William A. Gabbert, M.D., who is engaged in his profession at Wapella, is a prominent and well-known physician of DeWitt County. He is a descendant of one of the early pioneer families of Indians, which is his native State, the place of his birth being in Bartholemew County and the date there of January 4, 1848. He is a son of Leander Gabbert who was also a native of Indiana and was there born in 1817. His father, Jacob Gabbert, was a Virginian by birth and was of Scotch descent. He was an early pioneer of Kentucky and for a number of years was engaged there at his occupation as a farmer. In 1816 he became an early settler of Indiana and aided in the pioneer development of that State during his lifetime, dying there finally at the venerable age of eighty-three years. He was a man of bold, resolute character and was somewhat famous both as an Indian fighter and as a hunter. He had several skirmishes with the savages while in Kentucky, and he used often to engage in the chase and killed many a bear and deer in the wilds of Kentucky and Indiana. In his political views he was an old line Whig and after the formation of the Republican party became one of its supporters.
Leander Gabbert grew to a stalwart, active manhood amid the pioneer scenes of his Indiana birthplace. Like his father before him he became a farmer and was the proprietor of one hundred and sixty acres of land on which he successfully carried on his operations. The pioneer spirit of his ancestors was strong within him, however, and in 1850 he emigrated to the more recently settled part of the country embraced in Macon County, Ill., where he bought land and farmed for thirteen years. But the home of his youth had a strong attraction for him and at the end of that time he returned to Indiana and there passed his remaining days, dying in 1872 at the age of fifty-two, when scarcely past life's prime. He was a man of great industry and was an excellent manager so that he became very well-to-do in this world's goods. He was religiously inclined and was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, toward which he was a very liberal contributor as well as to all worthy objects. He was earnestly interested in politics and was a radical Republican.
The mother of our subject is still living and is a faithful Christian and an earnest member of the Methodist Church. Her maiden name was Martha Whitehouse and she was born in Virginia in 1825. When she was thirteen years old her parents, who are supposed to have been natives of Virginia emigrated to Indiana. Her father was a tanner by occupation. He died in middle life of consumption. Mrs. Gabbert is the mother of thirteen children of whom these six grew to maturity--Edward, William A., Charles, Buel, Romulus A. and Clementine.
The son who forms the subject of this biography was but three yeas old when his parents came to Illinois. His boyhood was passed on a farm and he was given superior educational advantages. He gained the preliminaries of his education in the public schools of this State and subsequently entered the Moore's Hill College near Aurora, Ind., and spent two years in that institution and a year at Asbury College, Greencastle, Ind., which in now known as DePauw University. He pursued a scientific course there and subsequently began the study of medicine at Edenburgh, Ind., under the instruction of Dr. Malone, continuing with him one year. He next entered the Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery, and passed one winter in that noted institution. After that he entered the Eclectic Medical College at Cincinnati and was graduated from there with high honors in 1875, after completing the curriculum and receiving a diploma.
Having fully prepared himself for his profession our subject entered upon the practice of it at Needham Station, Ind. He afterward practiced at Tampico, Jackson County, Ind., where he lived nine years and then came from that place to Wapella, November 13, 1887. The Doctor has been very successful since he came here and has already established a fine reputation as an intelligent and skillful practitioner who has a sound understanding of his profession and keeps well abreast of the times. He is popular with his patients and with all with whom he has intercourse, as he is thoughtful and tender in the sick room and is always considerate and courteous wherever he may be. He is an important factor in elevating the social and moral status of Wapella and takes an active interest in everything concerning its welfare. Both he and his wife are among the leading members of the Christian Church and are very zealous in every good work. He has been a Republican until a year ago and although he has not materially changed his views since then on political questions he now gives his support to the Prohibitionists. Not only has our subject been successful from a professional standpoint but also as far as his finances are concerned, as he has acquired a comfortable competence. He built his present cozy and well-appointed residence in the season of 1889-90 at a cost of $1800.
To the wife who presides over his pleasant home Dr. Gabbert was united in marriage September 5, 1872. Mrs. Gabbert was formerly Madora Crabb and was born in Brownstown, Ind., May 1, 1850. Her parents, Charles and Maria (Erhart) Crabb, were natives, respectively, of Kentucky and Maryland. Her father was a merchant and pork-packer and he died while yet in the prime of an active life. Her mother is still living. Mrs. Gabbert is a woman of fine mental endowments and of noble character who not only fills the perfect measure of wife and friend and is a true home maker but is an influence for good far beyond the household. She is widely known in temperance circles throughout the State as she is one of the most earnest and efficient workers of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She in now President of the county organization to which important office she was elected in May, 1890, and under her leadership it is a powerful force in the cause of the Prohibitionists. She was elected the first President of the Wapella organization and served in that office from May 3, 1889, to September 3, 1890, when she resigned on account of the arduous duties of the office.
As will be concluded from the above Mrs. Dr. Gabbert is an enthusiastic worker in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in DeWitt County. She is laboring arduously to increase the membership and infuse in the various local unions a love for the cause of temperance, sobriety and purity and beget a greater interest in the work. The downfall of the saloon and prostitute houses with their long train of evils is first and foremost in her mind, and it is her sincere conviction that they must go at any cost. Time, money and labor, in her opinion, are not to be compared with the horrible traffic in souls as well as moral bodies. She believes and teaches that to legalize the business is to legalize sin and that the voter is responsible for it all. This indomitable perseverance she inherits from her mother who was always firm in her convictions of right, possessing an abundance of love and sympathy for fallen and suffering humanity.
Thomas Gardiner probably enjoys as extensive an acquaintance and rejoices in the goodwill of as many friends as any man in DeWitt County. He has been variously engaged here since 1843, with the exception of two years devoted to the service of his country as a soldier, and a short time spent on the Pacific Coast. At present he is numbered among the enterprising and prospering dealers in Farmer City, handling hard and soft coal. His affairs are conducted according to the best methods and honor is displayed in all his transactions.
The natal day of Mr. Gardiner was March 22, 1827, and his birthplace Pike County, Ohio. He is of Irish ancestry, his grandfather, Thomas Gardiner, having been born in the Emerald Isle, whence he emigrated to America in early manhood. He settled in Kentucky, where he married and where his oldest child, Thomas Gardiner, Jr., was born in 1794. A few years later the family removed to what was then the Territory of Ohio, taking up the toils of pioneer life in a heavily timbered region, where they literally hewed a home from the wilderness. They reared a family of two sons and six daughters, and died when full of years and honors.
Thomas Gardiner, the father of our subject, grew to manhood amid the primitive surroundings of Pike County, Ohio, developing the traits of character and habits of life which seem inseparable from such associations. He married Elizabeth Davis, who was born and reared in Highland County, and whose parents had gone thither from Kentucky, their native State. The Davis family was of Welsh extraction. After their marriage Thomas Gardiner and his wife began their wedded life as farmers in Pike County, where they lived until after four children had been born to them. They then, in 1831, left the Buckeye State, and went to Henry County, Ind., where they opened up a farm in the midst of beech woods. That was the home of the family for many years and there the good wife died when in middle life, about the year 1835. The husband subsequently married Miss Elizabeth Fattig and a few years later came to this State, settling in DeWitt County. He selected a tract of land in Santa Anna Township, where he made his home during the remainder of his life, dying in 1873 at the age of seventy-nine years. His wife passed away in 1872. Both were Methodists in religion and the husband was a Democrat in politics. He had served for four months in the War of 1812, just after he passed his eighteenth birthday.
Our subject is the fourth child of his mother and his father had several children by his second marriage. Thomas did not become of age until four years after the removal to this State, but prior to attaining his majority he had begun farm work. In August, 1862, he joined the One Hundred and Seventy Illinois Infantry, then under the command of Col. Snell, but afterward led by Col. Kelley, his company being I, under Capt. E. L. Waller. A month after the regiment was organized it was sent to the Army of the Cumberland, where the boys participated in a number of skirmishes and minor engagements and bore a part in the siege of Knoxville. Mr. Gardiner was attacked by a malady that disabled him and led to his honorable discharge, December 28, 1863. Returning to his home in the Prairie State he resumed his former peaceful pursuit, combining with it the business of stock-raising.
In 1870 Mr. Gardiner was elected Sheriff on the Democratic ticket and being re-elected in 1872 served the county with credit during a period of four years, when he returned to his farm. He continued his agricultural work until 1882, when he was again elected to the shrievalty, this time for a period of four years, the term having been changed in 1878. After another period of public life and service creditably performed, he resumed his former occupation, continuing in business until 1887, when he and his wife went to California and spent some months at Fresno. When their sojourn there was at an end, they retuned to the Prairie State and Mr. Gardiner embarked in his present business enterprise in Farmer City. His friends rejoice in the success which has crowned his efforts in life, and are glad to recall the fact that their interests were safe in his hands when he held public office.
The marriage of Mr. Gardiner and Miss Sarah E. McKinley was solemnized in the township which is still their home, September 28, 1851. Mrs. Gardiner was born at Chillicothe, Ohio, September 30, 1830, her parents being William and Susan (Haynes) McKinley, natives of Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively, but residents of Ross County, Ohio, from youth. The McKinleys came to this State early in the '30s, settling on a new farm in Piatt County, but after some years removing to DeWitt County. Mr. McKinley died when sixty odd years old, in Farmer City. His widow afterward made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Gardiner, dying while the family lived in Clinton, in 1872. She was a zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was careful to instill into the hearts and minds of her sons and daughters true principles of conduct. The child who after growing to womanhood became the wife of our subject, was reared and educated in the township in which she still lives, and acquired the graces of character and culture of mind that make her influence felt far beyond the bounds of her home.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner have two daughters, Laura and Mattie. The former is the wife of James Owen, a coal merchant in Farmer City, and Mattie still resides with her parents, whom she cares for with respectful love. Mr. Gardiner was one of the organizers of the Odd Fellows order here and is a Chapter Mason in Clinton. In politics he is what may be called a liberal Democrat, exercising his judgment regarding the character of the candidates but showing a preference for those of Democratic faith, all other things being equal.
The life of a farmer may be devoid of stirring events, but it is not the less a field in which to exercise good business ability, fine judgment and the sterling traits of personal character. The man who can gain a large tract of land in the well-settled sections of our country must necessarily possess qualifications equal to those displayed by a business man in our towns, although differing in kind. The gentleman above named has prospered in his efforts in life and owns a considerable amount of land in Creek Township, DeWitt County. His home is on section 2, where he has built a commodious two-story house, square in shape, well lighted and conveniently arranged. The residence is accompanied by adequate and substantial outbuildings, and the land surrounding it has been brought to a good condition as regards its cultivation and productiveness.
Mr. Graham is descended from Southern families, his father, Samuel Graham, having been born and reared in Virginia, and his mother, Lucy (Danison) Graham in Maryland. The former went to Ohio in 1822, and in Perry County made the acquaintance of and married Miss Danison. After living on a farm in that county for a time they removed to Pike county and subsequently to Fairfield County. In 1850 they became residents of Wabash County, Ind., and two years later came to DeWitt County, Ill. They rented land on section 12, Creek Township, until 1856, when the husband bought forty acres on section 13. He built a residence and made other improvements, adding to his acreage until the tract contained three hundred and twenty-five acres. There he died in 1864, the widow surviving him until 1881, when her remains were deposited by his side in Lisenby Cemetery. Their family consists of three daughters and four sons, the subject of this notice being the first-born. The other survivors are Mary, Keziah, James H., and Harry. The third child, Absalom, died in 1864, and Dorcas in infancy.
The natal day of our subject was December 3, 1828, and his birthplace Pike county, Ohio. His first schooling was obtained in the old-fashioned log house with its slab floor and slab seats, and a writing desk made by laying a board on pins driven into the wall. This rude structure was replaced by a brick schoolhouse which was a decided improvement on the first temple of learning. The young man remained with his father on the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, after which he took up the burdens of life for himself.
In August, 1862, Mr. Graham enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry, and accompanying his comrades to the South, took part in a number of bloody engagements as well as in the minor duties of a soldier's life. He participated in the battles of Loudoun (Tenn.), Knoxville, Campbell Station, and others; took part in the campaign from Knoxville to Atlanta, and afterward in the work at Decatur and Lovejoy Station. He was then sent back to Decatur and discharged on account of disability. He returned to his home in DeWitt County and remained with his mother until his marriage in the spring of 1866. He then located on section 13, Creek Township, subsequently removing to his present residence. At that time there were no improvements upon the place and to his efforts its present fine condition is due. He and his brother Harry own four hundred and eighty acres of well-improved land and are engaged in general farming, also dealing quite extensively in stock. Our subject now has forty head of cattle.
The estimable woman whom Mr. Graham won for his wife bore the maiden name of Rebecca Ann Vanness. She was born and reared in Ohio, is well informed, a capable housekeeper, and a wise and affectionate mother. Her happy union has been blest by the birth of four children, but the parents have been bereft of two daughters--Minnie, who died in infancy, and Nellie, who lived to be five years old. The children who survive are Samuel C. and George F., both of whom reside at home, the latter attending school in District No. 1. Mr. Graham is a Douglas Democrat, politically speaking. He has been Township Collector and Supervisor. He is numbered among the early settlers, having come to the county before there was a railroad here, and during the long years after his residence he has shown himself worthy of the respect in which he is held.
Samuel A. Graham, M.D., is a prominent and influential member of society in Waynesville, DeWitt County. His residence here has extended over a sufficient period of time to give the other members of the community a thorough knowledge of his mental attainments, practical skill and personal character, and has also afforded him opportunity to take part in various affairs connected with the elevation of society. As a physician he has been successful in prolonging life and alleviating distress, thereby winning a name which is held in honor throughout a wide circle.
Ancestral traits and early surroundings have a most important bearing on the life of any man, and it is therefore well to notice some facts in the family history of our subject. His paternal grandfather, William Graham, was born in County Down, Ireland, and when three years old was brought to America by his parents. The family settled in New York City, whence William Graham went to Ohio, settling near Waynesville, where he carried on a farm until his death. He served in the war for independence and is numbered among the pioneers in that part of the Buckeye State in which he lived. He reared a large family, among whom was a son, Samuel, who was born near Waynesville, August 13, 1806. This son upon growing to manhood married Hannah Kirbey, who was born November 1, 1810, and was one of nine children comprising the family of James Kirbey.
In the fall of 1849 Samuel and Hannah Graham turned their footsteps westward with the intention of making a home in the Prairie State. Their journey was accomplished with a team and the party included ten children, the youngest being our subject, who was then an infant. Mr. Graham entered and purchased land amounting to two hundred and and forty acres in DeWitt County, where he resided until 1881, when he moved into Clinton. He made that place his home until after the death of his wife, which occurred in December, 1886, then became a member of the household of our subject. His death occurred January 27, 1890, and was occasioned by la grippe. Mr. Graham left behind him an honored name as a useful member of the community, who in personal character was liberal and generous even to a fault. He was a leading Mason in this vicinity and was a charter member of the Waynesville Masonic Lodge. He served as Justice of the Peace sixteen years, as County Judge four years, and was Associate Judge in an early day. In religion he was a Universalist.
The parental family was a large one, comprising thirteen children, twelve of whom were reared to manhood and womanhood. The members of the family are: James M., Joseph, David, William W., Elizabeth A., George B., Jenny, John M., Samuel A., Robert H., and Alice M., who are still living; and Sarah A. and Horace E., deceased. They are scattered widely, one son living in New Mexico, one in California, one in Kansas, one in Colorado, and one daughter being a resident of Nebraska. The youngest of the family, Alice M., is engaged in the profession of teaching at Bloomington. George B. was a member of the Sixty-eighth Illinois Infantry during the Civil War, and held the office of County Judge two terms.
Dr. Graham opened his eyes to the light in Warren County, Ohio, September 3, 1848, and was reared on his father's farm in DeWitt County, Ill. He pursued the course of study taught in the district schools and continued his education at the Clinton High School. At the age of nineteen years he began life as a teacher and followed the profession eleven years, spending the vacations in further improvement of his mind and better preparing himself for the work that was to follow. In 1878 he began the study of medicine with J.J. Starkey, in Waynesville, and in 1881 attended the Rush Medical College in Chicago. On his return from that institution he opened an office in Waynewville and has continued his practice here since that time. In the spring of 1887 he completed the final course and was graduated from Rush Medical College. In June, 1889, he bought an interest in a drug store, which is being operated under the name of Whiteman & Graham.
At the bride's home, November 18, 1869, Dr. Graham was married to Sarah D. Hoffman, a native of Champaign County, Ohio, and daughter of George W. and Letha A. (Shephard) Hoffman. Mrs. Graham possesses many womanly virtues and is a congenial companion for her husband, being interested like himself in church work and full of sympathy with his occupations and aspirations. To them have been born three children: Imogene, Alta M. and Edna F. The first-born was removed by death when fifteen months old.
Dr. Graham has served as Clerk of Barnett Township and is now Supervisor of Waynesville Township. He is one of the leading members of the Masonic lodge. He and his wife bear an active part in the various phases of work carried on in the Presbyterian Church and the Doctor has been an Elder since he became connected therewith.
The industrious and well-directed efforts of this gentleman in worldly affairs have led to the accumulation of sufficient means to enable him to retire from active life and spend his declining years in the enjoyment of comfort and ease. He was for years identified with the agriculturists of DeWitt County, and even after he took up his residence in Waynesville retained his interests in farming and stock-raising. In July, 1890, he sold his farm lands and gave up active work, except in matter connected with the good of society.
Mr. Garrett was born in Madison County, Ohio, December 23, 1837, and is a son of John A. and Mary B. (Bell) Garrett, who for the past eight years have lived in DeWitt County, this State. The father was born in Madison County, Ohio, June 20, 1812, and the mother in Harrison County, Ky., October 8, 1817. The first few years of their wedded life were spent in the Buckeye State, but they removed to Kentucky where they resided twenty-six years. In the fall of 1865 they came to this State and located in Logan County, whence they finally removed to DeWitt County. The mother was an active member of the Baptist Church, and the five sons and three daughters who were born to them were carefully reared and instructed.
The Garrett's are of Scotch-Irish origin and several generations ago were residents of Virginia. In that State Benjamin A. and Mary (Berry) Garrett, the grandparents of our subject, were born and thence they removed to Madison County, Ohio, at an early period in its history. To them were born fifteen children, three of whom died in infancy. Seven sons and five daughters grew to maturity.
The gentleman of whom we write was reared on a farm and received his education in the subscription schools of Kentucky. In July, 1853, he left his home and came to Illinois with his uncle, Joseph Bell, and during the ensuing three years lived in Logan County. He then worked by the month in Barnett Township, Logan County, for three years, and then worked in DeWitt County one year. At the expiration of this time he went to Iowa and remained six months and afterward returning to this county, in March, 1858, was married and established a home. He farmed his own land for twenty-five years, which he placed under good improvement. His wife has eighty acres of land given her, in 1864, which they added to their landed estate. In 1883 Mr. Garrett purchased a nice property in Waynesville and moving into town and rented his farm, which he sold a few years later. In 1878 he began breeding fine Clydesdale horses and Poland-China hogs, a business which he continued until he disposed of his outlying land.
