COMLY, Abraham L. & Charles

Biography of Charles COMLY (father of Abraham L.)
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 266-267

A traveler through Winnebago County [IL] sees many attractive homes, not only in the thriving towns, but in the agricutural districts, the evidences of enterprise crowned with sucess being plentiful on every hand.  In Seward Township stands a substantial farm residence, around which good barns and other outbuildings cluster and well-tilled acres stretch.  Everything about the place wears an air of neatness and order and evidence of good taste, which mark the occupants as people of intelligence, thrift and culture.   Investigation shows the estate to be owned by Charles COMLY and operated by his son Edwin.  The household comprises three generations and the marvelous memory of which our subject is possessed at his advanced years is a cause for self-congratulation.

Charles COMLY was born in Milton, Northumberland County, PA, 22 Oct 1814.  He is a son of Thomas and Catherine (HUNTER) COMLY, the former of whom was born 17 Aug 1789, in Chester County, PA.  He was the son of Ezra and Hannah (WEDELL) COMLY, and a descendant of one Henry COMLY, who came to this country from England in company with William PENN, in 1682.  Henry COMLY was married 17 Aug 1695 to Miss Agnes HEATON.

Thomas WEDELL emigrated from England to the U. S. in 1700 and was married 09 Apr 1705 to Rebecca WILLIAMS.  The mother of our subject was born 06 Jul 1796, in Northumberland County, PA, and spent her last days in Lycoming County, PA, her decease occurring when 76 years of age.  Ezra COMLY was a lumber merchant and died in Northumberland County, PA, when 80 years of age, his wife's decease [p 267] occurring at the same place in her 84th year.  The grandfather of our subject was a son of Henry and Agnes (HEATON) COMLY.

The mother of our subject was the daughter of David and Isabella (PATTERSON) HUNTER, the former of whom was a native of Ireland and died when 68 years of age in Lycoming County, PA, leaving a wife and seven children.  The mother, Isabella HUNTER, was a native of the Keystone State [PA], and her demise occurred in Lycoming County at the age of 76 years.  The PATTERSONs were of Scotch-Irish descent, while the COMLYs are among old and prominent families of the U. S.

Charles COMLY of this sketch remained at home until 22 years of age, when on 08 Dec 1856 he was married in Union County, PA, to Miss LUDWIG.  His wife was born in Berks County, PA, 05 Jan 1816, and is the daughter of Abram and Hannah (BOWER) LUDWIG, natives of PA, whose decease occurred in LaPorte County, IN, at the respective ages of 78 and 80 years.  The parents of Mrs. COMLY were of German descent and old residents of PA.

After his marriage our subject worked by the month for four years, and then rented for three years, when he was enabled to purchase 64 acres of good land in PA, which he cultivated and resided upon until 1854.  Then disposing of his acreage, Mr. COMLY came to Winnebago County and located on his present farm of 135 acres, which was partially improved at the time it came into his possession.  As before stated, the excellent buildings on the farm have been the work of his enterprise, and in every sense of the word he maybe considered a model and modern farmer.

To Mr. and Mrs. COMLY have been born 10 children, one of whom [Lucy] is deceased.   [Note the 1905 biography of Abraham L. COMLY, presented below, lists 11 children.]   Those living are (1)  Isabella [Isabella P. in the biography that follows], who was born 01 Aug 1840, and is married and the mother of five children; (2)   Caroline, born 23 May 1842, is married and has seven children; (3)  Hanna M. [Hannah in the biography that follows below], who was born 23 Dec 1844, is married and has a family of four children; (4)  Catherine, born 18 Nov 1845, is married and has one child; (5)  Mary [Mary E. in the biography below], born 09 Sep 1847, is married and the mother of five children; (6)  Thomas, who was born 22 Apr 1849, is single; (7)   Abraham L., born 18 Sep 1852, is the father of two children; (8)  Charles H. [Charles Hunter in the biography below], born 27 Jan 1856, is a physician and resides in IA; (9)  Edwin D., born 14 May 1863, married Miss Jennie LINCOLN, and is the father of a son and daughter.  His wife was born 28 May 1867, and is a daughter of William and Lucy LINCOLN.  Our subject and his wife have four great grandchildren.  The family are prominent citizens of the county and were originally Quakers.  Mr. COMLY has a nephew who was a soldier in the late war and who carried a ball over 22 years.

Biography of Abraham L. COMLY (son of Charles)
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 671-672

Abraham L. COMLY, a representative farmer of Seward Township [Winnebago County, IL], was born in PA on 18 Sep 1852, his parents being Charles and Mary (LUDWIG) COMLY.  The father was born in Milton, Northumberland County, PA, 22 Oct 1814, a son of Thomas and Catherine (HUNTER) COMLY.  Thomas COMLY was born in Chester County, PA, 17 Aug 1789, and was a son of Ezra and Hannah (WEDELL) COMLY and a descendant of one Henry COMLY, who in 1682 accompanied William PENN from England to the New World.  This Henry COMLY was married to Agnes HEATON on 17 Aug 1695.  Thomas WEDELL emigrated from England to the U. S. in 1700, and was married 09 Apr 1705 to Rebecca WILLIAMS.

