Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
JAMES HAZLET, a retired farmer residing in Milford, was born in Harrison, Hamilton County, Ohio, September 7, 1824, and is a son of James and Amy (Caldwell) Hazlet, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. Their family numbered seven children, three sons and four daughters. Our subject, the youngest of the family, resided for a period of thirty years, from 1824 until 1854, upon a farm within five miles of his birthplace. In the usual manner of farmer lads his boyhood days were passed, no event of special importance occurring to vary the monotony.
At the age of twenty-three years, March 29, 1848, Mr. Hazlet was united in marriage with Miss Caroline McClure, daughter of James W. McClure. The lady was born in Dearborn County, Ind., and there spent her girlhood days. It was in 1854 that our subject came with his family to Iroquois County, Ill., locating on a farm six miles from Milford. The home was blessed by the presence of two children, Hugh D. and Amy Jane, but the latter died in infancy. The son was born in Dearborn County, Ind., May 20, 1851. After attending the common schools he completed his education in Battle Ground Institute. Returning home he carried on farming until 1885, when he removed to Milford. In 1888 he engaged in fire insurance, which line of business he has carried on since, representing such well-known companies as the Forest City, of Rockford, Ill.; Manchester, of England; Orient, of Hartford, Conn., and Queen of America. Since 1889 he has also represented the Aetna Life, of Hartford, Conn. He has worked up the business of the " Forest City " so thoroughly in this county that the company consider it the best of any of their territory, and have practically given Mr. Hazlet exclusive control of the county. So efficient and satisfactory have been his services, that he has received tempting offers to go on the road; but delicate health has caused him to decline. In both fire and life insurance he does an extensive business, and is recognized as a competent man.
March 10, 1875. Mr. H. D. Hazlet married Miss Rachel O., daughter of Christopher and Permelia Slusher. The parents of Mr. Slusher emigrated from Virginia to Pennsylvania in 1785. Mr. and Mrs. Slusher were born in the latter State, where he spent his last days. But she subsequently married again, and came to Iroquois County about 1870. Mrs. Hazlet was born and reared in Washington County, Pa. In 1874 she came with her sister to Iroquois County, where she has since made her home. Mr. and Mrs. Hazlet are active members of the Christian Church, and socially, he belongs to Milford Lodge No. 211, K. P. In politics he is a Democrat, being now Central Committeeman of Iroquois County. He and his wife have but two children, viz: James H., who is being educated in the Butler University, of Indianapolis, Ind., preparatory to entering the legal profession; and Ruby V. Two children died when quite young.
During the greater part of his life Mr. Hazlet, Sr., has followed farming. However, during the late war he engaged in keeping motel at Lawrenceburg, Ind., for three years, and at one time he was engaged in merchandising at Battle Ground, Ind., but with these exceptions he has always followed agricultural pursuits. He was recognized as one of the leading farmers of this community, and his well-tiled and highly improved farm indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner. The place, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres, lies six miles southeast of Milford. As the result of his good management and perseverance he acquired a comfortable competence, which now enables him to live retired in the enjoyment of a well-earned rest and the fruits of his former toil.
Mr. Hazlet has held a number of official positions, but never sought the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to live the quiet life of a farmer and to attend strictly to the business connected with farm work. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, with which he has affiliated since attaining his majority. He belongs to Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M., and also the Eastern Star Lodge, and is a member of the Christian Church, as was also his wife, who died September 7, 1886. His life has been an honorable and upright one, consistent with his profession, and he has thereby secured the confidence and good-will of all with whom he has been brought in contact. To know Mr. Hazlet is to respect him.
He was one of the honored pioneers of La Salle County, and was prominently identified with its history from an early day. He and his wife both died at Oskaloosa, Iowa, while on a visiting tour, on the 8th of March, 1880. Mr. Dixon had reached the allotted age of three-score years and ten, and his wife was a year older. Their family numbered seven children, five sons and two daughters.
Our subject, who was the third in order of birth, spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home, aiding in the labors of the farm during the summer months and attending the common district schools through the winter season. On attaining his majority, like many other young men, he started out to seek his fortune, and began by following the occupation to which he was reared. Indeed, it has been his life work, and he has carried it on successfully. He has found an able assistant in Miss Anna Mary Huber, whom he made his wife on the 8th of March, 1865. The lady is a native of the Keystone State, but at the age of seven years she came with her parents to Illinois, the family locating in Putnam County, where she was living at the time of her marriage. Her educational privileges were such as the common schools afforded. Her father, John Huber, died at the age of sixty-three years in Putnam County, but her mother is still living at the age of seventy-one, and now makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Dixon.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dixon has been born a family of nine children, of whom two are now deceased: Luella, the second child, died at the age of seventeen years; and Charlotta died at the age of seven. Those still living are Thomas H., an enterprising and successful young business man, who is now manager of the Farmers' Elevator and President of the State Bank of Ambia, Ind.; John C. aids his father in the cultivation of the home farm; Willie also works upon the home farm; and the younger children are as follows: Frank, aged fourteen; Guy, twelve years of age; Ralph, a lad of eight summers; and Ira, the baby of two years.
In politics, Mr. Dixon is a supporter of the Republican party, and has been honored with a number of offices of public trust. For five years he has served as County Supervisor, has held the township offices of Road Commissioner and Collector, and for the long period of seventeen consecutive years has been School Director in his district. His public duties are ever discharged with promptness and fidelity and have won him the commendation of all concerned, he is alike true to every private trust, and is recognized as an honorable, upright citizen. Since the organization of the Farmers' Co-operative Grain Association of Ambia, he has been President. Himself and family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. On coming to Prairie Green Township seventeen years ago, Mr. Dixon purchased eighty acres of land, to which he has since added until within the boundaries of his farm are now comprised two hundred and eighty acres of arable land under a high state of cultivation and well improved. His business career has been a successful one, and his prosperity is certainly well deserved.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS VENNUM. Among the earliest of the worthy pioneers of Iroquois County was the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Washington County, Pa., on the 5th of January, 1805, and was a son of Col. Thomas and Elizabeth (Kirkpatrick) Vennum. His father was a Colonel in the volunteer service of the United States in the War of 1812, and resided in Pennsylvania until the fall of 1834, when, with a part of his family, he emigrated to Illinois. After spending three years on Sugar Creek, in Iroquois County, Col. Vennum entered a large tract of prairie land in what subsequently became the town of Milford. He established his home on what was known as the "Mound," being lot 8 in the northwest quarter of section 2, where Hiram Vennum, his son, now resides. With the Colonel came his wife and three of his sons, George, Urias and Hiram. The two first-named sons had their wives and children, while the last-named was single. With the Vennums were several of the neighboring families from Pennsylvania, making a party numbering thirty-two persons. They emigrated with teams, driving some fine Durham cattle with them. C. C. Vennum, another son and the subject of this sketch, emigrated with his family the next spring, coming by boat down the Ohio and up the Wabash River to Eugene, Ind., where they disembarked, continuing their journey by team to what is now Milford. The Vennums were people of means and bought land on sections 1, 2 and 3 of that township, a portion of the original purchase being still in the possession of the family. The little colony suffered severely for a few years after coming to Illinois from malarial and bilious fevers and fever and ague, an experience common to all new-comers in the level sections of the State. Much discomfort was endured, owing to the difficulties in getting the necessaries of life, but by patient industry all were eventually made comfortable. Col. Vennum is said to have put in the first glass window seen in what is now Milford Township. The more common way of getting light and air was by cutting a section of a log out of the side of the house. Mrs. Vennum lived to an advanced age, being ninety-three years old at her death. She and her husband and other members of the family are buried in what is known as the Vennum Burying ground in Milford, on lot No. 8 of the northwest quarter of section 2 of that township.
Christopher Columbus Vennum was educated in the common schools of his native State, and on reaching manhood was there married to Miss Rosanna Paul. The lady was born in Washington County, Pa., and was a daughter of William and Hannah Paul. In the spring of 1835, Mr. Vennum joined his father and relatives in Iroquois County, as before stated, where he engaged in farming. He took up some Government land and subsequently increased his acreage by purchasing from other settlers until at his death he left an estate of over one thousand acres.
Six children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Vennum: William, the eldest, married Miss Caroline Arhart, and after her decease was again married, and he is now residing in Grayson County, Tex.; Sarah is now Mrs. Lacock, a widow residing in Wyoming; Thomas, a banker of Milford, is represented elsewhere in this work; Hiram was a soldier of the late war. He was a member of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry and died in Belle Isle Prison at Richmond, Va., on the 25th of December, 1863. Philo P. was also a soldier of the late war, and was killed on the 6th of April, 1862, at the battle of Shiloh. Columbus, Jr., died in infancy. On the 22d of March, 1846, Mrs. Vennum, while in the prime of life, was called to her final rest at the age of thirty-six years.
In the course of time Mr. Vennum married again. His second wife was a widow, Mrs. Mahala Slusher, by whom he had four children: John F., who married Sarah Garner, and is a resident of Jamestown, N. Dak.; George W. wedded Lucy Durham and is living in St. Paul, Minn.; Frank B. is married and resides in Fisher, Champaign County; and Mary, the youngest, is the wife of William J. Lateer, of Hoopeston, Vermilion County, Ill.
Mr. Vennum died in Onarga in September, 1868. His wife survived him several years and passed away in 1890. In early life he was a Whig in politics, and became a Republican on the organization of that party. He was not a politician in the sense of office-seeking but was earnest in his convictions. His life was a useful one and his record as a man and citizen above reproach.
