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John A. Atwood (1850-?)

The subject of this notice, who is at present one of the highly respected and honored citizens, as well as successful farmers of the county. He was born in the county of Elgin, Province of Ontario, May 21, 1850. His father, Joseph Atwood, was a native of Grafton County, N. H. where he was born, Sept 1, 1803. The grandfather of our subject was also a native of New Hampshire, and was there born, April 8, 1756. He, the grandfather, married Ruth Cross, who died Dec 6, 1800, and he was again married, on March 5, 1801 to Polly Powers.

When Joseph Atwood, father of our subject was 13 years of age his parents removed to Canada and located in what is now the Province of Ontario, and there the grandfather spent the remaining days of his life, his death occurring in 1821. He, Joseph, purchased timber land in that Province, and amidst the dense forest built his little log cabin and at once engaged earnestly and energetically in the task of clearing and improving a farm in the wilderness. He lived on this place until 1853, when he sold it and emigrated to this county, purchasing a farm on section 10, of what is now Marion Township. There were 21 acres of his purchase broken, and with his family he located on the place, immediately erected a plain house and commenced the improvement of his land, and there lived and labored until his demise, which occurred Jan. 5, 1885. At the time of his demise he had a fine improved farm of 190 Acres.

He was twice married. His first wife, Mary Smith, also of Canada, to whom he was married in 1825, died in 1843, leaving ten children, seven of whom yet survive, namely: Ira, a resident of Marion Township; Henry, a physician in Kansas; Eliza, the wife of William Sutton, a resident of Crawford County, Wis.; Enoch lives in Ringgold County, Iowa; Andrew lives in Crawford County, Iowa; Ann is the wife of John Bly, a resident of Hardin County, Iowa; and Joseph S. lives in Chicago; Petten H., the youngest son, enlisted in Co. K, 92nd ILL Vol. Inf., and died at Buffalo, N. Y. while on his way to his regiment. Enoch and Andrew both served in the same company, and joseph enlisted in Co. D. 39th ILL. Vol. Inf., and finally veteranized. He served over four years in the war; at the battle of Drary's Bluff, Va., he was seriously wounded; a daughter, named Mary, married William Robinson, and died in Missouri, in June, 1873, leaving three children.

The second marriage of Joseph Atwood was in 1844, at which time Elizabeth (Utter) Underhill, the widow of Joel Underhill, became his wife. She was born in Canada, Dec 25, 1810, and of their union four children were born: Nancy died Dec 4, 1856, aged eight years; John A. lives on the old homestead; Nathan J. lives on the old homestead; and Melinda is the wife of Andrew Elsing, a resident of Chicago. Mrs. Atwood still lives on the old homestead. At the time of her husband's death there were ten children, 43 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, a total of 104 living souls descended from him. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and an honored and esteemed citizen of the community in which he lived.

The subject of this notice was but three years of age when his parents came to Ogle County, and has passed his years since that time within its boundaries. Here he worked on his father's farm, attended the common schools, which he supplemented by a course at the Rockford Business College, and here developed into manhood. He has always followed the noble calling of an agriculturist, in which vocation he has met with ordinary success. He has also been to some extent engaged in the insurance business, acting as agent for the Rockford, Home of New York, and the Phoenix, of Brooklyn. June 30, 1875, he was married to Arvilia A. Andrus. She was born in Harlem, Winnebago Co., ILL, March 6, 1852, and is a daughter of Joel and Sally (Atwood) Andrus. Her father was a native of York State and her mother of Canada. The father settled in Joliet in 1833 and was one of the earliest settlers there. He located on the place he now occupies in 1843, in Winnebago County, having entered the land at the Government Land Office at Dixon.

Mr. Atwood of this notice is a gentleman of considerable popularity in the community in which he resides. In 1872 he was elected to the position of Assessor of the township, and has continuously been the incumbent of that office until the present writing. He is also a Justice of the Peace and School Trustee. In politics he is a Republican, and religiously a member of the Congregational Church at Stillman Valley. His fine farm is located on section 3 and 10 of Marion Township on which latter section he has erected a good dwelling and is there engaged in the active prosecution of his chosen vocation.

Transcribed by Paula Pitts from "Ogle Co. Portrait and Biographical Album" by Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL, 1886.

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