Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
WARREN G. BENNETT, formerly engage in general farming and stock-raising on section 16, Ridgeland Township, but now a resident of Kankakee, is a native of the Empire State, his birth having occurred near Lockport, on the 6th of October, 1832. His parents, Lewis J. and Hannah (Green) Bennett, are represented in the sketch of Mrs. Belva Lockwood.
We now take up the personal history of Mr. Bennett, who is widely and favorably known in this community as one of the prominent citizens of Iroquois County. Upon his father's farm be was reared to manhood, and in his early youth he attended the district schools of the neighborhood. His primary education was supplemented by a course in Gasport Academy, which be entered at the age of sixteen years. After graduating from that institution, he soon obtained a good position as civil engineer, being employed to enlarge the Erie Canal between Rochester and Lockport, N. Y. Thus he was employed for two years. It was in the autumn of 1854 that be first came to Illinois, making a location first in Onarga, where he remained till the following spring, when he returned to the Empire State, and worked on the canal through the succeeding summer and winter. In 1855, we again find him in this county, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land from the Government in Douglas Township, at $2.50 per acre. Upon this farm he resided until 1860, placing it under a high state of cultivation.
In the meantime Mr. Bennett was married. In August, 1859, he led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah Hibbard, and by their union were born two children, both daughters: Clare, widow of William H. Harrison, and a resident of Washington, D. C.; and Helen, who is living with her father. The mother was called to her final rest on the 2d of June, 1877, and her remains were interred in Onarga Cemetery. In December, 1879, Mr. Bennett was again married, his second union being with Miss Finette Beman. One child graces this union, Lewis James.
In 1860, Mr. Bennett returned to Oswego, N. Y., where he remained for two years in the employ of the York & Erie Railroad Company as ticket and transfer agent. The succeeding year of his life was spent in traveling in Ohio, after which be again came to Iroquois County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 14, Onarga Township, where he made his home until 1868. He then purchased the farm on which he now resides, comprising eighty acres on section 16, Ridgeland Township. In connection with general farming he carries on stock-raising, and that he does his business thoroughly, is indicated by the neat appearance of his place and all pertaining to his farm. In his political affiliations he is a stalwart Democrat -- an inflexible adherent of the principles of his party. He has held the office of Assessor two terms and for eleven years discharged the duties of School Director with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He is a man of sterling worth and many excellencies of character, and the success of his life is well deserved.
HARBERT DUIS, a well-known and representative farmer residing on section 2, Ash Grove Township, was born October 20, 1847, in Friesland, Germany, upon his father's farm. He is a son of John H. Duis, who was born and reared in the same locality, and followed agricultural pursuits. About 1830, he married Catherine Kaiser, and in 1854, with his wife and six children, started for America, crossing the Atlantic from Bremen to New Orleans in a sailing-vessel, which, after a voyage of nine weeks, dropped anchor in the harbor of the Crescent City. He then went up the river to Quincy, Ill., and in Adams County purchased forty acres of land, upon which he made his home for fourteen years. The succeeding five years of his life were spent in Livingston County, after which he came to Iroquois County. His death occurred a year later at his home in Ash Grove Township, and his was the first burial in the cemetery at Schwer. He was a supporter of the Republican party, and was a member of the Lutheran Church. His wife is still living, and makes her home with our subject.
The children of the Duis family are Jeska, who resides in Livingston County; Webki and Christina, who died in Adams County; Harbert, of this sketch; Carson, who is living in Nebraska; Johanna, who makes her home in Ash Grove Township; Juden, a resident of Tyler County, Neb.; and Frank, who completes the family.
The subject of this sketch was a lad of only seven summers, when with his parents he came to America. He was educated in the public schools of Adams County, which he attended only through the winter season, for in the summer months he was forced to aid his father in the development of the new farm. At the age of sixteen, he began to earn his own livelihood, and has since been dependent upon his own resources. At the age of eighteen he was married, Miss Elska Jerreals becoming his wife. Their union was celebrated January 10, 1865. The lady was born in Friesland, and, when a maiden of twelve years, came to America. To Mr. and Mrs. Duis have been born nine children: Johanna, born in Adams County, Ill., is now the wife of Henry Siems, of Ash Grove Township; Fredka is the wife of Elbert Weichman; Catherine, born in Livingston County, is the wife of August Longled; John and Gretja are also natives of Livingston County; and Carson, Carl, Jurden and Christina, who were all born in Iroquois County.
Mr. Duis first purchase of land consisted of an eighty-acre tract in Nebraska Township, Livingston County, where he made his home until 1875. He then came to Iroquois County, and purchased two hundred and forty acres of land, an unimproved tract of wild prairie, but his care and labor have transformed it into one of the finest farms of the community. In connection with its cultivation, he also engages in stock-raising. His home is a fine new residence, and is the abode of hospitality. The many improvements upon the place stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise, and the neat appearance indicates the supervision of a careful manager. Mr. Duis and his family are all, members of the Lutheran Church, and contribute liberally to its support. His first Presidential vote was cast for Gen. Grant in 1868, and he has since been a stalwart Republican. He is often found in the conventions of his party, and his opinions are received with respect. He is held in high regard throughout the community, and his worth and ability entitle him to the warm esteem of his many friends.
PHINEAS W. GRUBBS owns and operates two hundred and twenty-four acres of land in Onarga Township, within a mile of the farm on which he was reared. His home is pleasantly situated about two and one-half miles from Onarga, and thus all the advantages of the village are easily attainable. He has for many years, in connection with general farming, extensively carried on stock-raising. He feeds all of his grain to his stock, and for some time he has raised, bought and sold horses and cattle on an extensive scale. This year he is handling horses and sheep. He is a prominent business man, well known throughout the county, and is an excellent judge of stock of all kinds.
The life record of Mr. Grubbs is as follows: He was born in Eaton, Preble County, Ohio, March 7, 1853, and is a son of John and Lorinda Grubbs, both of whom are natives of the Empire State. Their family numbered five children: Keziah J., Phineas W., Leroy, Harvey and Melissa.
Our subject was only about four years old when with his parents he came to this county, and upon his father's farm near his present home he was reared to manhood. He began his education in the district schools of the community, and afterward attended Grand Prairie Seminary. He continued to engage in farming with his father until the 30th of September, 1875, when he was joined in wedlock with Miss Anna Kinnison, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Riner) Kinnison. Two daughters were born of their union, but both are now deceased: Lora L., born July 10, 1876, died April 5, 1888; and Lizzie L., born on the 1st of September, 1885, died March 11, 1888. Mr. and Mrs. Grubbs began their domestic life upon a farm, and he carried on agricultural pursuits in this county until 1881, when he removed to Kansas and spent eight years in Burr Oak, Jewell County, returning to this county in 1889. He has witnessed much of the growth and development of Iroquois County, for he is numbered among its early settlers, more than a third of a century having passed since he located here. His duties of citizenship have ever been faithfully performed, and he is a leading and influential farmer of the community.
Socially, Mr. Grubbs is connected with the Masonic fraternity, the Knights of Pythias society, and the Modern Woodmen of America. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and has held the office of Road Commissioner, but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success.
