Iroquois County Genealogical Society

Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
(815)432-3730
Mail ICGS


BIOGRAPHICAL

Dr. Jefferson Shuman Near
Dr. Jefferson Shuman Near
JEFFERSON SHUMAN NEAR, M. D., Mayor of Watseka, has been a resident of Illinois since 1865. He was born in Chambersburg, Pa., on the 16th of March, 1848, and is a son of Robert E. and Sarah (Shuman) Near. His parents were born and reared in the Keystone State. The mother died when our subject was but three years of age, and the father subsequently came to Illinois and is now a resident of Paw Paw. At the time of his mother's death the son was taken to Akron, Ohio, by her people, by whom be was reared and educated. The greater part of his school days were spent in Akron Seminary. In the fall of 1865, Dr. Near came to Illinois and located in Joliet, where he engaged in teaching country schools.

He began the study of medicine under a preceptor, Dr. C. W. Williams, a leading physician of Joliet, and in the fall of 1814 became a student in Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, the leading homeopathic medical school of the West, from which he was graduated in the Class of '76. He at once established practice in Frankfort Station, Ill., where he remained until the 1st of August, 1878, when he removed to Watseka, and has since been engaged in constant and successful practice in this city. His office, which is situated over the Citizens' Bank, is the finest doctor's office in the county. It is well furnished and supplied with a fine library and fitted out in a superior manner with surgical instruments and appliances.

In May, 1882, Dr. Near was united in marriage in Chicago with Miss Minnie Dewey, who was born in Western Illinois, and is a daughter of John Dewey and a member of the Presbyterian Church.

In politics, the Doctor is a Democrat. In May, 1887, he was elected Mayor of Watseka and filled that office for two years. In the spring of 1892, he was again elected to that office and is the present incumbent. For four years he represented the town of Middleport as Supervisor on the County Board, serving from 1883 until 1887, inclusive. He is the present Chairman of the Iroquois Democratic Central Committee and has held that position for four years. Under President Cleveland's administration he served as a member of the local board of United States Pension Commissioners at Watseka. For five years he has served as local surgeon for the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railroad Company. In his social relations he is an active member of Mon Ami Lodge No. 237, K. of P. He is also a member of the Iroquois Medical Association and is the only physician of his school of practice residing in the county.

Since sixteen years of age, Dr. Near has made his own way in the world, acquiring his education largely through his own unaided efforts, as he did his medical education. By persevering industry, integrity and good habits, he won the respect and esteem of all with whom he had to do, while as a physician, his ability and uniform success in practice have secured for him an extensive and lucrative business and placed him in the foremost rank of the profession in his county. As a public officer, his career has been distinguished by prompt and capable discharge of duty and conscientious regard for the best interests of the community. Genial, affable and courteous to all, Dr. Near has made hosts of friends among his associates wherever he has resided.


CARL DRUMM is the mechanical superintendent of the Iroquois County Times. The following is quoted from the Times published on January 1, 1892: "To-day begins the twenty-second year of the Times' history. That same period numbers the days and years that have rolled by since Carl Drumm, its present foreman, became connected with the paper. He was with it when it was born and has stood by it through storm and struggle. He laid its first font of type, set its first line, put its first issue together, and without intermission or holiday, has kept pace with its career. No one is more gratified than he because of its great strides during the year past, through which it approached its majority."

Carl Drumm was born in Rhenish Bavaria, near the river Rhine, in the year 1848. His parents were Michael and Catherine (Simon) Drumm. Our subject came to America when a small child with his father and mother, who settled in New York City, from which place they removed to Ontario, Canada, where they still reside. In the year 1863, Carl became an apprentice on the Berlin Journal, and there remained until November, 1867. Having mastered the trade of type-setting, he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked on cases several years in the office of a religious newspaper.

Desiring to gain a thorough knowledge of job printing, Mr. Drumm journeyed to Chicago, in 1870, and was employed in job offices of that city. While there a telegram was received from Onarga, Ill., making inquiries for a printer. In response to this, he left the great city and cast his lot with the Times, then being founded. In a short time, he purchased an interest in the paper, which was enlarged in March, 1871, and moved to Watseka in May of the same year.

Soon after its removal to this city, Mr. Drumm was wedded to Miss Louise Hett, of Berlin, Canada, a lady he had learned to love while serving his apprenticeship at the printer's trade. They were married October 2, 1873, and the union has proved a happy one, and prosperity has attended them. Three sons were born, the eldest of whom, John Launcelot, was born March 5, 1875. He is doing excellent work and earning a good salary an an employe of the Times. Henry Clair was born November 28, 1876; and Harold Alter, May 9, 1881.

Mr. and Mrs. Drumm are members of the German Lutheran Church. In politics, Mr. Drumm is a Democrat. He belongs to the Watseka Lodge No. 1086, K. H., and Camp No. 339, M. W. A. By strict application to business and good management, the subject of our sketch paid for a neat cottage on Oak Street, owns considerable stock in the Iroquois Building and Loan Association and is second largest share-holder in the Times Company.

Through all the changes in the ownership of the Times, Mr. Drumm has been a safe barometer for its guidance and always directed the departments under his charge with unvarying success. Many an anxious observer in years past has approached him, regarding him as a faithful sentinel at the outpost to answer the lines of the poet--

"Watchman, tell us of the night

What its signs of promise are?"

His long and faithful career is worthy best commendation.


ALBEN L. BROUGHER is the owner of a model farm located on section 21, Prairie Green Township. He there owns and operates three hundred and twenty acres of land, which yields to him a golden tribute in return for his care and cultivation, and Mrs. Brougher owns one hundred and sixty acres. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made when he became owner of this tract, but it is now transformed into rich and fertile fields, and good buildings stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise.

Mr. Brougher is a native of the Keystone State. He was born in Cumberland County, near Harrisburg, August 6, 1846, and is a son of John and Eleanor Ann (Gregory) Brougher. The family is of Irish descent, having been founded in America by the great-grandfather of our subject. He crossed the Atlantic from Ireland to this country in Colonial days. John Brougher was born in Cumberland County, Pa., and learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed in connection with farming. He died in his native State in 1876, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife died at the age of sixty-five, on a farm which had been in the family for one hundred and forty-one years, on which she and all her children were born. Mr. Brougher had served as County Commissioner and was a prominent and influential citizen. Socially; he was connected with the Odd Fellows' society, and in politics he was a Democrat. His business life was one of success and he became well-to-do. Himself and wife were members of the Presbyterian Church and were zealous workers. She had been twice married before and had two children by each marriage. In their family were eight children: Oliver, who served as Sergeant in a Pennsylvania regiment in the late war, now resides in Des Moines, Iowa; Jane is living in Michigan; Elizabeth resides near the old homestead in Pennsylvania; Miles, who was in the employ of the Government during the late war, is a farmer of the Keystone State; Emeline is living near the old homestead; A. L. is the neat younger; Elias, who was one of the boys in blue during the late war, is now an agriculturist of Stockland Township; and Delilah is living in Pennsylvania. All of the children were born and reared in the Keystone State and are yet living.

The boyhood days of our subject were quietly passed in Pennsylvania. His education, acquired in the common schools, was completed at the age of seventeen, after which he gave his entire time and attention to farm work, with which he has been familiar since he was ten years of age. At the age of eighteen he bean to earn his own livelihood, and for nine months drove a team for the Government during the late war. He was then employed in a flouring-mill. While in Pennsylvania he wedded Mary Messenger, but she died three years later, leaving one son, Miles, who is living with his grandmother in Pennsylvania, at the age of twenty-three years.

After his marriage, Mr. Brougher engaged in farming for five years in Pennsylvania, and in the spring of 1871 be removed to Iroquois County and located upon the farm which has since been his home. He may well be called a self-made man, for he started out in life empty-handed and by his perseverance, industry and good management has acquired a handsome property and achieved success. When he came here he could see nothing but wild prairie in any direction.