The chief "Comfort" of Mr. Garrett's life was won by him September 9, 1858, on which day he was married to Comfort Bar, a lady whose name is a good index to the feeling with which she inspires those who are near and dear to her. She was born in Logan County and is the youngest child of John and Comfort (Marvel) Barr. Her parents were born in South Carolina and Georgia respectively, and the natal day of each was April 4, 1799. Their respective parents were early settler in Gibson County, Ind., and there the two became husband and wife. In 1824 they came to this State, making their first home in Sangamon County, but a year later removed to Logan County. There Mr. Barr was engaged in farming and accumulated a large property. He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church from January, 1822, until his death May 13, 1883, and gave substantial aid to the various departments of its work. Mrs. Barr died October 20, 1865, on the home farm, but Mr. Barr breathed his last while on a visit to Kansas. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Garrett are: Mrs. Nancy Botkin, Hamilton, Prettyman, John and Mrs. Elizabeth Michaels. Nancy and John live in Kansas and Prettyman in California.
The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Garrett was John Barr, an Irishman, who emigrated to America and settled in South Carolina. He married Miss Nancy Hamilton, who bore him five sons and three daughters. They removed from South Carolina to Tennessee, thence to Indiana and finally came to Logan County, Ill, where both died.
Mr. and Mrs. Garrett are classed among the leading and substantial members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The husband has been a member since 1860, and the wife united with the church before her marriage. They have no children and during their long years of wedded life have expended upon benevolent and philanthropic work the thought which would under other circumstances have found an outlet in their own household.
The needs and desires of mankind furnish a field for the display of business tact and enterprise in various lines of trade, and in every city and village of our land thriving establishments may be seen where necessary commodities and useful articles are for sale. Farmer City, DeWitt County, contains the usual number of business houses, varying in their arrangements and thrifty appearance according to the diverse capabilities of those who conduct them. One of the most prosperous is that of Garver & Son, dealers in drugs, stationary and wall paper. Its proprietors are practical pharmacists, keep a fine assortment of goods and possess acknowledged business tact and intelligence, and a constantly increasing trade betokens their growing reputation.
The Garver's came to this country from Holland in 1636, and establishing a home in Pennsylvania were represented there for several generations. Christian Garver, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of that State and died in Dauphin County when sixty-eight years old. His wife was Emma Grimes, who was born in England, and after coming to America spent her years in the county before mentioned, dying at the age of three-score. She left twelve children, of whom Samuel, the father of our subject, was the sixth in order of birth. When he had reached a suitable age he married Miss Nancy Boyer, a native of York County, Pa., and of German ancestry, although the family had lived in Pennsylvania for years. The good couple occupied a farm in their native State until 1855, when they came to Illinois, settling in Macon County. They were accompanied by ten children, six of whom now survive.
After sojourning in Macon County a twelve-month the Garvers removed to Piatt County, where the father secured a large property, which finally amounted to five hundred acres of well-improved land. A successful farmer and a worthy citizen he attained to a position of influence in the community. He was a Republican in politics and a Methodist in religion. After years of useful labor he died in the spring of 1886, at a ripe old age, having been born in 1806. His widow is now eighty-two years old, still active in body and bright in intellect. She is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her home is with her oldest daughter, Mr. Jacob Keller, in Piatt County.
The gentleman whose name introduces these paragraphs was born in Dauphin County, Pa., August 2, 1839, and was sixteen years old when he became a resident of Piatt County. He embarked in his father's calling, that of a farmer, which he had mastered in his boyhood and youth, and was industriously tilling the soil when the Civil War began. He was just entering man's estate when the war cloud gathered, and in 1862, at the second call for troops to defend the honor of the stars and stripes, he made up his mind to respond. On July 25th he was enrolled in the Seventy-third Illinois Infantry, known as the Preacher's Regiment, which was under the command of Col. J. F. Jaques. He was assigned to Company D, Captain Thomas Motherspaw, and upon the perfection of the organization was sent to Kentucky, where with his comrades he took part in the bloody battle of Perryville.
The regiment was afterward engaged at Stone River, Chickamauga, and the divers battles of the Atlanta campaign, going as far South as Lovejoy, Ga. The Preachers' Regiment then returned to Franklin, Tenn., where a hard battle was fought, and later was engaged at Nashville. Mr. Garver, however, was obliged to enter the hospital on account of wounds received at Franklin, and after some months of suffering was discharged. He left the service May 29, 1865, with the rank of Sergeant, after a soldier's life of two years and ten months. The wound which occasioned his discharge was caused by a ball penetrating his left arm, but he has suffered from other injuries, having been wounded in the left shoulder at Chickamaugua, and struck by a ball at Mission Ridge. He had also been captured by the rebels but was not long a prisoner, being rescued by the Union forces. He was one of those who experienced the hard side of army life, but he has never regretted his experiences, as he felt that it was no more than right that he should hazard his life for his country.
After the war was over Mr. Garver resumed the peaceful occupation of a farmer, which he continued until 1870. He then located in Farmer City, as a dealer in drugs, stationary and sundries, business being begun under the firm name of Garver Bros. In 1883 it became Garver & Son, and after being continued in that form three years was conducted as S. B. Garver until May, 1889, when the former title of Garver & Son was resumed. The business is at present under the principle management of the son, B.F. Garver, a promising young man, who is displaying good judgment in its control, and who as a practical pharmacist--having recently been graduated from the Chicago School of Pharmacy--is well acquainted with the nature of drugs and careful in their compounding.
The marriage of Samuel B. Garver and Miss Elizabeth Gay was solemnized in Piatt County, in which the bride had lived from her thirteenth year. She was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, October 20, 1839, and accompanied her parents, John and Margaret (Brady) Gay, to this State. The family settled on a farm, where the parents made a good home and eventually died, the mother in middle age and the father when seventy-nine years old. Both were prominently connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Gay was a Republican in politics. They had nine children, who were carefully reared and given good educational advantages, and who made such good use of their opportunities that all acquired honorable positions in society and prospered in worldly affairs. Seven of the family are still living. To Mr. and Mrs Garver six children have been born, of whom Alice and Charlie died young; John N. married Hattie Hoffman and is doing business as a druggist and jeweler in Carthage, Mo.; the next in order of birth is a member of the firm of which we have spoken; Nancy, Jenny and Nellie M., intelligent and pleasing young ladies, are still inmates of the parental home.
Taken in connection with his honorable business methods the geniality of Mr. Garver has undoubtedly been one of the most potent factors in his success. He has held a prominent place in the social as well as the business circles of Farmer City since he became a resident here, and his wife possesses qualities which give her an equally high standing. Both belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Garver is now Treasurer, and they are among its most influential and active members. In Lemon Post, No. 211, G.A.R., Mr. Garver has filled the Chair of Commander, and now occupies that of Quartermaster. He is a Mason, belonging to Blue Lodge No. 710, and Chapter No. 175, in Farmer City, and to the Council at Gibson. He has filled most of the Chairs in the lodges where he resides, and is officially connected with the Chapter at this writing. He has never sought official honors, but is active in carrying on the local work of the Republican party, being as sound an advocate of its principles as any man to be found in the State.
DeWitt County has within her borders many citizens who have been successful financially and are now living in retirement in the enjoyment of ample incomes. Our subject, a resident of Farmer City, is one of these. He was formerly a farmer and stock-raiser, and by persistent and well directed labor, seconded by sound discretion and clear judgment he accumulated a goodly amount of property, and is now spending his declining years free from the cares and toils of his earlier life. He has one of the most pleasant and attractive homes in the city, finely located on Plumb Street, and has besides other valuable property, including large interests in realty in Nebraska.
Mr. Gay was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, June 25, 1830, and when he was two years old his parents removed from there to Ross County, the same State, where he grew to manhood, and as soon as he became of age he began his career as a farmer. He is a son of John and Margaret (Brady) Gay, natives of Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively. His parents met and married in Pickaway County, Ohio. From there they removed to Ross County and spent much of their time engaged in farming until 1851, when the whole family, consisting of father, mother and seven children, came to Illinois. They settled in Piatt county, and there John Gay and his wife spent their remaining days on a farm, where they died when quite old, the father at the age of seventy-nine years and the mother at the age of forty-seven years. They were for many years devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Three sons and four daughters were born to them, and our subject was their fourth child in order of birth.
Mr. Gay was reared in Ross County, Ohio, and when he attained manhood was married to Miss Eliza King. Mrs. Gay was born in Ross County July 4, 1834, and is a daughter of Andy and Mary King, natives respectively of France and Germany. Her parents were married in Ohio, and lived there in Bloomfield until Mr. King died when quite old. The mother subsequently came to Illinois and died in the home of Mrs. Gay in Champaign County when she had passed the age of three-score years. She was a devout Christian and a member of the Protestant Methodist Church. Mrs. Gay is the eldest of five children, of whom three are yet living, and she was carefully reared in Pickaway County. Her marriage with our subject has brought to them three children, namely: Frank F., Edward C. and John E. The latter is in the insurance business at Kansas City, Mo. Edward married Anna Calp and they reside in Cincinnati, Ohio, while he does business as an insurance agent in Louisville, Ky. Frank resided in Fairbury, Neb., where he is connected with a bank and real-estate business. He has been twice married. His first wife was Mattie McMurray who died while yet young and left one child. He afterward married Miss Mollie Strong, his present wife.
The subject of this biography has lived in this State since 1851. For some years he resided on a farm in Monticello Township, Piatt County, in 1863 removed to Champaign County, Ill., and from there he came to Farmer City in 1872 and has since made his home here; his eighteen years' residence in this city have won him the respect and confidence of the entire community, as he is always found to be square and upright in all his dealings and kindly and friendly in his relations with others. His career as a farmer was characterized by activity, by close attention to his labors, and by the skillful management of his interests. He kept his farm in good order and its well-tilled fields yielded him abundant harvests, from the sale of which, as well as from the sale of his tock, he made money and in time accumulated a competence that warranted him in retiring. He and his sons are true Republicans and give their party cordial support whenever occasion demands. Our subject and his wife are quiet, unostentatious people whose kindly hearts and sympathetic manners have won them many stanch friends and they are much beloved in their community. They are most consistent member of the Methodist Church.
A pleasantly-located farm in Creek Township, DeWitt County, is the home of the gentleman above named, who was born in Westmoreland, England, March 18, 1821. He grew to manhood at the place of his nativity and there first engaged in farming. Ere many years had passed he had concluded that the United States afforded a broader field for his efforts and a brighter prospect for his personal aggrandizement. He therefore bade adieu to the mother country in 1856 and crossed the broad Atlantic.
Mr. Gibson came west as far as Lee county, Ill., where he rented a farm for a year, after which he took up his residence in DeWitt County. Although his residence in the United States has been short, he had become thoroughly in sympathy with the principles underlying the "Union of States" and upon the breaking out of the Civil War he determined to enter the army. He was enrolled in Company C, Forty-first Illinois Infantry, in July, 1861, and after serving a year was discharged on account of disability. He returned to DeWitt County, continuing to make that his home, and ere many years had passed winning an estimable woman for his wife. This was Miss Nancy C. Kistler, who was born in Miami County, Ind., but reared in this State and married August 17, 1865.
After his marriage Mr. Gibson rented a farm on the section where his present home is and continued to occupy the place about nine years. Thence he removed to his present location, buying eighty acres, the most of which was in an unimproved condition when he purchased it. He has made it a comfortable home, although as he is not able to do much work himself, and now rents his ground. In addition to the home place he owns thirty-three acres of timber land on section 5. Mr. Gibson has but two brother living--Thomas, whose home is in Brett, Iowa, and Robert, who lives in Nixon Township, DeWitt County.
The record of Mr. and Mrs. Gibson's family is as follows: George W., was born August 24, 1868, died August 28, 1869; Amy, born April 4, 1871, died May 26, 1874; Lilly Bell, born July 31, 1873, died June 24, 1874; and Agnes, born January 25, 1867.
DeWitt County is the home of a number of men who began their life's labors with a very small capital beyond the energy and determination which they possessed. By dint of industrious and well-directed efforts they have risen to conditions of prosperity and some have even become quite wealthy. One of those who from a small beginning has gained an assured financial standing is Carmi Goodrich, a resident of Waynesville Township. He has devoted himself to the calling of a farmer, and has proved conclusively that this line of life leads to independence.
The birth of our subject occurred in Greene County, Ohio, March 22, 1822, and being the eldest in a family of ten children he was obliged to make his own living and aid the family when quite young. He was reared on a farm with very meager educational advantages, and when eighteen years old went to Porter County, Ind., where he began life for himself. After sojourning there a year he returned to Union County, Ohio, where his parents were living and where he remained until the fall of 1851. He then started for Illinois with a wagon, accompanied by his wife and two children. The family was four weeks en route and upon reaching DeWitt County they made a location in Waynesville Township that is still occupied by them.
Mr. Goodrich secured seventy acres of land and moved into the first house built in that vicinity. He now has two farms, comprising one hundred and eighty-six acres and money at interest. When he came hither he had one team and $20 in money. The home farm is beautified by a fine residence, substantial outbuildings, and the fruit and shade trees that indicate so plainly the prosperity and good taste of the dwellers on any tract. Honest, energetic, quick to perceive and opportunity and ready to take advantage of every turn of the tide, Mr. Goodrich has earned the success that has rewarded him.
The lady who for many years has shared the trials and successes of Mr. Goodrich bore the maiden name of Margaret Foreman. By her prudent control of home affairs, wise counsel and encouraging words, she has done much toward securing the prosperity they now enjoy. Their marriage rites were solemnized November 6, 1845, when the bride was eighteen years old, she having been born near Springfield, Ohio, May 26, 1827. To Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich six children have been born, but two died in infancy. The living are: Mary J., wife of James Gilkey, of Cowley County, Kan., and mother of three living children; Sarah E., wife of Thomas Evans and mother of four children; Florence J., wife of Mason Willis, of Hall County, Neb., their family consisting of three sons; Amy O., wife of Elijah Morrison of Homer, Ill.
The father of our subject was Henry Goodrich, son of Joel and Rena Goodrich. New England farmers and early settlers in Ohio. Henry was born in New England, went to the Buckeye State in boyhood, and after living in Dayton some years made his home in Greene County. In 1832 he removed to Union County where he died about 1849. His business was that of a peddler. His wife, Anna, daughter of Robert and Amy Pharris, was born in Virginia and accompanied her parents to Greene County, Ohio, in an early day. The brothers and sisters of our subject who grew to maturity are: Robert, Irena, Joel, Samuel, Allen, Elizabeth and Martin. All married except Samuel and Irena.
The parents of Mrs. Carmi Goodrich are Thomas and Mississippi (Casoline) Foreman, natives of Kentucky and Illinois respectively. The father was a son of Benjamin and Mary (Vandavere) Foreman and was of English lineage in the paternal line. He died in Champaign County, this State, but his widow is still living, her home being in Clinton. Both Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich belong to the Presbyterian Church, with which they have been identified for thirty years. Religion is to them a matter of everyday life, not a garment to be put on when a special occasion arises; therefore they exert an influence more powerful than that of many, even though they themselves see flaws in their own characters, and realize that "there is none perfect, no, not one."
No physician in Central Illinois has a more honorable record than Dr. Christopher Goodbrake of Clinton, DeWitt County, and few enjoy a more extended reputation. His name is indicative of his German origin and his birthplace was near Stuttgart, his natal day being June 14, 1816. The youthful stories of the undeveloped resources of America, combined with the spirit of freedom, induced his father to emigrate to the United States in 1821. Land was purchased near Salem Columbiana County, Ohio, where he of whom we write grew to man's estate. He helped to make a good home from the land which his father had secured and at the same time pursued the studies which were calculated to fit him for the battle of life.
The district schools of the neighborhood afforded our subject his fundamental instruction, and this was supplemented by lessons in the higher branches, received from his father and two other gentlemen. The parent was not only a fine scholar himself and capable therefore of imparting instruction, but he gave to his son much of his own enthusiasm and love of learning. To one of his other instructors the Doctor is also largely indebted for the formation of his studious habits. By the time he arrived at his majority the young man was a good English scholar and had also a fair knowledge of Latin grammar.
The profession of medicine was one upon which Christopher had set his heart and going to Allegheny City, Pa., he spent three years in fitting himself for practice under able instruction. In 1840 he located in Portsmouth, Ohio, three years later returned to Allegheny City, Pa., and in 1847 came to Clinton, Ill., where he has since made his home. Being anxious to acquire greater proficiency in therapeutical science, and being ambitious to excel in his profession, the Doctor attended a course of lectures at Rush Medical College in Chicago, receiving a diploma from that institution in February, 1855. In his younger days Mr. Goodbrake was a frequent contributor to medical journals and made some important reports to medical societies. While conducting a general practice, he has given especial attention to surgery and wields the scalpel with great skill. He has enjoyed a large practice and has kept full abreast of the times in his medical knowledge and efficiency.
Into the mind of Dr. Goodbrake was instilled a love for his country that has never forsaken him and upon the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861 he was among the first to offer his services to the Government. He entered the army as a member of Company E, Twentieth Illinois Infantry, being the first in DeWitt County to respond to the call for volunteers. His recognized skill secured him the appointment of surgeon and he remained with his regiment until the autumn of 1862, when he was detailed as Surgeon-in-chief of the Third Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee. He served with honor in that capacity until September 19, 1864, when he was honorably discharged, having tendered his resignation based upon the expiration of his term of service.
During his connection with the army Dr. Goodbrake served as Brigade Surgeon on the staffs of Cols. C.C. Marsh, Michael Lawler and W. H. L. Wallace, and as Surgeon-in-chief upon the staffs of Generals John A. Logan, M.D. Leggett and Charles R. Woods. In his official capacity he took part in the battle of Fredericktown, Mo., where the regiment received its "baptism of fire" and where he was the only surgeon on the field until after the enemy had retreated. He was also present during the battles of Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Briton's Lane, Bogue, Chitto, Nickajack, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station and the sieges of Corinth and Vicksburg.
Dr. Goodbrake is a permanent member of the American Medical Association; a life member of the Illinois State Medical Society, of which he was President in 1857; belongs to the Central Illinois Medical Society, of which he was President in 1886; and was the founder of the DeWitt County Medical Society, was its first presiding officer and has been permanent Secretary for ten years. He is the local surgeon of the Illinois Central Railroad at Clinton and the Examining Surgeon for five or six insurance companies. His contributions to medical science have been well received, his surgical operations have elicited high encomiums from fellow-surgeons, and his efforts to increase the efficiency of professional men are recognized far and near.
Great interest in the cause of education has been manifested by Dr. Goodbrake, who served five years as President of the Board of Education of Clinton. He has assisted in all measures calculated to advance th substantial interests of the city he has chosen for his home and served several years on the Board of Trustees. After the incorporation of the city he filled the Mayor's Chair one year, discharging the duties of his office to the satisfaction of his constituents and with honor to himself. He is an admirer of the ancient and honorable institution of Free Masonry and has attained to the Thirty-second degree. He was made a Master Mason in Aurora Lodge, No. 48, Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1843; exalted to the Royal Arch in Springfield, Ill., in 1852; created a Knight Templar and Knight of Malta in Apollo Cammandery, No. 1, in Chicago in 1857; and received all the degrees of the ancient Scottish Rite from the Fourth to the Thirty-second in Oriental Consistory in Chicago in 1884. In religion Dr. Goodbrake is a Universalist, and in politics and out-and-out Republican.
