Tue. Jan 19th, 2021

William Camling has for many years been one of the most highly esteemed and valued citizens of Ogle County, his home being on section 9, Rockvale Township. He is of foreign birth but his duties of citizenship have been performed with a loyalty equal to that of any native son of America, and when the nation was imperiled by rebellion, he went to the defense of the Union and protected the cause of his adopted country on many a southern battle field.

Mr. Camling is a native of Holland, born near Zealand, August 10, 1842, but was only two years and a half old when brought to America by his father, Cyrus Camling, who was probably a farmer in the old world and served for several years in the Army of the Netherlands. In the United States he was employed as a day laborer and made his home near Grand Rapids, Michigan, where his death occurred about 1876. He held membership in the Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in political sentiment was a Republican. He had by his first wife, a son, and by his second had three children: Lane, who married a Miss Van Horn and is engaged in fruit farming in Michigan; Katie, who died at the age of seven years; and William, our subject. For his second wife, he wedded Miss Jane Van Heltz; by his third wife had no children.

On first crossing the Atlantic the family located in Buffalo, New York, where they made their home until William Camling was six years of age, and then removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was reared and educated in public schools. At the age of fourteen years he left home and began the battle of life for himself, his first employment being in the hay field, where he worked with a hand rake for three months. He was only seventeen when he joined the boys in blue, enlisting in January, 1862, at Cold Springs, Wisconsin, in Company F, Second Wisconsin Cavalry. The regiment first went to St. Louis, Missouri, where it remained for about three months while being equipped, and then proceeded to Springfield, that state, under command of Colonel C. C. Washburn, while Company F was under the command of Captain Forrest. The summer was spent in fighting bushwackers on the road from Springfield to Helena, Arkansas. Arriving in the latter place in the fall of that year they there spent the winter, and during 1863 were engaged in many skirmished and also participated in the siege of Vicksburg and in the battle of Jackson, Mississippi. Returning to Vicksburg they were on garrison duty there during the winter of 1863-4, and in the spring of the latter year went up the Red River finally landing at Austin, Texas, where they were kept on the lookout for hostile Mexicans until the fall of 1865, when they were mustered out at that place and sent to Madison, Wisconsin. In that city Mr. Camling received his discharge papers and arrived home on Christmas.

During the following winter he worked as a day laborer, and then hired out to a farmer for a couple of years. He continued to make his home in Wisconsin until 1869, when he came to Illinois and located at Rochelle, where, as a teamster, he entered the employ of the Chicago and Iowa Railroad, then in the course of construction. For seven years he followed teaming, three years of which time he was in the employ of Joseph Strom in delivering coal, and for the same length of time was with Miles Braiden, who was in the coal, lumber, and ice business. In 1876 he purchased eighty acres of the present farm in Rockvale Township, to which he has added from time to time as his financial resources have increased, including tracts of forty, forty, and eighty acres, until he now has a valuable farm of two hundred and forty-eight and a half acres, which he has placed under excellent cultivation and improved with good and substantial buildings, that stand as monuments to his thrift and industry.

On the 23rd of April, 1864, Mr. Camling was united in marriage with Miss Mary Colditz, who was born May 6, 1846, a daughter of William and Mina (Schmutzler) Colditz, in whose family were five children, the others being Minnie, who is now the widow of Frederick Troeger, and lives near Elida; F. W., who married Clara Boeswetter, but both are now deceased, his death occuring in 1886; Augusta, wife of William Schroeder, of West Bend, Wisconsin; and Lizzie, wife of Charles Wilke, of West Bend. The father of these children brought his family to America in 1854 and located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he died about three months after his arrival, at the age of forty-six years. To Mr. and Mrs. Camling have been born seven children, namely: William, at home; Clara, who died at the age of six years; Cyrus, at home; Charles, who died at the age of sixteen; James and Belle, both at home; and Harrison, who is still attending the district schools. All of the children have been provided with fair common-school educations.

In his political affiliations, Mr. Camling is a Republican, and he has most acceptably served his fellow citizens as Road Commisioner three years and school director twelve years. Socially he is an honored member of Oregon Post, No. 116, G. A. R., and religiously was at one time identified with the Lutheran Church, but since coming to Ogle County has not united with any church organization. Brave and fearless, and of a rather venturesome disposition, he was always the first to volunteer for any perilous undertaking during the Civil War, and has ever shown the same spirit when occasion demands in days of peace, and is therefore justly numbered among the valued and useful citizens of the community.

NOTE: Kamerling is the correct family name. We are related to the Kamerlings found in Wisconsin. Leonard (William’s brother) and William’s names changed when they joined the Civil War. They both signed with an “X”. Camling was filled in for them and the spelling has remained for their descendants. We are not related to all Camlings. Camling is an actual surname. For our relatives it is a made up surname. This means we are related to only Camling descendants of Leonard and William.

Theresa (Camling) Davis – [email protected]

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