Mr. Brougher was the second time married on the 29th of January, 1872, in Benton County, lad., the lady of his choice being Miss Nancy F. Brown, who was born in Tippecanoe County, Ind., a daughter of John and Catherine (Mater) Brown, both natives of Pennsylvania and pioneers of Tippecanoe County, Ind., where the father farmed most of his life. The mother passed away in Indiana at the age of sixty-two years. The father died in Hoopeston, Ill., aged eighty-five years. Unto our subject have been born six children: Velena Ann, Velona Leah, John Roy and Mervin Ray (twins) Mary Anice and Alben J. Mrs. Brougher is one of twelve children, of whom seven live.

Mr. and Mrs. Brougher are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wellington, to the support of which they contribute liberally and are among its active workers. He cast his first Presidential vote for Seymour in 1868, and has since been a supporter of the Democracy. He takes an active interest in political affairs, but the honors or emoluments of public office have never inured him. In his social relations, he is an Odd Fellow and a Mason, belonging to Star Lodge No. 709, A. F. & A. M.; the Chapter of Hoopeston; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. Mr. Brougher is recognized as a leading citizen of the community. Public-spirited and progressive, he takes an active interest in all that pertains to its welfare; its promotion and advancement.


JOHN WHITE, a successful and prosperous farmer, resides just on the outskirts of Milford, where for many years he has carried on agricultural pursuits. He now owns and four hundred acres of valuable land which is under a high state of cultivation and well improved. He follows general farming, and the well-tilled fields and neat appearance of the place indicate the supervision of a thrifty and careful manager.

Mr. White well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county, and with pleasure we record his sketch. He was born near Oxford, Butler County, Ohio, June 1, 1836, and is a son of Amos and Rebecca (Kennedy) White, who were also natives of the Buckeye State. Their family numbered seven children, but two died in infancy. Those who grew, to manhood and womanhood are as follows: Susan, who became the wife of Charles Axtell, died in June, 1864, leaving a daughter, Eva, who is now the wife of Julius Wheeler; John of this sketch; Priscilla, wife of Daniel Fry, by whom she has three children, one son and two daughters; Sarah, who resides with her mother in Watseka; and Harriet, wife of William James, a resident of Frankfort, Ind. In 1849, the parents emigrated with their family from Ohio to Iroquois County, Ill., and entered land in what is now Milford Township. The father died is 1862, but the mother is now a resident of Watseka.

Mr. White, whose name heads this sketch, made his home in the Buckeye State until he came with the family to this county. Since 1849 he has been a resident of Milford Township, and during the forty-three years which have since passed has resided only upon his present farm, which was entered from the Government by his father and adjoins the corporation limits of Milford on the east.

Mr. White has led a busy and useful life, and has devoted the greater part of his attention to agricultural pursuits, yet has found time to serve his fellow-townsmen in several official positions, and his duties were ever faithfully performed. He is alike true to every public anal private trust, and the confidence reposed in him is never misplaced. He takes considerable interest in the Masonic order, holding membership with Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M.; Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, E. T., of Paxton.

On the 15th of September, 1863, Mr. White led to the marriage altar Miss Hannah Brown, daughter of Barnabas and Martha (Wiley) Brown, of Ontario, Canada. One child has been born of this union, a son, Amos, on the 29th of February, 1868. He married. Miss Louise Belle Berry, daughter of Oliver and Melinda (Hold) Berry. They have a little daughter, Harriet Rebecca, born on the 24th of November, 1891. Mr. White and his wife are well and favorably known throughout this community where they have so long made their home, and their friends are many. He has, witnessed much of the growth and, development of the county, having seen it when the greater part of the land was still in its primitive condition, when the settlements were widely scattered, and when many of the now flourishing towns were not in existence. The rapid changes he has seen, and in the work of development and progress he has ever borne his part.


ELDON T. BRIGHAM, dental surgeon, and the oldest established dentist of Watseka in years of practice, opened his office in this city in January, 1885. The Doctor was born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., on the 6th of November, 1853, and is a son of Nelson and Charlotte (Stoddard) Brigham. His parents were born in the same county as their son. They emigrated to Illinois in 1857, and settled in Fairbury, Livingston County, where the father engaged in agricultural pursuits until the year 1887, when they moved to Chicago. They are still residing in that city.

Eldon T. came to this State with his parents, was reared; on his father's farm, and received a common-school education. In 1878, he began the study of dentistry in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Ill., and opened an office in that place the same year. After practicing there until January 1, 1885, he removed to Watseka, where he opened an office, and has since done a successful and increasing business. In order to better perfect himself in his profession, he took a course of study at the Northwestern College of Dental Surgery of Chicago, from which he graduated in the Class of '88.

In May, 1889, Dr. Brigham admitted Dr. George R. Lee to partnership with him, under the firm name of Brigham & Lee. These gentlemen are fully abreast of the times in all new discoveries and inventions pertaining to their business, and have the most complete facilities for doing all kinds of work in their line, including the most intricate jobs of crowning and bridge-work, and are recognized as the leading dentists of the county. Dr Brigham is a member of the Illinois State Dental Society.

The Doctor was married at Saybrook, Ill., December 27, 1876, to Miss Maggie E. Rayborn. She was born in McLean County, Ill., and is a daughter of Henry R. Rayborn, Esq. Two children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Brigham, Edith E. and Roy E. The little son died at the age of three years.

In politics, Mr. Brigham is a Republican. Socially, he is a member of Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M.; and of Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.; also of Mon Ami Lodge No. 231, K. of P. Dr. Brigham is a member of the Watseka Republican Publishing Company, of which he is treasurer. He and his partner have the finest suite of dental rooms in Iroquois County, which are located over the Citizens' Bank in the new brick building, and are well lighted and elegantly furnished and complete in all their appointments. Dr. and Mrs. Brigham are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


GARRETT CASPERS, one of the leading German farmers of Iroquois County, makes his home on section 11, Ash Grove Township. He was born in Hanover, Friesland, Germany, on the 27th of September, 1821, and is a Son of .Jacob H. and Antze (Garretts) Caspers, both natives of that country. The father was born January 3, 1777, and spent his entire life in the Fatherland, where he was engaged as a carpenter and bricklayer. In 1818, he was united in marriage with Miss Garretts, who was born on the 20th of April, 1797, and unto them were born three children, of whom our subject is the only one now living. John and Annie died after coming to the United States. The mother accompanied Garrett to this country, the father having died when our subject was but sixteen years of age, and with him remained until her death, which occurred in Woodford County, Ill. The family left Bremen in 1854, and after a nine-week voyage landed at New Orleans. They then proceeded up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Peoria, where the other two children died.

The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in his native land, and there learned the carpenter's trade, which he carried on for many years. In Peoria he worked at his trade for four years, when, in 1858, he went to Woodford County, where he purchased a farm of eighty acres. This he improved and cultivated until his removal to Iroquois County in 1877. Here he became the owner of a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 11, Ash Grove Township, which he still makes his home. He is one of the prosperous and well-to-do farmers of this community, having been very successful in his business affairs.

In Woodford County, Mr. Caspers married Tada Conrad, a native of Germany, the wedding ceremony being performed on the 22d of October, 1859. The lady came with her parents to this country when about four years of age and made her home in this State. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Caspers was born a family of ten children, two of whom are now deceased: Jacob H., born January 6, 1861, is now a farmer of Nebraska; Emma, the wife of Fritz Trapp, of Nebraska, was born on the 23d of February, 1862; Annie, born January 28, 1864, is the wife of Jonas List, a farmer of Milford Township; Richard, deceased, was born December 17, 1865; Richard, (2d) born Jane 25, 1867, is a farmer of Nebraska; Katie, deceased, was born on the 12th of May, 1869; Herman, born July 18, 1871, aids his father in the operation of the home farm; Frederick, born October 29, 1873, resides in Dakota; Gracie, born December 8, 1875, and .John, born February 25, 1878, are still under the parental roof. The children all had good educational privileges, studying both the German and English languages.

Religiously, Mr. Caspers and family are members of the Lutheran Church, of which he has been Secretary. He is a liberal supporter of the church and helped to build the present house of worship. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, whom he had the pleasure of seeing. He now exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party as a general rule, but is not strictly partisan, preferring to vote for the man whom he thinks will best fill the office. Mr. Casper is one of the self-made men of the county, having started out in life with only $20, but has worked his way upward to success and has now a comfortable competency. He is highly respected throughout the community, and Germany has furnished no better citizen to Illinois. He has gained all he now possesses by his own industry and enterprise.


