Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
EDWIN BEARD, editor and general manager of the Iroquois County Times, was born in Winnesheik County, Iowa, on the 22d of February, 1861. His parents were David and Cynthia A. (Davis) Beard, the former a native of Washington County, Va., and the latter of White County, Ind. The father died November 29, 1875 but the mother is still living and makes her home near LaFayette, Ind.
The subject of this sketch, when a child, removed from Iowa to White County, Ind. when he began his education in the public school and later became a student in Perdue University. In 1878, he went to Kansas, where he spent a few years, and on his return was employed on the staff of the La Fayette Home Journal, and later was with the La Fayette Daily Journal for a period of three years.
In November, 1889, Mr. Beard came to Iroquois County with very limited capital and founded the Milford Independent. By energy and good business tact, he placed the paper on a good business footing, and on the 1st of January, 1891, organized the Times Printing and Publishing Company, a stock company, which has a capital stock of $6,500 and owns both the Iroquois County Times and the Milford Independent, Mr. Beard being editor and general manager of both papers. He took quite an active part in the campaign of 1890. His establishment of the Milford Independent was the stepping-stone to his control of the Times and subsequent success, which has been almost phenomenal. The Iroquois County Times, which was always a popular and strong paper in the county under Maj. Peters' management, at once, after the organization of its present company, took rapid strides in its business career. The circulation, which at the time of purchase by the present company was of fair proportions, has since been nearly quadrupled in the short space of less than two years, and its patronage in other departments has increased greatly.
On the 27th of December, 1887, Mr. Beard was united in marriage with Miss Ada Barnhouse, their union being celebrated in Ironton, Mo. She is the daughter of Henry Barnhouse and a native of Paxton, Ill. With the Methodist Church she holds membership. One child, a daughter, Jessie, has been born of their union.
Socially, Mr. Beard is a member of the Watseka Camp No. 339, M. W. A. He has been connected with newspaper work continually since 1885, and is well up in the business as his success in his present venture attests. Enterprise and push characterize his efforts and he has demonstrated his ability to carry through his undertakings and give his patrons all he promises them. A sketch of the Times is given elsewhere in this volume.
THE IROQUOIS COUNTY TIMES was started in Onarga by Louis M. Babcock and Jacob Keiser, the first issue bearing the date December 1, 1870, and it was then called the Onarga Times. Not long afterwards Mr. Keiser withdrew from the firm and Charles Drumm purchased an interest in the paper, Mr. Babcock being editor and Mr. Drumm foreman. On March 16, 1871, the paper was changed to an eight-column folio, and in May of the same year it was removed to Watseka. The name of the paper was then changed to the Iroquois Times, and the first issue was dated May 27, 1871. In December, 1872, Maj. M. H. Peters purchased office and conducted the paper until June 5, 1874, when he sold out to Otto H. Wangelin, of Belleville, Ill., who on the 26th of February increased it to a several column quarto, and in August, 1875, sold it to August Langellier. After a year its proprietor reduced it to a six-column paper. During his administration the old Washington press, formerly in use, was superseded by an Acme Power press, the largest country size, and at the same time the name was changed to the Iroquois County Times.
On the 1st of July, 1878, Maj. Peters again purchased the office, enlarging the paper to a several column quarto, it being the largest-sized country paper in the State. Under the able management of Maj. Peters, the paper grew in popularity with the best people of the county. In his efforts to furnish a live, readable and reliable paper, the Major was materially aided by bright and interesting articles from the pen of his talented wife. Among her most valuable and spicy contributions were her reports of editorial excursions. The general tone of the paper was always calculated to elevate and improve the minds of its readers, making it a popular home journal. On the 1st of January, 1891, Maj. Peters sold the office to the Times Printing and Publishing Company, a stock company embracing this Times and Iroquois Independent of Milford, with a capital stock of $6,500. W. W. Gilbert, of Danforth, is President; H. A. Butzow, Secretary; and Edwin Beard, editor and general manager and the largest stockholder in the company.
On assuming control, Mr. Beard reduced the subscription price of the paper from $2 to $1.50 for advance payment, changed its publication day from Saturday to Friday, and gave the business an impetus that has placed the Times away in the front rank of country papers. On the 3d of July, 1891, the form was changed from a several column quarto to a twelve-page six-column paper, eight pages of which are home print. On July 1, 1892, ready prints were abolished and the entire twelve pages are now printed at home. On October 1, 1892, a fine folding machine was added to the equipment of the Times. It now appears in magazine form, cut, pasted and folded by rapid machinery. This is the most important improvement made in the office since the introduction of power presses. It is the first plant in this section of Illinois to introduce machinery for folding. Its circulation has been increased since Mr. Beard assumed control to nearly quadruple its original size when he took it. The office is equipped in the best possible manner for all kinds of job and newspaper work, and the property has increased highly in value. In politics, the Times was originally independent Republican, supporting Greeley for President in 1872. It is now distinctly Democratic and is doing excellent service for the party in every campaign.
NELS PETERSON, an enterprising business man of Loda, is a dealer in hardware, furniture and harness, and also does undertaking. He is of Swedish birth, born on the 19th of November, 1858. His parents, Peter and Carrie (Thompson) Peterson, were also natives of Sweden, and in that county there were born unto them five children: Peter, John, Bertie, Nels and Anna. In 1879, Peter Anderson came with his family to America, and, on locating in this country, at once made his way to Illinois, settled in Paxton, Ford County, where he resided for about two years, and then removed to a farm in the same county. He carried on agricultural pursuits successfully in that county until 1888, when he came to this county, and located on a farm near Loda, where he and his wife still make their home.
