Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
SQUIRE H. LAIRD, a prominent and valued citizen of Milford Township, who carries on general farming on sections 29 and 30, was born near Battle Ground, Ind., on the 15th of February, 1854. His parents were John and Phoebe (Burgett) Laird, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Indiana. They had a family of four children, but our subject is the only one now living. The parents came to Illinois in 1858, when Squire was a lad of only four summers, and settled in Iroquois County. Mr. Laird secured a farm in Milford Township, about four and a-half miles southwest of the village of Milford. To its cultivation and improvement, with characteristic energy, he devoted his time and attention until his death, which occurred in 1873. He was a highly respected citizen and took an active interest in all public affairs, giving his support to every enterprise calculated to prove of public benefit. His wife still survives him, and for about sixteen years continued to reside on the old homestead. In 1889, however, she removed to Milford, where she is now living.
Squire Laird, whose name heads this record, is still living on the home farm, having known no other home since he was four years old. During boyhood he aided his father in the cultivation of the land in the summer months, and in the winter season attended the common schools, where he acquired his education. As a companion and help life's journey he chose Miss Mary Jane Purget, daughter of Henry and Lydia (Mustard) Purget of this county. Their union was celebrated November 2, 1876, and was blessed with a family of five children, but only three are now living. John Henry, the eldest, born December 5, 1877, died on the 25th of August, 1889; Arthur Ernest, born December 24, 1879, died on the 30th of October, 1889; Aurora Floyd, born October 26, 1883; Vernal May, May 19, 1887; and Emma O., August 7, 1891, are still with their parents.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Laird is a Republican, but he has never been an office-seeker. However he has held the office of School Director for the long period of eighteen years, doing efficient service for the cause of education, which finds in him a warm friend. He ever takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community, and is found in the front rank in support of its worthy enterprises. He is public-spirited and progressive, and is an honorable, upright man, who has the confidence and good-will of all with whom he has come in contact. Those who have known him from boyhood are numbered among his stanchest friends, which fact indicates the honorable, upright life he has lived. Himself and wife hold an enviable position in social circles, and are well worthy of representation in this volume.
HIRAM H. HOTALING owns and operates a farm on section 24, Danforth Township. He is a native of Onondaga County, N. Y., where his birth occurred near Syracuse, September 22, 1856. He is a son of Garrett H. Hotaling, who was born in the same State and county. The grandfather, Conrad G. Hotaling, was also a native of the Empire State, where the family were among the first settlers and had come from Holland. The father grew to manhood and married Harriet Adell Wallace, a daughter of Benjamin F. Wallace, who was of Scotch parentage and was born in New York State. Mr. Hotaling was a miller by trade and followed that occupation at Baldwinsville, N. Y., where he engaged in the manufacture of flour. He has now retired from active life, while his son carried on the business. He was three times married, his first wife having died when our subject was a lad of eleven years.
Hiram H. passed his early days on his father's farm, receiving good school advantages in the common schools and further continuing his education in the Syracuse High School and Baldwinsville Academy. When a young man of twenty he came West to Illinois, arriving in Chicago in 1876. There he spent about six months and then, on account of continued poor health, went to Denver, where he spent some time in the mountains. He returned to Illinois in 1872, going to Chicago, where he became acquainted with Mr. Chapman, to whom he hired, and was sent by him to Iroquois County, where he went to work on a farm for the above-named gentleman. He continued working for him by the month for about a year and a-half. At the end of that time he purchased a team and rented a farm in Danforth Township for about two years. His father then purchased eighty acres in Douglas Township, upon which our subject located and farmed the two years succeeding. He next traded that farm for the one where he now resides, locating on this place in the spring of 1883. He is now the possessor of three hundred and fifty-five acres of well-cultivated land, about two hundred and twenty-five acres of which are most fertile and well developed. The remainder is timber or pasture land. Mr. Hotaling has greatly improved his place, has built fences and farm buildings and has done considerable tilling, making of it a most valuable and desirable property.
In this county on the 28th of February, 1879, Mr. Hotaling was united in marriage with Frances Emma Hallam, who was born and reared to womanhood in Marshall County, Ill. She is a daughter of Salathiel Hallam, whose family came from Washington County, Pa., of which county they were among the most honored pioneers. To them have been born six children: Florence Harriet, Cornelia Grace, Garrett Hallam, George Edwin, Robert Homer and Warren Albert. Mr. Hotaling is identified with the Republican party, having cast his first ballot for Hon. James A. Garfield. He has held several local positions to the satisfaction of all concerned. He is a firm believer in the efficacy of good public education and has always done all in his power to support the best educational measures. Socially, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is Past Grand Master of his lodge. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen. During his long residence in this county he has made many friends, who honor him as a man of sterling character, strict integrity and merit.
WILLIAM M. WEST owns and operates an excellent farm of one hundred and fifty-six acres on section 24, Middleport Township, where he carries on general farming and stock-raising, and his highly cultivated land and the many improvements found thereon indicate his thrift and enterprise and attest his careful supervision and management.
Mr. West was born in Warren County, Ind., on the 14th of July, 1846 and is a son of John A. and Azubah (Wilson) West, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of the Keystone State. Their family of ten children included the following: George, who died in 1890; Samuel, a resident farmer of Middleport Township, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Elizabeth, now deceased; Charlotte; Moses, who is engaged in farming in this county; Martha, Sylvia, William M. and one who died in infancy.
In the usual manner of farmer lads, the subject of this sketch spent the days of his boyhood and youth and in the common schools he acquired his education, attending through the winter months, while in the summer he worked at home upon the farm. He remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. The year 1869 witnessed his emigration to Illinois and saw him located in Iroquois County, where he began working on a farm by the month in Belmont Township. For about seven years he was thus employed, after which he began farming for himself, renting land for three years. He then purchased the farm on which he now resides, and although it was then poorly improved he has made it one of the desirable places of the community.
On the 10th of January, 1877, Mr. West led to the marriage altar Miss Emma Moore, daughter of Foreman and Melissa (Fleming) Moore, both of whom were natives of Ohio, and were of Irish descent. Unto our subject and his wife have been born two children: Clyde and Porter.
In his political affiliations, Mr. West is a Republican, but his wife advocates the principles of the Prohibition party. For twelve successive years he has served his township as School Director, doing much for the advancement of the cause of education and the improvement of the schools in this community. Socially, he is a member of Lodge No. 74, I. O. O. F., of Watseka. He is a valued citizen, public-spirited and progressive, and is always ready to aid in public enterprises calculated to promote the general welfare. His possessions represent his own hard labor and by his well-directed efforts he has risen to a position among the substantial farmers of the community. Widely and favorably is he known, and himself and wife rank high in social circles.
HON. JOHN A. KOPLIN, the founder and father of the village of Buckley, and one of the leading and representative citizens of the county, has been identified with the history of this community for many years, and the growth and upbuilding of the community in which he now makes his home are due in a large measure to his untiring efforts in its behalf and his enterprising and progressive spirit.
Mr. Koplin was born in Chester County, Pa., November 7, 1825, and is a son of Isaac and Ann (Amole) Koplin, both of whom were natives of the Keystone State. They had but two children, and the sister, Mary, is now deceased. The father died in Pennsylvania when our subject was only eight years of age, and the mother spent her last days near the old homestead in the Keystone State, being called to her final rest in 1885, at the very advanced age of eighty-six years.
Our subject spent the days of his childhood under the parental roof and acquired his education in the common schools, but he has improved his time and talents, and through observation and business experience has become a well-informed man, for he possesses an observing eye and retentive memory. When about twenty-five years of age he went to the city of Philadelphia, where he spent ten years, and thence came to Illinois in 1861, locating first on a farm upon which the village of Buckley now stands. He here purchased two hundred acres of land. He had previously bought a half-section of land two miles north from Buckley, and from time to time, as his financial resources were increased, he made judicious investment and added to his purchases until his possessions aggregated over four thousand acres. Where Buckley now stands there was only a section house belonging to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and three other houses, when Mr. Koplin platted and laid out the town. The same year he opened a general merchandise store in connection with William G. Riggs, and carried on business in that line for two years. He also dealt in lumber and grain for about seven years and occupied the position of Station Agent. About 1868, he opened a bank and also dealt in real-estate for some time. He continued the banking business with good success until January 1, 1892, when he sold out to William L. R. Johnson, the present banker.
November 15, 1871, Mr. Koplin was united in marriage with Miss Fannie Riggs, daughter of William G. and Mary (Davis) Riggs, natives of Chester County, Pa., who came in 1856 to Buckley, which is their present home. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mr. Koplin, both sons: Mark R., born June 7, 1873; and Vernon, born on the 15th of July, 1881.
Mr. Koplin is not now connected with any business in Buckley, but is still interested in Chicago real estate and the Lyford Coal Mines, owned, by the Wabash Valley Coal Company. He also has large landed interests, and, as he expresses it, "manages to have just enough to do to keep him out of mischief." The truth of the matter, however, is, that indolence and idleness are utterly foreign to his nature, and he will always be busy with something. This untiring industry has been one of the important elements in his prosperous career. He owns a farm of six hundred and forty acres in one body four miles west of Buckley, which is highly improved and yields to him a good income. His own beautiful and commodious home is situated on the southern edge of Buckley and his grounds comprise twenty acres.
Mrs. Koplin, who is a most estimable lady, holds membership with the Methodist Church, and Mr. Koplin, although not a member of the church, has taken a very active interest in the Sunday-school work for forty-five years and is at present one of its teachers. He has been a Trustee of Grand Prairie Seminary, of Onarga, for many years, and the cause of education ever finds in him a warm friend, he doing everything in his power for the advancement of the schools. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican, never swerving from the support which he gives its principles. He held the office of Supervisor for seven consecutive years and was Representative to the Thirty-first General Assembly of Illinois, discharging his duties with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents.
Mr. Koplin has led an honorable and upright life as well as a busy one, and the confidence and regard of the community are his in a high degree. Where he is known he has made friends, for his many excellencies of character and his sterling worth merit the esteem of all, yet he has never sought notoriety.
HON. ALBA M. JONES, a representative of one of the oldest and most highly respected families of Iroquois County, was born in the township of Stockton, this county, May 23, 1856, and is a son of John H. and Hannah (Pugh) Jones. His father is one of the oldest and most prominent citizens of this county, and a sketch of his life is given elsewhere in this work.