JAMES F. HEREFORD, a prominent druggist of Watseka, was born in Clark County Ill., on the 21st of January, 1845., He is a son of L. P. and Louisa (Powell) Hereford, both natives of Virginia. They went to Peoria, Ill., in 1833, but soon afterward removed to Clark County, where they remained until 1845. They then went to Tazewell County, where they lived until 1853, at which time they settled in Woodford County, Ill. Here the father of our subject entered and improved eighty acres of land, on which he erected a fine home, where be resided during the remainder of a life of usefulness and industry. In connection with farming he did quite an extensive business in stock-raising, and in addition to these employments, carried on a real-estate business and was engaged in other occupations.

Of a family of eight children, our subject was the fourth in order of birth, and seven still survive. Mrs. Hereford's ancestors were a long-lived race of people, being strong and healthy until they had attained a good old age. His maternal grandmother, Mrs. Louisa Powell, lived to the ripe old age of ninety-six.

Mr. James F. Hereford received the advantages of a common-school education, which was supplemented by a course of study at Eureka College. At the age of twenty-six he commenced farming, which pursuit he followed for about six years with good success. He then entered the drug business, locating in Secor, Ill. In 1887, he removed to Watseka, and has continued in the drug trade since that time. From the time when he established business here, he has been recognized as one of the leading druggists of the town, and by the liberal patronage which he receives, it is evident that he has won the confidence and respect of his customers as the result of his courteous treatment, fair dealing and prompt attention to their wants.

On the 10th of June, 1865, Mr. Hereford was united in wedlock with Miss Elizabeth Dickinson, a daughter of John R. Dickinson, a resident of this county. Our subject is a member of the Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M. He served his fellow-citizens during three years as County Supervisor. He is a very public-spirited, enterprising man and is highly respected throughout this community. He is well informed on all subjects of general interest and able to express his ideas faithfully and well. By strict attention to business he has built up a good trade and enjoys the esteem of all the citizens of this town.


GEORGE HOWARD PIERCE, who is engaged in general farming and stock-raising on section 17, Milford Township, has the honor of being a native of this State. The place of his birth is Belle Flower Township, Marshall County, and the date December 12, 1856. He is a son of Charles S. and Mary Lucinda (Fowler) Pierce, natives of Massachusetts. On leaving the East, his parents emigrated to Illinois, settling on a farm in Marshall County about 1850. There they resided for many years, after which they went to Ford County, Ill. In that county they made their home until 1877, when they went to Iowa, but the following year they returned to Illinois, and have since been residents of Iroquois County. A fuller account of the family is given in the account of A. F. Pierce.

Mr. Pierce of this sketch spent the days of his boyhood and youth under the parental roof in the usual manner of farmer lads, working in the fields during the summer months, while in the winter season he attended the common schools, where he acquired his education. After attaining to years of maturity he was united in marriage with Miss Lauretta Jane Mahoney, daughter of John Mahoney. Their wedding was celebrated in Ford County, on the 25th of October, 1875, and upon a farm in that county they began their domestic life, making it their home until 1886. In that year they came to Iroquois County, and located on a farm in Milford Township, two miles west of the village of Milford, where they have since resided. Throughout his entire life Mr. Pierce has engaged in farming and stock-raising, and now operates three hundred and ten acres of land. His fields are well tilled, and the neat appearance of the place indicates his thrift and enterprise.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Pierce have been born a family of seven children, three sons and four daughters, as follows: William Howard, born May 1, 1880; Thomas Henry, July 27, 1881; Mary, December 21, 1882; Alice and Charlie, twins, born May 31, 1885; Martha Arwinnie, February 20; 1887; and Lillie, April 2, 1890.

Mr. Pierce holds membership with the Milford Lodge of Modern Woodmen, and is also a member of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. Politically, he is a Republican. He and his wife are highly respected people, who have a large circle of friends and acquaintances throughout the community.


JOHN EBY is a representative agriculturist of this county and the owner of a valuable farm on the Iroquois River, consisting of two hundred and thirty acres on section 23, Iroquois Township. He is practical and progressive, and by his own industrious efforts has won a position among the substantial citizens of the community.

Mr. Eby is a native of Indiana. He was born in Wabash County, September 3, 1848. His father, Michael Eby, died when our subject was a lad of three years. His mother in after years married again, and John spent his early youth with a guardian. His educational privileges were limited, he being permitted to attend the public schools only for a few months each year, but he was early trained to farm labor. About 1860, be accompanied his mother and stepfather to Illinois, the family making a location in this county. Our subject worked on a farm by the month for several years, being thus employed until his marriage. In March, 1878, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Sarah Sturdevant, a native of this county. Her father, Jonathan Clark Sturdevant, is one of the honored pioneers of this locality. He located on the Iroquois River at the place known as Sturdevant's Bend, where he opened up a farm and reared his family.

After his marriage, Mr. Eby located on a small farm on the south side of Iroquois River and engaged in its operation for several years. During this time, be purchased a small piece of timberland on the north side of the river, but as his financial resources were increased, the boundaries of his farm were enlarged, until he is now the owner of two hundred and thirty acres of rich and valuable land. He now has in his home farm one hundred and fifty acres, which are under a high state of cultivation. The place is well improved with a neat and substantial residence, a large barn, and all the other accessories of a model farm. Mr. Eby commenced life a poor boy, saving to make his own way in the world from an early age. On attaining his majority, he came into possession of $500 from his father's estate, and with this exception his entire possessions have been acquired by his own enterprise and industry. He has thus accumulated a large and valuable property and is considered one of the thrifty and well-to-do farmers of Iroquois Township.

Six children grace the union of our subject and his wife, two sons and three daughters. Charles, the eldest, now aids his father in the operation of the home farm; Eva, George, Lucinda and Ida are still under the parental roof. They lost one child, Frances, who died at the age of two years.

Mr. Eby has been identified with the Republican party since he became a voter. The cause of education finds in him a friend, and he is a firm believer in the public-school system. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Church and give liberally to church, charitable and benevolent purposes. Their home is the abode of hospitality and in social circles they rank high. Their friends throughout the community are many and they are held in warm esteem by all who know them. Thirty-two years have passed since Mr. Eby came to the county, and with its upbuilding and development during this period he has been prominently identified. As a valued and representative citizen of the community, he certainly deserves representation in this volume.


LEANDER M. HOGLE, who resides in Watseka, is one of the honored pioneer settlers of Iroquois County. He was born in the Province of Quebec, Canada, on the 9th of August, 1836, and is a son of Henry W. and Charlotta (Wells) Hogle. His father was a native of Hoosic, N. Y., and was of German descent. In Keene, N. H., he married Miss Wells, who was a native of that place. They removed to Canada, where the father died in 1818, at the age of fifty years. The mother died in Watseka, in 1874.

The subject of this sketch came with his mother to Illinois on the 11th of August, 1849, and settled in Middleport, where his boyhood days were passed. His education was acquired in the common-schools, and he learned the harness-maker's trade in Middleport, but followed it only a short time. He afterward engaged in wagon-making and ran a shop in Milford for three years. He also carried on harness-making and also engaged in cabinet-making for a time, but at length sold out to Mr. Bishop. His next venture was as the proprietor of a meat market, which he carried on for two years. Since that time he has been engaged in the insurance business.

In 1857, in Milford, Mr. Hogle was united in marriage with Miss Caroline M. Davis, daughter of Jonathan Davis, and a native of Ohio. Five children have been born of their union: H. Clarence who married Miss Emma Beckett, and is living in Peoria; Walter H., who married Miss Nellie Hutchinson, and makes his home in Milford; Ina, wife of A. W. Lewis, of Plattsmouth, Neb.; Wilda, wife of Ichabod White, a resident of Omaha, Neb.; and Maud.

Mr. Hogle has taken quite a prominent part in public affairs. He served as Assessor for six terms in Middleport Township; filled the office of Constable for about thirteen years, and was Deputy Sheriff for eight years. In political sentiment, he is a stanch Democrat. The educational interests of the community have ever found in him a friend and he has served as a member of the School Board, as School Trustee and as Director. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Hogle has a wide acquaintance throughout this community and is held in high esteem by many friends. He has made his home in the county since 1849, and has been prominently identified with its upbuilding and advancement. He well deserves representation in this volume and with pleasure we present this record of his life to our readers.