Under the parental roof the subject of this sketch was reared to manhood. He came to America with his parents during the year in which he attained his majority. He remained at home until 1882, when, on the 28th of December, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Betsy Peterson, daughter of Peter and Elsie (Rasmus) Peterson. Three children were born unto them, but two died in infancy. The only one now living is Marna Elizabeth. Mrs. Peterson was born in Monmouth, Ill., in 1861. Her parents came to America in 1853, locating near Monmouth, where they resided for about ten years. They then removed to Ford County, settling on a farm near Henderson Station, where the succeeding twenty-two years of their lives were passed. On the expiration of that period, they removed to Chicago, where the father died in 1885. The mother still makes her home in that city.
When Mr. Peterson of this sketch started out in life for himself, he followed the occupation to which he was reared, that of farming, and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until 1891, when he came to the village of Loda and opened a hardware, furniture and harness store. He carries all kinds of heavy and shelf hardware, tinware, agricultural implements and machinery he has also a full and complete stock of furniture and harness, and also does business as an undertaker. He is enterprising, and by good management and well-directed efforts has won prosperity. Those who know him esteem him highly for his sterling worth and the many excellencies of character which are always sure to win warm regard. Himself and wife are members of the Swedish Lutheran Church, and he holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America. In political sentiment, Mr. Peterson is a Republican, but has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests.
EMANUEL EVERSOLE has followed farming throughout his entire life, and is now engaged in agricultural pursuits on section 35, Ridgeland Township, where he owns and operates eighty-one acres of land. A native of the Buckeye State, he was born in Fairfield County, near Lancaster, on the 28th of December, 1842, and is a son of David Eversole. His father was a native of Virginia and was of German descent. He also was a farmer by occupation and followed that business throughout his entire life. He married Elizabeth Miller, and unto them was born a family of ten children, as follows: Maria, Henry, Jacob; Elizabeth, who died in 1856; David, Lydia, Emanuel, John, Nancy and Martha. Both died in Fairfield County; having reached the age of about seventy-six years.
We now take up the personal history of Emanuel Eversole, who in the usual manner of farmer lads passed the days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm. He attended school at intervals until twenty-four years of age and thus acquired his education. Until after the breaking out of the late war, he remained at home with his parents, but in January, 1864, donned the blue, becoming a private of Company B, Seventeenth Ohio Infantry. He was mustered into service at Chillicothe, Ohio, and the first engagement in which he participated was at Resaca, Ga. He took part in many of the important battles of the war, being under flue in the engagements at Resaca, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Waynesboro and Black River. He also took part in the battles of Savannah, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Goldsboro and Smithfield, and his last engagement was at Raleigh. He was very fortunate, in that he escaped all injury, nor was he ever captured. He was ever found at his post of duty and proved himself a loyal and valiant soldier.
When the war was over Mr. Eversole received his discharge and returned to his home in Ohio, where he remained with his parents for about six years. He then rented land and engaged in farming for himself in the State of his nativity for two years, when he came to Illinois, locating in Ridgeland Township. In the same year, 1876, he made a purchase of forty acres of land on section 35, Ridgeland Township, and this farm has since been his home, although it now comprises eighty-one acres of valuable land, under a high state of cultivation and well improved. In connection with general farming, he also carries on stock-raising, and as he possesses good business ability and enterprise he has won success.
An important event in the life of Mr. Eversole occurred on the 16th of September, 1869, when was celebrated his marriage with Miss Sarah Elizabeth Artz, daughter of John and Elizabeth Artz, who still live in Fairfield County, Ohio, the birthplace of Mrs. Eversole. Six children grace this union and the family circle yet remains unbroken. In order of birth they are as follows: Hardy A., George A., Mary G., Clara E., Hazel A. and John A. Logan.
Socially, Mr. Eversole is a member of Babcock Post No. 416, G. A. R., of Onarga, and holds membership with the Methodist Church, as is also his wife. He has always given his support to those enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit and has ever borne his part in the upbuilding and development of the county. The community recognizes in him a valued citizen and a self-made man, for whatever success Mr. Eversole has achieved in life is due entirely to his own efforts. He started out empty-handed, but by industry and perseverance has steadily worked his way upward, and his efforts have been crowned with a prosperity which is certainly well deserved.
JOHN W. BROOKE, who carried on farming on section 4, Douglas Township, has been for twenty-nine years a resident of this county and has helped to develop it from a system of ponds to fine agricultural land. He is a son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Wickizer) Brooke, and his birth occurred in Fairfield County, Ohio, on the 24th of January, 1848. The founder of the Brooke family in the United States came from England with Payne's Fleet and settled in Pennsylvania. The grandfather of our subject, James Brooke, emigrated to Fairfield County, where his son Benjamin was born December 12, 1812. James Brooke served in the War of 1812. The mother of our subject was born in Pennsylvania and was of German extraction. In early life she went to Fairfield County, Ohio, where she married Mr. Brooke. In 1852, they removed to Marshall County, Ind., and opened several farms in the forest. In September, 1863, they came to Iroquois County and located two miles west of the village of Iroquois, then commonly called Bunkum. In the following spring Mr. Brooke purchased land three miles east of Gilman. His death occurred in that place on the 3d of September, 1885. His wife survives him and makes her home in Gilman, having reached the age of seventy-seven years. Both were active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
John Brooke is the seventh child of his father's family, which consisted of eight sons and three daughters, seven of whom are now living. When his parents removed to this county he was a lad of fifteen years. The country during the wet season would be almost wholly flooded, so that one could go for miles in a boat. He has fished where now lie the best farms. His boyhood days were spent on the home farm and in the common schools. Until thirty-two years of age he remained under the parental roof, doing business with his father. In 1879, he bought eighty acres in Douglas Township, but, selling it in 1885, he purchased eighty acres where he now lives. He is now tiling it thoroughly. A portion of his farm was formerly a swamp, but by his tiling he has made it the best land on his farm.
