Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
ELI HOAGLAND is a practical and progressive farmer of Concord Township, Iroquois County, who owns and operates a good farm of one hundred and ninety-five acres on section 33. He has his land under a high state of cultivation, and the well-tilled fields yield him a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon them. His home is a pleasant and commodious residence, his barns and outbuildings are models of convenience, the place is well tilled, and the improvements upon it stand as monuments to his enterprise. In connection with general farming, he carries on stock-raising, and makes a specialty of Poland-China hogs.
The owner of this fine farm is a native of Coshocton County, Ohio. He was born November 8, 1837, and is the eldest of a family of ten children. His parents, James and Hannah (Fox) Hoagland, are represented elsewhere in this work. Eli was a lad of seven summers when, with his parents, he came to Iroquois County in 1845. His boyhood days were spent upon a farm in Concord Township, and he was educated in the public schools of the neighborhood. He made his home with his father until his marriage, which was celebrated on the 16th of January, 1862, Miss Adela Mantor, of Concord Township, becoming his wife. She was a native of Hamilton County, Ohio, and survived her marriage but little more than a year. She died on the 19th of May, 1863, and her remains were interred in the cemetery of Sheldon.
In the meantime, the Civil War was in progress, and on the 11th of August, 1862, Mr. Hoagland entered the service, bidding good-bye to his young bride. He enlisted in Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, under Col. A. W. Mack, and saw service in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi under Gen. Hurlburt, but was in no battles, as their duty was in holding posts. On one occasion they started for Vicksburg, but their supplies were cut off and they had to return. Mr. Hoagland was taken sick on the 16th of October with the measles, and afterward had the jaundice and rheumatism. He was confined in the hospital at Memphis, Tenn., until honorably discharged, on the 25th of March, 1863, on account of physical disability.
For a year after his return home, Mr. Hoagland was unable to do any work but as soon as his health was sufficiently recovered he turned his attention to farming, renting land of his father for about four years. During this time he was again married, his second union being with Miss Helen M. Barnes, of Concord Township, the marriage ceremony being performed on the 8th of November, 1866. The lady was born in Rochester, Fulton County, Ind., November 24, 1849, and is a daughter of Elijah and Sarah (Burnett) Barnes. Her parents died during her girlhood and Mrs. Hoagland came to this county with an uncle. She has three brothers yet living: Joel M., who is married and resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he is engaged in business as a carpenter and joiner; Willard F., a farmer, who is married and resides in Sheldon Township this county; and William Foster, who is also married, and is now engaged in agricultural pursuits in Indian Territory.
Mrs. Hoagland's early girlhood days were spent in the state of her nativity until sixteen years of age, and her education was acquired in the common schools of Indiana and Illinois. By the union of our subject and his wife have been born seven children, all sons, the four eldest of whom were born in Bates County, Mo.: Ira, born July 26, 1868; Edgar, September 1, 1870; Charles, March 12, 1872; James Oscar, February 23, 1874; Silas, born in Concord Township, November 30, 1876; Ernest and Earl, twins, born on the home farm, April 10, 1883.
About a year after his second marriage, Mr. Hougland went to Bates County, Mo., where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, making it his home for eight years. During that time he transformed it into a good farm. It was in 1875 that he traded his Missouri farm for one hundred and fifty-four acres of his present home, and since that time he has been a prominent farmer of Concord Township. His first vote was east for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and since that time he has been a warm advocate of Republican principles, although he has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. Himself and wife are faithful members of the United Brethren Church, and he is a teacher in the Sunday-school Mr. Hoagland started out in life for himself with no capital, but he is an industrious and enterprising man, who has steadily worked his way upward and is now ranked among the prosperous agriculturists of the community. He is a prominent citizen of the county where almost his entire life has been passed, and is a worthy representative of one of its honored pioneer families.
ROBERT W. DANNER is a leading and progressive farmer residing on section 12, Belmont Township, Iroquois County. As he has a wide acquaintance throughout the community and is held in high regard, we feel assured that this record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born in Clay County, Ind., August 3, 1837, and is of German descent. His paternal grandfather was a native of Germany, but was reared as a farmer lad near Dayton, Ohio.
The father of our subject, Tobias Danner, was born in the Buckeye State and, emigrating to Clay County, Ind. was there married. The year 1851 witnessed his arrival in Illinois, whither he journeyed by team. In Belmont Township he purchased forty acres of land, and afterward bought an additional forty-acre tract. The mother of our subject died in this county twenty-three years ago. In 1869, the father removed to Crescent, where he is now living with his third wife. In politics, he was first a Democrat, afterward became a Republican, and is now a Prohibitionist. Religiously, he is a member of the Methodist Church.
Our subject is the eldest of a family of six children, numbering three sons and three daughters: John, the second son, is living in Iowa; Catherine is now deceased; Samuel is a resident of Iroquois County; Ella is the wife of Lewis Harwood, of Crescent; and one child died in infancy.
Robert Danner, whose name heads this record, spent the first fourteen years of his life in his native State, and then came with his parents to Illinois. As soon as old enough to follow the plow, he began work on the home farm, and in the winter season he attended the common schools, where he acquired his education. At the age of twenty-two, he left the parental roof and started out in life for himself and rented a farm, which he operated for six years. He then bought land in Sheldon Township, and for sixteen years he has resided upon his present farm on section 12, Belmont Township. He here owns eighty acres of rich land, and the well-tilled fields indicate his thrift and enterprise. He makes them yield as much as most men would gain from twice that amount. He has erected many good buildings upon the place, including a neat residence, and the farm seems complete in all its appointments.
In 1862, Mr. Danner led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah A. Bailey, daughter of John L. Bailey, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. They have no children of their own. John Axtell has been an inmate of their home since four years of age and is an intelligent young man, who was educated in Onarga. They also have with them Lulu B. Zumwalt, a daughter of Mrs. Danner's youngest sister, who has been with them since her third year. These children could have found no better homes for true parental care and attention than has been bestowed on them.
Mr. and Mrs. Danner are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are among its leading workers. He has served as Steward for some years and as Superintendent of the Sunday-school. They are charitable and benevolent, and their lives are filled with good deeds. Mr. Danner cast his first Presidential vote for Lincoln in 1860, and has since been a stanch Republican. He has held the office of Township Commissioner for six years and has proved himself a capable official, as his long service plainly indicates. His residence in the county covers a period of forty-one years, and he is one of its highly respected citizens. The work of his hands has brought him a comfortable competence, and he is now well-to-do.
ADAM WAMBA is one of the prominent and representative farmers of Martinton Township. He resides on section 16, and his farm adjoins the village of Martinton. There he has made his home since March, 1871. He now owns and operates three hundred acres of valuable land, all under a high state of cultivation and well improved. His home is a substantial and pleasant residence, and good barns, a granary and other outbuildings are numbered among the improvements, also an orchard. The place seems complete in all its appointments, and its appearance indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner.
The life record of Mr. Wamba is as follows: He was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, on the 30th of September, 1828, and is a son of Philip Wamba, also a native of Germany. The father wedded Mary Sefert and they resided upon a farm in the Fatherland for some years. Our subject was reared to manhood under the parental roof, and on attaining his majority he entered the German army, in 1849, serving for four years, and participating in several important battles during the German War in Baden. After receiving his discharge he determined to emigrate to America, and in 1853 took passage on a vessel at Havre which sailed for New York. During the voyage, which lasted seven days, they experienced some severe weather, but at length safely arrived at their destination on the 8th of February, 1853. Mr. Wamba earned his first money in this country by working as a farm hand by the month for Joshua Beaty, near Allentown, N. J., with whom he remained for a year. In the meantime, he took lessons in English, learning both to read and write the language. He then worked for a time in the city of Trenton, after which he came West, reaching Chicago, Ill., in June, 1854. He then went to the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, engaging in lumbering in Sturgeon River County for four years.
Mr. Wamba was married in Chicago, in the fall of 1854, to Mary Colem, a native of Canada and of French descent. Her father was Benjamin Colem. Mr. Wamba took his bride to the timber regions of Northern Michigan, where he remained until 1858, when he returned to Illinois and bought a tract of land in Chebanse Township, Iroquois County. The forty acres of raw prairie were entirely unimproved, but he broke and fenced it and engaged in its cultivation for several years. He then sold and purchased the farm on which he now resides in March, 1871, first buying one hundred and sixty acres of land. This he improved and cultivated, and in course of time he was the owner of a fine farm, which is today his.
A family of ten children has been born unto Mr. and Mrs. Wamba, the eldest of whom, Adam G., is now married and follows farming in Martinton Township; Philip is a farmer; Peter is married and is on the police force of Chicago; Frank is engaged in agricultural pursuits; Libbie is the wife of Adolph Alexander, who is a salesman in Oneida, Kan.; Mary is the wife of A. White, a farmer of Martinton Township; Joe and Philipene are at home; one daughter died in infancy; and Henry was killed on the railroad near Martinton at the age of fifteen years.
Mr. Wamba has resided in this county for thirty-four years and has helped to make it what it is today, one of the leading counties of the State. He is truly a self-made man, who came to this country in limited circumstances, and, although empty-handed, began life with the determination to win success. This he has done, and today he is recognized as a man of sterling worth and integrity and one of the leading farmers of the community. Himself and wife hold membership with the Catholic Church.
JAMES HOAGLAND, who resides on section 23, Concord Township, has long been a resident of this county. To the pioneers who came here in an early day and laid the foundation for the future advancement, progress and prosperity of the county, a debt of gratitude is due which can never be repaid. Among these is numbered the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. For almost half a century he has made his home with the borders of Iroquois County, and has ever borne his part in its upbuilding and development. Truly he is one of its honored pioneers, and this record of his life will undoubtedly be of interest to many of our readers.
Mr. Hoagland was born in Clarke Township, Coshocton County, Ohio, March 31, 1818, and is the son of Isaac and Polly (Carpenter) Hoagland, both of whom were natives of Virginia. The maternal grandfather, John Carpenter, was one of the first settlers on the north side of the Ohio River in the Buckeye State. He was probably a soldier of the Revolutionary War, and one of his sons was for seven years connected with the Colonial army, doing valued service as a spy. Thomas Carpenter, son of John, is said to have been the first white child born in Ohio. The grandfather of our subject was at one time taken prisoner by the Indians and held for eighteen months before he was able to make his escape. In the meantime his people, supposing him dead, had returned to Virginia. When he managed to escape, he took a horse, which had been captured with him, and, swimming the Ohio River, made his way to his parents' home. While held a prisoner, the Indians were encamped between Owl Creek and Mahicken River at their junction, and Mr. Carpenter was so pleased with that county that after his marriage he came with his wife and children, locating in that vicinity. A number of families, in order to protect themselves from the Indians, lived in a font. One day while Mr. Carpenter and his wife were outside hoeing in the garden, a savage shot him in the body, and he fell. The red men then thought to capture Mrs. Carpenter, but she ran screaming from the fort and thus escaped. Mr. Carpenter recovered and lived for many years afterward.
When a young man, Isaac Hoagland removed to Ohio, and at a place across the river from Wheeling, W. Va., he married Miss Carpenter. They resided upon a farm and experienced all the hardships and privations of frontier life, he served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and after his death, which occurred in the autumn of 1848, at the age of seventy-three years, his widow obtained a land warrant, which she sent to our subject, who was then living in this county; but as it was not properly signed he sent it back and never again heard of it Mrs. Hoagland died in Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1853, in the seventy-fourth year of her age.