JOHN SMITH, one of the extensive landowners of the county, who now resides in Onarga Township, where he owns a beautiful home adjoining the corporation limits of the village, may truly be called a self-made man, and his example in many respects is well worthy of emulation. His life record is as follows: A native of Indiana, he was born in Hendricks County, on the 26th of December, 1830, and is a son of Abel and Sarah (Bales) Smith, the father a native of South Carolina, and the mother of Kentucky. In an early day Abel Smith emigrated to Kentucky and thence to Indiana; where he married Miss Bales. He settled in Hendricks County, where he engaged in farming until 1849, when he removed to Warren County, Iowa, becoming one of its early settlers. He there devoted his time and attention to agricultural pursuits for many years, and made his home upon the farm until 1891, when he died at the ripe age of eighty-five. His wife had passed away about twenty years previous. Of their nine children, three sons and six daughters, eight are still living: John, James M., Elizabeth, Mary, Susan, Louisa Jane, Emeline and Amanda.
The boyhood days of John Smith were spent in the State of his nativity, where, on the 18th of November, 1853, he chose as a companion and helpmate on life's journey Miss Hannah Starry, daughter of Nicholas and Margaret (Cashman) Starry, of Warren County, Ind. In the fall of 1856, they left the Hoosier State and removed to Hamilton County, Iowa, where Mr. Smith purchased four hundred acres of land and carried on farming and stock-raising until 1865. That year witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County. Accompanied by his family, he returned to this State and located on a farm of one hundred and eighty-three acres in Artesia Township. Subsequently, he purchased two hundred and forty acres on section 26, Onarga Township, which he still owns. He also owns a farm of seven hundred acres on sections 31 and 32 of the same township, and a beautiful home on section 19, adjacent to the village of Onarga. In connection with farming, Mr. Smith has carried on stock-raising quite extensively, making a specialty of the breeding of horses and cattle, and at the present time he owns about seventy head of horses, principally Percherons.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith was born a family of five children: Sarah Elizabeth, the eldest, became the wife of Samuel A. Cannady and died April 15, 1877, leaving a daughter, Sadie, who is now living with her grandparents. James married Jennie Taylor, who is now deceased; he lives in Warren County, Ind. Oscar married Miss Belle Pitcher and resides in Clay County, Iowa, with his three children, Pearl, Ralph and Mildred. Margaret is the wife of John Nichols and unto them has been born a son, William. Finley is still at home. The Smith family is one of prominence in the community and its members rank high in social circles.
Mr. Smith is a man of excellent business ability, and his straightforward, upright dealings have won him the confidence of all, while by perseverance, industry and good management he has secured a handsome competency, working his way upward to a position of wealth and affluence. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democracy.
JOHN T. FRAZEE, who carries on general farming on section 18, Ridgeland Township, is a worthy representative of one of the early families of the county, having for more than a third of a century made his home within its borders. He is a native of the Buckeye State. Warren County was the place of his birth, which occurred February 22, 1848. He is a son of Turner and Martha (Meeker) Frazee, and is one of a family of ten children, who are mentioned in the sketch of Frederick S. Frazee, on another page of this work.
In the usual manner of farmer lads, our subject was reared to manhood, no event of special importance occurring to vary the routine of farm life. Until fourteen years of age, he attended the common schools, and acquired a good knowledge of the rudimentary branches. He then started out in life for himself to earn his own livelihood, working by the month as a farm hand. He received the munificent sum of $10 per month in compensation for his services. With the family he came to Illinois in 1857, and continued to work at farm labor until after the breaking out of the late war, when, in September, 1861, he went to the front to aid his country in her efforts to preserve the Union. He enlisted for three years, joining Company C, Fifty-seventh Illinois Regiment, and was mustered into service at Chicago. The first battle of note in which he participated was at Ft. Donelson. He also took part in the battle of Shiloh, which proved his last, for he was there taken sick and sent to the field hospital, where he remained for about three months, ill with typhoid fever. Having partially recovered, he was honorably discharged July 26, 1862, on account of physical disability, and returned to his home.
In 1870, Mr. Frazee was united in marriage with Miss Mary Nickerson, daughter of Olives and Eliza Ann Nickerson. Five children graced their union, of whom four are yet living, as follow: Jessie, Russell, and Edith and Effie, twins. Lewis, the third in order of birth, died in infancy.
For a year after his return from the war, Mr. Frazee was unable to perform any labor. He then worked a portion of the time until 1868, when he secured employment as a farm hand, and worked by the month in that capacity for two years. In 1870, he purchased forty acres of land on section 18, Ridgeland Township, where he has since resided. The boundaries of his farm however have since been extended, and he now owns seventy acres of well-improved land, the rich and fertile fields yielding him a good return for his care and cultivation. He is recognized as one of the substantial farmers and stock-raisers of the community, and the reputation is well deserved, for he is industrious and energetic. In his political affiliations, Mr. Frazee is a Republican, and socially is connected with W. A. Babcock Post No. 416, G. A. R., of Onarga. He gives his support to all worthy enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit or promote the general welfare, and is held in high esteem throughout the community where he hay so long made his home.
WILLIAM P. GILBERT, junior partner of the firm of Palmer & Gilbert, publishers of the Leader and Review of Onarga, is a wide-awake and enterprising young man whom the county may well be proud to number among its native citizens. He was born in Ash Grove Township, on the 21st of November, 1869, and is the only child of John S. and Hannah M. (Brock) Gilbert. His father was a native of Indiana, but his mother was born in Ash Grove Township county.
The subject of this sketch acquired his education in the common schools of Onarga and on the 11th of August, 1885, he began learning the printer's trade, working at the business in the Leader office, where he rose from the position of apprentice to foreman. The present partnership was formed in February, 1892, Mr. Palmer having formerly been a prominent Methodist minister. Together they bought the Onarga Leader and the Central Illinois Review, both published in Onarga, and consolidated the two papers under the name of the Leader and Review, which they at once enlarged from an eight-column folio to a seven-column quarto. It is a neat, newsy and influential paper and is well, supported by the people of Onarga and vicinity. It deserves a liberal patronage, for it supports all that tends to improve and upbuild the community and advance its best interests.
Mr. Gilbert is a young man of good business ability. His entire life has been passed in this county, and his sterling worth has won for him many friends.
HUME L. SAMMONS, the managing editor of the Milford Independent, and one of the leading young business men of the county, claims Indiana as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Morocco on the 2d of April, 1871. His parents, Nicholas D. and Margaret M. (Woolnough) Sammons, were both natives of Ontario, Canada. About 1860, they came to the United States and located on a farm in Newton County, Ind., where they resided for about fifteen years, or until 1875, when they became residents of Donovan, Ill. Mr. Sammons there engaged in general merchandising and in the drug business until 1884. That year witnessed his arrival in Milford, where he has since made his home. Here he opened a restaurant, and at this writing, in 1892, he is engaged in the hotel business. He is a genial and pleasant gentleman, very popular, and is favorably known throughout the community.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sammons were born four children. The eldest, James B., belonged to the regular army, and was drowned in Puget Sound in 1880, his canoe being capsized during a storm; Emma V. is now the wife of William Darroch, an attorney-at-law of Kentland, Ind.; George M. is the next younger; and Hume L. completes the family.
The subject of this sketch acquired a good English education in the public; schools of Milford, and is a well-informed young man, who reads extensively, and is conversant with all the questions and issues of the day. He learned the printer's trade in the office of the Milford Herald, serving a regular apprenticeship, and in 1890 he accepted the position of foreman of the Milford Independent, of which he is now managing editor. This paper is an independent Democratic journal, not being governed by any rings or cliques. Its editor is a live, wide-awake young man, and he has made the Independent a prosperous paper. Its subscription list has been greatly increased, which fact testifies to its high standard. It is owned by the Times Printing and Publishing Company, of Watseka, Ill.