Mr. Brooke was united in matrimony February 18, 1880, with Harriet A. Buff, a native of Indiana, who only survived her marriage some eight months. Mr. Brooke was again married, March 8, 1885, at Gilman, to Miss Laura A. Loehrke, who was born near Berlin, Germany, on the 4th of July, 1864, and when three years old emigrated to the United States with her parents, Frederick and Amelia (Heise) Loehrke, who settled at Winamac, where they still live. Mrs. Brooke is one of ten children, three sons and seven daughters. Unto our subject and his estimable wife have been born two children, Frank L. and Edward.
Mr. Brooke is of the Methodist faith and his wife belongs to the Baptist Church. In his political sentiment, he is an advocate of the Democratic party. For years he has been connected with school work, having served as Director for a long time. By hard work and good management he has accumulated a competency, and is well known and much respected throughout this section.
DAVID W. KNOWLTON is a leading farmer on section 4, Douglas Township. He was born in the county of Leeds, near the city of Newboro, on the 1st of May, 1849, and is a son of Samuel Knowlton, who was born in Canada. The grandfather of our subject came from Georgia and was descended from one of the earliest families of that State. The father grew to manhood upon a farm and received a common school education. He married Miss Grace Warren, also a native of Canada. In 1873, he emigrated to Illinois, where he settled on the place where our subject now lives. It was new prairie land, with little improvement upon it. In 1884, he went to Joliet, where he has since lived a retired life. He and his wife are active workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has held membership with that church since a young man and has been a Class-leader and Trustee. As a business man he has been quite successful and has stood high in the estimation of all. He has been a Republican for many years, and has now reached the age of seventy years. In his family were seven children: Henry now makes his home in Joliet, where he is living a retired life; our subject is second in order of birth; Stephen is an invalid at home; Mary is the wife of Richard Moore, of Chicago; Ezra died at the age of twenty-eight years; Sarah, Mrs. Sherwood, makes her home in Kansas; and Ada is the wife of Mr. Hummer, of Onarga. These children were all born in Canada, and received good education.
David W. Knowlton passed his early life upon his father's farm and was inured to the labors pertaining to its development. He learned to swing the scythe and sow and cradle by hand. For this was before the time of the introduction of laborsaving farm machinery. He received his education in the public schools, which he left when about sixteen years of age. In 1869, he came to Illinois with his eldest brother and for fourteen years worked at his trade of carriage-making, at which he had previously served an apprenticeship of three years. Eight years ago, he came to Iroquois County and took charge of his father's farm and home.
On the 4th of March, 1873, Mr. Knowlton wedded Miss Rena Powers in Joliet. Mrs. Knowlton was born in Michigan, and is a daughter of Gerald Powers, who is still living. Her mother died when she was a child. She was educated in the public schools and afterward attended Hillsdale College. To Mr. and Mrs. Knowlton eight children have been born; Arthur Dwight was born in Joliet and is now his father's assistant; Kittie, Wellington, Benjamin F., Leonard Daniel, Charles Henry, Nettie I. and Gertie are all receiving good educations and are still under the parental roof.
Mr. and Mrs. Knowlton hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church of La Hogue, of which he is a Trustee. He gives liberally of his means to church and benevolent purposes and all worthy objects receive his support. He is Chairman of the Board of Drainage Commissioners and has been a school officer in the La Hogue District No. 1 from the time of its organization. He has done much to improve the county and is a highly-esteemed arid respected citizen. Politically, he is a Republican and cast his first ballot in the Presidential election of 1876 for Rutherford B. Hayes. He has been successful as an agriculturist and is a man of good business ability. He has made many friends in this section by his integrity, honor and other good qualities.
ENOCH H. LONG, SR., was one of the honored pioneers and most prominent citizens of the county. He died on the 29th of July, 1892, and no death has been more sincerely mourned than his, as he was held in the highest respect by all who knew him. He was one of the substantial farmers of Iroquois Township, and for many years here made his home. This work would be incomplete without this sketch, which well deserves a prominent place in this volume.
Mr. Long was born in Long's Bend, Hawkins County, Tenn., April 16, 1826. His paternal great-grandfather was a native of Scotland, and, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to America, settled, in a very early day, in East Tennessee, in what is now Hawkins County. He aided the Colonists in their Struggle for independence, and his wound-scarred body attested his valiant and faithful service, he reared a family of six children, John Long, the grandfather of our subject, being the third in order of birth. He was a farmer by occupation, and with his family resided in Hawkins County,
William Long, the father of Enoch Long, was born and reared in that county and there wedded Mary Barnett, also a native of Hawkins County, and a daughter of William Barnett, who was born in Germany, and who was one of the pioneer settlers of Eastern Tennessee. He died when Mrs. Long was an infant, and she was reared and educated by her maternal grandfather, Mr. Ball. William Long engaged in farming for many years in the county of his nativity, and then, accompanied by his family and a number of friends, he removed to Indiana in 1842, locating in Daviess County, near Washington, where he resided until his death, which occurred in November, 1857. His wife departed this life in about 1854, and both he buried in Washington Cemetery, where a marble slab marks their last resting-place. They were both active members of the Washington Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Long was an Elder for many years. Their family numbered four sons and two daughters, who grew to mature years: Sarah, the eldest, was the wife of Samuel Koons, who resides near Rossville, Vermilion County; Enoch H. is the next younger; Andrew is now deceased; Thomas was educated at Hanover College, Ind., and is a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is now residing on a farm in Daviess County, Ind.; George met death by the accidental discharge of a gun at the age of sixteen years, and is buried in Ash Grove Cemetery; and Mary Matilda is the wife of W. Harvey Donaldson, and resides in Davis County, Ind.