Unto this worthy couple were born ten children, of whom our subject was the seventh in order of birth. He was reared upon his father's farm, and had a great deal to do in the way of clearing and developing land. Schools in that community were very poor, and his educational privileges were limited Ere he was yet eighteen years of age, he was married in Clarke Township, Coshocton County, on Christmas Day of 1836, to Miss Hannah Fox, who was reared in the same locality as our subject. He had little means with which to begin life, bunt engaged in the cultivation of rented land until 1845, when he left Ohio and came to Illinois. With his wife and four children and a few household goods loaded into a wagon, he drove a team to Iroquois County, where he arrived on the 28th of September, with a cash capital of only $20. The first three years were passed on the Courtwright farm, about a mile west of where Mr. Hoagland now lives. He then entered forty acres of land from the Government, and this tract, which was his first landed property, is still a part of his home farm. His life has been a busy one, and by his industry and perseverance he has prospered. He now owns eleven hundred and ninety-one acres of valuable land, all in Concord Township, and owes no man a dollar. He has a beautiful home, and now in his declining years is surrounded with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.
In 1892, Mr. Hoagland was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 9th of February, at the age of seventy-two years, her birth having occurred October 4, 1819. She was a faithful member of the United Brethren Church, and for fifty-five years she had been a loving wife and the helpmate to her husband. Through that long period they had traveled life's journey together, and on Christmas Day of 1886 had celebrated their golden wedding. Their union was blessed with ten children: Eli, who was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, November 8, 1837, and now follows farming in Concord Township, is married and has seven children. Many, born in Coshocton County, May 31, 1839, became the wife of Lyman Mather, and died on the 2d of June, 1871, leaving four children. Isaac, born in Coshocton County, October 14, 1842, was a soldier of the late war from 1861 until 1862, serving under Fremont. He took sick on the forced march after Price, and died near Otterville, Mo., January 3, 1862. His remains were brought back by his father and interred in Sheldon cemetery. Lavina, born in Coshocton County, May 10, 1844, is the wife of James Asbury Clark, of Concord Township and they have five children. Sarah, born in Concord Township, June 18, 1846, is the wife of Oscar Applegate, by whom she has four children. Ira, born November 15, 1848, resides in Concord Township with his wife and five children. James, who was born April 6, 1850, is married and has one child, and resides in Concord Township. Hannah, born August 20, 1853, died October 6, 1855. Nancy, born December 3, 1855, became the wife of, and died April 25, 1889, leaving three children. Charles, born July 9, 1858, is married and has one child. He resides on the old homestead with our subject.
Mr. Hoagland did not follow in the political footsteps of his father, who was a Democrat, but became a Whig, and cast his first Presidential ballot for Gen. William Henry Harrison. In 1856, he joined the ranks of the new Republican party, and has since been one of its warm supporters. His life has been well and worthily spent. Devoting his time and attention to his business, his dealings have even been characterized by uprightness, and he has not only won wealth, but has gained the respect and confidence of all with whom he has been brought in contact, and is held in the highest regard throughout this community Practically, he is now living a retired life, while his son operates the farm, and of late years has spent considerable time in traveling. During the late war, he made several visits to the army, for two of his sons were among the boys in blue. He also attended the Exposition in New Orleans.
JOHN WEBSTER is one of the representative and successful farmers and stock-raisers of this community. He owns and operates three hundred and seventy-two acres of farm land on section 33, Concord Township. He claims England as the land of his nativity, having been born in Yorkshire November 11, 1827, and is a son of William and Anna (Smith) Webster. The mother died when he was a lad of twelve years, and his father when he was fourteen years on age. They left seven sons, of whom our subject is the fifth in order of birth. One brother, William, next older than John, died in England at the age of fifteen years. Andrew, the eldest, is now living near the city of York, England, where he follows farming. He is married and has a large family. Edward died in Boston, England, and left one son. Robert crossed the Atlantic to this country and spent his last days in Iroquois County, leaving at his death a daughter, who has since died. Thomas located in York, England, where he died, leaving a family. Francis, the youngest, owns a farm near Sheldon.
John Webster was reared to manhood in his native country, but, when about twenty-three years of age, he determined to seek his fortune in the New World. He bade good-bye to his old home in 1850, and in company with his brother crossed the briny deep. They located in Clarke County, Ohio, when both secured work as farm hands. After three and a-half years, Mr. Webster returned to England, where he remained until 1856, when he again came to this country. In the spring of that year himself and his brother Robert located in this county, and, in connection with another party, purchased about five hundred acres of land. Our subject took one hundred and thirty-four acres of this as his share and began the development of a farm. It was a wild tract, on which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made, but with characteristic energy he began its development, and in 1857 built a little log cabin, which is still standing, one of the few landmarks of pioneer days that yet remain.
In the spring of 1858, Mr. Webster completed his preparations for a home by his marriage with Miss Jane A. Hill, of Clarke County, Ohio. Unto them were born three children, of whom two sons are living. Both are married and now reside in Concord Township. The mother died in the fall of 1865, and in 1867 Mr. Webster was again married, his second union being with Miss Emily Murray, who was born in Concord Township, September 30, 1840, and is a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Whiteman) Murray. Twelve children graced this union, of whom eight are now living: Anna E. died in infancy; Sarah J. died at the age of fourteen years and eight months; Minnie F. and Clara M. are at home; Ora E. died in infancy; John S. died at the age of four years and two months; Edward E.; Mary M.; Ida P.; Margaret G.; Emma H. and Letta E. complete the family.
Mr. Webster has been prospered in life and now owns a valuable farm, whose three hundred and seventy-two acres are under a high state of cultivation. The place is improved with substantial buildings and good fences, and he has laid considerable tile. Its neat and thrifty appearance indicates his careful supervision, and gives evidence of his industry and good management, which are numbered among his chief characteristics. His first Presidential vote was east for John C. Fremont, in 1856, and for a number of years he supported the Republican party, but has twice voted for Cleveland. He has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking, but has served as School Director for many years, at one time filling the position for twelve consecutive years, and again for six years. He is a strong advocate of the public-school system, and is even found in the front rank in support of any enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit. As a boy he received a good common school education, has throughout life been an extensive reader, and is now a well-informed man himself and wife hold membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Sheldon, and are numbered among the best citizens of Concord Township. Mr. Webster has won success through his own efforts, and is now a well-to-do agriculturist.
SAMUEL WEST, one of the prominent and highly respected citizens of Iroquois County, residing on section 25, Middleport Township, well deserves representation in this volume, for he is one of the honored pioneers of this community. A native of the Buckeye State, he was born in Champaign County, on the 6th of January, 1821, and is a son of John West, who was born in Ohio, in 1792. His father was one of the early settlers of that State and served in the War of 1812. In Ohio he married Miss Azubah Wilson, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of George Wilson, one of the prominent pioneers of Ohio, in which State the daughter was reared to womanhood. John West was a millwright by trade and followed that occupation during his younger life. He afterward settled upon a farm, which he cleared and improved, in Champaign County, there making his home for a number of years. Subsequently he went to Indiana and upon a farm in that State spent the remainder of his life, being called to his final rest in 1855. He was a successful business man, and by his well-directed efforts won a handsome competence. His wife survived him for a few years.
Unto this worthy couple were born ten children, of whom George, the eldest, died in 1890; Samuel is second in order of birth; Elizabeth is now deceased; Charlotte is the next younger; Moses is a resident farmer of Iroquois County; he was followed by Martha, Selina, William M., and one who died in infancy.
The grandfather, Bazil West, was a hero for seven years in the Revolutionary War and was an eyewitness of Bunker Hill and many other battles of historic fame. The first man he saw killed was William Pollard, whose death was caused by a cannon ball taking his head off. Grandfather West was an eye-witness to the throwing of the tea overboard and he made a vow that he would never drink any tea again, and this vow he kept.
The subject of this sketch received only such educational advantages as the common schools afforded, but by self-culture he has made himself a well-informed man. He remained at home until after he had attained his majority, when, in 1843, he determined to seek his fortune in Illinois, and coming to this State joined his elder brother in Joliet, where he remained several years. They engaged in building sawmills. A few years later Mr. West came to Iroquois County and built a sawmill on Sugar Creek, and subsequently he erected a sawmill and gristmill on the Iroquois River, which he operated successfully for some time.
On the 20th of November, 1845, Mr. West married Miss Susie Rush, who is among the oldest residents of this county. By their union was born a family of four children, namely: Charlotte Ann, who is now the wife of Samuel Foust, a farmer residing in Indian Territory; Thomas, who died amount 1860; Harvey, who is engaged in agriculture in this county and married; and Emma, the wife of Allison Moore, a resident of Brook, Ind.
Mr. West continued in the milling business until 1852, when, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific Slope, he crossed the plains to California, making the journey with ox-teams. He arrived at his destination after about six months of travel and spent three years in the West, engaged in prospecting and mining, but his trip was not a very successful one. Speaking of the high prices which then prevailed, he told how he had given as much as $1 for a pie and a similar amount for the privilege of sleeping in a house overnight on his own blanket. He returned from San Francisco to New York by water and then, passing through Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago, reached his home in Iroquois County, Ill., in the winter of 1854.
After his return, Mr. West built a large flouring mill on the Iroquois River, where he carried on a successful business for a number of years, securing a liberal patronage from all the country mound about. He now devotes his time and attention to agricultural pursuits and is engaged in farming two hundred acres of valuable land, which was cleared and broken by himself and placed under a high state of cultivation. Every improvement upon the farm stands as a monument to his thrift and enterprise. He is an energetic and industrious man, and by his perseverance and good business ability he has prospered and won a comfortable competence which is the just reward of his labors.
Perhaps the white families in that region did not exceed a half-dozen. From that place they proceeded to what is now Iroquois, but was then Vermillion County, and settled near the present town of Milford. The Stanley party consisted of Anthony Stanley and his wife; Micajah Stanley; his oldest brother, William, and his wife Judith; his second brother, John, and his wife Agnes; his youngest brother, Isaac, and his sisters, Rebecca and Elizabeth. With them from Wea also came William Pickerel, an old Quaker, who became the founder of Milford. He was a remarkable man, a blacksmith, a miller and farmer, a jack of all trades, especially adapted to pioneer life, and as honest as useful. He built a mill at their point of settlement from whom Milford derives its name.
The following extract, purporting to be Mr. Stanley's story, is quoted from the "Iroquois County History:" That winter we witnessed the hardest I ever experienced in my life. We were destitute of almost everything. We came here with eight head of horses, fifteen head of cattle and a flock of sheep, expecting to get hay from the people here, but the fire had destroyed it all. We had to haul our corn from the Wabash, and secured what we expected would do us. In the early part of the winter a snow fell ten inches deep, which increased through the season until it became eighteen inches deep on the level. Then there came a rain and formed a crust on that. The snow was drifted in places until it was six or seven feet deep. That fall we had plenty of wild turkeys, but in the winter they all froze; we had plenty of deer, but the dogs and wolves killed a good many of them and we could find plenty of deer carcasses afterwards. The deer were not all killed and we soon had plenty of them again, but we had no more wild turkeys after that. In 1831, we had a pretty hard time raising a crop. With the rain we had, our streams were filled up very high, I may say tremendously high. In the fall of 1830, Mr. Hubbard was living at Bunkum, and had his trading-post where Benjamin Fry lived. He moved that year to Danville and opened a store there. He employed me and some other men to go to Chicago for goods. He engaged four teams. I took four yoke of oxen. At that time there was nothing between here and Chicago in the shape of a white family. We staid all right at his trading-house, and the next morning started for Chicago. This was in the spring of 1831. We went up and crossed the Kankakee River, where Robert Hill formerly kept hotel, above Momence. When we got there the river was very high. We had to ride on the middle cattle, and drive the head ones, and the water ran into our wagon boxes. When we got to Chicago we found no goods there, and had to wait three weeks until the schooner got in. Inside of old Ft. Dearborn there were two or three persons doing business. Mr. Dole was there and another gentleman was keeping a boarding house there. Mark Beaubien was up the river in a little one-story house. We left Chicago and in three days got to the Calumet River. Sometimes we had to hitch ten yoke of cattle to one wagon to haul it through the quicksand. We were between three and four weeks getting home. We ran out of provisions on the way back, and Henry Hubbard met us at Beaver Creek with a basket of food. When we got home we rested about three weeks, and them took the goods on to Danville. This is my experience on that trip."
