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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


THOMAS CROUSE. This name is recognized as that of one of the most energetic business men of Murrayville, where he is Postmaster, and who may usually be found at his store on Main street, where he deals in groceries, hardware, paints, oils, etc., and occupies a one-story brick building, 20x75 feet in dimensions. He is also a manufacturer of and dealer in harness and saddlery, and gives employment regularly to three clerks, while in the busy season he increases his force. He carries a stock valued at about $5,000 and enjoys a trade of $12,000 to $15,000 annually.

Mr. Crouse was appointed Postmaster of Murrayville Oct. 16, 1885, from which circumstance may be guessed his political affiliation. Morgan County has always been his home and is the place of his birth, which occurred Jan. 12, 1858. His parents, Andrew C. and Elizabeth (Kitner) Crouse, are deceased. Thomas acquired his education in the district school, and at Murrayville, and spent his time mostly upon a farm until a lad of fifteen years. He then commenced his apprenticeship as a saddler and harness maker in Jacksonville and three years later his mercantile experience began, and he has been in trade almost uninterruptedly since that time.

Mr. Crouse in 1876 visited the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia and traveled through many portions of the East. Later he visited the Exposition at New Orleans, and in the winter of 1881 made his way to the Pacific Slope, spending several months in California. Accompanied by his wife he revisited the Golden State during the winter of 1888-89. He has traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes - undeniably a very wise investment of time and money.

The 24th of November, 1885, witnessed the marriage of our subject with Miss Clara, daughter of C. F. Strang, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Crouse is a very intelligent lady, a favorite of the social circle and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our subject politically, votes the Democratic ticket, and belongs to the Masonic fraternity.

Andrew C. Crouse, was a native of North Carolina, born in Stokes County, June 9, 1816, and a pioneer of Central Illinois, coming to this county as early as 1836. He located and lived several years north of Jacksonville, but in 1850, went to California and remained six years in the gold diggings. He crossed the plains with a drove of cattle and was occupied about six months in the journey; he returned by the way of the Isthmus. One year later he went to Pikes Peak, remaining this time three years, but subsequently visited New Mexico and the Black Hills, remaining away this time one year. Upon returning to this county he purchased land about one mile south of Murrayville, and lives there now upon a good farm. He has seen the time when he could have purchased land forming the present site of Jacksonville at $1.25 per acre. He has been successful in the accumulation of property, possessing real estate probably to the value of $20,000, the accumulation of a life of industry and perseverance. He visited his old home in North Carolina a few years since. Politically, he a stanch Democrat.

The property of Andrew C. Crouse, is located on section 18, township 13, range 10. He comes of Southern stock, being the son of Andrew C., Sr. and Peggy Crouse, who were likewise natives of North Carolina, the father, of German descent and the mother of Irish. He remained a resident of his native State until reaching his majority, receiving limited advantages, and at the age of twenty years made his way to this county and began life for himself as a farmer on rented land. In company with his brother-in-law, George Fry, he finally crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, where he took up a claim and remained one year. Then selling out he returned to this county and purchased a farm three miles north of Jacksonville, upon which he operated about ten years. His next removal was in 1865, to his present farm.

To Andrew C. and Elizabeth (Kitner) Crouse, there were born ten children, and the survivors are recorded as follows: George is a resident of Missouri; James lives in this county; Thomas, our subject, is the third child; Charles is a resident of this county; John lives in Murrayville; Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin. The wife and mother departed this life at the homestead, Jan. 2, 1883. She was a lady who by her estimable qualities had endured herself to a large circle of friends and acquaintances by whom she was deeply mourned. She had been faithful and devoted to her family, and the encourager and sympathizer of her husband during the trying times of settlement in this county.

Mr. Crouse visited nearly all of the States and Territories and improved all his opportunities for obtaining useful information, and now, surrounded by all the comforts of life, he is passing his declining years quietly and free from care, surrounded by his children and friends and respected by all who know him. Alexander the oldest son was a member of the 101st Illinois Infantry, and was killed in the battle of Shiloh. He carried the battle flag.

1889 Index
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