WILLIAM A. B. TATE, the popular and efficient Postmaster of Buckley, who is also serving as Justice of the Peace, ranks among the most prominent citizens of this town. He was born in Harrison County, Ind., on the 18th of January, 1839, and is one of a family of eight children. His parents were Zachariah W. and Jane Ramey (Gillispie) Tate, the former a native of Indiana and the latter of the Keystone State. Of their four sons and four daughters, four are living, namely: Mrs. Louisa Caroline Gay; W. A. B. of this sketch; Mrs. Elizabeth J. Billings and E. W. With the exception of our subject all are resident of Kansas. The mother died in Indiana in 1862, and in 1864 the father removed to Illinois, where he made his home for nine years. In 1893, he removed to Greenleaf, Washington County, Kan., where he made his home until 1882, when he was called to the home beyond.

In the common schools of his native State the subject of this record acquired his education. He afterward learned the mason's trade, and it was his intention to pursue a collegiate course of study, but after the breaking out of the late war he abandoned that idea, and on the 9th of July, 1861, faithful to his duty and true to his patriotic impulses, he entered the service as a member of Company B, Twenty-fourth Indiana Infantry, Gov. A. P. Hovey's regiment. He valiantly served for four years and five months, participating in many important engagements and enduring much arduous service. At Mobile, Ala., he was wounded in the head by a piece of shell, and from the effect of this wound he still suffers with the headache. When hostilities had ceased and the Union had been preserved through the efforts of such men as our subject, he was mustered out, December 6, 1865.

After the war, Mr. Tate returned to French Lick Springs, Ind., where he followed the mason's trade until 1868. In the meantime, he formed a matrimonial alliance with Miss Saline E. Plummer, a daughter of George and Elvira (Bratton) Plummer of French Lick Springs, Ind. Their union was celebrated on the 8th of September, 1867. The following year they removed to La Salle County, Ill., where Mr. Tate engaged in farming for a time. In March, 1870, he came to Buckley and for a number of years was engaged in business as a brick and stone mason and a plasterer. He then engaged in clerking in the general store of C. Quesse for two years. On the 23d of April, 1889, he was appointed by President Harrison as Postmaster of Buckley, which office he still holds.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Tate were born two children, but they lost their son, William G., who was born on the 8th of August, 1868, and died on the 8th of October, 1888, at the age of twenty years. Lillie E., born January 75, 1870, is now the wife of Rev. A. A. Waters, formerly of Buckley. He is now teaching in Hedding College, in Abingdon, Ill., occupying the chair of science. They have three children, a son and two daughters: Gilbert, Inez and Mabel.

Mr. Tate is a stalwart Republican, who warmly advocates the principles of the party with which he has been connected since attaining his majority. He has been honored with several local offices, the duties of which he ever discharges with promptness and fidelity. He was at one time President of the Village Board and for many years served as a member of the Village Council. Himself and wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are highly respected people, whose friends throughout the community are many.


George R. Ashman
George R. Ashman
GEORGE R. ASHMAN, Mayor of Gilman, and dealer in grain, coal and agricultural implements, was born near Buffalo, Erie County, N. Y., on the 3d of August, 1849. He is a son of John H. and Sallie (Turner) Ashman. The Turner family is of German descent, as is also the Ashman family. The paternal great-grandfather of our subject was a soldier of the Revolutionary War, and his grandfather was a Captain under Gen. Scott at the battle of Lundy's Lane, in the War of 1812. His father was born near Buffalo and his mother was also a native of Erie County and there their marriage was celebrated. In 1854, they came to McHenry County, Ill., where Mr. Ashman followed his trade of building.

He was quite an extensive contractor and architect and a man who was thoroughly acquainted with his line of trade. He took an active interest in the Republican party and in all local affairs. His death occurred in 1878, and that of the wife in 1892. Both were of the Universalist faith. Six of the children of their family of eight are now living.

The subject of this sketch is the fifth in order of birth. He was reared to manhood in McHenry County and received his education in the common schools, supplemented by a course in Marengo College. He learned the carpenter's trade with his father and became a first-class workman. In 1870 he went to Ford County, where he spent two years on a farm. He then went to Roberts and clerked until 1878 for William Flora. After that he went on the road as traveling salesman and collector for the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, at which he continued until 1885. He next began buying grain and handling farm implements on his own account, in which business he has succeeded beyond his expectations, at present doing a business of about $100,000 per year.

Near Roberts, Mr. Ashman was joined in wedlock, February 29, 1880, with Ida S., daughter of S. C. Burt, one of the pioneers of Ford County. The father was born in the old Bay State, February 10, 1820, and died on the 27th of July, 1887. In Massachusetts, during his younger years, he learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner. His primary education, acquired in the common schools, was supplemented by one year's study of higher branches. At the age of seventeen he left his old home and, starting Westward, traveled five hundred miles on foot into the wilds of New York. He became one of the early settlers of Cattaraugus County and there built a pioneer cabin and cleared a farm, making a home in the "land of the five great waters." During the infancy of Mrs. Ashman he removed with his family to Illinois, locating in Iroquois County. He was also one of the pioneers of this locality and was a prominent and leading citizen during its early days. Mr. Burt and his wife were charter members of the first Congregational Church which was organized in Ford County, it being located in Lyman Township, and they took a prominent part in all that would advance the best interests of the community. Mr. Burt passed away at the age of sixty?seven years, but his wife is still living and enjoys good health for one of her years. She was born in Massachusetts, September 8, 1814, and makes her home in Gilman. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church of that place and is a life member of the Bible Society. In politics, Mr. Burt was an old-line Whig until the dissolution of that party, and at the organization of the new Republican party he joined its ranks and continued one of its stanch supporters until his death.
Mrs. Ashman, wife of our subject, was born February 29, 1856. She was educated in the common schools of her adopted county and in Grand Prairie Seminary of Onarga. She also took a full course of musical instruction in the Conservatory of Music in the same place and became a teacher of recognized ability in Ford and Iroquois Counties, following that profession for a period of five years. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ashman have been born five children: Jessie L., Elma O., Ogilbie B., Luella (deceased), and Merrill, who was accidentally drowned in a well when twenty?two months of age. Ida S. Burt Ashman
Ida S. Burt Ashman

Mrs. Ashman is a member of the Presbyterian Church, to which her husband gives his support. She also holds membership with the Ladies' Foreign and Home Missionary Societies and with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Gilman, of which she is Corresponding Secretary. Mr. Ashman is greatly interested in civic societies and is a Knight Templar Mason. He belongs to Gilman Lodge No. 591, A. F. & A. M.; Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. Politically, he exercises his right of franchise by casting his ballot for the nominees of the Republican party. Recognizing his merit and believing in his ability, his fellow?townsmen have frequently called upon him to fill positions or trust and honor. While in Ford County he acted as Deputy Sheriff. He has been Alderman of the Second Ward of Gilman for one term, and in the spring of 1891 was chosen Mayor on the Anti?license ticket and still occupies that office. He is a very popular Mayor and the city has materially improved financially and otherwise since his administration. In regard to matters of education he is always very active and is now serving his third year as a member of tire School Board. He has been Secretary of the Gilman Building and Loan Association since its organization. He is also President of the Gill Mail Hall Association. Whatever success he has met with in life is due to his own efforts, industry, good management and exercise of correct business principles. His pleasant home is the abode of hospitality and comfort and with his estimable wife he entertains a large circle of friends who esteem them most highly for their sterling worth and many good qualities.


JAMES CRANGLE, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits, on section 6, Ash Grove Township was born in County Down, Ireland, March 17, 1832, on the farm where his father, James Crangle, was born and reared. His mother bore the maiden name of Mary Brennan. In 1840, the family sailed for America. The vessel in which they took passage weighed anchor at Warren Point on the 23d of April, and on the 28th of May reached the harbor of New York. The father of our subject then came on with his wife and children to Grundy County, Ill., and worked on the canal. His death occurred about 1843, after which his widow returned to the Emerald Isle. Both were members of the Catholic Church. Their family numbered four children: Sarah, who is now married and resides in Ireland; Patrick, in Cherokee County, Iowa; James, of this sketch; and Peter, now deceased.

