Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 627-628 (Portrait of Robert COLTON p 626)
1st Biography of Robert COLTON
The English-American citizens of Winnebago County [IL] have an excellent representative in the person of Mr. Robert COLTON. He is one of the pioneers of 1846, and his splendid estate in Durand Township, which consists of 325 fertile acres, is supplied with all the needful buildings, erected substantially and designed attractively. He has put forth his best efforts to make of it a home suited to his tastes and the needs of his family, and well has he succeeded.
Mr. COLTON was born 15 Oct 1819, in Nottingham County, England. He is the youngest child in the family circle, that included three children, the others being Ann, who married John BALLANDER, and John. Our subject was a lad when his parents died, at which time he was compelled to start out in life on his own account. He resided with one man three years, and when old enough to receive wages, hired out to a man named Richard SCOTT, whom he served five years, receiving as compensation for his labors, from $40 to $75 per year.
In the spring of 1843, Mr. COLTON concluded to try his fortune in the New World, and setting sail in the American vessel "Mississippi," after a voyage of 23 days, landed in NY Harbor. He at once proceeded to Steuben County, NY, and worked by the day, job, and month, at anything he could find to do. He was thus employed for two years, and during tht time saved $201, which served to start him in life. Coming to Winnebago County, he purchased from the Government a tract of 120 acres, located on section 29, Durand Township.
On 17 Jan 1848, Robert COLTON and Miss Martha Jane HIMES [surname given as HEIME in the second biography] were united in marriage. The lady, who was the daughter of Kingsley and Lucinda (CAMPBELL) HIMES, was born in NY State, and came to IL with her parents. Mr. COLTON finally sold the farm above referred to, and purchased 160 acres, located on section 28. The land was covered with timber and underbrush, and here our subject settled, and soon placed it under excellent tillage, and erecting good buildings upon the place, resided there until Oct 1889, when he removed to another farm on section 21. His property in the county aggregates 325 acres.
Mrs. Martha Jane COLTON departed this life at her home in Apr 1858, leaving five children: Letitia C., Mrs. George KRONE, makes her home in Monona County, IA; Elizabeth L. [name given as Libbie in second biography] resides in Durand Township, and is the wife of George COLE; Grace A. married Warren PETTINGILL, and lives in Green County, WI; Anna E. [name given as Annie in the second biography] is the wife of Charles HAMMOND, and makes her home in this township; and one son died in childhood.
The lady whom our subject chose for his second wife was Mrs. Ann RANNEY, nee JAYNE [name given as Mrs. Jane RANEY in the second biography below]; she was also born in NY, and was a daughter of William JAYNE. By her marriage with our subject, she became the mother of two children: George Robert, who died in infancy, and William Walter, a graduate of Rush Medical College, at Chicago, and engaged in the practice of his profession in that city. After the death of Mrs. Ann COLTON, our subject was married 10 Oct 1887 to Mrs. Carrie A. MOORE, nee BRADLEY. The lady was born in Highgate, Franklin County, VT, 05 Jun 1847, and was a daughter of Stephen and Phoebe BRADLEY. She [p 628] was reared to womanhood in the Green Mountain State [VT], and was there married to Richard MOORE, by whom she became the mother of six children: Phoebe, Frederick, Jennie, Richard, May and Stephen.
He of whom we write is Democratic in his political affiliations. During the war he was a strong Union man, and a member of the Union League. He has become fully identified with the interests of the county, and has contributed in no small degree to its growth and prosperity. His present large property has been acquired through excellent judgment, and his position is among he foremost agriculturalists of the county.
2nd Biography of Robert COLTON
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 776-779
Robert COLTON, the oldest pioneer in Durand Township [Winnebago County, IL], having passed the 85th milestone on life's journey, while for a half century he has lived in this county, was born in Nottinghamshire, England, 15 Oct 1819. He was left an orphan when only five years of age, and was educated in the parish schools of his native land, but his privileges and opportunities in youth were very limited, and his advancement in life has come through the development of his latent energies and powers, through his close application and unremitting diligence to his business. He worked as a farm hand in England until coming to the U. S. on a sailing vessel, "Mississippi," landing in NY City in May 1843. He then went on the steamer "Swallow" to Albany, NY, and thence to Steuben County, NY, where he was employed at general work until Sep 1845, when he came to Winnebago County. Here he took up three 40-acre tracts of land from the govenment, located on the prairie in Durand Township, and he has since made his home in this township, devoting his time and energies to agricultural pursuits with good success, so that he is now one of the prosperous agriculturalists of the community, with a competence sufficient to supply him with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.
On 17 Jan 1845, Mr. COLTON married Miss Martha Jane HEINE, of Durand Township, who died in Apr 1857, leaving five children, of whom one son died in infancy. Grace Amelia became the wife of Warren PETTINGILL, and died 01 Jul 1904, leaving two sons and a daughter; Letititia is the wife of George KRONE, of Whiting [Monona County], IA, and has three sons and a daughter. Libbie is the wife of George COLE, of Durand Township, and has a son and daughter. Annie is the wife of Charles HAMMOND, of Durand Township, and has two sons.
In Oct 1857, Mr. COLTON wedded Mrs. Jane RANEY, of Durand Township, who died in Jan 1887, leaving a son, William W. COLTON, who was a graduate of Rush Medical College, of Chicago, and died 08 Jun 1897. On 10 Oct 1887, Mr. COLTON married Mrs. Carrie MOORE, nee BRADLEY, who is of English and Dutch descent and was born 05 Jun 1848, in Highland [Highgate], Franklin County, VT. There she married Richard MOORE and there were three sons and three daughters by that marriage: Fred H., of Beloit [Rock County], WI, who has one son who lives with his mother's sister; Dick, who lives on his mother's place; Stephen, of Davis, IL, who has two sons and one daughter; Phoebe A., the wife of Dell HUGHES, of Beloit [Rock County], WI, and the mother of five sons and five daughters; Jennie, the wife of Frank C. HUGHES, of Rock Grove [Stephenson County], IL, by whom she has a son and daughter; and Ora May, the wife of Fremont RANDALL, of Durand Township, by whom she has three sons and one daughter.
In his political views Mr. COLTON has been a republican since the organization of the party. It seems hardly probable, in this present age of advanced civilization that there is living a man within whose memory has occurred the introduction of steam navigation, the building of railroads, and the construction of the ocean cables and the telegraph lines, to say nothing of the more modern inventions of the telephone, etc., but Mr. COLTON has seen all this while in Winnebago County. He has witnessed the transformation of wild prairies into well developed [p 779] farms, dotted here and there with churches and schools, while in their midst have sprung up several thriving villages which were not here at the time of his arrival. For 60 years he has lived in this county, and as one of its most venerable citizens and honored early settlers he deserves mention in this volume. Coming to America empty handed, he has made continuous progress in his business career and his excellent farm of 325 acres today proves his industry in former years.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.