Enoch H. long spent the first sixteen years of his life in Hawkins County, Tenn., and then removed with his parents to Indiana, where he was reared to manhood. His school privileges in early life were limited, but by self-culture he obtained a fair business education after arriving at mature years. When a young man he came with his father to Illinois in 1853, and purchased a tract of two hundred and forty acres of land in Ash Grove Township, Iroquois County. Locating thereon, he cleared and developed a farm, which he made his home for a number of years. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, he chose Miss Almira Sturdevant, their marriage occurring in Iroquois County, on the 1st of July, 1855. She was born near Salem, Clark County, Ind., where her father, J. Clark Sturdevant, was a pioneer settler. He also became one of the early settlers of this community, locating at Sturdevant's Bend, on the Iroquois River.
After his marriage, Mr. Long returned to Daviess County, Ind., where he spent the summer, and in January, 1856, he again located on his farm in Ash Grove Township, where he resided until 1860, when he removed to the farm on section 23, Iroquois Township, where his family are yet living. He there cleared a farm and took an active part in the development and upbuilding of the community, and in placing Iroquois County in the front rank among its sister counties of the State. His business efforts were successful, his industry and enterprise winning him a comfortable competence, and the old home farm which he leaves to his family comprises four hundred and sixty acres of valuable and highly improved land.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Long were born the following children: Sarah Lucina, widow of Edward Bennings, who with her daughter, Nellie, the only grandchild, resides in Rawlins County, Kan.; William Clark, a resident farmer of this county, married Miss Ida Young, of Watseka, daughter of Riffley and Margaret Young, and a highly educated lady, who, previous to her marriage, was engaged in teaching; James Andrew is a substantial agriculturist of this community; Thomas Lincoln resides with his sister in Rawlins County, Kan.; George Fletcher operates the home farm; Laura Jane and Lucy May are with their mother; and Mary E. died in infancy.
In politics, Mr. Long was originally a Jackson Democrat, but voted for Abraham Lincoln and for each Presidential nominee of the Republican party up to the time of his death. He was a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and served as Steward and Class-leader for a number of years. His wife and all of his children except Clark are also members of the same church. For thirty-six years he was a resident of Iroquois County, and was widely and favorably known in this and adjoining counties. His strict integrity and sterling worth won him the highest regard of all, and his honorable, upright life is well worthy of emulation. On Tuesday afternoon of July 27, 1892, Mr. Long, who had been to Watseka, started for home, but his horses became frightened at an engine which was standing on the track a little north of the street, became unmanageable and, after running a short distance, the tongue coming down, Mr. Long was thrown to the ground. For a time he was wholly unconscious, but finally revived, his injuries, however proving fatal, and he passed away at four o'clock on Thursday morning, lamented by all who knew him. In his death the community lost one of its best citizens and the county an honored pioneer. Mrs. Long, a most estimable lady, resides on the home farm with her children.
DAVID McFADDEN, a farmer and auctioneer residing in Stockland Township, is a popular and well-known citizen of this community, and we take pleasure in presenting to our readers this record of his life, knowing that it will prove of interest to many. Mr. McFadden was born in Shelby County, Ill., on his father's farm, about eight miles west of Shelbyville, February 2, 1842. His parents, John and Sarah (Ruley) McFadden, were both natives of the Buckeye State. On leaving Ohio, they emigrated to Shelby County, Ill., where they made their home for a few years, when, in 1846, they went to Peoria County, locating upon a farm two and one-half miles west of the city of Peoria. The father there engaged in farming and coal-mining and the family were reared in that locality. In 1862, he removed to Monroe County, Iowa, where he devoted his time and attention to agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1873. Mr. McFadden was three times married. His first wife died in Peoria County in 1851. Eight children were born to that union, of whom five are yet living, as follows: Joseph, John G., Bryce, Amanda and David. Those deceased are James, Lloyd and Mary Jane. After the death of his first wife, Mr. McFadden married Mrs. Annie Greening, and in 1862 he was called upon to mourn her loss. She left two children, Ruth and Charles. His third wife, prior to her second marriage, was Mrs. Jane Moore, and she became Mrs. McFadden in 1864.
The subject of this sketch was only four years of age when his parents removed to Peoria County, Ill., and was but a lad of nine summers when he lost his mother. He remained with his father until he had attained to mature years. On the 5th of January, 1865, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E., daughter of William and Celia (Ricketts) Holmes. Five children graced this union, as follows: Walter, who was born February 7, 1866; Stanley, October 6,1867; David Raymond, November 24, 1873; Carless Sherl, November 29, 1880; and one who died in infancy.
Mr. McFadden resides upon the farm of John Girard, known as the John Nolin Farm, where he operates two hundred acres of land. He owns an eighty-acre tract on section 7, Scotland Township, and this he has under a high state of cultivation. He carries on general farming and stock-raising, and by his industrious and well-directed efforts secures a good income. As stated in the beginning of this sketch, he is also an auctioneer, prominent and popular, being called all over this and adjoining counties. He seems well fitted for that business and his services are much in demand. He cries most of the sales for the farmers in his neighborhood. His pleasant, genial manner has won him friends throughout the community and gained him the high regard of many.