Our subject was a lad of only eight summers when be crossed the briny deep. At the age of ten he began working an a farm and was in the employ of one man seven years. During that period, by perseverance and economy he acquired a small capital and purchased eighty acres of land in Grundy County, where he engaged in farming until 1869, except that his duties were interrupted by his service in the late war. He enlisted on the 10th of August, 1862, as a member of Company D, Seventy-second Illinois Infantry, which was assembled at Chicago, Col. Fred Starring in command. Thence the troops were sent to Cairo, later to Columbus, Ky., then to Oxford, Miss., and afterward to Memphis, where they spent the winter. In the spring they started from Milliken's Bend for Vicksburg, by way of Grand Gulf, participating in the battle of Champion Hill under Gen. Grant. They then made a charge on Vicksburg, in which Company D lost half its number, and participated in the siege until the surrender of the city on the 4th of July. With his regiment, Mr. Crangle went to Natchez, then spent the following winter in Vicksburg, on provost duty. His health suffered much and he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. He spent two or three months at Ft. Lincoln in Washington and the remainder of his service was in guarding prisoners at Rock Island, where he was honorably discharged July 17, 1865.

Mr. Crangle then returned to his farm, and in 1869 came to Iroquois County, purchasing his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres, whereon be has since made his home. He was married, November 29, 1855, in Brookfield, La Salle County, to Miss Bridget O'Farrell, a native of Ottawa and a daughter of Frank and Mary (Carey) O'Farrell. Unto them have been born the following children: Peter, who went to Nebraska in 1886, but returned after six years and is now an the home farm; John, who aids his father, in farming; Frank, County Superintendent of Schools, whose sketch appears elsewhere; James, who died in infancy; Anna, who was educated at Onarga and is now a teacher of recognized ability. Ella, who died August 17, 1888, at the age of twenty years; Sadie, at home; Alice, why was educated at Onarga and is now engaged in teaching; Jesse; Lucy; Charles, who died in 1888, at the age of nine years; James and Edna. The seven youngest children are natives of this county and the others were born in Grundy County.

Mr. Crangle and his family are all members of the Catholic Church and he is the President of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. Socially, he is a member of Crescent Post No. 717, G. A. R., being Senior Vice-commander, having been transferred from Williams Post No. 25, of Watseka. He cast his first vote for James Buchanan and has since supported the Democratic party, except in 1864, when he voted for Lincoln. In the exciting times prior to the war, he heard a debate between Lincoln and Douglas in Ottawa. He is usually found in the conventions of his party and has held some local offices, having served as Supervisor for five years. In Grundy County, he served ten years as Justice of the Peace. His residence in the county covers a period of almost a quarter of a century, and during these years he has established a reputation as a good citizen, an honorable business man and a progressive farmer. He has made his own way in life and his success has been achieved through his own efforts.


H. H. HOLLENBACK is one of the early settlers and honored citizens of this county, now residing in Cissna Park. He was born in Cable County, W. Va., December 19, 1813, on the banks of the Ohio River. His grandfather, Martin Hollenback, was a native of Germany, who came to this country in Colonial days, forayed in Virginia, and afterwards removed to South Carolina. He served in the Revolutionary War under Gen. Washington. By trade he was a cooper. His death occurred in Virginia. The father of our subject, Martin Hollenback, Jr., was born in South Carolina, and spent his last days in West Virginia. Throughout his life he followed the occupation of farming. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Ellen Hampton, was a daughter of Dr. Hampton, a native of England and a prominent physician. She was born in North Carolina and was reared in West Virginia. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hollenback were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics he was a Whig. Their family numbered nine children: William, now deceased, was employed on a steamboat on the Ohio River; H. H. is the next younger; Daniel, who served in a Pennsylvania regiment during the late war, died in Hendersonville prison; Mathias died at the age of nineteen; John was also employed on the river; Sarah, Mary, Catherine and Eliza were the daughters of the family.

Our subject was reared on the banks of the Ohio, and as soon as old enough to handle the plow, he began work in the fields and was inured to farm labor. His education was quite limited. He went to school three months during the winter season, and his books consisted of a speller and Testament, in which he learned to read. The school was conducted on the subscription plan. Mr. Hollenback remained at home until 1865, and was in the midst of the war difficulties, the country around his home being traversed by both armies. On the 9th of March, 1865, he came to Illinois, locating at Loda, where he rented a farm. He afterward operated another rented farm for three years, and then bought an eighty-acre tract of wild prairie land in Pigeon Grove Township, which he transformed into rich and fertile fields. In 1884, he sold his farm and removed to Cissna Park, where he has since lived retired. He here built four residences, three of which he yet owns.

On the 3d of May, 1832, Mr. Hollenback married bliss Margaret Ann Ricketts, who came of an old family of Eastern Virginia, of English descent. Unto them have been born eleven children, five of whom are still living: Leonidas, who served in the First Virginia Cavalry for three years and four months, is now engaged in the dairy business near Kansas City, Mo.; John, who served in the Fifth Virginia Infantry, also resides near Leonidas, but since the war has been in poor health; William, who was in the First Virginia Cavalry, was taken prisoner, sent to Belle Isle and afterward to Andersonville, where he died; Oliver is living in North Nebraska; James is the next younger; Mrs. Fannie Weddington died in Texas in 1892; and Mrs. Nannie Thornton resides at home. With the exception of the youngest, all were born in West Virginia.

Mr. Hollenback cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison in 1836, and supported the Whig party until the rise of the Republican party. He voted for Lincoln. Since that time he has been a Republican, and he advocated that party in its early days, when it required courage to support those principles, for men were shot down for advocating such opinions.

Mr. and Mrs. Hollenback have traveled life's journey together for sixty years as man and wife, and the years have but served to strengthen their mutual love and confidence. Their lives have been checkered with sorrow and pain, but the husband has upheld and supported the wife and she has sustained and encouraged him. Together they pass down the hill, but their last years are made pleasant by many friends who join with their children in showing them love, attention and respect.


CHARLES H. PAYSON, attorney-at-law, senior partner of the law firm of Payson & Orebaugh, of Watseka, is a native of Illinois and was born in Bureau County, November 27, 1855. He is a son of H. L. and Maria E. (Briggs) Payson, and came to Iroquois County in 1867. His education was obtained in the public school and also at Lombard University, of Galesburg, Ill. He studied law in Pontiac, in the office of his brother, the Hon. L. E. Payson, late Member of Congress from that district. He was admitted to the Bar in 1876, and subsequently to all the Federal Courts, with the exception of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Payson began practice in Pontiac and continued there until 1878, when he went to Southern Kansas. Later, he spent three years in the silver mines of Colorado, and in 1884 located in Watseka, where he resumed the practice of his profession. For a year and a-half he was in partnership with C. W. Raymond. The existing partnership with D. A. Orebaugh was formed in September, 1891.

On the 3d of January, 1881, Mr. Payson was married in Ft. Collins, Colo., to Miss Clare Martin, a daughter of Moses M. Martin. Mrs. Payson was born in Burlington., Iowa. She is a member of the Episcopal Church. One child, a son, was born to our subject and his wife, October 3, 1881, to which they gave the name of Charles Victor.

The subject of this sketch is a Republican is politics and has served as Alderman from the Second Ward of Watseka. He is a member of the following named societies: the Knights of Pythias, Patriotic Order of Sons of America and Modern Woodmen of America. He is a stockholder in the Stiles Automatic Hinge Company. Mr. Payson is a man of superior ability and is well-grounded in the law. He has built up a good practice and is esteemed an able and successful lawyer. He is a genial, whole-souled man, who makes friends readily, and has an extended acquaintances throughout the State among his brethren of the legal profession and leading business men.


