Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
ROBERT FINCH, SR., resides on section 26, Prairie Green Township. Almost half a century has passed away since this sterling old pioneer first came to Iroquois County. He has a wide acquaintance and his sketch will prove of interest to many of our readers who esteem him as a progressive and representative citizen. A native of Dearborn County, Ind., he was born September 25, 1819. His parents, Jubal and Philena (Earl) Finch, were parents of but two children, and Edwin, the eldest son, is now deceased. The father, a native of the Empire State, and a successful physician and surgeon, died during the infancy of our subject. The mother was also born in New York State, and died at the age of forty-five.
The boyhood days of Robert Finch were spent in Indiana. He remained in his native county until twelve years of age and then removed to Fountain County. After attending the common schools he entered the Baptist Manual Labor Training School, where he pursued his studies for nine months. During that time he was classmate of Congressman Holman, "the watch-dog of the Treasury." This school was located in Franklin, Ind. He afterward entered thee college in Crawfordsville, Ind., and subsequently engaged in teaching, which profession he followed successfully for nine years through the fall and winter seasons, while in the summer months he engaged in farming. He started out in life with no capital but a young man's bright hope of the future and a determination to succeed, and he has won success.
On the 3rd of December, 1847, Mr. Finch married Miss Sarah Ann Crawford, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Cline) Crawford. Her father was a graduate of the Cincinnati Medical College, and was a physician and surgeon of prominence. He was a native of Ohio, but made his home near Attica, Ind., where he enjoyed an extensive practice. His wife was also born in the Buckeye State. In their family were two sons and four daughters, all yet living, namely: Mrs. Finch, Ruth, Josephine, Thomas, John and Elizabeth. The wife of our subject was educated in the common schools and is a kind and genial lady, who has proved a valuable helpmate to her husband. Eleven children have been born unto them, eight sons and three daughters, and the family circle yet remains unbroken: Edwin, the eldest, married Miss Sarah McDrew; John wedded Miss Debra Poiner; Cyrus married Miss Josephine Astor; Robert is engaged in farming; Theodore married Miss Loretta Handy; Fremont and Frederick are still at home; Leon married Miss Ida Wall; Genevra is the wife of Crumb McDonald; Elizabeth is the wife of John Lyons; Leonora is the wife of John Handy. There are also thirty-three grandchildren. The sons are all farmers and the daughters have married agriculturists, and both sons and sons-in-law are supporters of the Republican party. Edwin cast his first vote for Gen. Grant; John, for R. B. Hayes; Fremont, for Garfield; and Frederick, for Harrison.
Mr. Finch, our subject, was, in early life, a supporter of the Whig party and took an active part in the campaign of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," his first vote being east for William Henry Harrison. For forty years he has been a reader of the New York Tribune, which was formerly published by Horace Greeley, and is a well-informed man, who keeps posted on all the issues and current events of the day. He has been honored with a number of offices of trust, having served as Road Commissioner some fifteen years, Collector about ten years, Assessor two terms and School Treasurer ten years. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend, and he has done effective service for the schools, while serving as Director for many years.
In 1853, Mr. Finch came with his family to this county and purchased nine hundred and sixty acres in a body of Government land at $1.25 per acre. He afterward became owner of thirteen hundred acres and still retains possession of eight hundred and sixty acres of valuable land. When he first came to the county, deer, wolves and all kinds of wild game were to be seen, and the work of civilization and progress seemed scarcely begun. His first home was a small cabin, 12x16 feet, with a floor so insecurely laid that the rattlesnakes could crawl through its cracks and crevices. He broke prairie with five yoke of oxen, so tough was the sod. There were no near markets or milling places. On one occasion he met a stranger near Lebanon, Ind., who asked him how far he lived from Watseka. "Twenty-five miles,'' was the answer. "How far from Loda?" "Twenty-five miles." "From Attica?" "Twenty-five miles." The stranger, thinking this too much, said: "My friend, don't you live about twenty-five miles from any place?" "I guess so," was the reply.
Mr. and Mrs. Finch experienced all the hardships and privations of pioneer life, but a handsome property has rewarded their industrious and persevering efforts, and in their declining years they are now surrounded with all the comforts that money can procure. Mr. Finch is a man of sterling worth and integrity, whose word is as readily accepted as his bond. Both he and his wife receive the high regard of all, and well deserve mention among the honored pioneers and valued citizens of the county.
WILLIAM H. WEAVER, the pioneer photographer of Iroquois County, who erected the first building for a photograph gallery in the county and occupied it as such in April, 1863, is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in New Berlin, Union County, on Christmas Day of 1834. His parents, M. H. and Phoebe (Townsend) Weaver, were both natives of the Keystone State. His father was a prominent lawyer of New Berlin, the county seat of Union County, and was also editor of the Union Star, a leading journal of that county. He was a prominent politician, and for several years held the offices of Clerk of the Circuit Court and Surveyor of that county. The parents are now deceased.
Our subject was educated in the public schools of his native town and when large enough to be of use helped his father in surveying various parts of Union County. Later, he served an apprenticeship to the blacksmith's trade in Union County, Pa. In 1856, he came to La Fayette, Ind., and for a time was in charge of the machine shops of the Wabash Valley Railroad near that city. In the spring of 1858, he came to Illinois and began learning portrait work at Prospect City (now Paxton), the process then in use being principally ambrotyping on glass. After spending a few months in that place he returned to Indiana in the fall and was employed in the same line of work until 1861. He then returned to Illinois and settled in Milford, Iroquois County. Opening a gallery, he conducted it until April, 1863, when he removed to Watseka and opened time first gallery in this place, erecting a building for this purpose. Since that time he has been in active business here.
In the fall of 1858, near La Fayette, Ind., Mr. Weaver was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Kerr, daughter of John Kerr, of Shawnee Prairie, Ind., where the lady was born. They have had three children, two of whom are yet living: Clara A.. the eldest child, was the wife of Ross F. Bell, and died at the age of twenty-seven years, leaving one child, Roy W., now seven years old. William Grant, who married Dina Tibbins, by whom he has one child, Harry Don, a little lad of three years, is Superintendent of a railroad in Silverton, Colo. Adeline, the youngest, is at home.
In politics, Mr. Weaver is a Republican, and while in Indiana was elected Justice of the Peace, when twenty-three years of age. On coming to Watseka, he was a candidate for Police Magistrate at the first election held in that village, but was on the weaker side and was not elected. In 1879, he was elected Justice of the Peace in Watseka, was re-elected in 1889, and is now serving in that office. He has been City Treasurer two terms and is the present City Clerk. He cast his first Republican vote in 1856 for Fremont and Dayton and walked several miles to the polling precinct. Himself and family are all members of the Methodist Church, in which he has been an officer since 1867. For several years he served as Class-leader, was active in Sunday-school work, and for some time held the position of Superintendent. For seventeen years he has been Treasurer of the County Bible Society. He helped to organize the Watseka Camp Meeting Association, of which he has been Secretary from the beginning, some eleven years since. The association's beautiful grounds comprise sixteen acres and he adjacent to Watseka.
Mr. Weaver helped to organize the Watseka Building amid Loan Association, of which he has been a Director continuously since, while for several years he served as Vice-president. He is well up with the times in his art and does the finest of work in all branches of his business. Some years ago, in order to improve his skill, he spent some time in Chicago, taking lessons under the most eminent artist of the country, Prof. Hessler.
During his whole life, Mr. Weaver has been an active, busy and temperate man and is well preserved mentally and physically. Mr. Weaver makes an efficient City Clerk and is very popular in every public position he holds, for the reason that he discharges every duty devolving upon him with ability, promptness and fidelity.
THOMAS VENNUM, a banker of the firm of Donovan &Vennum of Milford, is a pioneer of Iroquois County of 1835, now residing in Watseka but doing business in Milford. Mr. Vennum is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Washington County on Christmas 1833, and is a son of Christopher C. and Rosanna (Paul) Vennum, whose sketch appears on another page of this work. In the spring of 1835, he came to Illinois with his parents, traveling by boat down the Ohio and up the Wabash Rivers. His father entered Government land on section 4 of what is now Milford Township, Iroquois County, to which he added by subsequent purchase at private sale, and had at his death some seven hundred acres.