In April, 1847, Dr. Goodbrake was united in marriage with Charlotte Gleason of Brookfield, Mass., with whom he lived happily until March, 1872, when she entered into rest, leaving one child, a daughter. A man of generous impulses and cheerful disposition, true to the core in his friendly relations, Dr. Goodbrake has hosts of well-wishers and many sincere friends who will be pleased to notice his portrait on another page of the Album.
James M. Greene, a leading young merchant of Wapella and the newly elected Clerk of DeWitt County, has for several years been prominent in the public and political life of this section of Illinois and has proved to be an invaluable civic official. He is native and to the manor born, and his career, both in public and in private life as well as a business man, has been such that his community and his friends may well be proud of so stainless a record.
Our subject was born in Wapella, February 4, 1860, and is a son of Timothy Greene, who was born in County Longford, Ireland, August 3, 1835. He and his brother came to America in 1850 and settled first in Terre Haute, Ind., where he engaged in the grocery business for two years. He then came to Illinois and established himself as a grocer in Bureau County. Four years later he came from there to DeWitt County in 1856, and opened a grocery store at Wapella. He carried it on very successfully till 1877 when he retired from active business and died in 1879. He was very prosperous and besides the property that he acquired in his business had a fine farm of something over three hundred acres of land near the village of Wapella. He was eminently a self-made man as he had comparatively nothing when he came to America, and accumulated his wealth in his adopted county. Religiously he was a Roman Catholic and a devout member of the church. Politically he was a Democrat and he had held some of the local offices.
Margaret Carr was the maiden name of the mother of our subject. She was born in the parish of Roscommon, County Leitrim, in 1840, and is now living in Wapella. She is a member of the Catholic Church in high standing as are all her children, of whom she has eight.
James Greene, of whom this biography is written, received his early education in the public schools, and a good practical training in business in his father's store. He attended Notre Dame University at South Bend, Ind., in 1874 and 1875, and there pursued a fine commercial course which further prepared him for a business life, and from which he was graduated with a high rank for scholarship. In 1877 he succeeded his father in the store, and has ever since been actively engaged in the grocery business. He has a well appointed and well arranged establishment, has it stocked with groceries of all kinds, the best in the market, and commands a large and lucrative trade.
Mr. Greene was married August 10, 1884, to Mary Jordan, who has helped him in the making of a cozy home which is the center of a genial hospitality. Their pleasant household circle is completed by their two children--Francis and Thomas. Mrs. Greene is also a native of DeWitt County, and was born July 30, 1866. Both she and her husband are members of the Catholic Church, to which they contribute generously.
Mr. Greene is a frank, warm-hearted man, who is very popular with his associates and is well-known throughout the county by his connection with its public life. Politically he is a leader among the young Democrats of this section. He has held the office of Township Clerk and Collector and is now serving his fifth term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, representing Wapella Township. He at one time was Chairman of the Finance Committee, and is at present Chairman of the Town Board, serving his fourth term in that capacity. He was elected to his present important position as Clerk of DeWitt County, November 4, 1890, by a majority of two hundred and eighty-two. His popularity is attested by the fact that the Republican candidate carried the county in 1888 by a majority of sixty-six. He is conceded to be one of the ablest young men in the county and having been brought before the public so early in life is thought to have a bright and promising future before him as a civic officer in high places.
The fact that a man has been in the employ of the same company for a long term of years may be taken as a proof of his faithfulness to their interests, his skill in the branch of work to which he devotes himself, and also testifies to the appreciative spirit of his employers. The gentleman above named, who is master mechanic of the Illinois Central Railroad shops at Clinton, DeWitt County, has been in the service of the company for twenty-eight years. He is a thorough mechanic himself, and therefore well qualified to superintend the work of others, as well as to see that the material used in the shops is of the best.
Mr. Griffin was born in London, England, April 25, 1841, being the second son in the family of John and Mary (Glenn) Griffin. His brothers and sisters were six in number. As soon as he was old enough he entered the schools of the city pursuing his studies until he was eighteen years old, when he became an apprentice to the trade of a machinist. He served four and a half years, passing through all the departments and becoming qualified to work in every branch of the business.
At the expiration of his apprenticeship Mr. Griffin embarked for the United States, having determined to seek his fortune in the land of which he had heard such glowing accounts. Landing at New York he spent a short time in that city, then came west to Chicago, where he worked at his trade in the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad shops for eighteen months. He next entered the employ of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad, making Dubuque, Iowa he home for several years. For a short time he worked at Waterloo, then returned to Dubuque and took charge of the Illinois central shops there as foreman. He held the position until 1884 when he was transferred to Clinton to take charge of the company's shops here. In the capacity of master mechanic Mr. Griffin has proven himself a very efficient man, not only in the oversight of the materials but in his control of the men who are engaged in the work.
Mr. Griffin was fortunate in his choice of a wife, gaining for his companion a lady whose intelligence and fine character give her words and actions weight and make of the dwelling place a true home. She became the wife of our subject in 1868, prior to which time she was known as Miss Almeda Johnson. She was born in Ohio and at the date of her marriage was residing in Dubuque, Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Griffin four children have been born, named respectively, Anna M., May Belle, Jesse Glenn and Lillian Maude. Miss Anna is in her father's office as a telegraph operator. Mr. Griffin is a Republican in politics. He and his family are devoted members of the Presbyterian Church. they own and occupy a good residence in the northern part of the city and its hospitable doors are ever open to the visits of their many friends.
This gentleman has been identified with the farming interests of DeWitt county for more than thirty years and as an agriculturist has won a good standing among his associates. He resides on section 21, Texas Township, where he owns one hundred acres of land which has been so improved as to make a comfortable home. The pleasant dwelling is set off by a well-kept orchard and such out-buildings as are needed in prosecuting the labors of the household and estate, and displays in and about it the orderly habits of its occupants. Mr. Haberfield is a farmer, stock-raiser and butcher, and in his diversified work finds sufficient occupation.
Our subject is a native of Somersetshire, England, born May 31, 1828. His parents, John and Sarah C. (Challenger) Haberfield, were born and reared in the mother country, married in Bristol, and took up their residence on a farm in Somersetshire. Their entire wedded life was spent there and they entered into rest in 1879 and 1876 respectively. Their family consists of five daughters and two sons, all living in England except our subject. Their names in the order of their birth are Parsella, Mercy, William, Emma, Charity, John and Sarah. William received his schooling near the homestead and under his parents' roof was taught the principles that should govern his conduct in after life. He remained with them, assisting on the home farm until he was twenty-three years old.
March 24, 1851, Mr. Haberfield was united in marriage with Martha Ann Wade, a native of the same county as himself, who had grown to maturity in his own neighborhood. About six weeks after their marriage the young couple started for America and ere long were to be found in Seneca County, N.Y. There the husband worked by the month at anything he could find to do until nearly a year had expired, when he removed to Washington County, Mich. There he operated a rented farm for two years, after which he bought forty acres, upon which he made his home until 1857. Selling his estate, he then came to DeWitt County, Ill., and located on the section where he still makes his home. Mr. Haberfield began his work here by purchasing five acres, which he cleared and upon which he built a log house. Little by little, as his circumstances would permit, he added to his landed estate until it reached its present extent. He has cleared all but fourteen acres, set out the orchard, and made all the improvements which it now bears.
Mr. Haberfield is a Director in the Mutual Insurance Company. He has served as Constable of Texas Township and gives his political allegiance to Democratic principles. He and his wife belong to the Christian Church, their membership being in the organization at Maroa. Their otherwise happy union has been a childless one, but they have reared a child of Samuel Wade. The good couple have made many friends since they became residents of this county and many deeds of neighborly kindness are credited to them by those who know them well. Mr. Haberfield formerly raised and kept a great many sheep and he and Samuel Wade brought the first fine wool sheep to this county.
William Hall is actively aiding his fellow farmers in carrying on the great agricultural interests of DeWitt County, and has a farm on section 4, Nixon Township, that compares very favorable in point of cultivation and improvement with the best in its vicinity. Mr. Hall was born in Ross County, Ohio, near the town of Chillicothe, September 25, 1826. His father was John Hall, who was of Pennsylvania birth, and was there bred to the life of a farmer. He was married in the State of his nativity to Mary Black, who was also born and reared in Pennsylvania. They subsequently became pioneers of Ohio, and Mr. Hall opened up a large farm in the wilds of Ross County. He and his good wife continued to live on their homestead until death called them hence. They were the parents of four sons and five daughters, whom they named Anna, Barbara, Mary, Elizabeth, Ellen, Henry, Charles, Elias and William, the latter being the youngest of the family.
William Hall received an excellent training from his worthy parents at home and gained a fair education in the district schools. He remained an inmate of the parental household until he was twenty-three years old and in the meantime gained a thorough knowledge of farming, which has been of much benefit to him in his after life. At the age mentioned he left home and was engaged as a lumberman, drawing timber to the mills, etc. In due time he had laid up money enough to become independent and was enabled to marry and have a home of his own. Accordingly he took unto himself a wife in Ross County, Ohio, February 24, 1856, in the person of Miss Margaret Smitley. Mrs. Hall is the eldest of nine children all of whom were reared and married and two of whom are now deceased. She is a native of the same county as her husband and was born August 29, 1835. She is a most excellent housewife and understands fully how to make her home comfortable. Of the eight children born to our subject and his wife, three daughters and five sons, three are now living: Cyrus, Floyd and Emma, who make their home with their parents.
After marriage our subject started for Illinois with his bride and on his arrival here located three miles northeast of Clinton. A year after he and his wife returned to Ohio, and remained there a few years, when they came again to this State. They lived for awhile four miles east of Clinton, and then resumed their residence in Ohio, where they remained ten years. While there Mr. Hall devoted himself to dairying and farming business. Illinois still had strong attractions for him, and at the expiration of the time mentioned, he once more came to this State and took up his abode in DeWitt County, locating where he now resides on section 4, Nixon Township in 1879. The farm was but very little developed and nearly all its fine improvements are the work of his own hands, and he now has one of the best improved farms in all the county. It comprises two hundred and forty acres of rich well tilled land that yield him abundant harvests, and he is carrying on a lucrative business as a general farmer.
Mr. Hall is a man of considerable ability, is stirring and wide-awake in the prosecution of his work and in his business transactions, and has taken his place among our best citizens, who have at heart the interests of their township. He is an intelligent member of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association and in politics is a devoted Democrat. He is a man of a moral, upright character, and adheres to the faith of the United Brethren Church in which he was reared.
James Hammitt has lived in DeWitt County for many years and has witnessed the numerous changes in the appearance of the country. During his youth he aided in the development of a section that was in nearly a primitive condition, and continuing the work after he grew to manhood added to the thorough cultivation and excellent improvement of a large tract of land. His home is in Waynesville Township, on section 18, and he has around him all of the comforts which mark the homes of prosperous farmers in these later days. His personal career was begun without cash capital and his present comfortable circumstances are due entirely to his industrious efforts and good management.
Mr. Hammitt is a native of the Buckeye State, having been born in Morgan County, July 11, 1818. His father, Samuel Hammitt, was born in what is now Ohio County, W. Va., and the grandparents Benjamin and Ruth (Van Meter) Hammitt, were likewise natives of that State. Samuel Hammitt moved to Muskingum County, Ohio, about 1810, and to Morgan County about 1812 and thence in 1833 came to this State. He had married Catherine McElhiney, who was born in Maryland but whose parents had settled in Ohio about 1795. Her father, Mathew McElhiney a native of County Donegal, Ireland, emigrated to America when a young man and after living in Maryland some years made a permanent location in Ohio. The parental family comprised the following children: Margaret C., Ruth V., James W., George W., Comfort M., Rhoda E., Mathew M. and Samuel M.
The gentleman of whom we write acquired some fundamental instruction in the early schools, but is in the main self educated. His life after coming to this State was marked by no event of uncommon interest until November 6, 1845, when he was married to Susan Brock. This lady was born in Indiana, her parents being Andrew and Hannah (Richards) Brock, natives respectively of North Carolina and Virginia. Their marriage was solemnized in Indiana whither they had gone in early life. In the fall of 1829 they came to this State and during the first year of their residence lived at Funk's Grove. In 1830 Mr. Brock entered one hundred acres on section 19, Waynesville Township, DeWitt County, and subsequently two hundred and forty acres in Logan County. When he came here the territory upon which he located was in Tazewell County, but, by subsequent divisions it became McLean, then DeWitt and finally Logan, and he was enabled to live in each of these counties without moving.
Mr. Brock was twice married. The children reared by his first wife are Violet, Francis M., Benjamin, Letitia, Jemima, Susan, William and John. The mother died in Waynesville before the Civil War, and the father in March, 1864. He had served during the War of 1812. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the same faith his wife, the mother of Mrs. Hammitt, was also a devout believer. Their children were carefully reared and Mrs. Hammitt became skilled in domestic arts and developed a character which wins the respect of her acquaintances. She has become the mother of twelve children and reared ten, named respectively: Sebastian, Hannah, Guy, Martin, William L., John, Oscar, James A., Benjamin F. and Kate. Sebastian is living in Iowa; he served six months during the late Civil War. Hannah is the wife of Oliver Buck; and John is deceased. After his marriage Mr. Hammitt located on section 18, Waynesville Township, entering forty acres on a land warrant for eighty acres that he had bought. He gave his attention zealously to his work and so well did he succeed in tilling the soil that he reaped abundantly of the fruits of the earth and was able, year by year, to accumulate property. He wisely invested in other land and now owns four hundred and fifty-six acres which is thoroughly cultivated and well improved. While by no means ready to live a life of idleness, Mr. Hammitt is able to lay aside as much as he desires the cares of life, having abundant means to supply himself and family with every comfort. He is a reliable citizen, a man of respectability, and one who in the home circle is affectionate and considerate.
The labors which have resulted in the present high state of development of the agricultural resources of DeWitt County, have been largely participated in by the gentleman above named, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page. He was but a child when his parents come hither from the Buckeye State, traveling with an ox-team and a three-horse team. They were for weeks accomplishing the trip and at its conclusion found themselves in a section of country that had not yet been reclaimed from its primeval condition. Growing to manhood amid somewhat primitive surroundings, he of whom we write participated in early life in the work of improvement, and after the land became fitted for the abode of civilized man, continued his agricultural work with zeal and energy.
The parents of our subject were Samuel and Catherine (McElhaney) Hammit, the former born near Wheeling, W. Va., April 12, 1789, and the latter in Baltimore, Md., December 18, 1791. Mr. Hammitt with his oldest brother went to Muskingum County, Ohio, and there, April 4, 1812, was married. After living near Uniontown a short time he and his wife removed to Morgan County, locating on and improving one hundred acres or more of land. In 1833 they came to this State, reaching Waynesville Township, DeWitt County, on the last day of October. The year before, Mr. Hammitt had entered forty acres of land on section 19, and here he established his home. After seeing the improvements upon the tract fairly under way, he took up other land, finally becoming the possessor of three hundred and twenty acres, on a part of which our subject now lives. The first frame house built on the north side of Kickapoo Creek in Waynesville Township was erected on this estate by its original owner. Mr. Hammitt was a poor man when he came to this section, but he became quite well-to-do. He bought fifty acres near Stanford, which he gave to his second son. He died September 26, 1861, having been preceded through the valley of the shadow of death by his wife, who died November 22, 1857.
Our subject is one of eleven children born to his parents, eight of whom lived to mature years. Those who still survive are Margaret, James W., George W., Rhoda E., Mathew and Samuel M. Their paternal grandfather, Benjamin Hammitt, was a native of New Jersey, whence he removed to Virginia. His occupation was that of a farmer. He died early in life, leaving a widow, formerly a Miss Van Meters, and four sons and a daughter. The widow contracted a second marriage, wedding a Mr. Nichols to whom she bore several children.
The mother of our subject was a daughter of Matthew McElhaney, who came from Ireland and was a tailor by trade. Our subject now has a pair of shears brought by his grandfather from the Emerald Isle. The family of Mr. McElhaney comprised four sons and two daughters: James, Patrick, Richard, Matthew, Nellie and Catherine. The natal day of our subject was December 13, 1826, and his birthplace Morgan County, Ohio. He was not yet seven years old when his parents came to this State and his education was received in the log schoolhouse where the instruction was limited in time and sometimes ordinary in quality. The chief reason, however, for the need of self-effort was that the period during which he could attend school was short, and, like many who have been reared amid similar surroundings, Mr. Hammitt may well be called a self-educated man. His life has been unmarked by any event more stirring than the experiences which all early settlers had a part in, and which have been related time and time again. Soon after his marriage he located on section 19, Waynesville Township, where he has since lived. His estate consists of one hundred and ninety acres, ninety of which was included in the parental homestead.
On December 6, 1849, Mr. Hammitt was married to Sarah Baker, daughter of James and Christiana (Roberts) Baker. The parents were born near Waterford, Ohio, and Chester County, Pa., respectively , and the father belonged to a family of very early settlers in Ohio. He came to McLean County, Ill., about 1835, and there the mother of Mrs. Hammitt died in 1858. Mr. Baker was married four times, all of his wives being natives of Ohio. His first wife was Sophia White, his second Saran Alden, his third Mrs. Stansbury, "nee" Roberts, and the fourth Mrs. Roberts, "nee" Deaver. The grandparents of Mrs. Hammitt were Samuel and Margaret (Kelley) Baker, natives of Virginia. The father of Mrs. Margaret Baker was killed by Indians in Ohio while plowing. Mrs. Hammitt was born in Morgan County, Ohio, and acquired useful habits and womanly graces of character. Her union with our subject has been blest by the birth of five children, three of whom have been reared to manhood and womanhood. These are Letitia; Benjamin, who married Miss Alice C. Gates and Maggie, the first wife of Mervin A. Kephart. Mr. Hammitt has served as Township Supervisor three terms and has held other minor offices, discharging his various duties in a creditable manner. As an agriculturist he has a prominent place as one who understand his calling and pursues it with energy. He and his wife are highly respected for their upright and useful lives.
This name will be at once recognized by our readers as that of a man extensively engaged in stock-dealings, doing a larger business in this line than any other man in DeWitt or Piatt Counties. He is also engaged in stock-raising and in the pursuit of agriculture on section 24, Texas Township, DeWitt County. At the date of this writing he has a herd of fifty horses and mules, three hundred and fifty cattle, four hundred sheep and three hundred and fifty hogs. During the busy season he employs ten men, finding constant occupation for them as well as for himself in the various departments of the business.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was the first United States Marshal of Indiana, and was appointed United States Senator from that State to fill a vacancy. The father of our subject, Robert B. Hanna, was born in the Hoosier State and is still living, his present home being in Bloomington, Ill., where he lives retired from active labors. He is an expert civil engineer, was the builder of the Wabash Canal and chief engineer on the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad. During the Civil War he was a Captain in the Union army, and has always been a strong Republican. The wife of R. B. Hanna and mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Amanda M. Coleman. She also was born and reared in Indiana. She became the mother of five sons and one daughter, the latter of whom Mary L. is living in Bloomington, Ill. Besides our subject and this daughter, still living are Robert, a Captain of the regular army, who was located at Ft. Bayard, N.M., but has now been ordered to Dakota on account of Indian outbreak; and Samuel C., a banker and stock-dealer at Howard, Kan.