ANDREW J. DECKER, one of .the honored veterans of the late war and a pioneer settler of this county, who for almost half a century has made his home in this community, was born on the 1st of November, 1843, in Page County, Va. His parents were Chrisley and Mary Decker. His father was also born in n the Old Dominion and was reared to the occupation of farming. 1n 1847, he emigrated Westward and located in Iroquois County, Ill. The settlements in this locality were then widely scattered and the work of progress, and civilization wan scarcely begun. Hoopeston, Cissna Park and Wellington had not yet sprung into existence. There were few roads, and the land was almost unbroken prairie. Mr. Decker continued to follow farming throughout his entire life. In politics, he was a Republican. His death occurred in 1880. Mrs. Decker, a native of Virginia, is still living, and her seventy-two years rest lightly upon her. The family of this worthy couple numbered nine children, of whom six are yet living.

Our subject, who is third in order of birth, was brought to this State when only about four years of age, and was reared upon his father's farm, amid the wild scenes of frontier life. His educational advantages were limited, but by his own exertions, experience and observation he has become well informed. His training in farm labor was not so meagre. He aided his father until after be had attained his majority and then started out in life for himself.

On the 18th of August, 1862, Mr. Decker, although then not twenty years of age, responded to his country's call for troops, and joined the boys is blue of Company I, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. West, who was afterward succeeded by Capt. Aaron Kane. The regiment convened at Camp Douglas, and was commanded by Col. George D. Hogue. Going to Memphis, Tenn., they participated in the battle of Bolivar, where the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois suffered greatly. They also participated in the battle at La Fayette, Tenn., where the regiment lost three hundred men. Mr. Decker was in the thickest of the fight. He bore all the hardships and privations of army life, being often forced to go without food. At the battle of Holly Springs, Miss., he met the enemy, and afterward on an expedition down the Yazoo River, and again at Vicksburg. At Walnut Hill they met the enemy in .a hard battle, in which they were defeated and ordered to the transports. Mr. Decker participated in the three-day engagement at Arkansas Post, in February, 1863, and here the Union troops were successful. Five companies, including that to which our subject belonged, were then detailed to guard the fifteen thousand prisoners who were to be taken to Springfield, Ill. He was ill during that time, but he would not allow himself to give up until he had reached his destination, where he was discharged for disability.

After partially recovering, Mr. Decker re-enlisted in October, 1868, for the remainder of the war, joining his company at Springfield, and from there proceeded to Memphis, Tenn., where they started after the rebel General Forrest, whom they defeated in battle. On the 10th of June occurred another engagement with Gen. Forrest, in which the Union troops were defeated and Mr. Decker, who was captured, was taken to Andersonville prison, where he underwent all the tortures and hardships of that foul den for ten months. During the entire time they were never given any meat, and each soldier was allowed only a half-pint of corn-meal, corn and cob both being ground up, from which they made mush. If any of the soldiers tried to escape, the scanty rations were shut off from the rest, and three or four days would elapse before they were again given food. Mr. Decker kept as far as possible from the "dead line" but he saw many a poor fellow shot down like a dog when he ventured too near that line, and has seen others cut their own throats to end their miseries. During the winter of 1864-65 be was almost naked, having only a ragged shirt and pair of drawers, for his other clothes had been stolen by the rebels. His release came on the 18th of March, 1865, and found him almost a skeleton. It seemed almost impossible for him to reach home. With many others be went in cattle cars to Jackson, Miss., where the ambulance train was to meet them, but it failed. Those who could walk did so, and the others crawled. Mr. Decker was twelve days going twelve miles to Black River. With his comrades he then went to Vicksburg, on to Memphis and to Jefferson Barracks, Mo., where he remained three weeks, when an order came to send every soldier to his own State, and he was sent to Quincy, Ill. He could not walk any from the time he left Andersonville until he reached Quincy on the 16th of May. He was honorably discharged on the 2d of July, 1865, and returned to his home, broken down in health but with the record of a brave and honorable soldier.

September 6, 1868, Mr. Decker was united in marriage with Miss Adeline Stanton, and unto them have been born a son and two daughters: Eva, wife of Lee Rothgeb, who is employed in a wholesale establishment in Chicago; and Alice and William at home. The family resides in a neat and comfortable home, pleasantly situated upon a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, under a high state of cultivation and well improved.

In politics, Mr. Decker has been a stanch Republican since he cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. U. S. Grant. For six years he has filled the office of School Director. Socially, be is a member of the Grand Army Post of Milford, and himself and wife hold membership in the Presbyterian Church of Wellington. Mr. Decker is true to every public and private trust, displaying the same loyalty that he manifested in his country's hour of peril. He knows what war means, for he has suffered all its hardships. He was ever found at his post of duty, a faithful soldier, valiantly defending the Old Flag which now floats over the united Nation.


JOHN WESLEY GRUBBS, one of the honored pioneers of the county, who is now living a retired life in Onarga, claims Ohio as the State of his birth, which occurred in Montgomery County on the 18th of October, 1821. He is the sixth in order of birth in a family of twelve children whose parents were John and Margaret (River) Grubbs, both natives of Berkeley County, Va. The father died in 1850, but the mother long survived him and passed away in 1881. Of their children only six are now living, namely: Peter, Thomas, Mary, Martha, Eliza and John W. Samuel, George, Catherine, Jacob and Sarah are now deceased.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who is very widely and favorably known throughout the community and well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county. His boyhood days were spent in the Buckeye State and his educational advantages were those which the common schools afforded. After attaining his majority he was joined in wedlock on the 15th of August, 1850, with Miss Lorinda Allen, daughter of Phineas and Keziah (Kelley) Allen. Five children were born unto them, three sons and two daughters: Keziah J., born May 10, 1851, is the wife of George S. Ramsey, a resident of Onarga Township, and two children were born unto them, one of whom is living, Martha Lorinda. Phineas W., born March 7, 1853, wedded Miss Anna, daughter of William Kinnison, and they became the parents of two children, Lora Leota and Lizzie. Leroy, born July 24, 1856, married Sarah Elgin, of Kansas, and they reside in Onarga Township. Unto them were born four children, three of whom are yet living: Charles, Frank and Bertha. Harvey J., born March 3, 1861, wedded Miss Mary, daughter of Robert Skeels, and is a resident of Jewell County, Kan. Unto them were born three children, but Harley is the only one living, Eva Melissa and Harry having died in early childhood. Melissa J., born March 5, 1865, died in her nineteenth year.

In 1857, Mr Grubbs, father of this family, emigrated from Ohio to Illinois, locating first in Peoria County, where he remained for about a year. He then came to Iroquois County and settled on a farm of two hundred acres, four miles east of Onarga, where he spent the succeeding thirteen years. He then removed to the village in order to better educate his children, but after about two years purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land two and one-half miles east of Onarga. Removing to that farm in 1870, he made it his home for fifteen years, and in the meantime extended its boundaries by the purchase of an additional seventy-four acres, making a farm of two hundred and thirty-four acres. The two farms, comprising four hundred and thirty-four acres, are still owned by our subject and his sons. In 1885, Mr. Grubbs abandoned agricultural pursuits and again went to Onarga, where, with his wife, he still resides in a comfortable home near Grand Prairie Seminary. He has led a busy and useful life, and by his perseverance and energy has acquired a comfortable competence.

Mr. Grubbs has held the office of Road Commissioner for several years, and was also School Director for several terms. He is true to every public and private trust, and his duties of citizenship are ever faithfully performed. Those who know him, and his circle of acquaintances is extensive, hold him in the highest esteem for his sterling worth and many excellencies of character. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democracy. For thirty-two years he has been a member of the Masonic order.


THOMAS HAMER, who owns and operates an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 16, Ridgeland Township, is one of the worthy citizens that England has furnished Iroquois County. He was born near Manchester, on the 27th of January, 1831, and is a son of James and Mary (Copings) Hamer. His father was a spinner by trade and worked in a cotton factory. He met his death by accident is 1853, being killed by the machinery of the mills. His wife survived him about two years, passing away in 1855. Their family numbered nine children, of whom our subject is the second in order of birth; John and James are both now deceased; Elizabeth is married and resides in England; Hannah and Betty have both departed this life; William and Samuel died when about sixteen years old; and one child died in infancy.