On the 1st of January, 1833, Mr. Stanley was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Moore, who was born in Adams County, Ohio, near the Sciota line, January 19, 1814. She is a daughter of John S. and Nancy Moore, and with her parents came to what is now Iroquois County in 1832. They were the first settlers in Belmont Township, and her marriage with Mr. Stanley was the first marriage of white people to be celebrated in that township. Eight children, five daughters and three sons, were born to this union; Louisa, the eldest, died at the age of twenty-two years; Jennie is the widow of Dr. Richard Taliaferro, of Watseka; Minerva was the wife of N. B. White and died in the spring of 1864; Joseph married Miss Levantia Mc Wayne, and resides in St. Louis; Dicie is the wife of G. E. Warren, of Middleport Township; Mark A. married Miss Jennie Edinger, and resides in Watseka, his sketch being given elsewhere in this work; Lydia was the wife of A. L. Willoughby, and died in the spring of 1874; and John E., the youngest, wedded Miss Mary Mc Kimpson, and lives on the old Stanley homestead.
In March, 1835, Mr. Stanley built a log house on the present site of Watseka, his nearest neighbor being three miles distant. He improved his farm, and in 1846 built the then finest barn in the county. In the fall of 1860, he built an hotel, 44 x 72 feet, three stories in height with a one-story kitchen. The building was erected on the northwest corner of block No. 26, now the site of the Williams House. There was a hall in the second story, 30 x 50 feet, and the building was well finished, and furnished in first-class order. The hotel was called the Stanley House, and was run by Mr. Stanley for about five years, including the period of the war. The landlord was noted for his liberality and kind disposition toward all, especially toward the soldiers. On the 16th of February, 1866, the house was destroyed by fire, which broke out about three o clock in the morning and many narrowly escaped from the burning building. Mr. Stanley did not rebuild the house but sold the lot, and the present Williams House was built by James Mc Curdy in 1869, and on the 28th of March, 1877, became the property of William Williams, its present proprietor.
Within the corporate limits of Watseka have been sunk between one hundred and fifty and one hundred and seventy-five artesian wells, of which a large percent are flowing. The first well of this character was sunk by Mr. Stanley near his residence on elevated ground in 1857, but this well did not flow. He sank another on lower ground at his hotel in 1860, which also failed to flow. Several other attempts were unsuccessfully made before the City Council in 1860 secured a flowing well, since which the many others have been sunk, but to Mr. Stanley belongs the credit of initiating the movement. The first Masome lodge in Iroquois County was instituted at old Middleport in 1850, and Mr. Stanley's name appears as one of its early members.
In course of time Mr. Stanley built a commodious and tasty brick residence on the site of his old log house which had been supplanted by a large frame house that burned where he made his home until his death, which occurred April 18, 1888. His widow and son John still occupy the old homestead.
Mr. Stanley was a Democrat in politics, and took an active part in public affairs as the county settled up. He was elected Coroner at the first county election and served for two years, was constable two years, in 1836 and 1837, Justice of the Peace two years, Sheriff of the county for two years and afterwards again held that office, serving six years in all. In 1841 he was agent for the county in the construction of the first Court House on the public square in Middleport. In 1846, Mr. Stanley was elected to the Legislature from Iroquois County. The navigation of the Kankakee and Iroquois Rivers had excited much interest, and had been warmly discussed and advocated since any considerable settlement had been made in the county. The feeling had become so earnest that this question was the staple of thought and conversation, the single idea of the public mind. Mr. Stanley brought forward a bill chartering the Kankakee and Iroquois Navigation and Manufacturing Company, which was passed and approved February 15, 1847, granting this corporation full control of the improvement of the two rivers for navigation, and also of all the use of the water power thereon for the term of fifty years. The company was organized, and the Kankakee was made navigable to Wilmington, connecting that only with the Illinois and Michigan Canal; but it is not the design of this sketch to go into general history.
Watseka was first known as South Middleport, Hon. Micajah Stanley proprietor. The plat covered the west one hundred and twenty-three acres of the southeast quarter of section 32, township 24 north, range 12 west, which tract had been entered by Mr. Stanley April 28, 1835, and in 1836 in separate parts, and the plat was made in 1859. On the suggestion of Mr. Stanley, the County Board changed the name of South Middleport to Watseka, in honor of the Indian girl, wife of Gurdon Hubbard. The town of Watseka was incorporated in February, 1867. Charles Sherman was the first Mayor, and Mr. Stanley was chosen for the second in March, 1868, and was again elected to that office April 15, 1879. When the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad, now the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw, was built through Iroquois County, Mr. Stanley was active and influential in securing bonds to aid in its construction. He gave the right of way through four miles of farm land and donated ten acres for depot purposes to the company to secure the depot at Watseka. During the session of the Legislature in the winter of 1862-63, Mr. Stanley, with others, attended in the interest of Watseka to secure a transfer of the county seat from old Middleport to Watseka, and was influential in accomplishing that result. He also donated eight lots to the county, as a permanent public square on which to erect a Court House. He was also one of the accepted bondsmen for Contractor Mantor on the construction of the new Court House In November, 1856, Mr. Stanley was again the nominee of his party as a member of the Legislature, but was defeated by Judge Blades, the Republican candidate, by a small majority. This was about the time of the great political sensational era of Kansas and Nebraska fame, when Democracy was on the wane.
Micajah Stanley was the historic character of early days in South Middleport, now Watseka. His energy and liberality gave impetus to the growth of the town and county, and his influence had never been equaled in that direction by any of his fellow-citizens. He was a man of broad views, sagacious and possessed of wonderful energy and endurance, and he accumulated a large and valuable property. His liberality and generosity were large and always in advance of even his extensive resources. In fact, had he been of the selfish and grasping sort, while public and private enterprises might have languished for want of aid, he would no doubt have left a much more valuable estate for his family. While his virtues were many, his faults were such as benefited others to his own detriment. His memory deserves to be kept fresh in the minds and hearts of the people of Watseka and Iroquois County.
JAMES H. BURK, an honored veteran of the late war and a leading citizen of Sheldon, claims Indiana as the State of his nativity. He was born in Dearborn County, on Christmas Day of 1852, and is a son of James and Nancy (Grubbs) Burk, both of whom were also natives of the Hoosier State. There they spent their entire lives. The father died when our subject was only about a year old, and the death of the mother occurred twenty years later. In the family were six children, but only two are now living. William the brother of our subject, makes his home in Indiana.
James H. Burk is the youngest of the family. His early boyhood days were spent with his mother, and at the age of sixteen he commenced life for himself by working on the home farm, where he remained until after the breaking out of the late war. Prompted by patriotic impulses, be responded to the call for troops on the 6th of August, 1861, enlisting as a member of Company K, Twenty-sixth Indiana Infantry, under the command of Col. Wheetley. He participated in the battles of Lexington and Springfield, Mo., and Prairie Grove Ark., and for about two years his army service was in Missouri. He took part in the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, and participated in the battle and capture of Mobile. On the expiration of his three-year term of service, he re-enlisted and remained in the army until after the close of the war. At the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., December 7, 1862, he was wounded in the shoulder by a gunshot. He was a valiant soldier, ever found at his post of duty, and when the country no longer needed his services was honorably discharged and mustered out at Vicksburg, June 15, 1866.
After receiving his discharge, Mr. Burk returned to his home and again engaged in farming, which pursuit he has followed during the greater part of his life, and has achieved success in his undertakings, his industrious and well-directed efforts gaining him a comfortable competence. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Jane H. Conner, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Cornelius Conner. Their union was celebrated in 1867, and this worthy couple are highly respected citizens, who hold an enviable position in social circles.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Burk is a Republican and a warm advocate of the principles of the party, which he has supported since attaining his majority. He has been called upon to serve in public position and for twelve years has held the office of Justice of the Peace, while for two years he has served as City Alderman. The prompt and faithful manner in which he discharges his duties has led to his re-election and won him the commendation of all concerned. He is a public-spirited and progressive citizen, who takes aim active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community. A whole-souled, genial gentleman, he has won popularity and enjoys the respect of all who know him.
ROBERT ZEMPEL, a hardware merchant of and one of the prominent business men of that place, claims Germany as the land of his nativity. He was born in Prussia, on the 5th of May, 1855, and is a son of Frederick and Augustina (Timm) Zempel, both of whom were born and reared in Prussia. The father was a farmer by occupation and served in the War of 1848 against the Revolutionists. In 1866 some members of the family came to America. The mother died in Germany, and in 1867 the father and our subject crossed the Atlantic. The sailing-vessel on which they took passage weighed anchor at Hamburg and after a voyage of six weeks reached the harbor of New York. Frederick Zempel spent part of the succeeding winter in Berlin, Wis., and then went to Kankakee County, Ill., but afterward returned to the Badger State. Subsequently he was a resident of Chicago.
While his father was in Wisconsin, Robert Zempel, whose name heads this sketch, worked on a farm near Martinton. After his removal to Chicago he engaged in clerking in that city and at the same time attended an evening school. He was engaged as salesman until he had acquired by his industry, perseverance and economy enough capital with which to start in business. Going to Woodland in 1876, he embarked in the hardware and grain business as a partner of Mr. Rosenberger, under the firm name of Rosenberger & Zempel. This connection continued for four years, when Mr. Zempel bought out his partner's interest in the hardware business and has since carried on business alone. He began in a small way, but his trade has constantly increased and he now does an annual business of upwards of $18,000.
November 1, 1877, in Woodland, Mr. Zempel led to the marriage altar Miss Sophia Schwer, a native of Will County, Ill., and a daughter of William and Ellen Schwer, who with their family came to this county in 1873. By their union have been born five children, as follows: Edward, Robert, Clara, Lawrence and Olga. The family is well and favorably known in this community, its members ranking high in social circles.
Socially, Mr. Zempel is a member of the Odd Fellows' lodge of Woodland, No. 649, and has been honored with the office of Treasurer for the past seven years. He cast his first Presidential vote for Samuel J. Tilden, has since been a supporter of Democratic principles, is an influential man in the party, and has often served as a delegate to its conventions. Mr. Zempel now has a large, neat store, well lighted and stocked with everything found in a first-class hardware establishment. He is a cool, clear-headed business man, sagacious and far-sighted, enterprising and progressive, and the success which has crowned his efforts and the prosperity which has rewarded his labors are well deserved.
LLOYD EASTBURN has longer been a resident of Iroquois County than any other of its native citizens, for he was the first white child born with its borders. He was born on the 22d of February, 1836, in what is now Concord Township, and his present place of residence is on section 31, Sheldon Township. He is not only one of the pioneers of the county, but is one of its extensive land-owners and progressive farmer, and with pleasure we present this record of his life to our readers, many of whom are numbered among his strong friends.
Mr. Eastburn's parents, Joseph B. and Sarah (Truitt) Eastburn were both native of the Buckeye State. They had the following children: Jesse died about 1834; Lloyd is the next younger; Parker is engaged in farming in Sheldon Township; Allen Miner, a farmer residing in Sheldon Township; and a child who died in infancy. The father of this family followed farming throughout his entire life. In 1834, he came to Illinois, locating in Iroquois County, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of Government land in what is now Concord Township, for $1.25 per acre. The trip Westward was made by team. He found the county an almost unbroken wilderness, where the Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers. The work of civilization and progress seemed scarcely begun. Mr. Eastburn erected a small log cabin upon his first claim and there resided for about three years when he removed to Sheldon Township and purchased three hundred and twenty acres of Government land, making his home upon that farm until his death. He was prominently identified with the early history of the county, and in many ways his name is inseparably connected with its development. He aided in laying out the roads and organizing the townships and schools. He was Road Supervisor in an early day, also Justice of the Peace, and was a very prominent citizen. In politics, he was a supporter of the Democratic party, and himself and wife were both members of the United Brethren Church. His death occurred many years ago, and his wife passed away August 8, 1871.
