GEORGE BRAND is now retired from the labors of a long and active life and is spending his declining days in the midst of ease and plenty at his comfortable home in Polo. For many years he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and his position financially is the result of his own unaided industry, coupled with the sound common sense and excellent business capacity with which nature endowed him.
Mr. Brand was born near Utica, New York, October 12, 1828, and is a representative of a good old Scotch family, his parents being James and Jenette (Farries) Brand, natives of Dumfrieshire, Scotland.
James Brand, his father, was born in the village of Ecclefechan, January 16, 1799, and was a cousin of Thomas Carlyle, a native of the same village. The grandfather, William Brand, was a man of strong religious convictions and was one of the organizers and buildings of the first Secessionist church in Ecclefechan. He spent his entire life in Scotland, and when a young man followed the weaver's trade. He was a son of Robert Brand, of whom little is known at the present time.
At the age of fourteen years, James Brand, our subject's father, was apprenticed to the carpenter's trade, at which he worked until he attained his majority, and then went to Newfoundland, sojourning there for eighteen months. On his return to Scotland, he was married in 1822 to Jenette Farries, who was born in Ecclefechan, March 10, 1799, a daughter of George and Lucy Farries, who in later years crossed the Atlantic to Prince Edwards Island, where they spent their last days. They came to Utica, New York, in 1828. Mr. and Mrs. Brand became the parents of ten children, namely: William and Lucy, both born in Ecclefechan; George, born in Utica, New York; James, born in Toronto, Canada; Jenette, John (deceased) and Robert, all born in Canada; and Henry, Mary and Anna, born after the family came to Ogle county, Illinois.
After their marriage the parents continued to reside in their native village until 1828, when they sailed from Greenock, Scotland, bound for America, but were becalmed two weeks on the coast of Ireland, finally landing in New York City after six weeks spent upon the water. The family first located at Utica, New York, where they made their home until 1830, and then removed to Toronto, Canada, spending one year at that place. The father then purchased a farm twenty miles north of the city, and in the midst of the almost unbroken forest they lived for some years. It was during this time that the McKenzie rebellion occurred, with which he was a sympathizer. While living there he worked at his trade, as a shipbuilder, on the lakes. Selling his land in Canada in 1840, he came to Ogle County, Illinois, and located on a farm northwest of Polo, in Brookville township, where he was actively engaged in farming until 1852. He died in April, 1873, and his wife March 13, 1871, honored and respected by all who knew them for their sterling worth and many excellencies of character.
George Brand had little opportunity of attending school up to the time the family left Canada, but he made the best of his advantages after coming to Illinois, and is a well-informed man. He remained with his father until twenty-three years of age, and then purchased eighty acres of land, for which he went partly in debt. During the busy season he operated a corn shelter and threshing machine and continued in that vocation for thirty-four consecutive years. It is needless to say that he soon lifted the debt on his first purchase, and from time to time he bought more land until he owned two fine farms, one of one hundred and twenty acres and the other of one hundred acres. These he sold in 1875 and 1876, and purchased two farms a short distance north of Polo, aggregating two hundred and twenty-nine acres. He successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising until 1888, when he retired from active life and removed to Polo, where he is now enjoying a well-earned rest.
At Freeport, Illinois, March 21, 1854, Mr. Brand was united in marriage with Miss Leonora Sanborn. Her paternal grandfather, Jonathan Sanborn, was probably a native of New Hampshire, and descended from John or William Sanborn, who, with their grandfather, Rev. Stephen Bachelder, came to this country in 1630, from Holland, whither they had fled from England because of religious persecution. They were sons of John Sanborn, of England. John P. Sanborn, Mrs. Brand's father, was born in New Hampshire, in 1797, and in early life removed to Montreal and later to Toronto, Canada, whence he subsequently moved to Ogle County, Illinois, in 1839, and bought a farm of two hundred and fifty acres near Buffalo Grove. Here he died in 1872. In York township, York County, Canada, he married Miss Susan Johnson, who was born there in 1801, and died in 1866. Her father, Abraham Johnson, was born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about I772, and died about 1867-8. Throughout life he followed the occupation of a farmer. During the war of 1812 he moved to Canada, as he was a British sympathizer, his parents having been Tories during the Revolutionary war. He first located in Nova Scotia, but later made his home near Toronto. He married a Miss Fisher and to them were born thirteen children, of whom six are now living, and of these Mrs. Brand is the third in order of birth.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Brand are as follows: Lester A., who is engaged in the grocery business with Cyrus Nicodemus, in Polo, married Mary Wolf, of Brookville, Ogle county, and they have two children, Alpha and Iva; Mary died at the age of nine months; George Mortimer, a baggage clerk at the Union depot, St. Paul, Minnesota, married Annie Rates, and they have two children, Milton and Leonora; John James, who is employed in a shoe factory in Rockford, Illinois, first married Ella Hanna, by whom he has one son, George, and for his second wife married Emma Hawes; Hiram Douglas, a successful dentist of Tacoma, Washington, married Ellen Lemon and they have two children, Ellen and Iva; Robert Miles, a promising young attorney of Chicago, married Luella Gibson; Kate A. is the wife of Sherman Donaldson, a farmer living near Polo, and they have one son, George; and Ambrose Alexander, who married Ellen Rumell, is a dentist of Chadwick, Carroll County, Illinois.
In his political views, Mr. Brand is an independent Democrat, and for fifteen years he most acceptably served as school director in his district. He is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge and chapter in Polo and the commandery in Dixon. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman, of high social qualities and has an extensive circle of friends and acquaintances in Ogle County, who esteem him highly for his genuine worth.
Submitted by Mike Brand
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