The boyhood days of our subject were spent in his native town Heywood, near Manchester, England. His education was acquired by attendance at night schools and largely by self-culture, for his privileges were quite limited, as he commenced work in the mills when only ten years of age. He learned the spinner's trade, and to that employment devoted his energies for some time. Under the parental roof he remained until twenty-three years of age, when, on the 11th of July, 1853, he was married in the Episcopal Church of Bury, the lady of his choice being Miss Alice Ashton, daughter of David and Alice (Wild) Ashton. They began their domestic life in their native land and there resided until 1857. Mrs. Hamer was born near Bury, Lancashire, England, April 10, 1835. Her parents were natives of the same shire, where they spent the rest of their lives. The father worked in a paper mill. Both died aged sixty-six years. Of their eleven children, five sons and six daughters, five are now living. Mrs. Hamer is the only one of the family that crossed the ocean.

The year 1857 witnessed the emigration of our subject and his wife to America. Bidding good-bye to their old home they took passage on a sailing-vessel, which weighed anchor at Liverpool and after seven weeks and three days reached the harbor of New York. During the voyage they encountered a storm which lasted twelve days and twelve nights. The passage was terribly rough, and it was with great relief that they reached their destination. Mr. Hamer made his first location in White Rock, R. I., but after a few weeks went to Willimantic, Conn., where he again remained buts few weeks. He then made his way to New York City, with the expectation of returning to England, but changed his mind, and in the winter of 1857 came to the West, locating in McLean County, Ill. There he secured work as a farm hand by the month and was thus employed for a year, after which he operated land on shares for a year. He next secured a position with the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company and was in its employ for about nine months, when, having accumulated through his industry and economy a small capital, be purchased forty acres of land near Normal, Ill., where he spent two years. On the expiration of that period he sold his farm and came to Iroquois County, locating in Douglas Township, where he purchased eighty acres of land at $8 per acre. Later, he again sold, and bought eighty acres on section 16; his present farm.

Eight children have been born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hamer, but one died in infancy. Those living are: David Thomas, who married Ada Knowlton and resides in Onarga; William H., who married Roena Spellman and resides in Chicago; Mary, who is the wife of Ralph Spellman, a teacher in Greer College, of Hoopeston; Frederick A., who married Clara A. Layer, and lives in Ridgeland Township; Emma L., at home; Elizabeth L., a teacher of their county; and Nellie B., at home. The family has a pleasant home on the farm in Ridgeland Township. Mr. Hamer owns one hundred and sixty acres of arable land, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation and improved with all the accessories of a model farm. In addition to the cultivation of his fields, whose neat appearance indicates his thrift and enterprise, he engages in stock-raising.

In political sentiments, Mr. Hamer is a Democrat, and at the ballot supports the principles which be warmly advocates. He has held the office of School Director and is a friend to the cause of education. Socially, he is a member of the Odd Fellows' society. Mrs. Hamer and all the children except one are Presbyterians, holding membership with the church in Onarga. Public-spirited and progressive, he manifests a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and ever bears his part in its upbuilding. It was a fortunate day for him when he determined not to return to his native land but to still continue his residence in this country, for here be has gained a comfortable competence, found a pleasant home and won many warm friends.


JOHN WIENRANK, one of the prominent and representative farmers of Ash Grove Township, now makes his home on section 1, where he owns a fine farm. He is a native of Germany, born in Hanover, on the 1st of December, 1840, and is a son of Jacob Wienrank, who was born and reared in the same place. The father was a leading farmer of his native land, and there was united in marriage with Miss Luke Johnson, who was also born in the same neighborhood as her husband. In 1852 he started for America, accompanied by his wife and four children. They sailed from Bremen, and after a voyage of thirteen weeks landed in New Orleans. They then proceeded up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Peoria, and settled on a farm near that place. The father there engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1874, when be was called to his final rest, at the age of fifty-six. His wife is still living, and makes her home with her children, being now an inmate of the home of our subject. 1n religious belief, Mr. Wienrank was a Lutheran, and politically, gave his support to the Democratic party. In the family were four children, of whom our subject is the eldest; Mrs. Gretje Van Hoveln now resides on a farm adjoining her brother's; Tina is the wife of John Stover, who makes his home in Kansas; and Christof is a resident of Tazewell County, Ill.

Mr. Wienrank, of this sketch, began his literary education in Germany, but it was completed in this country. He attended the English schools of Peoria, and there pursued his studies until the age of seventeen years. He remained at home, aiding in the labors of the farm, until he had attained his majority, when he started out in life for himself. For several years he made his home in Woodford County, engaging in agricultural pursuits, and in 1876 removed to Iroquois County, where he purchased his present farm of one hundred and fifty-two acres; but he now owns one hundred and sixty acres additional. He is one of the enterprising farmers of Ash Grove Township, and in his business relations has been very successful; his farm is one of the best in the community, and on it he has placed many good improvements.

On the 17th of February, 1870, Mr. Wienrank was married, in Woodford County, to Miss Antge Duitsmann, a native of Germany. The lady was born in Hanover, and came to this country in 1868. By her marriage she has become the mother of six children: Jacob J., born November 8, 1870, in Woodford County; Folke B., born in the same county, January 19, 1872, is now the wife of Jacob Van Hoveln, a farmer of Ash Grove Township; Kao J., born February 6, 1873, in the same county, is still under the parental roof; John B., born in Woodford County, February 3, 1876; Christof J., born February 21, 1879; and Albert, born May 6, 1881, are still at home. The children have received good educational advantages, attending both the English and German schools.

Mr. Wienrank is one of the popular men of this community, and has served his township one term as Collector, and is now holding the office of Justice of the Peace. He and his family hold membership with the Lutheran Church of the neighborhood and to it he gives his liberal support and aid. Politically, he affiliates with the Democratic party, and is an earnest advocate of its principles. He cast his first vote for Gen. George B. McClellan in 1864. To the conventions of his party he has often served as delegate, and takes an active interest in political affairs.


Mr. and Mrs. Isaac J. Gardner
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac J. Gardner

ISAAC J. GARDNER, for thirty-five years resident of this county, is engaged in agricultural pursuits on his farm in Douglas Township. He was born in the Keystone State, his birth having occurred in Susquehanna County, on the 12th of May, 1837. He is a son of William P. and Sarah (James) Gardner. The first of the Gardner family of whom we have any record was Stephen Gardner, a resident of Connecticut. The first white child born in Connecticut in 1636 was a Gardner. The family is said to have come to America in the "Mayflower." Stephen Gardner had a family of twelve children, of whom the eleventh, David, became the father of five children, the youngest of whom, Isaac Gardner, was born in Connecticut, November 30, 1761. He was a soldier in the War of the Revolution, and his second wife drew a pension on account of his services in that war. His first wife was Martha Rogers, by whom he had five children. After her death he married Esther Palmer, and, unto them were born nine children. The father of our subject was the seventh child of the second marriage, his birth having occurred December 27, 1812, in New London County, Conn. He was wedded July 5, 1835, to Miss Sarah F. James, who was born in Connecticut, September 30, 1815. After their marriage he moved to Gibson Township, Susquehanna County, Pa., where he followed the occupation of farming. In 1857, the father, with his son, the subject of this sketch, came to Illinois, and thinking a good town would spring up where Gilman is now located, they erected a house, the lumber of which was the first car-load of lumber unloaded at Gilman. This was in August, 1857. In February following, he returned, and brought his family to their new home in the west. The country was wild and much of it underwater. At the close of the war, the father moved to a farm near Chebanse, but five years later he returned to Gilman, which he has since made his home. Politically, he was formerly a Whig, and has since been a Republican. The death of his wife occurred in September, 1873. In their family were five children, of whom three are still living. Isaac J., of this sketch. E. B., a resident of Nuckolls County, Neb., is an agriculturist. He married Miss Maggie Francis, and they have two children, a son and daughter. William D. is a resident of Seattle, Wash. He married Miss Fannie Gilpin, of Gilman, Ill., who died, leaving one child, a son. He graduated from the University of Chicago, and followed the profession of a teacher for many years very successfully and is now engaged in the real?estate business. Afterwards the father married Mrs. Lydia Hunt. He, as were both of his wives, was a member of the Baptist Church.