JOEL W. BELT, who is engaged in the livery business in Cissna Park, is a native of the Buckeye State. He was born in Licking County, Ohio, September 6, 1835, and is a son of George W. and Margaret (Allen) Belt. His mother was a native of Virginia. His father, a shoemaker by trade, turned his attention to farming and made a good home in Ohio. In June 1844, he emigrated to Illinois by team, their caravan consisting of three horses, two wagons, fourteen sheep, a dog and the family. They had intended going on to the Illinois River, but one of the children being ill, they stopped at the home of old Mr. Brock and the father purchased eighty acres of land in Ash Grove Township. A log cabin had been built upon the tract but it was otherwise unimproved. Mr. Belt began farming and also worked at his trade to some extent. In early life he was a member of the Baptist Church, but on coming to this county he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he was a Whig. He died at the age of fifty-two years and his remains were interred in Ash Grove Cemetery. In the family were eight children: James, now a farmer in Elk County, Kan.; Lydia became the wife of Hamilton Spain and died in this county; Joel is the next younger; Edward died in Kansas; Lucinda is also deceased; Will H. H. has passed away; Mrs. Ann Eliza Davis lives in Johnston County, Ill.; and George D. died at the age of nine years. All but the youngest child were natives of Ohio. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Belt kept the family together and labored earnestly for their support. She was a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her death occurred at the home of her son Edward in Cherokee County, Kan., in 1866.
Our subject was a lad of only nine years when he came to Illinois. He is familiar with all the experiences and hardships of frontier life. He aided in the development of the wild land, and in the arduous labor of improving a new farm, and his early educational advantages were those afforded by the primitive subscription schools. He acquired the greater part of his education after he had attained his majority, and by subsequent reading and observation he has made himself a well-informed man. At the age of thirteen he began working as a farm hand at $7 per month and was thus employed until his father's death, when he returned home and gave his mother the benefit of his labors.
In August, 1862, he responded to the call for troops and enlisted at Ash Grove, in Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry. The regiment was organized at Kankakee and sent to Cairo and afterward by boat to Columbus, Ky., where the troops did guard duty. They were afterward ordered to Jackson, later to Bolivar, Tenn., and subsequently to Holly Springs, Miss. While there their supplies were destroyed and the boys were obliged to live on cornmeal and what they could get by foraging. Returning to Moscow, Tenn., they afterward went to Memphis, where his company was detailed to guard the Paymaster at Young's Point. Subsequently they entered the Vicksburg campaign under Gen. Grant. Later they went up the Yazoo River, and while Sherman made his attack marched back to Vicksburg and took their place on the extreme left. The first night the rebels took the Forty-sixth Regiment prisoners. The company to which our subject belonged stood guard and worked in ditches. Their line advanced, the rebels falling back before them, and they continued in the siege until after the surrender of the city, on the 4th of July, 1863. Subsequently they went to Natchez and afterward to Memphis, where they embarked on a boat, proceeding up the White River to Duvall's Bluff, where in two weeks they made fifty houses for winter quarters. They afterward went to New Orleans, on to Pensacola and later charged Ft. Blakely in the rear of the works, capturing the place. The Seventy-sixth Illinois there took five hundred prisoners, more than any other regiment. This work being accomplished, the troops went to Mobile and to Selma and later to Galveston, Tex., where they were mustered out on the 22d of July, 1865. They then went to New Orleans, by boat to Cairo and by rail to Chicago, where they were discharged.
Mr. Belt reached his home on the 5th of August, tired and completely exhausted. Throwing himself upon his bed he slept continuously for two nights and two days. He had experienced all the dangers of battle, shipwreck and privation, yet through all he had ever been found at his post, faithful to his duty. He was never absent from his regiment except in 1863, when he was ill in the hospital. During that time the troops engaged in the Meridian raid. He was wounded in the neck at Jackson, Miss., where the company lost seventeen out of about twenty-five. Of his army record he may well be proud, for he was a valiant defender of the Union in its hour of peril and when the Stars and Stripes again waved over a united nation he returned to his home with no stain upon his career.
When the war was over, Mr. Belt purchased forty acres of land and erected a dwelling and began farming. He further completed his arrangements for a home by his marriage with Miss Samantha Ladd, of Oxford, Ind., their union being celebrated on the 18th of March, 1866. His farm was increased to one hundred and forty acres and he continued to engage in its development and cultivation until 1888, when he sold out and removed to Cissna Park. Here he has since engaged in the livery business and for two years carried on a lumber yard. He has a well-equipped livery stable and is a popular and leading business man of this community.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Belt were born four children: Samuel B., Della, Maud and J. W. The children were all born in this county and are still under the parental roof. Mr. Belt has served as Justice of the Peace and in politics is a stanch Republican, having been an ardent supporter of that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. Socially he is a Knight of Pythias and is Adjutant of G. H. Neeld Post No. 576, G. A. R., of Cissna Park. For forty-eight years he has resided in this county and is one of its honored pioneers as well as representative citizens.
WILLIAM A. BOSWELL is now living a retired life in Onarga, enjoying a well-earned rest after many years of faithful toil and labor. He is a man of sterling character and is numbered among the best citizens of this community, so that he well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county.
Mr. Boswell was born in Mason County, Va., on the 29th of July, 1830, and is one of seven children whose parents were Creed and Irene (Fargo) Boswell, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of the Empire State. About 1838, they left the Old Dominion and emigrated to Indiana, locating in Vermilion County, where they made their home until 1850, when they removed to Tippecanoe County. Six years later they came to Illinois, settling in Iroquois County, about eight miles west of the present site of Onarga, where Mr. Boswell purchased a half-section of land. Subsequently, he removed to Old Middleport, and in 1868 the death of his wife there occurred. Mr. Boswell survived her about eight years and was called to his final rest in August, 1876. They were highly respected people. Four sons and three daughters were born unto them, as follows: William A., Villetta, George, Charles and Marion, yet living; and Luna and Harriet, deceased.
The subject of this sketch spent the first eight years of his life in the State of his nativity, and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Indiana, where the days of his boyhood and youth were passed amid the wild scenes of frontier life. There were many hardships and privations to be borne. In 1844, he drove two hundred head of cattle to Chicago, and then to Racine, Wis., but could not make a sale so had to butcher them and sell by distribution. A great change has since been wrought, for it is now hardly possible to supply the Chicago market. Mr. Boswell aided his father in the cultivation of the farm until he had attained to years of maturity.
An important event in the life of our subject occurred in 1852, when he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth P. Mick, daughter of McKendree and Maria (Boswell) Mick, of Tippecanoe County, Ind. Their union was blessed with seven children, but only three are now living: Eva, born September 15, 1853; Willie, March 14, 1856; and George F., April 28, 1866. Charles P., born March 12, 1858, died in infancy; Perry, born April 7, 1859, died at the age of four years; Annie Pencie, born September 22, 1862, died in 1872, at the age of ten years; and Tenna, born November 26, 1864, died the same year.
Mr. Boswell has been a resident of Iroquois county since 1867. In that year he came to Illinois and located on a farm of three hundred and seventy-five acres, about three and a-half miles south of Onarga. He afterward made additional purchases, until his farm comprised four-hundred and seventy-five acres of arable land, which he placed under a high state of cultivation, making many improvements upon it, all of which stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. He was a successful farmer, and through his business ability and well-directed efforts he has won a handsome competence.
Upon his farm, Mr. Boswell made his home until 1889, when he removed with his family to Onarga. He has since sold one hundred and forty-five acres of his land. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Boswell is a comfortable residence near Grand Prairie Seminary, and there their many friends delight to gather, for hospitality reigns supreme in that household. Both are faithful and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is now serving as Steward. In politics, he is a supporter of Democratic principles, but has never sought or desired official preferment; however, he served as Road Commissioner for three years. He has been President of the County Fair Association, and ever takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its advancement. He is a valued citizen and is held in high esteem throughout the community.
JOHN B. HOOPER, an early settler of Belmont Township, Iroquois County, who, since his return from Danville, Ill., in 1881, has resided in Watseka, was born in Seneca County, N. Y., in 1825. He is a son of Pontius and Lydia (Clark) Hooper, both natives of Saratoga County, N. Y. When a lad of seven summers our subject removed with his parents to Clinton, Lenawee County, Mich., where he received a common-school education and was reared to mercantile pursuits. In 1840, he removed to West Point, Ind., and after six years spent in that place went to Ohio, in 1846. he was there engaged in merchandising until 1849, when he removed to Dayton, Ohio, and a year later returned to Indiana, where he remained until 1861. In that year he came to Illinois, locating in Iroquois County. He was engaged in the cattle business in Watseka until 1871, when he removed to Danville, Ill., where he spent the succeeding ten years. In 1881, he returned to Watseka, where he has since made his home, and during the succeeding period he has been agent for some parties in the land business.
On the 21st of April, 1852, Mr. Hooper was united in marriage in Tippecanoe County, Ind., to Sarah M. Harter, who was born in Lafayette, Ind. Unto them have been born four children, who are yet living: Alice L. is the widow of Joseph Campbell and resides with her parents; Venning H. is employed by the Watseka Electric Light Company; Frank L., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, married Miss Grace Willoughby, and is a member of the law firm of Morris & Hooper; Sallie died at the age of four years; and Joseph, the youngest of the family, is at home.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Hooper is a Democrat, and socially, is a Royal Arch Mason, belonging to Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M., and Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.
SETH ELLISON, the popular and efficient station agent of Onarga, has occupied his present position with the Illinois Central Railroad Company since 1882, and for ten years has been one of its trusted and faithful employees. He is of English birth, but the community find in him one of its best citizens, and it was a fortunate day for him when he determined to seek a home in the New World.
Mr. Ellison was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, December 11, 1845, and is the third in order of birth in a family of five children born to Thomas and Mary (Speight) Ellison, who were also natives of England. The mother died in 1849. The father, who survived her for many years, departed this life in 1878. Of their family of three sons and two daughters, Frederick, Alice, Seth, John and Mary Jane, all are yet living. Frederick Ellison, the eldest, was the first to cross the broad Atlantic to America, making a location in Chicago, where he secured a position as clerk in a dry-goods store. A few years later he was employed as Paymaster on the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad. He and Seth are the only ones of the family who have come to this country.
The subject of this sketch spent his boyhood and youth in the land of his nativity, and was educated in its public schools. At length he determined to emigrate to America, and in 1879, bidding good-bye to his old home and friends, he crossed the briny deep. Going to Chicago he secured a position as bill and entry clerk in a dry-goods store. He served in that capacity for a short time and then entered the employ of the railroad company, being appointed station agent at Ullin, Ill., near Cairo. As before stated, in 1883 he came to Onarga, where he has since made his home.