The early recollections of our subject take him back to the pioneer days of his native county, when the Iroquois Indians were still in the neighborhood, when the greater part of the land was still wild and unimproved, and when the county gave little evidence of the progress which would place it in the rank which it today occupies among the leading counties of this great commonwealth. His education was mostly acquired in a log schoolhouse, and he attended school one term in what was once a her house. He was early inured to the hard labors of the farm, and on attaining his majority he started out in life for himself, renting a part of the old homestead of his mother for about nine years.
In 1856, Mr. Eastburn was married to Miss Mattie Hougland, a daughter of Charles and Susie Hougland. Her father, a native of the Buckeye State, was born on the 8th of April, 1806. His educational privileges were very limited and he was mostly educated by his own exertions. He was reared to manhood in the State of his nativity in the usual manner of farmer lads, and after attaining to mature years was united in marriage with Miss Susan Clark, a native of Coshocton County, Ohio, and a daughter of Samuel and Rachel Clark. Eight children were born of their union, five sons and three daughters, of whom four are yet living at this writing, in the winter of 1892: Samuel, the eldest, is a stock dealer and resides in Iroquois County; Isaac is married and resides in Leadville, Col.; Mrs. Eastburn is the next younger; and Cynthia is the wife of Absalom Warrick, of Sheldon, Ill., and is engaged in the grain business. Mr. Hougland, the father of this family, is still living at the very advanced age of eighty-six years and makes his home in Concord Township. Through his business industry and well-directed efforts, he has become a wealthy man and is one of the honored citizens of the county. Mrs. Hoagland died when her daughter Mattie was a maiden of about eight years of age.
Mrs. Eastburn was educated in the common schools. She has proved a valuable helpmate to her husband, and is a kind and loving wife and another, and is an agreeable hostess, her household being the abode of hospitality. By the union of our subject and his wife have been born ten children, as follows: Charles, Joseph, James, Minnie, Ella, Maggie, George, Cynthia Parker, and Susie, who died at the age of six months. The Eastburn family is widely and favorably known in this community and its members hold an enviable position in social circles.
Mr. Eastburn exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party and cast his first Presidential vote for James Buchanan. He has ably served as School Director for a number of years, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests. With the United Brethren Church he holds membership. About 1866, he removed to his present farm, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of land, which has been transformed by cultivation and improvement into one of the most desirable farms in the county. His landed possessions have also been increased until now he owns five hundred and twenty acres, and there from reaps a good income. Mr. Eastburn has had to make his own way in the world, but he has overcome the obstacles and difficulties in his path, and with determination and enterprise has steadily worked his way upward, accumulating a handsome competence. His duties of citizenship are faithfully performed, and he has ever borne his part in the work of progress and advancement. Those who have known him from boyhood are numbered among his stanchest friends, a fact which indicates the honorable and upright life which he has led.
JOHN H. KARR, an extensive farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 4, Concord Township, and has the honor of being a native of Iroquois County. He was born in the township which is still his home, on the 5th of April, 1843, and is one of a family of four children born unto Robert and Caroline (Strickler) Karr. The Karrs are of Scotch-Irish descent. The grandfather of our subject, Adam Carr, crossed the broad Atlantic and located in Erie, Pa., where he was made Justice of the Peace. The Governor, in preparing his commission, spelled his name with a K instead of a C, and the mistake has never yet been corrected. In later years, Adam Karr emigrated to Brown County, Ohio, where he carried on a distillery. There Robert Karr, father of our subject, was born.
In 1833, the grandfather of our subject came with his family to Illinois, locating near Danville, Vermilion County, where he obtained land and engaged in agricultural pursuits for about three years. He then sold out and came to Concord Township, Iroquois County, purchasing a very large tract of land, so that he was able to give each of his seven children a farm, and the Karr neighborhood was known far and wide. Robert Karr was married in this county to Miss Strickler, who was born in Page County, Va., and came to Illinois with her parents when about sixteen years of age. They began their domestic life upon a farm, and he successfully followed agriculture for many years. He was a prominent citizen in the community and held a number of local offices. In politics, he was a supporter of Republican principles. All of his children are yet residents of Concord Township. Two of his sons served in the army, our subject and Marion.
John H. Karr, whose name heads this record, was reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life upon his father's farm, and was early inured to hard labor. He acquired a good common-school education, and it was his intention to attend college in Greencastle, Ind. At the age of eighteen, he started for that place, but on reaching Sheldon his patriotism asserted itself, and he enlisted in Company A, Seventy-sixth Illinois Regiment, which was assigned to the Department of the Mississippi and the Gulf. He saw service in eight Southern States and was in many battles, including Hatchie River, Jackson Cross Roads, the siege of Vicksburg, Champion Hill (where he received a slight flesh wound), and Ft. Blakely (Ala.) During the last year he served as Dispatch Orderly for Gen. Steele. At Jackson Roads his horse was shot and fell upon him, and again at Champion Hill, where he was severely injured. After more than three years of faithful service, he was mustered out in Galveston, Tex., August 22, 1865, and received his discharge in Chicago.
Mr. Karr's army life put an end to his schooldays and soon after he returned from the war he began farming on his own account. In 1866, he married Miss Jemima Britton, of Rensselaer, Ind., and unto them were born four children, but the two daughters are now deceased. The sons, Charles and Fred, still reside with their father. His wife died in June, 1878, and on the 17th of April, 1879, Mr. Karr was joined in wedlock with Miss Ellen Dygert, daughter of Henry and Laura (Peck) Dygert, who formerly resided in this county, but are now residents of Kane County, Ill. Four children grace this union; Earl, Mark, Kittie and Grace.
After his first marriage, Mr. Karr worked by the month for a year, and then, purchasing a team, engaged in the operation of a rented farm until he had accumulated some capital, when he made his first purchase of land. This was in 1875, and he became the owner of one hundred and twenty acres, constituting a part of his home farm. He has since bought other land and, in connection with Mark Ayres, of Chicago, now owns seven hundred acres. He is extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising, and in his business dealings has met with excellent success, working his way upward from a humble position to one of wealth and affluence. His prosperity is well deserved.
In political sentiment, Mr. Karr is a stalwart Republican, and is now serving his eighth term as Supervisor of his township. For eight years he served as School Trustee, for a number of years has been School Director, and has done effective service in the interest of education Socially, he is a Mason, having been connected with that fraternity since 1868, and has filled all the chairs except that of Master. He has also been a representative to the Grand Lodge several times, and is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. His residence in this county covers almost half a century, and he has therefore witnessed the greater part of its growth and upbuilding, and has aided in its development and advancement, ever faithfully performing his duties of citizenship. In reviewing the life of Mr. Karr, we see that it has been well spent, and in presenting this sketch to our readers we record the life work of a valued citizen, a prosperous farmer and an honored pioneer.
PAUL HENRY WOLGAST, of the firm of Wolgast & Wolgast, is a merchant of Danforth, Ill. He is a native of Germany, and was born in Holstein, July 31, 1849. He is a son of Jochan H. Wolgast, a native of the same place. The father there was reared, and married Margaret Wilkin, since arriving at mature he has engaged in agricultural pursuits in Germany, where he still resides. Our subject is the eldest of a family consisting of two sons and four daughters.
Mr. Wolgast, of this sketch, received good school advantages in the German language, and since coming to this country has acquired a knowledge of English through his reading and observation. Determining to seek his fortune in the New World, he bade adieu to his friends and relatives and in 1871 started from Hamburg and crossed the Atlantic in thirteen days. He landed in New York on the 2d of September, 1871, and came immediately West to Chicago. For about two years he engaged in gardening near that city, and at the end of that time removed to Ashkum, where he engaged in business, remaining there for about two years. After he had been in the latter place about one year, he carried on farming for the same length of time. In 1875, he came to Danforth and engaged in merchandising. In addition to this business he has carried on a farm for about twelve years. He now has a good stock of general merchandise and drugs, and has built up an extensive trade. The firm well merits the large patronage they enjoy, as they keep the best goods and have a large selection of the same at moderate prices.
Mr. Wolgast was united in marriage at Ashkum, in April, 1875, with Miss Louisa Kryder, who was born in Illinois, the place of her birth being Naperville, Cook County, where she was reared and educated. She is a daughter of Charles Kryder, of that place. To our subject and his wife have been born eight children, of whom four sons and two daughters are now living: John, Frank, William, Mabel, Carrie and Orval. Amy, a child of four years, and an infant daughter, Gussie, are now deceased.
Since he has been a voter, Mr. Wolgast has been identified with the Democratic party, and his friends and acquaintances have many times called upon him to serve in official positions requiring such fidelity and ability as are among his chief characteristics he is now one of the Danforth Trustees, and in that position has served to the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens. He is a member of the German Lutheran Church, in which he is an active worker. He is a member of the Druids' lodge of Gilman. For about eighteen years, Mr. Wolgast has been a resident of Danforth, and is well known in Gilman and throughout the county as a man who well deserves the respect and esteem which his fellow-citizens and friends have for him. He has ever been active in all measures pertaining to the good and welfare of this community and State, and for his worth and noble character well deserves to be remembered in this brief sketch.
Such a journey, with its accompanying privations and discomforts, can hardly be imagined in these days of steam and electricity, that provide menus of rail transit which would have been considered incredible in those early days. They opened up two farms in Michigan, and there they lived for several years, the mother spending her last days there. She was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, and her death was widely regretted.
Our subject is the second in a family of five children, consisting of four sons and one daughter. He received his education in the old-time school, which furnished such limited advantages. His first money was earned by digging potatoes for a neighbor, and that was credited to his father. In the winter of 1839, he taught school across the line in Livingston County, Ill., where the refractory pupils had the previous session of school driven the teacher away; but he was not so easily discouraged and overcome, and he promptly brought to terms the chief mischief-makers, and thereby won the confidence and obedience of all.
He continued in that business until 1866, when he took the agency for the Manney reaper for the territory of Southern Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1867, he turned his attention to the real-estate business in Chicago, which he carried on quite extensively until 1875. The following year, he came to Iroquois County and purchased six hundred and twenty acres in Danforth Township. The farm was in an unimproved condition, but by judicious tiling and ditching and the erection of good buildings, he has brought it to its present condition of being one of the best kept and most fertile farms in the county. In 1878 our subject, in company with W. C. and C. G. McDougall and George W. Decker and others, started the enterprise of cutting a ditch from Prairie to Spring Creek, thus giving a short outlet for this entire flat county. That was the first extensive effort to furnish a system of drainage, and to this work Mr. Chapman gave the effort and money. Contracts were let for ditches averaging from four to eight feet in depth and forty feet wide, surface measure. As soon as water would run, they put a riding-plow in the ditch and teams on each bank. Mr. Chapman managed the plow, and often rode in water up to his armpits. Day after day, he worked in that soaked condition until the completion of the ditch. Nothing has done more to add to the value of land in this section, and the man who with such perseverance pushed the enterprise deserve much credit.
Politically, Mr. Chapman was a Whig in former times, later an Abolitionist, and since the war a Republican. His first vote was cast for William Henry Harrison of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" fame. He has never sought office, but has evinced ample ability to fill any local office, could he be induced to accept it. He is always in the from it ranks concerning any question for the welfare of the community, and takes an active interest in political measures. He is a Unitarian in faith, while his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Our worthy subject and his wife have one son, Arms S., who is a reporter on the Graphic, of Chicago. Mr. Chapman removed from his farm to the town of Gilman in 1890, where he has a comfortable and pleasant home. He is a constant reader of the best literature, and is a man exceptionally well informed on all the leading questions of the day and able to express his ideas in a forcible and interesting manner. He believes a wife's property should remain in her own right and title, and that statutes should be made to protect the same. During his many years' residence in this county, he has made a wide circle of friends, who esteem him for his strict integrity and honorable career.
MARTIN BURNHAM, one of the enterprising farmers of Martinton Township, now makes his home on section 12, where he has carried on agricultural pursuits for several years. He is one of the early settlers of this township, and is one of the substantial and representative citizens of Iroquois County.
