Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
THOMAS B. COMPTON, one of the prominent and highly?respected citizens of Chebanse Township,who resides on a fine farm on section 5, is of English birth. He was born in Leicestershire, England, November 16, 1841, and is a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Burberry) Compton, both of whom were natives of the same locality. His father was a farmer by occupation and was born and reared on the farm where the family had lived for over three hundred years. Robert was the first to leave the old home. In April, 1859, he bade good?bye to friends and native land, sailed from Liverpool and at length landed in New York City. He settled in Oswego, Kendall County, Ill., where for a time he rented land. He afterward engaged in farming upon land of his own, having purchased a tract of raw prairie, from which he developed a good farm. He then sold out and is still living, at the age of eighty?five years, with his son. His wife died in England. She was a member of the Episcopal Church. Mr. Compton served as Tax Collector in England. He holds membership with the Baptist Church and takes a very active part in its work and upbuilding. In politics, he was formerly a Republican but is now a supporter of the Democratic party. In the Compton family there were but two children. The sister of our subject, Sarah Ann, became the wife of John Griffiths and died in Oswego, Ill.
Thomas B. Compton, whose name heads this record, resided upon his father's farm until twenty?two years of age. His education was acquired in the public schools of his native land. His privileges in that direction, however, were much more limited than his training at farm work. He remained in Kendall County until 1861, when he came to Iroquois County and purchased two hundred and forty acres of raw prairie land, a part of his present farm. Upon this was a shanty, 16x32 feet. In one end he had his bed, in the other a store, and in the center sheltered his horses. This building still stands, being now used as an outbuilding, while upon the place are all the improvements and accessories of a model farm, including a good residence, barns, the latest improved machinery, etc. In connection with general farming, which Mr. Compton has carried on successfully, he also engaged in the breeding and driving of horses for some years. He owns two hundred and forty acres of rich land under a high state of cultivation, but expects soon to rent this and remove to one of the suburbs of Chicago.
Mr. Compton was married in Kendall County, in 1863, to Miss Ellen Benson, daughter of Henry and Anna (Heap) Benson, natives of Lancashire, England, who came to America when Mrs. Compton was thirteen years of age. Her parents are both deceased. The wife of our subject is two months his junior. By their union have been born the following children: George W., who was born in Kendall County and was educated in Fairmont College of Cincinnati, has now for several years resided in Colorado for his health and is there practicing medicine. Emily A., the daughter of the family, was born and reared in this county. She acquired her early education in the public schools, was a student in Belvidere Seminary in New Jersey and afterward engaged in teaching music in that institution. She is an accomplished and charming young lady and is now studying elocution in the Washington College of Elocution in Washington, D. C., where she expects to pursue a full course of study.
Mr. Compton and his wife have long been active workers in the Congregational Church. For a quarter of a century they have been prominently connected with the Sunday?school work, their children have been numbered among its teachers, and Mr. Compton has bean Superintendent of the Sunday?school for a number of years. He takes an interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community, especially those enterprises calculated to upbuild or benefit the moral or educational interests. He is a member of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association and was Master of the Grange during its existence. He cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. U. S. Grant, but is independent in politics, not willing to be bound by any party ties. He is an intelligent, valued and highly respected citizen of the community and a self?made man, who by his own efforts has steadily worked his way upward.
FLEMING R. MOORE, an attorney?at?law, engaged in practice at Milford, was born in Iroquois County, on his father's farm, which was located nine miles from the city. His parents, John B. and Sarah M. (Fleming) Moore, were both natives of Ohio, and in the spring of 1831 emigrated to Illinois, settling in what is now known as Belmont Township, Iroquois County. The father entered a quarter?section of land from the Government, and by his industrious efforts the wild tract of prairie land was converted into rich and fertile fields. The boundaries of his farm be extended as his financial resources were increased until he owned four hundred acres. His death occurred on the 20th of November, 1870. Eight children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Moore, six of whom are yet living. Joseph B., the eldest, married Sarah Frame, and unto them were born six children. Micajah S. enlisted for the late war as a member of Company A, Seventy?sixth Illinois Infantry. He served for a little over two years, and was in a number of hard battles, but was never wounded. However, in May, 1865, be was taken ill with cramp colic, and died within twenty?four hours. Flaming is the next younger. Martha A. is the wife of Barton Bishop, of Sheldon, Ill., by whom she has seven children. William F. married Lydia Frame, daughter of Abner Frame, and they have a family of three children. Nancy J. died in infancy. Z. V. is the next younger. John A., who completes the family, married Sarah Tracy, and with their two children they reside in Sheldon, Ill.
The subject of this sketch spent the days of his boyhood and youth upon the farm where he was born, and was early inured to agricultural pursuits. After acquiring a common?school education, he became a student of Westfield College, of Clark County, a school conducted under the auspices of the United Brethren Church. After there pursuing his studies for two years, he engaged in teaching in the district where his own education was commenced, and later be took up the study of law, with the intention of making the legal practice his life work. This was in 1879. The following year he removed to Woodland, where he continued his studies for a time, and then began practice. In 1883 he came to Milford, and, opening an office, has since prosecuted his profession in this place.
During the late war, Mr. Moore manifested his loyalty to the Government by marching to the front and aiding in the preservation of the Union. He was only seventeen years of age, when, on the 13th of May, 1864, he became a member of Company B, One Hundred and Thirty?fourth Illinois Infantry. He was honorably discharged on the 25th of October of the same year. In politics he has been a stalwart Republican since attaining his majority, and warmly advocates that party's principles.
Mr. Moore was married October 21 1872, to Angeline Welfare, daughter of Ephraim and Jemima (Good) Welters. Five children have been born of their union: Lena L., born December 13, 1874; Lola Wild, born September 3, 1883; Free Morris, born December 9, 1887; Morse Anderson and Hazel, twins, born December 30, 1891. The latter died January 27, 1892, and the former on the 9th of March following.
Mr. Moors is s leading practitioner of Milford. He has been a close student of his profession, and is now well versed in the law. During the ten years of his residence here his business has constantly increased, and he is now enjoying a liberal patronage.
RASMUS JOHNSON, a prominent citizen of Iroquois County, residing on section 22, Milk's Grove Township, is a Dane by birth. He was born in Sunde, near Swendborg, Denmark, on the 3d of May, 1839, and is a son of Jens Hanson, who was born in 1801, and who throughout his life engaged in farming in Denmark. He was also a soldier and served in the Thirty years War. His death occurred on the home farm in his native land in 1872. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Maria Luvegt, was born in the same locality as her husband, November 6, 1811, and died on the 1st of May, 1892, at the age of eighty?one years. Both families were noted for longevity. The paternal grandfather of our subject reached the advanced age of ninety?eight years, and the maternal grandmother lived to the extreme old age of one hundred and three?years. Both parents were members of the Lutheran Church. Their family numbered nine children, seven sons and two daughters.
The early childhood days of our subject were spent under the parental roof, and his education was acquired in the public schools. He is truly a self?made man, for he has been dependent upon his own resources since he was fifteen years of age. At that time he began work on a large estate, serving as gardener for two years, after which he occupied the position of foreman for four years. At the age of twenty?one he entered the army, and served as a member of the Dragoons for a term of six years. He entered the services as a non?commissioned officer but for meritorious conduct was promoted to higher rank. He served throughout the war with Germany, and participated in more than twenty battles. He received a sabre cut on the hand, and one on the back, and was shot in the arm. After the war he worked out for two years as coachman for a wealthy gentleman, and was then foreman for two years on a large estate.
Ere leaving his native land, Mr. Johnson was married, at the age of twenty?seven years, to Miss Mariane Christensen, who was born January 4, 1843, in Klostrap, Jylan, Denmark. They became parents of twelve children, of whom two, William and Henry, died in childhood; the living are Eliza M., born May 5, 1867 the wife of Ole Mikkelsen; William Frederick, born March 12, 1870; Frank Emil, May 29, 1873; Latina, August 28, 1875; Walter Lund, February 17, 1877; Albert B. B., November 3, 1878; Mathilda H., April 13, 1881; Emma Sophia, August 21, 1883; Christian J. G., December 21, 1885; and Ida Caroline, April 29, 1887.
In 1866, Mr. Johnson, accompanied by his wife, emigrated to America. He sailed from Jylan to Hamburg, thence to Liverpool and on to Portland, Me., whence he came at once to Illinois, locating in Chebanse. He there spent the seven succeeding years of his life, working on a hay press and on the railroad. At length he disposed of his interest and began farming, on rented land in Chebanse Township, where he remained for three years. He then rented land of Lemuel Milk, and operated one farm for a period of seventeen years. He now resides upon what is known as the Bell Farm, where he operates three hundred and twenty?seven acres, and in its management displays excellent business ability. He is a careful farmer and successful business man, and although he has been dependent upon his own resources from a very early age, he has won a comfortable competence.
In connection with his other interests, Mr. Johnson is land agent for the firm of Prince & Cook, of Chicago, which position he has held for six years, and has done much towards securing homes for his fellow?citizens in this locality. He is also agent for a steamship line. Mr. Johnson cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant in 1868, and has since been a supporter of Republican principles. He has held the office of Constable of his township for five years, and has also been Road Overseer. He and his family are members of the Lutheran Church, and Mr. Johnson is one of its Trustees. He is a well?known and highly respected man, and a prominent citizen, who well deserves representation in this volume.
JOSEPH ODERWALD, one of the prominent and well?known citizens of Chebanse Township, residing on section 31, claims Prussia as the land of his birth. He was born in Westphalia, on the 21st of November, 1826, and is a son of Ludwig and Maria (Unke) Oderwald, both of whom were natives of Prussia. The father was born in the Province of Waldeck and was a laborer on an estate. He spent his entire life in Germany, dying at the age of fifty?four years. His wife survived him some time, and also spent her last days in their native land. Mr. Oderwald served in the army in the war against Napoleon in 1815. He was a member of the Lutheran Church.
The family numbered the following children, Josephine, the, eldest, died in New York City; John is living a retired life in New York City; Joseph is the next younger; Frederick is still living in Germany; August makes his home in New York City; Lena resides in Elizabeth, N. J.; Conrad is diving in New York; and Charles died in that city.
The boyhood days of our subject were spent in his native land, and his education was acquired in the parochial schools, which he attended between the ages of six and fourteen years. When a lad of fifteen summers, he began earning his own livelihood. In 1848, he was called into the army and served with the Eleventh Hussars, doing duty in the city of Coln. He spent three years in the army, and in 1851 was honorably discharged. He then returned home, and again worked at farm labor. Later be engaged in farming and teaming along the river. In 1854, he went to London, England, where he worked in a sugar refinery for about a .year, when, in 1855, he sailed for America. Landing in New York, he was employed in that city for a time and worked on a canal. The year 1859 witnessed his arrival in Illinois. He located in Morris, Grundy County, where he began farming on rented land.
On the 4th of March, 1862, Mr. Oderwald was united in marriage with Miss Bridget O'Conner, a native of Lancashire, England; her; parents, however, were natives of Ireland, but for many years resided in Liverpool, England, whence they came to America. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Oderwald have been born eight children: Mary A. became the wife of Mike Dempsey, and died in Clifton, leaving two sons, Charles and Ed, who reside with our, subject; Edward is a farmer and resides on a portion of the homestead; Kate is the wife of Ben Purcell, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in this county: Sadie is the wife of John Hendren, a farmer of this township; Joseph, Lizzie, Emma and Theresa are all at home. The latter were born in this county, and the four older children were born in Grundy County.
Mr. Oderwald has been a resident of Iroquois County since 1872. In that year be purchased the farm upon which he now resides, buying one hundred and sixty acres. Its boundaries, however, he has since extended until it now comprises two hunched and forty acres of arable land. The farm is well tiled, a good residence has been erected, fruit and shade trees have been planted, and all the improvements of a model farm have, been made. From a tender age our subject has made his own way in the world. With no capital he came to America, but he possessed energy, enterprise and a strong determination to succeed. Overcoming the obstacles and difficulties in his path, he has steadily worked his way upward until he has now gained a handsome competence, and is numbered among the substantial citizens of the community. He and his family are members of are Catholic Church of Clifton, to the support of which he contributes liberally. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and has since been a zealous Democrat, warmly advocating the principles of that party. Through his own efforts he learned to read and speak the English language, and is now a well?informed man and an intelligent and highly respected citizen, who has ever borne his part in the development of his adopted county. It was a fortunate day for him when he decided to come to America, for he has here met with prosperity.