Mr. Gardner, whose name heads this sketch, was reared in a timbered and stony country, and amid the hardships incident to that kind of farm land he early learned habits of industry and economy. His chances for an education were confined to the district schools, which at that early day afforded the means of education. December 21, 1862, he led to the marriage altar Inverno, daughter of Lewis J. and Hannah (Green) Bennett, a sketch of whom is given in connection with that of Mrs. Belva Lockwood on another page of this work. Soon after his marriage our subject removed to his present home. He purchased eighty acres of land at $12 per acre, and five years later bought forty acres more at the same price. When he purchased, much of the land was under water. Now he has about eleven hundred rods of tile on his farm, which he has otherwise improved and cultivated. Besides farming, he ran a threshing and corn shelling machine for many years, and therefore got widely acquainted throughout the county.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardner have been blessed with a family of four children: Frank D., a graduate of the State University of the Class of '91, is assistant professor of agriculture in his Alma Mater, and also assistant, agriculturist at the Experiment Station at Champaign; William L. graduated from the Metropolitan Business College of Chicago, and is a book?keeper in a wholesale rubber house of that city; Mary E. is a graduate of the Gilman High School, and a stenographer, and has a position as pension clerk in Washington, D. C.; and Carrie E. resides at home.

Mr. Gardner is in sympathy with the principles of the Republican party, and has always voted for its candidates, casting his first ballot for Lincoln. For the last five years he has been engaged in the dairy business, in which he has been quite successful. During a long residence here he has made many friends by his strict integrity and straightforward business dealings.


MRS. BELVA A. LOCKWOOD, Washington, D. C. As a distinguished daughter of one of the pioneer settlers of Iroquois County, it is fitting that more than a passing mention be made of Mrs. Lockwood, who bore the maiden name of Bennett. Her grandfather, Ezekiel Bennett, emigrated from Vermont to New York State at an early day. He married Mary High, and of this onion was born Lewis J. Bennett, the father of Mrs. Lockwood. On arriving at years of maturity, Lewis Bennett wedded Miss Hannah Green, who was also a native of the Empire State. In 1856, Mr. Bennett came to Iroquois County, locating near Onarga, where he spent the remainder of his days in agricultural pursuits. He died on the 26th of June, 1877, at the advanced age of seventy years. His widow now lives in Onarga and has attained the age of seventy years. To the above worthy couple was born a family of five children, of whom four are still living: Rachel, who is the wife of James Robinson, of Onarga; Mrs. Belva Lockwood; Warren G., a resident of Ridgeville, this county; and Inverno, who is the wife of Isaac J. Gardner, represented, elsewhere in this work.

We now take up the personal record of Mrs. Lockwood, which, if we mistake not, has few parallels in history. She was born on the 30th of October, 1830, at Royalton, Niagara County, N. Y. Her early education was acquired in the district schools in her native county. Naturally possessed of good mental powers and with a strong bent for thought and study, she always stood at the head of her class and was a recognized leader. At twelve years of age, in addition to the common branches, she studied algebra, physiology and philosophy. A close observer, her thoughts and conclusions were often recorded in a notebook. Such were her accomplishments that before she was fifteen years of age she was selected to teach school in her home district, conducting the same school four successive terms. During the first term, she received the munificent salary of $5 per month. At the age of eighteen, she married Uriah H. McNall, a thrifty young farmer in the neighborhood, who was accidentally hurt while operating a sawmill, and after a lingering illness of two years died, leaving a daughter to the care of his wife, who was not yet twenty-two years old. Trials oftentime bring out the sterling traits of character, and so it was with Mrs. McNall; every detail indoors and out was looked after by her -- she buying and selling stock, measuring lumber, weighing grain, writing orders and receipts, making and mending. After conducting the business a year, she decided to sell out and complete her education. Entering an academy, she not only carried on the prescribed studies but kept her own house and at the same time boarded five other students.

Having completed the academic course, she received a pressing invitation to teach in her old neighborhood at a salary of $12 per month, with board for herself and little girl. After teaching, two years, she entered Genesee College, at Lima, N. Y., the second college to admit ladies on equal terms with men. She had early shown an aptitude for writing, both in prose and poetry. During her first years of teaching she had written for the "Wesleyan Literary Messenger," Boston Olive Branch, "Ladies' Repository," and others, and while in college was a contributor to Moore's Rural' New Yorker. By professors and students she was recognized as a young woman of remarkable ability, and on the 27th of June, 1857, she was graduated with honor from Genesee College.

Without her knowledge, our subject was elected Preceptress of Lockport Union School, which position she filled four yours, educating her sister and daughter at the same time. Mrs. McNall was also active in mission and Sunday-school work, keeping up a Bible class, an infant class and a "ragged school." Until 1868, she was engaged chiefly in educational work, either conducting a school of her own or teaching in some institution. During the "Kansas troubles" she was president of a relief society, spending much time and money in the cause. During the war, she was president of the aid society that equipped the Eighth Regiment, New York Volunteers, and throughout the entire struggle her aid and sympathy were extended to the boys in blue.

On the 11th of March, 1868, Mrs. McNall married the Rev. Ezekiel Lockwood, who has since departed this life. A daughter born of this marriage lived until two years old. The University of Syracuse, N. Y., with which Genesee College was afterward combined, conferred upon her the degree of A. M. In 1870, she began the study of law. Being refused admission to the Law School of Columbian College, Mrs. Lockwood with fourteen other ladies entered the National University Law School, at Washington, D. C., but only two completed the course. In the last quarter the faculty of that university denied the ladies the privilege of attending lectures and finally refused to grant diplomas, an injustice born of prejudice. Indignant at such treatment, Mrs. Lockwood addressed a brief but pointed letter to President Grant, who was then an ex-officio President of the National University Law School, as follows:

WASHINGTON, D. C., September 3, 1873.

To the PRESIDENT,

DEAR SIR: -- You are ostensibly President of the National University Law School of this district. If you are its President, I desire to say that I have passed through the curriculum of study of this school and am entitled to and demand my diploma. If you are not the President, then I demand that you take your name from its papers and cease to be what you are not.

Very respectfully,

BELVA A. LOCKWOOD.

Within three weeks, she received her diploma and on motion of W. D. Wedgewood was admitted to practice in the District Court. In 1878, she was called upon to defend a client before the Circuit Court in Prince George County, Md. Judge McGruder refused to let her practice in his court. The opinion on which the Judge based his rejection of her is a marvel of profound nonsense. The people of that district saw it in that light, and he was relegated to private life, and Mrs. Lockwood became a recognized practitioner in that court.

Denied recognition at the Bar of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Lockwood determined to rend the veil from top to bottom that shut out women from the highest possibilities in the legal profession. A bill prepared by her for the admission of women to practice before that court was presented to the House by the Hon. J. M. Glover, of Missouri. The bill was finally passed February 15, 1879, by a majority of twenty-one votes. March 3, 1879, the Hon. A. G. Riddle made a motion before the Supreme Court for Mrs. Lockwood's admission to practice in that court and it was granted. Three days later, by a motion of the Hon. Thomas J. Durant, she was admitted to the Bar of the United States Court of Claims. Thus by persistent effort and rare courage, she achieved one of the greatest triumphs of the age. In 1868, Mrs. Lockwood became interested in the "woman's rights" movement, and since that has done all in her power to broaden the sphere of woman. In nearly all the great cities of the United States she has spoken on "Woman's right to the ballot." The enfranchisement of woman and the temperance cause find in her a powerful advocate, and it is devoutly to be wished that she may live to see those two great causes triumph. Mrs. Lockwood has enjoyed extensive practice both in civil and criminal courts and has been a practitioner for eighteen years. She has also an extensive practice before the departments of the Government, the Court of Claims and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mrs. Lockwood was nominated for the Presidency of the United States by the Equal Rights party at San Francisco, Cal., in August, 1884, and again by the same party in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1888, making in both cases a very creditable campaign. She is a prominent member and General Secretary of the Universal Peace Union, and has three times represented that association as its delegate on the continent of Europe, attending the International Peace Congress at its session in Paris in 1889, where she was one of the Committee of Honor, and where the American delegates received the gold medal; and the second time in London in 1890; where she. found the later to take a University Extension Course at that oldest of English Universities, Oxford; in 1892 she attended the Congress at Berne, Switzerland, at which time she induced the International Congress to meet in Chicago in 1893. She is associate editor of the Peacemaker, and one of the most popular speakers on the lecture platform.



PREVIOUS - INDEX PAGE - NEXT



Return to Home Page