Our subject was a mere child when he came to Milford and has no recollection of his home in Pennsylvania or the journey to Illinois. As he became old enough, he was employed on his father's farm in the summer and attended school in the winter time. When seventeen years of age, he returned to Pennsylvania and for one year was a student at Washington College in his native county, after which he attended Asbury University, now De Pauw University, of Greencastle, Ind. Returning to Illinois, he resumed work on his father's farm until 1856, when, at the age of twenty-three, he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court and ex-officio Recorder of Iroquois County. He removed to Middleport, then the county seat, and entered upon the discharge of his duties. By his fidelity and promptness, he made many friends and was re-elected in 1860 and 1864, serving in all twelve years in that office. When the county seat was changed in 1865 to Watseka, he changed his place of residence to that city, which has since been his home.
In 1868, on the completion of his third term as Clerk of the Circuit Court and Recorder, Mr. Vennum joined Messrs. John L. Donovan and George A. Woodford in establishing the first bank in Watseka, under the firm name of Donovan, Woodford &Co. That connection continued until October, 1874, when Mr. Vennum went to Tennessee and for sixteen months was engaged in managing the mining and shipping of coal at Tracy City, on contract with the Tennessee Coal and Railway Company. This business was rather experimental. Not proving profitable, time contract was abandoned and he returned to Watseka. In 1876, in company with John L. Donovan, his former partner, he resumed the banking business, opening the first bank in Milford, where they have continued in business to the present time with marked success. Both have still maintained their residences in Watseka.
While a resident of Middleport, Mr. Vennum was a member of the firm of H. A. Tillinghast &Co., druggists. The business was subsequently transferred to Watseka, and on Dr. Secrest becoming a partner the firm name was changed to Secrest, Tillinghast &Co. Our subject continued the silent partner for a number of years, when he withdrew.
On the 8th of April, 1862, Mr. Vennum was married in Detroit, Mich., to Miss Lucia A. Tullar, who was born in Brownsville, Lenawee County, Mich. They have four children living, three sons and a daughter: Ella Janet is now the wife of Otis W. Johnson, son of Otis R. Johnson, the well-known millionaire lumberman of Racine, Wis., and is the business manager of the Fish Bros. &Co. Wagon Works, of which he and his father are the principal stockholders; Irving T. is employed with his father in the bank at Milford; Fred D. is a clerk in the First National Bank of Chicago; and Thomas G., the youngest, is now taking a preparatory course in Racine College with the view of entering Yale; Mabel, who was the eldest of the family, died in infancy.
During his term of office as Clerk of the Circuit Court, Mr. Vennum studied law and in 1868 was admitted to the Bar, but, becoming interested in banking and other business, never actually engaged in practice as a profession. On coming of age, he joined the Republican party, of which he has since been a consistent member. In the fall of 1870, he was elected by that party a Representative to the Illinois Legislature and served as a member of the Twenty-seventh General Assembly in the sessions of 1871-72. He was appointed on the Committees on Finance, Congressional Appointment and Contingent Expenses, and proved an efficient and useful member. He was chosen Mayor of Watseka, a position he filled to the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens. Socially, he is a member of Iroquois Lodge No. 74, I. O. O. F., and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church and the daughter of the Christian Church.
For fifty-seven years, almost his entire lifetime, Mr. Vennum has been a resident of Iroquois County. His father and grandfather before him were worthy pioneers of time same county, and their remains he interred near the site of their cabin home, which was erected when this region was a wilderness. Mr. Vennum has lived to participate in the upbuilding and improvement of the county and to see it a well-settled, highly-improved and prosperous section of the State. His business and social relations with his fellow-citizens have been extended and intimate; and as county official, Legislator, merchant and banker have ever been such as to command the highest respect and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact. Possessing superior business ability, unquestioned integrity, temperate and industrious habits, he has been eminently successful in his business career. Broad in his views and possessing a generous fund of general information acquired by study and well-directed observation, united with urbanity of manner and evident candor, he is an agreeable and entertaining companion and a true and trusty friend.
THOMAS S. HARRY, an early settler of Illinois, who makes his home in Watseka, claims Kentucky as the State of his nativity. He was born in Christian County, on the 31st of August, 1823, and is a son of Samuel Harry. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, no event of special importance occurring during his childhood. After he had attained to mature years, he was married on time 2d of October, 1844, in the county of his nativity, to Miss Irena J., daughter of Ralph Compton, and a native of Christian County, who was born December 11, 1823.
In 1847, they came to Illinois and settled in McLean County, where Mr. Harry was engaged in farming for a time. He afterward removed to Woodford County, and in the spring of 1865 became a resident of Livingston County, locating on a farm near Chatsworth. By his union with Miss Compton eight children were born, six of whom are yet living at this writing: Eliza A. became the wife of M. B. Lewis and died in 1872; Mary R. is the wife of W. H. Vreeland and resides in Morris, Iowa; Jesse T. wedded Miss Minnie Miller, and makes his home in Montana, near White Sulphur Springs; Thomas Milton married Miss Flora Wright, and is living on a farm at Palisade, Hitchcock County, Neb.; Samuel R. wedded Miss Laura T. Vail, of Chatsworth, and is engaged in the law and abstract business in Watseka, with his brother, William H., who wedded Miss Mary A. Vail, and is the senior member of the firm of Harry Brothers; Jasper C. married Miss Lillie Bailey, of Fairbury, Livingston County, and resides in Lexington, McLean County, Ill.; Irene, the youngest, died at the age of two years.
Mr. Harry continued to carry on his farm, which is a valuable one of one hundred and sixty acres situated near Chatsworth, until the spring of 1883, when he leased it and removed to Watseka, which has since been the home of himself and wife. This worthy couple have been consistent members of the Christian Church for many years and are highly respected by all who know them. Mr. Harry was a very enthusiastic Republican in early life, and gave a patriotic support to the war for the Union. He was also a great admirer of Horace Greeley, and in 1872 joined the Greeley movement and has since voted with the Democratic party. His life has been an active and useful one and has been characterized by integrity and those qualities that command respect and esteem from time most worthy people of the community where he has resided.
Bluford T. Scott
|BLUFORD T. SCOTT, who for many years followed farming, but is now living retired in Milford, was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, on the 7th of Match, 1830. His parents, Jehu and Martha (Templeton) Scott, were both natives of Virginia, and were reared to manhood and womanhood in the Old Dominion. By their marriage were born ten children, seven sons and three daughters, and of the family seven are yet living: Perry, the eldest, married Rachel Ann Morey, a daughter of Carpenter Morey, and resides in Boone County, Iowa. They have a family of eleven children. Elizabeth became the wife of John Keena, of Lawrence County, Ohio, and died in 1888, leaving three children. Margaret became the wife of Cornelius Westfall Sights, a resident of Lawrence County, Ohio, and her death occurred in that county.|
Thomas married Miss Susan Anderson, and with their six children they make their home in Davenport, Iowa. Matilda is the widow of Andrew J. Endsley, who was a prominent citizen of Milford, where he died about seven years ago, leaving three children. William T. was joined in wedlock with Miss Martha Rothgib, daughter of George Rothgib, a native of Germany. They reside on a farm five miles south of Milford with their four children, two sons and two daughters. Bluford T. is the next younger. David married Miss Hanks, and both are now deceased. Walter C. married Miss Frances Bumgardner, by whom he has six children, and resides near Smithland, in Shelby County, Ind. Theodore, the youngest of the family, married Jennie Hefner, by whom he has two children, a son and daughter. They are now living near Rossville, Vermilion County, Ill.
