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Calhoun Co, IL

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Calhoun County, IL, newspaper article
regarding the Kiel Stone House

Henry Kiel who built the stone house described in the article below was born Johan Heinrich Kiel on Oct 17, 1823 in Flechum, Haseluenne, son of Johan Bernard Kiel and Anna Wuebben. In 1825 and 1827, when siblings were born, the family was living in Gross Stavern, Soegel. Henry's wife Anna Catharine Baalmann was born in Soegel parish on Apr 3, 1827, possibly in Eisten. She departed for America in 1845, at age 18, with her parents, Herman Heinrich Baalmann and Maria Adelheid Toebben, and four siblings. Henry and Catharine were married in 1848 in St. Louis, MO but they left that city soon afterwards to make their home in Calhoun County, Illinois.

The newspaper was probably the Alton Evening Telegraph. The date of the article is not known.


German immigrant carves
out a place in Meppen history
By Ande Yakstis
Telegraph staff writer

Meppen - German immigrant Henry Kiel settled in Calhoun County in 1847 and built his famous stone house from limestone carved out of the river bluffs.
"My great-grandfather Henry Kiel built our stone home 150-years ago and our children were the fifth generation to live in the house," said Elmer Kiel, who was raised in the historic home in the tiny town of Meppen.
Kiel and his wife, Lois, are proud to show visitors their stone home nestled along the beautiful limestone bluffs in Kiel Hollow.
The big stone house stands alone in a valley in a rustic farm setting of cattle grazing along fields of bright green winter wheat.
Henry Kiel carved each stone out of the limestone bluffs to build his tow-story home in Meppen, a quiet farming community along the scenic river bluffs in south-western Calhoun County, said Elmer Kiel, who continues to farm the land with his family.
The old house is full of wonderful memories for the Kiel family during the last 150 years," Lois Kiel said.

PortraitKielBaalmanSm.jpg (13466 bytes)
This antique photo shows
German Immigrants Henry
Kiel and his wife, Catherine,
who built the famous Kiel
Stone House in 1847 in
Meppen in Calhoun County.

A visitor who stands on the front porch of the Kiel house can look across the valley and see the majestic steeple of St. Joseph Catholic Church built from stone carved out of the same bluffs as the house.
A little country school house was also built from the bluff stone in 1863 and it still stands," Calhoun County historian and author Larry Underwood said.

Apple and peach trees will soon be showing their spring blossoms in the hills of Meppen, a pleasant community of 200 residents a few miles north of Brussels in Calhoun.
The town of Meppen was named after Meppen, Germany, said Underwood, who loves the quiet country setting around his home in Meppen.
German immigrants came from Meppen Germany and settled in Calhoun to build log houses, plant crops and cut timber, said

CalhCoKielHse.jpg (36075 bytes)
For the Telegraph

This photo shows the 150-year-old Kiel Stone House built from stones
carved out of the limestone river bluffs of Meppen in Calhoun County.

Underwood, a retired social studies and German Language instructor at Brussels High School.
"On Sept. 29, 1876 the Meppen Post Office began operation," said Underwood, who saw the post office close a few years ago.
The names of German immigrants such as Siemers, Kiel, Sievers, Hillen, Brinkman, Bonner, Droege, Bloom, Moenning, Schleeper and Kronable were among the early settlers.
"Until 1918, residents spoke the German language in the church and school," Underwood said.
Visitors drive into the Meppin community in the fall to see the Kiel house surrounded by trees with the red and gold colors of autumn.
Elmer and Lois Kiel raised their children, Edward, Mary, Carl, Diann, Joan and Leonard in the old house.
In 1864, before St. Joseph Catholic Church was built, people gathered on the second floor of the Kiel house for Sunday worship services.
The Rev. Francis Witthaut, the first Catholic priest, arrived in Meppen in 1864 and recited the Sunday Mass in front of a portable altar upstairs in the Kiel home.
"There were funeral services and church weddings upstairs in the Kiel house," Lois Kiel said.
Elmer Kiel remembered when neighbors gathered in the home on Saturday nights for an evening of country style entertainment and dancing.
"My father, Bernard Kiel, sat at the old piano and played tunes such as the "Red River Valley" for couples to dance," he said.
The 13-room stone house, with 18-inch-thick walls, has stood against big storms, even a tornado which ripped throughout the valley, Kiel said.
"It's a grand old house with a lot of nice memories and family history," Kiel said.

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