Ere leaving the land of his birth, Mr. Ellison was married, in 1877, the lady of his choice being Miss Alice Wheen, a daughter of John Wheen, of Mexboro, England. Four children were born of their union, Florence Edith, Alice Maud, William, and an infant. The mother and the children are now all deceased. April 25, 1883, Mr. Ellison was again married, his second union being with Miss Anna Eliza Hawk, daughter of James and Caroline (Newell) Hawk. Her father was for a number of years a grocer of Onarga, carrying on business in partnership with J. C. Culver. Two children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. Ellison: James, born in 1884; and Onarga, born in 1886.
Mrs. Ellison is managing and carrying on the Hotel Roney, of Onarga, which has both a fine transient and home trade. The hotel is well located, being close to the depot and also to the business part of the town. Her guests are made to feel at home, and she is enjoying a liberal patronage which is well deserved.
JOHN B. CODY was one of the worthy citizens of Iroquois County, whose loss throughout the community in which he lived was deeply mourned. His life record is as follows: He was born in Oneida County, N. Y., on the 19th of August, 1822, and was a son of Rhodolphus and Ann (Barber) Cody. His father was a native of Connecticut, but his mother was born in the Emerald Isle, and in an early day emigrated from Ireland to this country. The family of this worthy couple numbered seven children, five sons and two daughters, of whom our subject was the second in order of birth. He remained with his parents in New York until twenty years of age, and in the district schools of his neighborhood acquired his education. In 1845, the family, including our subject, emigrated to Illinois, locating in Kendall County.
Four years later, on May 25, 1849, Mr. Cody of this sketch was united in marriage with Miss Jane Knox, of Kendall County, and a daughter of Charles and Olive Knox, the former a native of New Jersey, and the latter of the Empire State. In the Knox family were eight children, five sons and three daughters, of whom Mrs. Cody is the fourth in order of birth. By her marriage she became the mother of five children, but two of them died in infancy. Those still living at this writing, in the winter of 1892, are Emory J., who is one of the leading farmers of Prairie Green Township; George H., also a prosperous farmer of the same Township; and Olive A., wife of George A. St. John, a farmer of Prairie Green Township.
Upon his marriage Mr. Cody took up his residence and made Kendall County his home till he came with his family to Iroquois County, and located in Prairie Green Township. This was in 1876. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, and by his care and cultivation, his enterprise and energy, transformed it into one of the finest farms of the community. The home thereon is a beautiful residence, in the rear of which stand good barns and other necessary outbuildings, which in turn are surrounded by waving fields of grain. The place seems complete in all its appointments and its many improvements are as a monument to the thrift and enterprise of Mr. Cody, who made his home thereon until his death.
In early life our subject was a supporter of the Whig party and cast his first Presidential vote for the hero of Tippecanoe, Gen. William Henry Harrison. On the organization of the Republican party he joined its ranks and was ever afterward an enthusiastic supporter of its principles. In religious belief he was a Methodist and was a liberal supporter of the church. He was recognized throughout the community as a prominent and influential citizen and his loss was deeply regretted. After only one day's illness he died of heart trouble on the 6th of August, 1885. Thus an honorable, upright life was ended, but his influence still lives on. Mrs. Cody is still living at the age of sixty-eight years. She is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is a lady possessed of many excellencies of character. With her children she yet occupies the beautiful home left her by her husband.
GEORGE W. SHANKLAND, a prominent farmer and early settler of Prairie Green Township, who resides on section 27, well deserves representation in this volume, and with pleasure we present to our readers this record of his life. A native of Indiana, he was born near Marshfield, on the 30th of May, 1853, and is the second in a family of five children, numbering three sons and two daughters. His parents were Kendal and Amanda (Harris) Shankland. His father was born in Kentucky in 1825, and in 1854 they came to this county and located in Prairie Green Township, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died on the old homestead at the age of fifty-seven years. His widow still survives him and is yet living in Indiana.
George W. Shankland, whose name heads this sketch, spent the days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm, his time being quietly passed in the usual manner of farmer lads. When a young man, he left home and emigrated to Holt County, Neb., where he took up a tree claim, also a homestead and preemption claim. The county was then in its primitive condition, being very sparsely settled. There were only three houses between his claim and Atkinson, a distance of twenty miles, and these were made of sod. Mr. Shankland continued to engage in the operation of his claims in Nebraska until after his father's death, when he sold out his interest in the West and returned to Iroquois County to take charge of the old homestead, which was left to him as his share of his father's estate. Since that time, he has carried on general farming and stock-raising in this community, and has an excellent farm, under a high state of cultivation and well improved with all modern accessories. Its neat appearance indicates his careful management. It comprises one hundred and eighty-five acres of arable land and is considered one of the best-improved farms in the township.
October 15, 1877, Mr. Shankland was united in marriage with Miss Susan R. Segear, who was then a resident of Vermilion County, Ill. Her parents are both living and now reside in Omaha, Neb. Unto our subject and his wife have been born two children, but the younger died in infancy. Clark G., the elder, is still under the parental roof and is now a lad of fourteen years. The parents and their son are members of the Christian Church and they take an active interest in church work. They are also prominent people in the community, being widely and favorably known. In his political views, Mr. Shankland is a Republican, having long supported the principles of that party. He has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. He is numbered among the valued citizens of Prairie Green Township, who manifests a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community in which he has so long made his home.
CHARLES O. CLEAVER, a highly respected citizen of Milford, is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred in La Fayette, Tippecanoe County, October 10, 1835. His grandparents, Joseph and Ann Cleaver, were natives of Pennsylvania, and were members of the Society of Friends. His parents, Charles and Ann (Madden) Cleaver, were from Baltimore, Md.
No event of special importance occurred during the boyhood and youth of our subject. When four years of age he lost his mother, and he was reared by a bachelor uncle, Mahlon Cleaver, and educated in the public schools. In April, 1857 he came to Milford, Iroquois County, and on October 17, 1858, was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte Davis, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Britton) Davis. In the spring of 1860, Mr. Cleaver and his wife removed to Indiana, and on November 7, 1861, he bade her good-bye and started for the war, enlisting as a member of the Tenth Battery, Indiana Light Artillery, under Capt. J. B. Cox. He served until January 10, 1865, when, his term having expired, he was honorably discharged in Indianapolis, Ind.
Rejoining his family at La Fayette, Ind., in the following February, Mr. Cleaver and his wife returned to Milford, Ill., and were residents of this place until 1868, when they returned to La Fayette, Ind. He was there engaged in farming for many years, making it his home until October 17, 1889. Once more he came to Milford, and is at present serving as Police Magistrate of the city. He has also filled the offices of Town Clerk, Constable, was Justice of the Peace two terms, and was Township Trustee in Washington Township, Tippecanoe County, Ind., for two terms. He has also filled the position of Postmaster three times, twice in Milford and once in Colburn, Ind.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver have been born eight children, five of whom are yet living, four sons and a daughter, as follows: Charles Ernest, the eldest, married Miss Annie Royer, of Baltimore, Md., and unto them have been born three children, a son and two daughters, Nina Opal, Ruby and Oscar; Winnifred is the wife of Alexander Galey, of Battle Ground, Ind.; Archibald D., Henry Ward Beecher, and Barton R. The parents are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Socially, Mr. Cleaver is a member of Vennum Post No. 471, G. A. R., and of Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M. He has always affiliated with the Democratic party and is a stanch advocate of its principles, yet has many warm friends in the ranks of the Republican party. He is a public-spirited and progressive man, and has always taken an active interest in the welfare of the community in which he resides. His sterling worth has won him high regard, and we take pleasure in presenting this record of his life to our readers.
Mr. Williamson was born September 6, 1843, in Stockland Township, Iroquois County, and is a son of B. P. and Margaret (Williams) Williamson. The grandfather of our subject was a native of Virginia, and was of German descent, while his wife was born in Ireland. In 1832, they emigrated to Iroquois County, and here spent the rest of their lives. Their son B. P. was born in Ohio, April 7, 1816, and was therefore but sixteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to this County. On reaching man's estate, he crossed the line into Indiana, and married June 12, 1838, Miss Williams, who was born in that State December 20, 1820. The young couple began their married life in Iroquois County. Mr. Williamson entered land from the Government, situated at Crab Apple Grove in Stockland Township, on which he made his home until 1850, when he located near Milford, where he died February 3, 1890. Thus another of the pioneers passed away. He was highly respected man, and a valued citizen. His wife had preceded him to the spirit world, dying at the age of thirty-two.
Our subject was the third in order of birth in their family of four sons and a daughter. He remained with his parents until nineteen years of age, and his boyhood days were spent in work upon the home farm or in attendance at the common district schools of the neighborhood. After the breaking out of the late war, he laid aside all other considerations, and responded to the call of duty, and on the 9th of August, 1862, he offered his services to the Government. He was assigned to Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, with which he did service for three years, or until his discharge on the 7th of August, 1865, after the close of the war. He was engaged in all of the battles from Columbus, Ky., through to Texas, the principal of which were the battles around Vicksburg, the siege of that city, and the battle near Jackson, Miss., where the Seventy-sixth lost about one-third of its men in killed and wounded. At Ft. Blakely the regiment lost heavily, thirty being killed. In May, 1892, the survivors of the regiment erected a fine monument to mark the resting-place and to perpetuate the memory of their comrades who fell in that bloody charge there. Before the close of the war he was made Sergeant. He was a faithful soldier, always found at his post, and of his army record he may well be proud.
In 1865, Mr. Williamson returned from the war, and engaged in farming in this county. On the 21st of March, 1869, he was united in marriage to Miss Dina Slaughter, of this county. Her parents, William L. and Isabel (McClain) Slaughter, natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively, emigrated to Illinois in 1864. Four sons and two daughters have graced the marriage of our subject and his wife, but two are now deceased: Glennie E., the eldest, is a young man of twenty-two years, now attending the Valparaiso Normal College, of Indiana; William B. is also a student in the same college; Leni L. died February 2, 1892, at the age of seventeen years, two months and four days; Harlan is at home; and Margaret Isabella. There was also another child, born September 12, 1872, which died on the 16th of October of the same year.