Alba M. was reared on a farm, attending the public schools, and in 1876 entered the North Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, one of the most successful educational institutions of the country, where he took a three-year scientific course. On his return from the Normal, he entered into partnership with his twin brother, Edgar S. in the hardware business at Milford, under the firm name of Jones Bros. Their first location was in the building now known as the Van Tryun House, where they carried on business until 1883, when they erected the fine brick block on the northeast corner of Jones Street and Railroad Avenue, at which place they have since done business. This building is twenty-four feet front by sixty-six feet deep and two stories high; an L, 24 x 100, extends to the westward, opening into the main store, and is used as a carriage repository and storeroom. This firm has the largest and best appointed store in the hardware line in the county, and carries the largest stock of goods. Their stock comprises a full line of shelf and heavy hardware, farm implements, stoves and tinware. They are also extensive dealers in lumber, coal, carriages and wagons. The Jones Bros. have succeeded in building up a large and prosperous business, and are widely and favorably known throughout this and adjoining counties.
Mr. Jones, of this sketch, wedded Miss Fannie Monnett in Milford, December 13, 1881. Mrs. Jones is a daughter of John and Mary E. Monnett; and was born in Bucyrus, Ohio.
Mr. Jones is a stanch Republican, and has held various public offices of honor and trust. For seven years he has been a member of the County Board from Milford Township, serving two years as Chairman of that body. In addition to this, for five years he has acted as a member of the Milford School Board. On the 1st of May, 1892, he received the Republican nomination for Representative to the Illinois Legislature, and was effected by a safe majority at the ensuing election. He is the fist native of Iroquois County ever thus honored. He is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M.; of Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.; and of Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. He is also an Odd Fellow, belonging to the Farmers' Lodge No. 253, I. O. O. F., of Milford.
Mr. Jones is a good representative of the young, successful and ambitious Western business man. Possessed of good natural ability, enterprise and energy, he has prospered in business and has shown an aptitude for public affairs and evidence of executive ability which promise success in that direction. As a business man and citizen, his standing ranks high, his integrity being above question, while from childhood up his life has been an open book to his fellow-townsmen.
Erasmus D. HARTSHORN
|ERASMUS D. HARTSHORN, one of the extensive land-owners of Iroquois County, who is now living a retired life in Buckley, where for many years he was a prominent merchant, was born in Lebanon Township, Madison County, N. Y., on the 4th of June, 1821. His father, Ira Hartshorn, was born in Connecticut, June 13, 1793, and in 1818 married Joanna Burnham, who was born in the Nutmeg State on the 3d of June, 1796. Soon afterward they removed to New York, and unto them were born nine children. namely: Joshua P., Erasmus D., Alford I., Pliny, Calvert, Mary, Lucy, Lydia and Charles B. The last-named was born in June, 1838. He enlisted in the Fourth Illinois Cavalry during the late war, and died from sickness at Pittsburg Landing while in the service. The other children are all yet living and are heads of families.|
The family emigrated from the Empire State to Illinois in 1837, locating in La Salle County where they resided until 1868. The father died in 1858, and the mother, who survived him a number of years, passed away in 1875.
Mr. Hartshorn, whose name heads this record, spent the first sixteen years of his life in the Empire State, and then came with the family to the West. He was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes of the frontier, and was early inured to hard labor on the farm. The common schools afforded him his educational privileges.
|Having attained to man's estate, he was married on the 31st of March, 1852, the lady of his choice being Miss Marietta Meserve, daughter of Joseph and Abiah (Whicher) Meserve. Mrs. Hartshorn was born in Gorham, N. H., October 5, 1835. Her parents were reared in Maine. When she was about a year and a-half old, her mother died. Her father principally merchandised in the East, and after coming to La Salle County, Ill., in 1850, farmed. He was a man of great ingenuity, and the finishings on his old home still stand as a monument to his skill and workmanship. Notwithstanding his busy life, he found time to keep himself posted on current events, and was especially well versed in the Scripture. He lived to be about seventy years of age.|
Five children graced their union: William Henry, born February 12, 1853, married Miss Cora Louise Luther, daughter of Elisha Luther, and they reside in Kearney, Neb., with their two children, Kenneth and Earle; Mary, born September 16, 1855, is the wife of Dr. S. C. Balch, of Washington, D. C., who holds a position in the Pension Office. They had one daughter. Blanche Mariette, who died in May, 1890, in her sixteenth year. Horace H., born May 21, 1858, wedded Miss Jennie Morris, and their home is at Chicago Heights. Charles D., born April 19, 1860, married Miss Ella Wallace, daughter of John Wallace, of Forest, Ill., and they reside in Escondido, Cal., with their three children: Harold, Winfred and Edna Lillian. Alice Bertha, born July 25, 1870, is still under the parental roof and completes the family.
In the fall of 1868, Mr. Hartshorn, of this sketch, removed from La Salle County, where he had followed farming for many years, to Buckley, and engaged in the hardware and implement business for about sixteen years, when he sold out to J. G. Wallace. From 1870 until 1878 he had a partner, W. H. Meserve. The business prospered, and he enjoyed an excellent trade. He is industrious and energetic, and by his well-directed efforts he won a handsome competence, which is the just reward of his labors.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Hartshorn is a Republican. At one time he was a member of the Masonic Lodge of La Salle, but after his removal to this county he became a charter member of Buckley Lodge No. 634, A. F. & A. M., and is also a member of the Chapter of Utica. His son Charles is connected with the Masonic fraternity, William Henry is a Knight Templar, and his son-in-law is also a prominent Mason, having taken the highest degree. Mr. Hartshorn and his wife are both faithful and consistent members of the Presbyterian Church, with which they have been connected since its organization, and during its existence he has held the office of Elder, covering a period of twenty-one years. They are charitable and benevolent people, and their many excellencies of character have won them warm regard. Mr. Hartshorn has retired from active business life. He owns about eight hundred and fifty acres of land near Buckley, all in Artesia Township, a valuable farm of three hundred and twenty acres in South Dakota, and considerable town property, including a beautiful home, which is the abode of hospitality. The members of the family rank high in social circles, where intelligence and true worth are received as the passport into good society.
CHARLES LAYER, a leading merchant of Gilman,is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in Strimpfelbach, Wurtemberg, January 28, 1836. He is a son of Jacob and Mary (Wolf) Layer, both natives of the same province. His father was quite an extensive farmer, and both he and his wife died in the Old Country. In their family of six children, consisting of five sons and one daughter, two decided to come to America; our subject came first; and David, who lives in Onarga, Ill., crossed the Atlantic some three years later.
Our subject is the fourth child of his father's family, and passed his early years on his father's farm, receiving his education in the common schools. When fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed two years at the baker's trade, receiving his board, but having to pay $75 to learn the business. After completing his trade, he worked at it for two years in Germany, and in 1856 he came over on a steamer, taking eighteen days to go from London to New York City. The cargo was for Quebec, and as that was the first trip the captain had made to that port, he ran into the wrong channel, and, as a consequence, the boat stuck on a sand bank. After some time, the passengers were taken to an island, and all the cargo, valued at $80,000, was thrown overboard. After two days and three nights, the vessel was cleared and went on her way to New York City. Having worked at his trade in that city for two years. He came to Illinois, locating in Peoria, where he worked for the following eight years. Going to Washington, Tazewell County, he in the year 1859 opened a bakery, where he carried on business until 1864. At that time he came to Gilman and purchased a storehouse of D. L. Parker, but, as he could not at once get possession of the building, he bought a small restaurant, and ran it through the winter. In the spring of 1865, a company of men on their way to enlist in the one hundred days' service came to Gilman, entered Mr. Layer's restaurant, and bought what they wanted for a time; but, as they had been drinking, they increased in their boldness, and began to help themselves. One man carried out three boxes of cigars, giving them to the others outside. He then came back for the fourth box, but Mr. Layer struck him with a sling-shot, knocking him flat. A general fight ensued. Our subject had but few friends present, but they defended themselves as best they could. Missiles of all kinds were hurled, and many were cut and bruised. Finally, our subject and his friends got away, and, repairing to the hay-press of S. E. Sears, where eighteen men were employed, he related his trouble, and all, armed with clubs cut from the hickory poles used in baling, marched to the scene of the late encounter. The would-be soldiers retreated to the freight depot, followed by Mr. Layer and his friends. At this juncture, some of the leading citizens of Gilman counseled peace, and promised the injured man that he should be paid for the loss sustained, but they failed to make good the promise, and, as the men were not yet sworn into service, the Government could not be held responsible. When the men returned from the war, Mr. Layer employed lawyers to bring suit against them for damages, but, as the attorneys were paid more liberally by the other side, they allowed the case to become outlawed, and no prosecution followed. As soon as he could get possession of the storehouse he bought of Mr. Parkers he opened a store his being about the only one in town at the time. He started a general merchandise establishment, and some five years later added a bakery. Afterward, he sold the dry-goods department, retaining the grocery and bakery. In 1883, the entire block containing his store was consumed by fire. Soon after he opened a general stock of groceries, where he now carries on business.
In Washington, Tazewell County, he married Kate Ringeisen, a native of Bavaria, Germany. By this marriage they have four children: William F. and Charles are engaged in the news business in Mexico; Katie, who is the wife of Lewis Schwer, of this county; and Frank, the youngest.
In religious faith, both Mr. and Mrs. Layer are members of the German Lutheran Church. Politically, he is a Democrat, and has been a member of the Town Board for several years. He belonged to the Society of Druids, which is a benevolent organization. In 1872, he returned to his native land to visit his aged mother, brothers and sisters and the scenes of his childhood. He also extended his tour to Switzerland and Prussia. As the reward of years of industry and frugality, Mr. Layer has accumulated considerable wealth, and is widely known as one of the leading Germans of the county.
SPENCER S. CONE, a prominent attorney and for twenty-three years a resident of Gilman, was born in Farmington, Fulton County, Ill., on the 25th of June, 1843. He is a son of Spencer and Julia (Sloan) Cone. The Cone family is of English descent. The father of our subject was born in Connecticut and his mother is a native of the Empire State. About 1833, Mr. Cone moved to Farmington, where he was joined in wedlock with Miss Sloan. He studied law and was admitted to the Bar. Soon afterward, however, he took up the occupation of farming, at which he has continued since. He is now living at Farmington and has reached the age of seventy-eight. His wife passed the age of eighty-four in 1891. They have both been life long members and supporters of the Congregational Church. Mr. Cone was formerly a Whig and has since been a Republican. He and his estimable wife had a family of three sons and one daughter.
Spencer S. Cone, whose name heads this sketch, is the only professional man of this family. He was reared under the moral and healthful influence of farm life and received his primary education in the common schools, which he supplemented by a year's course at the State Normal School and three years of study at Knox College. Like his father before him, his tastes were in the direction of the legal profession, and therefore he entered the Albany Law School in New York, from which he was graduated in 1868. He next read law for about a year with Judge S. P. Shope, now of the Supreme Bench. In 1869, he came to Gilman, where after practicing a short time he turned his attention to the real-estate business. In this line continued for some nine years and was quite successful. he has since engaged in the practice of law almost exclusively.