Mr. Burnham is a native of Vermont, having been born in Orange County, that State, on the 21st of February, 1828, and is a son of David Burnham, who was also born in the same county, in 1802. The father was a son of Hon. Enoch Burnham, a native of Connecticut, born on the 17th of June, 1776. The Burnham family came to this country in an early day, settling in New England. There were three brothers who crossed the Atlantic in 1635, one locating in Massachusetts, and the others in New Hampshire and Connecticut. Their descendants became prominent citizens of the communities in which they resided, and several members served in the Revolutionary War. David Burnham was reared to manhood in the Green Mountain State, and there married Miss Betsy Olds, who was also born in Vermont. He remained on the old homestead where his father had settled when a boy of eleven years. He took quite an active part in local politics, and held several official positions of honor and trust. In June, 1875, he was called to his final rest, dying at the age of seventy-three. His wife departed this life in 1862, when fifty-nine years of age.
Our subject is the third in order of birth in a family of nine children, four sons and three daughters, who grew to mature years. They are as follows: Elisha K., a resident farmer of Vermont; Lora, wife of Dennison Kinsman, of Iowa; Martin; Marcus makes his home in Waupaca, Wis.; Emma resides in Vermont; Luthera is the wife of Henry B. Howard, of the same State; Rosetta, wife of Caleb P. Waldo, of Vermont; Martha E., deceased, was the wife of Winslow Avery, of Plymouth, Mass., and Henry P., the youngest, was a soldier in the late war, and was killed at the battle of Cedar Creek, in 1864.
Martin Burnham passed his boyhood days on the home farm, and in his native State received a good common-school education, which was supplemented by a course in the Thetford Academy. He afterward engaged in teaching for two winters, but in 1849 went to Wisconsin. In Chicago he engaged in carpentering for a few months, although he had never learned that trade, but was always very handy with tools. After six months, in 1850, he started for California, in company with Capt. M. Findley, an old associate of John C. Fremont. On his way to the Pacific Slope, he went to Independence, Mo., where he purchased a lot of oxen, mules and horses. The trip across the plains consumed three and a-half months, they arriving at their destination on the 20th of August, 1850. Mr. Burnham engaged in mining for about two years, and was reasonably successful. While there he rode a mule to Portland, Ore., where he purchased a herd of cows, which he drove back to California. He returned home by way of the Nicaragua route and New York.
On the 2d of November, 1853, Mr. Burnham was united in marriage with Miss Martha Martin, a native of Orange County, Vt., and a daughter of Porter Martin, one of the pioneers of that State, who was from Connecticut. Our subject purchased the farm of his father-in-law, and there engaged in farming and dairying for ten years. He then sold his farm in 1864 and came to Illinois, settling in Iroquois County. Here he bought two hundred and twenty acres of slightly improved land, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation. He has added to his original farm, and now has three hundred and twenty acres of fine land. On the home place are two good residences, barns, and other outbuildings.
With the Republican party Mr. Burnham has been identified many years, having cast his first vote for John C. Fremont, and is a stanch supporter of its principles. He has held a number of public offices, and takes a prominent part in politics. He has served as Supervisor, Road Commissioner, and as a member of the School Board. He is greatly interested in the common schools, and does all in his power to secure good teachers and promote educational interests.
Unto our subject and his estimable wife have been born two sons. Frank H. received a good education, and on attaining his majority was united in marriage with Miss Sylvia Wilson, a daughter of Alexander Wilson, one of the honored pioneers of Watseka. She was born in this county, and received her education in the schools of Watseka. She afterward taught school. They have become the parents of three children: Clarence M., Henry C. and Grace. The father of these children still resides in Iroquois County, and is carrying on the home farm. The other son, Porter M., is now deceased, having died on the 19th of March, 1888, and he is buried in Martin Cemetery, where a monument marks his last resting-place. He was married to a sister of his brother's wife, and unto them was born a daughter, Bertha A.
Mr. Burnham and his wife removed to Watseka in December, 1879, leaving their sons to carry on the home farm, but after two years they came back to the old homestead, which has since been their home. They have now lived in this community for twenty-eight years, and have taken a prominent part in its growth and upbuilding. Mr. Burnham is a man of sterling worth and upright character, and has the esteem of the entire community, and well deserves representation in his adopted county.
ABSALOM O. EDISON, a representative farmer and stock-raiser of Martinton Township, residing on section 24, is one of the early settlers of the county and well deserves representation in its history among its prominent citizens. His life record is as follows: He was born in Vienna, Canada, November 25, 1830, and is a son of David Edison, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1798, on the peninsula near St. Johns. When a child the latter went with his father, Samuel Edison, to Ontario, and became one of the early settlers of the locality in which he made his home. Samuel Edison was an officer in the British army and received a grant of land from the Government, which he, located in Canada amidst a vast wilderness. He there opened up a farm and reared his family.
David Edison, the father of our subject, was there reared and married, the lady of his choice being Miss Fannie White, who was born in Lockport, N. Y., in 1801, and was a daughter of Henry White, who afterward removed to Canada. After his marriage, David Edison located on a farm in his native county, but in 1839 came to the United States, locating in Chicago when it was a mere hamlet. After a year he removed to McHenry County, Ill., becoming one of the old and honored pioneers of that county. He there entered land from the Government and opened up a farm, upon which he made his home until 1862. In that year he sold his farm and removed to Kankakee, where he again bought land, making his home there for a few years, when he came to Iroquois County and was a resident of Martinton Township until his death, which occurred in 1886. His remains were interred in Martinton Cemetery, where a beautiful monument marks his last resting-place. His wife died two years later and was laid by the side of her husband. For many years Mr. Edison was a prominent member and exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a man of many excellencies of character.
A. O. Edison, whose name heads this record, came to Illinois with his father when a lad of nine years and was reared to manhood in this State. When only fifteen years of age he began to earn his own livelihood, being employed in a flouring mill in McHenry County, where he remained for some time. He learned the business very thoroughly and afterward he entered the machine shops, where he spent three years, becoming an expert machinist. He afterward went to Wisconsin and later South to Mississippi, locating in Natchez, where he remained from December, 1852, until the following June, when he returned North to Illinois. He then secured work with the Illinois Central Railroad Company as a bridge-builder, and to that work devoted his time and attention for several mouths. It was in 1857 that he came to this county and embarked in carpentering. He followed contracting and building for several years, and a number of houses now stand as monuments to his skill and handiwork. After following that occupation for about ten years, he removed to his present location and for a time carried. On carpentering in connection with farming.
On the 9th of November, 1862, Mr. Edison was joined in wedlock with Miss Emily Jane Holmes, a native of Westford, Otsego County, N. Y., and a daughter of Calvin Holmes, who died in the Empire State. She is highly educated, a lady of culture and refinement, and previous to her marriage engaged in teaching both in New York and Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Edison have been born two children: Cyrus Holmes, who is now married and engages in the operation of the home farm; and Libbie, a teacher of recognized ability in this county. They also lost one child who died in infancy.
Mr. Edison cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont. He then affiliated with the Democratic party for a number of years, after which he withdrew his allegiance from political organizations and is now independent, voting for the man whom he thinks will best fill the office, regardless of party affiliations. His fellow-townsmen, appreciating his worth and ability, have called upon him to serve in various official positions. He was Commissioner of Highways, has served as Constable, was Justice of the Peace three terms, and for fifteen years has been Assessor, serving as such for twelve consecutive years. For about twenty years he has been a member of the School Board, and the cause of education finds in him a warm friend. He does all in his power for its advancement and has done much for the excellence of the schools in this community his wife is a member of the Baptist Church and is a most estimable lady. Mr. Edison holds membership with the Masome fraternity, belonging to the Blue Lodge and Chapter. He is a valued citizen, public-spirited and progressive, and a man of sterling worth and integrity, and is an own cousin to the great inventor, Prof. Thomas A. Edison, who has a world-wide reputation. For thirty-six years he has made his home in the county and well deserves honorable mention in its history.
KLAAS KREMER, a farmer of Danforth Township, was one of the first settlers of the township. He is a native of Holland, where his birth occurred January 11, 1834. He is a son of Garned and Outkje (Rasmus) Kremer, both of Dutch birth. The father was a farmer by occupation, and reared his family and spent his life in his native land.
Our subject grew to manhood in Holland and received a good common school education in his native tongue. In English he has been almost wholly self-educated since arriving in this country. In 1862, Mr. Kremer was united in marriage with Fannie Poter, also a Hollander by birth. For several years subsequent to his marriage he followed agricultural pursuits for a livelihood. In 1867, he emigrated to the New World, taking passage in a steam vessel at London which was bound for New York. He was about twenty-two days crossing the broad Atlantic and had a pleasant voyage. He arrived in New York May 3, and immediately went West to Chicago. From there he came to Gilman, and remained in the town for about two weeks. He then located at Danforth, then a village which contained but one store. For about two years he worked by the month, and with his carefully hoarded earnings bought a team and rented land, where he farmed for himself. For a number of years he rented a farm and was quite successful. He then purchased land near Gilman, located on that place and engaged in agricultural pursuits for several years. At the expiration of that period he sold his property and purchased the farm where he now resides. He now has about sixty-five acres which are situated in the corporation limits of Danforth. He has well improved his place and built a good residence, barns and other farm buildings. He also has a windmill and other modern farm machinery. He has a good orchard of select fruit and in every respect his is a well-ordered and well-conducted farm.
To our worthy subject and his wife four children have been born: Hattie is the wife of Herman Benzema, of Danforth; John is married and also resides here; Isaac is a young man still under the parental roof, as is the youngest, George. These children have all received the advantages of a good education and were thus fitted to participate in the active duties of life. Mr. and Mrs. Kremer are members of the Dutch Reformed Church.
For twenty-five years, Mr. Kremer has lived in Iroquois County and is well known throughout this section as a man of honor and reliability. By his upright course and the fidelity with which he discharges his duties of citizenship he has won the esteem and high regard of all with whom he has come in contact. In his political sentiments he is a supporter of the Republican party and cast his first ballot for President for Gen. U. S. Grant. He has never sought or held official positions but has given his entire time, energy and attention to business interests. He has ever been a hearty supporter of educational measures and is an advocate of good public schools. He served for six years as a member of the School Board in Gilman. He is liberal in support of those enterprises which tend to advance the best interests of the community and is ever ready to aid in the promotion of any undertaking which tends to elevate mankind.
GEORGE C. SMITH, who is extensively engaged in farming land stock-raising in Stockland Township, is the owner of a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres on sections 30 and 32. He was born in Washington County, Md., July 18, 1846, and on the paternal side is of German descent. His father, George Smith, was a native of Germany. In early life, he crossed the briny deep, and, locating in Maryland, there became acquainted with and married Miss Araminta Eigenbrode, a native of that State. Five children were born unto them but three are new deceased, Mary, Martin and Aaron. The two now living are our subject and his sister Sarah. The family having removed to Indiana, the mother died near Pleasant Hill, Montgomery County, that State in 1853. The following year, George Smith, Sr., was again married, the lady of his choice being Julia Ann Moore, of Montgomery County. Of the five children born of that marriage, four are yet living: Philip, Leander, Araminta and Joel. Amanda, the third in order of birth, died in 1890, in Oklahoma. Mrs. Julia Ann Smith was called to her final rest in Sullivan County, Mo., in 1867. Mr. Smith afterward returned to Illinois with his family, and in 1868 married Mrs. South of Ash Grove Township, Iroquois County. They then removed to Missouri, where the father of our subject died in 1881. His widow is now a resident of the State of Washington.
George C. Smith, whose name heads this record, accompanied his parents on their removal to Indiana, when quite a young lad. He also went with the family to Missouri, and returned with them to this county, where he has since resided.
