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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
A. J. Depler, following the trade of a mason and also connected with general agricultural interests of Livingston county as the owner of a fine farm of eighty acres on section 29, Cream Ridge township, was born in Attica, Ohio, January l, 1863, a son of Frederick and Catherine (Goodyear) Depler. The father was born in Switzerland and there learned the cabinet-making trade, which he followed after he settled in Ohio. He died in that state in 1868, at the age of sixty-eight years, and is buried at Bellevue, Ohio. His wife survived him many years, dying in 1888, when she was fifty-four years of age. Her grave is in the Whitewater cemetery.
A. J. Depler has had a varied and active career. Leaving the Attica public schools at the age of eighteen, he turned his attention to gaining a livelihood, working at any occupation which would bring him an income. He saved his money and eventually accumulated enough to pay his way to Kansas, in which state he settled at Peabody and worked for a time as a farm laborer. Afterward he learned mason's trade and worked at it and also at contracting for twenty years, becoming very expert along both lines. He went from Peabody to Beatrice, Nebraska, where he engaged in the same business for a year, and then to Belle Plaine, Iowa, and worked as a contractor there for four years, removing later to Tiskilwa, Illinois. Here he passed his civil service examination with nearly one hundred cent, still holding his certificate, whereby he obtained employment on the Illinois and Mississippi canal. At the end of seven years he came to Cream Ridge township and purchased the eighty acres which he still owns, and he has since made a success of general farming while still doing a great deal of contracting and cement work. He has made substantial improvements upon his property, building a cave, a cistern and fine farm buildings, and the attractive appearance of the place shows able management and careful supervision.
On the 27th of December, 1897, Mr. Depler married, at Belle Plane, Iowa, Miss Martha Merritt, a daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Anderson) Merritt. The family is of Scotch origin but the father lived in America since his childhood. He came from New York to Tiskilwa, Illinois, with his parents when he was five years of age and grew to maturity there, later becoming one of the prosperous farmers of his section of the state. He died in 1901, at the age of fifty-six, having survived his wife since 1888. Both are buried in the Mount Bloom cemetery near Tiskilwa. Mr. and Mrs. Depler became the parents of seven children: Cora M., Rose C., Harold E., George I., Ralph J., Ernest F. and Hazel E., all at home.
Politically Mr. Depler gives his allegiance to the progressive party and fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. He may truly be called a self-made man, for he had little assistance when he started out in life on his own account. Gradually, however, he worked his way upward until he now occupies a foremost position among the leading agriculturists of this section of the state, his life proving conclusively that success may be attained by determination and honorable methods.