James Deal ; page 257 Portrait and Biographical Album
James Deal. Perhaps no name is better known in Peoria than that which initiates this sketch, and which is held by a general contractor and builder, whose portrait appears on the opposite page, and who is also a member of the firm of James Deal & Co., builders of grain elevators here. Many of the finest building in the city were designed and constructed by Mr. Deal, although his work has been by no means confined to this city, but includes public buildings in various localities. He is a native of Vermont, born in Burlington, Wednesday, October 11, 1848, and is the eldest son of Adam and Elizabeth (Hogan) Deal, natives of Canada and the North of Ireland respectively. The father was a contractor and he of whom we write inherits mechanical and architectural skill which he has developed by careful training. His parents removed to Vermont, in which State they were living when called to join the silent majority.
The subject of this notice drifted west to Aurora, IL., in boyhood, and there passed his school days. On reaching his sixteenth year he began to learn the carpenter's trade, at which he served an apprenticeship of three years. After completing his time he traveled and worked at his trade as an employe a short time, and then, associating himself with Stephen Parry, began contracting. In 1865 he located in Peoria, where his reputation as a skillful artisan and an able designer has led to his having the contracts for the best buildings here during the last decade.
Among the edifices which have been put up by Mr. Deal are the National Hotel, the Watson Block, the Paddock Block, the County Insane Asylum, and all of the costly buildings which have been erected on the State Fair Grounds at Peoria. Many wholesale business houses and elegant residences are monuments to his skill, the most imposing of all being the Woolner Block, now being pushed to completion, which is expected to be the finest in the city. Mr. Deal was also interested in building the State University at Carbondale, the County Poorhouse, and the Insane Asylum at Carthage.
In Sept. 1869, Mr. Deal was united in marriage with Miss Fanny Benson, of Peoria, who was killed in the Chatsworth disaster in 1887, leaving three children- William, Frank, and Belle. E contracted a second matrimonial alliance April 5, 1888, on which occasion his bride was Miss Nellie Harsch, likewise of Peoria. This lady is a favorite in society, and in her own home exhibits the character and skill of the true home-keeper.
It will readily be seen that Mr. Deal possesses a benevolent spirit and social nature, when the fact is stated that he belongs to the ancient Order of United workmen, Modern Woodmen, Royal Legion and various masonic lodges. He is enrolled in Temple Lodge, No. 46, F. & A.M., and also in the Chapter, Commandery and Consistory. For six years he served as a member of the School board. He owns and occupies a pleasant residence at no. 400 North Adams Street, where his many friends are cordially welcomed by himself and his charming wife.
Submitted by Londie Benson