CONKLIN, Henry W.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1203-1204
To have the esteem of one's fellow men, and especially of those who know you most intimately, is a worthy ambition in the breast of any honorable man. We may truly say that Henry W. CONKLIN is well spoken of by all who know him, and he has attained to a broad and true friendship with many. He resides on a good tract of land, located on sections 28 and 20, Rockton Township, Winnebago County [IL], where he has made a success of bee culture, keeping on hand 24 hives, from which he has made over $300 a year. He also has on his place about 15 milch [milk] cows, and by his ability and enterprise reaps a good income.
Henry W. CONKLIN was born in Damascus, Wayne County, PA, 24 Jun 1827. He is the son of Benjamin CONKLIN, whose birth occurred in Wayne County, 27 Aug 1783. The grandfather of our subject, John CONKLIN, was an officer in the Revolutionary War, and after that was made County Judge. He was a man of wealth and influence in his community, owning large farms on the rich bottoms of the Susquehanna River. He was the father of five children who grew to adult age, of whom the father of our subject was the eldest.
The father of our subject was for many years an inn keeper on the Newburg Turnpike Road, six miles west of Cochecton [Sullivan County, NY], and was also a prominent farmer in that region. He lost a portion of his property by going bondsman for a sheriff. His wife, Miss Mercy COMFORT, was a native of Orange County, NY, and bore him 15 children, all but one of whom grew to adult age and, with two exceptions, came to the Prairie State [IL]. The first to come hither was Eliza, now Mrs. William THOMAS. In 1839 our subject, in company with his mother and nine children, came to Winnebago County [IL], starting from home on 04 Jun and arriving in Rockford 12 Jul. His father having died about three years previously, Henry W. at once secured work to aid in the support of the family and received $12 a month for driving a breaking team.
Mr. CONKLIN became the proprietor of his first 80 acres of land in Harrison Township [Winnebago County, IL] in 1854, for which he paid $3 an acre, which property he later lost by a railroad swindle. On 28 Nov 1856 Miss Alvalina GROVER, a daughter of John and Sarah (BURBANK) GROVER, became his wife. Her parents were natives of NY and came West the same year, where they were engaged as farmers. Her father, John GROVER, was of German descent. During the late war our subject endeavored to enlist in the Union army two different times, but was in each case rejected.
In 1865 Mr. and Mrs. CONKLIN went West to OR, where they remained but a year, returning by way of the Isthmus. In crossing the plains to the Western country, they had a very eventful journey, it being the year of the Indian hostilities. A brother of our subject lost two horses on the way, but the party reached their destination unharmed. Returning to Rockton, Mr. CONKLIN located on 179 [p 1204] acres of improved property, which cost $40 an acre, going in debt for all but about $350. In 1883 he erected his fine barn, 40x60 feet, and has besides all the outbuildings which are to be found on first class estates.
The five children born to our subject and his wife bear the names of Dorsey T., Lemi H., James B., Rose E. and Eva E. Mr. and Mrs. CONKLIN are living a retired life, the home farm being operated by their son James B. The children have all been given good school advantages, Miss Eva having returned recently from the Rockford Academy. Our subject has always been a Republican in politics, but at the present time leans toward Prohibition. Although not a member of any denomination, he gives liberally to the support of all churches and receives and deserves the best wishes and kindest regards of his numerous friends and acquaintances.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.