John E. Gehrt. Upon the success and welfare of the cultivators of the soil rests the true destiny of any nation. Nowhere does the agricultural element represent such qualities of business success and energy as in Champaign County, and one of the men who have claimed this county as their home and have gained unusual fruits from their effort is Mr. John Gehrt, whose home is in section 33 of Harwood Township.
Mr. Gehrt is a native of Stark County, Illinois, a son of John M. and Catherine (Best) Gehrt. Both parents were born in Germany, came in early youth to America, where they married, and were pioneer farmers in Illinois. The father is still living, at the ripe age of eighty-three, in Stark County. His good wife entered into rest October 20, 1913.
John E. Gehrt was one of their eight children. He grew up on his father’s farm in Stark County and acquired a public school education there. On January 18, 1899, he married Miss Matilda Streitmatter, who was born in Peoria County, Illinois, a daughter of William F. and Mary (Munk) Streitmatter. Her parents were also natives of Germany, but were married in this country.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Gehrt began housekeeping on land owned by his father near Dillsburg. Mr. Gehrt has 233 acres there, and through his efficient management he has created a home which many city people might be proud to own. At an expense of $3,000 he has remodeled his house into a perfectly appointed residence, and has added many other improvements to the farm, including a large corn crib that cost $1,200 to build. The home has a complete water system, running hot and cold, heated by hot water, and a private electric light plant has been installed to furnish light. These conveniences, with the telephone and the rural free delivery, give the Gehrts practically all the advantages enjoyed by city people. Mr. Gehrt is a successful stock farmer and keeps a number of Polled Durham and Shorthorn cows and ships large quantities of cream. For a number of years his fields have averaged sixty bushels of corn to the acre. Mr. Gehrt owns a fine Buick car, and this is one of the chief sources of pleasure to the family. Both he and his son are thorough automobile mechanics and can repair as well as operate their car.
Mr. and Mrs. Gehrt have two sons: Rollin L. and Arthur R. Both are studious and active boys and Rollin has completed the eighth grade of the common schools and has spent two years in the Rantoul High School. Mr. and Mrs. Gehrt are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Rantoul and both sons are members of the Sunday school there. Politically Mr. Gehrt is a Republican and is a stanch believer in the great destiny of that party. He has served several years as director of the local schools and is always willing to lend a hand in forwarding all community improvements.