BANCROFT, HORACE , (deceased), one of the earliest and most successful merchants in Jacksonville, Ill., was born on December 4, 1817, at East Windsor Conn., where he spent his early youth. He was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Hosmer) Bancroft, who were also natives of East Windsor. In boyhood he attended the public schools of East Windsor, and afterward became a pupil in Hartford Academy. In early manhood he lived successively in Elmira and Syracuse, N.Y., New York City, and Thomaston, Conn., locating in Jacksonville, Ill., in 1845, where he engaged in business. He had for sale the first folding chair ever seen in that city, the first Parker breech-loading gun and the first oysters, and sold the first canopy-top basket phaeton to Mrs. Morris Collins. He signed petitions for all the three State institutions located in Jacksonville. He was employed as a clerk for T. D. Eames, in whose family he boarded; later formed a partnership with his brother, Joseph Bancroft, in the dry-goods trade, and was engaged in the shoe business with W. F. Marcy, under the firm style of Bancroft & Marcy. He retired from active business in 1876, and died July 26, 1896.
Mr. Bancroft was twice married - first to Fannie Hunt, at Jacksonville in 1853, and second, on March 25, 1856, in New Haven, Conn., to Elizabeth B. Root. Two children were born of the second marriage, namely: Fannie Corinne, wife of Miller Weir, and Horace Herbert, of the "Jacksonville Journal," whose biography appears elsewhere.
On political issues, Horace Bancroft was a supporter of the Republican party, and religiously, was actively identified with the Congregational Church. He was in all respects a good citizen, and an honorable, upright man.