Henry Brininger, who after the labors of a long and busy life is spending his declining years in comfort and retirement in his pleasant home in Berreman Township, is numbered among the respected and honored citizens of Jo Dayiess County, and was at one time closely identified with its extensive agricultural interests. He was a native of Ohio, born in Summit County, Aug. 15, 1815. His parents, Peter and Catherine (Stroll) Brininger, were both natives of Pennsylvania; born, respectively, in 1791 and 1785. After their marriage they lived for some years in their native State, their eldest child being born there, and then removed to Ohio, and there spent their remaining years; Mr. Brininger dying Dec. 15, 1823, and his widow in 1846. They had a family of four children, two of whom died in infancy, and two grew to maturity - Conrad and Henry. Conrad came to Illinois in 1853, and located in Jo Dayiess County, where his death occurred ill the ensuing year. His wife, whose maiden name was Barbara Sells, was born in Summit County, Ohio, and died in Jo Daviess County, Ill., in 1857. They had a family of six children, of whom four are living - Daniel, John, Mary, and Elizabeth. Daniel is a farmer in Dakota; John married a Minnesota lady, and is a farmer in that State; Mary married James Thompson, a farmer in Wisconsin; Elizabeth married Peter Young, a farmer in Wisconsin.
The subject of this biography was reared and educated in his native State. The school advantages of that place and time were limited, but he attended the English school for a short time, and there obtained sufficient education to carry on his business. Not being satisfied with his future prospects in the Buckeye State, Mr. Brininger removed to Illinois, and for two years resided in Cook County. The ensuing six years he spent in Winnebago County, whence he went to Stephenson County, where he remained five years. In 1859 our subject came to Jo Dayiess County, and bought a small farm of seventy acres in Berreman Township, to which he afterward added 120 acres more, so that his farm consisted of nearly 200 acres of very fertile land. He was prosperous in his work, and brought his land to a good state of cultivation, erected comfortable buildings, and made many other substantial improvements. He subsequently disposed of that property at an advantage, and bought the lot on which his present residence stands.
The maiden name of the wife of Mr. Brininger was Mary Ann .Fickes. She was born in Cumberland County, Pa., Dec. 11, 1819, and lived there until 1832, when she accompanied her parents to Summit County, Ohio, where her marriage with our subject took place. She is the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth (Wonder) Fickes, natives of Pennsylvania, and born in Cumberland County. To them were born eleven children, seven of whom are living, recorded as follows: Caroline, Boston, Mary A., Eliza, Leah, John, and Sarah. The deceased were Lovina, Hettie, Ann, and an infant. The parents emigrated to Summit County, Ohio, in 1831, and remained there until 1846, when they came to Illinois, first stopping in Cook County, going from there to Winnebago County, and in the spring of 1848 came to Jo Dayiess County, where they spent their last days. The father died in 1860, and the mother in 1868. They were consistent Christians, and members of the Church of God.
To Mr. and Mrs. Brininger were born eleven children, seven of whom are now living: Sarah; Peter, John, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Susan, and Emma. The following are the names of the deceased: Boston, David, Henry, and George. Boston enlisted during the late rebellion in the 14th Illinois Cavalry, and performed gallant service in defense of his country, having taken an active part in several engagements, and finally yielding his life for the cause in a hard-fought battle between Macon and Clinton, Ga., in which fifty men were sent to the front, and only fifteen returned to their regiment; David also gave up his life for his country, he having been a volunteer in the 3d Missouri Cavalry, and while in the army contracted a disease from which he afterward died at the home of our subject. The maiden name of his wife was Lucy Thompson, and she was a native of Wisconsin. Henry died of hip disease; George was the youngest of the family, and died when a child.
Mr. Brininger is recognized throughout this community as a man of sterling worth, and as a valued citizen of this township. He is an esteemed member of the Methodist Church, in which he has held the office of Class-Leader for thirteen years, Superintendent of the Sunday-School five years, and is now one of the Trustees of the church. In politics our subject is an earnest supporter of the Republican party, though he does not aspire to official honors.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)