In February, 1873, Mr. Cone was joined in wedlock at Gilman with Miss Araminta Bombaugh. This union has been blessed with two sons: William R. and Roy S. Mr. and Mrs. Cone are both members of the Presbyterian Church, of Gilman, of which he is a Trustee.
In all educational affairs, Mr. Cone takes an active interest and for some seven years he has been a member of the School Board. Politically, he is affiliated with the Republican party, and is much interested in political measures and conventions. He was the regular nominee of his party for County Judge in 1890, but the whole ticket was defeated on account of the McKinley Bill and school question. He has served as City Attorney for eight years and has been a member of the County Board for a period of two years, acceptably discharging the duties of those offices. He is a man well informed on all questions of general interest, whether political or otherwise, and is accounted one of the worthy and valued citizens of the community where he makes his home. He is extensively interested in farming and has been quite successful in that direction. In his manner Mr. Cone is reserved and unassuming, his duties of citizenship being performed quietly and faithfully. By his upright life and honorable course he has won the respect of all with whom he has come in contact.
GEORGE W. SONGER is an honored veteran of the hate war and one of the prominent citizens of Cissna Park, where he is engaged in the manufacture of tile and brick. This is one of the leading industries of the place, and he is one of the progressive and enterprising business men. The great-grandfathers of our subject, on both the paternal and maternal side, were natives of Germany, and in the same vessel emigrated to America in Colonial days, locating in Virginia. Peter Songer, the grandfather, became a pioneer of Ohio seventy-five years ago, and died upon the farm which he there developed. The father, Lewis Songer, was born in Virginia, October 19, 1812, and at the age of three years was taken by his parents to Ohio, where he remained until seventeen years of age. At that time he came with an older brother and his mother to Illinois, locating near Danville, then a small Indian trading-post. Indians were still numerous in the neighborhood, nearly all the land belonging to the Government, and few, indeed, were the improvements made. Mr. Songer secured a claim on the Vermilion River, built a hog cabin, and began the development of a farm. In those early days he experienced many hardships and privations such as are incident to pioneer life. On one occasion he ran a flat-boat down to New Orleans, and while stopping in a hotel at Natchez, a cyclone demolished the building, and he was one of only two who escaped alive.
Lewis Songer married Catherine Daniel, of Warren County, Ind., and through her influence they returned to the Hoosier State, where they made their home for eighteen years. He then went back to Vermilion County. His wife died in 1855, after which he married Matilda Houston, who is still living in Vermilion County, Ill., where the death of Mr. Songer occurred February 16, 1877. In connection with farming, he worked at his trade as a millwright throughout much of his life. He had educated himself by the fireplace, and by his own efforts became a well-informed man. He possessed excellent business ability, and was very successful in his undertakings.
Ten children were born of the first marriage: Perry died in 1863; Julian died January 2, 1870; Juliet, twin sister of Julian, is the wife of Wilkison Cane, of Fountain County, Ill.; Mrs. Martha Mawhor died in Kansas; Mary became the wife of J. T. Brady, and died in Vermilion County; George W. is the next younger; Rhoda Ann died at the age of three years; A. M. is a merchant of Vermilion County; Lewis Jefferson resides in Kansas; and Catherine died in La Salle County in 1887. The children born of the second marriage were Walter Scott, who makes his home in Albion, Ill.; and Harley, who died in infancy. The father of this family was a member of the Christian Church, and took a zealous interest in its work. In politics, he was a Democrat in early life, but voted for Abraham Lincoln, and from that time on affiliated with the Republican party.
We now take up the personal history of George W. Songer, who was born in Warren County, Ind., May 12, 1846. His father was crippled when our subject was only ten years of age, and the burden of the farm work fell upon the sons. George engaged in farming from ten until seventeen years of age, and then, running away from home, enlisted on the 18th of October, 1863, in La Fayette, Ind., as a member of Company G, Fifty-first Indiana Infantry. He joined the regiment at Chattanooga, Tenn., and soon after participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge. The next spring he participated in the battle of Catersville, and from that time on was in active service. In May, 1864, he started on the Atlanta campaign, and was in the battles of Peach Tree Creek, Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta. He then returned to Nashville and Decatur, Ala., and then under Gen. Thomas met Hood's army. His regiment lost heavily in a hand-to-hand conflict at Franklin, and participated in the siege of Nashville; it later followed Hood to Athens, Ala., and afterward went into winter quarters at Huntsville. At Nashville, Mr. Songer was taken with typhoid fever, and never rejoined the regiment, which went to Texas. He received his discharge in Indianapolis in September, 1865. He was then only nineteen years of age. He was wounded in the arm by a rebel bullet at Nashville, and several holes were shot through his clothes, but up to the time of his illness he was always ready to stack arms with his company. On entering the battle of Franklin, his company numbered sixty-three men, but after the fight at Nashville, fifteen days later, only thirty-two answered the roll-call, the rest having been killed, wounded or taken sick.
When the war was over, Mr. Songer returned to Warren County, Ind., and soon afterward went to Vermillion County, Ill., where he engaged in farming until 1875. He also took a contract with the railroad for supplying timber for bridges from Watseka to Danville in 1871 and 1872. In February, 1882, he began the manufacture of tile in Danville. In May of the following year, he came to Iroquois County and located at Cissna Park. Where now stands his present factory was then a frog pond. His factory is the finest and most thoroughly equipped in this part of the county, and is supplied with the latest improved machinery. The tile manufactured is of a superior quality, and during 1891 over one million one hundred thousand were manufactured. The business is constantly increasing, and has become one of the important concerns of this community, furnishing employment to some twenty-eight men.
In March, 1868, in Warren County, Ind., Mr. Songer wedded Samantha Murphy, and unto them have been born seven children: Frank C., who was born in Vermilion County, is now in business with his father; Ora P., Isaac Russell, Jesse E., Leroy, Mary N. and George L. are still under the parental roof. The children have received good educational advantages, and the family is an intelligent and interesting one, of which the parents may well be proud.
Socially, Mr. Songer is a member of G. H. Neeld Post No. 576, G. A. R., of Cissna Park, and has been honored with all of its offices. His wife holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he contributes liberally to its support. Politically, he is a Democrat. He is the President of the Village Board, is President of the Building and Loan Association, and is a member of the School Board. He is also connected with the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Songer is well known throughout this county, and is held in the highest esteem by all who know him. His success has been achieved through his own efforts, and stands as a monument to his thrift and enterprise. For about a month each year Mr. Songer travels, and has visited almost all the places of interest in this country. He has visited the old battle-fields of the war, and has brought home many interesting relics, having a piece of shot fired by the British at Gen. Jackson, and pieces of shot, shell and bullets from fields where he fought. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman, and his travels and the interesting manner in which he recounts his reminiscences make him an entertaining and agreeable companion.
HARRISON MILLER, a prominent and well-known farmer and stock-raiser who resides on section 22, Ridgeland Township, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity. He was born in Warren County, on the 4th of August 1822, and is a son of Samuel and Phoebe (Lincoln) Miller. The mother of our subject, who was an own cousin to President Lincoln, was called to her final rest in 1845. The father long survived her, passing away in 1880. Both were members of the Methodist Church, and were people of many excellencies of character which won them the love and confidence of all. The family of this worthy couple numbered five children, the eldest of whom is our subject; Emily is now the wife of John Monfort, a carpenter residing in Lebanon, Ohio; Eusebia is the widow of William Frazee and makes her home in California; and two sons died in infancy.
Harrison Miller, whose name heads this record, was reared to manhood in the usual manner of farmer lads, aiding his father in the labors of the fields during the summer months, while in the winter season he attended the district schools of the neighborhood until nearly twenty years of age. On attaining his majority he started out in life for himself and has since been dependent upon his own resources. He first learned the trade of a cooper, which he followed in Ohio until 1850. In that year he went to Peru, Ind., where he remained until 1857, when he left there and came to Illinois, locating in Ridgeland Township, Iroquois County. He purchased eighty acres of land from the Government, and upon the farm which he there developed and improved made his home for seven years. On the expiration of that period he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 22 of the same township, constituting the farm on which he now resides and which has since been his home. In addition to general farming he raises stock, making a specialty of breeding fine Jersey cattle.
It was on the 10th of February, 1847, that Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Miss Sarah, daughter of James and Sarah (Pharas) Kirby. Eight children were born of this union, but their first child died in infancy. James P., who follows farming, is a resident of Ridgeland Township; Frank M. is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Allen County, Kan.; Laura is the wife of Harvey Richard, who is engaged in farming in Ridgeland Township; Samuel C. follows the same vocation in Onarga Township; Charles L. is a baggageman on the Illinois Central Railroad and makes his home in Chicago; William W. died in infancy; and Louis E. is at home.
Mr. Miller exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and, as every true American citizen should do, manifests a commendable interest in political affairs, although he has never been an office-seeker. However, he has filled the position of Pathmaster and Road Commissioner, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity. Himself and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. Industry and enterprise have been numbered among the chief characteristics of Mr. Miller and have brought him a well-deserved success. His possessions have all been gained through his own labors and are as a monument to his thrift and energy.
ROBERT JACKSON GEDDES, one of the self-made men and practical and progressive farmers of Ash Grove Township, residing on section 36, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity. He was born in Troy Township, Tuscarawas County, on the 14th of March, 1841, and is of Scotch descent. His boyhood days were passed in the usual manner of farmer lads and he was early inured to the hard labors of the farm, but thereby developed a self-reliance and force of character which have proved of incalculable benefit to him in later years. He attended school only during the winter season, when the work upon the farm was over. Under the parental roof, he remained until he had attained his majority, when he started out in life for himself, working by the month for $12. This was in DeKalb County, Ind., with his parents had removed when he was fourteen years of age.
After working for one man three years, Mr. Geddes came to Iroquois County, Ill., in July 1863, and four years later purchased land on section 35, Ash Grove Township, a tract of forty acres of wild prairie. With characteristic energy, he began its development, and in course of time the unimproved tract was transformed into rich and fertile fields. The boundaries of his farm have since been greatly extended, until now three hundred and twenty acres of rich land pay tribute to his care and cultivation and he follows general farming and stock-raising with good success.
