BRONSON, THOMAS J., a highly respected resident of Jacksonville, and one of its enterprising and prosperous citizens is a native of Avon, N.Y., where his birth took place in 1842. To his parents, Samuel C. and Lucretia (Rogers) Bronson, there were born twelve children, of whom only four survive.
Samuel C. Bronson was a native of Connecticut and born in February 1800. In his youth he learned the trade of a tanner, also that of a boot and shoemaker. These he followed a number of years, but finally became interested in farming and, abandoning the bench, occupied himself in agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in June 6, 1881. He was a good man in the broadest sense of the word, a Jacksonian Democrat, a member of the Presbyterian Church and a prominent brother in the Masonic fraternity. To the principles of Masonry he was warmly attached and defended them with all the strength and courage of his character.
The subject of this sketch left the parental roof on the 24th of March, 1862, when a young man of twenty years, and entered the employ of the Toledo & Wabash Railroad. Six months later he changed his residence to Springfield and for a period of four years was in one of the offices of the Great Western. Thence he went to Omaha, Neb., and entered the service of the Union Pacific Company with whom he remained until 1866. We next find him in Jacksonville, Morgan County, as an employee of the St. Louis, Jacksonville & Chicago Railroad Company, with which he remained two years.
Upon leaving the railroad Mr. Bronson became the employee of W. F. Huntley & Co., engaged in the saddlery, hardware and harness business and with them he remained five or six years. He then commenced business for himself at his present location. He carries a full and fine stock of everything in his line and enjoys an extensive and constantly increasing patronage.
One of the most important events in the life of our subject was his marriage with Miss Mary Gilbert Snyder, which took place at the home of the bride Oct. 19, 1870. Mrs. Bronson was born in jacksonville, Feb. 25, 1842 to gilbert and Eliza Snyder, and was the youngest of their four children. Her sister Sarah, died when about two years old; Wesley S. is associated with Thomas J. Bronson, our subject, in the harness and saddlery trade. He married Miss Sally Saunders, of Jacksonville, and is the father of five children.
John M. Snyder was graduated from a business college at Chicago and was engaged in the grocery trade at Jacksonville until the outbreak of the late Civil War. He then enlisted in the 101st Illinois Infantry, was promoted to Quartermaster, but later resigned his commission and returned to Jacksonville; assisted in organizing the 6th Illinois Cavalry and was promoted to Quartermaster also in that regiment. He continued thereafter in the service until 1863. Then again resigning his commission he returned to Illinois and became the private Secretary of Governor Richard Yates at Springfield. He now holds the position of Collector of toll at the Copperas Creek Locks. He participated in many active engagements while in the army and acquitted himself in a most creditable manner in connection with his responsible duties. After becoming a resident of Springfield he was married to Miss Maggie Walker, of Ohio, July 20, 1864. This lady was employed as a teacher in the Springfield public schools and has a fine education. Of this union there have been born three sons, Frederick H., Willie P., and Ralph M.
Mrs. Bronson entered the primary department of the Illinois Female College, and was graduated from that institution in the class of 1860. Of her union with our subject there are three children - Anna M., born March 21, 1872; Eliza Lucretia, Feb. 9, 1874, and Kittie, Oct. 31, 1879. They are a bright and interesting trio and continue with their parents in their pleasant home at No. 420 East State Street.
Mrs. Eliza Snyder, the mother of Mrs. Bronson, was born in Ireland, nov. 1, 1816, and was one of a family of four children, the offspring of Wesley and Eliza Drennon. The brothers and sisters, John, Mary Ann, and Wesley emigrated to America and settled in Lexington, Ky., whence they removed to Illinois. Eliza became the wife of Gilbert Snyder on the 13th of March, 1834, and this family in due time embraced four children. Mr. Snyder was a millwright by trade and assisted in placing the machinery of the first mill in Morgan County. His death took place Oct. 14, 1841. He was a member of the old Whig party, politically, and in religious matters identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church. His native place was Rochester, N.Y.