The subject of this sketch spent his early life in the State of his nativity, and after attaining to mature years was married, in December, 1854, the lady of his choice being Miss Eliza Bartlett. One child, a son, was born unto them, but died in infancy. The mother was called to her final home in January, 1856. Mr. Scott was again married, on the 2d of July, 1864, his second union being with Miss Elizabeth Cosby, a daughter of George and Mary E. (Stiles) Cosby. Four children were born of this union, of whom three are yet living: Rowena, born January 17, 1865; Florence, born in September, 1867; and Robert, born August 9, 1870. Otis, the third child, was born in October, 1868, and died on the 7th of March, 1882.
The year 1864 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Scott in Iroquois County. It was in the month of July, that he and Daniel C. Anderson purchased a farm of two hundred acres in Milford Township, but our subject soon sold, and in 1869 bought one hundred and twenty acres in Lovejoy Township, on which he lived fifteen years. There his wife died July 10, 1880. On the expiration of that period he sold out and purchased a farm of one hundred and seventy acres two miles west, and one-half mile south, of Milford. This was in 1884, and for seven years he made his home thereon, successfully following agricultural pursuits. In December, 1891, he took up his residence in the village of Milford, where he is now living a retired life, enjoying a well-earned rest and the fruits of his former labor. When a young man, he worked long and earnestly, and thereby acquired a comfortable competence, which now supplies him with all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life. Socially, Mr. Scott is a member of Milford Lodge No. 253, I. O. O. F., and politically, is a Democrat. He is highly respected by all who know him, for during the thirty years of his residence in Iroquois County his life has ever been such as to win him universal confidence.
SANFORD K. MARSTON, who is now living a retired life, has long been a leading and influential citizen of Onarga. He was born the 24th of February, 1831, in Augusta, Me. His grandfather, John Marston, was born in Portland, Me., December 28, 1773, and married Peace Fry, of Cumberland, Me. Ebenezer Marston, father of our subject, was also born in the Pine Tree State, and wedded Sarah Sanborn Rideout, also a native of that State. They became the parents of four sons: Chester Wood, Brackett Nelson, Sanford K. and Ephraim. The death of the father occurred in 1862. His widow long survived him and was called to her final rest November 18, 1885.
Under- the parental roof, our subject spent the days of his boyhood. A short time previous to his twenty-first birthday, he married Miss Sarah Field, a daughter of Benjamin and Harriet (Rideout) Field, their union being celebrated on the 11th of January, 1852. Four years later, in 1856, they emigrated Westward to Illinois, Mr. Marston hoping to benefit his financial condition thereby. The following spring, his father came West and together they settled on a farm in what is now Ford County, about six miles west of Onarga. They owned and operated about a half-section of land for seven years. Sanford also purchased forty acres of land on which Onarga is now situated, and of this he still owns one-half. He continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until 1863, when he removed to the village of Onarga and for a time engaged in real-estate dealing. He then established a brick yard and built a number of brick business houses in this place. Later he sold out and began dealing in lumber and agricultural implements as a partner of William P. Pierson. After three years he bought out Mr. Pierson's interest and added a new department; that of handling grain. He was thus employed until 1884, when he sold out, selling the south elevator to Benjamin H. Durham. He is now living retired, enjoying a well-earned rest.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Marston have been born three children: Benjamin, born August 21,1854, died at the age of twenty-one months; Mary Augusta, born July 8, 1855, is the wife of Robert F. Cummings, of Clifton, and they became the patents of six children, five living: Lenore; Marion Marston; Austin Benjamin, who died at the age of two years; Florence, Irene and Marston. Harriet Field, born April 16, 1858, is time wife of Milton Doolittle. They reside in Atkinson, Neb., with their three children: Mary Triphenia, Marston and Helen Augusta.
When Mr. Marston located in Ford County he was the prime mover in effecting the organization of the township for school purposes, and his wife taught the first school in Lyman Township in her own house. Mr. Marston informed himself concerning the school law, and his services proved of much benefit to the community. After the township was organized he was elected its first Treasurer and was also its first Supervisor. After removing to Onarga, he was elected a member of the first Board of Trustees of Grand Prairie Seminary, and is the only one of the original eighteen who is now holding the office.
Mr. Marston is now Secretary of the Illinois Grain Merchants' Association, intended for the protection of grain merchants against railroad and other large corporations, unjust legislation, etc. He was a member of the Good Templars' lodge for a period of six years, and largely through his instrumentality the saloons were driven from this place. The initiatory step was taken by a number of the most prominent ladies of Onarga, who proceeded with hatchets and other small instruments of warfare in a raid upon the saloons. That was thirty years ago, and since then no saloons have flourished in Onarga. Both Mr. and Mrs. Marston are faithful and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he holds the office of Trustee. He was one of the original members of the Republican party, but is now independent in politics, placing America and her institutions before any party. He votes for the man whom he thinks best qualified to fill the office. He is a public-spirited and progressive citizen who takes a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community, and no man has done more for Onarga and its upbuilding than Mr. Marston. His life has been well and worthily spent and his example is worthy of emulation in many respects.
SEELY HETFIELD, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Watseka, was born in Crawford County, Ill., October 28, 1821, being the son of Adam S. and Harriet (Miller) Hetfield, both of whom were natives of the Empire State. The father of our subject was a soldier in the War of 1812, and took part in the battle of Lundy's Lane. He took a most active part in all the campaigns of that war, being in Ripley's command. After his discharge, in company with John Bartlett, a comrade in the service, he made a trip down the Monongahela and Ohio to Evansville, Ind., whence they went to Ft. Harrison on the Wabash River, and from Ft. Wayne, returning home from that place. Pleased with what he had seen of the West, he and his brother, Aaron concluded to remove there and at first settled in Crawford County, Ill., The country was then very new and unoccupied, there being about as many Indians as white men in those parts. They made frequent trips during the next few years to New Orleans, where their market was. Adam Hetfield lived in Crawford County for nine years, enduring all the hardships and privations of pioneer life. He next removed to Fountain County, Ind., and resided there during the remainder of his life, His death occurring in 1839.
Our subject was the second child in a family of five children, and received such educational advantages as were afforded by the common schools of Fountain County. At that time, schools were far apart and there was only a three-month term during the year. He had to go a distance of from two to four miles, riding when he went the latter- distance back and forth each day during the time of his school attendance. At the time of his father's death, he was but seventeen years of age and he succeeded to the management of the farm, taking entire charge of the same until his mother's death, in 1848. Two years later, he came to Iroquois County, and in 1851 purchased a farm. Since that time, his home has been in this county.
The same year, on the 11th of August, Mr. Hetfield was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca White, whose father, Amos White, was a native of New Jersey and an early settler of this county. To Mr. and Mrs. Hetfield have been born four children; the eldest, Carrie, now Mrs. B. L. Euans, resides at Colorado Springs, Colo., at which place her husband is physician in chief at the branch Keeley Institute. The other children are Ada, Hattie and Della.
In his early manhood, Mr. Hetfield was politically a Whig, his first Presidential vote being cast for Henry Clay. He continued, in that party until Douglas was nominated for President, and since that time has been a supporter of the Democratic party. He is a public-spirited man, who endeavors to promote, with all his power, the best interests of the community in which he resides, and is a zealous worker in all directions pertaining to the advancement of its welfare. Recognizing this, his fellow-townsmen elected him Mayor of Watseka, which position he occupied for two terms, discharging the duties of that office most acceptably. He has been very successful in business and now owns over five hundred acres of the finest farming lands in the county, besides various other business interests. His residence is one of the most comfortable and pleasant homes in the town of Watseka, and its hospitality is extended to a wide circle of friends. Mr. Hetfield has followed the occupation of farming and stock-raising nearly all his life, and for years carried on an extensive business in shipping cattle from Texas to the northern markets.
JOSEPH M. KEATH, who is engaged in general farming on section 5, Milford Township, was born on the 11th of May, 1858, in Boone County, Ind., and is a son of Uriah Y. and Nancy (Carrington) Keath. His father was a native of Kentucky, and in an early day emigrated to Indiana, where he met and married Miss Carrington, a native of that State. In 1860, when our subject was only two years of age, they came to Illinois and settled on a farm in Ash Grove Township, Iroquois County, comprising eighty acres, to time cultivation and improvement of which Mr. Keath devoted his energies for a period of fifteen years. He then removed to Belmont Township, where he and his wife now reside. He is a leading agriculturist of the community, and both himself and wife are highly respected people.
