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ATWOOD, David & James M.

Biography of David ATWOOD [father of James M. ATWOOD]
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago:  Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 473-4

David ATWOOD, for many years an agriculturist of Winnebago County and also connected with banking interests as a stockholder, took up his abode here in the fall of 1844, and was therefore one of the pioneer residents of this part of the state.  Sixty years have since elapsed and many changes have occurred, for at the time of his arrival he found a district largely unimproved, while Rockford was a little village giving small evidence of future development and growth.  Mr. ATWOOD was born in Middleville, Berkshire County, MA, 11 Jun 1824, his parents being Phineas and Huldah (HASCALL) ATWOOD.  The father was a native of Great Barrington [Berkshire County], MA, and the mother of Peru [Berkshire County], MA.  In his native town he learned and followed the blacksmith's trade, and also engaged in farming there.  He was likewise active in the work of the church, and was an ordained minister of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, preaching at both Middleville and Washington [Berkshire County], MA.  In 1842 he removed to Lewis County, NY, where he resided until 1845, when he came to the west, settling in Winnebago County [IL].  For a short time he resided in New Milford, and then went to Harlem Township, where he became the owner of a large tract of land, to the cultivation and improvement of which he devoted his energies as a general farmer for many years.   Later he lived retired, making his home there until his death, which occurred in Harlem Township when he was 85 years of age.  He had served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812 as a drummer boy, and was equally loyal to her welfare throughout his entire life and also to the public progress and improvement along the lines that promote the material, intellectual and moral development of the race.  His widow died in Harlem Township at the age of 94 years.  There were ten children in their family, of whom four are living, namely:  Jonathan, a retired merchant residing in DeKalb [DeKalb County], IL; Mary W., who is the widow of Charles HASKINS, and resides at No. 415 East Street in Rockford.; Hezekiah, a retired merchant living in Boone [Boone County], IA; and Sylvester G., who is living retired at No. 1904 Harlem Avenue in Rockford.  Those deceased are Phineas, Harriet N., Patience, David, Louisa, and Bradley S.

David ATWOOD acquired a good education in the east, and in 1842 accompanied his parents on their removal to Lewis County, NY, where he lived until 1844.  The brothers came west on account of the health of Jonathan ATWOOD.  They made the journey by way of the Great Lakes to Chicago, and by stage to Rockford.  Here Mr. ATWOOD began working by the month as a farm hand, and finally located on the place now known as the old Hastings farm in New Milford Township, living there for a few years.  Subsequently he took up his abode in Harlem Township, where he purchased a tract of wild prairie land for seven dollars per acre, and on this he built a small house.  He then began clearing his land, and as the fields were prepared for the plow he turned his furrows and planted his crops.  He paid for his farm by hauling his corn to Beloit [Rock County], WI, [p 474] which was then the nearest market, receiving for the product 20 cents per bushel.   Desiring a companion and helpmate for life's journey, Mr. ATWOOD was married 15 Nov 1848 to Miss Elizabeth CRILL, better know as Libby.  She was born in Stark, Herkimer County, NY, 10 Oct 1831, her parents being James and Susan (GUIVITS) CRILL, both of whom were natives of Herkimer County.  The family, however, is of German lineage, and the grandfather, Thomas CRILL, was the first of name to come from Germany to America, emanating from a noble family.  He served as a soldier of the Revolutionary war and died in Herkimer County, NY.  James CRILL and his wife moved to the west in 1844, and first settled in New Milford, Township, Winnebago County [IL], on a farm where they lived for four months.  They then removed to Monroe Township, Ogle County, where Mr. CRILL became the owner of extensive farming property land.  Subsequently he engaged in general farming until his later years, when he removed to the village of Monroe [Ogle County, IL], where he lived retired.  In the meantime he had become very wealthy and was there engaged in loaning money, while his two sons, Isaac and John, now deceasesd, looked after the farm.  Both Mr. and Mrs. CRILL resided in the village of Monroe until called to their final rest.