In 1870, Mr. Williamson purchased eighty acres of partially improved land in Prairie Green Township, on which he has made his home continuously since. He now owns a very fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, under a high state of cultivation, and well improved with all the accessories of a model farm. In connection with his agricultural pursuits he is also a stockholder and Director in the State Bank of Ambia, Ind. He is a man of excellent business ability and by his perseverance, enterprise and well-directed efforts has achieved a success which has placed him among the substantial citizens of the community, and of which he is well deserving.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Williamson is a Republican, having been a warm supporter of that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for U. S. Grant. He has held a number of official positions, was Supervisor for eight years, and has been School Director of his district for the long period of eighteen years, Collector two years, and Census Enumerator of his township for 1880. The prompt and able manner in which he ever discharges his public duties has won him high commendation, and led to his frequent re-election. Socially, he is a member of the Wellington Lodge No 785, I. O. O. F., and he and wife and son are members of the Christian Church. Mr. Williamson is not only recognized as an honored pioneer, but is also one of the valued and highly respected citizens of the community, whose worth and ability have won him the highest regard.
JAMES BELL, a member of the firm of Bell & Duckworth, and an enterprising business man of Watseka, located here in 1888, at which time, in company with H. C. Browne, he went into the planing-mill business, the firm being known as H. C. Browne & Co. In 1890, Mr. Browne sold out his interest, and the following year Mr. Bell associated with him Mr. Duckworth, founding the present firm.
The subject of this memoir is a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred in Noble County, September 29, 1846. He is descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors on both sides. His paternal grandparents, William and Jane (Nugent) Bell, emigrated from Beloody Mills, County Down, Ireland, to Philadelphia, Pa., in 1790. While Ohio was yet a part of the Northwest Territory they moved thither and located in the Red Stone Settlement, which was afterward included in Belmont County. In the year 1806, they removed to Noble County, where the grandmother died in the year 1846 and the grandfather in 1857. The latter became a wealthy farmer. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Bell were natives of the same section in Ireland, but came to America in 1788. They, too, bore the same family name, being James and Jennie (Stewart) Bell. Upon arriving in this country they crossed the mountains to what is now Ohio County, W. Va. There they passed the remaining years of their life, he dying in 1842, and she in 1865, at the age of ninety-three.
Mr. Bell's ancestors on both sides were Presbyterians, as loyal to the "kirk" as they were to the Government of their adopted country. The father of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born in Noble County, Ohio, July 29, 1819. Before coming West, he married Miss Jane Bell, who was born in Ohio County, W. Va., January 14, 1818. In 1872, they moved to Iroquois County, Ill.; and three years later located in Sheldon. He died August 12, 1878, and she November 9, 1891. They were highly respected and honored throughout the community where they lived. They had two sons. Joe Bell, who is a veteran of the late war and a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, resides at Pontiac, Ill.
Mr. James Bell received his education in his native county, and at the age of twenty-one he started in business for himself by engaging in farming in Ford County, Ill., and continued in that occupation until the year 1880. For the succeeding eight years he bought and sold horses, doing very well financially. As before stated, he came to Watseka in 1888, where he engaged in the planing-mill business, in which he has been blessed with success. In connection with their mill, the firm furnishes the power to the electric light plant, which supplies four hundred and eighty incandescent lamps to the city, and has the power of supplying eight hundred lights.
In 1867, our subject married Miss Mary Winstanley, a daughter of Thomas Winstanley, who was a native of Somersetshire, England. To Mr. and Mrs. Bell was born a family of five children, three of whom are now living: Harry, Homer and Jessie. The mother of these children died in 1880. Mr. Bell was again married, in 1885 this time to Miss Ida Vennum, whose father is Andrew Vennum, a resident of this county. Their union has been blessed with two children: Eva and Florence.
Mr. Bell and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and take an active part in its work, to which they lend their liberal support. He is known throughout the county as a man of sterling worth, upright and honorable in all his dealings. His courteous treatment and efforts to please his customers have secured for him a liberal patronage and the establishment of which he is the head ranks among the leading business interests of the community. He has won his present measure of success through his own industrious efforts, and well merits the comfortable competency which he has acquired.
WILLIAM F. PIERSON, a prominent lawyer, who is successfully engaged in practice in Onarga, where he located in 1890, was born on the 3rd of February, 1853, in Marion County, Ohio, and is one of five children who were born unto Thomas and Margaret (Fickle) Pierson, the former a native of Maryland and the latter of Ohio. Their family numbered the following sons and daughters: John T., William F., Homer, Maggie and Eva. In 1868, the father emigrated with his family from Ohio to Illinois, and took up his residence at Buckley, this county, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising. He owned and operated two hundred and forty acres of land on section 36, Artesia Township, and there made his home until 1874, when he was elected Sheriff on the Greenback ticket. He faithfully discharged the duties of this office, and when his term had expired removed to Chicago, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring February 16th, 1891.
The subject of this sketch was a lad of fifteen years when with his parents he came to Illinois. His early education, acquired in the common schools was supplemented by a course in Grand Prairie Seminary, and he also attended the Commercial College of Onarga. When his literary education was completed, he made choice of the legal profession as a life work, and after studying law for some time in Watseka, was admitted to the Bar in 1883. On the 31st of the same month, he led to the marriage altar Miss Ella Brelsford, daughter of Dr. J. Brelsford. Their union has been blessed within one child, a son, Joseph, born on the 5th of January, 1885.
After being admitted to the Bar, Mr. Pierson removed to Chicago and entered upon the practice of his chosen profession, but close confinement to his work impaired his health, and, hoping to be benefited thereby, he went to the South. He made a location in Eastland, Eastland County, Tex., where he remained for a time, when, feeling much restored in health, he returned to the North, and this time took up his residence in Iroquois County. In December, 1890, he opened a law office in Onarga, and is already enjoying a lucrative practice, having the advantage of a twenty-five years' acquaintance in the county.
In the fall of 1878, John T. Pierson, a brother of our subject, was elected Sheriff of the county on the Democratic ticket, and the latter became Deputy, serving for the term of two years. Mr. Pierson of this sketch has spent much of his life in Iroquois County, and has gained many friends among its best citizens. He is a public-spirited and progressive man, who takes a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. He is well versed in law, is a close student of his profession, and has already won a place in the front rank of the Bar of Iroquois County.
STEPHEN ADSIT, the efficient Postmaster of Wellington, is one of the honored early settlers of the county, where he has resided for more than thirty-five years. He has watched its growth and upbuilding, has aided in its development and advancement, has ever borne his is part in the enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit, and has faithfully discharged his duties of citizenship. His life record is as follows:
Mr. Adsit is a native of Clinton County, Ohio, born on the 28th of June, 1829, and is a son of Samuel and Sarah A. (Stowe) Adsit. His grandparents were of German and English extraction. His father was a native of New York, acquired his education in the old-time schools, and in his youth learned the trade of carpentering. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812. In politics, he was an old-line Whig and took an active part in the campaign of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." With the Christian Church he held membership, and his death occurred in Illinois, at the age of sixty-five years. His wife was born in the Green Mountain State and lived to the advanced age of eighty-seven years. The remains of both were interred in Sugar Creek Chapel Cemetery in Stockton Township, where a beautiful monument has been erected to their memory.
Unto this worthy couple was born a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom six are yet living and all make their home in Iroquois County. John P. and Silas are married and carry on farming; Stephen of this sketch is the next younger; DeWitt C. is married and follows farming in Lovejoy Township; Phoebe is the wife of Simpson Gallimore, a resident of Milford Township; and Mary is the wife of Stephen Ferrand, who carries on agricultural pursuits in Lovejoy Township.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who spent the first twelve years of his life in his native State and then removed to Indiana, locating in Adams County, where he remained until twenty-five years of age. He was educated in Wilmington, but, not content with his privileges, after attaining his majority he entered the schools in Bluffton, Ind. When he started out in life for himself his possessions comprised only one hundred and twenty acres of land, and this was a raw and undeveloped tract, upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made. It was in 1853 that he came to Illinois and cast in his lot with the early settlers of Iroquois County, where he has since made his home. He secured employment, breaking prairie for sod corn. During those first years, he experienced many of the hardships and trials of pioneer life. The country was almost entirely unimproved, the prairies were covered with wild grass, and the few settlements were widely scattered. There were no railroads in the vicinity and the trading-post was far distant.
During the winter of 1856, Mr. Adsit took charge of the first school of Lovejoy Township. His salary was $40 per month and he boarded 'round. Those were the days when they followed the old rule, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," and close by the master was always a light twig which kept the unruly pupils in order. Mr. Adsit was the first schoolmaster in Prairie Green Township, and Mr. Shankland, editor of the Iroquois County Republican was one of his pupils. Our subject was a teacher of pronounced ability. He taught altogether for twenty terms, and many of his old pupils are now filling important positions of trust and honor, being ministers, public officers, merchants, etc.
On the 27th of December, 1863, Mr. Adsit married Mrs. Rachel M. Prillaman, daughter of John and Melinda (Wilson) Markley. Unto them has been born a son, Bert W., who is now attending school and is his father's deputy in the postoffice. The parents are both members of the Christian Church and are among its prominent workers, Mr. Adsit serving as Elder. He helped erect what is known as the Antioch Church, one of the first churches in the county, and has been connected with the same for thirty-five years. He has frequently served as Superintendent of the Sunday-school, and his addresses in Sunday-school conventions are said to be among the best.