Ezra COMLY, the great grandfather of our subject, was a lumber merchant and died in Northumberland County, PA, when 80 years of age, while his wife's death occurred there when she was in her 84th year.  Their son, Thomas COMLY, married Caroline HUNTER, who was born 06 Jul 1799, in Northumberland County, PA, and spent her last days in Lycoming County, PA, where she died at the age of 76 years.  She was a daughter of David and Isabella (PATTERSON) HUNTER, and her father, a native of Ireland, died in Lycoming County, PA, at the age of 68 years, leaving a wife and seven children.  His wife, Mrs. Isabella HUNTER, was bonr in PA and died in Lycoming County when 66 years of age.   She belonged to the PATTERSON family, who were of Scotch-Irish descent, while the COMLYs were among the old and prominent families of the U. S.

Charles COMLY, father of our subject, remained at home until 22 years of age, and on 08 Dec 1856 was married in Union County, PA, to Miss Mary LUDWIG, whose birth occurred in Berks County, PA, 05 Jan 1816, her parents being Abram and Hannah (BOWER) LUDWIG, natives of PA, but who died in LaPorte County, IN, at the ages of 78 and 80 years, respectively.   The LUDWIG family were of German lineage, and the first ancestors in America settled in PA at an early day.

Following his marriage Charles COMLY worked by the month for four years, and then operated rented land for three years, after which he purchased 64 acres in PA, continuing its cultivation until 1854.  He then sold his property in the east and came to Winnebago County, IL, settling on a partially improved farm of 160 acres, on which he long made his home.  He placed excellent buildings there, developed the fields and carried on his farm work along modern, progressive ideas, becoming known as a model agriculturalist of the community.  In his later years, however, he lived retired, passing away in 1901 at the advanced age of 87 years, while his wife died in 1904, when 84 years of age.   In politics Mr. COMLY was a democrat, but never cared to hold office, although he acted as road commissioner and was school director for a number of years.  He preferred to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, and at one time was the owner of 400 acres of valuable land, but eventually he removed from the farm to the village of Pecatonica, where he spent the last six months of his life.  He retired from active business about 15 years before leaving the farm.  Mr. and Mrs. COMLY were the parents of 11 children:  (1)  Lucy, who died at the age of 35 years; (2)   Isabella P., the wife of E. ANDERSON, of Pecatonica Township, by whom she has four living children; (3)  Caroline, the wife of Daniel SEARS [SEARLS?] of IA, by whom she has seven living children; (4)  Hannah M., a resident of Pecatonica and the widow of Henry MALEY, who died at the age of 40 years, leaving four children, of whom one, Mrs. John ANDERSON, has since died; (5)  Catherine, the widow of Peter CONNELL, who died in 1896; (6)  Mary E., the wife of Ambrose SEARLS [SEARS?], of Sanborn [OBrien County], IA, who has two living children; (7)  Thomas, residing in Pecatonica; (8)   Abraham L., of this review; (9)  Charles Hunter, of Iowa Falls Hardin County], IA, who married Fannie MITCHELL and has one child; (10)  John B., who is married and lives in Ladell [Spink County], SD; and (11)  Edwin D., who married Jennie LINCOLN and resides in Seward Township, and has three children.

Abraham L. COMLY was educated in the public schools, and through the periods of vacation worked upon the hom farm until 21 years of age, when he went to CA, spending two years on the Pacific coast.  He followed teaming and farming in Sacramento valley, and also tried mining for a time.  Upon his return to IL he settled in Seward Township [Winnebago County], where for three years he operated rented land and then purchased 80 acres, to which he has added as his financial resources have increased until he now owns about 350 acres.  He has carried on general agricultural pursuits, and is [p 672] also buying and feeding cattle, handling about three carloads each year.  He buys cattle to feed in the Chicago market.  He is also a dealer in mules and horses, which he purchased by the carload.

On 04 Dec 1893, Mr. COMLY was married to Miss Mary A. MARKS, a daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Ann (MILLER) MARKS, the former born in Northumberland County, PA, 26 Apr 1834, while the latter was born in Berks County, PA, 16 Oct 1829.  She is still living, making her home in Pecatonica with her daughter, but Mr. MARKS departed this life in 1903, at the age of 69 years.  He came to Winnebago County in Mar 1861, and bought 80 acres of land, which he afterward sold in 1864 prior to his removal to IA, where he lived until the spring of 1866, when he went to MO.  There he carried on farming until 1871, when he again came to this county, where he resumed agricultural pursuits, at one time owning and cultivating 220 acres of land.  He devoted his energies to the raising of crops and stock, and bred and raised some fine Durham cattle, having at times from 30-50 head in his herd, and he sold many fine animals.  He was interested in community affairs, and acted as school director for a number of years.  The last five or six years of his life were spent as a retired farmer.  In politics he was a republican, and favored the Methodist Episcopal church.  Unto him and his wife were born seven children:   (1)  Kate; (2)  Hunter C., who died in 1894; (3)  John M.; (4)   Mary A., now Mrs. COMLY; (5)  C. Wesley; (6)  Isabelle, who died in childhood; and (7)  Sarah A.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. COMLY, celebrated 04 Dec 1903, has been blessed with two children, Minnie and Charles E.  In politics Mr. COMLY is a democrat.  He has contributed to the support of various churches, and is interested in progressive measures for the progress and upbuilding of his county, where in his farming operations he has met with very desirable success.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.