ISAAC VAN DUZOR is a leading citizen of Clifton and one of the early and honored pioneer settlers of the county. His birth occurred on the 4th of January, 1815, in Orange County, N. Y. The family originally came from Holland, and Adolph, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The father of Isaac died in 1875 in New York, and the death of his wife occurred a few years previous. Their family consisted of twelve children, ten of whom, four sons and six daughters, grew to mature years.
The subject of this sketch spent his boyhood days quietly. He was married in January, 1836, to Miss Charlotte Kuykendall, daughter of Jacob Kuykendall, a native of the Empire State. Eight children, five sons and three daughters, blessed the union of Isaac and Charlotte Van Duzor. The deceased are Milton, Anna, Lena and one who died in infancy. Those living are Clay, who married a Miss Ferris, whose parents lived in Connecticut. They have two daughters. Harvey is also married and resides in Chicago. Jacob wedded Miss Van Doren, of Chicago, and now lives in Omaha, Neb. One child graces their union. Jacob is a traveling man, having been in the employ of a wholesale grocery house in Chicago for a number of years. Willard married a Kentucky lady in St. Louis and shortly after their marriage they removed to Florida, where he still lives. The lady came to Illinois to spend the summer at the home of her husband's parents and died here after a short illness. Willard some two years later married a lady from New York State, who had lived for some years in Florida. This union has been blessed with two children.
Three sons of our subject were soldiers for the defense of the Union during the late war. When the first call for seventy?five thousand men was made by President Lincoln, Clay Van Duzor enlisted in the Twenty?eighth New York Infantry and after a service of two years was honorably discharged with his company. While they were on their homeward way, Gen. Lee invaded Pennsylvania, and the New York soldiers returning fought some of the hardest battles they had yet participated in, and finally succeeded in driving Lee from the Keystone State. After this, the regiment returned home and received their discharge. Harvey belonged to a Chicago battery and was one of the youngest soldiers in the service, being less than fourteen years of age when he was accepted. He served until the close of the war, being actively engaged during three years. Jacob was placed in the Commissary Department and spent most of his time in New York, gathering commissary supplies.
In 1851, Mr. Van Duzor was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died in the Empire State. He was again married, his second union being with boss Julia Millspaugh, daughter of Lewis Millspaugh, who was born in Monticello, N. Y. Mrs. Van Duzor's parents removed to the West and both died in Illinois many years ago.
Mr. Van Duzor is one of the pioneer settlers of Clifton, having located here in the month of September, 1855. At that time this town had not been organized nor were there any other towns for many miles. This whole region was one vast prairie almost totally uninhabited. Game abounded and herds of deer and wolves roamed the prairies. As much of it was swamp land, there were many varieties of water?fowl in this locality, wild geese and long?necked cranes being especially plentiful. Since settling here Mr. Van Duzor has not been away from Clifton for more than three months. The first year he engaged in farming; taking up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres from the Government, three miles west of Chebanse. He carried on agricultural pursuits for about two years and then came to the present site of Clifton, where he built a hotel. This business be followed until the spring of 1872, at which time he sold his hotel interests and engaged in the agricultural implement business, having opened a store in that line several years before, and in this line of trade he still continues. At one time he also owned a grocery store in Clifton. Although he has met with heavy reverses, he has been undaunted and has accumulated considerable property and has a flourishing business, carrying a large stock of goods. In the Chicago fire he sustained a severe loss, some $55,000 worth of his property being consumed in the flames. However, he is now the possessor of a pleasant home and forty acres of land situated within the corporate limits of the village of Clifton. Some ten years before locating here, Mr. Van Duzor was appointed agent for the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company, of Hartford, Conn., having written applications for that company for forty?seven years.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Duzor are prominent members of the Congregational Church, but formerly belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. In the earlier days of our country's history, our subject was a supporter of the Whig party and has been an adherent of the Republican party and its principles since its organization. He has never aspired to official positions of recognition and has attended strictly to business affairs. He is respected for his unostentatious and honorable life and is widely known as a genial and kind?hearted man. He has a host of friends in this vicinity in his many patrons and other acquaintances. In his business dealings he always shows the strictest integrity and honor.
JOHN HELLER is a well?known farmer and stock?raiser, who makes his home on section 35, Chebanse Township. He was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on the 8th of February, 1842. He is a son of Conrad and Albona (Lucas) Holler, both likewise natives of the Fatherland. The father was by occupation a farmer, and in 1852, taking passage at Rotterdam on a sailing?vessel, he started to seek a home in the New World. He arrived in New York City in the fall of 1852, having been fifty?two days in crossing the Atlantic. He went directly to Chicago and located near there, engaging in gardening for the succeeding seven years. In 1859, he removed to Iroquois County and purchased a tract of unimproved prairie land in Chebanse Township, which he continued to farm until his death, in 1890. His wife was called to the better land in 1878.
Our subject and his brother Jacob accompanied their parents to the United States, and lived upon the homestead in Illinois, assisting their father in the work of the farm. Their brother George enlisted, in 1861, in the Eighty?ninth Illinois Infantry, and was killed in the battle of Stone River, near Murfreesboro, Tenn.
John Heller lived until about seventeen years of age in Chicago and received good school advantages in that city. He then came to Iroquois County, assisting his father in developing his land until after he had reached his majority. His father then gave him an eighty?acre farm, and on this our subject located in 1872. He fenced a good deal of his land and proceeded to develop and cultivate it to the best of his ability. His place soon yielded him rich returns for his labors, and he was soon on the road to prosperity. He has since bought an adjoining eighty acres, and twenty acres, also eight acres more, making one hundred and eighty?eight acres in one body, all well-improved and arable land. Mr. Heller has done considerable tiling and has a pleasant and substantial residence, good barns and other outbuildings. He is one of the enterprising and thrifty farmers of Chebanse Township, and on every hand may be seen the careful attention and cultivation of the owner.
On the 2d of January, 1872, Mr. Holler was united in wedlock with Carrie Falter, who was born in Ohio, October 20, 1858, and remained in Columbus until a maiden of thirteen. Her father, Louis Falter, was born in Germany and removed from Ohio to Joliet, Ill., thence to Ford County, and afterward located in Iroquois County. He lived on a farm in this township for several years and then removed to the village of Chebanse, where his death occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Heller have five children: Minnie, Nettie, Jacob, Charles and Alice, all of whom are still under the parental roof and are receiving good educations. Miss Minnie is a professional dressmaker and milliner.
The Republican party has received the support of Mr. Heller since he has been a voter. The cause of education finds in him a stanch friend and well?wisher. He has been a resident of this county for thirty?three years, and has been a witness of the remarkable changes in the same. From a wilderness of swampy prairie land has been evolved the present county of prosperous farms and thriving villages. He has made many friends in this and adjoining counties, and has ever assisted in the advancement of this section. He is one of the honored and esteemed pioneers, and it is with pleasure that we place his name and brief history among those who have made of this county one of the best in the State.
CHARLES C. DIETZ, who carries on the occupation of farming on section 31, Crescent Township, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Philadelphia September 21, 1832. He is a son of John Gottlieb Dietz, a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in Wurtemberg in 1806. The father passed his early days in the Fatherland, and emigrated to America in 1830. He located in Lebanon County, Pa., and there resided until 1863, when he moved to Logansport, Ind., where he purchased a farm near that city, and there resided until his death, in the spring of 1890. He married in Philadelphia Christina Caroline Krantz, who, like him, was a native of Germany. She was reared and educated in that country, and came alone to America. Her death occurred in 1842, when our subject was a lad of twelve years. The father afterward married again. Mr. Dietz started in life a poor boy, and when he landed in the United States was practically without means, but as the result of industry he accumulated a large estate, and at his death gave to each of his children forty acres of good land. He was an active member of the German Lutheran Church, in which he served as Elder for a number of years. From a paper published at the time of his death, we quote the following: "John Gottlieb Dietz died at his residence in Cass County, Ind., on the 17th of April, 1890, at the ripe old age of eighty?three years. He was born September 17, 1806, in Bretzfeld Wurtemberg, Germany, and in 1821 sailed for America, landing in Philadelphia, where he resided for five years. He removed to Lebanon, Pa., in 1836. There he united with Lion's Lutheran Church. Mr. Dietz was confirmed in the Lutheran Church of Germany when fourteen years of age. In 1864, he with his family, except one son, came to Indiana, and has since lived in Cass County. He was the father of seven children, four sons and three daughters, all of whom were present at his burial. He was a remarkable man, of robust constitution and vigorous mind. He had studied the Scriptures carefully and prayerfully, so that his familiarity with God's Word was wonderful. He was a grand Christian gentleman, and was mourned by all. The funeral service was preached in the Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church, in Rock Creek, by Rev. J. L. Guard, who has been pastor for nearly twenty years, from the text, 'But the path of the just is as a shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.'"
Our subject, Charles C., is the eldest of four sons, and there was also one daughter by his father's first marriage. By the second union were born two daughters. Theodore, the second child, is a farmer residing near Logansport, Ind.; John Gottlieb also carries on agricultural pursuits near the same city; Henry Wilhelm is occupied in farming near Lebanon, Pa.; Christina Caroline is the wife of John Tripps, a farmer near Logansport; Eliza is the wife of George Hummel, who carries on the old homestead near Logansport; and Sarah, wife of Daniel Ray, who lives near the above city.
Mr. Dietz of this sketch grew to manhood in the Keystone State, and received his education in the schools of his native country. His advantages in that direction were very limited and he is mostly self?educated; nevertheless, by close observation and well?selected reading, he has become a well-informed man on all the leading questions of the day and general topics. When a young man he came West as far as Chicago, intending to go to the far West, but then decided to go only as far as Iowa City. After staying there a short time he returned to Madison County, Ind., and near Anderson was united in marriage, February 22, 1857, his bride being Eliza Carmany, who was born in Lebanon County, Pa., and was a daughter of John Carmany, now deceased.
The first year after his marriage, Mr. Dietz worked at manual labor, at fifty cents per day. He then operated a farm belonging to a widow for two years; she furnished teams and farming implements, while he received three?fifths of the crops. After accumulating a small capital he then purchased one horse, and as occasion demanded hired another, paying for it by his labor. His industrious German spirit knew no such word as fail. He experienced many of the hardships and privations incident to the farming of new land. He there remained for nine years, and in 1865 moved to Illinois, settling in Iroquois County. For two years he rented a farm near Watseka, and then purchased one hundred and twenty acres of raw land, where he has since resided. He met with all the difficulties of opening up the new prairie land, and the first season after his purchase being very wet, he was not enabled to harvest any crops, and therefore for the first year or two the family was subject to many hardships. To add to his troubles, his faithful wife, after a short illness, died in February, 1869, leaving him with seven children, one of whom was an infant.
The following year, on the 27th of March, Mr. Dietz was united in marriage with Mrs. Emma E. Thompson, who was in her maidenhood Miss Orth. Her parents were Adam Godlove and Fannie (Seaschrist) Orth, both natives of Pennsylvania. The father was born in Lebanon County, May 8, 1806, and died April 3,1886, at the advanced age of four?score years. The mother was born January 20, 1811, and is still living at the age of eighty?one. Her great?grandparents were both killed by the Indians. A brother of Mr. Orth, Godlove Sotner Orth, was a man prominent in the history of this country. He was appointed by President Grant as Minister to Vienna, and afterward became candidate for the office of Governor of Indiana. Mrs. Dietz has in her possession a beautiful volume which contains the memorial address delivered in Congress on the death of Godlove S. Orth. The New York Tribune in 1876 wrote of him as follows: "Mr. Orth, the nominee of the Indiana Republican party for Governor, was born near Lebanon, Pa., April 22, 1817. After receiving a good education at Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, he studied law, and was admitted to the Bar in 1839. He was elected to the State Senate of Indiana, served six years, and was President of that body. In 1862, when a call was made for troops to defend Indiana from threatened incursions, Mr. Orth organized a company in two hours. He was elected Captain and placed in command of the United States vessel, "Horner," which did duty on the Ohio River." It is thus seen that Mr. Orth was very prominent both at home and abroad.