Returning to DeKalb County, Ind., Mr. Geddes was married, on the 18th of November, 1865, to Miss Harriet Robinett, a native of Holmes County, Ohio, who with her parents removed to DeKalb County, where the days of her maidenhood were passed. Ten children graced their union,of whom nine are now living: Elva L., wife of Walter Baker, a farmer of Ash Grove Township; Letta D., wife of John Hawthorne, an agriculturist of the same township; John Curtis and Arthur Wilson, at home; Mary E., wife of Sam Mayhew, of Fountain Creek; Hattie, who is keeping house for her father; Nancy Jane, Robert Nye and Annis. One child died in infancy. The mother of this family was called to her final rest on the 26th of November, 1882, and was interred in Amity Church Cemetery. She was a faithful member of the United Brethren Church, and her loss was mourned by many friends as well as by her immediate family.
In 1868, Mr. Geddes cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant and has since been a stalwart supporter of the Republican Party. He often attends its conventions and in an early day he heard an address of Stephen A. Douglas. His residence in the county covers a period of twenty-nine years, during which time he has by good management, enterprise and well-directed efforts achieved success and won a comfortable competence. He gives liberally to church and charitable work and well merits the high esteem in which he is held as a citizen and neighbor.
HENRY J. CALKINS, a prominent business man; now resides on section 12, Prairie Green Township, where he owns and operates four hundred and forty acres of valuable land. This is under a high state of cultivation and yields to him a golden tribute in return for his care and labor. The many improvements upon the place indicate his thrift and enterprise, and its neat appearance denotes the supervision of a careful manager. His home is a beautiful country' residence.
Mr. Calkins is a native of Litchfield County, Conn. He was born on the 6th of November, 1839, and is a son of Jeremiah and Judith (Maxfield) Calkins. His father was born in the Nutmeg State, January 15, 1807, and died November 3, 1850, at the age of forty-three years. He was reared to the occupation of farming, and was educated in a log schoolhouse of primitive construction. The seats were made of slabs, supported on wooden pins, and a long writing-desk in the back of the room served for the large scholars. In 1845, when our subject was a lad of seven years, Jeremiah Calkins removed with his family to Ulster County, N. Y., and changed his avocation to that of an extensive collier. There through the intrigue and chicanery of a man in whom he reposed the utmost confidence, he lost his entire fortune and had to begin life anew. He was a man of indomitable will, of sterling integrity, and his word was as good as his bond. Of the Methodist Episcopal Church he was a faithful member, and in order to be present at Divine worship, he would often walk for six miles to the place of meeting. He was beloved by all who knew him, and his death was deeply mourned. His wife, a native of Connecticut, was born March 12, 1818, and died December 12, 1839, during the infancy of our subject. The family numbered four children, two sons and two daughters. The brother is now deceased. Caroline is the wife of Hiram St. John, who is now living retired it Watseka; and Lucinda M. is the widow of Nathan Chaffee. She now resides in Prairie Green Township. The Calkins family was founded in America by three brothers of English birth, who in Colonial days emigrated to this county. One of them was the grandfather of our subject.
Henry J. Calkins spent the fist seven years of his life in the county of his nativity, and then resided in Ulster County, N. Y., until eighteen years of age. At that time he determined to try his fortune in the West, and in August, 1856, having bade good-bye to his old home and friends, started for Illinois. He made his first location in La Salle County, where he worked for a time at the blacksmith's trade, which he had learned in the East. On landing in Illinois he had only fifteen cents in his pocket, but he possessed energy and enterprise, and determined to win success. Like so many others, he went to Kansas about 1859, thinking it an Eldorado, but after two years was satisfied to return to this State, where he has since made his home. Once more he located in La Salle County, where he continued to reside until 1869, when he came to Iroquois County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, of which about fifty acres had been broken. The only building upon the place was a little board cabin, 12x20 feet. The surrounding land was all in its primitive condition, for there were few settlements in this locality. The now flourishing villages which afford accessible markets were then unknown.
On the 1st of January, 1863, Mr. Calk ins was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary J. Lockwood, a native of Connecticut, March 27, 1842, who came to this State at the age of seven years, in 1849, with her parents, Alanson and Mary Lockwood. Nine children graced their union, six sons and three daughters, but only five are yet living: Julia, now the wife of Oliver Hamer, a farmer residing in Prairie Green; Nellie, wife of Miles Butterworth, who makes his home in Hoopeston; Stanley, Frank and Arthur at home; Lennie, William H., Wilbur, and an infant are deceased. Mr. Calkins has endeavored to give his children good educational advantages, and his daughters were educated in the Grand Prairie Seminary.
On attaining his majority, Mr. Calkins became identified with the Republican party, which he supported until 1884, when he espoused the cause of the Prohibition party. He is now one of its warm advocates, and does all in his power to aid in the temperance cause. No enterprise calculated to prove of public benefit seeks his aid in vain. With the interests of this community he has been prominently identified. For six years he served as Justice of the Peace, and has filled the office of School Director for the long term of fifteen years. Mr. Calkins was one of the organizers, and himself and wife are faithful and devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Pleasant Hill. They have also been interested in Sunday-school work, and have attended its institutes. He is a man of generous, noble impulses, charitable and benevolent, and the poor and needy find in him a warm friend.
In addition to his excellent farm, Mr. Calkins owns a good store in Ambia, Ind., only six and a-half miles from his home, and also the building in which it is located. It is a brick and stone structure, 44x100 feet, and two stories in height, the upper story being a well-arranged opera-hall. This was erected in 1891. It is furnished with a full and complete stock of general merchandise, including dry goods, groceries, hats and caps, boots and shoes, queensware, and every commodity which goes to make up a first-class establishment of this kind. Mr. Calkins is also Secretary of the Farmers' Cooperative Grain Association, which has a large grain elevator in Ambia, erected at a cost of $13,000. The volume of business done in 1891 amounted to over $250,000. Mr. Calkins is a man of excellent business ability, sagacious and enterprising, and he has the confidence and high regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact.
ANTONI AND GEBHARD OLTMANNS, importers and breeders of German coach horses of Watseka, are natives of Germany, and the sons of John W. Oltmanns, who died in his native country, Germany, in 1878. The family numbered eight children, five of whom are yet living: Oltman V., who is a partner in the business, was born February 18, 1851; Ottoline, December 28, 1854; Johann A., November 2, 1857; Antoni, August 8, 1861; and Gebhard, December 3, 1864. The three eldest children reside in or near Leer, Germany, having never crossed the Atlantic to America, and with the exception of Gebhard all of the children are married.
Both of the gentlemen whose names head this sketch were reared in the land of their birth. It was in 1882 that Antoni Oltmanns, then twenty-one years of age, bade good-bye to the Fatherland, and crossed the briny deep to the New World. He came at once to Iroquois County, and in 1885 embarked in the importation and breeding of German coach horses and Holstein cattle. Two years later he was joined by his brother Gebhard, and a partnership was formed between them. They soon found that the cattle business was unprofitable and abandoned it, since which time they have, given their entire attention to importing and breeding horses. They now conduct the business on a large scale, and keep on hand the finest horses to be had. Their barns-are located on the west side of the city of Watseka, and the Oltmanns Bros. are known far and near among the horse dealers of this country. Their business has constantly increased, and in 1891 they imported one hundred head of horses. They cross the ocean once or twice each year, both having made the voyage across the briny deep eleven different times. These gentlemen are wide-awake and enterprising young business men who do not expect to win wealth easily, but hope to acquire in money a ready return for their industry and good management. They possess keen business sagacity, are methodical and systematic, and it is a pleasure to note their progress and success, for it is well deserved. They are self-made men, and have already gained for themselves a place among the substantial citizens of Watseka.
|JUDGE SAMUEL WILLIAMS, who resides on section 30, Belmont Township, has for half a century made his home in this county and is one of the prominent and influential citizens. His name is inseparably connected with its history, as he has witnessed almost its entire growth and has aided largely in its upbuilding and development. To the honored pioneers who came here in an early day the county owes a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid. Among these is numbered the gentleman whose name heads this record; and this work would be incomplete without his sketch.|
The Judge was born in Adams County, Ohio, July 11, 1820, and comes of an old family of Maryland. His grandfather, Capt. John Williams, removed from that State to Adams County, Ohio, being accompanied by his son Thomas, the father of our subject, who was then a lad of four years. The family numbered four song and two daughters. Thomas, the eldest, was born in Maryland in 1797, and was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes of frontier life in Ohio. Adams County was then an almost unimproved wilderness. His educational advantages were very meagre, but by study in his leisure hours he acquired an excellent education and for twenty years engaged in teaching. While assisting in a house-raising he met with an accident which crippled him, and after thus losing the use of his limbs he took up the teacher's profession, in order to support himself and his family. Before he was thus disabled he was married in Adams County, the lady of his choice being Miss Elizabeth Swim. She was a native of Kentucky, born January 2, 1800. Her grandfather was a Revolutionary hero who valiantly aided the colonies in their struggle for independence. He went to Kentucky with Daniel Boone, the noted hunter and explorer. When a young girl of about six years, Mrs. Williams went to Champaign County, Ohio, and afterward accompanied her parents to Adams County. During her girlhood she met with quite an experience, herself and a younger brother and sister being carried off during a sudden freshet caused by a water-spout. The three children, seeing that the water was rising rapidly, fled for safety and took refuge upon the roof of a sheep stable. The water rose, and the building to which they were clinging was swept along by the current for a distance of eighty rods, when it struck a large sycamore tree and fell to pieces and the children came down in the debris. This occurred about sunset, and the two sisters and brother, together with their shepherd dog, had to remain upon the ruins of the old shed, there kept prisoners by the flood. During the night the water somewhat subsided and the next morning about daybreak they were rescued by the father. The mother of the Judge was the eldest of the children, and thus upon her devolved the task of caring for and comforting the younger ones.
It was in 1836 that the parents of our subject emigrated within their family to Illinois. They made the journey by ox-team and settled near Rockford, when that city contained but one cabin on either side of the river. Six years later they came to Iroquois County, locating east of Watseka on what is now the County Poor Farm. There were a few log cabins, but the county was sparsely settled and the Williams family are numbered among the pioneers. Mr. Williams entered land from the Government and himself and wife resided upon the farm for some years. In Ohio he had served as Justice of the Peace for years and for three terms was County Assessor and on coming to Iroquois County served as County Superintendent. In politics he was a Jackson-Democrat. In early life he became identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church and was ever afterward one of its consistent members. His home was often a place of meeting in those early days and he labored long and earnestly in the Master's vineyard. He was one of Nature's noblemen and the high regard of all was his. During the last ten years of his life he was quite feeble and made his home with our subject. He passed away August 18, 1857, and his remains were laid to rest in Belmont Cemetery. His wife departed this life in 1880. She was a most estimable lady, a worthy helpmate of her husband, and her many excellencies of character won her the love of all.