The natal day of William Hanna was July 3, 1857, and his birthplace, Attica, Fountain County, Ind. He pursued his studies in his native place, and at the early age of eighteen years engaged in the stock business at Bloomington, Ill., dealing principally in fine horses and sheep. In 1883 he went to Kansas where he embarked in the same business. A year later he came to Macon County, Ill., entering into partnership with David Davis and carrying on the stock business near Maroa. He finally bought out the interest in the stock and leased fourteen hundred acres of the Davis estate, the largest lease in the county, and located at his present home.
As before stated, the fundamental education of Mr. Hanna was obtained in his native place, where he attended the public schools. He afterward attended the city schools in Bloomington, Ill., then entered the Illinois University, while at the same time operating in stock and making the money to pay his way. He attended the law school a year, believing that a knowledge of legal forms would be a help in his business, and his experience is proving the correctness of his judgment. He writes all his own documents, makes out his mortgages and all such legal papers, finding it necessary to seek counsel or go before a Notary but seldom. He is classed among the Democrats, but is inclined to be liberal in his political views. He has always led a life of single blessedness, not yet having been convinced that a wife is necessary to his happiness.
Thomas Harp, a veteran of the Mexican War, is a son of one of the early pioneer families of this part of Illinois, and has done enough himself in the development of the farming interests of DeWitt County to entitle him to a high place among its pioneer citizens. He is one of the largest landowners in Clintonia Township, where he is still actively engaged in looking after his farming and stock interests.
Mr. Harp was born February 14, 1824, in Overton County, Tenn. His father, Tyrey Harp, was likewise of Tennessee birth, born in 1795, and his grandfather, William Harp, was a native of South Carolina. The latter was among the early settlers of Tennessee and was actively engaged in farming there until the time of his death. He was quite prominent among the Methodists and was an exhorter in the church. Both he and his wife lived to be very old people, and reared a large family.
The father of our subject was bred on a farm and in early life learned the trade of a shoemaker, manufacturing all the shoes for the family. He also carried on farming, and was thus engaged in his native Tennessee until 1829, when he came with his family to Illinois, making the journey with a team and wagon, and camping out by the wayside at nightfall. He first located in Morgan County and raised a crop on a piece of wild prairie land. In the spring of 1830 he came to DeWitt County and took up his residence near Waynesville. He was among the first settlers in that section of the country, where he entered land and erected a log cabin for the shelter of his family. He was an expert hunter, and often supplied the larder with venison, turkey and other wild game which was very plentiful. He was living there during the winter of the "deep snow" when he was obliged to pack his corn out in sacks as the snow lay at a depth of three feet on the ground and in many places it had drifted much deeper.
In the spring of 1831 the father of our subject moved down to the north branch of Salt Creek, four miles east of Clinton, in what is known as Harp Township. He entered land, built himself the usual pioneer residence and there made his home until his death in 1840. He was in every sense a good citizen and was very useful in helping to develop the country. He served as a volunteer soldier in the War of 1812, and always showed true patriotism. In his political sentiments he was a sturdy follower of the Democratic party. Catherine Dale, his wife, was born in Tennessee in 1796, and lived to be sixty-nine years of age. She was a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Her father, Alexander Dale, was a native of Tennessee and came from there to Illinois in 1829. He was a farmer by occupation and settled on the north fork of Salt Creek where he carried on his calling until his demise. Both he and his wife lived to be quite old and were among the zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Thomas Harp is one of a family of eleven children of whom ten grew to maturity. He was five years old when the family came to Illinois but he still recollects some of the incidents of that ever memorable journey and of the pioneer life that followed. The first school that he ever attended was conducted in a log house that stood in his father's yard which his father had furnished for this purpose. It has slab benches with pin legs, greased paper windows and an old open fireplace with a mud and stick chimney. In those days none of the schools were free but were carried on by subscriptions from the parents. During his boyhood Mr. Harp worked in the clearings and helped to cultivate a farm. He was occasionally sent to Bloomington, Pekin or Peoria to obtain family supplies, and has taken many a load of wheat to Chicago with an ox-team. When night would overtake him he would camp out on the open prairie, and there await the morning to resume the long and tiresome journey over rough roads, or no roads at all. When the creeks were filled by the rain, as there were no bridges, he could not convey the corn to mill, so he used to break it up in a mortar made by burning out the end of a log.
The early settlers never suffered for want of anything to eat, as there was plenty of wild game in the country; our subject has seen as many as fifty deer in one herd and has brought down many a one by his unerring rifle. The primitive log cabins of the pioneers contained furniture made by hand. The beds were made by two poles fastened in the wall in a corner of the room, the ends attached to a post that was stationed at the fourth corner, and then slats were placed on top of this rude contrivance for a bedstead. The farmers of those days had no such fine machinery and implements as the modern agriculturists enjoy, but had to perform their labors with the most primitive contrivances. The wheat was separated from the straw by the flail or by being tramped out, and the fields were plowed with the old fashioned wooden moldboard plow.
After his father's death in 1840 our subject carried on the home place until 1855. He entered his present homestead in 1847 on a Mexican land warrant, which gave him one hundred and sixty acres of land, as he had done gallant service in the struggle between the United States and the Mexican Government. He enlisted in June, 1846, in Company E, Fourth Illinois Infantry, and was mustered in at Springfield. He and his fellow soldiers were then sent to Jefferson Barracks, below St. Louis, and were drilled there for some time. They next went to New Orleans, and from that city to the mouth of the Rio Grande, whence they pursued their way to Matamoras, Mexico. There our subject was taken sick and for some time lay in the hospital from which he was discharged late in the fall of 1846.
After the war Mr. Harp returned to his home here and in 1855 located permanently on his farm, and has lived here the most of the time since, with the exception of a few years at odd times when he has lived on the old home farm. He has cultivated his land quite extensively and has raised considerable stock. He has been more than ordinarily prospered in his undertakings, and from time to time has added to his landed property until he now owns over eight hundred acres of choice farming land. In his career as a farmer he has shown himself to be a man of exceptional activity, foresight, prudence and capacity for managing affairs to the best advantage, and these traits have not only made him successful in life but have contributed to the general welfare of township and county. For his patriotism as a soldier in the Mexican War he received a pension of $8 a month. In his political views he is a stanch Democrat. Socially he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Clinton.
Mr. Harp built his present handsome and conveniently arranged two-story frame house in 1872, at a cost of $3,300 besides the work that he did upon it himself. Here he and his good wife are passing the declining years of busy and useful lives in contentment and happiness, surrounded by the many comforts procured by the fruits of their early labors. They began their wedded life February 22, 1855, and in the thirty-five years that have since ensued have been greatly blessed in the children that have been born to them, five in number, of whom four are living: Eunice C. (Mrs. Getchel); William H., Anna L. (Mrs. Wilson) and Melvin P. The greatest sorrow that has come to our subject and his wife has been the death of their daughter, Mary E., who died at the age of seventeen years. Mrs. Harp is a native of Ohio, born August 7, 1835, and prior to her marriage was Elizabth Wantland. She is a woman of many excellent qualities of head and heart, and is a sincere Christian having been formerly connected with the Methodist Church, but now is a member of the Christian Church.
Among the lithographic portraits of prominent men presented in this volume is that of Mr. Harp, the subject of this biographical notice.
Eli Harrold is an old resident of DeWitt County, with whose farming and stock-raising interests he has long been connected, and he has a valuable farm on section 32, Wapella Township. He was born in Surrey County, N.C., December 26, 1820, and is a son of Jonathan Harrold, who is Virginian by birth. William Harrold, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of Virginia, where his father, who came from England with two brothers, had settled in the Colonial times. The brothers located near each other, but afterward separated and live in different parts of the country. The progenitor of our subject spent the remainder of his life in Virginia where he was engaged as a farmer. The grandfather of our subject lived in Virginia until he was seventy years old, and was then actively engaged in agricultural pursuits. At the age mentioned he moved to Henry County, Ind., and there spent the remainder of his life, with the exception of a visit to Illinois, and died at the age of eighty years. He was a very devout Quaker, and was a Whig in politics. He and his companion reared quite a large family of children. His wife lived to be upwards of eighty years old.
Jonathan Harrold lived in his native State until he was thirty-five years old. He then moved to Wayne County, Ind., of which he was an early settler, making the long and tiresome journey over the rough roads and mountains in a wagon. He resided there until 1833, and then came to this county with a team, camping out by the wayside at night during his journey. He entered a tract of land near Waynesville and then took up his residence in McLean County. He found there but few settlers, and the country surrounding was in a very wild condition. He resided there until his death, in 1838, at the age of fifty-three years. He was a sterling Democrat in his political beliefs, and was in all respects a fine citizen.
The father of our subject married Rebecca East, who was a native of Virginia. She was a devout member of the Christian Church for a great many years and took a lively interest in its work. She lived to the venerable age of eighty-one years and then departed this life August 12, 1860. Her father, William East, was a native of Virginia, of which he was a life-long resident, dying there at an old age. He is thought to have been a Quaker in religion and is known to have been a farmer by occupation. He and his wife reared a family of six daughters and two sons. Of the nine children children born to the parents of our subject all grew to maturity, namely: Absalom, Jonathan, James, Isam, Mitchell, Mary (Mrs. Lundy), Naomi, Eli and Sophronia.
Our subject passed his life in Wayne county, Ind., form the age of three years until he was thirteen years old. He attended the old-fashioned log schoolhouse with slab benches for seats, heated by a fire in a large open fire-place and lighted by means of a hole in the wall from which a log had been taken. All the schools were then conducted on the subscription plan and each scholar had to pay from $2.50 to $3 a term; the teacher boarded around among the pupils. After coming to this county he obtained some schooling in the pioneer schools here and was of great assistance to his father in developing a farm. At the age of eighteen years he began life for himself and worked out some by the month. Finally he and two of his brothers bought the interest of the other heirs in the homestead. He afterward sold his share of the estate and invested in his present farm. He has a vivid recollection of pioneer times when there were but few settlements here and the forests and prairies were infested by deer, wild turkeys, wolves and other animals. He has seen large droves of deer near his home, and when he indulged in a hunt he used occasionally to shoot one. He had to market his grain at Pekin on the Illinois River. There were but few State roads then, the pioneers traveling mostly on trails left by the Indians, and our subject had many times ridden a horse to mill with a sack of corn in those old days.
When Mr. Harrold located on this place a part of the land was fenced and a small log cabin stood there, in which he lived some six or seven years. He has replaced that by a more commodious residence and has made other improvements that have greatly increased the value of the place since it came into his hands. He has one hundred and ninety-three acres of as fertile land as may be found in the vicinity, which is under excellent cultivation. He built his present house in 1849 and has made some additions to it since. In 1868 he erected a large red barn that is admirably adapted to its purposes. He has raised a good deal of stock and has acquired a comfortable competence through strict attention to his business and by hard and unremitting labor. Mr. Harrold is a Republican in politics and has ably filled the office of Justice of the Peace for seven years. He is a Trustee of his school district, and during his incumbency of this important office for the last twenty-three years has been instrumental in forwarding the educational interests of his township.
Mr. Harrold has been very fortunate in his domestic relations, as by his marriage May 25, 1843, to Sarah J. Nelson, he secured a wife who has been to him a helpmate and companion in truth, and during the many years (nearly half a century) which they have been together has devoted herself closely to the interests of her household. Mrs. Harrold is a native of this State and was born in Sangamon County, June 3, 1826. Her parents, Joseph and Julia (Anderson) Nelson, were natives of Kentucky, the former born in 1800, and the latter in 1804. Her father settled in Sangamon County in 1825 and moved to this county in the spring of 1831. He was engaged as a farmer in Wapella Township, and here died February 4, 1890, at the age of ninety years. His wife died at the age of sixty-two. They reared ten of their eleven children: Sarah J., James, Samantha, William (deceased), Robert, Clarissa, Isaac (deceased), Calvin, Rachel (deceased), Oliver and Monroe. The father and mother were both stanch Methodists and he was a true Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Harrold have had four children who are named: Adeline (Mrs. Hull), Kezie (Mrs. Cobey), Mary (Mrs. Jones), and Clara (Mrs. Cobey), all living.
Eli Harrold is the proprietor of the old Harrold homestead, his birthplace on section 9, DeWitt Township. He is carrying on his farming operations intelligently and after good methods, and though one of the youngest members of his calling in DeWitt County, has already gained a solid place among the farmers of this community. Our subject was born on the homestead of which he is now the possessor, January 9, 1868. He is a son of the late Elicum and Elizabeth (Williams) Harrold, natives respectively of Virginia and Kentucky, coming of old families of their respective States. They were yet in their youth when they came to Illinois, and were married in DeWitt County, having come here as early as 1845. They began life together on the farm now owned by their son of whom we write. In the years that followed Mr. Harrold worked hard to develop a farm, and in time placed himself in comfortable circumstances. His death occurred here in the home that he had built up in March, 1872, while he was yet in life's prime, he being but forty-two years of age when he died. He was a very well-known citizen of this part of the county and was a man of considerable influence in this community. He was an active local politician and was a sound Republican. He was a good man in every sense of the word and a Christian, holding to the Presbyterian faith. His widow, who survives him at the age of sixty-three years, is one of the good and motherly matrons of the township and has a host of friends in the county. She is a welcome inmate of her son's home. She is the mother of fourteen children of whom seven are yet living, our subject being one of the youngest of the family.
Eli Harrold was reared in this his native township by his mother, he being only three years of age when his father died. He has always made his home in this township and since attaining manhood has devoted himself to farming. He has owned the old homestead on which he was born, for two years, and is managing it with good financial success. It comprises one hundred and seven acres of land, all of which is well improved, except a little timber land. The place is well watered and well stocked, and is finely adapted to stock-raising purposes.
Mr. Harrold took unto himself a wife October 29, 1890, in the person of Miss Minta Zimmerman, to whom he was wedded at Clinton. Mrs. Harrold was born in this township and county, on the 21st of September, 1872, and is a daughter of James A. and Sarah (Johnson) Zimmerman, natives of Illinois. Her parents were married in DeWitt County, and have since lived here and in Piatt County, where her father is now engaged in farming. Mrs. Harrold is the eldest but one of seven children, of whom five are yet living. She was carefully reared by her parents and grew to womanhood in DeWitt County, receiving her education is its schools. She is an admirable housekeeper and unites with her husband in extending the hospitalities of their home to the many friends that they have gathered around them by their genial and obliging manners. Mr. Harrold, like his older brother, is a stalwart Republican. He is a young man of excellent habits, is practical and sensible in his views, and is methodical as well as enterprising in conducting his business, so that his success as a farmer has been assured from the start.
Isam Harrold has been associated with the rise and growth of DeWitt County since the early years of its settlement and has done much to develop this section of the country. It gives us pleasure therefore to represent this venerable pioneer in this Biographical Album. For many years he has been a resident of Wapella Township, where he owns a valuable farm on section 32, and here in his comfortable home he is now spending the sunset of life in retirement free from the cares and labors that beset his earlier days.
Mr. Harrold was born in Grayson County, Va., October 23, 1814. He is a son of Jonathan Harrold, who was also a native of Virginia. He in turn is a son of William Harrold who was likewise a native of the Old Dominion, where his father had settled in Colonial times, coming to this country from England with two brothers. The brothers located near each other, but afterward separated, and their descendants are now scattered in different parts of the country. The progenitor of our subject spent the remainder of his life in Virginia where he was engaged as a farmer. The father of our subject lived in Virginia until he was seventy years old and was there actively engaged in agricultural pursuits. At the age mentioned he moved to Henry County, Ind., where he spent the remainder of his life, with the exception of a visit to Illinois, and died at the age of eighty years. He was a devout Quaker in religion and a whig in politics. He and his good wife, who lived to be upwards of eighty years old, reared a large family.
Jonathan Harrold lived in his native State until he was thirty-five years old. He then removed to Wayne County, Ind., of which he was an early settler, making the tedious journey over the rough roads and mountains in a wagon. He resided there until 1833, and in that year came to this county with a team, camping out by the wayside at night during his journey. He entered a tract of land near Waynesville and then took up land in McLean County. He found but few settlers and the surrounding country was in a very wild condition. His death occurred there in 1838 at the age of fifty-three years. He was a sterling Democrat in his political beliefs and was in all respects a good citizen.
The father of our subject married Rebecca East who was a native of Virginia. She was a devout member of the Christian Church for a great many years and was greatly interested in its work. She lived to the venerable age of eighty-one years and then departed this life August 12, 1860. Her father, William East, was a native of Virginia, of which he was a life-long resident, dying there at an advanced age. He is thought to have been a Quaker in religion, and is known to have been a farmer by occupation. He and his wife reared a family of six daughters and two sons. The following are the nine children born to the parents of our subject all of whom grew to maturity, Absalom, Jonathan, James, Isam, Mitchell, Mary (Mrs. Lundy), Naomi, Eli and Sophronia.
The subject of this biographical review was six years old when his parents took him from his Virginia birthplace to Wayne County, Ind. and there he attended the old fashioned log schoolhouses of pioneer days, furnished with slab benches, lighted by greased paper windows and heated by a rude fireplace. He was reared to the life of a farmer, and at the age of nineteen came with his parents to DeWitt County in 1833. Their journey was made with a wagon and a team of four horses, and they brought with them two cows, eight head of horses and twenty-five sheep. They drove these all the way from thirty-six miles east of Indianapolis to their destination and were eighteen days on the way. Our subject has a vivid recollection of the wildness of the country and the primitive scenes that greeted the eyes of the little company on their arrival in this then sparsely settled region, where deer, wild turkeys, prairie chickens and other game roamed at will and where the prairie roads were mostly trails that had been made by the Indians. Mr. Harrold has often ridden a horse with a bag of corn to mill and frequently used to have to wait a half a day for his turn to get it ground. He used to market grain at Pekin and Peoria on the Illinois River, and has even hauled wheat with oxen to Chicago.
Mr. Harrold attended one term of pioneer school after coming here. At the age of twenty-one he began life for himself by working out for six months for one man at $10 a month. Subsequently he and two of his brother bought out the interest of the other heirs in the old homestead and farmed it together for a time and then traded it for two hundred acres of land, a part of which Mr. Harrold now lives on. This place was then in a perfectly wild condition, with not a furrow tuned or any attempt at improvement. Our subject built a small frame house when he moved upon it and by hard pioneer labor has placed his farm under substantial improvement and has the land well tilled. He now owns two hundred acres of land which is a valuable piece of property. At one time he had two hundred and sixty acres but he gave one of his sons forty-five acres thereof. Industry, prudence and shrewd judgment have enabled him to contribute to the growth of the township, where so many of the years of his lfe have been passed. He is a man of sterling worth, whose dealings with others have always been honestly conducted and who in all the relations of life has shown himself to be an upright man. In his early days he was an old-line Whig, but on the formation of the Republican party he fell into its ranks, and has ever since been one of its stanch supporters. He was Assessor of Wapella Township two terms and gave good satisfaction while an incumbent of that office.