Our subject is one of nine children, but of the family Addison, Matilda, William and Nannie are deceased. Those living are Joseph, Edward, Aaron, Cornelius and Mary. Edward married Virginia Bodey, daughter of Frank Bodey, of Belmont Township; they have two little children, a son and a daughter. The other children are still at home.
The subject of this sketch has spent almost his entire life in Iroquois County. Upon his father's farm he was reared to manhood, and as soon as old enough to handle the plow, he began to aid in its cultivation. During the winter months, when the work upon the farm was over, he attended the public schools, where he acquired a good English education. Mr. Keath is a well-informed man, having become conversant with all topics of general interest by reading and observation.
A marriage ceremony performed on the 7th of October, 1880, united the destinies of Joseph M. Keath and Miss Jennie Smith. Their union has been blessed with a family of five children, four of whom are yet living, namely: Mearle, born July l0, 1881; Ethel, December 4, 1883; Homer, June 4, 1886; and Clarence, March 13, 1890. Earl, born on the 15th of September, 1888, died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Keath began their domestic life upon a rented farm in Milford Township, where they resided for nine years, and then removed to their present place of residence. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a thrifty and successful agriculturist, and his industry perseverance and good management have secured him a good income. He is a Republican, but has never taken a very prominent part in public affairs, having lived a quiet, unassuming and honorable life, which has won him universal regard. Those who have known him from boyhood are among his stanchest friends, a fact which indicates an honorable career.
FREDERICK W. MEYER is one of the prominent and enterprising business men of Woodworth. He has for many year served as its efficient and popular Postmaster, and is also engaged in general merchandising. He established business in this line about 1875. As his capital consisted of only about $425, he started with a small stock, but as his trade has increased he has constantly enlarged his stock to meet the growing demand, and now occupies a store 24x73 feet. It is well supplied with everything in the line of general merchandise and he is doing a good business, having by his courteous treatment and fair dealing built up an excellent trade. His annual sales now amount to about $18,000.
Mr. Meyer was born in Ripley County, Ind., April 25, 1853, and is a son of John D. and Elizabeth (Huffmeyer) Meyer. His father was born near Osnabruck, Germany, September 29, 1829, and his mother was born in Minden, Germany. At the age of nineteen, John Meyer emigrated to America, locating first in Cincinnati, where he learned the trade of a mason, following that occupation two years. He then removed to Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, and subsequently to Batesville, Ind., where he engaged in farming. In 1857, he came to Will County, Ill., where from the wild prairie he developed a farm, on which he still makes his home. The mother of our subject died when he was fifteen years of age, leaving eight children, five of whom are now living: John F., a resident of Will County, Ill.; Frederick of this sketch; Mrs. Elizabeth Wagner, who is living in Englewood, Ill.; August F., a farmer of Ash Grove Township; and Anna, wife of W. H. Scheiwe, of Will County. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Meyer married Anna Salmon, and unto them were born nine children. He and his family are members of the Lutheran Church. He formerly supported the Republican party, but is now a Democrat. His father resides with him and is now ninety-two years of age, but his mental faculties are still unimpaired.
We now, take up the personal history of our subject, who was reared in Will County amid the wild scenes of frontier-life. At the age of thirteen, he left home to attend school in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and for five years was a student in Concordia College, but was forced to abandon his studies on account of typhoid fever, which affected his eyesight. Reading in subsequent years, combined within his school privileges, has made him a well-informed man, and he always keeps posted on the current topics of the day.
On the 19th of December, 1875, Mr. Meyer was married to Miss Mary Lucke, daughter of August one of the early settlers of this county. Eight children have been born unto them, as follows: Mary, born April 11, 1877; Fred, December 17, 1878; Anna, November 17, 1880; William, January 13, 1883; Freda, May 12, 1885; Clara, November 21, 1887; Helena, April 14, 1890; and the baby, October 1, 1892. The children were born in their present home and are being educated in the public and German parochial schools.
Mr. Meyer entered upon his business career at the age of twenty, being employed as clerk in a store in Crete. He afterward served in the same capacity in Chicago, and at the age of twenty-two began business for himself in Woodworth. He is a man of good business ability, enterprising and progressive, and his career has been a successful one. Himself and family are members of the Lutheran Church, and he is Secretary of the congregation. He took a prominent part in the building of the house of worship, of which he has ever been a liberal supporter. He cast his first Presidential vote for Samuel J. Tilden, but has since been identified with the Republican party. He held the office of Township Clerk for two years, and since 1876 has been the efficient Postmaster of Woodworth. Mr. Meyer well deserves the high regard in which he is held, for he is a man of sterling worth and integrity.
HENRY W. NORTON. Among the wide-awake and enterprising business men of Wellington should be mentioned the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, who for many years has been connected with the leading interests of this place. He is the junior member of the well-known firm of Pate &Norton, grain dealers.
Mr. Norton was born on the 1st of March, 1852, in this State, and is a son of Charles and Ursula (Smith) Norton. On the maternal side he traces his ancestry back to Rev. Henry Dunster, who was the first President of Harvard College. From a memoir of that gentleman the following is quoted: "The name Dunster signifies a dweller upon a dun or down, and is of Saxon origin. There is a market town in Somersetshire, England, and a castle there by that name, hence the origin of the fami1y crest: 'Dunster, out of the top of a tower, ar, an arm emboss, vested gri, cuffed of the first, holding a tilting spear, sa.' Rev Henry Dunster was born about 1610, and arrived in Boston toward the latter part of the summer of 1640. For a time line resided on his own estate, at what is now the northeast corner of Court and Washington Streets. His reputation as an eminent scholar had evidently preceded him, for immediately upon his arrival he was waited on by the Governor, Magistrates, Elders and ministers and was asked to remove to Cambridge and assume the presidency of the college, a position which he filled through much of his life. He was a finished scholar in the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages. Thus fitted by education and by several years' experience as a teacher, he entered upon the work of organizing and conducting the college affairs. Harvard had been established several years before but was little else than an advanced school. Quincy, Pierce and Elliott, the modern historians of Harvard College, have recorded their testimonials as to the purity and nobility of his character and his great success in both the executive and the teaching departments of the college. Rev. Shepherd, the pastor at Cambridge, calls him, 'a man, pious, faithful and fit to teach and very fit to lay the foundations of the domestical affairs of the college.'
The grandmother of our subject, Eliza Bemis, was of the sixth generation in direct descent from Rev. Henry Dunster. She was born August 3, 1804, and on the 19th of December, 1822, became the wife of Lorin Smith, of Monkton, Vt. They removed to Illinois in 1848. They had six children, two sons and four daughters. Both sons died when young. Of the daughters, Ursula, the mother of our subject, was the third in order of birth. She married Charles Norton, a Vermont farmer. He was a native of the Green Mountain State and followed agricultural pursuits for some years, but has for many years been engaged in the grain business in Wataga, Knox County, Ill. Both parents are still living. They had three children, the eldest of whom is our subject. Jennie is now the wife of H. S. Magraw, a book-keeper of Helena, Mont. Herrick is a telegraph operator on the Santa Fe Railroad at Galesburg, Ill.
We now take up the personal history of H. W. Norton, whose boyhood days were spent in Knox County, Ill., he there residing until nineteen years of age. His educational advantages were those afforded by the common schools, and by subsequent reading, observation and experience he has become a well-informed man, and keeps posted on all the current events of the day. After starting out in life for himself, he worked for the Chicago, Burlington &Quincy Railroad for about two years. In 1871, he left Knox County and removed to Stark County, where he was again in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington &Quincy Railroad, remaining with that company for the period of six years. His long continuance with that corporation shows that he was faithful to the duties reposed in him, and had the full confidence of his employers. It was the autumn of 1878 that witnessed Mr. Norton 's arrival in Wellington. Here he entered into partnership with S. C. Jack &Co., in the grain business, remaining a member of that firm until he formed the present partnership with Alexander Pate, their association covering a period of ten consecutive years.