The Williams family numbered the following children: Samuel of this sketch; John, who died in Iowa; William, a resident of Watseka; Josiah, who makes his home in Watseka; Thomas, a farmer of Belmont Township; Harvey F., a ranchman of Wyoming; Melissa, who died in 1846, at the age of eighteen years; Susanna, wife of Simeon Downing of Butler County, Iowa; Mary, who died in 1835, at the age of nineteen years; and Elizabeth Ann, wife of Justus Smith, of Milford.
Judge Williams spent the first fifteen years of his life in his native State and then came with his parents to Illinois. From that time all of the family care and responsibility rested upon his shoulders. However, he was greatly assisted by his mother, a thoughtful woman of much ability and force of character, but he had entire charge of the outdoor work. He made a claim and developed a farm in Winnebago County before the land came into market. He acquired his education in the public schools and under his father's direction. At the age of twenty-five years, he desired to follow some other pursuit than that of agriculture, and learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked for a short time. In 1844 he purchased his present homestead, then comprising one hundred and twenty acres of wild and unimproved hand. His first home was a frame building, 14x22 feet. This is still standing and yet forms a part of his residence. As soon as possible however, he made substantial improvements upon the farm, which has now been his home for almost half a century. With characteristic energy he began the development of his land and where once was wild prairie, fertile fields soon yielded to him abundant harvests. He prospered in his undertakings and as his financial resources were increased he added to his land from time to time until he is now the owner of one thousand acres. He started out in life for himself with only $62.50 and with that as a nucleus he has gathered together his present large fortune, which is a well-deserved reward of his industrious and persevering efforts.
On the 25th of March, 1846, near Woodland. Mr. Williams was united in marriage with Miss Catherine, daughter of Isaac Body, who removed from Muffin County, Pa.,. to Indiana in 1830, living in Covington. About ten years later he came with his family to Iroquois County. His daughter was born in Pennsylvania, and was about four years old when they heft the Keystone State. Four sons have been born unto Judge and Mrs. Williams, all born and reared on the home farm. Josiah G. is now Cashier of the Citizens' Bank of Watseka; George M., a resident of Woodland, manages the home farm; John S. resides in Belmont Township, but is now in California for his health; Frank L. is living near the old homestead. The children were all provided with good educational advantages, attending the Onarga Seminary after completing the course in time common schools.
In connection with his farming operations, Mr. Williams has been connected with several other business interests. He aided in the organization of the First National Bank in Watseka, and was made its fist President. He is now a stockholder and Vice-president of the Citizens' Bank. He owns a store in Woodland, which is operated under the firm. name of Williams & Goodyear. He also owns an elevator and creamery at that place, both of which receive a liberal patronage and are doing a good business. In 1876 he laid off the village of Woodland on a part of his farm, and at the same time built the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the support of which he has contributed liberally, himself and wife being among its active members.
In the early days of the county, Mr. Williams held a number of offices. He was elected Justice of the Peace about 1850, and held the position for about twelve years. He was also a member of the Board of Supervisors for ten years and in 1860 was elected Judge of the County Court, which position he held four years. Since than he has never held office, preferring to devote his time to other interests. He cast his first vote for James K. Polk, in support of the Democratic party, until the time of the slavery troubles in Nebraska. He was a member of the first committee that organized the Republican party hi Iroquois County. He voted for Fremont, its first Presidential candidate, in 1856, and was one of its active workers for many years, but, on account of his temperance principles, now affiliates with the Prohibition party. The Judge is now practically living a retired life, having laid aside all business cares except that he supervises his interests. In a comfortable home on his farm, where he has lived for fifty years, he expects to spend his remaining days. No citizen of Iroquois County is more widely or favorably known than he. His upright, honorable life, the prominent part he has taken in public works, the aid he has given to enterprises calculated to promote the general welfare, have all won for him the high regard and confidence of his fellow-townsmen, and the respect and esteem he receives are justly his.
HENRY UPSALL, the pioneer jeweler, has engaged longer in his line of business in Watseka than any other of its residents. He is regarded as one of the enterprising and progressive citizens of the community, and a heading business man. As such, we are pleased to present this record of his life to our readers. He was born in the town of Bennington, near Boston, Lincolnshire, England, on the 25th of December, 1830, and is a son of Henry and Mafia (Wallhead) Upsall. His parents were born, reared and died in Lincolnshire. Their family numbered eight children, as follows: Richard, the eldest, married Betsy Barton, and still resides in Lincolnshire; Henry is the next younger; John, who came to America in 1856, was a soldier of the late war, serving as a member of the Twelfth Indiana Infantry for ninety days; he afterward enlisted as a substitute and died in Cairo, Ill., from disease contracted in the service; William went to Australia, where he was married, and still resides; Mary Ann died in England; Betsy resides in Australia; Susan died in England, in the spring of 1892; and Eliza, the youngest, also died in England when about eighteen years of age.
Henry Upsall learned the trade of a jeweler and watch-maker in his native country, and emigrated to America in 1856. On coming to the United States, he first worked in Ft. Wayne, Ind., with Messrs. Meyer & Graff. After the breaking out of the late war, he enlisted on the 24th of October, 1862, as a member of the Twenty-third Indiana Battery, but was discharged on the 23d of April, 1862, on account of physical disability caused by a fall from a caisson, while on duty. Returning to Indiana, he again worked at his trade in Warsaw of that State, being in the employ of John Lane for four years. He then bought some land, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1866, when, having satisfied himself that he was not cut out for a granger, he sold his farm, and resumed work with Mr. Lane.
On the 23d of February, 1858, Mr. Upsall was united in marriage in Swan Township, Noble County, Ind., with Miss Margaret Fulk, who was born in that township, and is a daughter of Solomon Fulk. She died in May, 1869, heaving three children, while Solomon, another child, had died in infancy. Eliza Jane became the wife of John Pittson, and is a resident of Iroquois. Joanna is the wife of Lewis Ballou, who resides in Chicago, and is employed as conductor on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. John W. is employed in his father's store in Watseka. On the 1st of May, 1870, Mr. Upsall was again married, in Bourbon, Ind. His present wife was Mrs. Mary Jane McCarron, and a daughter of Henry H. Baxter, of Bourbon. She was born in Greenfield, Ohio, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church.
Soon after his second marriage, in 1870, Mr. Upsall removed to Watseka, Ill., and in July of that year established business in that city in a small way. By industry and integrity, he gradually increased his business and acquired property, until at this writing he is one of the substantial business men of Watseka, and has probably the largest and best stock of goods in his line to be found in the county. He owns his business house and residence, and a second business building situated just east of the First National Bank. He also has forty acres of land in Lincoln Township, Newton County, Ind.
In 1874, Mr. Upsall made a visit to his parents at the old home in England, which was an event in his life and theirs. They were very much advanced in years and were made happy over the return of one son, while they mourned the loss of the other son who had accompanied his brother to America so many years before. Since then, both parents have passed away. The father died in 1883, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, and the mother was called to her final rest in 1887, at the age of eighty-five years.
FREDERICK SCHROEDER. We wish to add to the old settlers' record and the history of the prominent citizens of Iroquois County the name of one of the enterprising and well-to-do farmers of Martinton Township, Mr. Schroeder, who resides on section 1. He is a native of Prussia, Germany, having been born May 8, 1842. His father, Joseph Schroeder, was a farmer of Prussia, and there spent his entire life, his death occurring in 1855. The family numbered ten children, four sons and six daughters. The brothers all came to this country, but two are now deceased. Joseph S., the eldest, is now a prominent farmer of this county; John became a farmer of Michigan and died in that State; Christian, who was a shoemaker by trade, died in Chicago.
Frederick Schroeder, the youngest son, spent the first fifteen years of his life in his native land. He attended the public schools and acquired a good education. In 1857 he bade good-bye to his old home and sailed for America, taking passage on a vessel which left Hamburg and after about thirty days dropped anchor in the harbor of New York. This was about the 1st of May. Mr. Schroeder at once made his way to Chicago and joined his brother Joseph, who several years previous had located in Cook County. He then began working on a farm by the month, being thus employed during the summer season, while in the winter he attended the English schools. The spring of 1862 witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County, when he joined his brother Joseph, who had here purchased a farm, working for him eight years. In 1866 he bought a tract of land of forty acres adjoining that of his brother, and about two years later bought an additional eighty acres, all being wild prairie land. In 1870 he located thereon and began the development and improvement of a farm.
On April 16, 1870, at the home of his brother Mr. Schroeder was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Landsman, a native of Germany, who, came to this county with her parents when quite young. The young couple began their domestic life upon that farm which Mr. Schroeder had previously purchased. As the years passed he placed it under a high state of cultivation, and also extended its boundaries, until it now comprises two hundred and forty acres of richly improved land which yields to him a golden tribute in return for the care and cultivation he bestows upon it. His home is a substantial and commodious residence recently erected, and his large barn, granary and other outbuildings are models of convenience, and indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner. His is one of the best-improved farms in this township. The success of Mr. Schroeder is all due entirely to his own efforts, for he started out in life for himself a poor boy, his only capital being enterprise and industry, but by his labors he has accumulated a large and valuable property.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder have been born six children, four sons and two daughters: John W., the eldest, now assists his father in the cultivation of the home farm; Louisa is a resident of Chicago; Frank, Emma, William and Benjamin. They also lost one child, Hulda, who died at the age of six years.
Mr. Schroeder is identified with the Democratic party. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and supported the Republican party until 1884, when he joined the Democracy. He takes quite an active part in local politics, has served as Road Commissioner, Drainage Commissioner, and in other official positions of honor and trust. He has been a member of the School Board, and is a warm friend to the public-school system. Himself and wife were both reared in the Lutheran Church but of later years they have adhered to the faith of the Spiritualists. Mr. Schroeder has long been a resident of this county and is widely and favorably known. His duties of citizenship are always faithfully performed, and he is a man of sterling character.
JULIUS C. ROSE was born in Oswego County, N. Y., May 14, 1828, and was a son of Sylvester M. Rose, a native of Massachusetts, born in 1794. When a young man of twenty-one, his father removed to New York, and there engaged in farming and school teaching until thirty-two years of age. He was a great reader, a life-long student, and after he had reached the age of three-score years and ten he made a study of chemistry. He was married in New York to Mary Earle, a native of the Empire State, and they made their home in Oswego County. His wife died at the age of forty-one years. Five sons were born of that union who grew to mature years, but all are now deceased. Carolan and Carlton both died in early manhood; Courtland died in Michigan; Julius died in this county; and Lyman M. spent his last days in Illinois. The father outlived all his family and died in Iroquois County in 1881, at the age of eighty-seven years.