Mrs. Dietz was the, sixth in order of birth in a family of twelve children, of whom five sons and three daughters are yet living. She was born, reared and educated in Pennsylvania, and witnessed the famous battle of Gettysburg. She became the wife of William Thompson, of Altoona, Pa., and had one child by her first marriage. The children born by the first union of Mr. Dietz are as follows: Melissa J., wife of John Burkholder; Milton A.; Anna L., wife of Henry Forbes, of this county; .John Henry, who is married and resides on a farm in this county; Charles F., who occupies a responsible position in Chicago; and Ella. Fannie, wife of Frank Bedford, an engineer on a transfer boat at Vicksburg, Miss., is the daughter of Mrs. Dietz by her former marriage. By her union with our subject have been born two children: Godlove Orth, who has taught successfully in this community, is a young man of sterling worth, and is now a student in Onarga Seminary; and Cyrus Edgar.
Mr. Dietz, after recovering from the first two years of loss on his farm, began to prosper, and soon had his property in good shape. He has since bought eighty acres of land adjoining, and has two hundred acres of valuable and well?improved?land. He has erected a substantial and comfortable house and has good barns and outbuildings. Everything about his farm bears evidence of the thrift and enterprise of the owner. He is esteemed throughout this county as one of the most substantial and well?to?do farmers of this locality.
Mr. Dietz is identified with the Democratic party, casting his first ballot for Stephen A. Douglas and voting for every nominee of that party in Presidential elections since that time. In local politics he is independent, voting for the man best fitted in his estimation for the position in question. Though much interested in politics and the welfare of the State and community, he prefers to give his attention to his farm and own business affairs, never having asked for or accepted an official position. Mrs. Dietz is a member of the Presbyterian Church, while her husband, though not a member of the Lutheran Church, is inclined to that belief, though he usually attends the church with which his wife is identified. He contributes liberally toward the support of the church and its enterprises. For twenty?seven years, Mr. Dietz has been an honored and respected resident of this State and county, and is held to be a man of sterling character by all his numerous friends and acquaintances.
EDWIN HOBSON, a prominent farmer of Chebanse Township, owns a good farm on section 8. He is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Lincolnshire on the 1st of February, 1849. He is a son of William Hobson, a native of the same shire, who grew to maturity there and married Miss Mary Carleton. The father was a farmer in England and also followed that calling after coming, to the United States. He crossed the Atlantic in 1856 with his family and settled near Joliet, Ill., where he rented a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits for about five years. He next removed to Kankakee County, where for three years he rented and carried on a farm. In 1864, he came to Iroquois County and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land in Chebanse Township. This he developed and met with considerable success as an agriculturist. He resided here until his death, which occurred in March, 1887. Mrs. Hobson had passed away several years previous.
Edwin Hobson is the third in order of birth in a family of nine children: The eldest, Elizabeth, was the wife of Robert Lutton and is now deceased; Jane; Robert, a farmer on the old homestead; Thomas, who is a merchant of Clifton; Agnes, wife of George Wilson, of Kankakee City; Frank F., a farmer of this county; Louise, wife of Louis Van Sant, of Clifton; and William, a butcher of the same place. One brother was killed by a threshing?machine at the age of about nine years.
The subject of this sketch came to Illinois with his parents when a lad of seven years and grew to manhood in this State. He had common?school advantages and remained with his father assisting in the care of his farm until he had attained his majority. He then rented the farm where he now resides for about five years, and in 1884 purchased the place. He has a farm of one hundred and sixty acres under a good state of cultivation, and his well?tilled fields yield to him a golden tribute. He has steadily carried forward the work of improvement and development, and his property is considered to be a valuable and desirable tract. It is located a mile and a?half from Clifton, and on it can be found a pleasant and substantial residence, good barns and other farm buildings. He is a self?made man, and has by his own labor, enterprise and industry achieved a success and prosperity which to?day crown his years of labor.
In Cassopolis, Cass County, Mich., Mr. Hobson wedded Miss Jennie Davidson, a native of that city, and there reared to womanhood. The wedding ceremony occurred on the 31st of December, 1879. Mrs. Hobson is a daughter of Samuel Davidson, a native of New England.
Our subject has never wished for official positions and has given his whole time and attention to his farming and business interests. He makes a specialty of the breeding of fine horses, and has in his stables some thoroughbred English Shire stallions. He has shown marked business ability, and his wise investments and industry have brought to him abundant returns. Politically, Mr. Hobson has been identified with the Republican party since becoming a voter. His first ballot for President was cast for Hon. Rutherford B. Hayes, and every Presidential nominee since has received his support. For nearly his whole life?time he has been a resident of this county and is well and favorably known in this community as a man of honor, integrity and worth. He has won the friendship of all who know him and well deserves to be remembered in this volume.
THOMAS STUMP, a leading and respected farmer of Ashkum Township, owns and operates a farm on section 21. He was born in Clermont County, Ohio, on the 27th of December, 1829. His father, Lewis Stump, was born in the same county on the 1st of January, 1804, while his grandfather, John Stump, was a native of Winchester County, Va., and was of German descent. The latter, in company with three brothers, went west to Kentucky, and after stopping there a short time removed to Ohio, where they settled.
Lewis Stump, the father of our subject, grew to manhood in Clermont County and received as good an education as could be obtained in the schools of that early period. He married Elizabeth Fitzwater, a daughter of Thomas Fitzwater, one of the early settlers of Clermont County, who was of Scotch descent. Mr. Stump was a farmer and spent his entire life in Ohio, his death occurring there about 1885. His wife passed away in 1836. Three sons were born of that union: Thomas, who is the subject of this sketch; David and John, Stump. David grew to manhood and resides on the old homestead in Ohio; and John is a farmer of Douglas County, Kan. He was a soldier of the late war and was in the gunboat service under Capt. Perkins. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Stump was again married.
Our subject passed his boyhood days in the usual routine of farm life and received common?school privileges. He remained with his parents until about twenty?five years of age, assisting his father in his agricultural pursuits. He also ran a threshing?machine during the fall season. In 1855, Mr. Stump came on a visit to relatives in Iroquois County, Ill., and decided to make his home here. He accordingly rented land of Andrew W. Spence and engaged in farming on the place where he has since resided. After the death of that gentleman, our subject entered into partnership with Mrs. Spence and took entire charge of the farm and business until her death, which occurred in 1865. He then entered into an agreement with the heirs of the property, William H. and Margaret J. Spence, to carry on the farm in partnership. They have added to the original place until the property now consists of seven hundred acres of valuable and well?improved land. It is situated on the Iroquois River, in Ashkum Township. When Mr. Stump first came here the county was little better than a wilderness and swamp. The villages of Ashkum and Clifton were not then in existence, and only a little French settlement could be found in this section. One could cross the prairie in any direction for miles without coming to any buildings, settlements or even fences.
Mr. Stump was formerly an old?line Whig and a great admirer of Henry Clay. He has been identified with the Democratic party since James Buchanan ran for President, to whom he gave his support. Believing in his worth and ability, our subject has been many times elected by his fellow-citizens to fill official positions. He has served as Commissioner of Highways, has been Justice of the Peace for some eight years; and also was elected in 1861 as Supervisor, which position he filled for many years. To whatever office he has been elected he has always discharged his duties with fidelity and zeal and in a manner that has merited the approval of all. He has ever been a friend of the cause of education, and is a firm believer in our grand public?school system. He has served as a member of the School Board for about a quarter of a century and is still one of the trusted and efficient members. He has also been an Associate Justice for a period of four years. Though never especially desiring office, he has acceded to the wishes of his fellow?citizens, and performed his duties most acceptably. He is a public?spirited man and one who believes that personal and private interests should be largely put aside when higher duties to the city, county and State so demand. For nearly two?score years, Mr. Stump has been a resident of this State and county and has witnessed great changes in that time. He is one of the honored pioneers, and is an enterprising, well?to?do farmer of this locality.
MICHAEL HAUSZ, a prominent and successful farmer of Prairie Green Township, residing on section 9, claims Connecticut as the State of his nativity. He was born in Bridgeport on the 29th of November, 1839. His father, Michael Hausz, was born in Baden, Germany, May 6, 1809, and is still living at the advanced age of eighty?three years; his wife is seventy?six. He was reared to manhood upon a farm, and when a young man learned the trade of cabinet?making, which he followed in the Old Country. Hoping to benefit his financial condition by emigrating to America, he crossed the broad Atlantic in early manhood. Landing in New York, he there worked for a time, after which he went to Bridgeport, Conn., where he married Miss Elizabeth Heinig. She was also a native of Germany, and when a young lady of eighteen years came to this country.
Mr. Hausz continued to follow the cabinet?making trade in Bridgeport until 1840, when they moved to New York City, where they lived about six years, when they started Westward. They traveled by way of the Lakes, landing at Milwaukee, Wis. The father at once went to Jefferson County and secured a farm near Ft. Atkinson, where he has since made his home, covering a period of forty?six consecutive years. His life has been an industrious and enterprising one, and by his own efforts be has acquired a competence, which enables him to live a retired life. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democratic party, and himself and family are members of the Lutheran Church. Of the children, Michael is the eldest; George J. resides on the old homestead; Mrs. Louisa Widman is living in Jefferson County, Wis.; and Mrs. Amelia Sherman makes her house in Tacoma, Wash. All the living children, except our subject, were born in Wisconsin.
Michael Hausz, whose name heads this record, was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes of frontier life in Wisconsin. Indians still lived in the locality of his home, and all kinds of wild game were plentiful. As the country roundabout was all heavily timbered, he early learned to swing the axe, and. became inured to the hard labors of developing a farm in a new country. His educational privileges were quite limited. He attended a log schoolhouse, with its slab seats and other primitive furniture, throughout the winter season when there was not much work on the farm. At the age of sixteen, he spent the winter in the High School of Albion Center, and when twenty?three he attended a half?term at Ft. Atkinson, and then pursued a complete course of study in Eastman's Business College of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from which he was graduated in 1863. He then returned to Wisconsin and entered a store as salesman. During the next eight years, he engaged in clerking; and in doing business for himself as a merchant, but the close confinement impaired his health. He consequently sold out, and in 1871 came to Iroquois County, Ill.
October 2, 1867, in Jefferson County, Wis., Mr Hausz led to the marriage altar Miss Paulina C. Giese, a native of Prussia, born September 2, 1846. He had been previously married. Mrs. Hausz' parents, John and Minnie Giese, were also born in that land. Eight children graced their union, six sons and two daughters: Frank G., born in Wisconsin, married Frankie Dawson and resides in Stockland Township; Edward M. died at the age of nine years; Frederick W., born in this county, aids his father in the operation of the home farm; August C., Lavisa L., Dora, and Ora and Orrin (twins) are still under the parental roof. The children received good educational advantages, fitting them for the practical duties of life.
On coming to this county, Mr, Hausz purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land. Its improvements were indeed limited. The house was a mere shell, there were no barns or fences, and the land was very wet. The nearest markets were at Sheldon and Watseka. In the twenty?one years that have since come and gone, a great transformation has been wrought. The land has been well tiled and is under a high state of cultivation, while well?kept fences divide it into fields of convenient size. There are good barns and other outbuildings, a fine frame residence, and all the accessories of a model farm. The improvements upon the place are monuments to the thrift and enterprise of the owner, who is recognized as a successful business man and farmer.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hausz are members of the Christian Church, with which they have been connected for ten years. They take an active part in its work and upbuilding, and contribute liberally to its support. In his social relations, Mr. Hausz is an Odd Fellow; belonging to Milford Lodge, and is also connected with the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. He cast his first Presidential vote in 1860, supporting Stephen A. Douglas, but in 1864 voted for Abraham Lincoln,and has since been a worker in the Republican party. He has never sought office, but has given his time and attention exclusively to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success. The competence which has crowned his efforts is well deserved.