On the 26th of March, 1872, he married Miss Henrietta Crane, daughter of David B. and Catherine (Stewart) Crane, of Stockland Township. Ten children have been born of their union, namely: George D., born February 8, 1873; Cora E., June 18, 1874; Arthur E., August 27, 1875; , November 24, 1876; Carrie A., June 13, 1880; Mary G.; April 30, 1881; Oscar W., December 10, 1882; Roy A., April 18, 1885; Nellie M., June 22, 1887; and Lester, November 1, 1891. Though the family is large, but one death has entered the home circle. On June 29, 1892, while going with a cultivator to the field, Arthur E. met with a fatal accident. By some means he was thrown from the plow, his head going between the fenders and his body falling across the left beam, breaking his neck and causing instant death
In December, 1873, Mr. Smith removed to the farm owned by his father-in-law, seven miles southeast of Milford, and after operating it for three years purchased eighty acres of land of Mr. Crane, his present home, which is located on section 32, Stockland Township. Since then, he has purchased forty acres more on section 30. In addition to the cultivation of his own land, he has leased and operates one hundred and eighty acres in Stockland Township, and one hundred and fifty-five acres in Prairie Green Township. He is a practical and progressive farmer, and the large business which he carries on yields to him an excellent income. In addition to general farming, he engages quite extensively in stock-raising, making a specialty of the breeding of fine horses and hogs. He possesses good business ability, which, combined with well-directed efforts and perseverance, has won him a well-deserved success. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen and the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association.
The cause of temperance finds in Mr. Smith a warm friend, and he votes with the Prohibition party, which embodies his views on that question. Himself, wife and three children are members of the Christian Church. He does all in his power for the advancement of educational and moral interests, and is found in the front rank of every worthy enterprise. He is not only classed among the substantial farmers of the community, but is recognized as one of the valued citizens of Stockland Township. April 24, 1864, he enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, and served five months and ten days, when he was honorably discharged. He is a member of Vennum Post No. 471, G. A. R., of Milford.
JOHN LEMON BAILEY, who resides on section 12, Belmont Township, is one of the prominent early settlers of the county. He has here made his home for thirty-seven years, his residence dating from 1855. He was born in Scott County, Ky., February 14, 1819, and is of English descent. His grandfather was a native of England, but emigrated to America in the Colonial days, and aided the Colonies in their struggle for independence. Crossing the mountains with pack animals from Virginia, he settled in Kentucky, and there spent the remainder of his life.
George William Bailey, the father of our subject, was born in Virginia, and when a young man went with his parents to Kentucky. He served in the War of 1812, fought in the Battle of Ft. Meigs, and participated in the battle of Tippecanoe under Gen. William Henry Harrison. He removed to Rush County, Ind., and afterward located near Anderson, Madison County, where his death occurred at the age of seventy-eight years. He was married in Kentucky to Sarah Lemon, a native of Pennsylvania, whose parents were born in Scotland. She departed this life prior to the death of her husband. By their union, two sons and seven daughters were born, but our subject is the only one now living. The father was a second time married, and two daughters were born. In his later years George W. Bailey engaged in preaching. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was zealous in Sunday-school and temperance work. His influence was ever exerted in behalf of the night, and the world is better for his having lived. In politics, he was a Whig.
John L. Bailey, whose name heads this record, spent the first sixteen years of his life in his native State, and then accompanied his parents to Indiana. His education was acquired in the subscription and public schools. He was early inured to hard labor, and helped to clear a timbered farm in Indiana and make rails. Under the parental roof he remained until twenty-two years of age, when, in Madison County, Ind., he was united in marriage with Rebecca Kelley, who was born in Virginia. With their six children they came to Illinois in 1855, and Mr. Bailey purchased eighty acres of land, a part of his present farm. Their home was a log cabin, 14x16 feet, and for twelve miles east there was no settlement. All kinds of wild game were plentiful, and wolves made the night hideous with their howling. In connection with general farming, our subject engaged in raising sheep and horses, and won for himself a comfortable competence.
In 1869, Mr. Bailey was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 3d of December, at the age of forty-eight, and was buried in Belmont cemetery. In her fifteenth year she united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a faithful and devoted member. The children of the family are as fellows: Ivan L., born in Indiana, is now a sewing-machine agent of Watseka. He is a preeminent citizen, and twice served as Treasurer of the county. During the late war, he enlisted as a member of the Fifty-first Illinois Infantry, and was made First Lieutenant. At the battle of Franklin, the third in which he engaged, he was wounded, and as a result is a cripple for life. George W., who was also made a cripple during his service for the Union, is now engaged in carpentering in Missouri. Sarah is the wife of Robert Danner, who resides near the old homestead. John L., who married Maggie Ronnie, was formerly a farmer, but is now a real-estate dealer in Greenfield, Ind. Jennie is the wife of Henry S. Purgit, a resident farmer in Belmont Township. Mary Ellen, who was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died December 12, 1877, at the age of twenty-three years. William is a carpenter of Kankakee. Mahlon J. is famous for his skill as a wrestler, and is now in the West. Minnie, born July 27, 1861, became the wife of Charles Zumwalt, and died May 30, 1891. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Bailey married Hannah Lyman, who was born in Stark County, Ohio, September 2, 1831, and at the age of five years came to Illinois with her parents, who were pioneer settlers of this county. She was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was called to her reward September 23, 1891.
In politics, Mr. Bailey was first a Whig and afterward a Republican. He cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and by his last ballot supported Hon. Benjamin Harrison. With the club of veterans who voted for the grandfather, he went to visit our present Chief Executive at his home in Indianapolis in 1888. He has served as School Director and Road Commissioner, but has never been an office-seeker. At the age of twenty-seven, he united with the Methodist Church, and has served as its Class-leader; he gives liberally to its support, and ever takes an active part in Sunday-school and church work. The poor and needy find in him a friend, and he is ever ready to extend a helping hand. He is charitable and benevolent, and is one of Nature's noblemen.
F. P. JOHNSON, M. D., a successful physician and surgeon of Iroquois and one of its prominent citizens, was born in Mazon, Grundy County, Ill., March 4, 1856, and Is the fifth in order of birth in a family of nine children. His father, M. Johnson, is a native of Uniontown, Pa. He wedded Miss Mary Preston, who was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and on the 19th of April, 1892, they celebrated their golden wedding, having traveled life's journey together as man and wife for a half-century. They are now residents of Mazon and are highly respected people. Mr. Johnson is a self-made man, who by his own well-directed efforts has accumulated considerable property. In politics, he is a stanch Republican and takes quite an active interest in political and public affairs, supporting all enterprises calculated to promote the general welfare.
The Doctor spent days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm and in the common schools acquired a good English education, which was supplemented by study in the Rock River Seminary and the public schools, and Normal and Scientific School, of Morris, Ill. At the age of nineteen years, he embarked in the profession of teaching, which he followed for about four years during the winter season. He was first employed in the country schools, but afterward secured a position in the villages. At the age of twenty-four years, he began reading medicine and studied at home until he was well versed in materia medica. He then entered the Chicago Medical College, and was graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago in February, 1885, after which he located in Iroquois, but as theme were already two physicians in this plate he concluded to try some other locality. For three years he was located in Mazon, and in Benton County, Ind. On the expiration of that time, he returned to Iroquois and again opened an office, and has since enjoyed a large and lucrative practice. While in Mazon. He served as local physician for the Atchison & Sante Fe Railroad.
On the 6th of September, 1885, Dr. Johnson led to the marriage altar Miss Minnie, daughter of Dr. A. T. and Elizabeth (Wright) Crozier. By their union have been born two children, a son and a daughter: Maurice, born in Earl Park, Ind., December 15, 1886; and Nellie M., born in Iroquois, November 20, 1891. The Doctor and his wife rank high in social circles and throughout the community have many warm friends and acquaintances who hold them in high regard.
In his social relations, Dr. Johnson is a Mason and also belongs to the Modern Woodmen. He was reared as a Republican in politics but is now identified with the Prohibition party. While in Benton County, Ind., he was elected Coroner on the Republican ticket but resigned his position on account of his removal from that place. He has served as Chairman of the Congressional Committee of the Prohibition party, is now a member of the County Central Committee, has frequently served as a delegate to the county and district conventions and was once a delegate to the State convention. The Doctor is a member of the Christian Church and is recognized as one of Iroquois' best citizens, taking an active and commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. He is recognized as a skillful physician and a liberal patronage is his.
JOHN C. GILES, a leading farmer of section 2, Douglas Township, Iroquois County, was born in North Peoria, Ill., December 29, 1844. He is a son of William and Louisa Anna Giles. His grandfather, Thomas Giles, was an English soldier and was one of the British guards during the trip of the banished Napoleon to the island of St. Helena. His wife, Ann Giles, was of English birth. On leaving the English service, he left his native land and sailed for America in 1827. After spending four years in Utica, N. Y. he removed to Richland, Oswego County, of the same State. In 1836, he with his family went to Peoria, where he purchased eighty acres now included in North Peoria. In order to fence his land, he placed a straw band on his pony's back, on which he balanced rails, thus transporting them to the desired place. With a mattock he dug up three acres for his first crop. Both he and his wife spent their last days on the farm which they had purchased many years before.
The father of our subject accompanied his parents to Peoria in 1836, and there he married his wife, who bore the name of Kaiser before marriage. She was a native of Louisiana and of German descent. Her parents died when she was quite young and with friends she came to Peoria. Our subject's father was a farmer and brick manufacturer. He has the distinction of making the first brick which was made in Peoria. Many of that city's best buildings were built of the brick of his manufacture. He has witnessed its growth from a few houses to its present thrifty dimensions. Politically, he is a Republican, and has held the office of Collector of Peoria and has also served as School Trustee. His wife's death secured at the age of thirty-three years, leaving four sons and two daughters, of whom three are now living, as follows: our subject; Thomas, a merchant of North Peoria; and Nathan, a farmer of Champaign. In later life, the father married Ann Uphoff, a native of Germany, unite whom were born eight children, five sons and three daughters. In 1849, he went by ox-team to Lawson's Ranche, Cal., taking six months for the journey. He was gone for some two years and mined successfully, he crossed the Mississippi River on the ice. He is still living, at the age of seventy-fount years, in North Peoria.
Mr. Giles, the subject of this sketch, spent his boyhood days on a farm and in his father's brick-yard, receiving such education, as was afforded by the common schools. When twenty-one years of age, he started in life for himself on a farm which he had rented. This he did for a time and then farmed for his father for a period of three years. He purchased eighty acres of farming land in Princeville Township, Peoria County, where he farmed until 1887, and then purchased and removed to his present farm of two hundred acres. There was not a tile on the place when he bought it and he now has the reputation of having one of the best-drained farms in Douglas Township, for he has placed in his land about forty-five thousand tiles, thus vastly improving and increasing its value.
Mr. Giles was united in wedlock with Miss Almyra Russell, a native of Peoria County, December 17, 1868. Her parents emigrated from Pennsylvania to that county in 1840. Her father, Ebenezer Russell, was born in Lawrence County, Pa., November 15, 1811. When eighteen years of age, he left the parental roof and went to Fredericksburg, Ohio. He was married in the year 1834, to Edith Emery, also a native of the Keystone State, and followed agricultural pursuits in Ohio until his removal to Illinois he and his estimable wife are still living in Peoria County. Mrs. Giles is one of thirteen children, of whom three sons and four daughters are yet living. Unto our worthy subject and his wife have been born four children: Emery W., Hattie May, Arthur Ebenezer and John Ernest. Mrs. Giles is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of La Hogue. Mr. Giles is a supporter of the Republican party and has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his time and energy to matters of business. Socially, he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a successful farmer and has won for himself a fair measure of success and prosperity by his own well-directed efforts.
SAMUEL HAZEL, a retired farmer now residing on section 32, Prairie Green Township, is a native of the Buckeye State. He was born near Fredericksburg, Wayne County, Ohio, on the 5th of July, 1825. His father, Hugh Hazel, was a native of Delaware and was of Irish extraction. On attaining to years of maturity he wedded Miss Ruth Kerns, and unto them were born twelve children, as follows: James, Samuel, Sarah, George W., Isaac G., Hugh, William, John, Abram, Eli, Charles and Elizabeth. The father was a farmer and carpenter by occupation, following these two pursuits through much of his business career. He is still living in Medina County, Ohio, at the very advanced age of ninety-nine years. His wife was called to her final rest on the 30th of August, 1849.