Mr. Sammons is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. A young man just starting out in life, he has already given evidence of many promising traits of character, being enterprising, public-spirited and progressive. He will no doubt win prosperity, for he possesses good business ability. He is a popular young man, and in social ties ranks high.
Joseph T. Frechette
|JOSEPH T. FRECHETTE, a merchant of Martinton, was born in Canada, near St. Johns, December 10, 1846. His father, Alexis Frechette, was also a native of that country. The Frechette family are of French descent and were among the early pioneers of Canada. The father grew to manhood at his birthplace, and resided a number of years later in Troy and Albany, N. Y. He returned to Canada, and there married Onezime Masse, of French parentage, but a native of Canada. After marriage, Mr. Frechette seated on a farm in that country, and engaged in agricultural pursuits for about ten years. At the expiration of that time, he removed to Illinois, settling in Kankakee County.|
He there purchased a farm, and engaged in cultivating it for a number of years, or until the time of his death, which occurred July 5, 1886. He was a man of good business capacity, and at the time of his death had a good farm and home, which still belong to the heirs. He and his family were members of the Catholic Church. Mrs. Frechette survives her husband, and resides with her daughter in Kankakee.
Joseph T. Frechette is the eldest son and second in order of birth of a family of eleven children, ten of whom are now living. The oldest is Josephine, wife of H. Lambert, of St. Mary's; our subject; Damas A., who resides on and operates the home farm; Ozilda, wife of Samuel Pilotte, a mechanic of St. Mary's; Rosalie, who married E. Leriger, who carries on the occupations of a farmer in Manteno, Kankakee County; Matilda, wife of Isaac Senesack, a farmer of Kankakee County; Dosite E., a merchant of Momence; Ephraim D., a business man of Kankakee; Albina, residing with her mother in Kankakee; and Charles H., who holds a responsible position in Chicago.
The subject of this sketch came with his father to Illinois in 1864. His early days were spent in Canada, where he had good school advantages. Until eighteen years of age much of his time was passed upon a farm, and he was thus early inured to the duties and labors of farm life. He resided with his parents until his marriage in Kankakee with Miss Zenaide Alexander, the ceremony being performed February 8, 1869. For about two years he was occupied in a planing-mill, and then, going to Papineau, he worked for some time for his uncle in a lumberyard. He next went to St. Mary's, where he started a lumber yard, and there he continued for two years. He then came to Martinton, engaging in the same business. This he carried on for about four years, and in 1877 left his business connections here, and, purchasing a lot, built a business house in partnership with his father, and has carried on the business until the present day. Mr. Frechette has added to his building and also to his stock, and has built up a large trade and a fine business in general merchandise.
Mr. and Mrs. Frechette have ten children; the eldest, Leontine, resides at home; Philip assists his father in the business; Hilaire, Rosanna, Matilda, Florence, Arthur, Josephine, Angelina and Emma. Four died in infancy.
Mr. Frechette is interested in politics, being independent, casting his ballot for the man whom he considers best fitted to fill the position. He has held several local posts of trust and honor. He is a member of the Order of Foresters, Kankakee Lodge No. 56. Mr. Frechette and his family are identified with the Catholic Church. For twenty-eight years he has been a resident of Iroquois County, and has done much for its upbuilding and prosperity. He is widely known and much respected as an honest and industrious citizen.
Mr. Frechette was chosen as executor of his father's estate in the settling up of the entire interests. This was faithfully performed without the aid of an attorney, which speaks highly for the executive ability of Mr. Frechette.
JOHN C. CULVER is one of the prominent merchants of Onarga. For many years he has dealt in groceries and is now engaged in business in that line on the corner of First South and Chestnut Streets. A liberal patronage is his, he having built up an excellent trade as the result of his fair dealing and courteous treatment.
Mr. Culver is a native of the Empire State. He was born in Cayuga County, December 10, 1819, and is a son of Asa and Lydia (Conger) Culver, both of whom were natives of New York. Their family numbered four children: Andrew Jackson, William Henry, John C. and one who died when but three years old. When only four years old, John Culver was taken to the home of relatives and when six years old his mother died. At the age of twelve he left the State of New York with Silas Conger and settled in Ohio, ten miles south of Sandusky City, on a farm in what was then known as Huron County but is now a part of Erie County. He there grew to manhood and afterwards removed to Richland County, where he remained until twenty-seven years of age.
On Christmas Day of 1849, Mr. Culver was united in marriage with Miss Clarissa Shafer, daughter of Charles Shafer, of Plymouth, Ohio. Her death occurred in Onarga, Ill., in 1860, and on the 1st of January, 1861, Mr. Culver was again married, his second union being with Miss Harriet M. Messer, daughter of Matthew and Ruth Messer. Four children graced this union, two sons and two daughters, of whom three are yet living: Clara Gertrude, born October 17, 1862; Nettie, who was born July 18, 1864, died on the 12th of February, 1881, when about fifteen years of age; Warren M., born September 26, 1866; and Bertram W., born January 10, 1869.
In 1846, Mr. Culver removed to Michigan, where he resided for a few years. He then became a resident of Porter County, Ind., where the two succeeding years of his life were passed. The year 1851 witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County. He located on Spring Creek, in Onarga Township, and aided in the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad, and since that time his home has been in the same township. In 1854 he removed to the village of Onarga, and in partnership with Dr. Boyd engaged in the lumber business, which he followed for a few years. He then embarked in the flour and feed business, after which he turned his attention to the grocery business and has since followed that line of trade. He carries a full and complete stock of goods and from the beginning success has attended his efforts in this direction. He also carries on an undertaking establishment and does embalming.
Socially, Mr. Culver is connected with the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Onarga Lodge No. 305, A. F. & A. M.; Kankakee Chapter No. 78, R. A. M.; Ford Council No. 41, and Ivanhoe Commandery No. 33, K. T., of Kankakee. He is Past Master of Onarga Lodge. In politics he is a Democrat, but has never been an active politician in the sense of office-seeking. He is a man of good business ability, sagacious and far-sighted and has won prosperity by his well-directed efforts. The county numbers him among its early settlers and he has been especially prominent in the upbuilding and development of Onarga, aiding in all interests calculated to prove of public benefit. Mrs. Culver is a Baptist in religious faith, but as there is no church in Onarga of that sect she has united with the Methodist Episcopal Church.
DR. HENRY H. ALTER, Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank of Watseka, was born in Beaver County, Pa., December 20, 1840, and is a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Weirich) Alter. His father was born in Lebanon County, Pa., and the mother in Washington County, that State. She died when our subject was an infant, and his father was killed by a fall from a horse in 1887.
The Doctor was educated in Washington College, but left that institution before completing the prescribed course of study to enlist for the late war. He enlisted on the 19th of April, 1861, on President Lincoln's first call for troops. He was mustered in as a private of Company E, Twelfth Pennsylvania Infantry, for three months. He served the term of his enlistment and was mustered out while on the sick list. On recovering his health he became a student in the University of Pennsylvania, where he took a medical course. In the spring of 1864 he again entered the army, but that time as Assistant Surgeon of the Fifty-second Kentucky Infantry, and served until February, 1865.