WILLIAM R. KENT, of the firm of Cummins & Kent, lumber dealers, was born in Natchez, Miss., on the 29th of October, 1850. His paternal grandfather was a soldier in the Black Hawk War and was of English origin, coming from the county of Kent. Our subject is the son of Albert C. and Sarah J. (Damon) Kent, the former a native of New Hampshire, and the latter, who is of Welsh descent, a native of Maine. To them four children were born: Margaret S, is now deceased; Albert C. is also deceased; Sarah J. became the wife of Jason L. Garey, a farmer near Dover, Me., and they have one child, Frank K. The youngest of the family is our subject. Jason L. Garey was a soldier in the late war as was also the father of our subject. They enlisted in 1861 at the first call for troops, in Company H, Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and served until the close of the war. Mr. Kent was in thirty?two battles, and although he had many hair?breadth escapes was never wounded. At one time a lock of his hair was shot away by a bullet; at another time his hat was pierced by a ball; and still another instance of his nearness to death is shown in the fact that his clothing near his heart was traversed by a bullet. He was in many of the fiercest and bloodiest battles of the war. He often served as a scout under Gen. Logan and never seemed to know fear while in the army. Among, the battles in which be participated were Holly Springs, Iuka, Chattanooga, Corinth, Atlanta, and the siege of Vicksburg. He was also in the battles of Mission Ridge and Chickamauga and a number of skirmishes in the mountains. At Little Rock, he was promoted to a captaincy. He was ever found at the post of duty and was courageous and efficient at all times. In 1840, he removed from Boston, Mass., to Natchez, Miss., where he engaged in the lumber business for about nine years. Returning to Boston, he remained there one year, and in 1850 came to Illinois, locating at Nashville, where he was employed as a painter until the breaking out of the war. His family during the time of his residence in Illinois remained in Boston. In 1859, the mother came with her children to Nashville, where they lived for about four years, then located in Richview, Washington County.
William R. Kent received a good common?school education at Nashville, and afterward attended the Richview Seminary. In 1872, he learned telegraphy and occupied positions as operator on the Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad in Missouri and with the Chicago & Alton Railroad in Illinois until 1876. He then entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad Company at Ashkum, Ill., where he held the position of station agent and telegraph operator for fourteen years, and was esteemed by them as one of their most faithful and trusty employes. Of his own accord he left his position at Ashkum and has engaged in the lumber business at Chebanse, where he has been located for about two years.
The 25th of September, 1878, witnessed the marriage of Mr. Kent and Miss Julia Tibbetts, and one child, Charles, now five years old, graces their union. Mrs. Kent is the daughter of the Rev. James Tibbetts, of Waterville, Me. Her mother in her maidenhood bore the name of Ruby Knight.
For sixteen years Mr. Kent has been a Mason, fourteen years of this time holding membership with Clifton Lodge No. 688, A. F. & A. M., but is now a member of Chebanse Lodge No. 429. He is a loyal and representative citizen and has always been a man of enterprise and public spirit. He is ever ready to do his share in the advancement of his fellow?citizens and the community and is highly respected by all who know him.
FREDERICK SWIVAL is a prominent and respected farmer of Chebanse Township, and owns a valuable farm on section 6. He is a native of Switzerland, where his birth occurred on the 25th of August, 1842. He is the youngest of a family of six children. In 1855, he emigrated to the United States, in company with his brothers. He first spent three years in Cleveland, Ohio, attending the schools of that city, and then on account of his brother David's death in Wisconsin, he went to that State, and there worked two years, after which be came to Illinois to work with his brother Henry in Will County. There he grew to mature years, working on the farm in the summer and attending the district schools during the winter months.
Inspired by love for his adopted country, Mr. Swival enlisted in her defense in July, 1862, at Wilmington, Ill., becoming a member of Company A, One Hundredth Illinois Infantry. He participated with his regiment in many engagements,was in the battles of Perryville, Ky., Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Buzzard's Roost, Resaca and New Hope Church. He was also in the battle of Lost Mountain, and was there taken sick and was in the hospital at Lookout Mountain for some time. He joined his regiment again in September and was afterward in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. He received a flesh wound on his left cheek, which has left a scar, a lasting memento of his service and patriotism. He was always found at his post of duty and was one of the most reliable of soldiers, discharging his duties with the utmost fidelity and bravery. He received his discharge at the close of the war, in June, 1865, and then returned to Will County.
For four years after his return home, Mr. Swivel engaged in herding cattle on the prairies of Iroquois and Ford Counties. He purchased land where he now resides in 1866. This was a tract of one hundred and twenty acres of raw prairie, and on this he located in 1870. He proceeded to cultivate and develop the farm and has since purchased eighty acres additional and now has a farm of two .hundred acres, all of which is good arable land, and at the present time well improved and yielding to its owner a comfortable competence. Its well?tilled fields and neat farmyard speak of a thrift and industrious owner, and all the modern improvements to be there found indicate him to be a man of progressive ideas. He has built a good residence and has commodious stables and other farm buildings. Commencing his life in Illinois a poor man, Mr. Swivel has steadily pushed forward, overcoming all obstacles, until success has crowned his efforts and he is to?day accounted one of the enterprising and well?to?do farmers of the township.
In Will County, on the 29th of April, 1866, occurred the marriage of Mr. Swivel and Miss Permelia Jones. The lady is a native of Illinois, and grew to womanhood in Will County. She is a daughter of Harrison Jones, who was born in Kentucky. To our subject and his wife have been born nine children: Rachel is the wife of W. W. De Hart, of Chicago; Emma is the wife of Henry Perry, of the same city; Lizzie is at home; Fred is engaged in helping to carry oh the work of the home farm; Henry, Olive P., Frank, Clarence and Permelia are all at home and attending the schools of the neighborhood.
Since becoming a voter, Mr. Swival has been a Republican, his first ballot for President being cast in 1868 for Gen. U. S. Grant. Every Presidential nominee of the party since that time has received his support. He has never sought or accepted official positions, but has ever discharged his duties of citizenship in a faithful and unostentatious manner. For years he has served as a member of the School Board and the cause of education finds in him a true friend. While not a member of any church organization, he is a believer in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he gives liberally, as he also does to the support of other churches. Socially, he is a member of the Grand Army Post of Chebanse. For thirty?three years he has lived in Illinois and for about a quarter of a century in this portion of the State. He has been a witness of its development and has assisted as far as he was able to advance its best interests. He is worthy to be placed on record as one of the honored pioneers, and by his upright life he has won many friends.
JOSEPH WADLEIGH, a prominent and influential farmer, who lives on his fine farm situated on section 17, is the oldest resident in Milk's Grove Township. His birth occurred on the 2d of June, 1817, on the Black River, Onondaga County, N. Y. He is a son of John Wadley, a native of New Hampshire. He was a carpenter, and engaged in the manufacture of trunks, and also served in the War of 1812. In New Hampshire occurred his marriage with Miss Susan Wadleigh, of that State. Our subject adopted the spelling of his mother's name. The father removed from New York State to Ohio when Joseph was a child, traveling in a wagon as far as Pittsburgh, Pa. From there the family floated down the Ohio River on a flatboat to Cincinnati. Soon after locating there, the father died, and Mrs. Wadleigh removed to Oxford, Ohio, with her family, where she lived until her death.
The family consisted of four sons and four daughters, of whom Joseph is the only one now living, and is the youngest of the sons. Jefferson died in Maysville, Ky. John died in Oxford, Ohio, and Jonathan in New Orleans. Abigail departed this life in Ohio. Polly died in Missouri. Marietta died in Cincinnati; and Jane in Franklin County, Ind.
Our subject grew to manhood in Oxford, Ohio, and received a common?school education. He is continually adding to his store of knowledge by extensive reading and study. In Maysville, Ky., he learned the tinsmith's trade, but on account of the cholera, which raged fiercely in that section, he was obliged to return to Ohio. He started in the active business of life when about nineteen years of age, and had a "fippenny?bit" as his capital stock. He worked at his trade in Oxford three years, receiving as a weekly salary $5 per week. From that small sum he saved money, purchased a lot and built a house, ultimately buying out his employer's business. His mother made her home with him during her declining years, and he was ever a loyal and dutiful son.
In 1847, he took the Western fever and started from St. Jo, Mo., in a wagon train of ox?teams under the charge of Capt. Hawes. They were bound for Oregon, and were five months on the road. He discovered what he now knows was gold at the head of Sweet Water River, in the Rocky Mountains, therefore he has the honor of being the first discoverer of gold in the Rocky Mountains, also antedating Sutter's discovery in California. He carried the first individual flag across the mountains, erecting it on the banks of Green River on the Fourth of July. His flag was also used during the Cuyuse War on Oregon. He remained in that State for about one year, and opened the first tinshop in the settlement. In 1848, he went to California and commenced business on Sutter's Fort. He was quite familiar with Capt. Sutter, and made the surveyor's chain which was used in laying out Sacramento City, and for which he was paid $300. In 1849, Mr. Wadleigh sailed down the Pacific to Panama, and returned from there to Ohio. His object in going to the West was his health, which was much improved by the outdoor life and pure air of the mountains. He came back with considerable money, and he remembers his trip as one of the most pleasant events of his life.
He resided in Oxford for about ten years longer, and in the fall of 1858 went to Kankakee, where he lived for about a year. In the spring of 1860, he came to Iroquois County, and bought a tract of sixteen hundred acres in Milk's Grove Township, where he still makes his home. The prairie was unbroken and uncultivated, and few neighbors were in this community. He has given liberally of his property to his sons, and has four hundred arid forty acres left, which he rents. He has been a very successful farmer, and has used the most improved methods of machinery in his farm work. He is a man of known inventive genius, having in 1872 invented the dump used in elevators all over the country for unloading wagons. However, this invention was stolen from him, and he has never received any financial benefit from it. He also is the inventor of a car coupling, which couples automatically with both a hook and slink coupling. In addition to these, he has invented a hay?baling machine and many other ingenious and useful contrivances. '
In Hamilton County, Ohio, on the 27th of July, 1851, Mr. Wadleigh was united in marriage with Miss M. J. Morey, who was born in Somerville, Butler County, Ohio, on the 12th of December, 1829. She departed this life in 1885 in Chicago, where she had been taken for medical aid. She lies buried in Eldridgeville cemetery. She was a devoted wife and mother, and her many friends and relatives deeply mourn her loss. Her brother, Lee Morey, was for some years a Congressman from Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. Wadleigh were born the following children: Romeo F. was born in Oxford, Ohio, is married, and has a family. He is a prominent farmer of this township, and resides on a portion of his father's estate. Theodore S. and William M. each operate farms situated on section 18. Robert W. is engaged in farming near the old home; as is also Henry L. Joseph Sheridan is a respected farmer of Milk's Grove Township. Josephine is the wife of Frank Porter, and resides in Englewood, one of the suburbs of Chicago. The four youngest children were born on the old homestead, and all have received the best of common-school educations.
Mr. Wadleigh has always taken an active and interested part in the cause of education. When he returned from California, he found Miami University in a state of bankruptcy. From him the President and Trustees of the University secured s loan of $5,000 for five years at eight per cent., whereas he might have received ten per cent, had he loaned it to other parties. This loan enabled the school to continue and make itself immortal by educating such men as Benjamin Harrison, Whitelaw Reid, Secretary Noble, David Swing and others scarcely less noted, while the part Mr. Wadleigh performed in sustaining the school when its credit was good for nothing has long since been forgotten, or at least has not received the favorable notice it deserves.
When it was proposed to build a female academy at Oxford, Mr. Wadleigh took stock in the enterprise, which has since developed into the Oxford Female College, where Mrs. Benjamin Harrison was educated.