The subject of this sketch was educated in the public schools. At the age of sixteen, he broke his leg, and as this prevented his working on the farm, he began teaching at the age of seventeen, and continued that occupation at intervals until twenty-five years of age. On attaining his majority, he went to Lyons, N. Y., and with a partner ran a book-store for some two years. When about twenty-four years of age, he came to Indiana, locating in La Fayette, Tippecanoe County, in 1852. He there engaged in teaching school for two terms, and among his students was Miss Rhoda K. Justice, born February 9, 1835, in Chillicothe, Ohio, whom he made his wife July 3,1853. She had emigrated to Indiana when five years of age with her parents, who settled near La Fayette. They resided in La Fayette until March, 1860, when they started with teams to Iroquois County. During this journey the wagon stuck fast in a slough between this place and Loda, and had to be pulled out by ox-teams. For three years he rented land and then purchased a farm near Cissna Park, where he resided for two years. He then purchased the old farm on which his family yet resides, buying thirteen hundred acres of hand, the greater part of which was still in its primitive condition. Only sixty acres had been placed under time plow and a log cabin constituted almost the entire improvements. The county was full of wild deer, ducks and geese. He gave his entire attention to farming and stock-raising, and did an extensive business in shipping stock.
Mr. Rose held a number of public offices and was Township Treasurer at the time of his death. He took a great interest in educational matters and the schools found in him a great friend. He was a man of excellent business ability, and by his fair dealing and well-directed efforts acquired a handsome property, leaving to his family a good home. He was a faithful member of the Christian Church, and his wife holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church. His death occurred February 23, 1877, when the community mourned the loss of one of its best citizens.
Mrs. Rose still resides on the home farm, and in her management of affairs displays excellent business and executive ability. In the family were the following children: Sarah, who was born in Indiana and died in that State in infancy; Sylvester, a prominent resident of Cissna Park, whose sketch is given below; Mary, who died in her third year; Martha J., who was educated at Lebanon, Ohio, and in Onarga Seminary, and successfully engaged in teaching; Elizabeth, who was educated at Greer College, of Hoopeston, and has followed teaching for two years, is in the Southern Normal College at Bloomfield, Iowa; Bertha, who died at the age of four years; William, at home; Luella, who has engaged in teaching for four years; and Arthur, who is still with his mother.
MILTON M. MEACHAM, dealer in drugs, medicines, paints, oils, etc., of Buckley, has carried on business in this line for twenty years. He was born in Franklin County, Ohio, on the 11th of February, 1827, and is the third in order of birth in a family of four children whose parents were Riley and Hannah (Baldwin) Meacham. The father was a native of Massachusetts and the mother of New York. In an early day they emigrated Westward, locating in the midst of the wilderness of Ohio, and amidst the wild scenes of frontier life their children were reared. The two eldest, Aurelia A. and Lawrence L., are both now deceased, but our subject has one sister yet living, Roxanna R. The parents have both been deceased for many years.
Upon his father's farm in the Buckeye State, the subject of this sketch was reared to manhood. His education was acquired in the public schools, which he attended through the winter season, while in the summer months he worked in the fields. On the 6th of September, 1853, he led to the marriage altar Miss Emma A. Benton, daughter of Eliacum and Betsy (Meacham) Benton. Four children were born to their union, as follows: Frank B., born July 11, 1854, was married to Miss Lenora White, and with his family resides in Sioux Falls, S. Dak. They have three children: Charles M., Lulu and Grigsby. Riley, born December 8, 1856, died at the age of eight months. Angeline A., born August 30, 1858, is the wife of W. A. Haney, a resident of Buckley. Edwin M, born March 26, 1866, completes the family.
It was in April, 1864, that Mr. Meacham left Ohio, and came with his family to Illinois. He made his first location in Ash Grove Township, Iroquois County, where he resided for about two years. He then came to Buckley and was engaged in carpentering for two years, but afterward followed farming for a time. In 1872, he opened a drugstore, and has continued in this line of business since. His stock consists of drugs, medicines, paints, oils, books, stationery and druggist's sundries. He has enjoyed a good trade from the beginning and has a liberal patronage, which yields him a good income.
Mr. Meacham has frequently been called upon to serve in public positions of honor and trust. He filled the office of Justice of the Peace for eight years, was also Town Clerk, and for four years served as Supervisor. At this writing, in the fall of 1892, he is President of the Village Board of Trustees. The prompt and faithful manner in which he has ever discharged his official duties has led to his frequent re-election, and has won him the high commendation of all, whether opposed to him politically or not. Mr. Meacham exercises his right of franchise in support of time Democratic party. He is a man of sterling worth, a straight-forward business ran, and during the twenty-eight years of his residence in the county he has formed a wide-circle of friends and acquaintances.
HARM SCHAUMBURG is the owner of an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres, pleasantly located in Milford Township, about four miles from the village of Milford on section 6. There he carries on general farming and stock-raising. He grows the cereals best adapted to this climate, and devotes much attention to the breeding of horses. He is a lover of the noble steed, and an excellent judge of stock. The greater part of his land is under a high state of cultivation, and many good improvements have been made thereon, so that the place is now one of the model farms of the community.
Mr. Schaumburg is a native of Prussia, Germany, born on the 19th of February, 1846. His parents, Wilhelm and Engel (Lenerts) Schaumburg, had a family of seven children, but two died in infancy. Of the remaining five, Leonard and Ludwig spent their entire lives in Germany, and are now deceased. The mother and the three remaining sons, Frantz, Harm and John, came to America about the year 1858. Crossing the Atlantic, they became residents of Peoria, Ill., and the brothers worked on a farm in that vicinity for a few years. Harm afterwards removed to Adams County, Ill., and a few months later, in 1864, enlisted in the service of his adopted-country as a member of the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry. He was assigned to Company B, and was with his commander for about four months, when he was mustered out. Frantz was also in the war. He became a member of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, and served for more than three years. After being discharged, he returned to his home near Peoria, and married Miss Rosene, daughter of Ralph Damm. They have a family of six living children. John was married in Minonk, and has a family of five children.
After his return from the war, Mr. Schaumburg continued to engage in farm labor for some time. On the 27th of Januamy, 1871, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Anna Lucht, daughter of Frank and Peterke (Myer) Lucht. Her father is an old sea-captain. Her mother, a native of Germany, is now deceased. By the union of our subject and his wife have been born twelve children, eight sons and four daughters, and with one exception all are yet living. William, born April 12, 1871; Peterke Emma, July 12, 1872: Engel, January 30, 1874; Frederick, October 17, 1875; Wirtje, December 31, 1876; Harm, March 26, 1878; Jonas, December 9, 1880; Frantz, June 26, 1882; Anna, August 17, 1884; Almrth Johanna, December 12, 1886, died on the 30th of April, 1888; Ludwig, born September 29, 1888; and Johannus Gerhard, November 29, 1891.
In the spring of 1874, Mr. Schaumburg came to Iroquois County from Livingston County, Ill., and settled on an eighty-acre farm in Milford Township, about five and a-half miles west of the village. He there resided for nine years, on the expiration of which period he sold that tract, and bought his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 6, Milford Township, about a mile and a-half south of the old home. It has since been their place of residence. Our subject and his wife are both members of the Lutheran Church, and are people of sterling worth, known and honored throughout the community. In his social relations, he is a member of Vennum Post No. 471, G. A. R., and in his political affiliations he is a Democrat.
SYLVESTER M. ROSE, the eldest son of Julius Rose, was born on his father's farm near La Fayette, Ind., February 15, 1856, but at an early age came to this county with the family. He acquired a good education and is a well-informed man. He experienced all the hardships and trials of pioneer life, and was early inured to the hard labor of developing a new farm. At the age of twenty-six he left home. When eighteen years of age, his father had given him his time, but he continued to work on the old homestead. In 1881, he came to Cissna Park, and in February of that year began dealing in hardware and lumber as one of the pioneer merchants of this place. In 1885, he sold out his hardware and began dealing in grain and coal. Two years later he sold his lumber yard, but repurchased it in 1889, and now carries on business as a lumber, grain and coal dealer. He built the Rose elevator, one of the largest in the county, which has a capacity of one hundred thousand bushels, and does an extensive business, amounting in 1891 to $100,000. He spends part of his time in Chicago and is connected with William H. Cowles, a commission merchant on the Board of Trade. He started in business with $2,000, and has made the greater part of his possessions through his own efforts.
On the 13th of February, 1889, Mr. Rose was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary, daughter of E. G. Hickman, and a native of Fountain Creek Township, this county. They have a pleasant home in Cissna Park and are numbered among its best citizens. Mr. Rose is a stalwart advocate of Republican principles and has served as a member of the Council since the organization of the town. In business circles he ranks high, and by his own industry and perseverance he has worked his way upward to a position of wealth. His life has been one of signal success, and he is now enjoying a well-deserved prosperity.
JOHN FERNALD, one of the prominent manufacturers of Lovejoy Township, is the proprietor of a large tile factory, and a leading business man, who has a wide acquaintance throughout Iroquois County. His life record is as follows: He was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pa., January 18, 1837, and is descended from good old Revolutionary stock on the maternal side. His parents were Benjamin and Sarah B. (Wright) Fernald. His father, a native of Cape Cod, Mass, born May 28, 1792, was a boot and shoemaker by trade, and followed that business for sixty years. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and aided in the defense of Baltimore when the British undertook to burn that city. He died January 1, 1884. His wife, who was born in Pennsylvania, October 28, 1799, was the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier. Her father, Robert Wright, lived to the advanced age of eighty-nine years and six months, and died in Indiana. Mrs. Fernald died in Indiana, April 4, 1869. The parents of our subject were both members of the Presbyterian Church. Their family numbered ten children, seven sons and three daughters, of whom three are yet living.
John Fernald, whose name heads this record, spent the first nine years of his life in Carlisle, Pa., and then, in 1846, accompanied his parents to Clinton County, Ind., when, at the age of seventeen, he started out in life for himself, following agricultural pursuits. In 1870, he began the manufacture of tile in Indiana, continuing in that line of business for eleven years. In the meantime, he had erected a factory in Hoopeston, investing a capital of $6,000, and there remained for three years, doing a successful business. On the expiration of that time, he disposed of his factory and, in company with his brother-in-law, Frank Jenkins, built a factory in Templeton, Benton County, Ind. While there the brother-in-law died. Mr. Fernald was appointed administrator of his estate, and sold out the business. He then located his present large factory in Wellington, with a capital of $8,000. The factory is supplied with the most modern improvements, and he does an excellent business. Lately, he has given over the general management of the large interest to his son, George Chester, a practical and enterprising business man, and Mr. Fernald devotes his entire attention to a new invention, the Columbia Tile and Brick Machine, which is now in the hands of the proper officers, and in a short time he expects to have a patent thereon. For twenty-two years, Mr. Fernald has studied along this line, and his thought and labor have at length resulted in this invention which will no doubt prove of the utmost importance amid benefit to those engaged in the manufacture of tile. His large factory at Wellington has a capacity of five hundred thousand tile annually, and he has a large and constantly increasing trade.