Mr. Adsit cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Winfield Scott, and on the organization of the Republican party espoused its cause and has since been one of its warm advocates. He has frequently served as a delegate to its conventions, where his opinions are always received with deference. He was elected Supervisor of Lovejoy Township for two terms, during which time he advocated a resolution which was for paying specified salaries to the county officers, including clerk hire, which was adopted. In public and private life, Mr. Adsit is alike true to every trust reposed in him. He has considerable talent as an orator, and his campaign speeches, both fluent and brilliant, have done much to benefit his party. He has served as School Director of his district and was a member of the first Board of Commissioners of Lovejoy Township, which laid out many of the principal roads and highways of the community. He is now serving as Postmaster of Wellington, to which position he was appointed by President Harrison, through the agency of Hon. L. E. Payson. He owns two hundred and fifty acres of fertile and valuable land in Lovejoy and Prairie Green Townships. A man of sterling worth and strict integrity, Mr. Adsit is widely and favorably known, and as a valued citizen and an honored pioneer deserves representation in the history of his adopted county.
JAMES A. PRUITT, a retired farmer now residing in Goodwine, well deserves representation in this volume, for he is numbered among its early pioneers, almost forty years having passed since he located in the county. He has experienced the hardships and privations of pioneer life, and has watched the growth of the county from the days of its early infancy almost, has seen its wild land transformed into beautiful homes and farms, while towns and villages have sprung up, indicating rapid progress and advancement.
Mr. Pruitt was born near La Fayette, in Tippecanoe County, Ind., August 21, 1832. His father, John R. Pruitt, was a native of Virginia, and during childhood went to Kentucky, where he was reared to manhood. He learned the trade of a shoe-maker with his father, and in 1820 emigrated to Washington County, Ind., where he was married five years later to Miss Barbara Beeker. Her grandfather was a native of Germany. In an early day he emigrated to America, locating in North Carolina, and served in the Revolutionary War, under Gen. Washington. In 1820, he emigrated to Washington County, Ind., and seven years later to Tippecanoe County, where his death occurred. Mrs. Pruitt is still living with our subject at the age of eighty-three years. In 1827, the parents of James emigrated to Tippecanoe County, and located among the Indians. He there followed his trade and took up Government land, on which he developed a farm. The city of La Fayette was not yet founded.
In 1856, John Pruitt came with his family to Iroquois County, and carried on merchandising in Milford until his death on the 1st of May, 1858. He took quite a prominent part in public affairs, and was honored with a number of local offices. With the Christian Church he held membership, and his wife was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, he was a Whig. Their children were as follows: Lucretia became the wife of Elias Laird, and died in this county; Simeon died in Indiana in 1850; James A. is the next younger; Daniel was in the Forty-second Illinois Infantry for three years, and is now a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, located in Ottawa, Iowa; William Henry Harrison, who served in the Twentieth Indiana Infantry for nearly four years, is now a farmer in Nebraska; John B., who wore the blue as a member of the Forty-second Illinois Infantry for three years, is now living in Watseka; Joseph, who was also in the war, owns a fine farm near Wellington; Randolph is a silversmith in Kansas; Mrs. Elizabeth Brownlee is living in Ellsworth, Wis.; Mrs. Jennie Crawford makes her home in Kansas; and Mrs. Margaret Davis completes the family.
Mr. Pruitt's earliest recollections are of a pioneer home upon a new farm, the Indians being numbered among their neighbors. His education was acquired in a school conducted on the subscription plan, which he attended for three months in the winter season, walking three miles to and from the place. When a lad of nine years, he went to live with his grandfather, and at that early age began work in the fields, following the plow. With him he remained until fourteen years of age, when he went to an uncle, for whom he worked for twenty-five cents per day. Throughout his entire life he has been connected with agriculture. In 1853, he left his uncle, and for a year was employed in a mill. In 1854, he came by wagon to Illinois, and rented a farm until the fall of 1859, when he purchased a tract of eighty acres of land on section 3, Fountain Creek Township. In 1862, he removed to section 31, Milford Township, secured one hundred and five acres, and developed and improved a fine farm, which he made his home until quite recently. There was much hard work connected with this, however, but he labored on unceasingly, and success crowned his perseverance and well-directed efforts. He was not worth $100 when he came to this county, but he now owns eight hundred acres of valuable land, besides other property. In connection with general farming he engaged in shipping cattle and hogs quite extensively.
On the 17th of March, 1857, in Carroll County, Ind., Mr. Pruitt married Miss Barbara, daughter of Henry and Magdalena Heiny. Her parents were from Pennsylvania, and were of German descent. Mrs. Pruitt was a native of Wayne County, Ind., born July 13, 1836. Four children were born of their union: Mary Magdalene, who is now the wife of Peter J. Hickman, of Nebraska; Elias, who owns a fine farm in Ash Grove Township; Annice, wife of J. M. Gillett, of Kankakee; and James H. in a railroad office of Kankakee. All of the children were born and reared in this county. They all attended the public schools, and the last-named was educated in Watseka, Hoopeston and Valparaiso, while the others attended Green Hill Seminary of Indiana.
Mr. and Mrs. Pruitt have been connected with the Christian Church since young, and are numbered among its faithful members and active workers. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 168, of Milford. He cast his first Presidential vote for Winfield Scott, supporting the Whig party until 1856, when he voted for Fremont. Since that time he has affiliated with the Republican party. During the late war he was a strong friend of the Union, and aided his country and its soldiers in various ways. In 1886, he left the farm, and after spending four years in Watseka, came to Goodwine, where he now owns a handsome and commodious residence and ten acres of ground. Mr. Pruitt is familiar with pioneer life in this region, and as an early settler and a valued and representative citizen, well deserves representation in this volume. The history of his life is one of success, and his career is worthy of emulation, for it has been characterized by uprightness in all things.
ELIAS PRUITT, a well known young farmer of Ash Grove Township, residing on section 28, is a representative of one of the pioneer families of this county. He was born in Fountain Creek Township on the 12th of February, 1860, and is one of four children whose parents were James A. and Barbara (Heiny) Pruitt. Their sketch is given on another page.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who, in the usual manner of farmer lads, was reared to manhood. He began his education in the district schools, later attended school in Hoopeston and Milford, and subsequently was a student in Green Hill Seminary. At the age of twenty, having completed his scholastic training, he started out in life for himself, and has since been engaged in agricultural pursuits. In December, 1883, he purchased his present farm, comprising two hundred and seventy-five acres of arable land under a high state of cultivation, and well improved. Many rods of tiling have been placed upon it, and a comfortable residence and good barns and outbuildings indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner. The farm is one of the valuable places of the community, and our subject is one of the leading agriculturists.
In March, 1882, in Fountain Creek Township, Mr. Pruitt was united in marriage with Miss Arabella, daughter of Jacob J. Wise, one of the early settlers of this county. She is a native of Fountain Creek Township, and there spent the days of her girlhood. By their union have been born five children: Forest; Earl, who died at the age of six weeks; Glenn, Flossie Maud and the baby.
In 1884, Mr. Pruitt proudly cast his first vote, supporting James G. Blaine, and has since been a warm advocate of Republican principles. His wife is a member of the United Brethren Church, and he contributes liberally to its support. His entire life has been passed in this county, and that it has been an honorable, upright one, is attested by his large circle of friends. He has the respect of all who know him, and is numbered among the progressive and substantial young farmers of the community.
The Doctor was born in Washington County, Tenn., January 10, 1853, and is a son of D. K. and Harriet T. (Miller) Brobeck. His father was born in Tennessee, August 7, 1827, and is still living. He is a blacksmith by trade and owns a farm, the same upon which our subject was reared. In his younger years he also engaged in teaching. Throughout life he has met with excellent success and is now in comfortable circumstances. In politics, he is a supporter of Republican principles. His wife was born in Tennessee, August 20, 1820. Both parents are members of the Presbyterian Church. Their family numbered twelve children, five of whom are yet living: Nannie is the wife of A. S. Stover, a farmer of Tennessee; the Doctor comes next; James is a carpenter and joiner, residing in Momence, Ill.; Addie resides with her father, and John, of Wellington, is studying dentistry.
Dr. Brobeck spent his boyhood days upon his father's farm in the State of his nativity. His education was acquitted in the public schools of Brownsboro, after which he attended Laurel Hill Academy, and subsequently became a student in Washington College, one of the pioneer colleges of the country. It was founded in 1772, by Rev. Samuel Doak, D. D., of Princeton College. He came to Tennessee, and preached his first sermon while sitting on a horse. This was in the early days, when the country was still an almost unbroken wilderness.
Our subject has in his possession a portrait, which was taken by the artist through the keyhole of the door, as the old Doctor was very averse to having his likeness taken. Dr. Brobeck remained in Washington College for about three years as a Latin student, and afterward studied in Greenville and Tusculum Colleges.
The Doctor began reading medicine under the eminent practitioner, Dr. Alex Brabson, of Limestone, Tenn., who was an own cousin of his mother, and began to practice while under the direction of Dr. Brabson, continuing his connection with the gentleman for a period of four years. In the fall of 1883, Dr. Brobeck became a student in the medical department of the University of Louisville, Ky., from which he was graduated in 1885. He stood among the foremost in his class, which numbered seventy-six. On leaving school, he returned home and again took up practice, continuing until 1885, when he came to Illinois. October 28, 1886, the Doctor married Miss D. A. Pruitt, daughter of Joseph and Augusta (Hind) Pruitt. Two children have been born of this union, both daughters, Nellie E. and Hazel.
On coming to this State, Dr. Brobeck located at Wellington, where he has since resided. His skill and ability have won for him a high reputation and secured him a liberal patronage, which he well deserves. His neat and well-appointed office is supplied with the finest instruments used in surgery. He also has a compressed air apparatus used in catarrhal and respiratory diseases, and an excellent physician's microscope, manufactured in London. He has one of the finest medical libraries to be found in Central Illinois, and his table is always supplied with the leading medical journals and periodicals. He is a constant student of his profession, a tireless worker, and his skill is duly recognized by his professional brethren. The obstacles and difficulties in his path he has overcome by indefatigable labor and perseverance. In manner, the Doctor is a courteous and affable gentleman, who wins friends wherever he goes. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican, having supported that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for R. B. Hayes. When he came to Illinois he was one of the Trustees of Washington College. Himself and wife are both members of the Presbyterian Church, in which the Doctor serves as Elder. This honorable, upright life has won him universal esteem and he is numbered among the county's best citizens.