Mr. McFadden holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics is a supporter of the principles of the Democratic party. He takes considerable interest in civic societies and is an honored member of the Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M.; Milford Lodge, I. O. O. F.; the Knights of Pythias Society of Milford; and the Farmers' Lodge of Modern Woodmen. Whatever success Mr. McFadden has achieved in life is due entirely to his enterprise and perseverance, for when he began to earn his own livelihood he had no capital. He may truly be called a self-made man and he deserves the praise that term conveys.
Mr. Eastburn well deserves representation in this volume, and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of his life. He was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, December 5, 1833, and is a son of Jesse and Jane (Smedley) Eastburn. His grandfather, Jesse Eastburn, was a native of Maryland, and his father emigrated to this country from England. The grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812, and on that account his descendants were given a land warrant. The father of our subject, Jesse Eastburn, Jr., was born in Adams County, Ohio, in 1809, and in 1835 emigrated Westward to Illinois, locating in Concord Township, Iroquois County, on the 25th of March. He was among the first settlers in the township, through others came the same year. He was both a mechanic and farmer, and in connection with the cultivation of his land carried on a wagon shop in the early days of the settlement. He was reared as a Democrat and cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson. He became a stanch Abolitionist and in 1856 voted for John C. Fremont, supporting his party from that time until his death. He was the first Supervisor of Concord Township and served for a number of terms. A leading and influential citizen, he was quite prominent in public affairs. In 1840, he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and served in all its offices. His house was the recognized home of the circuit-rider, and he was never so happy as when entertaining a half-dozen ministers. Before his death, he removed to Sheldon and aided in building the Methodist Church in that place. His educational advantages were limited, but by extensive reading he made himself a well-informed man, and while serving as School Director for a number of years he did effective service for the cause of education in this community. He did much to aid in the growth of the county and lived to see it take a front rank among the counties of the State. His death occurred September 13, 1873. One of Nature's noblemen, his loss was deeply mourned by many friends.
Isaac Eastburn was only seventeen months old when his parents came to Illinois, and amid the wild scenes of frontier life he was reared to manhood. His boyhood days were spent in his father's shop and at work in the fields. His early school privileges were meagre, but at the age of twenty years he entered Asbury University, where he pursued a three-year scientific course. He then engaged in teaching in country schools for three years, mostly in Concord and Martinton Townships.
After the marriage of our subject his father gave him one hundred and sixty acres of land and he concluded to turn his attention to farming. In 1859, he removed to the farm which has since been his home, and in that year built the house which is yet his residence. It was a wild and unimproved tract, but he at once began its development and continued its cultivation until, feeling his duty called him to the front, he enlisted on the 8th of August, 1862, for the late war as a member of Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, being appointed Corporal. The troops went into camp at Kankakee and after two weeks went to Columbus, Ky. Later, they were sent to Bolivar, Tenn., thence to La Grange and on to Coffeeville, Holly Springs, Moscow, La Fayette and Vicksburg. He was first under fire at the siege of Vicksburg and there remained until after the surrender of the city, when, he took part in the siege of Jackson. He was made Sergeant immediately after the siege of Vicksburg. Having returned to that place, he was then sent to Natchez and went on an expedition to Western Louisiana. He afterward participated in the Meridian campaign under Sherman and later, receiving a thirty-days furlough, returned home on a visit. On the 1st of July, 1864, he again reached Vicksburg and participated in the expedition to Jackson, Miss. The troops had a severe battle at Jackson Cross Roads, where Mr. Eastburn was twice slightly wounded, once in the right arm and once in the right hand. A bullet shot through his hat cut out some of his hair, and another pierced his blouse. The command was afterward sent to Morganza Bend and participated in the battles at Washington, La., White River, Duvall's Bluff, and then went to Memphis, Tenn. Subsequently they went to New Orleans and thence started by boat to Pensacola, Fla. A storm arising, the vessel was shipwrecked and they had to throw overboard two hundred and twenty-five head of horses and mules in order to save themselves. They besieged and captured Ft. Blakely, and the Seventy-sixth Illinois lost over one hundred men in the assault. They them went to Selma, Ala., took part in the battle of Mobile and thence went to Galveston, Tex., in 1865. From that place, Mr. Eastburn wrote home that he expected to be sent to Mexico, but instead was mustered out and went to Chicago, where he received his discharge.
Mr. Eastburn reached home on the 8th of August, 1865, just three years after his departure. He spent-only two weeks in a regiment hospital, being always found at his post of duty as a faithful defender of the Union. During his absence, Mrs. Eastburn had been living on the home farm with her three children, and he again began farm work. At the death of his father, he received eighty acres additional from the estate and afterward purchased a one hundred and twenty acre tract. Since that time, he has sold some and given to each of his children eighty acres. George W., the eldest, was born in Concord Township on the 20th of March, 1858, was graduated from the public schools of Sheldon, and is an extensive reader. He is now engaged in banking in Sheldon. He was married November 1, 1883, to Miss Dora McGill, of Watseka, and they have four children. Emma Florence, born in Concord Township, October 14, 1859, was married on the 1st of March, 1878, to Robert Wilkinson, of Sheldon, by whom she has two children. Frank P., born on the home farm, October 12, 1861, was married in California, January 2, 1886, to Miss Lillie Arbuckle, but now makes his home in Washington; he is an artist and travels. Jesse L., the youngest, born on the old homestead, September 10, 1867, was graduated from the Sheldon schools, after which he engaged in teaching for two years. His health failing, he went to California with his mother in 1889, and while there met and married Miss May K. Taylor, the union being celebrated September 18, 1890. He is a close student and is especially fond of the study of geology, having a fine collection of geological and other specimens correctly classified. He makes his home in Yreka, Cal.