April 19, 1840, was the date of Mr. Harrold's marriage with Miss Mary A. Risenly; for fifty years they traveled life's road together sharing its joys and sorrows and after celebrating their golden wedding were called upon to part, the faithful wife dying on the 4th of September, 1890, leaving behind her the record of a life well spent. She was a devoted member of the Christian Church and was in all respects a true woman. Her marriage with our subject brought them seven children of whom these six grew to maturity: Louisa (Mrs. Ferris), Rebecca (Mrs. Wilson), Ruth (Mrs. Borders), Winfield, Nancy (Mrs. Troxell), and Laura J. (Mrs. Riddle). Mrs. Harrold was born in Kentucky, December 30, 1818, and was still in her girlhood when her parents came to Sangamon County early in the '20s. In the spring of 1828 the family came to DeWitt County, and were among its early pioneers.
John A. Harrold, a native of DeWitt County, and a son of one of its well-known pioneer families, is a prominent farmer and extensive landholder, while his activity, large enterprise and business tact have been potent in advancing the agricultural interests of the community. He has a large and finely equipped farm in Wapella Township, where he is paying particular attention to breeding full-blooded Poland-China hogs, having one of the finest droves in Illinois.
Mr. Harrold was born June 15, 1850, on his father's homestead on section 32, Wapella Township, where he now resides. He is a son of Jonathan Harrold, a native of North Carolina, and the son of another Jonathan Harrold, who was of Virginia birth. William Harrold, the father of the latter, was also a native of the Old Dominion. His father came to America from England in early Colonial times with two brothers, who finally became separated and it is not now known what became of them or their descendants. The great-great-grandfather of our subject spent his last years in Virginia as a farmer, while his great-grandfather lived in Virginia until he was seventy years old and then passed his remaining days in Henry County, Ind. He made a visit to DeWitt County prior to his death, which occurred when he was more than eighty years old. He was a devout Quaker in religion and a sturdy Whig in politics. The grandfather of our subject was thirty-five years old when he left Virginia and settled in Wayne County, Ind., where he resided until 1833. In that year he came to DeWitt County with a team and wagon and settled near Waynesville. He thus became a pioneer of this county which then formed a part of McLean County, and here his life closed a few years later in 1838 at the age of fifty-three years. In early manhood he married Rebecca East, a native of Virginia, who died August 12, 1860, at the age of eighty-one years.
The father of our subject was one of nine children and was but a boy when he came with his parents to DeWitt County in 1833. Consequently the greater part of his life was identified with the growth and development of his part of Illinois. He improved a large tract of land and developed a fine farm of five hundred and twenty-six acres. He dealt quite largely in stock and always kept his farm well supplied with cattle, horses and hogs. He died in 1855, and the county then lost one of it best citizens, who had done much to forward its interests and who was greatly respected by the community with whom so many years of his life had been passed. He took an intelligent interest in politics and was an unswerving adherent of the Republican party. In early manhood Mr. Harrold was wedded to Abigail Bishop, who was a native of Indiana. She died when our subject was an infant, leaving a husband and the following seven children to mourn the loss of one who had ever been a faithful wife and a tender mother: Ephraim B., Eli J., Elam W., Malan, Phoebe G., John A. and Anna.
John A. Harrold was bred to the life of a farmer on the farm where he now resides. In the local district schools he laid the foundation of a sound education, and subsequently spent two years in the Normal University at Bloomington, where he pursued a fine course of study. He had attained the age of eighteen years when he began life in earnest and his success in his career as a farmer is remarkable, for though he is not yet past the prime of life he already occupies a leading position among the most progressive and prosperous men of his class in his native county. He has eleven hundred and seventy-six acres of land, all lying in a body, constituting one of the best improved tracts in Central Illinois. He superintends the farming of this and besides is giving attention to the breeding of fine Poland-China hogs. He is already famous as a breeder of this line of stock, and is well-known not only in this but in other States. He has spared neither money nor pains to purchase the finest specimens of this breed, and has a drove of two hundred and fifty head which is considered one of the finest lot of hogs in Illinois. He has animals on his place which cost him $500 a head in Ohio, and has one hog of his own raising which scores ninety-five points and is about as nearly perfect as it is possible to raise them. His swine are given the best of care and he has finely equipped hog lots and barns and every facility for carrying on this line of farm work. He ships his animals as far south as Texas and as far north as the Dakotas, and so well is he known that he always finds a ready market for them.
Mr. Harrold has his place amply supplied with improvements of the best class, and among these we may note his handsome residence, which is one of the finest farm dwellings in the county. It is a commodious and finely built two-story frame structure and was erected in 1885 at a cost of $5,865. It is complete in all its appointments, and is tastefully and handsomely furnished. A view of this fine home and its pleasant surroundings is presented on another page. To the lady who presides so graciously over this attractive home and cordially co-operates with him in extending its charming hospitalities to their numerous friend, our subject was wedded November 5, 1873. Mrs. Harrold was prior to her marriage Lydia J. Pomfret, and is a native of Illinois, born in Bloomington, June 25, 1855.
Besides attending to his large farming interests here our subject has had extensive stock-raising enterprises elsewhere, as in 1875 he and four of his brothers formed a company to carry on the cattle business in Texas. They leased a tract of land sixty-five by seventy-five miles square, and another ranch of equal dimensions in Tom Greene County, and their enterprise brought them in a large return of money.
This biography records the fact that our subject is a man of more than ordinary force, character and ability, and it will readily be seen that to such men DeWitt County is greatly indebted for its financial prosperity. Mr. Harrold is a stanch advocate of the Republican party and socially is a member of D. Molay Commandery K. T. No. 24, at Bloomington. He is generous, free-hearted, frank and hospitable and is held in universal esteem.
Among the prominent dealers in Clinton, DeWitt County, may be mentioned H.H. Harwood, who has for some years past been engaged in the sale of farm implements and coal. He handles a general line of improved machinery and the modern implements of husbandry together with both anthracite and bituminous coal and is doing a most satisfactory business. He has been a resident of Clinton for about a quarter of a century, is well known to those living in the surrounding country and has the reputation of an honorable business man and one who is interested in the true welfare of the community.
Mr. Harwood comes of the old Green Mountain stock, both his parents having been born in Vermont and uniting their lives and fortunes in that State. The father, Chauncy Harwood, was reared on a farm and during a great part of his life was engaged in tilling the soil, although in early years he was occupied as a cloth dresser. He was of English ancestry The mother bore the maiden name of Louisa Boque. Some time after their marriage the worthy couple removed to Rochester, N.Y., where they spent some years then took possession of a farm in Orleans County. Mr. Harwood was a man of great force of character and deep religious feeling, holding strictly to the Presbyterian faith. He died in 1860 in the sixty-third year of his age, having been preceded to the tomb by his wife who breathed her last in 1858. Of the eight children who survived their parents, five are now living and residing in the Western States. Dwight make his home in Kansas City, Mo.: Dan B., Thomas F. and F. Augusta reside in Bloomington, this State, the last-named being the wife of B.F. Hoops.
The subject of this biographical sketch is the third in order of birth of the surviving members of the family. He opened his eyes to the light of day in Orleans County, N.Y., near the city of Rochester, July 19, 1833. He attended the common schools, which at that period and in that section were excellent, and laid the foundation for the knowledge which can only be obtained by personal observation and experience in life. He remained under the parental roof until he had reached his majority, assisting in the work of the farm and becoming thoroughly conversant with the calling in which his father was engaged. Upon leaving home he went to Wisconsin where he rented a farm and carried on agriculture until the fall of 1859.
At that time Mr. Harwood returned to his native county making it his home until the spring of 1866 when he came to Clinton and engaged in the hardware business in partnership with H.P. Merriman. The connection continued several years and was then dissolved by mutual consent, the business being sold out by the firm. In 1876 Mr. Harwood established his present business and soon secured a trade sufficient to induce him to continue, which he has done with satisfactory results as before stated. He owns a pleasant residence in the northwestern part of the city where all of the comforts and many of the luxuries of life are enjoyed by his family. At the head of the household affairs is a lady of capability and pleasing disposition who became the wife of our subject in 1851. She was born and reared in the same county as her husband, bore the maiden name of Jane A. Robinson and is the daughter of Chauncy and Damaris Robinson, likewise natives of the Empire State. The congenial union of Mr. and Mrs. Harwood has been blessed to them by the birth of two children--Chauncy R., now living in Kansas City, Mo., and Clarence D. who remains in Clinton.
Mr. Harwood is identified with th Odd Fellows fraternity. He has served as Alderman three terms, representing the Third and Second Wards in turn. He is not identified with any religious organization but is a man of good morals and holds a high place among the most respectable citizens of Clinton.
Elihu Helmick, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page, has retired from the toils of life and is enjoying the fruits of years of well-directed efforts in a home where every comfort abounds. The property on which he resides consists of twenty acres near Parnell, DeWitt County, and in Rutledge Township he also owns two hundred and forty acres on section 21, and one hundred and sixty acres on section 27. All his real estate in DeWitt County is of the best soil found here and all is well improved in every respect. In addition to the tracts named Mr. Helmick owns two hundred and nine acres of improved land in Empire Township, McLean County, and a very valuable property in Brown Township, Champaign County, amounting to seven hundred acres.
Mr. Helmick was born in Pendleton County, W. Va., March 26, 1822, and his father, Adam Helmick, was born and reared in the same county, his parents being Americans of German lineage. Adam Helmick grew to maturity in his native State as a farmer and married Hannah Teeter, who was born and reared in the same State as himself, and who died in middle life, leaving six children. Her husband subsequently married Catherine Huffman, who was born and reared in Bath County, Va., and whose father, Christian Huffman, a Revolutionary soldier, died in Pendleton County at an advanced age. Adam Helmick lived to be sixty years old, dying on the Virginia farm that had been his home during the greater part of his life. His widow came to this State, to which two of her sons had come, and died in DeWitt county after she had passed the age of threescore. She and her husband were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Of their children our subject and a brother Nathaniel, a retired farmer now living in Farmer City, are all who survive.
In 1846 Elihu and Nathaniel Helmick came to this State and settled on new farms in Rutledge Township, DeWitt County. Our subject was then twenty-four years old and unmarried. His first real estate consisted of eighty acres on section 21, and he began his work here with but $2.50 as a cash capital. He was persevering, frugal and economical, and the wife whom he won was equally thrifty and prudent, and together they labored and planned, the result being their present large possessions. Mrs. Helmick was born and reared in the same county as her husband, her natal day being January 20, 1824. Her parents were James and Elizaabeth (Colau) Trimble, natives of the Old Dominion and of German ancestry. Mr. Trimble died in his native State when in the prime of life and his widow contracted a second matrimonial alliance and coming to this State breathed her last here. The daughter, Mary, who became the wife of our subject, made the journey hither at the same time that he did and their marriage was solemnized not long after.
To Mr. and Mrs. Helmick seven children have been born, whose record is as follows: Eliza J., became the wife of William Vance and died leaving four children; Anna Z. married Thomas J. Waman and when called hence left one child; Frank died at the age of fifteen years; Elizabeth is the wife of James Bland, their home being on a good farm in McLean County; Clark is a farmer and living with his parents; George is living on his father's homestead, with his wife who bore the maiden name of Loraine Fuller; Charles A. married Eiza Gammon and their home is in Champaign County. Mr. and Mrs. Helmick are firm believers in the tenets of Methodism. Mr. Helmick has done good service as Supervisor of Rutledge Township, and aids the Democratic party by his ballot. That he and his wife are honored by their fellow-men it is unnecessary to say, as Christian characters and long years of industry could not fail to produce that result.
When the natural resources of such a region as DeWitt County are developed and enhanced by all that goes to make up a model farm, the scene is attractive indeed. A visitor to the home of John Henderson in Tunbridge Township could not fail to be struck with admiration of the enterprise and industry that acquired this fine estate and brought it to its present condition. No less would he acknowledge the good judgment and tact that has carried it on and controlled the extensive stock business that is added to agriculture thereon. If anything beyond the appearance of the place were needed to heighten his respect for the owner, it would be the fact that he was a poor boy with but $1.50 when he started out in life and that he now owns eight hundred and twenty-three and a half acres of productive land.
Mr. Henderson is a worthy descendant of families known in the Southern States for many years. His father, John B. Henderson, was born in North Carolina but attained to his majority in Kentucky and there began his life as a farmer. He married Malinda Williams, who was born in Christian County, Ky., and there grew to a noble womanhood. The young couple made their first home in that State, but in an early day came to Illinois, sojourning near Shelbyville however, but a year. They then returned to their native State, but after a time again came westward and established themselves in Wayne County, Ill., but remained only one year and then went back to Christian County. They were the parents of nine children, three of whom died young. Nancy Jane passed away in 1884, while John, James, Oren, (a twin to Nancy Jane), Noah and Larkin W. survive. Some time after the death of the wife and mother, the father of our subject married Miss Rebecca Walker, who bore him five children, all yet living as follows: Kitty Ann, Susan, Tempest, Fountain and Benjamin.
The gentleman whose cognomen introduces these paragraphs and whose portrait is shown on another page of this volume was born in Todd County, Ky., December 25, 1824. In his native county and Christian County he was reared to the age of twenty-four years. He than came to this State and reaching DeWitt County hired out by the month to Samuel McClimans at $14 per month, remaining in that gentleman's employ about two years. He next found occupation in the work made famous by Abraham Lincoln--that of rail-splitting--which he carried on some twelve months. After his marriage he rented a farm, making it his home for a few years. Some time before, he had entered eighty acres on section 22, Tunbridge Township, and having a little house built thereon, he removed into it. During the first winter spent there the house was without plaster. Mr. Henderson kept the place seven years, during which time he improved it by fencing, setting out orchards, erecting good buildings, etc.
The next move of Mr. Henderson was to sell his farm lands and leaving his family, to go to Kansas and after some investigation buy land in Douglas County to the amount of five hundred and ten acres, together with eighty acres in Linn County. Returning to his former home Mr. Henderson then bought two hundred acres at $11 per acre, the tract being located on sections 21 and 22. He built a dwelling and made the land his home until 1886, at which time he put up the house in which he now resides, which is on section 3. Upon his return from Kansas he went industriously to work cutting logs and made his lumbering business a source of quite a little income. The large tract of land which he now owns is in Tunbridge Township with the exception of forty acres in Moultrie County. The entire acreage is under cultivation, well fenced and otherwise improved. At this writing Mr. Henderson has two hundred and twenty-five head of hogs, one hundred and thirteen of cattle and fifteen of horses. He is engaged in general farming, but has lightened his own labors by renting much of his land and retaining control of but a small acreage. Some eighteen years ago he disposed of his land in Kansas, finding that he had sufficient business in this State to occupy his time and attention.
The lady who for more than a decade shared the joys and sorrows of Mr. Henderson, became his wife in January, 1853, prior to which time she bore the name of Laura A. Beam. She was born and reared in Ohio and accompanied her parents to this State, subsequently solemnizing her marriage in DeWitt County. She was called from time to eternity, October 27, 1867. She was the mother of eight children of whom the following survive: John W., Elizabeth, Mary A., Rachel V., George II, and Leroy. Several years after the demise of the mother of this family, the father contracted a second matrimonial alliance, being united in marriage in January, 1872, with Mrs. Mary A. (Wicks) Walter, who was born in Todd County, and reared in Hopkins County, Ky. This marriage has been blest by the birth of two children--Bertha, now eighteen years old and Fred who is fourteen years of age.
Mr. Henderson exercises the right of suffrage in behalf of Democratic candidates. He has filled the office of Road commissioner and for twelve years has been School Director, a capacity in which he is still acting. He is a man of broad intelligence, not only regarding matters connected with his chosen calling, but all topics of general interest. As a citizen he is reliable, in his business relations honorable, and in social and domestic life, kindly and considerate.
Henry C. Henson, Sheriff of DeWitt County, belongs to a family well known in this section and intimately connected with the development of the county. John Henson, the father of our subject, was born in the Blue Grass State in 1800, and came to Illinois in 1837. He was a dealer in horses and before the days of railroads drove his herds to New Orleans. After coming to this State he made a settlement in Tunbridge Township, DeWitt County, and occupied a farm until 1855. He then removed to Clinton, opened a meat market and carried on that business a number of years. His death occurred February 20, 1878. His first wife died prior to his removal to this State. She was the mother of four children, of whom two daughters survive, both living in St. Louis, Mo.
The mother of our subject was Martha Jane Fruit, a native of Kentucky, who came to Illinois when eight years old, with her parents, Thomas and Isabel (Thompson) Fruit. The parental family comprised three daughters and six sons, all living except the eldest son, who died on the 2nd of March, 1885, and two who died in infancy. Besides our subject the survivors are Elizabeth P., Thomas J., Zachariah T., Samuel T., Victoria and William L. Elizabeth is the wife of Joseph McCoid. Henry C., of whom we write, is a twin of Thomas J. He was born January 4, 1847, on his father's farm in DeWitt County, and acquired his education principally in the schools of Clinton. When old enough to do so he began working out on a farm, following the occupation of a farm laborer altogether ten years. On March 7, 1865, he was enrolled in Company C, Fifty eighth Illinois Infantry and joined the regiment at Montgomery, Ala. He did detached service and guard duty, having but little connection with actual fighting, and was mustered out March 7, 1866. He was then but nineteen years old and his enlistment when only a boy was a testimonial to his patriotism and bravery.
After his return to Clinton Mr. Henson found occupation as a teamster and after laboring thus seven years was appointed City Marshal. He held the office six years, showing during that period that he was ready for whatever duty devolved upon him and determined in his performance of the same. After his release from duties of the Marshallship, he became Superintendent of the Poor Farm, a position which he held three years and two months. In 1886 he was elected Sheriff for a term of four years. He is a member of DeWitt Lodge, No. 84, F. & A.M., Frank Lowry Post No. 157, G.A.R., and also belongs to the Knights of Pythias. He has shown his good judgment in the management of a fertile farm of one hundred and twenty acres, which is well improved, and supplied with substantial buildings.
Realizing the worth of a good wife, Mr. Henson won the hand of Miss Mary R. Wiley, to whom he was married May 16, 1867. This lady was born in St. Paul, Minn., her parents being Charles and Mary E. Wiley, by whom she was carefully reared. She received good schooling and combines with her mental and housewifely knowledge an estimable character. She has borne her husband five children, four of whom are living, viz: William O., Grace E., Harry C. and Ralph H. The members of the family circle fill their proper stations in the society of Clinton and have the true friends that their characters and live would necessarily attract to them.
A visitor to Farmer City, DeWitt County, would not long be unfamiliar with the name of Capt. Herrick, who is an attorney-at-law of quite an extended reputation. He has been located at his present place of abode since December, 1870, when he began the legal labors that have constantly increased. Prior to the establishment of his office in this city Capt. Herrick had been located in Clinton, but his sojourn in the county seat was comparatively short. He is a successful man in every sense of the word, keeping thoroughly abreast of the times in all that pertains to his profession, and making excellent use of a fine law library.
