Shabbona Lee Rollo Museum

Life of our people is to remember forever...

Ostewig, K. O.

K. O. Ostewig

K.O. Ostewig was born on July 4, 1842, on the sixty-sixth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and our freedom from the shackles of tyranny that bound us so firmly: third child of family of six children, four sons and two daughters: his parents were very poor and in humble circumstances: self-educated, attending rude pioneer schools for a short time: assisted parents and started out in life, first working by the year for his clothes and board, and then being employed by hard hearted and harsh master at salary of four dollars per year: apprenticed as blacksmith and carpenter, and worked at both trades: in time became an expert mechanic: slaved at trade in Chicago, Illinois, from 1864, to great Chicago Fire in 1871: previously had married at age of twenty seven years to Miss Anna Quitno, of Creston, Illinois: and in 1872 removed to Creston: removed to Lee, Lee County, Illinois, and was one of its first settlers, assisting in its incorporation: had no money, but through financial assistance of Haldor A. Eden, who placed his utmost confidence in the young man, he erected one of the first store buildings in Lee and engaged in the hardware business: later engaged in general mercantile and agricultural implement business, which he conducted for many years: sold out to son on October 18, 1900, and retired from active business life: never aspired to official honors, and although honored on various occasions, never sought office and never defeated for office: was alderman of village of Lee from 1879 to 1884, when he resigned: served as Village Treasurer from June 1, 1898, to April 22, 1901., being succeeded by his son: held various other local honors: was a Christian from early boyhood unto death: never in his entire life touched a drop of liquor nor was he ever heard to utter a profane word: gave liberally of his means to Churches, charitable and benevolent societies, as well as to poor and needy people, attended the Lee Methodist Episcopal Church: politically, a Republican: not a member of any fraternal society: died of pneumonia at his home in Lee, Illinois, February 19, 1902, aged fifty nine years: was survived by widow, two children, three brothers and a sister: knew what privation and poverty was: a plain, unassuming and hard working man: had lived in two different countries: in all his business dealings believed that “honesty is the best policy”: popularly known by everyone simply as “K,O”,: was of a jovial and pleasant disposition: a dear husband and a kind and loving father.

“Tis hard to break the tender cord

When love has bound the heart:

Tis hard, so hard, to speak the words:

We must forever part.”

“Dearest loved one, we must lay thee

In the peaceful grave’s embrace,

But thy memory will be cherished

Til we see thy heavenly face.”

K.O. Ostewig was born in 1842, worked in Chicago from 1864 until the time of the Chicago Fire in 1871. Previously married to Anna Quitno of Creston. Came to Lee in 1873 as one of its early settlers, assisting in its incorporation; had no money, but through financial assistance of Haldor A. Eden, erected one of the first store buildings in Lee, and engaged in the hardware business; later in general merchantile and implement business, which he conducted for many years; sold out to his son on October 18, 1900 and retired from active business life. K.O. was alderman of the village of Lee from 1879-1884, served as village treasurer from 1898-1901, succeeded by his son. He was a member of the Methodist Church. Died of pneumonia in 1902 at 59.

A daughter, Jeanette, was born in 1884, educated in Lee, studied music, was married in 1906 to Perry Eames. Their daughter, Marjorie, is living in DeKalb.

A son, Kinnie A. Ostewig, was born in 1879, educated in Lee and Shabbona schools. He worked as a clerk in his father’s store after graduation. His love of baseball is remembered by many. He even wrote a brief history of the “Lee Baseball Teams” when he was 18. His “Sage of Sinnissippi” study of Chief Shabbona, and “Life of Shadrach Bond, the First Governor of Illinois Under Statehood”, have been read by many. The latter article was accepted by the Illinois State Historical Society. He was a great penman.

Mrs. Kinnie A. Ostewig has been living in DeKalb since her husband died January 22, 1957. Their two daughters, Genevieve Egland of Rochelle, and Carol Orr, DeKalb, grew up in Lee.

Source: Lee Centennial Book

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