In political sentiment, Mr. Norton is a Democrat, and his first Presidential vote was cast for Gen. W. S Hancock. During President Cleveland's administration he served as Postmaster of Wellington. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Star Lodge No. 709 A. F. &A. M., Chapter No. 139, R. A. M.; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. During his long residence in Wellington he has become widely and favorably known, and his many excellencies of character have won for him the warm regard of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. By strict business principles and fair dealing he has gained the confidence and goodwill of his many patrons, and has achieved a well-merited success. He is numbered among the substantial citizens of the community.
HENRY KORITZ, one of the self-made men of Iroquois County, is a well-known farmer and stock-raiser of Ridgeland Township. He claims Germany as the land of his birth, having been born near Hesse-Cassel June 16, 1838, and is a son of Christopher and Mary Koritz. The family of this worthy couple numbered five children, as follows: Conrad, who died in 1850; Christopher, who is still living in Germany; Catherine, the wife of Christopher Pinkenburg, also a resident of the Fatherland: Sophia, who became the wife of Henry Pinkenburg, and died in 1882; and our subject.
The subject of this sketch is the youngest in the family. He was reared to manhood in his native land and his education was acquired in the public schools, which he attended until fourteen years of age. At the age of sixteen, he began earning his own livelihood. He learned the weaver's trade, which he followed for a number of years, or until his emigration to America, in 1858. Wishing to try his fortune in the New World, of whose advantages he had heard so much, he crossed the Atlantic in a sailing-vessel, and after a voyage of five weeks landed in New York City on the 4th of July, 1858. He did not remain long in the eastern metropolis but at once journeyed Westward to Chicago, and thence went to Crete, Will County, Ill. He had borrowed money to bring him to America and had again to borrow in Chicago to bring him to Crete. He began work on a farm at $8 per month, and was thus employed for a period of five years, after which he rented land for two years and engaged in farming on his own account.
In the meantime, Mr. Koritz was married, June 18, 1862, to Miss Anna Grod daughter of John Henry and Elizabeth Grod. By their union has been born eight children, as follows: Henry, who is now engaged in Ridgeland Township; Elizabeth, wife of Russell Chaffey, a resident farmer of Ford County; .John and Otto, both at home; Mary, wife of James Zee; Carl, Alfred and Amos, who complete the family.
It was in 1865 that Mr. Koritz removed to this county. He located in Ridgeland Township, and purchased eighty acres of railroad land at $12 per acre. There were no improvements whatever upon the place, not a field having been planted or even a furrow turned. He at once began the development of this land, which he continued to operate until 1880, when he removed to the beautiful farm on which he now resides. Mr. Koritz is one of the extensive land-owners of the community, and in addition to the five hundred and sixty acres of land on which he makes his home,
All situated in Ridgeland Township, he owns one hundred and sixty acres in Ford County, A glance at his farm indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner. His fields arc well tilled, and yield to him abundant harvests; there are good buildings and the place seems complete in all its appointments. In connection with the cultivation of his land, Mr. Koritz carries on stock-raising, making a specialty of the breeding of Polled-Angus cattle.
Mr. Koritz and his family are all members of the German Lutheran Church, and they are well-known people of this community, who rank high in social circles. In his political affiliations, our subject is a Democrat, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with excellent success, owing to his perseverance and well-directed energies. He is one of the leading and substantial farmers of the community, and well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county.
WILLIAM MISCH, who is engaged in general merchandising in Milford and is a prominent business man of that place, was born in Russo, Germany, September 20, 1852. His grandfather, Christian Misch, was ninety years of age at the time of his death. The parents of our subject, August and Fredericka (Schultz) Misch, were both natives of Germany. Emigrating to America, they became residents of Iroquois County, where the father died in February, 1886. The mother is still living, and makes her home in Milford. Their family numbered seven children, as follows: August, born in Germany, in October, 1850, married Mrs. Aldret Gray, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Northrop, and lost his life while mining in Rico, Colo., May 21, 1892. William, of this sketch, is the next younger. Minnie, born in 1854, is the wife of Isaac N. Strickler, a resident of Anselmo, near Broken Bow, Custer County, Neb. They have five children: Cora, Willie, Minnie, Henry and a baby. Rachael, who was born in 1856, is the wife of Joseph Vessels, also a resident of Anselmo, Neb. Four children have been born of their union. Augusta, born in 1858, is the wife of John C. Miller, by whom she has a daughter, Eva. Louis, who was born in 1863, married Disa McMillan, a sister of his brother William 's wife, and they have a little son about eighteen months old. Dora, the youngest child, resides in Milford with her mother.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who with his mother, brothers and sisters came to America in childhood. The father had previously crossed the Atlantic, in 1859, and after a short residence in the Empire State, removed to Illinois in 1862, making a permanent settlement in Iroquois County. Here the children were all reared to years of maturity. William acquired his education in the common schools, and received his business training in the store of Joseph Flechman, where he was engaged in clerking for four years. He was afterward employed as a salesman in the store of Daniel Fay, of Watseka, for the period of six years. On the expiration of that time he returned to Milford and purchased the grocery store owned by John A. Holmes. With the assistance of his brother Louis, he carried on that store for a year, and then admitted to partnership F. W. Duryee, and put in a stock of general merchandise. After a year he bought out his partners interest, and since that time has conducted the business alone.
An important event in the life of Mr. Misch occurred on the 28th of December, 1881, when he led to the marriage altar Miss Ruby McMillin, daughter of Reason H. and Martha McMillin, residents of Danville, Ill. One child graces their union, a daughter, Maud McMillin, who was born March 1, 1886.
Mr. Misch is numbered among the prominent and influential citizens of this community, as well as one of its leading business men. He was honored with the office of Alderman for two terms, was also Treasurer of Milford, and in 1890 was President of the School Board. The cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend, and during his connection with the School Board he did much for its advancement. Himself and wife are members of the Christian Church, in which he fills the office of Deacon and Trustee. They both take an active interest in church work, and are earnest laborers in the Master's vineyard. In his social relations, Mr. Misch is an Odd Fellow, holding membership with Farmers' Lodge No. 253, I. O. O. F.
Our subject is an enterprising and sagacious man, and his business has grown from a small beginning until he now has one of the largest stores in the county. He carries a full and complete stock, and by his industrious efforts, courteous treatment of his customers, and fair and honest dealing, he has secured a good trade. His mercantile career he has conducted upon honest business principles, depending on his own energies, judgment and straightforward dealing for success, and the liberal patronage which he now receives is certainly well deserved.
FRANK L. HOOPER, the junior member of the well-known law firm of Morris &Hooper, of Watseka, and a rising young lawyer of that city, is a native of Iroquois County. He was born in Belmont Township on the 21st of April, 1864. His parents, John B. and Sarah M. (Harter) Hooper, were early settlers of Iroquois County, and a sketch of their lives is given elsewhere in this work.
In 1871, Frank L. removed with his parents to Danville, Ill., where he attended the Danville High School, and later read law with Tracy B. Harris, of Watseka. He subsequently took a full law course in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from which he was graduated. He was admitted to the Bar when twenty-one years of age, and in that same year he formed a law partnership with T. B. Harris, and entered upon the practice of his profession at Watseka. That connection continued until broken by the death of Mr. Harris. In January, 1891, our subject formed the existing law partnership with the Hon. Free P. Morris, under the firm name of Morris &Hooper.
On the 29th of September, 1891, Mr. Hooper was united in marriage in Watseka with Miss Grace Willoughby. The lady was born in Watseka, and is a daughter of Aaron and Nancy Willoughby, who were among the early settlers of this place.
In politics, Mr. Hooper is a Democrat. He has never held a political office. For four years he was attorney for the city of Watseka, but accepted the position only for the reason that it was in the line of his chosen profession. He was a candidate for State's Attorney in 1888, and, although defeated, ran about four-hundred votes ahead of his ticket. The firm of Morris &Hooper are proprietors of the Watseka Electric Light plant, and are interested in farm lands situated in Iroquois County. Mr. Hooper is a Master Mason, holding membership with Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. &A. M. He has made his home in Watseka since 1881, and has been in the active and successful practice of his profession for the past seven years. He is a thorough student, possesses superior natural legal talent, and is rapidly gaining prominence as a successful lawyer. The firm of which he is a member has an extensive practice and is classed among the more important law firms of Eastern Illinois.
