RUDOLPH KENCKE, farmer, Sec. 27; P.O. Freeport; born in Washington Co., Wis., Oct. 10, 1844; came to Stephenson Co., Ill., in 1859; has a farm of 83 acres, in good condition, with comfortable residence, etc. During the civil war Mr. Kencke gave four and a half years of faithful service to preserve the Union, being a member of Co. G, 46th Regt. I. V. I., participating with his command in the battles of Ft. Donelson, Ft. Henry, Pittsburg Landing, siege of Corinth, Holly Springs, Hatchie River, siege of Vicksburg, Ft. Blakeley, etc., being discharged at the close of the war as Orderly Sergeant of his company. In politics he is a Republican; has been School Director of his district. He was married in 1867 to Miss Martha E. Smith, a native of Stephenson Co.; they have four children - Edgar, Flora, Henry and Arthur. Mrs. Kencke is a daughter of Samuel Smith (deceased); one of the oldest and best known of the early settlers in
Stephenson Co.; he came to this county from Rockbridge Co., Va., in the fall of 1836, and was during all the subsequent years intimately connected with the best material interests of his community; he owned some 400 acres of land at the time of his death, and had probably broken up more of the wild land here than any other man in the county. His habits of industry were kept up to the day of his death, which was caused by a railroad accident on the 19th of November, 1878.
HISTORY OF STEPHENSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS 1880; Biographical Sketches Lancaster Township; pages 754⁄755.
Submitted by: Kay Gavin on 1⁄13⁄02
RUDOLPH KENCKE was born Oct. 10, 1844, in Newburg, Washington Co., Wis., and has been a resident of Stephenson County since the spring of 1858. At that time, accompanied by his elder brother, Frederick, he started out from his native town, and after reaching this State took up his abode in Lancaster Township. Not long afterward he became proprietor of a tract of land on section 27, which he has since brought to a good state of cultivation. His real estate, although not remarkably extensive, has been well cared for and finely improved, each acre of the soil being utilized in the wisest manner.
Frederick Kencke, the brother of our subject, soon after his arrival in this county became connected with the Freeport Tribune, and Rudolph for a time and during the existence of the paper, was also employed there . He was afterward occupied at farm labor until the outbreak of the Civil War. During 1861 he enlisted in Co. G, 46th Ill. Vol. Inf., in which he served four years and five months and participated with his comrades in some of the most important battles of the war. He was promoted to Orderly Sergeant, and although experiencing many hairbreadth escapes, returned home sound in body and mind, the only discomfort with which he was visited having been a brief attack of lung fever, which kept him in the hospital about fourteen days. By his courage and fidelity he received the approval of his superior officers and the respect of his comrades. Upon returning to Lancaster Township he employed himself at whatever his hands could find to do, subsequently engaging in farming, and on the 11th of June, 1867, took the first important step toward the establishment of a home of his own. This was his marriage with Miss Martha E. Smith, who was born in Lancaster Township, Jan. 12, 1849, and is the eldest child of Samuel and Reliance (Sprague) Smith, natives of Ohio and early settlers of this county. They were married in Clinton, DeWitt Co., Ill. The father by a former wife had seven children, and the mother by her former husband had four children. They thus commenced life together with a family of eleven children, and in the due time five more were added to the household circle. Mr. Smith was accidentally killed during the fall of 1878, being run over by a train on the C. & N.W. R. R., near his home in Lancaster Township. The mother is still living, aged seventy-one years, and a resident of Lincoln, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Kencke are the parents of twelve children, of whom Edgar, Henry , Arthur, William and Freddie are living, while Hattie, Flora, Frank, Charles, Nellie, Alice and Martha are deceased.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Kenbcke settled on a part of the land included in their present homestead. Mr. K. has been successful in the cultivation of the soil and in his investments, and while pursuing general farming put up a good set of frame buildings and has made everything comfortable otherwise for his family. He is a Republican in politics and has served as Commissioner of Highways, which position he now occupies. Both he and his wife are members in good standing of the Second Presbyterian Church at Freeport. The homestead is pleasantly located and forms one of the attractive spots of Lancaster Township.
Samuel Smith, the father of Mrs. Kencke, who emigrated from Virginia to this State, is entitled to special mention as having broken a greater area of prairie in this county than any other man. He was strictly temperate in his habits, enterprising and industrious, and always bore the reputation of a useful and worthy citizen.
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM STEPHENSON COUNTY, IL.,1888, pages 334⁄335.
Submitted by: Kay Gavin on 1⁄13⁄02