John Adam Popp was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1815 and left there when he was 17 years old. He first traveled through Europe, and in 1847 came to Chicago. In 1849, he traveled west to California to prospect for gold. Two years later, he returned to the Franklin Park area and purchased a 160-acre farm, but then sold a portion of this land to his brother. He went back to California, this time staying for five years. When he returned to Franklin Park, he married Elizabeth Rauh of Chicago. He worked as a farmer during the years preceding his death in 1898 .