Frederick S. Frazee
|FREDERICK S. FRAZEE, is a representative farmer of Ridgeland Township, residing on section 15, where he has made his home for the long period of twenty consecutive years. He there owns and operates two hundred and forty acres of arable land, which is under a high state of cultivation and well-improved. He carries on general farming and stock-raising and is recognized as a successful business man. He is methodica1 and systematic, practical arid progressive and success has attended his well-directed efforts.|
The life record of our subject is as follows: A native of New Jersey, he was born in Newark on the 4th of February 1830. His parents were Tuner and Martha (Meeker) Frazee. His father was also a native of New Jersey, and was of French descent. By trade he was a shoemaker. In 1838, he removed to Warren County, Ohio, where he resided for nineteen years, when, in 1857, he came to Illinois. He took up his residence in Ridgeland Township, Iroquois County, upon a forty-acre tract of land on section 7, which he purchased from his son William, who pre-empted it from the Government. To the occupation of farming he devoted his energies throughout the remainder of his life. His death occurred in 1881, and his wife passed away the year previous. Both were members of the Baptist Church. The family of this worthy couple numbered ten children, as follows: Mary. who died in 1836; William, a valiant soldier of Company D, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, died in 1861 at Camp Butler, Springfield, from disease contracted in the Yazoo Bottoms near Vicksburg, Miss, having served over two years; Aaron, a farmer and blacksmith residing near Franklin, Warren County, Ohio; Frederick, who was a twin brother of Aaron and died in infancy; James, who enlisted for the late war in August, 1862, served over a year as a private of Company D, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, and is now engaged in farming in Michigan; Sarah E., who died in 1850; Julia, wife of John McMillan, a farmer residing near Chatsworth, Livingston County, Ill.; Lewis D., who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Ridgeland Township; and John T., also a farmer residing in Ridgeland Township.
Our subject spent the first eight years of his life in the city of Newark, N. J., and in Essex County, and then accompanied the family on their removal to Ohio. After which he was reared to manhood upon a farm. The common schools afforded him his educational privileges and he remained at home with his parents until he had attained his majority, when he started out to earn his own livelihood This he did by working for a year as a farm hand at $6 per month. He then operated a farm on shares until 1855, when he left the Buckeye State and came to Iroquois County, Ill. Here he purchased eighty acres of railroad land on section 18, Ridgeland Township, making his home thereon, until 1872, when he leased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 15, for eleven years. On time expiration of the lease he purchased the same, and since that time he has extended the boundaries of his farm until now two hundred and forty acres of rich land yield to him a golden tribute in return for his care and cultivation.
|On the 19th of November, l868, Mr. Frazee married Miss Ellen, daughter of John and Mary (Bowron) Furby. Mrs. Frazee was born July 15, 1843, in Darlington, County of Dunham, England. Her father was born at Reading, Berkshire, England, and her mother in Dunham. In 1857, they sailed with their family of children to America. The first ten years were spent in Raysville, Henry County, Ind. In 1867, they came to Ridgeland Township, where the wife died in February, 1870, being fifty-seven years old. Since 1880, her husband has made his home in Atlanta, Ga. Should he live till February 3, 1893, he will be eighty years old. All his children, six girls and two boys, are living. In England Mr. Furby was a merchant, in Indiana he followed the nursery business, and after coming to Illinois he farmed. By this union have been born six children, three sons and three daughters: Arthur, Louise, Edith, Clara, John and Frederick. Edith is now engaged in teaching school. The family is well known in this community, and its members rank high in the social circles in which they move.||
Mr. Frazee manifested his loyalty to the Government during the late war by responding to the call for troops. He enlisted on the 6th of August, 1862, as a private of Company D, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, and was mustered into service at Chicago. He went from there to Cairo and thence down the Mississippi River to Memphis, Tenn., and on to Vicksburg, where he served as guard on a Government boat. He afterward was engaged in guarding prisoners which were sent to Springfield, Ill., and was camp guard in that city until 1864, when he went South to Memphis, Tenn., with the troops. He participated in the battle of Guntown, Miss., on the 10th of June, 1864, and was shot in the lower jaw on the right side by a minie-ball, which carried away two inches of the bone, then passed through his neck. He was taken to Overton Hospital, where he remained until 1865. Ere his discharge he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. When the war was over and the country no longer needed his services, he was mustered out as one of the valiant soldiers who had faithfully defended the Union in its hour of peril, he is now a member of W. A. Babcock Post No. 416, G. A. R., of Onarga, and in politics is a stanch Republican, warmly advocating the principles of that party. He has held the offices of Road Commissioner and School Trustee. In religious belief he, his wife and three oldest children are Baptists, holding membership with the church in Gilman. He is alike true to every public and private trust and the county numbers him among its valued citizens.
HON. FREE P. MORRIS, senior member of the firm of Morris &Hooper, of Watseka, a leading law firm of Iroquois County, was born in the town of Bloom, Cook County, Ill., on the 19th of March, 1854, and is a son of Charles and Sarah (Thomas) Morris. His father was born, in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1820. In his native State he married Miss Sarah Thomas, who was born in Wilkes Barre, Pa. He engaged in the coal business in the East, and in 1849 came with his family to Illinois, locating on a farm in Cook County. His death occurred in 1882. Mrs. Morris survives her husband, and is now residing in Chicago.
Free P. Morris attended school in Blue Island, and afterward was a student in the Chicago High School. Following this he entered the Union Law School of the Northwestern University, of Evanston, and was graduated in the Class of '71. He subsequently read law under the preceptorship of T. S. McClelland, a distinguished lawyer of Chicago, and in 1874 was admitted to the Bar before the Supreme Court of Illinois at Ottawa. He at once established himself in practice at Watseka, soon becoming a prominent member of the Iroquois County Bar. Not long afterward he formed a law partnership with Robert Doyle, of that place, which connection continued until 1888, when Mr. Doyle retired from practice.
On the 13th of June, 1881 Mr., Morris was married in Saguache, Colo., to Miss Minnie Lott, who was born in Ottawa, Ill., and is a daughter of Andrew P and Maria A. Lott. They have one child, a son, Eugene, who was born in Watseka in July, 1887.
In politics, Mr. Morris is a Democrat, and is prominent in the councils of his party, having served at various times as a delegate to State and congressional conventions. He has been a member of the Watseka Board of Education a number of years. In 1884 he was elected to the Illinois Legislature as a member of the Thirty-fourth General Assembly, and served on the Committees on Judiciary, Education and Railroads, and was Chairman of the Committee on Federal Relations. In 1888, he was elected to the Thirty-sixth General Assembly, and was appointed on the committee on Judiciary, Public Charities, Railroads, Education, Military Affairs and License, and was also a member of the Conference Committee of that session, and did good service on all. In 1891 he declined accepting the nomination of his party for Judge of the Circuit Court. In 1892 he was a prominent candidate before the Democratic State Convention for Attorney-General, and lost the nomination through a question of expediency, it being thought desirable to give the place on the ticket to a representative of a certain nationality. This condition, Mr. Morris, by an unfortunate circumstance of birth, was unable to fulfill, although it is said of him that on a certain memorable occasion in Judge Blade's court, he exhibited in his language such a marked accent of the required nationality, that he was reproved by the court, and barely escaped a fine for contempt of court. Had our subject addressed the late State convention in as broad an accent as he displayed on the occasion alluded to, no doubt he would have been nominated by acclamation. Mr. Morris was nominated by the Senatorial Convention of the Sixteenth District, in June, 1892, for Member of the Thirty-eighth General Assembly. The nomination was made without his knowledge, he not having been a candidate.