On the 9th of April, 1863, Mr. Fernald married Miss Martha Jenkins, daughter of William and Eliza (Lock) Jenkins. The lady is a native of Clinton County, Ind., born December 5, 1843. Her father was a farmer, but followed steamboating on the Ohio River. He died at about the age of seventy-four years. Her mother, who was born and reared in the Buckeye State, was called to her final rest at the early age of twenty-six years. Both were members of time Presbyterian Church. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fernald have been born seven children, and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of Death. In order of birth they are as follows: William J. who was graduated from the Rush Medical College, of Chicago, in 1890, in a class of ninety, is now a practicing physician and surgeon of Rantoul, Ill.; Allen B., who was graduated from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery, is engaged in the practice of dentistry at Galesburg, Ill.; George Chester is manager of the Wellington Tile Factory; Harry W. is attending a dental school in Chicago; Asa C., Mary B. and Mattie F. are all at home.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Fernald was a stanch Republican from the time when he cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln until 1888, when he joined the ranks of the Prohibition party. He has long been a warm advocate of temperance principles, and, believing prohibition to be the most important issue now before the people, he joined the party which embodies his principles. He is a member of the Good Templars' Society, and the cause of education finds in him a warm friend. Himself, wife and children are all members of the Presbyterian Church, of Wellington, and take an active interest in all church and Sunday-school work. The family are classed among the best citizens of Iroquois County and in social circles rank high.
Mr. Fernald is a man of excellent business ability, sagacious and far-sighted, and his inventive genius is of a high order. Hand and brain have brought him the success which has crowned his efforts and made him one of the substantial citizens of the community.
|JASPER PRUTSMAN, who is engaged in the manufacture of brick and tile, is one of time successful and progressive business men of Milford, and the business to which he devotes his attention is one of its demanding industries.
As Mr. Prutsman is well and favorably known throughout Iroquois County, we feel assured that this record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born near Attica, in Fountain County, Ind., on the 12th of February, 1836, and is one of twelve children. The parents were David and Maxey M. (McMullin) Prutsman, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Kentucky. Only two of the children are now living. The members of the family were Daniel, John, Elizabeth, Ellen, David. Mary, Jasper, Caroline and four who died in infancy. The father of this family died in Indiana in 1837, when our subject was little more than a year old. His mother continued to reside in that State until 1852, and there reared her family. She then came to Illinois and made her home with her son Jasper.
Our subject had no special advantages in his youth, in fact, from an early age he was dependent upon his own resources. Whatever success he has achieved in life is due to his own efforts and stands as a monument to his enterprise. On coming to Illinois, he entered eighty acres of land in Prairie Green Township and began the development of a farm, transforming the wild tract into rich and fertile fields. After nine years, he removed to Milford Township and engaged in furnishing timber for corporations and firms, who used great quantities of it. It was in 1872 that he embarked in his present line of business. He established a brick and tile factory, and is yet carrying on operations in that line. From the beginning success, has attended his efforts and his trade has constantly increased. He furnished nearly all of the brick used in building in Milford and has had large sales elsewhere.
In 1856, Mr. Prutsman was united in marriage with Miss Lucinda Crow, daughter of David and Mary Crow. They had a family of eight children, six of whom are yet living: Alfred, born February 12, 1858; Mary M., April 29, 1860; Smilinda E., February 9, 1862; Orea, March 8, 1864; Martha E., April 26, 1865; Frank, July 6, 1867; Arata, April 11, 1870, and one who died in infancy. On the 15th of March, 1884, Mary became the wife of George Gibbs, whose death occurred about 1888, leaving three children, Walter G., George and Leila. By a second marriage she has one daughter, Angie.
Socially, Mr. Prutsman is a member of Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M., and both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, he is a Republican, having cast his first vote for President Lincoln. In connection with his other property, he owns a desirable farm of one hundred and twelve acres, a half-mile west of Milford, on which he makes his home. His business has grown from a small beginning to one of excellent proportions, in fact, his tile and brickyard is the largest in the county. The material which he uses is of a superior quality and no better tile is manufactured in this part of the country. Mr. Prutsman has now an excellent trade, which is well deserved. He is a self-made man who started out in life empty-handed, but by industry and enterprise overcame the obstacles in his path and worked his way upward to success. He has ever taken an active interest in the welfare of the community and is classed among its best citizens. During the late war, when many husbands and fathers were at the front, he aided in looking after their families and often gave then substantial assistance.
HERMAN SALMON, an enterprising farmer and valued citizen of Ash Grove Township, residing on section 9, claims Germany as the land of his birth. He was born in Westphalia, near the town of Enger, on the 4th of August, 1860. His father emigrated with his family to America and then removed from Will County, Ill., to this county in 1875. Within a year he was called to his final rest, and his remains were interred in St. Paul's Churchyard, in Woodworth.
Mr. Salmon, whose name heads this sketch, was brought to America when six years of age. His education was acquired in the public and parochial schools, he studying both in German and English. With the family he came to Iroquois County in 1875, and after his father's death operated the home farm for a number of years, except for about one year, when, at time age of sixteen, he was employed as salesman in the store of Fred W. Meyer. About 1880, he purchased his present farm of eighty acres and in connection within it continued to operated the home farm until about six years ago.
The lady who is now Mrs. Salmon was in her maidenhood Miss Lizzie Munstermann, a daughter of Henry Munstermann, who came to this county about nineteen years ago. She was born in Hanover, Germany, on the 24th of April, 1860, and in the year 1873 came to America, sailing from Hamburg to New York. On the 4th of March, 1886, she gave her hand in marriage to our subject. By their union have been born three children: Herman H., born July 7, 1887; Della, March 11, 1889; and Lydia, December 2, 1890. All were born on the home farm.
Mr. Salmon now owns eighty acres of land and operates forty acres in addition. His home, newly built, is a comfortable residence, surrounded with good improvements, including good barns and outbuildings, and these in turn are situated in the midst of waving fields of grain, whose rich fertility tells of abundant harvests. Mr. Salmon is engaged in general farming and success has attended his efforts. He is a sagacious and far-sighted business man, enterprising and progressive, and his labors have received their reward in a well-deserved prosperity. Religiously, he is a member of the Lutheran Church and has been President of the congregation for three years. He served as School Director for six years and has been Collector of the township. By his first Presidential vote, he supported James G. Blaine in 1884, and has since affiliated with the Republican party.
JAMES E. DOANE, who carries on general farming on section 26, Ridgeland Township, has the honor of being a native of this State, his birth having occurred near Earlville, La Salle County, on the 12th of January, 1845. His father, Corren Doane, was a native of Cape Cod, Mass., and the family is of Scotch descent. He was twice married, and by his first union had one child. He afterward married Hannah Stilson, the mother of our subject, and they became the parents of seven children: Samuel, who died in 1867; Robert, a retired farmer, residing in Plainfield, Ill.; Harriet, who is living in Plainfield, is the wife of William Austin; Carrie, wife of B. H. Dougherty, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Onarga Township; Mary, wife of Charles Austin, who is living in Piper City, Ford County, Ill.; Bernice, wife of P. H. Hogue, who is living in Plainfield; and James E. of this sketch. The father died in 1875, and the mother, who survived him fifteen years, passed away in 1890.
Our subject spent time days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm, and acquired a good common school education, attending school through the winter months until sixteen years of age, while in the summer season he worked in the fields. He remained at home until twenty years of age, when, in March, 1865, he responded to the call for troops, and enlisted as a private of Company I, One Hundred and Fifty sixth Illinois Infantry. He was mustered into service at Joliet, and thence was sent to Nashville, and on to Chattanooga and Memphis, remaining in the latter city on guard duty until September, 1865, when he was honorably discharged.
When the country no longer needed his service, Mr. Doane returned to his home, and worked for his father until he had attained his majority, and for a year afterward, being employed by the month. He then rented his father's farm, which he operated for a year, when he removed to Iroquois County. This was in 1867. He purchased eighty acres of land on section 26, Ridgeland Township, began its development, amid has since made his home thereon.
In January of the same year in which he came to thin is county, Mr. Doane was united in marriage within Miss Susan Hogue, daughter of Jonathan and Lydia Hogue. By their union was born a daughter, Florence O., who was educated in the Onarga schools, and resides in Crete, Neb. The mother, after several years illness, died of consumption on the 26th of March, 1890, and her remains were interred in Onarga cemetery. She was a lady of many excellencies of character and her loss was deeply lamented.
With characteristic energy, Mr. Doane began the cultivation of his land, and the well-tilled fields and the neat appearance of the place indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner. He carries on general farming and stock-raising and has met within excellent success in his undertakings. The boundaries of his farm he has extended by additional purchase, until now one hundred and sixty acres of arable land pay tribute to his care and cultivation. His life has been a busy one, but aside from his farm duties he has found time to devote to his duties of citizenship. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, but has never been an office-seeker. He holds membership with the Methodist Church, and his upright and honorable career has won him high regard.
HALE BROS. is a well-known, mercantile firm of Buckley, composed of Samuel T. and George B. Hale. The former was born in Pulaski, N. Y., on the 5th of July, 1845, and the latter was born in Oshkosh, Wis., on the 1st of June, 1848. Their father, Samuel Hale, Sr., was born March 26, 1804, in Hollis, N. H., and was one of five sons. The grandfather used to talk about his thirty feet of sons, they being on an average six feet tall.
In the East Samuel Hale, Sr., was united in marriage, Noverber 3, 1842, with Miss Louisa Brown, who was born in Oswego County, N. Y., July 10, 1820. In 1843, he emigrated Westward within his family, locating in Wisconsin. He entered a tract of land near Oshkosh, and afterward kept an hotel in that city and in Fond du Lac. In 1853, he came with his family to Illinois, settling in Decatur, where he was engaged in the lumber business. He established the first planing-mill at that place and was engaged in the grain business there. In the winter of 1864, he removed to Loda, Ill., and in 1867 went to a farm of two hundred and eighty acres in Iroquois County, about five and a-half miles northeast of Buckley. There he resided with his family for about twenty years. In 1877, he sold the farm to his sons, Samuel and George, and ten years later removed to Buckley. The following year he lost his eyesight, and on the 6th of April, 1890, died from la grippe.
The mother of this family is still living at Buckley within her children at the age of seventy-two years. In the family were six children, four sons and two daughters, as follows: Flora, Samuel T., George B.; Frankie, who died when thirteen months old; Louise and William. They have a beautiful and comfortable home in Buckley, and all of the living children are still with their mother except William, who married Miss Flora Mell, daughter of William Mell. However, he resides in Buckley.