The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood upon his fathers farm. His school privileges were very limited, in fact he is self-educated. When he was a lad of thirteen years, he accompanied his parents on their removal to Ashland, Ashland County, Ohio, where he remained for about ten years. He left the parental roof at the age of twenty-two and started out in life to earn his own livelihood. He first hired out to work as a farm hand and was thus employed for a year, his wages being only $7 per month, he then made a purchase of fifty acres of land in Ashland County, Ohio, at $7 per acre and began the development of a farm. This tract was covered with heavy timber and it was no easy task to clear and improve it. A year later he moved to Mercer County, where he lived a year. Until 1866 he farmed in Van Wert County, when he went to North Amherst, Lorain County, Ohio, and purchased a combined steam grist and saw mill. He there remained two years, carrying on business in that line, after which he left the State of his nativity and came to Illinois, in 1868.
Long previous to this, Mr. Hazel was married. On the 9th of November, 1847, he was joined in wedlock to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of John and Catherine Heiffner. The lady was born February 10, 1825, in Ashland, Ohio. By their union were born the following children: John B., now a practicing physician of Claypool, Ind.; Samuel E., who is engaged in farming in Lawrence County, Ill.; Tabitha C., wife of Henry Seamen, a farmer residing in Prairie Green Township; Edward, who died in infancy; Cornelius, who died in 1875, and Charles E., who completes the family. He resides at home and operates the farm for his father.
On coming to this State, Mr. Hazel located in Prairie Green Township, Iroquois County, where he purchased two hundred acres of unimproved land, on sections 27 and 34. With characteristic energy he began its development, transferring it into rich and fertile fields, and adding one hundred and sixty more to it, and there he made his home until 1883. In that year he purchased one hundred and twenty-five acres of land, his presence home making an aggregate of four hundred and energy five acres. It is all under a high state of cultivation and well supplied with all the improvements and accessories of a model farm. Of late years he has lived retired, while his son manages the business. His life has been a busy and useful one, and by his enterprise, good management and industry he has risen to a position of wealth and affluence and is now enjoying a well-earned rest. In politics he is a supporter of Democratic principles, having affiliated with that party since casting his first Presidential vote for Polk. For a time he was the only Democrat in his township, so far as known. He has held the office of School Director in his district for fifteen years, was Road Commissioner one year and Justice of the Peace six years. His public duties are ever discharged with promptness and fidelity and he is one of the valued citizens of the community. Mrs. Hazel has been a member of the United Brethren Church from childhood.
ANDREW JACKSON LYMAN, a well-known and leading farmer of Martinton Township, residing on section 35, claims Stark County, Ohio, as the place of his birth, which occurred on the 7th of July, 1837. The paternal grandfather, John Lyman, was a native of Germany, and when a young man emigrated to America. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was married and for some years resided in Pennsylvania, after which he emigrated to Ohio, locating in Stark County, where he reared his family. The father of our subject, John Lyman, Jr., was a native of the Keystone State and in Ohio grew to manhood. He married Sarah Baum, who was born in Pennsylvania, of German parentage, and in 1840 he emigrated with his family to Illinois, locating in old Middleport, being among its earliest settlers. The next year his death occurred. His wife afterward married Jonathan Lyman, a brother of her first husband, and her death occurred when our subject was a lad of thirteen years.
When the Lyman family came to this county Indians were still very numerous in the settlement, and all the hardships and privations of Pioneer life were to be borne. There were few white people and these were widely scattered. Wheat and corn were ground in a coffee-mill, for Chicago was the nearest market and the farm products were drawn to that place with ox-teams, the journey consuming about a week's time. In the usual manner of farmer lads our subject passed his boyhood and youth. After his mother's death he remained with his stepfather until sixteen years of age. Previous to this time he had had no educational privileges, but he now attended school through two winter terms. He also learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for a few years, and afterward worked by the month as a farm hand for Thomas Y. Yates. He then purchased a half-interest in a breaking team and engaged in breaking prairie and threshing until, having accumulated some capital by his industry and economy, he purchased a forty-acre tract of land. This was in 1852. He at once broke and improved the land, the same upon which the village of Pittwood is now located, and engaged in farming until after the breaking out of the late war.
A marriage ceremony performed on the 21st of December, 1860, united the destinies of Mr. Lyman and Miss Elmira, daughter of Joel Brandenburg. Inn August, 1862, Mr. Lyman bade good-bye to his young wife and entered the service of his county as a member of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry. He served mostly on detached duty, and at length was discharged, in 1863, on account of physical disability. After receiving his discharge, he returned home and the following year resumed farming, but was soon afflicted by partial blindness, from which he suffered for twelve years. In the meantime, however, his farm was operated by others. At length, he sold that place and purchased the one on which he now resides in 1875. It then comprised one hundred and twenty acres of raw prairie, but it now comprises one hundred and twenty acres of well-tilled land, highly cultivated and improved with a good residence, barns and other accessories of a model farm.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lyman have been born seven children, but they lost their eldest, Frank, who died on the 22d of March, 1885; Cora is the wife of S. P. Shaw, of Colorado; Alta, Mary C., Kittie and Ida P. are at home; John T., a lad of ten years, completes the family.
Mr. Lyman cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas, and has since supported every Presidential nominee of the Democratic party since that time. He has held a number of local offices and been honored with several positions of public trust. He is now serving as Road Commissioner, which position he has filled for sixteen consecutive years to the credit of himself and the satisfaction of his constituents. He has been a member of the School Board for a quarter of a century and has done effective service for the advancement of the schools and their upbuilding and improvement. He is a public-spirited and progressive citizen, who manifests an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community. Almost his entire life Inns here been passed and his friends throughout the county are many.
LYMAN A. BENJAMIN, a substantial farmer owning farms on sections 14 and 23, in Township 27, West Danforth Township, has been for twenty-eight years a resident of Iroquois County, and is well known throughout this section. He is a native of New York, his birth having occurred in Jefferson County, July 18, 1829. He is a son of William Benjamin, who was born July 8, 1800, in the same State and county. The grandfather of our subject, Jonas Benjamin, was born in Woodstock, Vt., and was a drummer boy and soldier in the War of the Revolution. This family was among the early settlers of New England. Jonas Benjamin removed from Vermont to New York and settled in Jefferson County, then a wilderness. There his son grew to manhood and married Charlotte Welsh, a native of Jefferson County She was a daughter of Charles Welsh, one of the pioneers of that county. Her brother, Charles Welsh, Jr., was the first white child born in Jefferson County. After his marriage, Mr. Benjamin cleared and made a farm in New York, and here reared his family and spent the remainder of his life. He died at the age of sixty-seven years, in February, 1867. His wife survived him several years and died about the year 1877. They both found a last nesting-place in the same cemetery, where beautiful monuments have been erected to their memory.
Of their family of four sons and two daughters who grew to mature years, Lyman A. is the eldest; Charles is a farmer and contractor of Cook County, Ill.; Anson is a farmer of Smith County, Kan.; John served for three years in the late war and has since died from exposure and disease contracted in the army; Addie, now deceased, was the wife of Mr. Hart, of Chicago; and Libbie is the widow of Byron G. Penny, of Adams, Jefferson County, N. Y.
Lyman A. Benjamin passed his early years on his fathers farm, receiving a good common school education, supplemented by several terms in the Jefferson County Institute. After completing his studies, he engaged in teaching during the winter terms, and in the summer worked on a farm. In the fall of 1855, he came West, locating first in Du Page County, Ill., where he purchased a farm, which he operated until November, 1864, at which time he sold it and removed to Iroquois County. In Danforth Township, he bought a forty-acre tract of raw prairie land, which he improved and built thereon necessary farm buildings. To this he added an adjoining forty acres in the course of time, and afterward added another forty acres, making one hundred and twenty acres of valuable and well-improved farming land. He has a good, substantial residence, good barns and other outbuildings. On every hand are seen the evidences of thrift and neatness, and he is accounted one of the enterprising and progressive farmers of this section.
In Jefferson County, N. Y., on the 28th of January, 1854, Mr. Benjamin was united in marriage with Miss Phoebe A. Webb, a native of Washington County, N. Y., though reared and educated in the county where she was afterward married. She is a daughter of Darius Webb, a prominent man and a millwright by occupation, who is now living in Oswego County, N. Y., at the advanced age of eighty-six years. Our subject and his wife have reared to mature years a family of five children: the eldest, Fred, is married and operates a farm in this county; Rev. William D. is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Kempton, Ford County; Edwin N. is a farmer residing in Red Willow County, Neb.; Ida is a successful teacher of this county, and has for six years been a teacher of her home district; and Charles W. assists in carrying en the home farm.
Mr. Benjamin is identified with the Republican party, which he has always supported since its organization. Previous to that, he was an old-line Whig. He takes quite an active part in local politics, and has held quite a number of official positions of honor and trust. He is now serving as Assessor, to which position he was fist elected in 1878, and this he has held almost continuously since that time. When occupying these offices, he has always discharged the duties incident to them with fidelity and satisfaction to his fellow-citizens. To the cause of education he has always given his hearty support, believing that good public schools and instruction are of inestimable benefit to the century. For a number of years, he has served as a member of the School Board, and has also taught several terms since locating in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin are worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is Steward. Long residence in this section has made Mr. Benjamin widely known, and his strict integrity of character has won for him the confidence and esteem of all with whom he has come in contact.
EZE BOOI, who owns a farm on section 17 Danforth Township, is a native of Holland, where his birth occurred December 8, 1839. He is a son of Charles and Ellen (Driefspraw) Booi, both of whom were natives of the same country. Tine parents emigrated to the New World in 1847, sailing from Rotterdam on the 12th of May, and after a long voyage of about three months arrived in the United States. They went direct to Chicago by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and from there by way of the Lakes. Mr. Booi located in Cook County, twenty miles south of the then village of Chicago and near the present site of the town of Pullman. There he opened up a farm and endured many privations and hardships. In 1852, his wife met her death by drowning in the Calumet River, when endeavoring to cross it upon the ice. He continued to reside on his farm at that place until his death in 1856. They had a family of four children Zacke who now resides in Kalamazoo, Mich.; Agnes now deceased; Eze, of this sketch; and Sophia, who is married and has a family.
The early days of our subject were passed on his father's farm in Cook County. After the death of his father, he was thrown on his own resources and worked by the month for neighboring farmers during the succeeding three years. He then rented a farm for a year, and next bought out the heirs of the old homestead and operated a portion of it for a number of years. This he sold in 1872 and three years later removed to Iroquois County, purchasing a farm in Danforth Township, where he now resides. He first bought one hundred and thirty-five acres and has since sold a number of lots from it, now having one hundred and fourteen acres, all of which are with the corporation limits of Danforth. He has improved and cultivated this property until it is one of the most valuable and desirable farms in this part of the State. He started in business for himself with nothing but a good constitution and ready hands, and by long years of industry and enterprise has achieved his present success, being accounted one of the most progressive and thrifty farmers of the township.
In 1859, Mr. Booi was united in marriage with Edith Margaret Coiper, who like him was born in Holland and reared there until the age of fifteen years, when she emigrated to Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Booi are the parents of seven children: Charles E., who is married and has five children, is a farmer of this township; Minnie is the wife of Henry Burnett, a carpenter of Danforth; Ellen is the wife of Henry Zeedik, a farmer; Edith, who is the wife of John Kramer, a clerk of this village; Daniel, a young man still under the parental roof; Volhert, also at home; and Ezie, who married in this county, March 14, 1883, Trintya Wagnum, a widow, who was born in Holland. To them have been born three children: John, Cornelius and Gertie.
Mr. Booi cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln and has supported every nominee of the Republican party for President since. In local politics, he is independent, voting for the man whom he considers best qualified for the position. His whole life has been spent in Illinois, and for seventeen long years he has been a resident of Danforth Township. He is a most honorable man and has the respect and friendship of all who know him.
