ATWOOD, Albert J.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 641-2
Albert J. ATWOOD is living in the village of Pecatonica [Winnebago County, IL], but is justly regarded as a leading and successful representative of agricultural interests in the county, where he is engaged in general farming and stock raising. He has spent his entire life in this county, and in recent years has been prominent in the public affairs of the village in which he makes his home, having retired from the office of mayor on 01 May 1905.
He was born 10 May 1848 in Burritt Township, Winnebago County [IL], his parents being Thomas J. and Lois (CABLE) ATWOOD. His father was born in VT, 26 May 1818, and died 04 Jul 1898, in the 80th year of his age. He came to Winnebago County in 1840, having been preceded by his parents two or three years. He was educated in the public schools of Rutland [Rutland County], VT, and afterward clerked in a store at that place. When 22 years of age, however, he came to the west, and after reaching Winnebago County entered 160 acres of government land, thus making arrangements for carrying on farming on his own account. Later he sold that property and entered another quarter section, on which he built a house. He was married here in Pecatanica Township on 04 May 1847 to Miss Lois Cornelia CABLE, who was born in Stratford [Fairfield County], CT, on 19 Nov 1816, and came to IL with her parents in 1837. The young couple began their domestic life upon the claim which he entered, and he commenced the improvement of his farm by breaking the raw prairie and fencing it with the rails which he split himself. He was a typical pioneer, bravely bearing the hardships and labors that fall to the lot of the frontier settler. He capably perfomed the arduous task of developing a new farm, and later he added to his land from time to time until he had about 400 acres. He was a prosperous, successful farmer, raising cattle, hogs and sheep in addition to the cultivation of the fields. He carried his wheat to the Chicago markets in early days, and later, when the railroad was built, he used that means to get his farm products to the the city markets, but he was a resident of this locality for 14 or 15 years before the railroad was constructed. He led a very busy and useful life, and his history proves that earnest labor will entually win success when supplimented by sound business judgment. He continued upon his farm until within 12 years of his death, and during that period lived retired, enjoying a well earned rest. He was active and influential in public affairs, serving as supervisor of the township of Burritt, and for many years as school director, while in other ways he contributed to the general good, being the champion of all measures that tended to benefit his community. He held membership in the Odd Fellows society, and both he and his wife were devoted members of he Congregational church, in which he acted as deacon for many years, holding the office at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife for about three years, her death occurring 21 Nov 1901, when she was in her 76th year. In the family of this worthy and honored couple were six children, four sons and two daughters, namely: Albert J.; Rollin C., who died at the age of 21 years; Emma C., the wife of Harris NEADMAN, a resident of Fonda [Pocahontas County], IA, by whom she had a daughter, Nellie, who is now married and resides in that state; Ella, who died at the age of nine years; and Ezra and Amos, twins, who died in childhood.
Albert J. ATWOOD, whose name introduces this record, was reared upon his father's farm, where he worked through the summer months, while in winter seasons he attended school. His early education was acquired in the township schools, and he afterward continued his studies in the Rockford Business College, where he completed his course in April 1868. He then returned home and assisted his father in the operation of the farm from that time until the spring of 1870, when he began farming on his own account, not only cultivating the soil, but also raising cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. He was practical in his methods, industrious in all that he undertook, and his well directed labors brought him a gratifying measure of success. He contined active in the business until 1894, when he removed to the village of Pecatonica, where he has since made his home. He was here engaged in the ice business for seven years, but on the expiration of that period he resumed his farming operations and is now conducting a farm of 200 acres of rich and productive land, and he also has 40 acres which he rents. His long experience in agriculural pursuits, his keen sagacity in business matters, and his unflagging diligence make him one of the leading and successful representatives of farming interests here.
On 26 Sep 1870 Mr. ATWOOD was united in marriage to Miss Caroline M. [p 642] BIERER, a daughter of David and Amanda M. (HITCHCOCK) BIERER. Her father was born in Uniontown, Fayette County, PA, 29 Jul 1820, and was the second in a family of ten children. He came west when a young man, located in Rockford in the fall of 1839, and the following year he built the first brick store on East State Street, near Second street. There he embarked in the dry goods business in 1840, and for 20 years was connected with mercantile interests of the city, being one of its early and prominent representatives of commercial life there. He married Miss Amanda HITCHCOCK, in 1840, and he spent his last 20 years on the farm of Mr. and Mrs. ATWOOD, living a retired life. He was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and passed away 11 Dec 1904, death thus claiming one of the honored pioneer residents of Winnebago County. He is still survived by his wife. In their family were the following named: Everett H. died at at Templeton [San Luis Obispo County], CA, 25 Dec 1904, at the age of 63 years. Mrs. ATWOOD is the second in order of birth. Helen J. became the wife of J. W. SMITH, of Rockford [Floyd County], IA, where Mrs. SMITH taught physical culture for 15 years. They then traveled through Canada, for she was in ill health, and every effort was put forth to restore her health, but without avail. She died 11 Dec 1889, in the faith of the Congregational church, her membership being with the Second Congregational church, of Rockford. Benjamin B., now living in Templeton, CA, is married and has one child, Zella. Willie died in infancy and an infant died unnamed.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. ATWOOD were born five children, of whom four are yet living: Clarence A., who is a graduate of the dental department of the Northwestern University at Chicago of the class of 1898, and is now engaged in practice in Durand [Winnebago County, IL], married Hattie L. WAGGONER and has one child, Florence L. Algernon A. ATWOOD, who completed a course in dentistry in the Northwestern University with the class of 1897, and is now practicing in Pecatonica [Winnebago County, IL], married Hortense A. VAN VALKENBURG, and has two children, Cecel G. and Harry A. Florence A. ATWOOD died when 21 years of age. She was a young lady of most sunny dispoition and kindly spirit, and her death caused profound sorrow among her many friends as well as in her family. Zella A. ATWOOD is at home. Viola X is the wife of Claude A. COLBY, who is with the Rockford Register-Gazette.
Mr. ATWOOD has been very prominent and influential in public affairs relating to the material welfare and the fraternal, political and moral interests of the community. He was a member of the school board in Burritt Township for 18 years, and was one of the trustees of the village of Pecatonica for six years. In 1903 he was chosen president of the village, continuing in the office until 01 May 1905, when he retired, having complied with the law in the performance of his duties, both in the letter and spirit, giving a public-spritied, practical and beneficial administration. He was strict in the enforcement of all the city ordinances, and also introduced many progressive measures.
Prominent in Masonry, Mr. ATWOOD has progressed from the entered apprentice degree to the 33rd degree of the Scottish rite, belonging to A. W. Rawlson lodge, No. 145, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Rockford chapter No. 24, Royal Arch Masons; Crusader commandery No. 19, Knights Templar, of Rockford; Freeport consistor; S. P. R. S., and Tebala Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He also belongs to the Elks lodge, No. 64, at Rockrord, while his wife and two daughters are members of the White Shrine at Freeport and the Eastern Star lodge at Pecatonica, while Mrs. ATWOOD is also connected with the Rebekah degree of the Odd Fellows society at Pecatonica, and she and her daughter Zella are members of the Relief Corps. The family is one of prominence socially, and Mr. ATWOOD has long been numbered among the representative citizens of the village and township of Pecatonica, his labor in behalf of public interests proving far-reaching and beneficial.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.