Capt. Herrick is a scion of an old family, many generations of which lived in Massachusetts, and which is traced back to Normandy. Lott Herrick, the father of our subject, was born in the Bay State and while still a young man served as a private in the War of 1812. After peace was declared he came West and made a settlement in Huron County, Ohio, where he met, wooed and married Miss Lola Sutliff. This lady was born in Connecticut and was descended from one of the old Yankee families. She had lost her mother when but three weeks old and the father before she had grown to womanhood, and had come to Ohio with an older brother. Mr. and Mrs. Herrick continued to make their home in Huron County, Ohio, until 1834, when they removed to DeKalb County, Ind., where they spent the remainder of their lives, each living to the age of seventy-seven years. They made for themselves a prominent place in society and Mr. Herrick figured actively in the work of the Whig party and was Probate Judge. Both belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church and entered heartily into all civilizing and elevating movements. Of the children born to this good couple four are yet living--our subject, a brother and two sisters.
The eyes of our subject opened to the light in DeKalb County, Ind., where he received his preparatory education, attending the Vienna Academy at Newville. He was pursuing his studies when the war cloud settled over the country, and like all the patriotic youth of the Hoosier State, he was anxious to take up arms in defense of the old flag. In May, 1862, his name was enrolled in Company E, Fifty-fifth Indiana Infantry, his company commander being Capt. Charles Emory, and Col. Mahan commanding the regiment. He was soon in Kentucky with his regiment and engaged in mortal combat with the enemy at Richmond, where the Union forces were repulsed with a severe loss. Among those taken prisoners by the Confederates was young Herrick, who was paroled within a few days, and not being able to return to his regiment unless exchanged, he went North and pursued his law course in the Michigan State University at Ann Arbor. He was graduated in the class of '64 and admitted to the bar at Detroit.
During the same year young Herrick went to Missouri and recruited a company which enlisted in the Fifty-first Missouri Infantry under Col. David Moore, and being organized as Company D, elected Mr. Herrick Captain. He remained with the regiment until September, 1865, when he was honorably discharged, after having had considerable military experience. The war record of the family is a creditable one, other members having done as valiant service in the Union cause as the Captain. His brother O. Q. was a surgeon and on Gen. Thomas' staff at the battle of Chickamauga where he was taken prisoner. He was confined in Libby Prison nine months, then exchanged, and with two others drew up a memorial regarding the management of the prison in which they had been confined, and the bad food and consequent ill-health of the prisoners. This memorial was presented to President Lincoln in order that means might be taken to alleviate the sufferings of those in confinement. Another brother, H.J., was Assistant Adjutant on the staffs of Col. Shanklin and Gen. Pratt respectively.
When there was no further need for his services in the army Capt. Herrick entered upon the practice of his profession, to which he has since given his close attention. He is a man of mental vigor and physical strength. He has the confidence of the people in the community where he resides.
Capt. Herrick was fortunate in being able to secure for his wife Miss Dora O. Knight, a native of Farmer City and a bright, intelligent woman whose name is associated with the social interests of the place. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and has a host of friends who duly appreciate her mental culture and worth of character. She understands the art of making her home cozy and attractive, and although fond of society and active in various local enterprises, does not neglect the place which is the center of her joys. In exercising the right of suffrage Capt. Herrick is somewhat independent, believing it the right of every citizen of the nation to judge for himself as to the importance of points at issue and of the relative merits of candidates.
Among the enterprising agriculturists of DeWitt County is the gentleman above named who has become known as a man of strict probity in the various relations of life, energy in any pursuit to which he gives his attention, and pleasing social qualities. He is located on section 3, Texas Township, which has been his home since his infancy. His earliest recollections are of the log house which was the first home of the family in this county and of the primitive condition of the surrounding country, which was but sparsely settled and was still in haunt of various kinds of wild animals. As he grew older he took a part in the work of improvement and when he looks about him can see the results of his own labors on every hand.
Mr. Hill is of Southern birth and ancestry. His father, George L. Hill, was born in Caroline County, Va., near Fredericksburg, and lived there until he was about seventeen years old. He then went with his widowed mother to Kentucky and after attaining manhood was married in Henry County. His wife, Louisa V. Hickman, was born about twelve miles from the city of Lexington and grew to womanhood in Henry County. After their marriage George Hill and his wife remained in the same county on a farm until October, 1837, when they came to this State. Their journey was made with an ox-team and fifty head of fine sheep, horses, milk cows and oxen were driven through.
Mr. Hill bought six hundred and forty acres in DeWitt County, comprising a quarter each in sections 2, 3, 10 and 11. A few acres were fenced and a log house had been built; these constituted the improvements. He built a substantial log house on section 3, and began the labor required to reclaim the land and make it a fit habitation for civilized people. For fifty years he resided there and then entered into rest November 30, 1887, at the age of ninety years, ten months and eighteen days. The faithful and efficient wife passed away September 25, 1886, at the age of eighty-three years, nine months and eleven days.
The parental family includes five sons and three daughters, our subject being the youngest. The others are Egbert O., now living on a ranch in Christian County, Mo.; Mrs. Phebe L. Beatty, whose home is in Havana, this State; Mrs. Sarah L. Blaikie who died in 1867; Lewis S., a farmer in Douglas County, Minn.; John H., deceased; Emily H., wife of Edwin Weld whose home is near that of our subject, and Rodney P., who is living on section 2, Texas Township.
The subject of this notice was born in Fayette County, Ky., June 18, 1836, and was eighteen months old when brought by his mother on horseback to this county. He attended the old fashioned log schoolhouse with slab benches, puncheon floors and stick and clay chimney, and in the intervals of study worked and played as did other lads in pioneer settlements. June 24, 1860, he was married to Diana, daughter of Morgan and Esther Reese. This lady was born in Wales September 12, 1837, and in 1840 accompanied her parents to Oneida County, N.Y. In 1858 she came to this county to attend the wedding of her sister and Rodney P. Hill and two years later was herself married to a member of the same family.
Mrs. Hill is the fifteenth child of her parents and has three sisters and two brothers living. Richard occupies the old homestead in New York; John lives in Vermilion County, Ill.; Mrs. Elizabeth Ellis resides in Independence, Mo.; Mrs. Maria Hyatt lives in the same city; Mrs. Ellen Hill lives in this county. Thomas Reese, a brother of Mrs. Hill, was a minister in the Baptist Church, in which several of the relatives of Mr. Hill on his mother's side had also been preachers.
Soon after his marriage Mr. Hill was given an interest in the homestead and took up his residence with his father on the place where he now resides. He and his wife have had six children; they lost one daughter in early infancy, and Freddie L., died at the age of eleven months. The surviving members of their family are Benjamin F., Superintendent of the Oakland School No. 2, in Chicago; Herbert W. who is teaching in Science Hill District, and Lillie May who is attending her brother's school in Chicago. The sons were graduated at Clinton and are well informed and equipped for the duties of life.
The first vote cast by our subject was for Abraham Lincoln and he continues to support the Republican principles. His brother Lewis was a private and Egbert a Captain in the Thirty-first Missouri Infantry during the Civil War; both were wounded, Egbert at Vicksburg, and Lewis at Ft. Donelson. Mr. Hill has held the offices of Road Master, School Trustee and School Director, in the last-named capacity having served twelve years. He belongs to DeWitt Lodge, No. 84, F.& A. M., and Goodbrake Chapter, No. 59 R.A.M. He and his wife belong to the Missionary Baptist Church and he has been a Deacon for twenty years. For twelve years he was Superintendent of the Sunday-school in the church at Clinton and he is still engaged in Sunday-school work now as a teacher. All of the children belong to the Baptist Church, three having been baptized at one time when the youngest was eleven years old.
Among those who are cultivating a portion of the soil of DeWitt County with good results and securing thereby many comforts and enjoyments, is the gentleman above named. His home comprises a portion of section 1, Texas Township, and his occupation is that of a general farmer, wisely dividing his attention between diversified crops and such a number of domestic animals as can be well kept and easily cared for. His estate consists of one hundred and fifty-seven and one-half acres of well-improved land all under cultivation, and indicating in its appearance that it is controlled by one who understands his business.
Mr. Hill was born in Henry County, Ky., April 20, 1837. The ancestral history will be found in the sketch of his brother, B.T. Hill, on another page of this work. The temple of learning in which he studied during boyhood had but one window and was built and furnished in a primitive fashion. However, he was able to acquire a practical knowledge of the principal branches of study, and having an active mind and a desire for information he has added to his knowledge in various ways from year to year. He remained with his parents until his marriage, when he at once settled where he now resides. But little clearing had been done on the land and he now sees around him the fruits of his labors in the many comforts of modern life.
In 1858 Mr. Hill led to the hymeneal altar Miss Ellen Reese, a sister to the wife of B.T. Hill, and a lady of fine character, domestic knowledge and social nature. The happy union has been blest by the birth of four children, of whom we note the following: Ester Ann, who was graduated from the Clinton High School, is with her parents; Joseph B. is farming in Nebraska; William M. is married and living on a farm in the same State and Frederick C. is attending the High School in Clinton and will be graduated this year.
Mr. Hill was never farther west than Springfield, until two years ago, when he visited his sons in Nebraska; he has traveled East several times however. He never belonged to any society except the Union League. His first vote was cast for J.C. Fremont and he has staunchly adhered to Republican principles since that time. He has been School Director twenty-five years and has ever shown deep interest in the cause of education and other civilizing and elevating influences. The entire family hold membership in the Baptist Church and Mr. Hill was a Sunday-school teacher for many years.
James Hirst is one of the farmers and stock raisers who are helping to carry on the agricultural interests of DeWitt County. He has a farm of eighty acres of land that is very fertile and productive, and is in every respect well tilled and improved. The buildings upon it are of a neat and substantial order, the stock of good grades and everything about the place bears witness to the fact that our subject is a thrifty, shrewd manager and an intelligent farmer. He has lived upon his homestead since 1867. He came to this place from Clarke County, Ohio, where he had been living the previous nine years, having gone there from Edwards County, Ill., where he settled on coming to this county from England.
Mr. Hirst was born January 8, 1828, near Leeds, in Yorkshire, England, and is a son of Edward Hirst, who came of sterling English ancestry and was born near the town of Hull. The father grew to manhood in his native country and enlisted as a soldier in the English army under the Duke of Wellington. He helped that illustrious leader to fight the battle of Waterloo and after that war was over established himself as a skillful manufacturer of broadcloth. He was thus engaged until he came to this country with his wife, who was a native of Ireland, and their family. Their emigration did not take place until after the birth of all the twelve children, and they then set sail from Liverpool with ten of their offspring on a sailing-vessel and after a long and tedious voyage of eight weeks landed in New York City. They at once made their way from that metropolis by land and water to the Prairie State and settled on a new and unbroken farm. There they spent their remaining years in cultivating and improving their land and finally died in the home that they built up in their adopted country. The wife and mother died at the age of sixty-two years, about two years after the arrival of the family in Edwards County. The father survived her death seven years and died at the age of seventy years. He and his wife were consistent members of the Episcopal Church and were thoroughly good people. When he came to this country he took sides with the Whigs and remained true to that party until his death.
Our subject and his sister are all of the family now living. The latter, now Mrs. William Shaw, is a resident of Clarke County, Ohio. James Hirst grew to manhood in this State and in October 1861, with the patriotism worthy of a native-born citizen, bravely offered his services to his adopted country in the hour of her greatest need, enlisting in that month as a member of Company I, Thirty-ninth Illinois Infantry. After his regiment was organized he went with it to St. Louis, Mo., from there to Williamsburg, Md., and thence to Hancock, Va., where he and his gallant comrades did some hard fighting in the battle at that point. Later they faced the enemy at Winchester and after that moved up the Shenandoah Valley to Fredericksburg, Va., and were then ordered back to Ft. Republic, where they took part in the engagement at that place. Afterwards the Thirty-ninth was dispatched to Harrison's Landing to cover McClellan's retreat and subsequently marched to Yorktown. Mr. Hirst and his comrades later went into winter quarters at Suffolk and in the following spring proceeded to Port Royal, S. C. They were present at all the engagements at Fts. Wagner, Moultrie, and Sumter, and other places. After those battles a part of the regiment veteranized, but our subject was discharged on account of disability. He fought long and well and showed great devotion to the cause of his adopted country, and it gives us pleasure to place on the pages of this volume this brief record of his military life as a just recognition of his valor and fidelity in the cause of the Union.
Since his retirement from the army Mr. Hirst has lived in Illinois and Ohio. He was first married in this county to Miss Ruby Dart, who was born in Massachusetts, and came here in the year 1854. She lived some years after her marriage, and then died while yet in the prime of life, leaving a family of four children, one of whom, William, died young. Those living are Frances E., a seamstress, having an establishment in Farmer City; Mary I., a resident of Chicago, who is Secretary of the Union Sunday-schools for the State of Illinois; and James I., who resides at home and gives his father valuable assistance in the management of his farm.
Mr. Hirst was married a second time in this township and county, to Mrs. Mary E. Kirby "nee" Page, a native of New Jersey. She came to this county with her parents, Finnis and Catherine (Clayton) Page, who settled on a farm in Santa Anna Township and were among its early pioneers. After some years they removed to Havana, Ill., and died there full of years. Mrs. Hirst was young when her parents came to Illinois, and she grew to a noble womanhood in this State, and was educated in its schools. She was first married to Jacob Kirby, and they afterward lived on a farm on section 15, this township, the same which is now owned by our subject. On this place Mr. Kirby died when past twenty-eight years old. He was a young man who was greatly respected for his many good qualities, and he had many steadfast friends. He was a thorough Republican in politics and he was ever interested in whatever concerned the country. By that marriage Mr. Hirst became the mother of two children: William H. Kirby, M.D., who married Sarah Howard and is a physician at Chestnut, Ill., and Flora, a wife of Isaac Nowling, a farmer of this county.
Mr. and Mrs. Hirst are the parents of three children, of whom two are deceased, John A. and Ida M. The other child, Winfred, is living at home. Mr. and Mrs. Hirst are people of exemplary character whose standing is among our best citizens, by whom they are held in high consideration. They attend the Methodist Episcopal Church, and generously help forward any good cause that comes to their notice. Our subject has proved a valuable addition to the citizenship of this community, and as a Road Commissioner and Township Collector gave general satisfaction to all concerned. His loyalty to his adopted country is too well known to need further comment here. His service as a brave soldier in the late war is commemorated by his connection with the Grand Army of the Republic as a member of Lemon Post, No. 211. In political sentiments he is a true Republican, and gives unswerving allegiance to his party.
A tract of land favorably located, furnished with fine buildings of various kinds, and managed in such a way as to produce abundantly of rich grains, is the home of the gentleman above named. It lies on section 10, Barnett Township, DeWitt County. In the spring of 1873, Mr. Hoffman located here on a eighty acre tract to which he has added until it has reached the extent of one hundred and forty-four acres, which he has improved and developed.
The paternal great-grandfather of our subject came from Germany to America and established his home in Virginia. In that State his son John was born, grew to manhood and married Delzetta Merical, a native of Maryland. Some years after their marriage that couple removed to Ohio, where he died. Grandmother Hoffman went to Minnesota during the Rebellion and lived with a daughter, whose husband was in the Union Army. In fighting a prairie fire she caught a severe cold from which she never recovered, it terminating in consumption. Her death occurred in Kansas. She and her husband belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their family consisted of George W., James M., Isabella, Martha, Catherine, William and Morgan. The two last named gave their lives for their country, entering the army from Illinois, and dying in the hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Louisville, Ky., respectively.
The eldest of the children mentioned was born in Winchester, Va., June 22, 1822, but reared in the Buckeye State, where he continued to live until 1864. He then came to this State with his family, and selecting DeWitt County as his future home, established himself on section 10, Barnett Township. There he bought two hundred and forty acres of land, but after operating it a year, he removed to the vicinity of Wapella, where he lived until 1886. At that time he changed his location to a tract of forty acres northwest of Clinton where he still resides. In Ohio he was married to Aletha Ann Shephard, who was born in Champaign County, that State, February 17, 1830. The union has been blessed by the birth of two children--Ernest L., the subject of this sketch, and Sarah D., wife of Dr. Graham, living in Waynesville. The parents are members of the Presbyterian Church and in the tenets of their faith have instructed their children.
The maternal grandparents of our subject were Joshua and Sarah (Corbus) Shephard, both natives of Bourbon County, Ky., and numbered among the earliest settlers in Champaign County, Ohio. Mr Shephard was a man of sterling worth of character, a leading member of the Methodist Church and Class-Leader many years. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He and his wife had four sons--William, Joshua, Abraham and Jonn M, and nine daughters, all of whom grew to maturity and married.
Ernest Hoffman was born in Champaign County, Ohio, December 29, 1847, and passed his early years on a farm, learning the lessons of industry and thrift so needful in the formation of a well-rounded character. He secured a good common school and academic education by dint of personal labors, and taking up the profession of a teacher, did pedagogical work five years in the common schools. His own love for learning was transmitted to the pupils under his charge, and he made knowledge attractive to them by clear, practical explanation and application of principles. Early in 1872 he began farming near Farmer City, then in the following season came to his present location. For six years past he has been breeding Poland-China hogs.
In 1871 Mr. Hoffman received a valuable Christmas gift in the shape of a wife, being wedded on December 25 to Laura A. Samuels. This lady was born near Indianapolis, Ind., and is a daughter of Robert S. and Rachel (Griner) Samuels. She is genial, intelligent and refined, as visitors to her beautiful home will readily perceive, the evidences of taste and culture meeting the eye on all sides. The congenial union has been blessed by the birth of two children, sons, names Walter O. and Carl O. Both parents belong to the Presbyterian Church, in which they have held membership since 1870. In his political opinions and practices, Mr. Hoffman is a Republican. He is an energetic and progressive agriculturist, a reliable and law-abiding citizen, serving efficiently as a Justice of the Peace, and is of a social, friendly nature, making an keeping friends. He is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity and the Knight of Pythias.
George Houser is a general farmer and stock-raiser living on one of the finest farms in Santa Anna Township, pleasantly located on section 22. He is the fortunate proprietor of this estate and ranks among the successful members of his class in DeWitt County. His farm on which he has resided for the past seven years comprises one hundred and sixty acres of carefully tilled and well-improved land. Prior to his settlement here Mr. Houser had lived in Rutledge Township ten years. He had a farm there of similar proportions and cultivated it with good results. He is of Swiss birth and came to this country in the opening years of a vigorous, stalwart manhood. He traveled through several different States before he finally selected Illinois as the one that seemed to him the most desirable for a place of residence. He located in McLean County in 1858 and subsequently came here as before mentioned.
Mr. Houser was born October 3, 1828, in the Canton of Zak in Switzerland. He came of pure Swiss stock and his forefathers for many generations lived and died amid the pleasant scenes of that land. He was the only one of his immediate family who ever came to America. Of the four children born to his parents he and one of his brothers are the only ones now living. He grew up a farmer boy and when he was twenty-one years old enlisted as a regular soldier in the Swiss army and served his county for six years. Later he worked as a laborer for eighteen months and then in the fall of 1857 took passage for the United States from Havre de Grace, France, in a sailing vessel that was fifty-four days in crossing the ocean. He sojourned for a time in New York City where he had landed and subsequently entered upon his travels through the West, finally locating in the Prairie State.
