Biography of Charles Christopher Liestman

Charles Christopher Liestman. There was a time when farm life in Illinois was one of continuous hard work and more or less social exclusion, but no better proof is needed to mark the change than is afforded in Newcomb Township, Champaign County, by such careful and progressive agriculturists as Charles Christopher Liestman. With a finely improved estate of 160 acres, located in a section of the county where public spirit is shown in fine roads prevailing, Mr. Liestman for many years has proved that farming is now not only one of the most profitable of occupations but the most independent. He belongs to an old pioneer family of the state, extended mention of which will be found in the present work, in the biographical sketch of Mrs. Adam Kroner.

Charles C. Liestman was born in Piatt County, Illinois, July 8, 1878, the fifth in a family of twelve children born to Ludwig and Frederica (Karston) Liestman, who moved to Champaign County when Charles C. was a child. He grew up on the home farm and attended the public schools, afterward assisting his father and giving his time until he was twenty-three years of age. He has always devoted himself to agricultural pursuits and has conducted his different undertakings with so much energy, coupled with intelligent judgment, that they have been successful. In addition to general ‘farming and raising cattle and stock, for twenty-three years he and his brother Herman have harvested all through this section for the same parties each season and also have operated their first class harvesting outfit in Piatt and McLean counties.

Mr. Liestman married February 18, 1902, Miss Anna Leischner, who was born in Piatt County, Illinois, October 12, 1882. Her parents were Nicholas and Johanna Leischner, who had eight children, the six survivors being: Herman, who lives in Piatt County on a farm, married Carrie Our; William, who is a farmer in Newcomb Township, married Anna Liestman and they have four children, Orville, Earl, Mabel and Bernice; Ida, who is the wife of Fred Hansons, a farmer in Hensley Township, and they have three sons, Louis, Oscar and Albert; Minnie, who is the wife of Herman Liestman, a prominent farmer in Harris County, Texas, and they have two sons, Gilbert and Louis; Anna, who is Mrs. Charles Liestman; and Louise, who is the wife of Jason Synnott, owner of a ranch in Harris County, Texas, and they have three children, Eva, Clifford and Harold. The brothers of Mrs. Liestman are members of the fraternal order of Modern Woodmen of America, and the entire connection belongs to the Lutheran Church.

Nicholas Leischner, father of Mrs. Liestman, was born in 1842 in Germany and was a young man when he came to the United States, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing vessel that six weeks after embarking landed him safely in the harbor of New York. His older brother, John Leischner, had preceded him and had made a home for himself at Monticello, Illinois, and Nicholas joined him there. As he was without capital he had to work hard before he could negotiate the purchase of his first land, a tract of 120 acres, and even then had to assume a heavy debt. He was industrious, steady and saving and finally paid for it and added forty more acres to the first tract. When he retired he moved to Urbana, Illinois, where he yet resides. In politics he is a Democrat and he belongs to the German Lutheran Church. His wife was born in Germany in 1848 and died in 1902. A beautiful monument erected to her memory stands in the cemetery at Monticello.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Liestman lived on rented land for a time, although he owned eighty acres in Wisconsin. When his father died he was made administrator of the estate and located on the old homestead, assuming an encumbrance of $12,000, which has all been cleared off. Mr. Liestman has made so many improvements that the farm residence is as comfortable and convenient as many city homes. It is lighted by acetylene gas, which proves very satisfactory. Mr. and Mrs. Liestman have two daughters, Bertha L. and Minnie L., both at school and doing well and both taking lessons in instrumental music, their parents being determined to give them every advantage possible to fit them for the positions in life that probably await them.

Mr. Liestman is one of the busy men of his section. In addition to his many agricultural interests he is a director of the Lotus Grain & Coal Company, having served in that position for the last ten years, and for two years has been a director of the Lotus Special Drainage District, and also is somewhat prominent in county politics. On the Democratic ticket he has frequently been elected to township offices. He served three years as collector of Newcomb Township and several years has been a school director. He belongs to the order of Odd Fellows and attends the lodge at Foosland, Illinois. Both he and wife are active members of the Lutheran Church and were of great assistance when the new church was erected at Osman.

Naturally Mr. Liestman and family are best known in their own neighborhood, where they are held in the highest esteem, but they believe in some change and variety to add to life’s innocent pleasures, hence they take many pleasant trips in their fine Studebaker touring car and have greatly widened their circle of acquaintance. As they choose, also, they make far distant pleasure trips and Mr. Liestman has made four visits to the vicinity of Galveston, Texas, and his wife and daughters accompanied “him on two occasions. While in Texas he saw the beginning of the construction of the great sea wall at Galveston and its completion, believing at that time, with others, that no ordinary force of Nature could destroy such a solid structure, but after the terrific storm of 1915 he saw it practically destroyed, an example of how weak is man’s best handiwork pitted against wind and wave in mighty unison. Mr. Liestman is one of the solid, dependable men of his community, and the high regard in which he is universally held is thoroughly justified.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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