LUDOVICO LAMOREAUX, dealer in grain, coal and farming implements, is a respected citizen of Gilman, and was born in the Empire State, his birth having occurred in Westerloo Township, Albany County, July 11, 1842. He is a son of Peter and Emeline (Ferrington) Lamoreaux, who were also natives of New York State, where they were reared and married. The father died in the prime of manhood, at about thirty-three years of age, leaving his widow with three little children, the eldest of whom was only seven years of age. Heroically she struggled to keep her children together and carry on the work of the farm. She is still living in New York, at the advanced age of seventy-five years, and has been a woman of unusual ability, winning the love and respect of all who knew her. As soon as our subject was large enough to assist his mother, he lent a willing hand and soon became her main dependence. The cares of life fell heavily upon the shoulders of one so young, but the united efforts of mother and son provided for the necessities of the family and educated the younger members. Thus nobly did he perform the duties devolving upon him, and the same faithfulness and loyalty to right and duty have characterized his subsequent career. His brother Adelbert ins employed in the Pullman Car Works, and his sister, Mrs. Mary Snyder, lives in Albany County, N. Y.
As may be inferred, our subject had very limited educational advantages, as the work and responsibility of the farm necessarily permitted of little time to be spent in school. He was early inured to hard work, and the habit hints never yet left him. His education has mainly been acquired by reading, and through observation and experience he has gained a practical knowledge which could have been gained in no other way.
Mr. Lamoreaux was united in marriage November 12, 1862, with Miss Mariette Bell, a native of Westerloo, Albany County, N. Y., where their marriage was celebrated. The year 1868 witnessed the removal of our subject to Iroquois County, and after spending some time in the lumber business in Gilman, he removed to a farm, but seen returned and has since made Gilman his home. He was employed in the grain office of D. B. Cook, of Bushnell & Co., for about one year, and in that of F. W. Hatch for the same period of time. In 1875 he became manager of the business in which he is now engaged. With the exception of about two years he has held the position continuously since.
Mr. Lamoreaux, his wife and only child, Gertrude, are active members in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is both Steward and Trustee. Politically, he was a Democrat from 1864 to 1884, casting his first vote for McClellan. Since the latter date he has been an uncompromising Prohibitionist. Socially, he is a member of White Holly Camp No. 524, M. W. A. Mr. Lamoreaux applies himself closely to business affairs but and the multiplicity of his duties finds ample time for church, Sunday-school and charitable work, to all of which he gives his hearty support. He is widely and favorably known, and this esteem is well deserved, for he has lived an upright, worthy life, and is a trusted friend, in whom one can place implicit confidence.
ROBERT WILKINSON, who has been preeminently identified with the business interests of Sheldon, and is one of its leading and influential citizens, was born in Sturgis, Mich., March 14, 1851, and is a son of John and Mary Wilkinson, both of whom were natives of England. They crossed the Atlantic to America in the summer of 1850, and located in Michigan, whence they removed to Kendall County, Ill., in the summer of 1854. Mr. Wilkinson engaged in farming, and was a very successful business man. At the time of his death he owned about six hundred acres of land. He died in Lisbon, Ill., in July, 1872, at the age of fifty-five years, and his wife died in December, 1882, at the age of sixty-seven years. Our subject was the sixth in order of birth in their family of eight children, five of whom are yet living. One son, George, died in 1864 of spotted fever.
Our subject was reared to manhood in Kendall County, Ill., and after acquiring his education in the public schools engaged in teaching for a time. On attaining his majority he commenced farming in Kendall County. He was married March 1, 1877, to Miss Emma, daughter of Isaac H. and Susannah (Fry) Eastburn, of Sheldon, Ill., and two years later he sold his farm, removing in the spring of 1879 to Iroquois County. Here he purchased land two miles north of Sheldon, but came to the village in September of 1881. By the union of our subject and his wife were born six children, but the four eldest died in childhood Stanley E. and Many Lois are still with their parents. Mr. Wilkinson spent the winter of 1880-81 in Colorado on account of ill health, and returned somewhat improved to Sheldon in the following spring. In November, 1885, he embarked in business as a dealer in coal and agricultural implements. In the year 1887 he sustained a severe less by fire, his entire stock, of agricultural implements being burned, but his business tact had secured him by proper insurance, so, Phoenix-like, a new building was erected on the old site, which he had purchased, and he continued in business until 1890.
In May, 1891, Mr. Wilkinson embarked in the banking business, in company with his brother-in-law, George W. Eastburn, and as proprietors of the Citizens' Bank, which was opened on the 14th of May, they have since been doing a good business, which has far exceeded all their best expectations. Mr. Wilkinson is also a stockholder in and President of the Perfection Paper Bag-holder Company, and aided in the organization of the tile works, but has since sold his interest in the organization. He is Treasurer of the Building and Loan Association, of Sheldon; Ill. He also owns one hundred and sixty acres of fine farming land with two miles of Sheldon.
In politics, Mr. Wilkinson was first a Republican, but recently he joined the Prohibition party and has been one of its supporters. At the age of fifteen years he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and since that time has been one of its faithful workers. He holds membership with the Good Templars' society, and the cause of temperance finds in him a stanch advocate. His life has been an honorable and upright one, well worthy of emulation. He is a man of excellent business ability, is progressive, possesses good judgment, and has steadily worked his way upward to a position of wealth and affluence.
JOHN C. CONNER, a successful and well-known physician and surgeon of Crescent City, was born near Richmond, Wayne County, Ind., November 6, 1844, and is a son of Lewis and Mary (Jennings) Conner. His father was born and reared in North Carolina, and when a young man emigrated to Indiana, where he met and married Miss Jennings who, however, was also a native of North Carolina. Mr. Conner engaged in farming in Wayne County, Ind., and there reared his family. He resided for a few years in Grant County, but returned to Wayne County, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a very prominent member of the United Brethren Church, and took quite an active part in church work, earnestly laboring in the Master's vineyard. He was called upon to fill a number of local offices, and was a highly respected citizen.
The Doctor was reared to manhood in the State of his nativity, and acquired his literary education in the public schools. When only seventeen years of age he entered the service of his country, and on August 11, 1862, donned the blue as a member of Company I, One Hundred and First Indiana Infantry. He was mustered in as a private for three years' service, and acted as a drummer for a time. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal at the battle of Perryville, Ky., the first engagement in which he participated. He also met the enemy in battle at Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and went with Sherman on his memorable march to the sea. He marched to North Carolina with the troops that captured Johnson at Raleigh, and then went on to the Capitol City, where he participated in the Grand Review. He was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., June 24, 1865, after almost three years of service. Although a mere lad when he entered the army, he proved a faithful soldier, ever found at his post of duty. When the war was oven the Doctor returned to his home in Indiana, and attended Jonesboro College for two years. He also engaged in teaching.
Wishing to engage in the practice of medicine, Dr. Conner began studying in Jalapa, Ind., in 1869, and took his first course of lectures in Cincinnati, in 1876. The following year he returned to that school and was graduated in the Class of '77. He then entered upon practice in Jalapa, where he engaged in the prosecution of his profession for nine years. He then changed his place of residence, removing to Stark County, Ind., in 1882. He afterward practiced for two years in Stark County, and subsequently opened an office in Clifton, Ill, where he remained for four years. He then located in Crescent City, and during the five years of his residence here he has built up a large and constantly increasing business.
Dr. Conner has twice been married. In Jalapa, Ind., February 28, 1872, he married Miss Alma Jackson, who died in Knox County, in 1880. In 1884 he was again united in marriage, this time with Mrs. Ella (McAllister) Malaney., a native of Indiana. By her former marriage Mrs. Conner had two sons, but one met death by accident, Cecil, who died at the age of ten years. The other son, Walter, is still with the Doctor.
Since attaining his majority, Dr. Conner has been identified with the Democratic party, having been one of its supporters since he cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Hancock. He has been honored with several local offices, and is now the Supervisor of Crescent Township. Socially he is a member of the Masome order belonging to Lodge No. 688, Clifton, A. F. & A. M.; of Post No. 717, G. A. R., and of Camp No. 1425, M. W. A. Among his professional brethren he ranks high. He keeps abreast with his profession by the study of medical journals, and his excellent skill and ability are acknowledged by the liberal patronage he receives. He is considered a successful physician and is also popular as a citizen.
ALONZO P. GOODYEAR, a member of the firm of Williams & Goodyear, general merchants of Woodland, was born near Bennington Center, Wyoming County, N. Y., twenty-two miles from Buffalo. The family traces its line of ancestry back to England. The founders of the family in America were banished from the Mother County on account of their love of liberty, and crossing the broad Atlantic settled in Hamden, Conn. At one time they owned three townships in New Haven, and the farm deeded them by King George was in possession of the family until about three years ago. The grandfather of our subject was a Captain in the State militia, and was ordered to New Orleans under Gen. Jackson during the War of 1812, but was crippled and could not go.
The father of our subject, Marks Goodyear, was born in Hamden, Conn., June 30, 1809, was there reared and educated, and for three years was a student in Yale College. He was married in the Nutmeg State to Eliza Hodges, a native of Londonderry, Sommersetshire, England, who emigrated to America when about five years of age. In 1834 Mr. Goodyear removed with his family to the Empire State, where he developed a new farm. In 1837 he came with a team and sleigh to Cincinnati, Ohio, a distance of three hundred and fifty miles, and then shipped his goods to Pekin, Ill., while he continued on with his teams across the country, reaching his destination on the 8th of March. In the spring of 1841 he commenced transforming a tract of wild prairie land into a fine farm, upon which he made his home for half a century. His death occurred March 15, 1891. His widow still survives him and is yet living on the old homestead. Mr. Goodyear was a man of sterling worth. Honorable and upright in all his dealings, his word was as good as his bond. In politics, he was a Democrat, and all of his sons are supporters of the same party. At his death he left a good property.
The members of the family were Alonzo P., whose name heads this sketch; Mrs. Mary Hayward, who is living in Chicago; Dudley M., a resident of Washington, Tazewell County; James S., a resident farmer of Tazewell County; Mrs. Harriet E. Eaten, who is living in the same county; Alfred W., who resides near the old homestead; and Robert H., who is engaged in farming in McLean County.
A. P. Goodyear was born October 23, 1836, and has spent almost his entire life in this State. He was reared on a farm in Tazewell County, and during his youth he worked for his board while attending school At the age of twenty-three he began earning his own livelihood by working as a farm hand, and was employed in the vicinity of his childhood home until 1868, when he removed to Washington. He there embarked in the grocery business, which he followed until 1871, when he again resumed farming. In 1874 he came to Iroquois County, and purchasing land near Woodland carried on agricultural pursuits until 1892, since which time he has been engaged in business in Woodland, as a partner of Judge Williams. They have a general merchandise establishment, and are now enjoying an excellent trade, their liberal patronage being secured by them courteous treatment and fair dealing.
On December 22, 1859, in Tazewell County, Mr. Goodyear married Miss Mary Humphrey, a native of Tompkins County, N. Y. Her father was born in Hartford, Conn., and her mother was a native of Pennsylvania; they came to Illinois in 1834. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear have been born four children: Alonzo F., who was born in Tazewell County, acquired his primary education in the common schools, and afterward was a student in the Normal College of Valparaiso, Ind. He then became a successful teacher, and was Assistant School Superintendent under E. J. Blake. Wishing to enter the legal profession, he became a student in the Union Law School, of Chicago. He is now engaged in practice in Watseka, and is serving as State's Attorney. Mary E. is the wife of John Webster, of Milford Township; Olive E. is at home; and Charles S., a wide-awake and enterprising young business man, assists his father in the store. The children have all been provided with excellent educational advantages, and all have engaged in teaching school.
Mr. Goodyear cast his first Presidential vote in 1860, for Stephen A. Douglas, and has since been a stanch supporter of the Democratic party. He is a good business man, highly respected through out the community, and the success that he has achieved in life is due to his own efforts. The firm of Williams & Goodyear have one of the leading mercantile establishments in Woodland.