BENJAMIN F. THOMAS, a wealthy and influential citizen of Milford and a worthy representative of one of the honored pioneer families of the county, was born near La Fayette, Ind., May 20, 1830. In the sketch of his brother, Clement Thomas, on another page of this work, is given a record of the family and the account of their settlement here in an early day. Our subject was only eight months old when brought by his parents to Illinois. He remained on his father's farm, a mile and a half south of Milford, until twenty-two years of age, and was early inured to the hard labors of developing and improving wild land. On leaving home, he began farming on his own account, following it for a number of years, but in the spring of 1853 he abandoned that occupation and went to Milford, where he engaged in general merchandizing as a partner of B. F. Whetsel. This connection continued about three years, when Mr. Thomas sold his interest to his partner, who failed shortly afterward, owing principally to the failure of local banks. On disposing of his own store, Mr. Thomas entered the store of John R. Pruitt, general merchant, in whose employ he remained as a salesman until 1858.
In the spring of that year our subject was united in marriage with Miss Amanda A., daughter of J. B. Hoover. Her death occurred December 5, 1874. Twelve children were born of their union, eight of whom are living: Madora Ellen, born April 5, 1859, is the wife of James E. Dawson. They had six children, five of whom are living: Arthur Ernest, Auda May, Asa Fred, Flossie Alice and Thomas Clark. Mary Adeline, born May 29, 1860, is the wife of Henry Clay Frame, by whom she has two living children: Thomas Ray and Porter Samuel. Irvin Worth, born October 1, 1861, married Miss Martha, daughter of Samuel Rush, and they had five children, three yet living: Samuel Franklin, Clarence Ray and John Asa. Eliza Jane, born March 22, 1863, is the wife of Elijah Odel, and they have six children: Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Earl, Mae, Janet, Thomas Roe and Edna Fay. Rhoda Etna, born November 23, 1864, married Stanford Beebe, and they have a daughter, Alma. Jessie Lincoln, born January 1, 1866, is the wife of John Rush, and they also have a little daughter, Alta. Viola, born June 29, 1867, died November 13, 1868. Asa Nelson, born March 27, 1869, married Dollie Hamer, and they have one child, Louise Maggie Annis, born November 11, 1870, is the wife of Milton Smiley, and they have one son, Earl. Minnie and Mina, twins, were born February 11, 1872. The former died on the 24th of September, and the latter on the 19th of October of that year. Christina, born September 16, 1873, died May 12, 1875.
On his marriage, Mr. Thomas returned to the farm, having purchased a tract of land a mile and a half south of Milford. In the spring of 1863, he traded this farm for a tract of eighty acres northwest of Milford. Turning his attention to its development and improvement, he made it one of the best farms of the county, and from time to time extended its boundary lines, until it now comprises five hundred and sixty-five acres of valuable land, which yields to him a good income. He there reared his family and made his home until the spring of 1892, since which time he has lived retired in Milford however, the greater part of his land has been rented for the past five years, and for the past decade he has bought and shipped stock, making a specialty of importing French horses. Politically, he has been a lifelong Republican. For a term he served as Assessor of Milford Township. From a financial standpoint, his life has been extremely successful. In the earlier years, he was in very limited circumstances. He began farming without a dollar, and borrowed a team of his brother Clement in order to plow his land. He was oftentimes almost ready to give up, but, encouraged by his faithful wife to persevere, he labored on, and, by his industrious well directed efforts, worked his way upward to a position of wealth and affluence. Socially, he is a member of Milford Lodge No 168, A. F. & A. M. He is an honored pioneer of the county, and is recognized as one of its best and most valued citizens. His example may well serve to encourage others who like himself have to begin life empty-handed and depend upon their own exertions for all they gain in life. The first school he attended was in a round-log house, with a log cut out on each side and greased paper pasted over the openings to admit light. One end of the house was devoted to the fireplace, and both seats and floor were made of puncheons. Wooden pegs were used instead of nails, the door, which was made of clapboards, being on wooden hinges. From a piece of paper pasted on a shingle, on which his father had made the alphabet, he learned his letters. The blue-backed speller furnished him with reading and spelling for several years.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, Richard Nolin, was a resident of Virginia, and removed from that State to Kentucky, where he became acquainted with the Kirkpatricks, the maternal ancestors of Samuel K. They resided in a wild region, and together the families fled from the Indians, locating in Ross County, Ohio. At that time there were no houses but log cabins, and these settlements were widely scattered. Both the paternal and maternal grandparents died and were buried in Ohio. Thomas Nolin, the father of our subject, was born in the Buckeye State and reared on the frontier. He married Jane Kirkpatrick, also a native of Ohio, and unto them were born eight children, six sons and two daughters: Ruth, Samuel K., John, Minerva, George W., Richard T., William J. and Austin W. In 1831, the parents removed to Indiana, stopping in Fountain County, and four years later locating in Benton County, where they reared their family. The father bought eighty acres of land and entered a tract of one hundred and twenty acres from the Government. He carried on farming until his death, which occurred in 1840. His wife survived him many years.
Samuel K. Nolin, of this sketch, was a lad of only ten summers when with his parents he went to Indiana. In Benton County he was reared to manhood, being early inured to the arduous labor of developing and improving wild land. In 1849, he came to Illinois, hoping to better his financial condition. Settling in Stockland Township, he located four hundred acres of Government land, and with characteristic energy began to cultivate the same. Acre after acre was placed under the plow, and in the course of time, where once was wild prairie, waving fields of grain delighted the eye, telling of bounteous harvests. Through his industrious and persevering efforts, his financial resources were increased and he was thus enabled from time to time to extend the boundaries of his farm by making additional purchases. His possessions now aggregate eight hundred and forty acres in Stockland Township, three hundred and sixty acres in Benton County, Ind., and one hundred and sixty-six acres in Prairie Green Township, Iroquois County, and he is extensively engaged in grain and stock-raising. He keeps on hand excellent grades of horses, cattle and hogs, and this pursuit is an important branch of his business.
We now turn from the public to the private life of Mr. Nolin. He has been twice married. His first union, celebrated in 1853, was with Miss Rachel Dawson, daughter of Elisha and Polly Dawson, but her death occurred in September, 1854. In August, 1857, he was again married, Miss Clarissa Coffelt becoming his wife. Four children were born unto them, but the second died in infancy. Mary is now the wife of George Voliva, and they have three sons, Robert, Jesse and Leroy. They reside upon a farm in Benton County, Ind., which belongs to her father and was formerly owned by her grandfather. William, a resident farmer of Prairie Green Township, was married to Miss Hulda Peterson, by whom he has two children: Clarissa and a baby. Matilda is the wife of William Nicle, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Stockland Township. The mother of this family departed this life in January, 1890, and her death was mourned by many friends as well as by her immediate family.
In politics, Mr. Nolin is a Democrat, and for two terms has held the office of Township Assessor. His life has been remarkably successful and he may truly he called a self-made man. Dependent upon his own resources, he started out in life for himself, overcoming the obstacles and difficulties in his path by perseverance ad enterprise. Steadily he has worked his way upward, until now he occupies a position among the wealthy and influential citizens of his adopted county.
SYLVANUS CASS MUNHALL, Clerk of the Circuit Court and ex-officio Recorder of Iroquois County, was born in Coshocton, Ohio, January 26, 1843, and is a son of William and Dorothy F. (Jackson) Munhall. His father was a native of Harrisburg, Pa., born May 16, 1816. The mother was born in New castle-on-Tyne, England, in 1818, and came to America in childhood. The family, including our subject, removed from Coshocton, to Cambridge, Ohio, and in October, 1854, to Urbana, Ill.
Mr. Munhall of this sketch was then about eleven years of age. Before leaving Ohio he had begun attending school, and enjoyed two years study in the common schools after coming to Illinois. In September, 1856, he hired out as an apprentice to Zimmerman & Richards, printers and publishers of Our Constitution, of Urbana. His compensation was limited to $30 for the first year, $40 the second and $60 the third, but he served with industry and fidelity and to the entire satisfaction of his employers and acquired a good knowledge of his trade. He was then employed as a journeyman, working in Urbana, Champaign, and finally on the Prairie Farmer and Journal, of Chicago. In 1861, Mr. Munhall, Sr., who was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, bought an interest in the Champaign County Patriot, to which office our subject came to assist his father.
About this time, the war having broken out, Mr. Munhall, actuated by purely patriotic impulses, sought to enlist in the country's service but was rejected, very much to his chagrin, on account of not being up to the standard size. He made a second and third effort with the same result as at first, but by persevering he was accepted on a fourth application, and on the 1st of August, 1862, became a member of Company B, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. Busey, afterward Colonel. His service as private continued until January, 1864, when he was promoted to be Sergeant Major, which position he held and faithfully and acceptably filled until mustered out with his regiment at Galveston, Tex., July 22, 1865, after the close of the war. He served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Texas. The last engagement in which he participated was the assault on Ft. Blakely, Ala., on the evening of April 9, 1865, being the last battle of the war. The Seventy-sixth went into the charge with two hundred and sixty-two men, and in ten minutes lost one hundred and eighteen killed and wounded. When in the service, under the nom de plume of "Urchin," Mr. Munhall was war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Champaign Democrat, Champaign Gazette and St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and his letters were received with great favor.
On his return from the war, Mr. Munhall found his mother a widow, his father having died in Cleveland, Ohio, March 8, 1864. He was a man of high rank in the ministry, was at one time Treasurer of Champaign County, and was much esteemed in his part of the State. Our subject resided with his mother in Urbana, serving as clerk in a clothing house until January 10, 1866. He then removed to Watseka, where he has since resided. On coming to this city he at once engaged as Deputy County Clerk under his former comrade, James W. Kay, and was retained in that position until the expiration of the term of office of A. Honeywell, in December, 1873.