In the fall of that year, Dr. Alter came West and in February, 1866, settled in Watseka, where he practiced his profession for two years. He then engaged with Maj. M. H. Peters as clerk in his book and stationery store, and several years later succeeded to the business, which he conducted successfully until 1889, when tie accepted the position he now holds, that of Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank of Watseka.
On the 8th of November, 1866, our subject was married in Watseka, to Miss Minerva Roff, a native of Warren County, Ind., and a daughter of Asa B. and Ann (Fenton) Roff, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. She came to Iroquois County with her parents in the autumn of 1847. Unto Dr. and Mrs. Alter has been born one child, a daughter, Alice Margaret, who was born in Watseka, is a graduate of the High School of that place and is now a student in Bryant & Stratton's Business College, of Chicago. Mrs. Alter succeeded to her husband's book and stationery business in 1889, since which time she has conducted the business with marked success, displaying excellent ability in this line.
In his political affiliations the Doctor is a Democrat, and has served as City Clerk of Watseka for some twelve or fourteen years, and as School Treasurer nearly the same period. He has proved a faithful and competent officer and is popular in his present position in the bank, enjoying the utmost confidence of its management and the goodwill of its patrons.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS, proprietor of the Williams House of Watseka, is an honored pioneer of Iroquois County, having settled here in the fall of 1842. He was born in Adams County, Ohio, November 23, 1825, and is a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Swim) Williams. His father was born in Maryland, on the 15th of January, 1797, and when four years of age removed with his parents to Ohio, the family settling in Adams County; where the son was reared to agricultural pursuits. He was married in that county, when a young man, to Miss Elizabeth Swim, and there engaged in farming. In 1828, he met with a bad accident, being crushed by a falling timber at a barn-raising in which he was participating. This injury made him a cripple for life and unfitted him for physical labor. In 1836, he removed with his young family to Winnebago County, Ill., and entered Government land. At that time, what is now the flourishing city of Rockford contained but two houses. He remained in Winnebago County until the fall of 1842, when he removed with his family to Iroquois County, and settled in the township of Belmont, where he spent the remainder of his days. His death occurred August 7, 1857. His estimable wife, who was born in Ohio, January 2, 1800, survived her husband and died in Watseka in 1880. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Williams: Samuel, known as Judge Williams, of Woodland, is the eldest, and is represented elsewhere in this work; John died in Iowa; William is the next younger; Melissa died in 1846, at the age of eighteen years; Josiah, who resides in Watseka, married Elizabeth Egbert. and for his second wife wedded Mrs. Martha Hall; Susanna is the wife of Simeon Downing, of Butler County, Iowa; Thomas married Charlotte Hoel, and is a farmer of Belmont Township; Mary died about 1855, at the age of nineteen; Elizabeth A. is the wife of Chester Smith, of Milton; Harvey is single and is ranching in Wyoming.
William Williams came to Illinois with his parents in the fall of 1836, and spent six years with them in Winnebago County, after which he came to Iroquois County, in the fall of 1842, and settled in Belmont Township. He was reared on a farm and received the limited educational advantages of the public schools in the frontier region. On reaching man's estate, be engaged in farming in Belmont Township, and was married there to Miss Elizabeth Fry, who was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, April 7, 1830, and is a daughter of John and Sarah (Doran) Fry. Her people were among the early pioneer settlers of Iroquois County. They were natives of Virginia, and came to Illinois in 1837, from Ohio. Both are now deceased.
Three children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Williams, of whom two are now living, a son and daughter, one having died in infancy, Alice M., the elder; George O., the only son, who is now twenty-three years of age, is a graduate of the Class of '92, Michigan State University, of Ann Arbor. He is studying with the view of entering the legal profession.
Mr. Williams was engaged in farming in Belmont Township until 1857, when he sold out and removed to Moniteau County, Mo., where he was engaged in the mercantile business until the breaking out of the late war, when the unsettled condition of affairs on the Southern border made a residence there very undesirable, and he returned to Illinois, but had to greatly sacrifice his property. He then located in Watseka, where he was engaged in teaming and in the transfer business until March 28, 1877. He then purchased the Williams House, which he has since conducted and which has always been the leading hotel in the city.
Mr. Williams is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows' societies. He was made an Odd Fellow in Missouri, in 1858, and is now a member of Iroquois Lodge No. 74, I. O. O. F., of Watseka. He is a Royal Arch Mason, holding membership with Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M., and Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M. In politics, he has always been a consistent Democrat and an earnest and enthusiastic supporter of the party, but he could never be induced to accept public office. Once he was elected Justice of the Peace but refused to qualify. He is a man of broad and liberal views on the subject of religion, and relies more on good principles and on honest and upright life than on creeds or dogmas. Nearly a-half century of his life has been passed among his fellow-citizens of .Iroquois County, and in such a manner as to command the esteem and respect of the best people, and all are assured of his strict integrity, whole-heartedness and manly independence. His good wife has been to him a helpmate in reality, and has devoted her best energies for the welfare of her husband and children with such an earnest fidelity that she has won and enjoys not only the devotion of her family, but the esteem of a wide circle of friends.
AARON C. BADGLEY, a retired physician, makes his home in Ashkum. He is a native of the Empire State and his birth occurred on the 18th of April, 1815, in Ontario County. He is a son of Aaron and Johanna (Hedges) Badgley, both of whom were natives of New .Jersey. The grandfather of our subject, George Badgley, was born in England and emigrated to the New World with a cousin, Anthony Badgley, who settled in the South, while the former located in New Jersey and there reared his family of five sons. Three of this number were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The father afterward removed to Ontario County, where for a number of years he engaged in agricultural pursuits. He then removed to Ohio and settled in Gallia County in 1817, which was then a wilderness. At that time the Indians had not left for their Western reservation, and many wild animals still roamed through the forests. There he cleared and opened up a farm and spent a number of years at the hard labor of pioneer life. From Gallia County, Mr. Badgley went to Mercer County, Ohio, where he remained for a time, after which he removed to Illinois. He settled in La Salle County in 1850, where he lived a retired life during his remaining years. The death of his wife occurred in 1854. Though Mr. Badgley was never called upon for much military duty, he enlisted in the War of 1812, in which service he was called out but once.
Aaron C. Badgley, Jr., is the youngest of a family of three sons and four daughters who grew to mature years. The eldest, Ruth, married and reared a family; Mary is now deceased; George was a farmer in Ohio and there departed this life; Sallie was married but is now deceased; Anthony settled in Kendall County, Ill., in 1850, where he died; Lucinda died soon after her marriage; and our subject, who is the only survivor of the family.
The early years of the Doctor were passed in the State of Ohio, his time being spent in the cares and duties pertaining to farm life and in obtaining an education in the district schools. He has been largely self-educated since arriving at man's estate, for the upgraded district schools of that early day offered but limited educational privileges. When a young man, he took up the study of medicine under Drs. Houston & Stewart, of Miami County, Ohio. He afterward engaged in practice, near his preceptors for a short time, and then located in St. Mary's, Mercer County, now called Auglaize, and there continued in his profession until 1850. He was one of the pioneer physicians of the county, and soon after locating there the Doctor took a contract on the Cincinnati & Toledo Canal for the building of the locks. He employed a good many men and teams and gave much of his time to the supervision of the work, while he also continued in his profession. At that time he removed to Illinois and settled in La Salle County, where for about eighteen years he continued building up an extensive practice. In 1868, he sold out in La Salle and came to Iroquois County, where he purchased a tract of land, comprising three hundred and twenty acres in Ashkum Township. He had intended to give up the practice of medicine and devote himself exclusively to farming interests, but as there were so few physicians in this section he was obliged to resume it, and has continued more or less since that time in practice. In 1875, Dr Badgley removed to the village of Ashkum and has bought a good residence property. He has never established an office here, intending to live a retired life, but he still professionally attends a few of his former patients and friends. For several years, he has been in poor health and is enjoying the rest which his many years of active work have made necessary and desirable.
