Biographies from LaSalle Co, IL


Taken from History of La Salle County, Illinois, Together with Sketches of its Cities, Villages and Towns, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits or Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens. The first paragraph is made up of excerpts concerning some of the early settlers of Eden Township in La Salle County, IL.

 Contributed by Karol Hughes


Asa Holdridge came from New York in June, 1833, and settled on section 25, near Bailey’s Point. He died in 1866. William Groom and wife came from Albany, N. Y., in 1833. He died in 1852. Ira S. Mosher came from Saratoga County, N. Y., in 1834, and settled on section 12. He died in 1874. Amos A. Newton came with his wife from Greene County, N. Y., in the spring of 1836 and settled on section 26, where he died in 1844. George M. Newton, son of the latter, came to Bailey’s Point in 1835, and in 1836 settled on section 25. He has been Postmaster, Justice of the Peace and Supervisor. Joel B. Miller came from Greene County, N. Y., in 1837. He died in 1862 and his wife, who was a daughter of A. A. Newton, died in 1875. Angus McMillan, another son-in-law of Newton’s, came from Pennsylvania in 1838, and afterward went to Iowa. Willis and Rev. Reuben H. Moffatt came from Greene County, N. Y., the latter in 1834 and the former in 1835. R. H. was a Methodist clergyman. He died in 1863. Sanford and Heman [Herman?] Harwood came from Saratoga County, N. Y., in 1837. The former moved to Iowa. The latter died in Deer Park Township in 1857. 

From the biography section:

            Francis Ford, one of the most prosperous farmers of Eden Township, was born in Lexington, N. Y., Feb. 17, 1841, and was there reared. In 1862 he enlisted in the One Hundred and Twentieth New York Infantry, and served about eight months, participating in the terrible battle of Fredericksburg. He was soon after sent to the hospital, and was in Washington and Philadelphia twelve weeks, when he was discharged. He married Miss Celia R. Allen, of Schoharie County, N. Y., July 4, 1861, and with her and two children came to La Salle County, Ill., in 1865. At that time he had but $25 in money, but was industrious and saved his earnings, and in 1877 bought 160 acres of land, all fenced, and forty acres under cultivation, but with no buildings, for which he was to pay $8,000. The day following his purchase he began preparations for building a residence and stable, and after finishing them had but $800 with which to make his first payment. Ably assisted by his wife and children he has persevered, and after eight years of good management and frugality has now two farms of 240 acres, valued at $80 an acre. His land is near the village of Tonica, and is all thoroughly tile drained and among the most productive of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Ford have eight children, all save the eldest two, natives of La Salle County.

             Platt Ford, retired farmer, Tonica, was born in Greene County, N. Y. in 1832. In September, 1855, he came to La Salle County, and located in Eden Township, working by the day and month till 1864, when he bought his present farm of 200 acres on section 35. On this farm is the noted hickory grove, an old landmark of the early days of Illinois, now a beautiful growth of timber, the old trees having mainly disappeared. Mr. Ford made substantial improvements on his farm, erecting good buildings and enhancing its value many fold. In 1878 he moved from his farm to his present home, which is one of the most elegant about Tonica. Here he has forty-four acres of land, and is within easy reach of his farm and the village. He also owns land in Hope and Vermillion townships. He married Sarah L. Newton, daughter of Major Geo. M. Newton. They have two children—Fannie and George R.

             J. S. Underhill, merchant and banker, Tonica, Ill., was born in Greene County, N. Y., in 1816, a son of Dr. Samuel Underhill, a native of Dutchess County, N. Y., who moved to Massillon, Ohio, in 1827, thence in 1835 to Cleveland, and in 1844 to La Salle County, Ill., where he died Dec. 14, 1872, aged seventy-seven years. J. S. Underhill came to La Salle County in 1851, and engaged in farming in Eden Township till 1864, when he embarked in the agricultural implement business in Tonica, which finally led him into the hardware business, and then to the opening of the Tonica Bank in July, 1871. This is a private bank, correspondent with the Commercial National, of Chicago. Mr. Underhill was married in 1847 to Jane Austin, of Stark County, Ohio. They have had four children—Samuel, James, Charles and Maria. The latter died in 1881. Mr. Underhill is a man of great individuality and force of character; honest in his opinions and strong in his convictions. In politics he is a radical Prohibitionist, and has been a leader in the cause for years past. His advocacy of Spiritualism is earnest, and none can listen to his arguments without being struck with the evident acuteness of his mind and his research of the subject.


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