Though of foreign birth our subject nobly volunteered to serve in his adopted county's defense, and his past experience in the Swiss army proved of much benefit to him as a soldier in the Federal army. He enlisted in 1863 from McLean County, in the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry, Company G, and was with it till March, 1864. He was then transferred to Company K, Sixty-fifth Illinois and continued with that until his discharge after the close of the war, July 19, 1864. While with the One Hundred and Seventh he fought in many battles and endured many hardships during his career as a soldier. He faced the enemy in the hotly contested battle at Franklin, Tenn., did good service at Atlanta, and was in all the engagements in which that regiment took part while he was with it. He was always ready to report for duty, was prompt in action and was highly thought of by his superior officers. His faithfulness to the cause and his courage were rewarded by his promotion from the rank to be Corporal of his company, which office he held in both regiments for some time. He had many narrow escapes from death, being once shot through his coat and once through his hat.
After the close of the war our subject returned ot Illinois and has since made this State his home. He is a skillful, energetic and shrewd farmer, carrying on his calling in a business-like manner and after the best methods. He is a man of excellent habits, is practical and intelligent in his views, is an independent thinker and is very well informed. He has a good understanding of the politics of his adopted county, for which he so bravely fought, and gives his allegiance to the Republican party.
Mr. Houser has been very fortunate in his domestic relations, as by his marriage in Santa Anna Township to Miss Martha J. Kendall he secured a wife who has actively co-operated with him in the establishment of their cozy home. Mrs. Houser is a native of Virginia, where she was born in 1849. She was ten years old when her father, Lemuel Kendall, came to Illinois. Her mother, Mary A. Kendall "nee" Gordon, died in Virginia in 1851. When the father came to this State he was accompanied by six children and he made his home in Farmer City. Here Mrs. Houser grew to womanhood and her father subsequently went back to old Virginia where he now lives on a farm at the age of seventy years. He has been married three times and is now a widower. Mr. and Mrs. Houser are the parents of three children--Frank, John H. and Laura--all of whom are at home and are assisting their parents in their work.
Benjamin Howard is one of the leading citizens of Tunbridge Township and is closely connected with the agricultural interests of DeWitt County. He is a son of Joseph Howard, who was one of the early pioneers of this part of the county, and bore an honorable part in its development.
Our subject was born in Bracken County, Ky., April 30, 1820. His father was also a native of that State, where he was bred to the life of a farmer, and was a son of one of the early pioneer families who settled in that part of the country when it was a wilderness inhabited by the Indians and infested with wild animals, there being but few white men within its borders. He marred Sarah Haffield, who was also a Kentuckian by birth and a member of a pioneer family. They remained in Bracken County, for some time after their marriage, taking up their residence on a farm in their native town. They came to this county in 1836, performing the long and tiresome journey through the intervening forests and over the wild prairies in a prairie schooner, in which they had taken such of their household goods as they were able. They located on section 14, where Mr. Howard built a log house. He improved a fine farm of eighty acres, and became one of the most substantial farmer of Tunbridge Township. His death in 1878 on his old homestead removed from our midst one of the most respected pioneers of the township, whose name will always be found in connection with the history of this part of the county. His wife had procceded him in death, dying in 1866, and they were buried in the Howard cemetery. They were the parents of four daughters and six sons, namely: Benjamin, Peter, William, John, Reuben, Francis M., Rachael, Jane, Anna, and Ellen.
Our subject is the eldest of the family, and he was six years old when his parents moved to Ohio where he lived to the age of sixteen. He then accompanied his father and mother and other members of the family to this State, and remained an inmate of the parental household until 1848. His education was conducted in the primitive log schoolhouse of pioneer times and on his father's farm he gained the experience that made of him a skillful farmer at an early age. He was in the flush and vigor of early manhood when the Mexican War broke out and he volunteered to aid his Government in carrying it on, enlisting in Company E., Fourth Illinois Infantry. He served one year with credit and ability proving to be a good and faithful soldier. He fought in the battle of Cerro Gordo and faced the Mexicans on several other battlefields. He remained with his regiment until he was mustered out at New Orleans in 1847 and was honorably discharged from further service.
In the year following his return from Mexico, our subject was married to Lydia, daughter of John and Pleasant (Persell) Hough. Mrs. Howard was born in Loudoun County, Va., but was reared in Ohio. Her parents left their pioneer home in that State and came to Illinois in an early day of its settlement. Mr. and Mrs. Howard are the parents of five daughters and two sons, namely: Clara, who married William H. Owsley, a resident of Kenney; Sarah, who married W. H. Kirby and lives at Chestnut, Logan County; Rachael, who married L. S. Watts, of Clinton, Ill., Ella and Amy who live at home; Albert, who is married and lives in Tunbridge Township; Benjamin F., who is at home with his parents.
After marrying our subject and his wife entered upon their domestic life in a small farmhouse he had built on a tract of wild prairie that he owned. Since that time he has broken the sod and placed the land under first class cultivation, and has made many valuable improvements, so that his farm is one of the best in the township. He devotes himself to general farming very successfully.
Mr. Howard is in every way worthy of the consideration in which he is held, as he is a man of unswerving rectitude of character, is capable and energetic in the performance of his duties, and in his dealings is just and generous while at the same time he is shrewd and a close calculator. In his political views he is a decided Democrat. He has held public office to the advantage of the township and has shown public spirit and a zealous interest in the welfare of the county and of his community while an incumbent of important civic positions. He represented Tunbridge Township on the County Board of Supervisors eight years and now holds the office of School Treasurer, and he has been otherwise connected with the educational interests of this locality as School Director. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for many years.
Reuben L. Howard, M.D., was called from the busy scenes of his earthly life to the joys of immortality, August 9, 1884. As expressive of the character of the man no better words can be found than are contained in the resolutions which were spread upon the records of the Masonic lodge at Clinton, DeWitt county, as a tribute of respect to his memory:
"Hall of DeWitt Lodge, No. 84, A. F. & A. M.
WHEREAS, In the mysterious providence of the All-wise Architect of the universe, who doeth all things well, and who sends deep afflictions on his children only that an endless life of joy and glory may follow, our humanity is bowed down in sorrow that our brother, Dr. R.L. Howard, has been called from the busy scenes of mortal life to the never-ending joys of immortality. Bowing in humble submission to our Father's will therefore.
RESOLVED. That in the death of Bro. R. L. Howard this lodge loses another of its loved and honored members; the community a kind friend and public benefactor; the Methodist Church, of which he was a member, one of its strongest and most conscientious Christian supports, and his stricken companion and bereaved children their dearest and most loving earthly friend and protector.
RESOLVED. That we extend to the family of our departed brother our most earnest sympathy in this their great sorrow; and commend them to the never-failing source of all love and consolation at a time when all human power can no longer avail.
RESOLVED. That the members wear the usual badge, and the lodge room be draped in mourning for the space of thirty days.
RESOLVED. That a copy of this tribute under the hand of the secretary, and the seal of the lodge, be sent to the family of our deceased brother, and that a copy be spread upon the records of the lodge.
That these words are not too high an encomium will be seen upon perusal of the life history of Dr. Howard, which we are pleased to be able to present to his many friends who will read this volume.
In Brown County, Ohio, November 4, 1838, the eyes of Reuben L. Howard opened to the light. His parents possessed but limited means, and he being one of eleven children, was compelled to be self-supporting from an early age. Thus was developed in him the indefatigable energy and industry that characterized his entire life. The school advantages at the time of his boyhood were very meager in the vicinity of his home, and his education was unfinished until he was old enough to obtain means with which to seek it elsewhere. He spent one year studying in the Bloomington (Ill.) University, and the ensuing two years at the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. After leaving school he spent a number of years on a farm in DeWitt County, Ill. In the year 1868 he was married to Miss Bettie Laughlin, of Augusta, Ky., who lived to brighten his home but one short year, and died leaving him the legacy of an infant son.
His home being broken up, Mr. Howard determined to abandon the farm, and so began the study of medicine, receiving a diploma from Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago in 1869. He began the practice of his profession in Augusta, Ky., and after six years of successful labor there, felt a desire to return to his old home in the Prairie State. He came to DeWitt County, and was preparing to enter upon his practice here when a petition for his return to Augusta, signed by several hundred leading citizens of the town, was received by him. This expression of esteem, coupled with the solicitations of his wife, induced him to return and resume his practice amid the friends who had first given him professional support. He remained in Augusta seven years, then determined to remove to his early home, and in 1882 established himself in Clinton. During the few short months between his coming hither and his demise, his kindness of heart and great sympathy for suffering humanity gained him an excellent following and an enviable reputation.
Dr. Howard sacrificed his own life for the good of others, long continued exposure resulting in typhoid fever, which terminated his life after an illness of but four weeks. He was interred with the solemn ceremonies of the Masonic fraternity, having been an honored member of DeWitt Lodge, No. 84, A.F. & A.M. His mortal remains were deposited by the side of his first wife in the old family cemetery near Clinton. At the age of twenty-two years Dr. Howard entered upon the Christian life and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and from that time he gave a living demonstration of the beauty of the religion of Christ. He was a man of decidedly strong convictions and earnest in his support of that in which he believed, whether religion, politics or any matter of universal interest. In politics he was a stance Democrat. His decision of character was more than counterbalanced by his kindness of disposition, and without being in the least vacillating, he exercised his benevolent spirit toward all about him. At the time of his death he was conducting a fine practice and owned a good farm of two hundred acres of well-improved land, together with a fine residence in Clinton, which is now occupied by his widow.
In 1872 Dr. Howard was married to Miss Lyde F. Laughlin, a sister of his first wife, their parents being B.F. and Martha (Dora) Laughlin. Mrs. Howard was born in Kentucky, and derived her descent from English ancestors. Her happy union resulted in the birth of a son and two daughters, named respectively, Joseph, Mattie A. and Ludie F. Mrs. Howard fills as important a place among the workers in various departments in which woman is useful, as did her husband in the masculine walks of life. She is well qualified by nature and training to take an active part in the philanthropic and educational movements that are being promoted in this age of the world, and her acquaintances concede her efficiency. She belongs to the order of the Eastern Star, and is Worthy Matron of the lodge in Clinton. Mrs. Howard takes an active part in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and also belongs to the Woman's Suffrage Association. She is a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society connected with that denomination in Clinton.
Charles H. Huddlestun is a good type of the self-made men of DeWitt County, who while working hard to secure a competence have been agents in advancing its material welfare. He has lived on his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 22, Santa Anna Township, since 1873. He has put upon it many substantial improvements, thus considerably increasing its value since it came into his possession, and has it well stocked with cattle of good grades. The land is fertile and under admirable tillage and is well watered and fenced into convenient fields.
Mr. Huddlestun comes of sterling pioneer stock and is himself a native-born citizen of this State, his birth taking place in Macoupin County, October 26, 1836. He is a son of William Huddlestun, an early pioneer of that section, who in turn was a son of Thomas Huddlestun, both being natives of Virginia, and coming of English ancestry. The latter was a farmer and spent his last years in Indiana, dying in Montgomery County, that State, when a very old man. William Huddlestun was reared in Virginia, and in the prime of manhood joined the American forces in the War of 1812. He was one of the six that were wounded at the battle of New Orleans while fighting under Gen. Jackson. After that war he returned to Tennessee and was there first married to Julia Huddlestun, who was a distant relative of his. After marriage he came to Illinois in 1831, and was one of the early settlers of Macoupin County. There his wife died in 1832 of the cholera. She left four sons and four daughters, most of whom are prominent people. Mr. Huddlestun was married a second time in St. Clair County to Rachael Hundershot, who was born near Louisville, Ky., and was young when her parents came with their family to Southern Illinois where she grew to womanhood. Her people were prominent among the pioneers of that section of the country and some of her relatives were well-known professional men.
William Huddlestun and his last wife lived on a farm in Macoupin County for some time, but they finally removed to Greene County, where Mr. Huddlestun died August 27, 1846, aged fifty-three years. He was a Whig in Politics and a Methodist in religion. His wife, who was also a good Methodist, survived him eight years, her death occurring August 27, 1854.
Our subject is the second child of the four sons born of his father's second marriage, all of whom are living and all married and settled in life. Mr. Huddlestun was partly reared and educated in this, his native State, and partly in Iowa, where his mother spent her last days in Henry County. He was eighteen years old when he came to DeWitt County, arriving here February 19, 1855, and he has ever since made his home here. He came here a poor youth, with no other capital than strong muscles, a stout heart, an intelligent mind and sterling principle, which had been instilled into him by pious parents. Sturdy and persistent industry seconded by sound common sense and good capabilities have placed him among the solid men of this township, as we have seen.
Mr. Huddelstun was first married in Santa Anna Township to Miss Catherine Campbell, who was born and reared in McLean County. Her parents, who are now deceased, were among the first settlers near Saybrook in that county. Mrs. Huddlestun died in this township when nearly twenty-eight years old, leaving four children, one of whom is deceased--Laura, who married Fred Zimmerman and died in Linn County, Kan. leaving one child. The other children born to our subject of that marriage are Mary, wife of A. Rhoades, a farmer of Montgomery County; Frank B., a farmer of Piatt County who married Cora Campbell; and Harry, who lives with his brother in Piatt County. The second marriage of our subject, which took place in this township, was with Mrs. Barbary L. Ribbins "nee" Holloway, who was born and reared in McLean County. Mrs. Huddlestun was first married to R. Robbins. He was a soldier in the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry during the late war, and died from disease contracted while in the army, his death occurring in New York City. He left his widow with two children to care for, one of whom is deceased, namely Myrtie; the other, Leona, who lives in Macoupin County is the widow of Jasper Huddlestun. By their present marriage our subject and his wife have had four children of whom one is deceased, William O. The others are all living at home with their parents and are named as follows, Bascom, Amy L. and Lucretia.
Mr. Huddestun and his amiable wife are among the leading people in the township, and their many personal qualities have won them the high regard and the true respect of all about them. They are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are associated with its every good work. Mr. Huddlestun is a man of excellent habits, is very temperate, and is an earnest advocate of Prohibition. He has held the local offices of the township and has shown himself to be a sagacious and capable official, who has the true interests of his community at heart.
It is often said Americans are prone to a roving life and that there are no homes in this country, as people do not remain long enough in one place to enjoy them. That this impression is false can readily be proved by a visit to DeWitt County, where many men are to be found to-day after a residence of half a lifetime. This is the case with Cornelius Huffman who has lived on section 14, Rutledge Township, for thirty-five years. He is a successful farmer and stock-raiser, owning and operating two hundred and forty acres of well-tilled land that is supplied with buildings affording comfortable shelter to man and beast and sufficient storage room for the crops raised.
Mr. Huffman was born in Pendleton County, Va., August 4, 1833, and after arriving at man's estate came to Illinois. He spent the first year of his residence here in McLean County, then changed his location to DeWitt County, where he has continued to make his home. He had been here but a short time ere becoming the owner of land where he is now located and from year to year has placed his financial affairs on a more substantial basis.
Mr. Huffman was fortunate in securing for his wife an intelligent and capable woman, who has proved her efficiency as a helpmate during several decades of married life. She bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Vance and is of the Buckeye State, having been born in Athens County, March 5, 1838. She was a child one year old when her father died and under the care of her good mother she grew to womanhood, receiving a common-school education and the home instruction that fitted her for a place at the head of a household. Her life from infancy has been spent in this State and her marriage was solemnized in Clinton. She is the proud mother of six intelligent children who are living; one died in infancy.
The parents of Mrs. Huffman were John and Elizabeth (Hensley) Vance, who were born, reared and married in Virginia. After living in Ohio for a time they came to this State, settling in Vermilion County where they had been but a few months when Mr. Vance was accidentally shot by his own hands, while cleaning a rifle that had been loaded by another, unknown to him. The bullet entered his side, and death resulted in four days. Some years later Mrs. Vance with her children joined her husband's brother, Jesse Vance, and came to DeWitt County. She lived here many years, dying at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Huffman, when eighty years and one day old. She was a pious woman who had been conscientious in her care of her children and in the discharge of the duties she owed to those about her. She had two sons and three daughters--Mrs. Huffman and her brother, George W. Vance, being the only survivors at this writing.
Three of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Huffman are established in homes of their own, while Laura A., George F. and Nora B. still gladden their parents' hearts by their presence at the home fireside. The eldest son, Alvin W., married Martha Rutledge and after her demise, Belle Merrifield, and is living on a farm in the same township as his parents; Sophronia E. is the wife of S.F. Lewis, a successful young farmer near Galesville, Piatt County; Sylvanus G., the second son, is farming in Piatt County, having at the head of his household affairs a wife who bore the maiden name of Willie Brown.
Mr. Huffman in exercising the right of suffrage uses a straight Democratic ticket. He and his wife belong to the United Brethren Church, holding membership at Prairie Chapel, and he is Trustee and Steward. He has been an official member of the church for fifteen years. A peaceable and law-abiding citizen, a man of general intelligence and progressive ideas, and manifesting an interest in the public welfare, Mr. Huffman is held in good repute and his wife also has made many friends in the vicinity in which she lives.
Mr. Huffman is of German ancestry and at least two generations of the family lived in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Christian Huffman, grew to manhood in that State and served four and a half years as a Revolutionary soldier, taking part in many engagements. Some years later he went to Virginia, and when the War of 1812 began he enlisted and served for eighteen months. He was never captured or wounded in either of the great conflicts through which he fought. He lived to about the age of four-score years, and his wife, formerly Miss Colo of Virginia, also reached an advanced age. This couple had eight children, of whom Solomon became the father of our subject. He was born in the Old Dominion and there began his active life as a farmer. He spent his days on a farm in Pendleton County, dying there in 1884, when eighty years, six months and nine days old. He was a Christian gentleman, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and well and favorably known to the people of the county.
Solomon Huffman was first married in Randolph County, Va., to Miss Elizabeth Westfall, who, after a few years of happy wedded life, died leaving two children--Benjamin and Cornelius--the later an infant three weeks old. The first-born is now deceased. Mr. Huffman contracted a second matrimonial alliance, wedding Miss Hester Bonner, who belonged to one of the old families of Virginia. She survived her husband, dying May 22, 1890. She had borne two children, one of whom survived her.
It is generally conceded that the public press is a potent factor in the growth of a community in intelligence and morality, as well as a power toward the up building of any section of country. The men therefore, who are qualified to edit papers in such a manner as to increase their circulation and extend their influence are certainly worthy of representation in a volume of a biographical nature. We are therefore pleased to represent a member of the firm of Hughes Bros., editors and proprietors of the Clinton "Register" published in the county seat of DeWitt County.
The subject of this notice was born in Clermont County, Ohio, June 9, 1853, and of the same county his parents were also natives. The parental family included five sons and one daughter and George was the fourth on the family roll. The parents, William and Margaret (Cain) Hughes, removed to DeWitt County, Ill., in 1853, locating on a farm in Texas Township. There the father breathed his last in 1874. The mother survives and still occupies the homestead, one of her sons living with her. Further items regarding the parents of our subject will be found on another page of this Album, they being the subject of a biographical sketch.
Having been an infant when brought to the Prairie State, George W. Hughes is thoroughly identified with the interests of DeWitt County in which he grew to manhood. After having pursued the course of study in the common schools he attended Wesleyan University at Bloomington and subsequently took a full business course in the Commercial College at Springfield, from which he was graduated in 1878. The young man then took up the profession of teaching to which he devoted himself with energy and determination during the ensuing five years. As an instructor he was careful and painstaking, giving to those under his charge a thorough explanation of the principles which under laid their various problems, and teaching them the practical connection of their school work with the business of life.