From the time he began to be interested in politics, Isaac Eastburn was an Abolitionist, and when the Republican party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery, he joined its ranks and has since fought under its banner. He cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont. He and his wife have long been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he has filled all of its offices. Both are active workers in the Sunday-school and he has been Superintendent for many years. Charitable and benevolent people, the poor and needy find in them a friend and those in distress never seek their aid in vain. Their lives are filled with good deeds, and their many excellencies of character have won them the high regard of all. Socially, Mr. Eastburn is a member of the Odd Fellows' society and has occupied all its offices. In 1883, he made a trip to California, intending to locate on the Pacific Slope, and during that trip he visited Oregon, Washington, and traveled all through Nevada. He went to the West by the Southern Pacific and returned by way of the Rio Grande Railroad. After eight months spent beyond the Rockies, he concluded to return to Illinois and is yet one of the valued and honored citizens of Concord Township, where he has so long resided.
JONATHAN HANFORD is engaged in general farming on section 31, Ridgeland Township, where he has made his home for almost a quarter of a century. His life record is as follows: He is a native of New Jersey, his birth having occurred in Newark, on the 8th of June, 1821. The Hanford family is of French descent. The father of our subject, Simeon Hanford, was a native of Connecticut, and after attaining to years of maturity he married Miss Rachel Simpson. By their union were born three children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the eldest. His two sisters were Mehitable, now the wife of Samuel Badgley, a resident of New Jersey; and Henrietta, who died in 1888.
Jonathan Hanford grew to manhood in the State of his nativity. His educational advantages were very limited, but experience and observation have made him a well-informed man. His father died when he was only nine years of age, and his mother was left in very limited circumstances. Soon after his father's death, he began working on a farm at eighteen cents per day, and during haying season he received twenty-five cents per day. Up to the time when he was fifteen years of age, his wages were never higher than $6 per month. Mr. Hanford remained in the vicinity of Newark until 1838, when, at the age of seventeen years, he left the State of his nativity, and went to New York City, where he learned the ship-builder's trade, at which he was there employed for many years. He continued to make his home in New York until 1867, when, having determined to seek a home in the West, he came to Illinois and took up his residence in Iroquois County.
Mr. Hanford has been twice married. In the year 1843, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Catherine Griffin, daughter of William and Elizabeth Griffin. By their union were born five children, of whom the eldest, Wesley, died in 1844; Sherman died in infancy; William, the only one living, is a grain dealer, residing in Tazewell County, Ill., in Green Valley; Emma died at the age of two years; and the fifth child died in infancy. The mother of this family was called to her final rest in 1856, dying in New York. Mr. Hanford was again married, in 1863, his second union being with Eleanor Drower, by whom he had two children, but Garrett died in 1868. Harry, the younger, is living in Savanna, Ill.
In politics, Mr. Hanford is a supporter of the Greenback party, but has never been an office-seeker. The winter after coming to this county, he resided in Loda, and the following spring removed to Ridgeland Township, purchasing eighty acres of land upon section 31. It was entirely destitute of improvement, but in the years which have since passed a great transformation has been wrought in the appearance of the place, which is now considered one of the best farms in this locality, while the owner is recognized as a prominent agriculturist. He carries on both general farming and stock-raising, and that he has won success is due entirely to his well-directed efforts. He is a man of sterling worth, and his excellencies of character have gained him the high regard of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.
AMOS M. PECK is engaged in the grocery business in Onarga. For twenty years, he has been connected with the store of which he is now proprietor, having first been an employee and afterward becoming owner. He is now one of the leading merchants of the place and a man of good business ability, who by his well-directed efforts is winning success.
Mr. Peck is a native of Connecticut, his birth having occurred on the 23d of September, 1843. His parents, Lyman and Lucretia (Mallory) Peck, were also natives of the Nutmeg State, and theft family numbered seven children, three of whom are yet living, Amos, Charles and Abbie, Lucretia, Lyman, Flora and Ella are deceased. It was in 1858 that Lyman Peck, Sr., bade good-bye to his home in the East and, accompanied by his family, came to Illinois, 1ocating in Ford County on a farm of eighty acres near what is now the village of Thawville. He there made his home-for eight years, when, in 1866, he sold that farm and purchased-another about a mile distant, containing one hundred and forty acres of good land.
Under the parental roof, our subject spent his boyhood days, and on 'attaining his majority in 1864. He left Ford County to complete his education as a student in Grand Prairie Seminary. However, he soon laid aside text-books and entered the service of his country, becoming a member of Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, in which he served for a little more than six months, when he was mustered out. He then returned home and again entered Grand Prairie Seminary, from which institution he was graduated, after completing the regular course of study, in the summer of 1868.
On the 21st of April, 1870, Mr. Peck was united in marriage with Miss Kate E. Devor, daughter of Arthur and Susanna Devor, residents of Onarga. Their Union has been blessed with two children, a daughter and son: Lucretia, born July 6, 1872, is now the wife of John L. Tyler, of Chebanse, and they have a little daughter, Inez Irene; A. Earl, the son, was born July 24, 1881, and is still with his parents.