In Auglaize County, Ohio, Dr. Badgley was united in marriage with Margaret Haney, who was born in Ohio, July 24, 1820, and there grew to womanhood. On the 4th of November, 1838, the wedding ceremony was performed. Mrs. Badgley is a daughter of Jonas and Sarah (Veil) Haney, who were numbered among the honored pioneers of Miami County. The Doctor and his wife have no children but have taken several orphans to rear and educate, who are now among the honored members of society and look upon Dr. and Mrs. Badgley as a beloved father and mother.
For many years, Dr. Badgley was identified with the Republican party, and previous to its organization was an old-line Whig and Abolitionist. Of late years, he has advocated the cause of Prohibition and is now a supporter of that party. The Doctor and his wife held membership with the Baptist Church at Earlville, LaSalle County, and when they removed to Ashkum brought their letters with them, but as there was no Baptist Church located here they have not united with any church organization, but still hold to the Baptist faith. Socially, he is an Odd Fellow, which order he joined before coming to this county. He has held many local positions, the duties of which he has discharged in a very able and trustworthy manner. During his long residence of forty-two years in this State, and nearly a quarter of a century in Iroquois County, he has made a host of friends who esteem him most highly for his qualities of manliness, honor and nobility of character, and he well deserves to be remembered as one of the pioneers of the county.
WILLIAM LYMAN, one of the early settlers of Iroquois County, who now resides on section 6, Middleport Township, is a native of the Keystone State. He was bore on the 27th of July, 1812, and is one of a family of four children whose parents were John and Hannah (Nutt) Lyman. The father was a blacksmith by trade. When our subject was a young lad he removed with his family to the Buckeye State, where he purchased a large tract of Government land in the midst of the forest, and hewed out a farm. The journey Westward was made by team. He remained in Ohio until 1834, when he came to Iroquois County, Ill., and there made his home until his death, which occurred in 1840. In politics, he was a Democrat, and while in Ohio served as County Judge for a number of years. He held membership with the German Lutheran Church and was a highly respected citizen. His wife survived him about ten years, passing away in 1850. Their family numbered the following children: George, Hannah, Peggy, Jacob, Samuel, Catherine, Polly, Daniel, Anne, John, Sallie, William, Jonathan and Susan.
We now take up the personal history of William Lyman, one of the county's honored pioneers. He was a lad of six summers at the time of the removal of the family from Pennsylvania to Ohio. His education was acquired in a log schoolhouse, and school was conducted on the subscription plan. He is familiar with frontier life, having experienced the hardships and trials of the pioneer both in Ohio and Illinois. In 1834, six families came by team to Iroquois County. Mr. Lyman, who formed one of the party, purchased eight acres of Government land on section 13, Middleport Township, at $1.25 per acre. This was all covered with timber, but he at once began its improvement, clearing acre after acre during six years when he left his first claim and removed to the farm on section 6, Middleport Township, which has since been his home. He owns eighty-eight acres of valuable land. His landed possessions in Iroquois County comprise two hundred and ten acres, the fruits of his own labor.
Mr. Lyman was married in 1832, the lady of his choice being Miss Elizabeth Shipman, daughter of Macon and Catherine Shipman. By their union were born four children, a daughter and three sons: Hannah, who became the wife of John L. Bailey, died in 1891; John died in 1865; Jonathan died during the war; and Andrew is engaged in farming in Kansas. The mother of this family was called to her final rest in 1882. Together Mr. and Mrs. Lyman traveled life's journey as man and wife for half a century, and she had been his faithful companion and helpmate through all the long years. Her death was deeply regretted throughout the community, for she had many friends.
In politics, Mr. Lyman is a Republican, having long supported that party. His first Presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson. He has held the office of Commissioner of Highways, Path Master, School Director and Overseer of the Poor, and his public duties were ever discharged with a promptness and fidelity which won him the commendation of even his political enemies. He holds membership with the United Brethren Church. Few have as long been residents of Iroquois County as Mr. Lyman, who for nearly sixty years has made his home in Middleport Township. He has watched the growth and progress of the county, has seen its wild land transformed into beautiful homes and farms, its villages grow into thriving towns and the work of development and upbuilding carried forward to such an extent that one could hardly recognize the county of today as the one of even a third of a century ago. Mr. Lyman, has ever borne his part in, the work of progress. He is an honored pioneer, a prosperous farmer and a valued citizen.
JOHN NILSON, who owns and operates an excellent farm of four hundred and five acres in Milford Township, was born February 20, 1840, on the farm which is still his home. He was one of the seven children of Robert and Susan L. (Wagner) Nilson, whose sketch is given in connection with that of Sidney Nilson.
Mr. Nilson of this sketch is living on the farm which was his birthplace and was the, home of both his father and grandfather, the latter having purchased it of Hill at a very early day. In the common schools of the neighborhood, he acquired his education. No event of special importance occurred during his youth. He was early inured to the labors of the farm, for as soon as old enough to handle the plow he began working in the fields. When twenty?five years of age, he started out in life for himself and embarked in farming and stock?raising, which pursuits he followed quite extensively for a number of years. Of late years, however, he has given but little attention to the raising of stock, devoting his entire energies to the growing of such cereals as are adapted to this climate. Standing before his home, the eye can glance around over broad fields of waving grain which tell of golden harvests. The highly cultivated land indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner, and many of the improvements upon the place stand as monuments to his progressive spirit.
On the 12th of February, 1883, Mr. Nilson was united in marriage with Miss Emeline Snyder, daughter of Nelson and Mary Jane (Obert) Snyder, natives of Tompkins County, N. Y., as is Mrs. Nilson. The young couple began their domestic life upon the farm which is yet their home. The Nilson household is the abode of hospitality, and our subject and his estimable wife rank high in social circles. In his political affiliations, he is a Democrat, but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success. His prosperity is due entirely to his own industry and perseverance, whereby he has overcome the obstacles in his path and worked his way steadily upward. He is a worthy representative of an honored pioneer family, and, like his ancestors, manifests a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding.
PHILIP S. BOWE, the junior partner of the firm of Koehn & Bowe, general merchants of Buckley, has the honor of being a native of this State. He was born on the 26th of December, 1866, in Monee, Will County, and is of Irish descent. His parents, Moses and Honors (Hurley) Bowe, were both natives of the Emerald Isle and came to this country in early life. The father crossed the Atlantic when a youth of fourteen years, and the mother came to America when a young lady of twenty summers. Their marriage was celebrated in Chicago, where they long made their home, Mr. Bowe was in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad for thirty-five years, but at this writing, in the fall of 1892, is engaged in farming near Peotone, Ill. He is the present Supervisor of Will Township, where he resides. In the Bowe family were eight children, four sons and four daughters, but only four are now living, as follows: John, Philip S., Michael and Agnes. The daughters, except Agnes, are deceased, including Mary, Katie and Julia; and William, the youngest son, also has passed away.
