Eicher, Rev. Benjamin
EICHER, CONRAD, SOMMER
Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 10/30/2020 at 11:34:37
Rev. Benjamin Eicher is one of the best known and most highly respected citizens of Marion Township. He was born in Alsace. Then a part of France, in 1832, and is the son of John and Margaret (Conrad) Eicher, the former a native of Alsace, and the latter of Switzerland. When seventeen years of age, the subject of this sketch came to America and first settled in Wayne County, Ohio, where he remained four years working on a farm. In 1853, just after reaching his majority, he came to Washington County, Iowa, and settled in Marion Township. His first purchase of land was made in 1854, when he bought forty acres of unimproved land on section 26, of Marion Township, where he still continues to live, but to which he has added by subsequent purchase , until he now owns a fine farm of 150 acres, all of which is under cultivation, and on which is a fine residence, erected at a cost of $3000. In 1881 Mr. Eicher built the Oak Ridge Creamery on his farm, annually making from 80,000 to 120,000 pounds of butter.
In the fall of 1855, Mr. Eicher was united in marriage with Lydia Sommer, a native of Holmes County, Ohio, and the daughter of Joseph Sommer. To them thirteen children have been born. Elizabeth, the wife of G. C. Noble, a farmer of Crete, Neb.; Henry, junior member of the firm of Dewey & Eicher, attorneys at law, Washington, Iowa; Frank died in 1878, at the age of nineteen years; Joseph and John, now residing in Keokuk County, Iowa, owners of , and operating the Richmond Creamery; Ezra, Noah, Willie, David, Selina, Clara; Cora died at the age of two and a half years; and Eddie.
In 1862 Mr. Eicher was ordained an Elder in the Mennonite Church, since which time, in connection with the labors of his farm, he has labored in word and doctrine. The Church to which he ministers is situated near his house, and has a membership of about 100. The educational advantages of Mr. Eicher were in his youth quite limited, all his school days being prior to his fourteenth year. Since attaining his majority, by reading and private study, he has become well informed in general literature, history, biography, and theology. His father was a farmer, and died in 1861; his mother died in 1860. They were also members of the Mennonite Church.
Mr. Eicher is truly a self-made man, and can truthfully say that what he has was acquired through his own exertions, with such assistance as could be rendered by his family. When he landed in America he was in debt $40 for his passage. For his first year’s work he was to receive $72, but on account of faithful service, he was presented with two suits of clothing extra. He is a good farmer, and an excellent business manager, and is regarded as one of the most enterprising men in Marion Township. In his political views he is quite liberal, voting as he thinks is best, and giving every other man the privilege to do the same. He has held various township offices from time to time. As a citizen, he is well and favorably known throughout the county, and as a disciple of Christ and minister of the Gospel, he exemplifies in his daily life the teachings of the Son of Man.
It is with pleasure we present the portrait of Mr. Eicher, which will be found in connection with this sketch.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Rev. Benjamin Eicher, pages 217-218. Portrait of Rev. Eicher may be found on page 216.
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