In the spring of 1871, Mr. Peck secured a position as salesman with C. H. Briggs, of Onarga, remaining in his employ until 1873, when he entered the employ of Knight & Culver, proprietors of a grocery store in this place -- the same which is now the property of our subject. He served in the position of Clerk until 1882, when he bought out Mr. Culver and has continued the business ever since. He has been connected with the grocery trade in this store building for a period of twenty years. He is enterprising, possesses good judgment, and by his fair dealing and courteous treatment has secured a liberal patronage. He is recognized as one of Onarga's leading citizens, and socially is a member of Onarga Lodge No. 208, I. O. O. F., with which he has been connected since 1869. He also belongs to W. A. Babcock Post No. 416, G. A. R., of Onarga. In politics, he is a supporter of Republican principles, has held the office of Town Clerk for five years, is at present a member of the Board of Trustees of the village, and is also a member of the Executive Board of Grand Prairie Seminary. During his residence in this community, Mr. Peck has formed a wide acquaintance and is held in high esteem by all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.
HENRY C. MOSHER, a prominent business man of Gilman, is a native of Illinois, his birth having occurred in La Salle County, on the 15th of February, 1836. He is a son of Ira and Louisa (Pease) Mosher. His father's family is of English, and his mother's of German, descent. Family tradition says that two brothers came to America from England some time previous to the Revolutionary War, and established a factory in this country, where they remained some years. One of the brothers then returned to England, locating a factory on the River Thames. He had but one son, who died, leaving no children. This has furnished the foundation facts for his relatives, who have expended a great deal of money in endeavoring to hunt up the estate. The other brother remained in America, but was so unfortunate as to lose all of his property during the Revolutionary War. Ira Mosher was one of eight brothers, and when but eight years old he lost his father, and had thus early to make his own way in the world. He was a native of Saratoga County, N. Y., and his wife of Monroe County the same State, where they were married about 1832. After their marriage they started by wagon for Illinois, where, when they reached a point about four south of La Salle, they decided to locate. Having taken up Government land and partially developed it, he spent some time as a traveling Methodist preacher. Returning to the farm, he followed agricultural pursuits for some years. In the mean time he studied law, and was admitted to the Bar during the war, practicing that profession until his death. He left the church because it was pro-slavery at that time, and became a pronounced Liberal. Politically he was a Whig, then a strong Abolitionist, and later a Republican, always taking great interest in political affairs. When admitted to the Bar he removed to Tonica, and there lived until his death, on the 1st of Match, 1874, aged sixty-five. He was widely and favorably known, and was among the first pioneers in this county. The mother died at the home of our subject in 1881, at the age of seventy-one years. Their family consisted of twelve children, eleven of whom, five sons and six daughters, lived to adult age. Only seven are now living. Four of the boys served the Union cause during the late war. E. W. was about four years in the service, enlisting in 1862 in the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry. He was captured by John Morgan, but was soon afterward paroled and took part in Sherman's march to the sea, and on to Washington. George I. enlisted in the Fifty-third Illinois Infantry, and was in the service four years. He is now a practicing lawyer of Oskaloosa, Kan. Charles enlisted in 1861. in Company A, Eighth Illinois Infantry, in which he served over five years, and is now engaged in the mercantile business at Salina, Kan. Sheridan L. is a farmer near Pinckneyville, Ill; Mrs. M. C. Miller resides in Nickerson, Kan.; Mrs. Barass resides in Tonica, Ill; Martha died during the war, and Mary died soon afterward, leaving two children; Mrs. M. Foster died in Tonica, Ill., leaving one daughter; and Mrs. Clara J. Gray died in Emporia, Kan.
Our subject was reared on a farm and attended the district schools in his earliest days, completing his education in an academy, which he attended for several winters. In 1856, he went to Kansas to give his help toward making it a free State. He located at Valley Falls, made claims, sold them, and when the Delaware Indians sold their lands he purchased extensively. Returning the following year to La Salle County, Ill., he bought land of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and improved it.
On the 15th of August, 1862, Mr. Mosher enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry. First going to Kentucky, from there they were ordered to Tennessee, where he took part in the engagement at Salina, his company being detailed to destroy a rebel supply depot at that place. After serving a year with the One Hundred and Seventh, he was transferred to Battery K, First Illinois Light Artillery. Crossing the mountains, his service was in East Tennessee, and helped to fortify Knoxville. He was on the Stoneman raid into Virginia and North Carolina, the chief business of his command being to raid and destroy supplies. He was never wounded or taken prisoner. Having served faithfully until June, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Springfield, Ill. From the effects of his artillery service he has lost the heating of his right ear, and partially that of the left.
After leaving the army, Mr. Mosher engaged in merchandising at Wenona, Ill., and in the fall of 1886 came to Gilman, where he engaged in the lumber business with Hiram Baker for about two years. In the meantime he started in the real-estate line, helping to lay out the Dent & Mosher Addition to Gilman. At that time all south of the railroad was prairie land, but now it has been transformed until it is the most beautiful part of the city, adorned with shade trees and supplied with the best of flowing water. He has since followed the real-estate business, in connection with other enterprises. In 1874, in company with A. Powell, he embarked in general merchandising, and it is safe to say they carry the largest stock in the county. In addition to his city property, our subject owns about one thousand acres of farm land.
In La Salle County, the destiny of Mr. Mosher was united with that of Miss Elizabeth S. Baker, them marriage being celebrated December 20, 1860. She was the daughter of Hiram and Angeline (Shoulder) Baker, both natives of Washington County, N. Y. In 1854, Mr. Baker emigrated to Hermann, Mo., where he had a contract to grade a part of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Two years later he removed to La Salle County, where he engaged in farming. He came to Gilman in August, 1866, and there he died in 1871, at the age of fifty nine years. His widow makes her home with Mrs. Mosher, and has attained the age of eighty years. Mrs. Mosher is one of four children, having two brothers and one sister: Kenneth, the eldest; Mrs. Florence James, of Onekama, Mich.; and George, who is station agent at La Harpe, Ill. The latter served over three years in the Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry. Mr. and Mrs. Mosher have a family of four children: Frank and Guy are partners in their father's store; Charles W., who also assists in the business; and Angie L. All of the children have received good educational advantages.
