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Claus, Frank
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Claus, Frank
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 628-629


Frank Claus, a general merchant of Atlas, who has followed the "merit system" in his business career, winning success because he deserves it, owing to honorable and straightforward methods, and earnest desire to please his customers, was born in Maroa, Macon county, Illinois, on the 24th of January, 1868. He was but four years of age when brought to Pike county by his parents, George and Cyrena (Carey) Claus. The father was a native of Germany, and crossed the Atlantic to America about 1853, settling at first in Ohio. He afterward came to Illinois, settling in Pike county. Following his marriage he removed to Maroa, Macon county, the birthplace of our subject; and about 1872 he again came with his family to Pike county, settling in Derry township. He was a farmer by occupation, devoting his entire life to general agricultural pursuits. In the family were a son and daughter, but the latter, Josephine Claus, died in 1888 and was buried in the West cemetery at Pittsfield.

When Frank Claus first came to Pike county, he resided with his grandfather, Peter Carey, a pioneer farmer of Derry township, who came to this county from New York city in 1837. During the gold excitement in California in 1849 the grandfather went to the Pacific coast accompanied by Carlisle Burbridge, William Gorden and Isaac Holman, of Pike county. They made an overland trip with ox teams, and eventually reached the land of gold; but, not meeting with the success they had anticipated in their search for fortune, they all returned, but separately, to Pike county. Here Peter Carey took up the pursuit of farming again, which he continued until the disabilities of age prevented his further active work. He died in 1899 at his home in Derry township, having for several years survived his wife, who passed away in 1884, in Macon county, Illinois.

Frank Claus was reared in his grandfather's home, and acquired his primary education in the district schools of Derry township, while later he attended the public schools of Pittsfield. His work during the summer months enabled him to continue his studies through the winter seasons, for he depended entirely upon his own resources in order to meet the expenses of his school course. Later he engaged in teaching school in Atlas for a year, and subsequently taught in various country schools in Pike county for about ten years, proving an able educator. After putting aside the duties of the schoolroom in 189B, he built his present store in Atlas and stocked it with a large line of dry goods, groceries, hardware, boots and shoes, drugs and notions. In this business he has since continued, meeting with good success. He now has a well appointed store, and through his honorable methods and unfaltering energy, has secured a large and paying trade.

On the 8th of September, 1897, Mr. Claus was united in marriage to Miss Marietta Dodge, a daughter of Harland P. and Emma T. (Carter) Dodge. The father was a native of Maine, and after his marriage, came to Pike county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and levee work, being recognized as an expert authority on matters connected with the building of levees. He died in Atlas, June 27, 1899. His wife and three children survive him. Mrs. Dodge with two daughters resides in Louisiana, Missouri. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Claus have been born four children: Frank Leslie, who was born September 5, 1898; Harold P., December 27, 1900; Eugene C., February 27, 1903; and Edna May, May 31, 1905.

In his political views Mr. Claus is an earnest and stalwart republican, who has long upheld the principles of the party. He holds membership relations with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. Dependent upon his own resources for his education, as well as for his business advancement, he early displayed the elementary strength of his character in strong arid earnest purpose, which enabled him to prosecute his studies in the face of difficulties. Throughout his entire life he has shown marked self-reliance amid business activity, coupled with sound judgment and resolution; and he certainly deserves much credit for the success he has accomplished as the years have gone by.

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