In 1885 our subject in company with his brother Perry bought out the Clinton "Register" which has a large circulation and a good standing among the country journals of the State. In connection with the publication of the paper the Hughes Bros. have a large job printing department where two good presses, a full supply of type, etc., enable them to carry on that branch of their business to good advantage.
The junior member of the firm is a practical printer, having been with Wagoner & Son, the former editors of the "Register," for three years, during which time he acquired a good knowledge of the business. He makes the job printing department his special care while the senior member devotes himself more particularly to editorial work, for which he is well qualified by nature and education. Perry Hughes is a native of DeWitt County, having been born in Texas Township, April 22, 1856. He married Miss Florence Argo, daughter of E.G. and Sarah Argo of this county.
The journal which the Hughes Bros. publish is an eight-column folio issued weekly and has been in existence since May 29, 1868. It was instituted as an aid to the Democratic party in DeWitt County, which at the time of its establishment was without an organ. It has passed through various hands, has changed its form and increased in popularity, and has become known throughout this section of the State as a paper that speaks with no uncertain voice regarding politics and other matters of public interest
In looking back over the history of DeWitt County we find that many who were formerly identified with its development have joined the "sheeted nation of the dead," leaving behind them a name and a memory of greater or less value according to the deeds done in the body. Among those who have passed from earth is the gentleman above named, who for several years numbered among the agriculturists of Texas Township. The estate which he left is now under the control of the widow and her sons, and much of the land is rented. It consists of one hundred and ninety-five acres, adapted to the purposes of general farming and supplied with various good improvements. It forms a part of section 21, of the township named, and became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes in 1853.
Mr. Hughes was born in Ohio on the 16th of February, 1811, and in that State grew to manhood. In 1842 he was married, and eleven years later he came to this State. He continued the work in field which he had formerly been engaged until February 5, 1874, when he was called from time to eternity. He was a member of the Christian Church, and was highly regarded by his neighbors on account of his noble character, interest in all that was elevating and civilizing, and the industrious, enterprising habits which had become second nature. The lady whom Mr. Hughes won for his wife was born in Clermont County, Ohio, April 1, 1818, and bore the maiden mane of Margaret Cain. Her father, Edward Cain, was born in the Buckeye State, and was engaged in mercantile pursuits there for many years. The mother of Mrs. Hughes was Eliza (Danbury) Cain, a native of New Jersey, but reared in Ohio, where she spent her wedded life. Mr. and Mrs. Cain died in the same month. The had four children, named respectively: Margaret, Mary, Milly and William.
Mrs. Hughes was the recipient of careful home training and since she attained to maturity has abundantly shown her capability in the management of the home and the rearing of the children who were left to her care. She belongs to the Christian Church, and is a member of the congregation at Texas. Her children are six in number, and three are still inmates of her home: Albert is living in Maroa, working at his trade of a carpenter; Warren lives on a farm in Texas Township; Nelson is at present County Superintendent of Schools of DeWitt County, but makes his home with his mother; George and Perry are editing the Clinton "Register"; Eliza, the only daughter, is her mother's companion in the home.
Joshua C. Hull, a veteran of the late war, who is distinguished as having been the first man in DeWitt County to enlist in defense of the Union, is now a leading farmer and stock-raiser of this section of the State. He has long been and important agent in building up the prosperity of Wapella Township, and has on sections 5 and 6, a farm that is complete in all its appointments and considered one of the best in the vicinity.
Mr. Hull is a descendant of old and well-known pioneer families of this county, and is a native-born citizen of Barnett Township, where his birth occurred in his father's pioneer home November 3, 1838. Elijah Hull, his father, was a native of Madison County, Ohio, and is a son of Trustum Hull, who is thought to have been born in New Jersey. He was an early settler of the Buckeye State, and carried on farming there until his death at the age of sixty-two years. In politics he was an old-line Whig.
Elijah Hull passed the early years of his life in Ohio, but when he attained the age of twenty-four years he started out to seek in the wilds of Illinois a place where he might build up a home for himself and gain a comfortable livelihood. That was the year 1833, and he made the long journey between his old home and the new, in a wagon, camping out by the wayside at night. After his arrival here he entered a tract of wild land in Barnett Township, and soon began the pioneer struggle of evolving a farm from the wilderness. The country was then full of deer and other wild game, and he often indulged in the hunt, supplying the family larder with venison, wild turkey, etc. His home was in an isolated situation, and settlers in that region were few and far between. He had to go to Pekin on the Illinois River to do his marketing and trading, and was compelled to endure many privations and hardships, such as are common in a newly settled country. As the years passed on he prospered, and when he died on his homestead at the age of sixty-nine years he was the proprietor of a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres of choice land. In early manhood he married Mahala Cantrell, who was born in Kentucky, and died in this county at the age of fifty-one years. Both she and her husband were members in high standing of the Presbyterian Church, and in politics he was a decided Whig. They reared six children, all of whom are living, namely: Levi, Joshua, Sarah A., Martha E., Thomas W. and Josiah P.
The maternal grandfather of our subject, Joshua Cantrell, is supposed to have been a native of Kentucky, and is a son of one of the early pioneer families of that State. He settled in Champaign County, Ohio, in an early day, and there won a great reputation as a skillful hunter, killing over seven hundred deer in that State. He came to DeWitt County in 1833, and sustained his fame as a wonderful hunter after he came here, as he killed about the same number of deer in this section of the country. He was prominent in the development of the county, and was a large landowner and extensive farmer. He reared a family of eleven children, to each of whom he gave a quarter-section of land. When he died at the age of more than sixty years, a valued pioneer passed to his reward. He was a Presbyterian in religion, and a Whig in politics.
Our subject was reared to man's estate in Barnett Township, and was educated in the subscription schools that were held in primitive and rudely furnished log houses until he was twenty-two years of age. He worked on his father's farm and there gained a sound practical understanding of agriculture. He was in the opening years of a vigorous manhood when the war broke out, and when the first call came for troops after the firing on Ft. Sumter, he was supposed to be the first to spring to arms in DeWitt County, bravely responding to the call April 19, 1861, enlisting in Company E, Twentieth Illinois Infantry. He was mustered in at Camp Goodell, in Will County, and accompanied his regiment by way of Alton, Benton Barrack, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Bird's Point, to Fredericktown, Mo., where the brave boys had their first engagement with the enemy. Their next battle was at Ft. Henry, and after that they helped to capture Ft. Donelson, did good service at the battle of Shiloh, took an active part in the siege of Corinth, and then fought the rebels at Britain's Lane, Tenn. At that point, September 1, 1862, while in the heat of battle, our subject was wounded through the chest and right forearm by a gunshot. He was confined in the hospital two and one-half months, and was then discharged, November 16, 1862. After the sufferings and hardships that he endured for the sake of his country, our subject returned home and resumed farming on the place where he now resides. His homestead consists of one hundred and sixty acres, which is substantially improved, and here he raises considerable stock and grain, having made the most of his money from the latter and out of hogs. He built his present commodious and conveniently arranged two-story frame residence in 1880, at a cost of $1,400, beside his own labor. In 1874 he erected a good barn at a cost of $400. Besides his valuable estate here Mr. Hull owns three hundred and twenty acres of fine farming land in Perkins County, Neb., and a small strip of valuable timber land in this county.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Adeline Harrold was celebrated February 5, 1863, and has been of mutual benefit and happiness. Mrs. Hull was born in Wapella Township, June 23, 1844, and is a daughter of Eli Harrold, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Her marriage with Mr. Hull has been blest by the birth of five children, all of whom are living, namely: Minnie (Mrs. Samuels), Sherman G., Edna V., Anna J. and Emmett K.
In the family of our subject is his brother's child, whose mother died when he was two days old, and whose name is Herbert H. Hull. He was born July 5, 1877, and is a bright and promising youth.
Mr. Hull is recognized as one of the best farmers in this locality. He is sagacious, prudent and far-seeing in the management of his affairs, and skill full in conducting his farming operations. He is withal a good citizen, who gives substantial support to all schemes for the improvement of the township, and holds sound and progressive views on all subjects. Politically he is a Republican, and socially is a member of the Seward Nelson Post No. 251, G.A.R. at Wapella. He has never recovered from the effects of the dangerous wounds he received while in the army, and as a partial compensation receives a pension of $6 a month. In connection with this brief biographical notice, a portrait of Mr. Hull is presented to the readers of this volume.
Thomas Hull, one of the old settlers of DeWitt County, was born in Harmony Township, Clarke County, Ohio, March 29, 1815. He was reared on a farm and early taught the lessons of self-reliance and industry that have been important factors in his own success. In the common school he received instruction in the chief branches of practical knowledge but all his schooling was obtained before he was fifteen years old. He had lost his father a short time previously and was then obliged to make his own way in the world.
Young Hull began his career by working by the year, receiving for the first three years labor a horse and saddle; he then got $7 per month. In the fall of 1836 he married and located on a farm belonging to his father-in-law in Champaign County. A few years were spent as a renter there and in Clarke County and in November, 1842, the brave couple set out for the Prairie State. They had a team and came across the country in the old fashion spending eighteen days en rout. Mr. Hull had borrowed $10 and on reaching Waynesville Township, DeWitt County, had but thirty cents left. He found a home on section 5, where he farmed five years as a renter.
Having lost three sons by scarlet fever Mr. and Mrs. Hull felt unwilling to remain where they were and the husband bought a half interest in a tannery in Waynesville with his brother. He operated there two years, during which time he bought a Mexican land warrant and entered one hundred and sixty acres on section 7, Barnett Township. This was the first real estate he had ever owned and in order to get lumber to build a house 16x28 feet he worked in a saw mill at $15 a month. Mr. Hull made the farm his home two years then sold it and bought two hundred and forty acres on section 5, of the same township. This he placed under good improvement and upon it he lived with the exception of three years until 1887. In 1872 he removed to a farm on one hundred and twenty acres that he had purchased in Waynesville Township but in a short time he returned to the former home. In 1887 he bought village property and became a resident of Waynesville.
After he came to this State Mr. Hill had to pay twenty-five cents to get a letter from the post-office. On one occasion he called at the office and found there were two letters there for him on each of which the usual postage was due. He had considerable trouble in finding the requisite amount but at last borrowed it of a friend. A merchant wanted produce and goods hauled to and from Pekin and Mr. Hull agreed to do the work providing fifty cents in money was paid him that he might pay off his debt. He hauled wheat to Pekin for thirty-seven and one half cents per bushel, and took corn to Chicago bringing back a wagon load of goods.
The estimable woman who, November 31, 1836, became the wife of Mr. Hull was known in her girl-hood as Mary Baker. Her parents were Ferrel and Sarah (Owen) Baker, the former born in Richmond, Va., where his father was a large land and slave-owner. In fact much of the territory over which city now extends was held by him. Ferrel Baker was a cabinet-maker, but after joining the early settlers in Champaign County, Ohio, he took up farm life. He and his wife died on their land there. Mr. Baker was a soldier in the War of 1812. The daughter, now Mrs. Hull, was born in Champaign County, Ohio, and learned many useful habits and ways. To her and her husband twelve children have been born, but only five are living. These are Julia, Fernando D., Josephine, Ethlene and Lillie. Josephine is the wife of H. G. Longbrake; Ethlene married J. K. Dick and Lillie is the wife of Peter Stubblefield.
Mr. Hull is of English and Welsh descent, tracing the lineage through his paternal grandfather and grandmother. His father, Tristrum and Sarah (Hultz) Hull, were natives respectively, of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and were married in the later State. The removed to Ohio, making their home in Fleming County for a time, then about 1800 went to Clark County where the husband and father died in 1827. He had served in the War of 1812 as a member of the pioneer corps. He was a substantial farmer and an honored member of society, belonging to the Baptist Church in which he held the office of elder. The parental family consisted of eleven children--Benjamin, Hannah, Richard, Johnson, Mary, Elizabeth, Elijah, Thomas, Lydia A., William and Joseph. All reared families except the youngest, and all are now deceased except for our subject.
All in whom brotherly kindness is found rejoice in knowing that men of declining years are able to rest from the toils of life and enjoy the comforts and pleasures to which years of industry have fairly entitled them. In DeWitt County a goodly number of men are enabled thus to cease from the cares of life, and among this number is William C. Humphreys, a retired farmer now living in Clinton. He was born in Erie County, Pa., near Waterford, February 12, 1818. His parents were Thomas and Nancy (Mayes) Humphreys, the former of whom was a native of Ireland. He died in Ohio about 1846, and the mother of our subject breathed her last in Clinton, this State, in 1868.
The father being a farmer by occupation, the boyhood of our subject was passed in the country and he attended the district schools. In 1854 he came to DeWitt County, locating on a farm in Tunbridge Township, where he carried on general farming and stock-raising. His crops included all the grains that the climate and soil favored and his stock was of good grades and breeds. He became the possessor of nine hundred acres, which he placed under good improvement, erecting thereon adequate buildings of various kinds. He was actively engaged in farm work until 1878, when he removed to Clinton, where he has since resided. He still retains the ownership of the land and derives a sufficient income from its rental.
In 1840 Mr. Humphreys was married to Miss Margaret Hoover, then of Champaign County, Ohio. She was born in Greenbrier County, Va., and was of German descent in the paternal line. She died in DeWitt County in May, 1867, leaving four children--Thomas H., William A., Harriet E. and Joseph A. The first-born is now deceased: William and Joseph are farming in DeWitt County; Harriet is the wife of Vinas Penny, now living in Indiana. In 1868 Mr. Humphreys married a second time, his bride being Martha Moore, who at that time was living in DeWitt County. She was born in the Buckeye State. This union has been blest by the birth of a son, Frederick C., who still remains with his parents.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Humphreys belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Humphreys has been a Steward in the society since 1854, soon after his arrival in the county. He belongs to the Republican party, and having voted for William Henry Harrison when he was first entitled to the right of suffrage, he is proud to have been able to vote for a descendant of that statesman in 1888. Mr. Humphreys began the labor of life with but limited means and his present excellent provision for his declining years is due to his good management and industry. His town house is a well-built and well-furnished structure in one of the pleasantest neighborhoods in Clinton, and he and his wife are surrounded by many comforts and even luxuries. Mr. Humphreys has given his attention principally to his personal affairs, but has held the office of School Trustee for a considerable period of time.
This gentleman is well known in Clinton and his many friends there were pleased at his establishment on the place of his birth when, having completed a course of study in the Philadelphia Dental College he was prepared to begin the practice of his profession. His initial work as a dentist was elsewhere, but he had not been in practice long ere he had determined to return to his old home where he is doing well financially speaking, and adding to the friends of his early days. The natal day of Dr. Hunter was November 21, 1858. His parents, Nelson F. and Elizabeth (Williamson) Hunter, had removed to Clinton some two years prior to that time and are sill living here. The father was born in Ohio and the mother in New Jersey. The Doctor is the eldest of their three children. He was educated in the public schools of his native place, completing his course of study in the High School, form which he was graduated in 1875. He then became clerk in a grocery store and subsequently was Assistant Postmaster for four years under George W. Porter and Richard Butler. The young man next entered the mail service on the Illinois Central Railroad, his route being between Mendota and Centralia. He retained his position four years and during that time made some advancement in the knowledge of dentistry under the instruction of Calhoun & Sawhill of Clinton.
After leaving the mail service, Mr. Hinter entered the Philadelphia Dental College, from which he was graduated in 1887. He at once opened an office in Streator, La Salle County, but in March, 1889, removed to Clinton. His office is fitted up with all of the modern appliances known to the profession, while dental journals keep the Doctor well informed regarding all matters pertaining to his work, in which a man anxious to excel would naturally be interested.
Dr. Hunter was convinced that his happiness would be enhanced by the companionship of a cultured and amiable woman, and having a great admiration for Miss Mattie B. Rucker, he wooed her for his wife. This lady was born in Clinton, where her parents, H.A. and S.A. Rucker, enjoyed high standing. Her father is now deceased. The marriage rites of the young couple were solemnized June 6, 1889, and they began their new life attended by the good wishes of a large circle of friends. Dr. Hunter belongs to the social order of the Knights of Pythias.
This name will be recognized by many of our readers as that of a man who, although young in years, has made a fine record in DeWitt County. Having determined to devote himself to the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, he made conscientious preparation for the work, and has earnestly endeavored not only to speak the truth, but to present an example which shall be as a light to those around him. Although firmly believing in the tenets of Presbyterianism, he is liberal-minded toward those of other denominational preferences, and ready to unite with each and all in movements which will advance the work of Christianity.
In the fall of 1884 the Rev. Mr. Hunter took charge of the Presbyterian Church at Clinton, which under his ministrations has progressed rapidly, the congregation now numbering three hundred and the Sunday-school two hundred and fifty. In 1885 a new house of worship was erected at a cost of $15,000, the material being brick and the architectural design one of presenting fine proportions and pleasing adornments. The church keeps up the board and various organizations for work, among them a foreign missionary society which has a large fund at its command.
Our subject is the fifth of eight children born to William and Elizabeth (Harvey) Hunter, both of whom were native of Scotland, and came to America when quite young. The father was engaged in business in Cincinnati, Ohio, many years, and also in this State, to which he removed in 1853. He resided for some years of a farm, afterward removing to Maccomb, where he died in 1889. His faithful wife had been removed by death many years before, she passing away in 1858.
The birth of our subject occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 7, 1852. His first school attendance was in Illinois, and he spent the intervals of study as he grew old enough to do so in work on the farm. In his youth he entered Hanover (Ind.) College, where he prosecuted his studies for years, being graduated in 1876. During the last winter of his college course he was also tutor in his Alma Mater, but after a year's labor went to Charleston, Ind., where he spent the winter. The year that he was graduated from college he began studying in the Presbyterian theological Seminary continuing his work there until he completed the course of study in the spring of 1879. In May, 1878, he received license to preach, and on November 9, 1879, was ordained and installed as pastor of the Wythe Presbyterian Church in Hancock County, Ill. There he remained until September, 1884, when he came to Clinton.
The mental and moral virtues of Miss Martha C. Dunn, granddaughter of Judge Williamson Dunn, of Washington, D.C., led Mr. Hunter to desire her presence in his home, and on June 18, 1880, their marriage rites were solemnized. Mrs. Hunter is a native of the Hoosier State, and has many qualifications fitting her for the position which she occupies as a pastor's wife. The happy union has been blessed by the birth of two sons--W. Earl and John H.
In 1883 the degree of Master of Arts was conferred on the Rev. Mr. Hunter by his Alma Mater. The same year he was a delegate from Schuyler Presbytery to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, which met at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in 1889 he was again delegate from the Presbytery of Bloomington to the assembly which met in New York City. Not only among his own parishioners, but among the members of other churches and those who have no especial interest in Christian work, the Rev. Mr. Hunter stands well as one who exemplifies in his own life that which he inculcates as the duty of others. A man of brains, zealous in the cause of the Master, and continually endeavoring to add to his usefulness, he is exerting a wide influence, and in the years to come will no doubt add many stars to his crown of rejoicing.