John Hoerler came to Illinois from St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1877 at the age of 17. He met his wife, Amelia Lutz, who also was from St. Gallen, after they both arrived in Illinois. They were married in Pontiac, IL, and lived in the Fairbury, IL, area before moving to Erie.
The family spoke German in the home, and the first two children, Emma Hoerler Shortridge and Katherine Hoerler Taber Hansen, did not speak English until they started school.
John Hoerler learned the carpenter trade in Switzerland. Since his father died when he was young, he had to help support his family. He became a farmer after arriving in Illinois.
Sons Frank, George and Sam were born in Erie. When Sam was 1 year old, his mother Amelia died in childbirth. [Cemetery records show that mother and child were buried together in February of 1899.] Young Sam lived with neighbors until he started school, and then went back to his family home.
John Hoerler’s mother died at age 83 in Switzerland at the same time his first wife passed away. The Erie Independent headlines read “John Hoerler doubly bereaved.” Mr. Hoerler had returned to Switzerland once since his arrival in the United States, and continued to send money to his mother until her death.
John purchased the then-known Weaver farm, now the Besse farm, when he came to Erie, and it was there that his wife died. He sold that farm and purchased a farm in West Sandridge that later was the Klendworth farm. After selling that farm, he settled on the farm now occupied by Don and Maxine Hoerler. He built a house there two years before he died.
John Hoerler later married Etta Newton.
Three of John and Amelia Hoerler’s children also are buried in Erie Cemetery: Emma Shortridge and George and Sam Hoerler.
(Information from Cheryl Cocking.)