For eighteen years Mr. Morris has been in active practice in the local and State courts of Illinois, has met with marked success, and has built up an extensive and lucrative business. He is attorney for two important railway corporations, that of the Chicago &Eastern Illinois and the "Big Four." The existing partnership with Mr. Hooper was formed in 1890. Mr. Morris is a member of Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. &A. M., and Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M. He is also a member of Watseka Lodge, K. of P., of which he is the District Deputy. He is interested in farming lands, owning two farms in Iroquois County. Mr. Morris has succeeded in building up an extensive practice, and the firm of which he is a member stands in the foremost ranks of the profession in Eastern Illinois, and gets a large share of legal business in the local courts, together with an important part of that before the Supreme Court of the State and that in the United States Courts. As a trial lawyer and an advocate, Mr. Morris is the peer of any of the Bar of Eastern Illinois. He is popular and is much esteemed by his fellow-citizens for his ability, industry and integrity.
EDWIN L. WHEELER, of Onarga, was numbered among the pioneer settlers of Eastern Illinois, having for many years been connected with the history of Livingston County, especially during its early days. He was born in Columbia County, N. Y., in the town of Hillsdale, on the 8th of September, 1815, and was a son of Lewis and Susan (Flint) Wheeler. They had but two children, Oscar and Edwin L. The father died in the Empire State when our subject was but four years old. The family afterward removed to Massachusetts, and for some time made their home in Barrington. On the 28th of April, 1838, Edwin Wheeler and his mother started for the West, traveling by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by steamer to Cleveland and on by the Ohio Canal to Licking County, Ohio, where they spent the summer. In October following Mr. Wheeler purchased an ox-team, and with his family resumed the journey, their destination being Iowa, but on reaching Fountain County, Ind., they were obliged to remain there on account of the severe winter weather. Securing a winter school, Mr. Wheeler engaged in teaching until the following March, and in May he again started westward, expecting to locate at Rock River, in Illinois. However, circumstances changed his determination. On account of high water, he could get no further than Long Point in Livingston County, Ill., and he there spent thirty years of his life.
On reaching that place, Mr. Wheeler had only enough money to enter eighty acres of unimproved Government land. He did all his milling and marketing with an ox-team, driving to Ottawa, a distance of thirty miles. He marketed his stock in Chicago, and then could get only $2 per hundred pounds, until the Chicago &Illinois Canal was finished which gave then a nearer market. Mr. Wheeler experienced all the hardships and trials of frontier life, he and his brother being among the earliest settlers of Livingston County.
In January, 1845, Mr. Wheeler was united in marriage with Miss Martha, daughter of Rice and Nancy (Taylor) Donoho, and of the children born to them six are now living. Amelia, born February 29, 1848, became the wife of John R. Dimmitt, who died March 30, 1877. They had two children, one of whom is now living, Eva L. She and her mother now reside in Onarga. Sarah born February 26, 1853, is the wife of Harvey J. Ludwich, a resident of McCook, Neb., by whom she has four children; Earl Vergie, Harvey and Lewis. Martha, born March 2, 1859, is the wife of Charles A. Clark, of Salem, Ore., and their three children are Erma, Leon and Beulah. Edwin L., born April 26, 1860, married Miss Lora Morris, daughter of J. Ross Morris of Chicago Heights, and they have two children: R. Morris and L. Louise. He now resides on the home farm, which he manages. Matilda, born November 27, 1864, is the wife of Isaac J. Owen, a resident of Onarga, and unto them was born a son, Ellsworth, who died September 10, 1892. Hattie, born October 27, 1870, is the wife of Henry Pratt, and they reside in Cropsey, Ill. On the 26th of September, 1872, Mr. Wheeler was again married, his second union being with Rhuie Jane McIntyre, daughter of Duncan McIntyre. Her death occurred March 30, 1884.
Since 1869, Mr. Wheeler had been a resident of Iroquois County. He first located on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres one mile north of Onarga, where hr resided for twelve years, and it is yet the home of his son, Edwin L. He afterward bought a farm south of town and made it his home for two years, but retained ownership of the same until July, 1890, when he sold that tract of one hundred and sixty acres and purchased a half-section of land in Polk County, Ore., near the State capital. In 1883, he removed to Onarga, where he had a comfortable home, and enjoyed a well-earned rest during his declining years. Success crowned his business efforts, and by his perseverance and enterprise he acquired a handsome competence, which enabled him to live retired.
Mr. Wheeler was honored with some local offices but was never an active politician, in the sense of office-seeking. He served as Justice of the Peace of Long Point for five years, and he has filled the office of Postmaster for a period of seven years, discharging his duties with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. In his political affiliations he was a Republican. He belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a highly respected citizen, whose many excellencies of character won for him the high regard of all with whom business or pleasure brought him in contact. While on a visit in Salem, Ore., he died, October 9, 1892, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Martha A. Clark. His remains were brought back and interred in Onarga cemetery.
RANSOM B. PANGBORN, of Onarga, has prominently figured in the history of Iroquois County for fifty-five years, and with its upbuilding and development has been identified. He was born October 16, 1812, in Essex County, N. Y., and when only four years of age removed with his parents to Ohio, where his boyhood and youth were quietly passed. When a young man he determined to seek his home on the prairies of Illinois with the hope of bettering his financial condition, and in 1837, at the age of twenty-five years, he came to Iroquois County in company with his brother, Judge Pangborn, and his family. Securing one hundred and sixty acres of raw land, three miles southeast of the present site of Onarga, he began the development of a farm.
The following year, on June 21, 1838, Mr. Pangborn married Miss Margaret K. Harper, daughter of Samuel H. Harper, an honored pioneer of this county. They became the parents of a family of seven children: Lorenzo, born December 9, 1839, was killed by lightning when only four years of age; Olive was born August 14, 1842; Lorenzo, March 5, 1844; Mary Jane, September 7, 1848; Maria Amanda and Margaret Louisa, twins, October 27, 1851; and Charles Albert, July 31, 1857. Mary Jane is now the wife of Henry J. Swim, who resides in the extreme northeastern part of the State of Washington. They have two children, a son and daughter, Arthur P. and Margaret Louise. The latter is now the wife of Matthew Paul Watson, and her daughter, Cecil Watson, is the great-granddaughter of our subject. Charles Albert, the youngest child of the Pangborn family, was married to Miss Lucy Haven, daughter of Henry Haven, and they have three children: Margaret, Harry R. and Olive. The mother of this family died about 1871, and her remains were interred in the Onarga cemetery. On September 24, 1874, Mr. Pangborn was a second time married, being united with Mrs. Cornelia Lash, daughter of Nicholas and Maria (Burst) Burnside, of Otsego, N. Y.
Mrs. Pangborn was the widow of David Lash, by whom she had four children, two yet living: Anna M. is the wife of Edwin J. Yeomans, a resident of Lamar, Mo., by whom she has three children, Bertha Louise, Grace and Jessie; Enos L. is married and resides in Ritzville, near Spokane Falls, Wash. They have a son and daughter, Freddie and Clara Bell.
Mr. Ransom engaged in the operation of his first farm from 1837 to 1868, when he removed to Onarga, but he still owns one hundred and thirty-seven and one-half acres of land, which is now rented. He has always been a prominent character in the development and upbuilding of the village, and has been a friend to all educational, social and moral interests. He is a public-spirited and progressive man, and has given his support to all enterprises calculated to promote the general welfare. In politics, he is a stalwart Prohibitionist, and himself and wife are faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They took a prominent part in wiping out the saloons in Onarga. In the community they are highly respected, and their circle of friends is extensive, for their many excellencies have won them the warm regard of all.
WILLIAM SCOTT, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits on section 3, Lovejoy Township, has resided upon his present farm for the long period of thirty-eight consecutive years. He was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, November 22, 1827. He was one of ten children whose parents, Jehu and Martha (Templeton) Scott, were natives of Virginia. Further mention is made of the family in the sketch of Bluford T. Scott, on another page of this work.
