader, born in 1869 (mother of Zeno, Anna Bader [John] Donneiiy, Irma Bader [Thomas] Donnelly and Morton Bader);

  • August Weder, born in 1871 (the father of Herbert, Erwin and Eldon Weder); and

  • Carl Weder, born in 1872 and died in infancy.

Andrew Weder Sr. died on Deck’s Prairie on August 1873, when his son, Andrew Weder Jr., was just 8 years old.

The 1912 History of Madison County has almost a full page of Andrew Weder information, but it should have been listed as Andrew Weder Jr. information. It follows.

Andrew Weder (Jr.) was born in 1865 in Marine Township. Andrew’s parents' farm was 240 acres in Marine Township... And the children attended Giger School.

Mrs. Henrietta Washington Deck (Andrew Jr.) Weder later married William Grimm and had three additional children. I have information on two of the three.

Their first, William Grimm Jr., was born in 1875 and died in infancy.

Mary E. Grimm, born in 1878, married Max Iberg. Their five children were Raymond Iberg, Edna Iberg Binder, Laura Iberg Bleisch, Harold Iberg and Clarence Iberg, who married Clara Casper. (Clarence Iberg’s Farm photos are in the Highland Home Museum, North Farm Room.)

In 1889, Andrew Weder Jr. married Miss Elizabeth Antenen, whose parents, Benedict and Mary Webber Antenen, immigrated from their native Switzerland to the United States in May 1864. Their daughter was born in October of that year.

Andrew Jr. and Elizabeth farmed on a rented farm in Saline Township, where they remained for five years. They then rented a farm in Leef Township before purchasing a fertile farm of 150 acres in Leef Township. It had no improvements, but the home about ½ mile north Saline (now called Grantfork) now (in 1912) has barns, shade and fruit trees and is evident of the time and money spent on improvements. By 1912, they had added another 100 acres. The children were sent to Purcell School, then later to Grantfork.

In 1975, Albert "A.J." Long of Salem, Ill., gave me a copy of his Deck-Weder genealogy, from his grandmother, Miss Emarentina Johanna Reynolds, who born in 1877 on Deck's Prairie and was a great-granddaughter of James B. Reynolds. Emarentina had originally married Johann "John" Robert, Long but he died in 1928 and her second marriage was to David Weder, born in 1866, also on Deck's Prairie.

Emarentina’s genealogy started with Michael Deck in 1759 and listed his wife’s name as Manger, not Monger. She also added a paragraph to the John Long family information: “All of the Longs' hereabout descendants, come from John, Ben, Adolph, Michael, Joseph, Reuben, Marianna, George and Howard.”

Another paragraph was about the son: “Joseph Deck raised his daughter, Henrietta Washington Deck, after their divorce with the help of his mother, Susannah Manger Deck, during the early years and later by his sister, Elizabeth Deck, who had not married."

Another paragraph was about Christina Deck, who born in 1793 and married Samuel Fitch. She came with the Weders and their son, Dr. George Fitch of St. Louis and Marine. Samuel Fitch was in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.