He contributed liberally to the schoolhouse on his home farm, which is the finest country schoolhouse in the county. Mr. Wadleigh is a Universalist in belief, and with his wife was one of the early members of the church in Oxford of that denomination. His first vote was cast for Andrew Jackson, and later be voted for Lincoln, and was a stanch Republican until Grant ran the third time for President. Since 1884, he has been a supporter of the Prohibition party. He is a public-spirited man, and has always taken an active and zealous part in all public measures tending to the upbuilding and welfare of the community. In 1866, he was elected Township Treasurer, and for twenty?six years continuously has held that position to the satisfaction of all. He has a pleasant home, and on every hand may be seen evidences of the thrift and inventive genius of the owner. One of his buildings is particularly a model in this. Under one roof there is a mill, an elevator, creamery, beehouse and observatory. The latter is situated in a sixty?foot tower, which is surmounted by a windmill. From his observatory can be seen a fine view of the surrounding country, and with a telescope one can see fifteen towns, which are located in four counties. Personally, Mr. Wadleigh is a high type of the self?reliant, energetic and, intelligent American. Though he has passed the allotted three?score and ten years, he is in good health, and is an active man. He says that his health and strength are due to the fact that he has never used whiskey and tobacco, and has led an active life. In conversation, he is interesting, and is a man of varied information and versatile talent. He is held in the highest regard by his many friends and neighbors, who will be pleased to read this life sketch of one who has done so much for the good of this section.
William Porter Pierson
|WILLIAM PORTER PIERSON, of Onarga, is one of the county's most prominent and honored citizens, and this work would be incomplete if the record of his life were omitted. He has done much for the town and county, yet claiming no credit for it, and all who know him speak of him in terms of highest respect and praise.|
Mr. Pierson was born in LeRoy, Genesee County, N. Y., December 8, 1811, and is a son of Philo and Lucretia (Buell) Pierson. His parents emigrated from Connecticut, their native State, to the Empire State about 1806. Their family numbered six children. Our subject is a direct descendant of Rev. Abraham Pierson, who emigrated from Yorkshire, England, to America in 1639, and with his church colony founded the city of Newark, N. J. The ancestry is traced down through Abraham Pierson, Sr.; Rev. Abraham Pierson, Jr., rector and first President of Yale College; Abraham Pierson, Worshipful Colonial Magistrate of Connecticut; Samuel Pierson, Samuel Pierson, Jr. and Philo Pierson, the father of our subject, who died when the son was a lad of nine years.
At the age of fourteen, William Pierson assumed the management of the home farm, and with his oxen, Buck and Bright, he plowed about one hundred acres a year. He made many of his farm implements, and when be harvested his crops, hauled them to the distant markets. After working through the summer, he attended school in the winter, but his advantages were very limited. However, he made the most of his opportunities, and stored up a useful fund of knowledge. Circumstances brought him in contact with the owner of a sawmill, and, at the age of nineteen, he rented and operated that mill, in which way he made some hundreds of dollars. The owner of the mill was a canal contractor. He entered a bid for making a Canal around one of the rapids of the St. Lawrence River. On receiving word that his bid had been accepted, he induced Mr. Pierson to go with him to Canada, offering him a good position, but, on arriving at their destination, they found that after all the bid had not been taken. Mr. Pierson was thus forced either to return home or make his way for himself. He went to Montreal, but was not pleased with that city, with its lighthearted, unstable Frenchmen and its red?coated British soldiers, for the place was then under military rule. He determined to leave the Queen's dominions and went to the north end of Lake Champlain, about twenty miles distant, and by a steamer made his way into the interior of Vermont. There through the summer and fall he attended school, becoming a student in the academy of Hinesburg. His fellow?students were ambitious young wen, many preparing for college, and Mr. Pierson determined to do the same. For a year and a?half he engaged in teaching, and then after six long years of hard labor completed his collegiate course. Two yearn of that time he taught, and four years pursued his studies, graduating in the fall of 1839.
The scene of action was now changed for Mr. Pierson. By a stage?coach he made his way to the Olio, then went down that river to the blue grass region of Kentucky, where he engaged in teaching. He spent his leisure time in reading law, not with the intention of practicing, but more as mind discipline, anal to become familiar with common law. Crittenden, Clay and Marshall were then the prominent Kentucky politicians. After a year Mr. Pierson became a teacher, in the family of a lawyer, with whom he continued his legal studies. A year was thus passed. In the meantime Boyle County was organized, Danville becoming the county seat. This seemed to open a way to our subject to practice law, which he commenced, and the bankrupt law having just been passed he made a specialty of work along that line. Seven pleasant years were passed in Danville, during which time he was a member of a debating social club, composed of the faculty of the college there located, the professional men, and other leading citizens. They met monthly in their respective homes, and after a feast was served, engaged in debating interesting topics. The subject of slavery was usually discussed once a year. Among the members of the club were Southern gentlemen who "believed that the negro was created to be a slave to the white man." There were also several Eastern gentlemen whose views were exactly opposite, and the debate waxed high and warm. Usually the discussion was not completed at one meeting, and was carried to the next. This society still exists, under the name of the Anaconda Club, and Mr. Pierson was recently invited to join in the celebration of their fiftieth anniversary.
Not liking law practice, and also on account of ill health, Mr. Pierson once more determined to seek a home in the North and went to central Iowa, where he purchased large tracts of Government land, at once commencing the improvement of the same. He did not find this a paying investment, however, for prices were very low, yet he regained his lost strength, and in that wise prospered.
About this time word was received that a young lady from an Eastern city was expected to come and take charge of a young ladies' seminary in a neighboring town. In his boyhood Mr. Pierson had heard much of her family, and he now determined that he would await her arrival, and, if possible, win her for his wife. Soon the important question was asked and answered favorably. Mr. Pierson then decided to dispose of his property and leave the State at an early day. The young lady also decided to resign her position and return to the East in a few months. In the spring of 1853 our subject went East, and there wedded Miss Mary Tucker, daughter of Rev. R. W. Condit, D. D., of Oswego, N. Y. With his bride he immediately went to Chicago, where he intended to enter into business, but after reaching that city went to the forests of Michigan and spent a little time at one of the mills there.
In the meantime the Illinois Central Railroad was being constructed, and reached Spring Creek, Iroquois County, in the fall of 1853. Our subject determined to go into the lumber trade at Champaign, Ill., as soon as the road should be built to that place. Onarga then comprised only two or three houses and a freight and passenger depot. A few pioneers lived on the banks of Spring Creek, but there was not a house on the prairie west of the station for twenty miles. In this little hamlet Mr. Pierson located in the spring of 1854. He brought with him four carloads of lumber, and made, as be supposed, a temporary location, but instead Onarga became his permanent home. He and his wife went to the residence of Judge Pangborn, by whom they were cordially welcomed. Our subject then began business, using the freighthouse as an office, and with increasing emigration his trade constantly advanced. He found, too, that not only was lumber needed, but also all manner of household articles, furniture, hardware and farm implements. He added these to his stock, and worked up an excellent business, almost more than he could attend to. Then came the financial crash of 1857, and it is said every merchant along the Illinois Central Railroad engaged in the same line of business as Mr. Pierson failed with the exception of himself, yet he was financially embarrassed to a considerable extent. He had just purchased an immense stock, and for three years he worked hard without making a cent, for his goods constantly depreciated in value. Thus affairs continued until just prior to the late war, when prices rose. He planted branch houses in four other towns, and was solicited to do so in other places. His trade came from miles abound and grew constantly. When Mr. Pierson came to the county, there were probably not a?half dozen reapers or mowers within its borders, and very few cast?steel plows. In, an early day be introduced the Manny reapers and mowers and the John Deere cast?steel plows. His business along this line became very large, and the immense quantities of plows which he bought to Onarga were the wonder of the entire community. He had to advertise his business largely by handbills, and on certain occasions he would take a stock of goods to a place, where he would sell for one day, generally disposing of the entire amount in that time. On one occasion he sent out advertisements asking all of the ladies to come to his ware?rooms and try his rocking?chairs. In many homes this useful article had never been introduced?, and many men looked upon it rather contemptuously. On the appointed day the ladies all came, and few would go away without a chair. By these and other ingenious methods Mr. Pierson greatly extended his business, and through all he earnestly desired to furnish his patrons with those articles which would be both useful and helpful to them. His own experience as a farmer was a benefit to him in this way. He could aid the Eastern man with no experience by his advice and cautions, and also by trusting him for the money to pay for the goods which he must purchase.
For some time Mr. Pierson carried on business in little shanties and wooden sheds, and owned about one?third of the entire block on which the principal business part of the town is now located. This he improved by erecting the brick buildings, known as the Pierson Block, taking the precaution to interest other parties with him in the enterprise and thus make it the central business locality of the town. About this time our subject found himself failing under the weight of his heavy duties. He also felt that there are two periods in the lives of most men, when they are imbued with an almost irrepressible desire to see the world, one in youth, and one after their business is almost over. He had yielded to the first impulse and had never regretted it, and this led him to give way to the second. In 1870 be left his affairs in Onarga to the care of his wife, with the understanding that she would spend the winter with her friends in Oswego, N. Y. He then went to New York City, and sailed for Europe. Landing in Liverpool, he there spent a few days, forming some interesting acquaintances, and then sailed for Naples, Italy, where he proposed to spend the winter. The voyage was through the stormy Bay of Biscay and the Strait of Gibraltar. He coasted along the northern shore, visited Genoa and other points of interest, and finally reached Naples. Here he found much to interest him; he visited the museums abounding in ancient works of art, saw Pompeii, which was then being exhumed, and took a peep into Mount Vesuvius. After several weeks he set sail for Scotland, passed between Scylla and Charybdis, along the southern coast of Sicily, by Mount Etna, stopped at Palermo, and visited the catacombs. Returning to Gibraltar, he saw the famous fortress, and after a few days sailed for Glasgow, Scotland. He spent two weeks in Edinburgh, visiting places of interest, after which, the purposes of his trip abroad having now been accomplished, he sailed for home, arriving in Onarga early in the spring of 1871.
Soon after his return, Mr. Pierson retired from business, and proceeded to build a home on ample grounds away from the noise and dust of town, and in the midst of a forest of many rare varieties of choice trees, most of which were evergreens of his own planting. This place he has appropriately named Evergreen Home. He considers that all business is in some degree an education. Though his advantages were united in early life, his opportunities in later years were a benefit to him in many directions. He has certainly been to benefit to the community in many directions. He came to Onarga at a time when the foundation of the future social, religious and political institutions were being laid, and he and his estimable wife found much to do outside of the lines of mere business activity. They soon interested themselves in the work of organizing the Presbyterian Church, and with others erected a house of worship. There were fifteen charter members, of whom only two are now living. They laid the foundation of a church, which has become a successful and prosperous organization. Politically, Mr. Pierson was a Whig and a supporter of Henry Clay. He afterward became prominent in the organization of the Republican party in Iroquois County, and was a member of the State Republican Convention which met in Decatur and nominated Abraham Lincoln a candidate for the Presidency. A few weeks later he was made the candidate at the National Convention in Chicago.
At an early day Mr. Pierson and his wife undertook the work of founding an educational institution in this town, under the name of the Onarga Institute, to be modeled after the New England academies with which he became familiar in the days of his youth. It was quite successful for several years and did a good work. He erected a building and spent several thousand dollars in the enterprise, but failing to receive the co?operation from outside sources that was anticipated, the load became too heavy for him to carry alone, and the undertaking was reluctantly abandoned.
