John Herget, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hergershausen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, October 27, 1830, and was a son of Philip and Margaret (Reuling) Herget, the former of whom was born in Germany in 1800. The maternal grandfather, George Reuling, was also a native of Germany. Mr. Herget spent the earlier years of his life in the city of his birth, where he learned the wagonmaker’s trade under the personal supervision of his father. He came to America in 1849 and settled in Columbia, Lancaster County, Pa., where he remained one year and then removed to Gettysburg, Pa., working at his trade there until 1853.
In the latter year (1853) Mr. Herget located in Pekin and entered the employ of T. & H. Smith, carriage manufacturers, remaining with them until 1866, when, with his brother, under the firm name of J. & G. Herget, he started in a grocery business in a building located where the German-American Bank now stands. In 1870 the brothers erected a double store, diagonally northwest from their former building on Court Street to which they removed, continuing in the wholesale grocery and liquor business until 1891. They then retired from the grocery business, devoting all their time to various other enterprises.
Subsequently Mr. Herget was one of the organizers of the Star and Crsecent distilleries with which he was identified until 1892, when the property was disposed of to Samuel Woolner. He was also the founder of the Globe Distilling Company, was interested in the Pekin Steam Cooperage Company, Gas and Electric Light Company, Turner-Hudnut Grain Firm, Globe Cattle Company, The Farmer’s National Bank, The Beet Sugar Factory, and was also a large holder of real estate.
As above mentioned, Mr. Herget came to Tazewell County in 1853, and just prior to his location there was married at Gettysburg, Pa., to Miss Ernestine Schreck, who was born in Saxony near Saxe-Weimar. Of this union the following eight children were born: Mary, who died in 1866; Emma. now Mrs. John Nolte; Lena, who became the wife of D. D. Velde; Martha, who married George Steinmetz; Bertha, now the wife of Mayor W. J. Conzelman; George, John, and C. G. Herget.
In religion, Mr. Herget was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, of which he was one of the founders, and to which his contributions were always most liberal. Politically, he was affiliated with the Republican party and held several important public offices, among them being those of Alderman, Supervisor, and Mayor. He was an incumbent of the Mayoralty during the years 1873 and 1874.
Mr. Herget was a man of stalwart physique, and all his life had been a man of excellent habits and in the enjoyment of good health. But, about the 12th of September, 1899, he was attacked by malaria, which slowly developed into ascending paralysis and, under its insiduous approaches, he passed quietly and peacefully away on the 21st day of that month.
From the above narrative, the conclusion is at once reached, that Mr. Herget was an exceptionally good business man; but it is well known that he was not so absorbed in the accumulation of money as to have no leisure for the enjoyments which spring from right living. His home was the abode of sensible and healthful happiness, and his life furnished an example to be emulated by all those who wish to attain ideals of honest and manly citizenship. He enjoyed due reward for all his labor
—an affectionate help-mate, a family of appreciative children, an honored place in the community, and the respect and confidence of all who knew him. He was a man of great force of character and tireless energy, yet possessed of a most kindly and charitable disposition, firm in his friendships and true to his convictions of right. It is eminently true that the world was better for his living.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1020