The two gentlemen comprising the firm of Hale Bros. both received good educational advantages in the public schools of Decatur, Ill. About 1877 they bought their father's farm, which remained in their possession until 1891, when they sold it to Mr. Snore. Forming a partnership, they embarked in the stock business, shipping horses, cattle and hogs, and to this enterprise still devote considerable attention. In November, 1890, they opened a general merchandise store in Buckley, and are carrying on business under the firm name of Hale Bros. In addition to their town property, they are quite extensively interested in farm lands. They are men of good business ability, sagacious and far-sighted, and by their well directed efforts have achieved success. They are enjoying an excellent trade, which they well deserve. Throughout the community they are widely and favorably known, and have the confidence and good-will of all with whom they have been brought in contact. The members of the Hale family are all supporters of Republican principles.
DR. RICHARD TALIAFERRO, an honored pioneer of Iroquois County, was born in Virginia on the 11th of August, 1818, and was the eldest in a family of twelve children. The father, Jones Taliaferro, was also a native of the Old Dominion. When a mere lad, Richard left the State of his nativity and went to Ohio. He secured a good education while yet a young man, and, having determined to make the practice of medicine his life work, he studied that science for some time, after which he was graduated from the Medical School of Cincinnati, Ohio. He entered upon the prosecution of his chosen profession in the State of Indiana, but subsequently removed to Illinois.
It was in the year 1848 that Dr. Taliaferro located in old Middleport, where he opened an office and began practice. After residing there for about two years, he was married on the 22d of June, 1850, the lady of his choice being Miss Jennie Stanley, daughter of Micajah Stanley, well known as one of the first settlers and honored pioneers of Watseka. He was, no doubt, the most prominent of her citizens in securing the establishment of the town on the present site, and aided materially in the development which has since been made. A sketch of his life appears on another page of this work.
Unto Dr. and Mrs. Taliaferro were born five children, three sons and two daughters: Rebecca, born July 16, 1851, died on the 20th of October, 1876. Jones, born November 7, 1854, married Ella Thompson November 15, 1884, in White Oaks N. M., where he now resides. They have two sons. James, born October 15, 1856, died on the 1st of December, 1860. M. Stanley was born September 15, 1860, and in Watseka, on the 7th of February, 1884, married Emma Louise Riggle. They have one daughter and have lost a son. Lida, born January 12, 1864, became the wife of Charles Buford of Covington, Ky. They were married January 15, 1884, in White Oaks, N. M., where they resided until the death of Mr. Buford in 1889. On the 15th of May, 1890, Mrs. Buford returned to Watseka and is now living with her mother. She has two children: Kittie, who was born December 10, 1884; and Stanley, August 21, 1889.
In October, 1850, Dr. Taliaferro and his wife left Iroquois County and removed to Clay County, Ill., where he resided for several years, engaged in general merchandising. In 1861, he was elected Circuit Clerk of that county on the Democratic ticket. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace and other official positions. Of the principles of Democracy he was a stanch advocate and ever took an active part in promoting the interests of his party. Socially, he was a member of the Masonic fraternity. Wherever he lived he was an honored citizen, for his upright life and straightforward course won him the confidence and high esteem of all with whom he was brought in contact. He died in October, 1872, of typhoid fever, and many warm friends mourned his loss. Mrs. Taliaferro, a most estimable lady, makes her home in Watseka, and will probably spend the remainder of her days in Iroquois County, where much of her life has been passed.
EDDY HARPER has spent his entire life in Onarga Township, and is a worthy representative of one of the honored pioneer families of the county.
Mr. and Mrs. Harper
His parents were Samuel H. and Mary (Lehigh) Harper, the father a native of Cumberland County, Pa., born March 20, 1814, and the mother of Mason County, Va., born May 22, 1820. In 1839 Samuel Harper came to this State from Ohio, and his wife removed from Indiana to Illinois. Their marriage was celebrated April 16, 1839, in Onarga Township, after which Mr. Harper entered one hundred and sixty acres of land from the Government, and from the tract of raw prairie began the development of a farm. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made, but he converted it into rich and fertile fields. He afterward made additional purchases until he obtained three hundred and sixty-six acres of land in Onarga Township, about two miles from the village of Onarga. He was an industrious enterprising farmer, who engaged in agricultural pursuits throughout his entire life. His pioneer round-log cabin gave way to a hewn-log house, which, in turn, was replaced by a substantial frame house, the present home of his family. Himself and wife have been eminently useful members of society and of the church. In 1840, they united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he took a leading part, serving as Steward and Trustee. He was also a member of the first Board of Trustees of Grand Prairie Seminary of Onarga, holding the position until a few years prior to his death. To this institution, as well as to the Church, he was a liberal contributor.
Mr. Harper was a man well informed, considering his advantages. When three years of age, he accompanied his parents, Samuel and Mary (McCoy) Harper, from Pennsylvania to Ohio. His early life was therefore spent on the frontier, where educational and social advantages were meagre. Whether financially or otherwise considered, he was a self-made man. Politically, he was a Republican until the rise of the Prohibition party when he became identified with it. His death occurred on the 21st of April, 1889. Thus another old pioneer passed away and his loss was felt throughout the community. The mother of our subject is still living and is one of the earliest settlers in the township. She has watched the entire growth and development of this county, has seen its progress and upbuilding and well deserves mention in its history. She is a most estimable lady and her many excellencies of character have won for her the high regard of all with whom she has been brought in contact.
The Harper family numbered the following children: Alexander, who married Miss May Miles, by whom he has three daughters, enlisted in 1861, as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, and served throughout the war as a faithful and valiant soldier. He now resides in the State of Washington. Harriet E. is the wife of Orin Hull, and resides in St. Louis, Mo.; Alvina is the wife of Charles David and to them have been born three sons and a daughter. Ella F. married William S. Barnes and they have two children, both daughters. John enlisted as one of the Boys in Blue of the same company to which his brother belonged and served for about four years. All traces of him were then lost and as he has not since been heard from it is supposed he was killed. The other members of the family were George W, and Margaret J.; Eddy and his twin sister, Eva, are still home. All except two of the children were educated in Grand Prairie Seminary.
Eddy Harper was born on his father's farm in Onarga Township on the 25th of March, 1857, and in time usual manner of farmer lads the days of his boyhood and youth were passed. His primary education was acquired in the common schools and supplemented by a course in Grand Prairie Seminary of Onarga. He still resides on the home farm and is managing the homestead for his mother. In politics he is a supporter of Republican principles. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Onarga and is now serving as Trustee. His honorable, upright life has won him the high regard, the confidence and good-will of all with whom he has been brought in contact and he has many friends throughout the county, where his entire life has been passed.
CHARLES MEYER, dealer in furniture and an undertaker, is a leading German of Gilman. His birth occurred in Colberg, Prussia, Germany, on the 1st of November, 1839. He is a son of Carl and Willhemina (Ebert) Meyer, both natives of the same country. When Sixteen years of age his father entered the Prussian army and served theme a period of some six years. Afterward he became Assistant Warden of the penitentiary at Naugard. He continued in office until the labor became too arduous for his advancing years, and was then retired on a pension, which he drew as long as he lived. The mother is still living. In their family were nine children, of whom five sons and three daughters yet survive. All of the boys came to the United States. Otto resides in Gilman, while William, Paul and Ernest make their homes at Peoria.
Our subject is the third child of his father's family, and received such education as was afforded by the common schools of his native land. When about fourteen years of age he went into a store and clerked for four years for merely nominal wages, and the following two years at a very small salary. Being of age to go into the army at that time, he was once mustered into service, but being put off a year, he obtained a visitor's pass and came to America. In 1859 he sailed for Quebec from Hamburg, taking one hundred and fourteen days to reach his destination. While passing through the Irish Channel, a violent windstorm stripped the rigging from the vessel, and they were obliged to run into port for repairs. They were further delayed for six days on Gross Island, on account of the presence of varioloid on board. Landing in America in August, he first visited Quebec and Toronto, and then came on as far as Milwaukee. As he has never concluded his visit to the United States, doubtless his pass is still good. He next went to Manistee, Mich., and soon afterward started for Galveston, Tex., but only proceeded as far as Memphis, on account of the breaking out of the war. He then turned back to St. Louis, and finally came to Iroquois County, working on a farm near Loda.
That it was owing to no lack of his bravery that our subject evaded the law of his Fatherland, subjecting all young men to military service and discipline, is shown by the fact that after coming to the United States he turned no deaf ear to the call of his adopted country for defenders of the Union, but donned the blue and started fearlessly to the rescue of the Flag. August 13, 1862, he enlisted in Company E, Illinois infantry, but as that company's ranks were already full, was placed in Company K, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, which joined the Cumberland Army. For some time he was placed on guard-duty, and the first battle in which he participated was Resaca. Afterward he took part in the battles of Dallas, Lost Mountain and Kenesaw Mountain. While carrying a log off a hill at Dallas, he received severe internal injuries, and after the battle of Kenesaw Mountain was sent to the rear. For some eight months he was in the hospital at Nashville, and when he was able he rejoined his command in Virginia, remaining in the service until discharged in Chicago, in June, 1865. Mr. Meyer made a good soldier, and has an army record of which no one need be ashamed. He was ever at his post of duty, and showed great courage on all occasions.
In February, 1866, Mr. Meyer came to Gilman, and embarked in the meat-market business. Subsequently he was in the grocery trade, and for the last seventeen years has been a dealer in furniture, and also carries on the undertaking business.
Mr. Meyer was married in September, 1870, at Watseka, to Miss Kate Gross, a native of Bavaria, Germany, who came in her childhood to the United States with her parents. To our worthy subject and his wife were born five children: Edward; Laura, who died when about nine years old; Lizzie, Arthur and Carl.
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer are both supporters of the Lutheran Church. Politically, our subject was a Republican until 1872, and since that time has been a stanch advocate of the Democracy. He is an influential man in political circles, amid takes an active part in political meetings and conventions. The fellow-citizens of Mr. Meyer, appreciating his worth and ability, have frequently called upon him to serve in public positions. He is still a member of the Board of Aldermen of Gilman, and has served as such for a number of years. He is Town Clerk, and has served for some five years as Collector, and for sixteen years has been Justice of the Peace. The duties of these offices he has ever discharged in a prompt and faithful manner, thus winning the respect of even his political enemies. Socially, he is a Mason, Odd Fellow and Commander of Gilman Post No. 186, G. A. R. Mr. Meyer is in good circumstances, and has prospered in his business. During his long residence of over a quarter of a century in this locality he has made many friends by his upright and straightforward life.