Biography of Mrs. Catherine E. Aschenbrenner

In the heart of Bradford Township, Catherine E. Aschenbrenner (née Reinhart, 1832, Germany) stands as a testament to perseverance and success in early American settlement. Emigrating from Germany in 1845, Catherine and her family laid roots in Illinois, where she later became a notable figure in the community through her marriages to Oman Hillison and John J. Aschenbrenner. With a legacy spanning across continents and generations, her story encapsulates the challenges and triumphs faced by immigrants forging new lives in America. Her estate, a beacon of her industrious spirit, reflects not just personal achievement but the broader narrative of immigrant success in the 19th century.

Mrs. Catherine E. Aschenbrenner. This lady, who is the owner of one of the finest places in Bradford Township, situated on section 30, is an old settler in this county and is highly esteemed in the community in which she has so long made her home. Her maiden name was Catherine E. Reinhart, and she was born in Germany on October 24, 1832. When she was twelve years of age, her parents Christian and Christina (Denhardt) Reinhart, emigrated to America, coming to Illinois and settling in China Township, this county, in 1845, where they both died.

Our subject was reared to womanhood in China Township and lived there until her marriage to Oman Hillison. Mr. Hillison was a native of Norway and emigrated to America when he was nineteen years old, being one of the earliest settlers in Lee County. He built the first farmhouse between Melugin’s Grove and Dixon, which was a favorite stopping place for many of the pioneers on their journey to their new homes in the Western States. By this marriage, our subject became the mother of two children, Henry W., and Betsey J., the latter being the wife of C. Brandau.

After the death of her first husband, which took place in Bradford Township, our subject was married to John J. Aschenbrenner, of which union three children were born, Christian, Reinhart, and Andrew. Mrs. Aschenbrenner is an intelligent, go-ahead woman, and is in possession of an excellent property, comprising four hundred and eleven acres of land, improved with first-class buildings and all the conveniences essential to rural life. She is an estimable woman and conducts her extensive estates in an admirable manner.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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