Philip S. Bowe, whose name heads this record, spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home. His education was acquired in the public schools of Monee and in the State Normal School, of Normal, Ill., where his school life was ended. In 1890, he came to Buckley, where be has since made his home and formed a partnership with John C. Koehn. They opened a general merchandise store and now carry a full and complete stock of goods, consisting of dry-goods, clothing, hats, caps, boots, shoes, groceries, notions, etc. They are doing a flourishing business and their trade, which has constantly increased from the beginning, has now assumed excellent proportions. Mr. Bowe is a prominent young business man of Buckley, progressive and enterprising, and has the esteem of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. He is a member of the Catholic Church, and is a supporter of Democratic principles. In 1891, he filled the office of Village Treasurer.
In September, 1892, Mr. Bowe led to the marriage altar Miss Lucy, daughter of John Fisher, of Loda, Ill. The young couple as they start out on life's journey together have the high regard and best wishes of a large circle of friends.
W. H. BUSS, a leading farmer residing on section 12, Ash Grove Township, is one of the enterprising citizens of Iroquois County. A native of Germany, he was born on the 8th of January, 1835, in Hanover, and is a son of Henry Buss, who was born and reared in the same place. His father was the owner of a ship, to which he gave most of his attention, but also carried on farming to some extent. He served in the German army for five years. His wife was in her maidenhood Miss Gretja Teolon, and accompanied by her and their six children he came to America in 1850. They boarded a vessel at firemen, and after a successful voyage landed at New Orleans, being seven weeks and three days on the journey. They were afterwards on a Mississippi steamer for nine days, when they arrived at Quincy, and settled on a farm thirty?one miles northeast of that place, in Adams County. The farm was still in its primitive state, the land being wild prairie, and deer and other wild game were quite plentiful. He rented land for a while, and afterwards purchased a small farm, which he carried on until his death in September, 1862, at the age of fifty?six years. His wife had been called to her final home five years previous, dying at the age of fifty?three years. He came to the United States a poor man, but by his industry and untiring energy he became well?to?do. In political sentiment he affiliated with the Democratic party, and in religious faith he and his family were Lutherans. The children are as follows: Catherine is the wife of John Jopman, of Nebraska; George H. is a wealthy farmer of Adams County, Ill.; W. H. is next in order of birth; Mahelle, widow of Henry Flesner, of Adams County, and Trenka, wife of Nelson Pile, make their home in California; and Henry is a farmer of Kansas.
Our subject was fifteen years of age when he crossed the water to this country. His education had been acquired in Germany, but he soon learned the English language on his arrival here, although unable to attend school. Remaining under the parental roof, he aided in the management of the home farm until his marriage on the 13th of March, 1857, in Clayton Township, Adams County, when Miss Margaret Schmidt became his wife. Mrs. Buss is a daughter of Ahrend and Lena Schmidt, both of whom were natives of Friesland, Germany. Her father departed this life when she was but eight years old, but Mrs. Schmidt survived until February 26, 1869, dying in Livingston County, Ill. Mrs. Buss was born June 25, 1836, in Germany, and came to this country when twenty years of age. She landed at New Orleans, but settled in Adams County, this State.
Of the family of our subject and his estimable wife, the first five children were born in Adams County, the younger in Iroquois County, and the remainder in Livingston County, Ill. Henry, born November 21, 1857, was married, but has now separated from his wife, and is a farmer of this county; Ahrend, who is a farmer residing on the same section as his father, was born on the 20th of November, 1858; Catherine, born March 23,1859, is the wife of Dick Duis of Nebraska; Oltman, born December 17, 1861, is a farmer of section 11, Ash Grove Township; John, born August 29, 1863, died in Nebraska on the 25th of September, 1891, leaving a wife; Talka, wife of Jordan Rosendall, of Nebraska, was born July 24, 1865; Angeline, born April 29, 1867, is the wife of Ben Johnson, of Milford Township; William W., born April 23, 1869, is a farmer; Harmon, born March 17, 1871, aids in the work of the farm; George, born on February 11, 1873, and Margaret, November 24, 1874, are at home. The children have all received good educations, and with their parents are all members of the Lutheran Church.
Mr. Buss is one of the popular men of Ash Grove Township, and has held the office of Road Supervisor. He is now the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and ten acres, which at the time of his removal here was wild and uncultivated, but he has now placed it under a high state of cultivation. On coming to Iroquois County, Mr. Buss began the improvement of his land, and is now one of the well?to?do agriculturists of the locality. He has made his home here since 1817. Our subject cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and the man of whom he rented his farm at the time hearing this made him leave. He has ever since been a stalwart advocate of the Republican party, and to it gives his earnest support. He often attends the conventions of his party, and takes a deep interest in its welfare.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Ireland
THOMAS A. IRELAND, one of the prominent and influential farmers and stock-raisers of Artesia Township, residing on section 27, where he owns and operates three hundred and twenty acres of land, is a native of West Virginia. He was born in Harrison County, on the 23d of May, 1824, and is a son of Jonathan and Eliza (Boring) Ireland, both of whom were natives of Maryland. Of their family of five sons and six daughters, six are yet living, as follows: Sarah, Thomas A., William W., Elizabeth R., Juliet and Theodore F. Those now deceased are Theophilus, Selina, Mary A., Jonathan G. and Eliza Jane.
The parents of this family, emigrating Westward, took up their residence in Ohio about 1828, locating in Clinton County, near Wilmington, where they resided for about six years. In 1834 they came to Illinois, settling in what is now Bureau County, but was then a part of Putnam County. Their farm of three hundred acres was located near Princeton, and continued to be the home of Mr. Ireland until 1871, with the exception of three years, from 1841 until 1844, which he passed in Putnam County. In 1861 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, and ten years later he went to De Kalb County to live with his youngest son, Theodore F., where he died on the 20th of December, 1872, at an advanced age.
Thomas A. Ireland, whose name heads this record, spent the first thirteen years of his life in West Virginia and Ohio, and then came with his parents to Illinois. Amid the wild scenes of pioneer life he was reared to manhood. 1n 1850 he removed to Lee County, where he resided for seventeen years. In the meantime he was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Amelia Lyons, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Darnes) Lyons, of Lamoille, Ill. Their union was celebrated on the 6th of March, 1862, and unto them were born a family of ten children: Claribel, born June 30, 1864, is the wife of W. S. Marsh, a farmer of Artesia Township; Frances Elizabeth, born September 19, 1866, is the wife of F. P. Temple, a carpenter of Buckley; George W., who was born October 18, 1867, died January 12, 1869; Theodore Leslie, born April 18, 1870; William Bruce, born on the 6th of May, 1872; Remembrance Franklin, born July 15, 1874; Byron T., born March 10, 1878; Leonidas J., born February 15, 1881; Karl Walden, born August 8, 1884; and Amelia L., born on the 9th of March, 1890. Seven of the children are at home.
In the spring of 1867 Mr. Ireland removed to Ford County, locating on a farm in Lyman Township, about ten miles from Paxton, the county seat, where with his family he resided until the spring of 1876. That year witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County, and he located on a half?section of land in Artesia Township, adjoining the corporation limits of Buckley on the west. Here he still makes his home, and in connection with the development of his land, which is now under a high state of cultivation, he engages quite extensively in stock?raising, breeding horses, cattle and hogs, to which he feeds the greater part of his grain. He is a man of good business ability, and an industrious and thrifty farmer. He has a beautiful home, and his large barn, 50x70 feet, which he has recently erected, is one of the best in the county. In Ford County Mr. Ireland held various offices of trust, and was Justice of the Peace for four years. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican principles, but is not a politician in the sense of office?seeking, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with excellent success.
