Arenz, Francis A.
Born: 1800-10-31 Prussia
Died: 1856-04-02 Arenzville, Illinois
Alternate name: Arens
Arenz received a college education (likely in Europe) and moved to the United States in 1827. He had difficulty finding a profitable home and occupation - initially settling in Kentucky but moving to Galena, Illinois, in 1829, before beginning a mercantile business in Beardstown in 1831. The following year, he also purchased a grist mill in what was then Morgan County. During the Black Hawk War, Arenz sold weapons to equip units formed in Illinois and thus established his initial wealth. In 1835, he moved to a large estate outside of Beardstown, which he occupied until 1839, when he established a community in Morgan (later Cass) County that would become Arenzville, Illinois. During that time-span, he incorporated the Beardstown and Sangamon Canal Company to construct a waterway from Beardstown to Miller's Ferry, but the effort failed due to the Panic of 1837. At some point in the 1830s, he also built the first newspaper press north of Jacksonville and south of Chicago and began printing the
Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, and Charles Æ. Martin, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Cass County, (Chicago: Munsell, 1915), 2: 628-29, 637, 642, 656, 702, 735, 742, 782, 800-801; U. S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Cass County, IL, n.p.