Mr. Munhall was married in Washington, Pa., October 7, 1864, to Miss Nancy Reese, who was born in that county, and is a daughter of Thomas J. and Adaline Reese. One child has been born of this union, a son, Will, who was born in Watseka, on the 4th of August, 1869. He is now employed in the Circuit Clerk's office under his father.
In l869, Mr. Munhall was the candidate for County Clerk, but being defeated in the convention withdrew from the contest. He was, however, nominated in the Republican County Convention in 1873, for that office, but was defeated at the polls by Henry A. Butzow, the Granger candidate, who secured a small majority. On the 24th of February, 1874, he was commissioned Postmaster of Watseka and held that office until January 1, 1886, when he resigned, proving a capable and accommodating official. Mr. Munhall has always been a Republican and on that ticket was elected to his present position as Clerk of the Circuit Court and Recorder of Iroquois County in 1888. Socially, he is a member of Watseka Camp No. 339, M. W. A.; Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M., of which he was Secretary fourteen years; Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M., in which he is serving his nineteenth year as Secretary; and of Kankakee Commandery No. 33, K. T. He is now serving his seventh year as Secretary of the Iroquois County Fair Association.
Mr. Munhall has made his home in Watseka since 1866, and is held in high esteem by his fellow-townsmen. His administration of the affairs of his office has been marked by strict attention to duty, kind and courteous treatment of the public having business there, and an evident desire not only to fulfill every official obligation with promptness and fidelity, but to aid and assist all who call upon him for information, whether connected with official duty or not. He has had the benefit of the services of Henry T. Skeels as Deputy, who is one of the oldest ad most experienced men associated with Iroquois County's public business, and of Miss Lura C. Stream, who has been in the recording department over ten years. Mr. Munhall also has the aid of his son Will, a bright and active clerk. During his residence of more than a quarter of a century in Watseka and Iroquois County, he has made many warm friends and stands deservedly high in the estimation of his fellow-citizens. At the Republican convention in April, 1892, he was renominated to the same position he has held for four years.
THE WATSEKA REPUBLICAN, an eight column quarto, and the oldest paper in existence in Iroquois County, was founded by Hon. Thomas Vennum in 1856 and its first number bears the date of May 8, 1856. The paper was then known as the Iroquois Republican, and was printed in Middleport, now a part of the city of Watseka. J. A. Graham and D. T. Lindley were the publishers, and the paper was edited by Jesse Bennett and Franklin Blades, M. D. Various changes in ownership and editorial management occurred. In 1872, the name of the paper was changed to its present title, while it was owned and conducted by Alex L. Whitehall and Elmer Brimball, of Watseka. The office having been removed to the new town in the spring of 1863.
In 1884, B. F. Shankland purchased the paper and conducted it until 1887, when he sold out and went to California. On his return the following year he repurchased it. The present stock company, known as the Watseka Republican Company was incorporated in the spring of 1892. B. F. Shankland was chosen President, W. H. Higgins Secretary and Superintendent of the mechanical department, and Dr. E. T. Brigham, Treasurer.
Mr. Shankland has been editor of the paper since his connection with it, and has made it an interesting and newsy sheet. The Republican is noted for its fine appearance and readable contents. It is recognized as the leading Republican paper in the county. It is always at the front in matters of news, and enjoys a liberal patronage, both in the subscription list, and in advertising, and can boast a large circulation among the best people in Eastern Illinois. The office is thoroughly equipped for general job work, as well as for first-class newspaper work. Mr. Higgins, who has charge of the mechanical department, is one of the best practical printers in the State, and has been identified with the Republican for many years.
PETER EDWARD LARSON, resident partner and business manager of the firm of P. Larson & Co., merchant tailors and dealers in readymade clothing and gents' furnishing goods, is one of the enterprising citizens of Watseka. The Watseka House is one of three large stores of the same kind owned and conducted by this company. The present store, which was founded in Paxton, Ford County, Ill., in 1864, by Peter Larson, the father of our subject, is conducted by the elder son, Charles Albert. The second store of the same character, situated in Gibson, Ford County, was established by our subject in March, 1887, and is conducted by the second son, Theodore. The store in Watseka was established by Peter, September 1, 1891, and has since been conducted under his management. All three are united under the firm name of P. Larson & Co. The business has grown from a small beginning to be one of the most important mercantile enterprises in Eastern Illinois, and their aggregate annual business amounts to $100,000 and upwards. This house maintains a gilt-edged credit and is noted for its good work, fair dealing and conservative business methods.
The subject of out sketch was born in Attica, Ind., on the 25th of August, 1863, and is a son of Peter and Louisa (Gustafson) Larson. He came to Illinois with his parents in 1864, and the family located in Paxton, Ford County, where Peter Edward was reared to manhood. His education was acquired in the Paxton schools and the Collegiate Normal Institute of that place. As soon as he was old enough to do business, he was employed in his father's store as salesman when out of school and when his schooldays were over. In March, 1887, he was made a partner in the business and established as manager of the branch house in Gibson, where he continued until the 1st of September, 1891. He then established the Watseka branch house, of which he has since been manager and resident partner. This store is the largest exclusive clothing store in the county and is doing a large and constantly increasing business.
Mr. Larson is a member of Drummer Camp No. 235, M. W. A., of Gibson. In politics, he is a Republican, but not an aggressive partisan. He is a genial gentleman, a good business man and a fair representative of so important a mercantile house as that of P. Larson & Co.
ELI OREBAUGH, Sheriff of Iroquois County, is a native of Highland County, Ohio. He was born on the 10th of June, 1834, and is a son of David and Sarah (Caley) Orebaugh. His father was born in Rockingham County, Va., in 1810, and died at the age of fifty years. His mother, a native of Highland County, Ohio, still survives her husband and is now a resident of Clermont County, Ohio.
The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood in his native State, and was educated in the public schools near his home. On the 26th of November, 1857, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah, a daughter of John and Julia Maxfield, and a native of Hamilton County, Ohio. They began their domestic life upon a farm in the Buckeye State, where they resided until October, 1883, when with his family he settled in Fountain Township, where he was engaged in farming until elected Sheriff, in the fall of 1890. He then removed to Watseka, and on the 1st of December of that year entered upon the duties of the office and has since resided in that city.
Nine children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Orebaugh, of whom four are living. David Alvin, the eldest, is a practicing lawyer of Watseka. The three daughters, Alice K., Emma C., and Bertha M., are still with their parents.
Our subject manifested his loyalty to the Government during the late war by enlisting on the 2d of May, 1864, as a member of Company B, One Hundred and Fifty-third Ohio Infantry, and served the term of his enlistment. He is now a member of G. H. Neele Post No. 576, G. A. R., of Cissna Park, Iroquois County, of which he has been Chaplain. In his political affiliations he is a Democrat.
In connection with his other interests, Mr. Orebaugh is connected with the Styles Automatic Hinge Company, which was recently organized in Watseka. He was one of those interested in the establishment of the enterprise and is one of its Stockholders. He is recognized as a leading farmer of the community and is a valued citizen. He has proved himself a most efficient and reliable officer and enjoys the respect and esteem of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
WILLIAM S. LARKIN, a retired farmer who makes his home in Onarga, claims Rhode Island as the State of his nativity. The place of his birth is in South Kingston, Washington County, and the date March 5, 1826. He comes of an old New England family. His grandparents, William and Bashba (Webster) Larkin, were both natives of Rhode Island and the grandfather was a direct descendant of Edward Larkin, the friend and companion of Roger Williams. The parents of our subject, William and Lucy (Morey) Larkin, were also born, reared and married in Rhode Island. They became the parents of a family of nine children, but death has taken away the eldest daughter, Lucy A. The others are as follows: William S., Alford A., Ephraim, Albert, Elsie, Bradford, Welcome H. and Eliza. The father died in June, 1882, at the ripe old age of eighty-one years and four months, and the mother's death occurred in March of that year at the age of eighty-three years and eight months.
Under the parental roof, William Larkin was reared to manhood and his education was acquired in the public schools. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, he chose Miss Elizabeth Cook, daughter of Alford and Anstress (Brehman) Cook, of Rhode Island. Their union was celebrated on the 16th of August, 1849, and unto them were born four children, one son and three daughters: Lucy A., born January 23, 1851, is now the wife of Edgar I. King, of Gibson, Ill., and they have three children, Edgar I., Lucy Belle and Gilva. Mary J., born August 30, 1852, is the wife of Irvin Rutledge, a resident of Arlington, Reno County, Kan., by whom she has four children, Roy, Loren, Lila and Will. Olive I., born May 20, 1856, was joined in wedlock with Walter Davis, who died in May, 1891. Four children were born unto them: Earl, Alice, Walter Mark, and one deceased. George S., the only son of the family, was born September 13, 1859. He married Miss Donnella McKinzie, a Scotch lady, and they reside in Melvin, Ill.
In 1857, Mr. Larkin disposed of his business interests in Connecticut, where he had been living, and emigrated Westward to Illinois, locating on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in what is now Lyman Township, Ford County, but at that time was known as town 25, range 9 east in Vermilion County. He there made his home from 1857 until 1883, and his children were reared upon that farm. He was an industrious and enterprising farmer and by his perseverance and good management won a comfortable competence. At length he determined to lay aside business cares and live a retired life, and in 1883 he removed to the village of Roberts, but after a few months went to Melvin, where he spent the succeeding five years of his life. In 1889, he came to Onarga, where he has since made his home, but he still retains possession of his farm of two hundred acres, one hundred and sixty acres of it being the farm on which he first settled.
While living in Ford County, Mr. Larkin held the offices of School Director and School Trustee and also served for one term as Supervisor. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend and he gives his support to every enterprise or interest calculated to prove of public benefit. His success in life has all been due to his own efforts and he is now enjoying a well-earned rest. Himself and wife in early life were members of the Baptist Church; after coming West they joined the Congregational Church, but since 1889 have held membership with the Presbyterian Church. They have helped to build four churches. In politics, our subject votes with the Prohibition party, for it embodies his ideas on the temperance question.