ISAAC L. BODY, who resides on section 25, Crescent Township, is a worthy representative of one of the honored pioneer families of the county, his father, John Body, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, being one of the early settlers of the community. He was born on the 19th of January, 1852, on the old homestead in Belmont Township, and his boyhood days were quietly passed upon his father's farm in the usual manner of pioneer lads. He acquired his education in the common schools, which he attended through the winter season, while in the summer months he aided in the labors of the fields.
After attaining his majority, Mr. Body chose as a companion and helpmate on life's journey Miss Sarah J. John, a daughter of William and Margaret (Cobbler) John. She was one of fourteen children, nine of whom are yet living, three sons and three daughters, viz.: David; Mary Ann, wife of Patrick Sullivan; Elizabeth, wife of John Martin; Amy, wife of John Hurd; Nancy Ann, wife of George Featherling; William; Francis Marion; Sarah J., wife of our subject; and Isabel, wife of William McElhany. The father of this family is a native of Ohio. He was born in 1806, and is still living at the advanced age of eighty?six years. Farming has been his principal occupation through life. He came to Iroquois County when there were only twelve white families on Sugar Creek, but the Indians were far more numerous. Mrs. John was also born in the Buckeye State; the date of her birth being 1812. She died in 1890, at the age of seventy?eight years.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Body, which was celebrated on the 8th of December, 1874, has been blessed with a family of four children, all daughters, as follows: Clara Belle, Minnie May, Neva Frances and Bertha L. J. The family circle yet remains unbroken.
Mr. Body is one of the enterprising young farmers of this community. He owns one hundred and eighty acres of arable land and eighty acres of timber. The former is under a high state of cultivation and yields a golden harvest in return for the care and labor bestowed upon it. The neat appearance of the place indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner, who is recognized as one of the representative agriculturists of the community. In politics, he is a supporter of Democratic principles, having affiliated with that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for Hon. S. J. Tilden. For six years he has ably served as School Director. Public?spirited and progressive, he takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and does all in his power for its upbuilding.
CHRIST MUNSTERMANN, who owns and operates a valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 3, Ash Grove Township, is one of the worthy citizens that Germany has furnished to Iroquois County. He was born in Hanover, on the 5th of August, 1838, and is a son of Peter Munstermann, a farmer, who died when our subject was two and a?half years old. The mother bore the maiden name of Dorothy Blome. On the death of Mr. Munstermann she became the wife of Christ Schulenburg, who was also an agriculturist, and spent her entire life in Germany. The members of the family were Henry, a farmer of Ash Grove Township; John, who died in Cook County; Mary, who is yet living in Germany; Dorothy, who is a resident of Cook County; and Christ of this sketch. There was also a daughter born of the second marriage, Sophia, who still lives in her native land.
Mr. Munstermann whose name heads this record acquired his education in the public schools, which he attended between the ages of seven and fifteen years. He was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads, and after attaining his majority was united in marriage with Miss Mina Haben, who was born in the same locality as her husband. Wishing to try his fortune in the New World, in 1869 he bade good?bye to the Fatherland and with his family crossed the briny deep from Hamburg to New York. He was eleven days on the water. On reaching this country he went to Chicago and made a location in Homewood, Cook County, where he and his wife both worked on a farm. He witnessed the famous Chicago fire in 1871.
In 1873, Mr. Munstermann came to Iroquois County, and with the capital he had acquired through his industry and perseverance he purchased forty acres of land in Crescent Township. Subsequently he sold that farm, and on section 3, Ash Grove Township, bought eighty acres of wild prairie, upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made. His industrious efforts and his well?directed labors have transformed it into one of the finest farms of the community. He has paid out $1,500 for draining and has made many other excellent improvements, both useful and ornamental. Since his first purchase he has extended the boundaries of his farm until he now has two hundred and forty acres.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Munstermann have been born two children: Matilda, who was born in Cook County, January 28, 1872, is now the wife of Henry Salmon, of Ash Grove Township. The younger child, Henry, born November 4, 1877, still aids his father in the operation of the home farm. The parents are both members of the Lutheran Church and Mr. Munstermann has contributed liberally to its support and aided largely in its upbuilding. Ho is now Treasurer of the Church of St. Paul. The Republican party finds in him a stalwart supporter, he having been identified with that body since he cast his first Presidential vote for R. B. Hayes. His success in life is all due to his own efforts, and he may well serve to encourage others who like himself have to begin life at the bottom of the ladder and work their way upward. He now has a comfortable competence and is ranked among the highly respected and substantial citizens of the community.
ORVILLE E. DIX, a well?to?do farmer and stock?raiser, who resides on section 32, Iroquois Township, owns and operates a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, pleasantly situated about a half?mile from Crescent City. Upon the place are good improvements. There are many rods of tiling, and the well?drained fields have been placed under a high state of cultivation and yield a golden tribute to the care and labor bestowed upon them. The home is a pleasant residence, and altogether the farm is one of the valuable and desirable pieces of property in this locality.
Mr. Dix, who has a wide acquaintance throughout this community and ranks as an enterprising farmer, certainly deserves representation in the history of his adopted country. He has the honor of being a native of Illinois. He was born in Grundy County, December 27, 1852, and is a son of Oliver Dix, who was born in Oneida County, N. Y., on the 5th of January, 1821. The grandfather of our subject, Richard Dix, was also born in the Empire State and the family are among the pioneers of New York. The grandfather died when Oliver was a small boy, after which his mother was again married and removed with her family to Illinois about 1833, making the journey from New York with teams and wagons. At that time there was not even a trading?post at Chicago. They made a settlement in Kendall County, and upon that pioneer farm Oliver Dix grew to manhood. He was twice married. In Kendall County, he wedded Lydia Wing, an aunt of Judge Wing, the prominent attorney of Chicago. She was a native of Chautauqua County, N. Y., and her death occurred when our subject was only four years old. In an early day, Mr. Dix removed to Grundy County, becoming one of its early settlers. He located on wild land, and from the raw prairie developed a good farm, which he yet makes his home. He is now seventy?one years of age. For many years he has been identified with the Republican party, has taken quite an active part in political affairs and has held a number of public positions of honor and trust. He is one of the founders of the Methodist Episcopal Church near his home and has ever been one of its active and faithful members. The honorable, upright life which he has lived has won him many friends, and he has the confidence and esteem of all.
Orville Dix, whose name heads this record, is the younger of two sons. His brother, Asa W., is an enterprising and progressive farmer of Grundy County, residing in Nettle Township, and takes quite an active part in local politics. Our subject was reared to manhood upon the old homestead and remained with his father until after he had attained his majority. He acquired a good education in the public schools, the academy, and in the Newark High School. After completing his studies he engaged in teaching for a time, and later rented a farm, which he operated until 1882. That year witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County, when he purchased the farm upon which he now resides in Iroquois County.
Ere leaving the county of his nativity, Mr. Dix was united in marriage in October, 1874, with Miss Elizabeth Riggs, a native of West Virginia, who when a child came to Illinois with her father and was reared and educated in Grundy County. Three children have been born of their union, Lettie, Ida and Eugene, all of whom are living with their father. The mother of this family was called to her final rest in 1884, and in October, 1887, Mr. Dix was joined in wedlock with Mrs. Matilda (Anderson) Harvey, a widow, who is a native of Sweden, but was reared and educated in this country. A son and daughter grace this union, Oliver and Mildred Pearl.