Mr. and Mrs. ATWOOD became the parents of two children.  The elder son, James M., married Lilly TUTTLE, and they now reside in Guilford Township [Winnebago County, IL], where he is engaged in farming.  Charles A. ATWOOD married Emma SHAUL, a native of Amsterdam [Montgomery County], NY, and they reside with his mother in Rockford.  He, however, is engaged in business in Chicago and spends only Sunday at home.  Mr. and Mrs. ATWOOD also adopted and reared three children:  Millicent, the wife of Gilford SMITH, living near Holcomb [Ogle County], IL; Kitty, who now resides in Marion, OH; and Henry, who lived with Mrs. ATWOOD until 19 years of age, and is now a resident of CA.

Mr. ATWOOD continued his farming operations in Harlem Township and purchased more land there until he owned an extensive tract.  He was practical and progressive in his farming methods, adding good buildings to his place and cultivating his land so that it produced excellent crops.  He there carried on general farming until the marriage of his younger son in 1888, when he turned over the farm to the care of his sons, and the property is still a part of the estate.  Mr. and Mrs. ATWOOD then removed to Rockford, and throughout his remaining days he enjoyed the fruits of his former toil.   He passed away here 22 Sep 1904.  For several years he had been a director in the Rockford National Bank, and he left his family in very comfortable circumstances.   His possessions had all been acquired through his own efforts, and his example should serve to encourage and inspire others, showing what may be accomplished through determined purpose, laudable ambition and unfaltering industry when guided by sound judgment.  In politics he was a democrat, and he belonged to the Masonic lodge of Rockford for over a half century, the 50th anniversary of his connection therewith being celebrated in Aug 1904.  He also belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star.  He contributed toward the building of the Crill Methodist Episcopal church of Monroe Township, and both he and his wife attended the services of that denomination, but were not members thereof.  Mr. ATWOOD, known and honored as one of the wealthiest and prominent men of the county, left behind him many friends.  The family is prominent here, and Mrs. ATWOOD and her son occupy a commodious and beautiful residence at No. 215 Kilburn Avenue.

Biography of James M. ATWOOD [son of David ATWOOD]
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago:  Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 495-6.

James M. ATWOOD, whose activity in the purchase, improvement and sale of lands and stock has contributed to the business prosperity of the community as well as to his individual success, now resides upon a farm on Section 33, Guilford Township [Winnebago County, IL].   He is numbered among the native sons of this county, his birth having occurred in Harlem Township in 1851, and there he was reared upon the old homestead.  His parents, David and Betsy E. (CRILL) ATWOOD, were early residents of the county, and the father was a very successful man.  His home was in Harlem Township, and there he carried on general agricultural pursuits for many years, or until his retirement from active business life about 15 years ago.  He then settled in Rockford, where he made his home until his death on 22 Sep 1904.  His widow still survives and yet lives in Rockford.  They had two sons, one of whom is Charles D., now residing with his mother at 215 Kilburn Avenue. 

James M. ATWOOD, the other son, was reared on the old family homestead in Harlem Township, where he remained until starting out in life on his own account.  He has purchased, improved and sold a number of farms and other real estate, [p 496] and has also handled and sold a large number of horses, and in fact has led a very active and busy life.   He has resided on his present home farm on Section 33, Guilford Township, for the past 10 years, although he has spent about three years in other localities.  He has done considerable speculating in the line of real estate investment and his judgment is safe and reliable.  He now has a finely improved farm upon which is an attractive residence and good outbuildings.  There is a street car line passing his door and this brings him into close connection with the city.

Mr. ATWOOD was married to Miss Lilly TUTTLE, a native of PA, who has resided in Winnebago County for the past 35 years.  They have three children, all born in Harlem Township, namely:  Jennie M., the wife of James COTTON, a resident of Cherry Valley Township; Calla M., who is the wife of Bert POPHAM, also of Cherry Valley, and has one child, Donald A.; and Harry O., at home.  Politically Mr. ATWOOD is a republican and socially he is connected with Cherry Valley lodge, No. 173, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  Both he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star of Cherry Valley, and both likewise belong to Oriental White Shrine, No. 5, at Rockford, and Modern Woodman camp No. 51.  He has a wide acquaintance in the county where his entire life has been passed, and that he enjoys the favorable regard of many who have known him from his boyhood days is an indication that his career has been honorable and straightforward as well as active and prosperous.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.