HOMER TULLER, a highly respected citizen of Claytonville and an extensive dealer in stock, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity. Delaware County is the place of his birth, and the date September 18, 1837. He is a son of Roswell and Nancy (Thompson) Tuller. The father was born in Hartford, Conn., and when a lad of twelve years emigrated with his parents to Franklin County, Ohio. He helped to build the first log cabin in Columbus. He was in the War of 1812, and, like the remainder of his comrades, was forced to go barefooted all through the winter. After the war he emigrated to Delaware County, Ohio, and built the second log cabin in that county. While in the midst of the forest he developed a farm. He died in February, 1866 at the age of seventy-six years. His wife was a native of the Green Mountain State, and when a young maiden of ten summers came to Ohio. She died on the old homestead. Mr. Tuller was a successful businessman and a prominent and progressive farmer. With the Presbyterian Church he and his wife held membership. In the family were the following children: Alvin, now a resident farmer of Franklin County, Ohio; Philander, who died at the age of eighteen years; Cynthia, who died in Ohio; Martha, deceased wife of John Standish; Mrs. Lydia Freshwater, who died in Ohio; Orrin, a bridge-builder who met his death by accident; Milo, who died at the age of nineteen years; Homer of this sketch; Edgar, who served in an Ohio regiment during the late war for one hundred days, now resides in Paoli, Kan. All of the children were born and reared on the old homestead in Ohio.
Our subject grew to manhood upon his father's farm, no event of special importance occurring during his childhood days. He attended school, which was conducted on the subscription plan and was held first in one house and then another. He was ten years of age before he attended a regular school. At the age of sixteen he began devoting his entire attention to farm work, and experienced all the privations and hardships of pioneer life. On attaining his majority he started out in life for himself, and in the winter of 1857-58 we find him in Union County, Iowa, where he made a claim of Government land and began the development of a farm. The Indians were then very numerous in the settlement and the work of civilization and progress seamed scarcely begun. There were only three settlements, in the county. After a year his brother who was with him was taken ill and the father came and induced his sons to return. Our subject owned three hundred and twenty acres of land in which the county seat is now situated. After he went back to Ohio, he engaged in operating his father's farm for a time and then purchased land of his own.
During the late war, Mr. Tuller tried to enlist in both the Twentieth and Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry, but his services were neither time accepted. He continued to engage in farming in Ohio until 1867, when he came to Iroquois County, and settled on section 3, Fountain Creek Township. The farm was then a tract of wild prairie, but acre after acre was placed under the plow and transformed into rich and fertile fields which yielded him abundant harvests. In connection with the cultivation of his land he also engaged in shipping stock and was very successful in that part of his undertakings. At length by his industry and enterprise he has acquired a comfortable competence and is now devoting his time and attention to buying and shipping stock, while his son operates his farm. He still owns two hundred and twenty-two acres of valuable land.
On the 17th of December, 1858, Mr. Tuller wedded Miss Louisa A. High, a native of Reading, Pa., who emigrated to Ohio at the age of twelve years. Unto them have been born four children. William Roswell was educated in the public schools of Watseka, and wed Emily Hammond, of Pennsylvania, and resides on the old homestead; Charle A. is now engaged in the restaurant and grocery business in Claytonville; Blanche is deceased; and Nellie completes the family.
In 1860, Mr. Tuller cast his first Presidential vote, supporting Stephen A. Douglas, and has since been a supporter of the Democratic party. He often serves as a delegate to its conventions and is one of its influential and prominent members in this community. He does all in his power to promote its growth and insure its success, but has never been an office-seeker. Mr. Tuller began life empty-handed and has had many trials and difficulties to meet, but has overcome these by enterprise and determination, and by the assistance of his estimable wife, who has indeed proved a true helpmate to him, he has steadily worked his way upward to a position among the substantial and representative citizens of the county. His sterling worth and integrity may have won him high regard and he has many warm friends throughout the community.
FREDERICK GREENBURG, one of the leading and influential farmers of Prairie Green Township, residing on section 24, is numbered among the earliest settlers of this community, where for thirty-six years he has made his home. He has watched its growth and progress, and has aided in its upbuilding and development, even faithfully performing his duties of citizenship, and doing what he could for the best interests of all.
Mr. Greenburg claims Germany as the land of his birth, which occurred in the kingdom of Prussia, on the 24th of February, 1833. His parents were Frederick and Latta (Kruger) Greenburg. His father was born in Prussia, Germany, in 1800, and there remained until sixty-five years of age, being employed as a shepherd throughout the years of his active life in the Fatherland. The mother was also a native of Prussia, and died in that country at the age of sixty-four years. After her death, Mr. Greenburg came to America to live with his children, all of whom had previously emigrated to this country. Here he spent the remainder of his life, dying in Prairie Green Township in 1874, at the age of seventy-four years.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who in his native land acquired a good common-school education. He remained in Germany until twenty-two years of age, when he determined to seek his fortune in America, and crossed the briny deep. When he landed in New York he did not have a cent of money. In truth, he began life in the New World penniless, but he possessed energy, and a determination to succeed.
Coming to Milwaukee, Wis., he at once began a search for work, and soon secured employment in a brick yard at $l5 a month, where he remained for about five months. The next five years he worked on the farm and in a saw-mill. On the expiration of that period he came to Prairie Green Township, Iroquois County, and with the capital he had acquired purchased eighty acres of new prairie land. At once he began its development and improvement, and soon the wild prairie was transformed into rich and fertile fields, which yielded to him a golden tribute in return for his care and labor.
As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, Mr. Greenburg chose Miss Margaret Smith, a native of Bavaria, Germany, born June 10, 1843. She resided in the land of her birth until twenty years of age, when she emigrated to America. The marriage of our subject and his wife was celebrated in 1869, and by their union have been born eight children, as follows: John F., Frederick W., Louis A., Fannie C., William L., Florence N., James G. B. and Lester Grant. The family circle still remains unbroken, and the children are all under the parental roof.
In political sentiment, Mr. Greenburg is a Republican, and is a stanch supporter of the principles of that party. For a number of years he served his fellow-townsmen as School Director, and is still filling that office. He is a member of the German Lutheran Church, and his wife is a Catholic. Their home is upon one of the finest farms of Prairie Greene Township. To his original purchase Mr. Greenburg has added from time to time, as his financial resources were increased, until he now owns five hundred and sixty acres of valuable land. He may be truly called a self-made man, for his entire possessions have been acquired through his own industrious and well-directed efforts. It was a fortunate day for him when he determined to come to America, and also fortunate for the county, which numbers him among its valued citizens.
W. L. RANTON, editor and proprietor of the Cissna Park Review, is one of the wide-awake and enterprising young business men of Cissna Park and is an honor to his adopted county. He was born near Belfast, Ireland, April 20, 1869. His father, Edward Ranton, was born and reared in the same locality and is of Scotch-Irish descent. He acquired an excellent education and became familiar with the occupation of farming and all its details. After he had attained to mature years he married Miss Annie Lockhart, whose parents were natives of Scotland, and after his marriage he embarked in agricultural pursuits for himself.
It was in 1870 that Edward Ranton determined to seek a home in the New World and crossed the Atlantic to America. He made his first location in Missouri, where he purchased a tract of wild land and began the development of a farm. In 1876 he removed to Western Illinois, and in 1880 came with his wife and children to Iroquois County, locating in Pigeon Grove Township. He now owns and operates one hundred and sixty acres of good land adjoining the corporation limits of Cissna Park, and his farm is considered one of the desirable places of this locality. He has served as Supervisor of his township and is a valued citizen of the community. He holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church and also belongs to the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Pythias. In politics he has been a very strong Republican since he became an American citizen. He is a man of strong convictions and is ever true to his ideas of right.
Our subject is the eldest of four children, and, like himself, the others, Jennie, John and Edward are all at home. W. L. was a babe of a year when with his parents he crossed the briny deep, and when a lad of seven he came to Illinois. At the age of eleven he began farm work and followed it for some time. His early education was acquired in the common schools. He afterward entered upon his business career as an employee in the bank of Cissna Park, and then went to Quincy. Ill., where he pursued a commercial course of study in the Gem City Business College.
It was Mr. Ranton's intention on completing his education to go to Arizona, but Banker Young suggested that he purchase and publish the Cissna Park Review, saying that he could well do so. Our subject followed the banker's advice and in February, 1892, he left the farm and took charge of the paper which he has since conducted successfully. He has also on account of his father's illness managed the farm, but expects to devote much of his time and attention hereafter to journalism. He is a fluent writer and will no doubt win success in his chosen vocation. Mr. Ranton is independent and self-reliant and depends not upon luck but upon his own exertions. He is a Director in the Building and Loan Association and is a member of the Masonic lodge and Knights of Pythias fraternity. In the spring of 1892, he was made Supervisor of his township, an honor of which he may well be proud as he is the youngest Supervisor in the county. He is a young man of sterling worth, popular in both business and social circles.
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK of Watseka. The bank was organized in 1870, its organizers and active promoters being David McGill and George C. Harrington. Its first President was Samuel Williams, who took no part in the bank management, the Vice-president, David McGill, being the active officer. He is now President of the institution, and George C. Harrington has held the position of Cashier from its organization until the present time. The bank, at its organization, met with instant recognition from the public, as its promoters and Directors were men who had long been citizens of the county, and were well known for their conservatism and stability. There was an opening for an institution of this character, and it has been successful from the date of its organization. Its capital was originally $50,000. It has paid good dividends upon its stock, and now has a surplus of $18,000. Its charter was renewed in 1890, and it carries the full amount of circulation allowed, securing the same by four percent bonds. The business of the bank is largely with the farmers of Iroquois County, its loans being chiefly made to them, the theory of the officers being that it is better policy for a bank to distribute its loans in small amounts to a large number of customers, than in large amounts to a few. The bank is now in its elegant new building, constructed in 1890, on the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets. It has all the improvements in modern safe building, with large and roomy vaults and safe-deposit boxes. The interior is of hardwood finish, while the light is excellent and the ventilation perfect.