Mr. Dix has been identified with the Republican party since he became a voter and is a stanch advocate of its principles. He takes quite an active part in local politics, and, as every true American citizen should do, feels an interest in the success of his party. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend. He believes in good schools and competent teachers, and while serving for six years as a member of the School Board in this community he did effective service for its schools. Himself and wife are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, give liberally to its support and are earnest laborers in the Master's vineyard. Socially, he is a member of the Modern Woodmen. We see in him a self?made man, whose possessions have all been acquired through his own efforts. By his industry, enterprise and perseverance he has steadily worked his way upward until he now ranks among the county's substantial agriculturists.
JOHN B. TAYLOR, a worthy and respected citizen of Gilman, now living a retired life, was born near Macclesfield, England, on the 27th of February, 1826. He is a son of Robert and Frances (Bewlex) Taylor, both of whom were natives of the same country. His father was a carpenter and joiner by occupation, and came to the United States at about the year 1826. The following year his wife, our subject and his twin sister, joined the father in the New World. They first settled in Mars County, N. J., and both parents there died, the father's death occurring in the prime of his manhood, about the year 1838, while his wife survived him nearly a quarter of a century, her death occurring in 1862, at the age of sixty?six years. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church. In their family were four children, of whom the eldest are our subject and his twin sister Mary, who is the wife of Robert Beaty, and resides in New Jersey. The third child, Sarah, married William Beaty, and died leaving a family of eight children to mourn her loss. The youngest of the family, Andrew, still resides in New Jersey.
In early life our subject began to work on a farm, which he continued until of age. His educational advantages were very meagre. When twenty?one years old he started to learn the carpenter's and joiner's, trade, and the first year worked for $6 per month. On the 7th of August, 1847, though getting but $6 per month, he married Miss Sarah A., daughter of Robert and Sarah (Gardner) Blackwell, who were married in New Jersey, and later moved to Newport, Pa., where they spent their last days. Her father was a cooper by trade, but for many years followed the occupation of farming. The mother was a Presbyterian in faith, and died when Mrs. Taylor was only five years old. Her father, who was born the 17th of August, 1789, died on the 18th of May, 1867. Mrs. Taylor is one of two living children, several brothers and sisters having died in their early years. Her brother, Lewis, resides at Hazelton, Pa. Mrs. Taylor was born in Newport, Pa., August 16, 1828. When our subject and his wife married she had a few dollars, which she had earned by working for a neighbor, and he borrowed $25 from a friend.
Unto this worthy couple have been born five children: Almenah Y., who is at home; Alvin G. is foreman of the passenger yard of the Chicago & Alton Railroad at Bloomington, he having gone on the road as brakeman sixteen years ago, and has worked his way up to his present position, never having been laid off by the company; George E. is a fruit?grower at South Pasadena, Cal.; Robert W. resides at Ashkum; and Emma A. is the wife of George F. Benedict, and resides in Chicago.
Having lived in New Jersey until 1856, Mr. Taylor came to Illinois and located at Princeton, Bureau County, and soon afterward removed to Dover, in the same county. On the 12th of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, Ninety-third Illinois Infantry. The regiment was first sent to Memphis, Tenn., and the first real duty was an expedition into Mississippi. He was engaged with his company in the battle at Jackson, Miss. Other important engagements in which he took part were Champion Hill, the siege of Vicksburg, Mission Ridge, Dalton, Altoona Pass, Savannah, Columbia, Bentonville (the last battle of the war), and he also went with Sherman on his march to the sea. Near Dalton, Ga. June 28, 1864, he with others was riding on top of a freight car, which was loaded with shot and shell. Seeing that the train on which they were riding would shortly collide with another, he jumped from the car, and in so doing fractured his ankle and also injured his back; nevertheless, he hobbled along with his regiment, never spending a day in the hospital. His career as a soldier was marked by commendable bravery and fortitude, and he was always found where the battle was hottest.
Returning home from the war, he worked at his trade in Dover until 1870, when he removed to a farm in Danforth Township. Though he lived on the farm, he still spent most of his time at his trade. For some three months he worked on the Redfield House, also on the residence of D. L. Parter and others. In 1878 he removed to Gilman, and since then he has done considerable at his trade, especially in Danforth, where he worked on the fine elevator at that place, and the residences of W. W. Gilbert, Dr. Smith, R. O. Pennewill, and others. He is now practically retired from business, having a comfortable competency, which he has earned by years of industry and frugality. He still owns his farm of eighty acres in Danforth Township, and four dwellings in Gilman.
WILLIAM HOLLINGSWORTH, who carries on general farming in Onarga Township, is one of the extensive land?owners of this community and also one of the early settlers of the county, who for twenty?eight years has resided in this community. As he is widely and favorably known, we feel assured that the record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. He claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, his birth occurring near Hamilton, Butler County, on the 29th of April, 1817. Little is known concerning the early history of the family. His father, Joseph Hollingsworth, was a native of South Carolina and married Hannah Hawkins. In 1810, when our subject was about nine years of age, the parents removed with their family to Indiana, locating in Tippecanoe County, where the father purchased land of the Government, paying $100 for eighty acres. This he at once began to develop and improve, making his home thereon until his death, which occurred in 1852. His wife survived him for about fourteen years and came to Illinois, where her death occurred in 1866. The family of this worthy couple numbered seven children, as follows: Amos, who died in 1872; Martha, who departed this life in 1892; William, whose name heads this record; Benjamin, a resident of California; Joseph, who is now engaged in farming near Wichita, Kan.; Seth, a resident farmer of Arkansas; and James, a retired farmer who now makes his home in Kansas City.
The subject of this sketch spent the first nine years of his life in the State of his nativity and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Indiana, where he was reared to manhood. The days of his boyhood and youth were quietly passed upon his father's farm. He worked in the field during the summer months and became inured to the hard labor of developing new land. In the winter, or for about three months each year, he would attend the common district schools of the neighborhood, and thus acquired a good education. He gave his father the benefit of his labors and remained upon the home farm until thirty years of age, when he began farming for himself. He continued to reside in Indiana until the spring of 1864, when he removed to Illinois, and since that time has been a resident of Iroquois County. Soon after his arrival, he purchased four hundred and twenty acres of land on section 1, Onarga Township, and has since carried on general farming. His home is on one of the excellent farms of the community, and the well?tilled fields and neat appearance of the place indicate the supervision of a careful manager. A marriage ceremony performed on the 26th of March, 1857, united the destinies of Mr. Hollingsworth and Miss Sarah Meeks, a native of Chester County, Pa., and a daughter of .Joseph and Mary (Hill) Meeks. Four children have been born of this union, two sons and two daughters, of whom three are yet living, as follows: Joseph, the eldest, makes his home in Onarga; Alice is the wife of Dr. M. E. Mosher, a practicing physician now residing in Havanna, Mason County, Ill.; Harvey aids his father in the cultivation of the home farm; and Grace died in 1876.
The parents are both Friends in religious belief, having been reared under the auspices of that society. They are people of sterling worth, highly respected throughout the community, and in social circles they hold an enviable position. In his political affiliations, Mr. Hollingsworth is a Republican, a warm advocate of the principles of that party, and for a number of years he has held the office of School Director.