When our subject was quite young his parents removed to Shelby County, Ind., and located on a farm near Shelbyville, where he was reared to manhood. His education was acquired in the district schools of the neighborhood. His training at farm labor, however, was not very limited, but during those early days he developed a self-reliance and enterprising spirit which have proved of incalculable benefit to him in his business career in later years. In January, 1853, he left Indiana and came to Iroquois County, where, with his brother-in-law, A. J. Endsley, he purchased four hundred acres of land, located four-miles south of the present village of Milford. This farm was known to the early settlers as Red Pump Farm. These gentlemen conducted it together for some time and then Mr. Scott purchased Mr. Endsley's interest. It has been his home since 1854, and from a wild and uncultivated tract it has been transformed into one of the most desirable places of the county. Many excellent improvements have been placed upon it, and the land is under a high state of cultivation, the rich and fertile fields yielding a golden tribute to the care and cultivation of the owner.
On September 21, 1856, Mr. Scott was united in marriage with Miss Martha Rothgeb, daughter of George and Anna Rothgeb, who came to this county in 1837, and were among its earliest settlers. Four children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Scott, as follows: Carlisle, who was born June 14, 1858, married Miss Anna Larned July 10, 1881. They now make their home in Colfax, McLean County, Ill., and their union has been blessed with one child, Shirley Cameron. Olive was born June 27, 1861; Winfield was born February 29, 1868; and Anna, who was born September 18, 1871, was married to Dr. J. S. Adsit, of Hoopeston, Ill., October 21, 1891.
Mr. Scott holds membership with Milford Lodge No. 253, I. O. O. F., and is also a member of the Milford Rangers, a horse protective association. He is classed among the practical and progressive farmers of the community, and is recognized as a prominent and influential citizen of Lovejoy Township. He has never taken a very prominent part in public affairs, but by his quiet, unassuming and honorable life has won the respect and esteem of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.
BENJAMIN F. SHANKLAND, editor of the Watseka Republican and President of that publishing company, was born in Warren County, Ind., on the banks of the Wabash, February 20,1849, and is a son of Kendal and Amanda (Harris) Shankland. He was a lad of only five summers when he came with his parents to Illinois. He was reared on his father's farm, which was situated in Prairie Green Township, Iroquois County, near the Illinois and Indiana State line. His primary education was acquired in the country schools, after which he attended the Danville High School and Grand Prairie Seminary, thus acquiring a good education. For four years in succession, he taught his home school in Prairie Green, and in 1872 entered the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he took a two-year law course and was graduated in the Class of '74.
The following year, Mr. Shankland located in Watseka and obtained the position of Deputy County Clerk of Iroquois County, under Henry A. Butzow, a Democrat. It speaks well for both the Clerk and his Deputy that the former, while a supporter of the Democracy, had the independence to appoint and retain as his assistant a pronounced Republican, and that the Deputy made his services so valuable that he was retained seven years in spite of the partisan influence brought to bear to accomplish his removal. After leaving the County Clerks office, Mr. Shankland practiced law in Watseka. Not finding the legal profession to his taste, he, in 1884, bought the Watseka Republican and has been connected with it ever since as editor and publisher, except one year-the latter part of 1887 and the early pant of 1888, when he was in California, connected with the San Diego Union. On his return to Watseka in 1888, he repurchased the Republican and has since been its editor. In the spring of 1892, the present Watseka Republican Company was incorporated and Mr. Shankland was chosen its President. A sketch of the paper is given elsewhere in this work.
On the 26th of December, 1877, our subject was united in marriage in Lovejoy Township, Iroquois County, with Miss Nancy R. Miskimen, who was born in Bridgeville, Ohio, September 17, 1855, and is a daughter of William and Emma Miskimen. They have one child, Ken M., who was born in Watseka, Ill., March 7, 1879. The parents and son are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Shankland conjointly have four hundred and sixty-five acres of fine farming land situated partly in each of the townships of Prairie Green and Lovejoy.
In politics, Mr. Shankland is a Republican and is influential in the councils of the local party managers, doing good work in the interest of his party, not only as a journalist but in general campaign work. He is a member of Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. &A. M. He has made a success of his venture in journalism and has raised the Republican a to a high standard of excellence. While the paper is thoroughly partisan, it is fair and courteous and is newsy and popular as a family paper. As a gentleman, Mr. Shankland has won a strong hold upon the regard of the best of his fellow-citizens through his straightforward, businesslike methods and manly advocacy of what he feels is a best and right for the public welfare.
JUDGE THOMAS M. PANGBORN, an honored citizen of Onarga, was numbered among the early settlers of the county, where he came with the family in 1837, more than half a century ago. A native of the Empire State, he was born in Essex County, June 1, 1806, and is a son of John and Miranda (Miller) Pangborn, the former a native of Connecticut the latter of New York. In 1836, they removed from time Empire State to Ohio, where they lived for some years. The family numbered five children, of whom the Judge is the eldest. The others are Triphena, Ransom B., Maria A. and Cyrus S. The two sons are still living.
Judge Pangborn was reared to manhood in New York and Ohio, and on the 15th of March, 1832, was united in marriage within Miss Jane Harper, daughter of Samuel H. and Mary (McCoy) Harper, of Pennsylvania. In the autumn of 1837, he emigrated with his family to Illinois, accompanied by his brother Ransom, and in 1845 the father, John Pangborn, and the other members of the family also emigrated Westward, locating near the brothers. Thomas Pangborn settled on a farm of two hundred and forty acres about a mile from the village of Onarga, where he made his home for almost a quarter of a century. He afterward removed to a forty-acre tract of land, which he purchased in addition to his first farm, and there made his home for nearly thirty years. He was a successful agriculturist, practical and progressive, and won by his per-severance and well-directed efforts a handsome competency, which enabled him to live a retired life.
Unto Judge and Mrs. Pangborn were born six children: John, born December 29, 1832, died in early childhood. Triphena, born November 4, 1834, became the wife of Capt. Elkanah Doolittle, of Onarga, one of the civil engineers in the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad. They had four children, two of whom are yet living, Milton and Thomas E. Mrs. Doolittle died on the 22d of July, 1868. Johnson T., born November 28, 1836, died in childhood. Emily, born December 21, 1838, is the wife of Henry Haven, a native of Portsmouth, N. H., now residing in Oakland, Cal. Unto them were born five children, three of whom are yet living: Henry W., Lucy J. and Mary M. Mary Ann, born April 19, 1841, is the wife of Charles Haven, a native of Portsmouth, N. H., also a resident of Oakland, Cal., and they had seven children, four of whom yet survive: Charles E., Clarence, Mabel and Helen. Miranda, born. November 19. 1843, is the wife of Capt. Elkanah Doolittle, and they make their home in Onarga.
On the 1st of February, 1892, Judge Pangborn left his farm and came to Onarga, where, in his comfortable home, he resided with his faithful wife, with whom he had traveled life's journey for more than sixty years. The Judge was in his eighty-seventh year, and his wife is eighty years of age, and on the 15th of March, 1892, they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. For almost half a century they have held membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for more than forty years Mr. Pangborn was Class-leader, occupying the position until recently, when his advanced age forced him to abandon that work. The cause of temperance found in him a warm friend, and he was a stanch Prohibitionist.
For many years Judge Pangborn held the office of Associate Judge of the county previous to the township organization, and was also Overseer of the Poor. He held the office of School Director for many years, and was prominently identified with public and benevolent work. He did much for the upbuilding of the county, aided greatly in its development and progress, and witnessed its entire growth from an almost unbroken wilderness until now it stands in the front rank among the leading counties of the State. Judge Pangborn was a typical pioneer; large-hearted and hospitable to strangers as well as friends, his home became a general stopping-place. His first house was the pioneer log cabin, and it is said of him that he paid his first taxes with 'coon skins. However that may be, one thing is certain in those early days, 'coon skins were more plentiful than money. His life was well and worthily spent, and in looking back over the past no regret need be felt for lost opportunities or duties unperformed. He was truly one of Nature's noblemen, and the respect and confidence of the entire community were his. On the 23d of October, 1892, Judge Pangborn was called to his final rest, and his remains were interred in the Onarga cemetery.