In 1865 Mr. Pierson secured and read with great interest some scientific works on tile draining. He at once became a strong advocate of tile drainage for the rich prairie lands of Illinois. He prepared and delivered an address on the subject before the State Horticultural Society of Southern Illinois. Joliet was then supposed to be the only place in the State where clay suitable for making tile could be found, and Mr. Pierson went there, purchased a carload of tile and shipped to Onarga, paying the Illinois Central Railroad $75 freight for the same. Considerable amusement was occasioned to the community in consequence of his digging so many holes in the ground, and he was threatened with a law suit for digging at his own expense a ditch on the side of a low, wet and muddy street as an outlet for his drain. Up to that time at least one?fourth of the land in Iroquois County was practically swamp?land and nearly worthless. This caused the inhabitants to have fever and ague, and the cattle and horses suffered from drinking the stagnant water in sloughs and ponds. But tile draining was finally accepted by the county, and this in connection with the sinking of artesian wells has completely revolutionized the county and made it one of the best agricultural sections in the State.
|In benevolent, charitable or church work, Mr. and Mrs. Pierson were also prominent. They had no children of their own, but had given a home to many orphan children, whose lives bear the impress of the noble character of their foster parents. Not less than twenty children were cared for by Mrs. Pierson at a considerable outlay of time and money, and many of them were reared and educated as if they had been her own. She was the first Sunday?school teacher in Onarga, and for many years the only one. This most estimable lady was called to the home prepared for the righteous December 30, 1890. It is said that no death in Onarga has ever been more greatly mourned. Her sweet and gentle spirit had endeared her to all who knew her, and she was known far and wide for her work of benevolence and charity. As it was written of her, her death was "a sweetly, solemn transfer from one Evergreen Home to another."|
Mary Tucker Condit Pierson
From an extended notice published in the Onarga Leader, we copy the following tribute to her memory: "No death in the annals of Onarga ever created more genuine regret and mournful interest in the community than that of Mrs. Mary I. Pierson. The universal respect, love and admiration with which she was regarded in life were displayed in general manifestations of sorrow at her loss; people in all, conditions of life seemed to be personally bereaved by it, and the many expressions of mutual condolence and sympathy formed a testimonial to her worth and character at once touching and beautiful. Each individual member of the community appeared anxious to contribute some token of appreciation of the lovely life and distinguished example of the sweet, unpretentious woman, the influence of whose achievements illumines every sacred precinct and is hallowed in heart ?- an influence uncircumscribed by wordly measurement, unlimited by human vision, the?ultimate results being fully recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life. The gray?haired veterans and old neighbors, whose early struggles in surmounting the difficulties and overcoming the privations incident to pioneer life were lessened by her brave words of encouragement, or removed by her timely assistance; the middle?aged friends and acquaintances who came later and were cordially welcomed in tier quiet, winning way, and made to feel at home amid new and strange surroundings, or grew to manhood and womanhood in the atmosphere of her beneficence; the little ones whose lives were begun under conditions made possible by her foresight and activity in church, school and social enterprises; the rich, the poor and lowly, the strong and the weak, the white and the black, all could recall some circumstance, the remembrance of which made their hearts beat with loving emotion and created a desire to manifest their appreciation of and respect for the sainted woman now laid to rest. It is thus that friends regarded her, but it was in the home life that her best qualities were known. Surely the world is better for her having lived, and the people "rise up and call her blessed."
Mr. Pierson is not rich as the world estimates wealth, or did he ever aspire to be. He has enough and is comfortable, and rejoices that he is not a millionaire. He says that there are scores of old?farmers to whom he in the old times sold the best tools the county afforded to cultivate their farms, who charitably supposed that he was living at their expense, who are now worth many thousands of dollars more than he is. Mr. Pierson is now eighty?one years old and is in excellent health. He is a good illustration of the tendency of cleanliness and godliness to produce longevity.
ROBERT MARTIN is a leading farmer of Milk's Grove Township, and has resided for eighteen years upon his farm, situated on section 21. His birth occurred in the parish of Curry, twelve miles from Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 15th of March, 1836. He is a son of James Martin, who was born and reared in the same place, and was a farmer by occupation. On arriving at mature years he married Ann Brown, and in Scotland his children were all born. Mrs. Martin departed this life in her native country, and the father and children emigrated to Canada when our subject was a youth of fourteen years. In 1850, they sailed from Greenwich, and were upon the briny deep for five weeks. After arriving at their destination, New York City, they went to Canada, settling upon a farm near Toronto. Afterward the father returned to his native land, where his death occurred about a quarter of a century ago. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church.
In the family of James Martin were six sons and six daughters: William died in Canada; James was drowned in Scotland; Isabella also died in that country. John is a civil engineer in Newfoundland, having learned his trade in the Old Country. He is a good marksman, and has a good position in the Goverment employ, where he receives an excellent salary. Jane was called to her final rest in her native land; Andrew is a farmer of Upper Canada; Alexander died in Canada; Agnes died in Scotland; Annie Lindley lives in Toronto, Canada; Emily, is now deceased; Janet completes the family.
Robert Martin passed his boyhood days upon the farm, and received but limited education in the public schools, as his home was three miles from the nearest one; besides, his parents were poor, and were obliged to pay for schooling. He was next to the youngest in his father's large family, and was early inured to hard work. When he was fourteen years of age he came to America and spent the succeeding fifteen years upon his brother's farm in Canada. On the 12th of April, 1865, he arrived in Iroquois County, where he entered the employ of Mr. Milk, herding and caring for cattle for some years. He has often been lost upon the broad prairies, far from any residence or settlement.
On the 1st of December, 1870, Mr. Martin was married, in Canada, to Miss Catherine Young, who was born December 30, 1840, in England and when two years of age came with her parents, John and Mary A. (Sainsbury) Young, to America, being reared in Canada. Four children graced this union: Robert J. was born and reared in Iroquois County, and received his education in the public schools here and at Onarga; Alice M. finished her education in Grand Prairie Seminary, and is a successful teacher; the younger ones, Frank W. and Malcolm J., are still attending school. The family circle remains unbroken by death or marriage.
Mr. Martin was in the employ of Mr. Milk until 1874. He then purchased one hundred and sixty-five and one?eighth acres of land where he now makes his home. He has made good improvements upon his place, and is a successful farmer. He has been quite extensively engaged in the raising of draft horses. He started in life with $500 capital, and has made his own way in the world since that time without any assistance. His first Presidential ballot was cast for Hon. James A. Garfield, and since that time he has been a stanch Republican. The family are members of the Episcopal Church, to which lie gives his support. He has been a Director of schools, and is a good and loyal citizen of his adopted county.
JEREMIAH H. GOLDTRAP is a respected farmer and pioneer of Chebanse Township, and makes his home on section 36. He is a native of Ohio, and was born in Hamilton County, December 16, 1841. He is a son of John Goldtrap, who was born in the same State and county, and there grew to manhood, and married Christina Apgar, a native of New Jersey, and a daughter of Adam Apgar, who was born in the same State, and was one of the honored pioneers of Hamilton, Ohio. The family is of German descent, and the grandfather of our subject was a native of New England, and came to Ohio when the whole country was a wilderness. The father engaged in agricultural pursuits in the Buckeye State after his marriage, and about 1851 came to Illinois, settling in Iroquois County. He purchased unbroken prairie land, and was among the first settlers of the county. Not a house was to be seen in any direction upon the prairie, and the whole county was a wilderness and a swamp. Mr. Goldtrap at once began the development of his farm, and endured many privations and hardships in the first few years of his residence here. In those early times, before the present system of tiling and drainage had been inaugurated, the few inhabitants of that sparsely?settled region suffered much from the prevailing sickness, fever and ague. Mr. Goldtrap went to the timber, cut logs, and built a log cabin, in which he lived for a number of years. He afterward sold that property and bought an improved farm, on which he made his home until, his death, which occurred on the 17th of December, 1866. His death was much regretted by his many friends, who esteemed him highly as one of the honored pioneers. His wife is still living.
The subject of this sketch is the eldest of a family of five children. Anna is the wife of J. M. McConnell, of Minnesota; John died at the age of two years; Eliza died in 1863, and David is a prominent contractor soil builder of Chicago.
The early days of Jeremiah Goldtrap were uneventful, being passed upon his father's farm in the usual occupation of farmer boys. He had but limited school advantages at that early day, and since arriving at maturity has become a man of wide reading and information, and is intelligent and well?posted on all the leading National and general questions of the day. On the 11th of August, 1861, responding to the call for volunteers to defend the Flag, Mr. Goldtrap became a member of Company H, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He was discharged at Memphis and mustered out of service in Chicago, in June, 1865. He participated in the engagement of his regiment and was in the siege and surrender of Vicksburg, Eastport and Guntown, and also in a number of skirmishes, escaping without injury. After the war he returned to his home, and engaged in farming for his mother for a few years upon the old homestead. He then purchased a portion of that farm, which he much improved. He has a farm of eighty acres, all of which is arable and improved land. He has a good residence and barn, and his place shows the care and cultivation bestowed upon it by the owner. His farm is located about three miles from Clifton, and has steadly increased in value year after year.
November 18, 1871, Mr. Goldtrap was united in marriage with Vannetta S. Rice, who was born in Clinton, Mass., June 18, 1849, and came to Illinois when a child of three years with her father, William Rice, who settled at Bloomington. Mrs. Goldtrap was reared and educated in that city and Iroquois County. Six children grace the union of our subject and his estimable wife: Susan, William, Ada, John E. and Mabel, who are all at home, and are receiving the advantages of a good school education. Mary E. died at the age of seven months.
Since becoming a voter, Mr. Goldtrap has been a supporter of the principles and nominees of the Republican party, and cast his first ballot in the Presidential election of 1864 for Abraham Lincoln. He has never been an office?seeker in any sense of the word, but has always discharged his duties of citizenship in a faithful and unassuming manner. The cause of education and good schools finds in him an active friend, and he is one of the present members of the School Board. Mrs. Goldtrap is a member of the Congregational Church. Almost the entire life of our subject has been spent in this county, and by his sterling qualities and honorable life he has merited the high regard in .which he is held by all.
DR. NICHOLAS RIGDELY MARSHALL, is a prominent physician and the present Mayor of Clifton, was born m Easton, Md., on the 29th of February, 1844. He is a son of Perry and Mary Stanton (Rice) Marshall, both natives of Easton, Md. In their family were eight children, but only two of them are now living: our subject and his brother, John Redman, who is the editor and publisher of the Kendall County Record, a prominent politician of the Republican party, and an ex?Senator. He married Miss Augusta Emmons, and three children grace their union: Mrs. Dr. R. A. McLelland, who resides in Yorkville, the county seat of Kendall County; and Frances Emmons and Hugh Rice, the younger children. John Redman Marshall has the honor of having introduced the Compulsory Education Law in the Illinois Legislature. He learned the trade of printing in the office of the Chicago Journal, where he was employed for four years. He was afterward a compositor in the Tribune where he remained for a long time. In 1861, he entered the army as a member of Sturgis Rifles, which was appointed Body Guard to Gen. George B. McClellan. Mr. J. R. Marshall was in the service for about eighteen months, and was a valiant and faithful soldier. After leaving the army, he returned to Chicago and worked as foreman in the job?printing rooms of Sterling P. Rounds, who is well known to all the printers of the United States. The father of our subject was of English origin, and the mother of German and French descent. She was a sister of ex?Mayor John Blake Rice, of Chicago, who was also a member of Congress.
In 1848, Perry Marshall removed to Illinois, locating in Chicago, where he made his home for about ten years. He was a sailor, and was Captain of a vessel running from Chicago to Milwaukee. For eighteen years he owned and sailed a vessel upon Chesapeake Bay with John Paca as partner in ownership. At they Lime that Mr. Marshall was on his wedding trip, the vessel was wrecked in a storm and his partner, Capt. John Redman, his brother?in?law, with all others on board were drowned. Until he was fifty years of age he sailed the Lakes, and at that time retired. He then removed to Kendall County, where he bought a farm consisting of one hundred and seventeen sores, on which he removed in 1857, and resided there for ten years. In the spring of 1872, he sold this property and come to Clifton, where be afterward made his home with his son, the subject of this sketch. He died October 11, 1892, in his eighty-sixth year, and is buried with his wife in Elmwood Cemetery, North Yorkville, Ill., and was a much esteemed member of this community. On the 16th of June, 1879, his wife deported this life, being then sixty?three years of age. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years, and was an exemplary Christian woman, beloved by all who knew her. Mr. Marshall was the son of a Methodist minister, but though he is not a member of the church, he has been a liberal supporter of the same.
