George A. Heyl, unquestionably the best known and most extensive breeder, dealer, and exhibitor of fancy stock and fowls in Tazewell County, represents the second generation of a family identified with stock interests in Central Illinois since the later ‘40s. He comes honestly by his business preference, for his father, Christian Heyl, has been similarly employed during his entire active life, and at the present time, after an extremely useful and active career in Mason County, is scarcely less interested than his son in the stock development of the State.
Christian Heyl was born in Germany and came to America in 1833, locating first in Groveland Township, Tazewell County, but soon after removed to his farm in Mason County. From general farming he turned his attention to the breeding of fine horses, in time sending forth from his fertile pastures some of the finest thoroughbreds of which Illinois could boast. He purchased and brought to Mason County its first imported horses, among which was Arlin, a draft horse, and Val Un Vent, a coach horse, which brought its owner a large sum. In 1875 he began the breeding of Poland-China hogs, and in 1881 brought the forerunners of his present Poland-China herd, one of the most valuable in the State. He is a successful and influential man, and with his wife, formerly Sarah Lux. a native of New York and daughter of George Lux, has a home noted for its good cheer and hospitality. To a greater extent than his other children, his son George inherits his good judgment and liking for stock, and while still young the youth began to exhibit the home products at the fairs in the country.
In 1891 our subject began an independent farming and stockraising career on a farm near Washington, Tazewell County, devoting his attention principally to blooded hogs and poultry. In 1892 his efforts were rewarded by a number of prizes won at two exhibitions, and in 1894 he made exhibits at the State Fair and at three poultry shows, receiving one hundred and twenty-eight first, and seventeen second premiums. He has thirty-two varieties of the finest land and water fowls known in America. His herd of swine is headed by a patriarch called Black Chief’s Rival, one of the most valuable of his class in the State, other members of the registered and blooded herd of twenty-four including Young Chief Perfection and Hadley’s Half Sister. The quality of this breed of hogs may be judged when it is known that, at public sale in January, 1896, forty-seven hogs averaged $75 each. The following August the entire offering brought at public sale an average of $103, while at other public sales the average has reached $120. Mr. Heyl is also much interested in Shetland ponies, and upon his pastures browse fifty of these attractive little creatures, all of which follow the leadership of the well known David Harum (4146). This farm is one of the most interesting devoted to stock in the State of Illinois—the variety raised, the scientific care expended, and the adoption of all that is progressive and practical in farm equipment, causing it to be altogether unique and instructive to the student of stock and fowl breeding.
Mr. Hoyl’s business is not only large, but it is of necessity growing; for few others can furnish such entire satisfaction as to excellence of breed and exactness of pedigree. He is a marked success, because he likes his work, and because study and high aims, grit and determination, enable him to achieve the best possible in his line. His high standing as an expert is substantiated by the frequency with which he is called upon to serve as a judge at different fairs, and also the fact that he has been identified with the Agricultural Experiment Station of Iowa as an instructor on Fancy Stock.
Through Mr. Heyl’s marriage to Sarah E Bloomenshine, three children have been born: Florence, lona, and Harley Harold. Mrs. Heyl was born in Illinois and is a daughter of Philip and a granddaughter of John Bloornenshine, the latter of whom came from Germany and became one of the early settlers of’ Tazewell County.
Mr. Heyl is a Republican in national affairs, and locally votes for the man best qualified to serve the public interests. He finds a religious home in the Evangelical Church.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1021
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