Henry Dietrich was born at Belleville in 1872 and at the age of 13 he was on his own. His father was a coal miner from Germany. Henry’s working career began with a printing apprenticeship to Hans Schwarz, Editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Schwarz, a spirited and vigorous editor of the German language newspaper was continually involved in the controversial labor issues of the time and active in the Illinois Association of German-American Press. Dietrich, also a labor activist was elected President of West Belleville’s Workingman Society and Typographical Union 18. He was elected City Assessor in 1902, a position he held until 1920.