The subject of this sketch received a good common?school education, and also attended the Garden City Institute of Chicago, at the time that H. W. Snow was the Principal. The latter is a brother of Col. Snow, present Member of Congress from the Ninth Congressional District. After completing his studies at the above?named institution, our subject attended Mt. Morris Seminary, and from there went to Jennings Seminary at Aurora, from which he was graduated in the summer of 1861. He then returned to Chicago, and entered the drug?store of A. B. Byran, and was engaged in compounding prescriptions. At that time he commenced the study of medicine and determined to make that his chosen profession.
On the 12th of August, 1862, Dr. Marshall enlisted as a private in Company H, Eighty?ninth Illinois Infantry, in the regiment called the Railroad Regiment, and was in the service for three years. About six months after his enlistment he was made Hospital Steward, but participated with his regiment in numerous battles. At Atlanta he received a severe wound in the left arm, but has never made application for a pension. He was a valiant soldier, and his army record is one of which he may well be proud. He was ever found at his post of duty, and was always reliable and courageous.
After returning from the war, our subject entered Rush Medical College, and was graduated from that institution in 1867. His preceptor was Dr. C. H. Duck, whose widow at present makes her home with Dr. Marshall. She is a daughter of Capt. Stevenson, of the Royal Navy. After completing his course in Chicago, Dr. Marshall opened an office for the practice of medicine in Plano, Ill., and also conducted the columns of the Plano Mirror. After a residence there of but eight months, he came to Clifton and commenced practicing medicine and surgery, and has here made his home since that time. During his long residence here of over twenty?six years be has built up a large and lucrative practice, and well deserves a liberal share of the public patronage. He keeps up his studies, and is well informed on all the latest discoveries in the line of medicine and science.
On the 15th of September, 1881, Dr. Marshall wedded Miss Julia Frances Sheldon, a daughter of Henry H: and Martha A. (Morris) Sheldon, of Oxford, Ohio. Mr. Sheldon was the first one to break the ground for the famous Oxford Female Seminary. To the Doctor and his wife have been born four children: John Rice, who died in infancy; Mary Stevenson, Julia Sheldon, and John Ridgely.
Dr. Marshall is a prominent Republican, and takes an active and interested part in the progress of that party. He was a delegate to the State Republican convention, and has held various local positions. He has been Town Clerk and Postmaster. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which the Doctor is one of the Trustees. He has recently purchased a residence in Evanston, Ill., where he intends moving for the purpose of educating his children.
PETER WRIGHT, an honored pioneer, owns and operates his farm, which is situated on section 9, Chebanse Township. He was born in Lincolnshire, England, on the 18th of January, 1841, and is a son of John and Jane (Carleton) Wright. The father was a game?keeper on a large estate in England. In 1856, he decided to seek his fortune in the New World. He accordingly crossed the Atlantic, and settling in Erie County, N. Y., engaged in agricultural pursuits there until his death. His first wife died in England, and, he was again married in that country. His death occurred in 1890, and that of his second wife within a month afterward. By the first marriage eight children were born, and four children graced the latter union.
Our subject received good school advantages, both in England and after coming to this country. He remained with his father until about seventeen years oh age, when he came to Illinois. This was in 1857, and for about three years he was employed on a farm with his uncle. In the spring of 1862, Mr. Wright enlisted in the first Board of Trade Regiment, becoming a member of Company G, Seventy?second Illinois Infantry. Entering the service as a private, he was afterward promoted to the rank of Corporal and Sergeant. He participated in all the engagements in which his regiment took part, among which were the battle of Champion Hill. Miss., and the siege and capture of Vicksburg. He was also in the battles of Big Black, Columbia, Spring Hill and Franklin, Tenn., also two days at Nashville, and he was present at the siege of Spanish Fort, Ala., the last battle of the war. He received some slight wounds but was never absent from his post of duty for a day, serving until his discharge at the close of the war, which was received at Chicago in August, 1865.
On Christmas Day of that year, Mr. Wright was joined in wedlock with Miss M. E. W. Sands, who was born in the Empire State and is a daughter of J. H. Sands, of Chebanse, one of the honored pioneers of this county. Our subject and his wife have become the parents of five children: Charles T. is married and resides at Englewood, Ill., where he holds a responsible position with the City Rail road Company; Mamie L., Arthur Henry, Carleton P. and Frank are still at home, the two younger attending the Clifton schools. They have all received a good education and are thus fitted to enter the active and social duties of life.
After returning from the army, Mr. Wright came to Iroquois County, where he rented land for several years and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He then purchased the property where he now resides. This place had but slight improvements, but he has steadily developed and improved his farm and has now a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of well?tilled and fertile land, situated one mile from Clifton. He is the owner of a large residence, commodious barns and other farm buildings, and the air of neatness and thrift, together with the fields of golden grain, shows the care and cultivation of the owner. He is one of the prosperous, enterprising and substantial farmers of the county and has made a host of friends during his long residence in this place.
Mr. Wright has been identified with the Republican party since casting his first ballot for President, at which time he supported Gen. U. S. Grant. He has held several local offices, to which his fellow citizens, knowing his worth and ability, have elected him. He has served as Road Commissioner and is a member of the School Board of Clifton. To whatever positron his friends have elected him, be has discharged the duties thereof in a faithful and efficient manner. Socially, he is much interested in civic societies and is a member of Clifton Lodge No. 688, A. F. & A. M. He served for over thirteen consecutive years as Master of his lodge, which he has represented each year of that time in the Grand Lodge. He is a member of the Jaqueth Chebanse Post, G. A. R.. and is also a member of the Union Veteran Club, of Cook County. Mr. and Mrs. Wright belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church and take an active interest in its work. He is progressive and practical in his business affairs and is ever ready to do all in his power to advance the best interests of the community in which he dwells. His many friends will be pleased to read this brief sketch of the life of so worthy a man as Peter Wright.
GEORGE M. BROCK, a prominent citizen and business man of Clifton, was born in Plainfield, Will County, Ill., on the 22d of April, 1857. He is a son of Samuel and Sarah (Brock) Brock, both of whom claim England as the land of their nativity. They set sail for America immediately after their marriage, at length landing safely in this country. Though both bearing the same name, they were in no wise related. The father of Mrs. Brock was a finely educated man, and served as clerk to a celebrated lawyer in England. He also contributed many articles to the papers and leading periodicals of that country.
The subject of this sketch received the advantages of a good common?school education, and was reared to manhood upon his father's farm in the usual manner of farmer lads. He embarked in business for himself at the age of twenty?four years, following agricultural pursuits upon a farm three miles northwest of Clifton. He remained upon the farm until 1888, when he removed to Clifton, purchasing the livery barn and business of his brother, Charles C. Brock, and entering into partnership with his brother Alfred L. After doing business together for a period of about four years, he purchased his partner's interest, and is now the sole proprietor. He has a large and lucrative business, and has in all respects a well?appointed and equipped livery.
On the 31st of October, 1881, occurred the marriage of Mr. Brook and Miss Harriet Leggott, who is the daughter of Edward and Ann (Platt) Leggott, of Clifton. By the union of the young couple have been born three children: Arthur, Grace and Carrie. At this writing, in the fall of 1892, Mr. Brock is a member of the Village Board of Trustees, and is always active in his efforts to promote the prosperity and welfare of the community.
FRANCIS W. HOWE, a retired farmer, makes his home on section 4, Chebanse Township. He is one of the honored pioneers of this township and of Iroquois County, where he has lived for thirty?five years. When he first located in this county it was a vast swamp and wilderness, and from that he has witnessed its development until it now stands among the best in the State. Mr. Howe is a native of Massachusetts, his birth having occurred in Brookfield, Worcester County, on the 18th of December, 1819. His father, William Howe, was likewise a native of Massachusetts and there was educated and grew to manhood. He was a lawyer and professor and a man of intelligence and worth. He married in Woodstock, Conn., Miss Elmira Lyon, daughter of Capt. William Lyon, who served in the War of 1812. The grandfather of our subject, Capt. William Howe, was an old settler of Massachusetts, and was commissioned Captain in the same war, but was not called into active service. The father of our subject after his marriage engaged in various business occupations in Brookfield, Mass., giving most of his attention, however, to his merchandising and the real?estate business. For a time be served as Justice of the Peace and was held in high esteem by his fellow?citizens. He reared his family and spent his entire life in Massachusetts, and there his death and that of his wife occurred.
The boyhood days of our subject were spent in the town of his nativity, his education being partly received in the public schools, completed in the Monson Academy. After finishing his studies he went to New York City, where he engaged in clerking for a number of years and received a thorough, practical business training in the wholesale dry?goods establishment of Eno & Phelps. He then formed a partnership, under the firm name of Taylor & Howe, and engaged for himself in the wholesale dry?goods business, in which he continued until 1849, when he sold his interest. He then went to California with his brother, and locating in San Francisco, carried on business for several years, under the firm name of Howe, Hunter & Co. This firm met with heavy losses by fire in 1852, and our subject then returned to New York. Until 1857, he was in no regular business, but continued to make his home in New York City. Coming to Illinois in the fall of 1857, he joined a brother who was located in Iroquois County, where they had purchased about five thousand acres. Clifton is now located upon a portion of that tract. The brothers lived here and looked after their property for a number of years. Our subject soon after coming here located on the land where he now resides and proceeded to develop and open up a farm. At that time the prospects were rather discouraging, as the land was wild prairie and, much of it a wilderness or swamp. Deer were very plentiful and prairie wolves as well. The Illinois Central Railroad had jest been built through Chebanse Township and the towns of Chebanse and Ashkum were simply stations. Mr. Howe developed a farm of one hundred and twenty acres adjoining the village of Clifton, which is a valuable and most desirable piece of property. On this he still makes his home and has a comfortable and substantial residence, commodious barns and. outbuildings. Everything about the farm denotes the thrift, careful cultivation and enterprise of the owner, and it is a model farm in every respect.
In 1845, Mr. Howe led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah S. Cowdrey, a daughter of David H. Cowdrey, a well?known lawyer of New York City. The death of Mrs. Howe occurred in 1866. She was the mother of four children: Helena C. is the wife of Edward S. Perry, of New Haven, Conn.; Walter M. holds a responsible business position in Chicago; William F. is Secretary of the Railroad Employes' Banking and Trust Company in the same city; and Isabella is the wife of Francis P. Murray, who lives in Montana, where he has large mining interests. Mr. Howe was again married, this time in 1867, to Abbie A. (Hutchins) White, who was the widow of H. K. White, one of the first settlers of Clifton, and a grain merchant by occupation. Mrs. Howe was born in Boston, Mass., and was there educated.
In his political sentiment, Mr. Howe has ever been a supporter of the Republican party since its organization. He was formerly a Whig and a great admirer of Henry Clay. Though a public?spirited man and much interested in the welfare and progress of his fellow?citizens, he has never asked for or accepted official positions. He has ever given his hearty support to the public schools and educational measures and has served for years as a member of the School Board. Our subject and his wife are active members of the Congregational church of Clifton. By his many friends and acquaintances he is highly esteemed as a man of upright character and strict integrity.
JOHN B. VAN WYCK has been for many, years a resident of Clifton and was born in New Paltz, Ulster County, N. Y., on the 28th of June, 1831. His paternal grandfather bore the same name as our subject. He was offered a commission as an officer in the Revolutionary War by Gen. Washington. At that time, Mr. Van. Wyck did not accept the honor, but took command of a home regiment. He was a prominent and popular public man, possessing marked business ability, thereby accumulating a large property. His death occurred in 1841, and he left a large estate to his heirs. The parents of our subject were Alfred and Charlotte (Viets) Van Wyck, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Massachusetts. Their family consisted of three sons and three daughters, but only one is now living, the subject of this sketch. From Fishkill, N. Y., where they had formerly made their home, the parents came to Illinois in 1863, locating in Clifton, Iroquois County, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The mother was called to the home beyond on the 12th of September, 1880, at the age of seventy years, and the father survived her until January 13, 1892, when he too passed away. He had attained the age of ninety years and eight months. His father was also long lived, having reached the age of four?score years at the time of his death. The father of Mrs. Van Wyck lived to the remarkable ace of ninety?four years. Alfred Van Wyck was a farmer by occupation and upon his emigration to the West purchased a quarter?section of land, which included about all of the present site of Clifton east of the railroad.
The boyhood days of John Van Wyck were spent upon his father's farm and his time was devoted to work in the fields. He received such educational privileges as the district schools afforded and has since added to his store of knowledge by reading and observation until he is now a well?informed man. On the 10th of July, 1867, was celebrated the wedding of Mr. Van Wyck and Miss Mary C. Gorham. The lady is a daughter of Walter H. and Laura (Hubbel) Gorham, both of whom are natives of Newburgh, N. Y. Two children have blessed the union of our subject and his estimable wife: Alfred, who was born in Washington, D. C., died when six months old. Laura, the daughter, was also born in that city.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Wyck came to Clifton Oil their wedding tour and made their home here for about four years. They then went to Washington, where our subject secured a contract for building sewers. Though they remained in the Capitol City four years, they always regarded Clifton as their home, and after finishing his contract they returned to this place. In the winter of 1878?79, Mr. Van Wyck went to Knoxville, Tenn., where he took the contract for quarrying the marble to be used in the construction of the custom house at Memphis. He remained there for about two years, then returned to Clifton, where he has made his home continuously since. He devotes some attention to agricultural pursuits. He has a beautiful home in Clifton and his many friends delight to share in the hospitality there abounding.
Mr. Van Wyck has been a member of the Village Board of Trustees for many years and for one year was its President, proving a competent official. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church, to which they belonged before coming West. He is one of the Trustees and also Clerk of the church. In politics, he is a stanch Republican and has supported that party since its organization. Previous to that time, he was a Whig, as were also his father and grandfather. He is a representative and influential citizen and takes a leading part in all measures tending to the welfare and progress of the community.
GASPER REUSE, an enterprising and thrifty farmer of Chebanse Township, owns a farm on section 6. He was born in Switzerland on the 10th of October, 1836. He received good common?school advantages in the French language, and when nineteen years of age he determined to seek his fortune in America. He went to Havre and took passage in a sailing?vessel, which took thirty?three days to make the voyage to New York. He arrived in that city on the 10th of June, 1856, and started immediately for the West. He first went to Ottawa, Ill., near which city he went to work on a farm and continued to live in La Salle County for seven years. With his carefully hoarded savings, he then purchased a tract of forty acres of partially improved laud in La Salle County, on which he settled and engaged in agricultural pursuits for about four years. In 1867, he sold that property and removed to Iroquois County, buying one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land, where he still resides. This place had forty acres of partially improved land, and for buildings had only an old cabin upon it, in which Mr. Reuse lived for some five years. He opened up and cultivated his entire property, and for the first few years received but slight encouragement and little reward for his labor. Undaunted, however, he persevered and brought the property under such good cultivation that it soon brought forth abundant harvests. He has always been industrious and saving and has from time to time, as his financial resources increased, added to his original farm until be now has four hundred acres, all in one body with the exception of eighty acres, which are situated one mile east of Clifton. He has erected a good residence, barns and a granary. On his place is also a good orchard, and on every band can be seen the care and cultivation of the owner. Mr. Reuse commenced his life in Illinois a poor man and without any capital except a good constitution, and has by his well?directed efforts and enterprise accumulated a comfortable fortune and a fair income.
In November, 1863, was celebrated the marriage of our subject and Mary Ribordy, a native of the same country as her husband. She was educated and grew to maidenhood in Switzerland and came to the United States with her father, Gasper Ribordy. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Reuse seven children have been born: Henry, at home; .Josephine, a successful teacher in Aurora Parochial School; Louis, Julia, Anna, Clotilde and Emery. The family are Catholics in religious faith and members of the Clifton Church.
Politically, Mr. Reuse affiliates with the Republican party and cast his first ballot for Hon. James G. Blaine. He has never aspired to official positions but has ever been a friend to all educational and public measures tending to the good of the community. He has served for years on the School Board and is a firm believer in good public schools. By his many qualities of worth and his upright character, Mr. Reuse has won the esteem and confidence of all.
J. P. H. TRESCOTT, one of the pioneer settlers of Chebanse Township, came with his family to Illinois in 1857, and settled upon a farm about four miles to the southeast of Chebanse, where he lived for about one year. The two years succeeding, Mr. Trescott taught school during the winter at Sugar Island, devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits in the summer time. On account of much sickness in his family, he decided to remove from the farm to the village of Chebanse, and has made this his home ever since. This was in 1860, and the whole region, like many others, was very depressed, money having no regular purchasing power; and as most of this section was all unimproved swamp and wilderness, sickness was the rule. Farmers had not the advantages of the labor?saving machinery of to?day, and corn was sown by hand and most of the grain gathered with a cradle. There was nut a bush as large as a pipestem within two miles, and a person could drive for forty miles without even seeing a fence. At that time deer and game were in abundance, and it was nought that there would be ample grazing for stock for all time to come.
Our subject is a native of the Keystone State, his birth having occurred near Harveyville, Huntington Township, Luzerne County, on the. 30th of September, 1824. His paternal grandfather was a soldier in the War of the Revolution, and escaped as by a miracle in the Wyoming massacre on the 3d of July, 1778. While creeping through an oat field in the night, a bomber of Indians on horseback jumped over him as he lay crouching in a furrow. The Indians were scouring the country throughout Luzerne County for the scalps of the unfortunate white settlers. Our subject's maternal grandfather was also a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
The parents of Mr. Trescott, Luther and Elenor (Parke) Trescott, were both descendants of Quaker stock. The former was a native of Vermont, and the latter of the province of New Brunswick. They were the parents of four sons and four daughters, five of whom still survive: Mrs. Susan Dodson, of Weatherly, Carbon County, Pa.; Mrs. M. L. T. Hartman, of Shickshinny, Luzerne County, Pa.; Mrs. M. A. Lemon, of Asbury, Columbia County, Pa.; our subject, and Mrs. R. J. G. Beers, of Weatherly, Carbon County, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Trescott spent their entire lives in Pennsylvania and both departed their lives in the house where our subject was born. The father's death occurred in February, 1877, he being at that time in his ninetieth year. He came of a remarkably long-lived family and two of his brothers also attained a very advanced age. One of them, Peter Sylvester died in 1884, at the age of ninety-three years and the other, Edward Lewis, reached the age of ninety?six years and two months, his death occurring in May, 1890.
On the 22d of September, 1850, Mr. Trescott, whose name heads this sketch, was joined in wedlock with Miss Sallie Ann Dodson, daughter of Stephen B. and Flavia (Tubbs) Dodson, of Pennsylvania. Her grandmother's name was Franklin, and the uncle of the latter, Capt. John Franklin, was an own cousin of Benjamin Franklin, the philosopher, inventor and statesman. To Mr. and Mrs. Trescott ten children have been born, as follows: Olin Rush, now deceased; Ada C., also deceased; Stephen O., who married Miss Nellie Buck, of West Union, Iowa, and now makes his home at Fremont, Colo., where he helped to organize a company that operates the gold mines at Cripple Creek; Luther R.; Henry A., deceased; Charles Fremont, also now deceased; Amy F., is the wife of De Witt C. Merrily a general merchant in Cabery, Ill., and unto them have been born two children, Marguerite Mabel and Wallace Trescott; William H., Lloyd F. and Edward L. are the youngest of the family.
For a number of years Mr. Trescott engaged in the butcher's business in Chebanse, and started the first meat?market here. He afterward embarked in the real?estate business, selling out his former business in 1867. In addition to his real?estate occupation he has for many years engaged more or less in agricultural pursuits, although his residence has been in Chebanse since 1860.
In 1862, Mr. Trescott was elected .Justice of the Peace end for the long period of thirty years has continued to fill that office. He has also filled several other official positions, and the same month that he was made Justice of the Peace. he was also elected School Trustee and has held that position since then. In 1869, he was made Supervisor and served for one year. He was also the Assessor of Chebanse Township for the two years of 1865 and 1866, and at present is the President of tire Village Board of Trustees. He has been a member of the same board during most of the time of his residence here and has been its President a number of terms. In all of his official positions he has been prompt and faithful in the discharge of the duties, which fact is well evinced by the repeated calls he has had from his fellow?citizens to fill various positions of trust. In political sentiments he is a stanch Republican and has cast his ballot for every Republican Presidential candidate from Fremont to Harrison. He made two visits to his old home, friends and relatives, the first one being in 1864 and the next one in December, 1891. He has been a Mason since 1867, holding membership with Chebanse Lodge No. 429, A. F. & A. M., of which he has been Secretary about half of the time since joining and still holds that office. He is a representative citizen, and as one of the pioneer settlers well deserves a place in this volume.
ELWIN L. WRIGHT, the efficient Postmaster of Chebanse, is a native of the Empire State, his birth having occurred in Jordan, Onondaga County on the 7th of January, 1830. His maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary (Hedding) Ball, figured conspicuously in the Revolutionary War. .She was one among many women who took off their stockings and petticoats to supply Washington's soldiers, who were suffering greatly fort shoes and clothing, and who could easily be tracked by the blood on the snow and ice from their naked feet. Her husband when seventeen years of age was received into the army and served throughout the Revolutionary War. A brother of Mrs. Ball was taken prisoner by the Tories, who without giving him time to dress carried him from Newark, N. .L, to New York over the ice and snow. On the trip both of his feet were frozen and he suffered so greatly from the exposure that his death soon followed. He had occasioned this cruel treatment by the Tories on account of his befriending the American soldiers as far as he was able, assisting to feed and clothe them. He was a merchant of Newark, and his life was one of the many sacrificed for the liberties of our glorious country.
The parents of our subject were George and Elizabeth (Ball) Weight, and to them seven children were born, three daughters and four sons, five of whom are still living: Mary, Antoinette, Lucy, Elwin and Gideon. The father in his youth learned the trade of tool?making, which occupation he followed until improved machinery drove him out of the business, at which time he turned his attention to general blacksmithing. Mrs. Weight did the carding, spinning and weaving for the clothing of her family. Most of their lives were spent upon a farm. The death of the father occurred in New York in 1882, and for many years previous to this he had been retired from business. In the town of Jordan, Mrs. Weight departed this life in the following year.
The early education of our subject was largely attained in the public schools of Jordan, after which he entered the Jordan Academy, which he attended during the winter season. In June, 1856, he came to Illinois, taking a course in the Bryant & Stratton Business College of Chicago. Thus well equipped for the business of life, he commenced buying poultry, game and like merchandise, which be shipped to the New York markets. He afterward bought hogs and cattle for the Chicago market and was very successful in his business enterprises. At the first call for volunteers during the late war, Mr. Wright enlisted for the ninety days' service, but the quota from Illinois being sufficient at that time he was not received into active service.
In February, 1861, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Wright and Miss Olive Twombly, of Kankakee, and to them have been born twelve children, nine of whom are still living. The eldest Antoinette, is the wife of Almond Lowe, a farmer living about half way between Aurora and St. Ann, Ill.; they have one child, Henry. Lillie died when about a year old. The younger are Jesse, Nellie, Maggie, Helen, Alta, George, Lemuel and Sherwood (twins), and another pair of twins, who died unnamed.
Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Wright leased the Milk's Grove farm, consisting of about seven hundred acres, which he carried on for about two years. After that he removed to Chebanse, purchased a hay press and has made this place his home since that time. From 1865 until 1870, he ran his hay press and for the following fourteen years was book?keeper for the firm of Capen & Co., grain dealers and elevator men. During the next five years he was engaged in buying stock, cattle and hogs, which he shipped to Chicago. In the month of April, 1889, Mr. Wright received notice of his appointment by Postmaster?General Wanamaker to, the office of Postmaster of Chebanse and entered upon the discharge of his duties on the 4th of May of that year. He has shown good ability and efficiency in filling this position and has given satisfaction to all.
Mr. Wright is a stanch Republican in politics and assisted to build the Republican wigwam in Chicago, where Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency. He is a public?spirited and progressive man and is always in the front ranks of those who advance the prosperity and best interests of this community. In his business relations, he is trustworthy and honorable, and his manly course in life has won for him the respect of all.