Mr. Mosher is recognized as one of the leading business men of the county. In manner he is decidedly outspoken, and all of his affairs are conducted strictly on business principles. As a man of honor and integrity he is highly esteemed.
ALMET POWELL, of the firm of A. Powell & Co., leading merchants of Gilman, was born in the town of New Baltimore, Albany County, N. Y., March 20, 1846, and is a son of Leander and Esther C. (Smith) Powell. The Powell family springs from Welsh ancestors who settled in New York. The family has mainly followed agricultural pursuits. Both his father and mother were natives of Albany County. In 1855, they came to Illinois and settled in Peoria County, where the father followed farming until the breaking out of the war, when he moved across the line into Lawn Ridge, Marshall County, where he engaged in merchandising, and there spent his last years. Politically he was first a Whig, then a Republican until Greeley's race for the Presidency, and afterwards a Democrat. He was reared as a member of the Society of Friends, but at the time of his death was a member of the Congregational Church, as is his wife. He passed away January 3, 1892, at the age of seventy-one years and five months, and his wife still survives him, living in Peoria, and having attained the age of sixty-nine years. Unto them were born five children, the eldest being out subject; Marsden, who is engaged in the milling business at Montgomery, Minn.; Miss Anna A., a well-known teacher of elocution in the Chautauqua Circles; Mina, wife of O. C. Slame, a hardware merchant of Peoria; and Cassius N., who resides on the old homestead in Marshall County.
Mr. Powell, whose name heads this sketch, lived on his father's farm until fifteen years of age, following the usual pursuits of farmer lads, and receiving a district-school education. Having merchandised with his father in Marshall County for a time, they then established a store in Gilman, March 20, 1871, carrying a general line of merchandise. Soon after Mr. H. C. Mosher and John O. Dent purchased his father's interest, and later Mr. Dent purchased Mr. Mosher's interest, and thus the business was continued until 1874, at which time Mr. Mosher purchased Mr. Dent's interest. The business was first carried on under the title of H. C. Mosher & Co., then Dent & Powell, and since 1880 has been done under the firm name of A. Powell & Company, the firm consisting of A. Powell, H. C. Frank and Guy Mosher. They carry the largest stock in the county. In 1883 they built their fine brick store, which is a model of convenience and a credit to Gilman. Mr. Powell owns three hundred and twenty acres of improved land in Nobles County, Minim., beside a half-interest in four hundred and eighty acres in Iroquois County.
In Kewanee, Ill., he was united in marriage with Jennie E. Smith, who lived about nine years after their marriage. To them was born one daughter, Estella, who died when about two years old. In Gilman, he was married to Mrs. Cordelia E. Peale, nee Borthwick, on the 18th of October, 1881. She was born in the Empire State, in Albany County, and is a lady of Scotch descent. She has a son by her former marriage, who now bears the name of Bruce B. Powell, and is at present a student of the Northwestern University, at Evanston, Ill.
Politically, Mr. Powell is a Republican, though not an office-seeker preferring to devote his entire attention to his business interests, though careful to never neglect the duties of citizenship. He has been a member of the Masonic order since twenty-one Years of age. He is a successful business man, well and favorably known throughout the community. He started in life a poor boy, but by industry and good business methods has become financially one of the substantial citizens of Gilman. From the lowest round of the ladder of life, he has mounted step by step until he has reached his present position of affluence and success.
ANTHONY MILLER, a hardware merchant of Loda, claims Germany as the land of his birth, which occurred in the kingdom of Bavaria in the month of March, 1840. He is a son of Dominick and Elizabeth (Wolf) Miller, both of whom were also natives of Germany. Seven children were born unto them, six sons and one daughter, as follows: John, George, Joseph, Michael, Anthony, Kate, and a son who died in infancy. The parents spent their entire lives in the Fatherland, and both died about the year 1860.
Our subject was the fifth in order of birth in the Miller family. The days of his boyhood were spent in the land of his nativity, and his education was acquired in the public schools. About 1856, when a youth of sixteen years, he crossed the broad Atlantic to America and made his first location in Pennsylvania, working as a farm hand by the month in the Keystone State for about five years. On the expiration of that period, he started Westward, and in 1863 came to Illinois, locating in Iroquois County. He purchased a farm of eighty acres in Loda Township, about three miles from the village of Loda, and for some time successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits but at length abandoned that occupation in order to turn his attention to mercantile interests.
It was in 1868 that Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Helmuth. By their union have been born five children, four sons and a daughter, all of whom save one are still under the parental roof. They are: George S., a practicing physician of Cissna Park, Ill.; Charles A., Anthony, John A. and Elizabeth, who complete the family. The parents are both members of the Catholic Church and are well-known citizens of this community, who have gained a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
It was in 1880 that Mr. Miller left his farm and removed to the village of Loda and purchased the hardware stock of Charles Harwood. Since that time he has been engaged in his present line of business continually. He carries a full and complete stock, consisting of hardware, stoves, tinware, etc. In connection with this, he also owns a lumber yard. By his fair and honest dealing and courteous treatment he has secured a liberal patronage, which he well deserves, and is now reaping a good income there from. He possesses good business ability, is systematic and methodical, and has won prosperity through his own well-directed efforts. Mr. Miller may truly be called a self-made man, for he came to this county empty-handed and has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming the obstacles and difficulties in his path, until we now find him one of Loda's well-to-do citizens.
THOMAS H. GRAY, for twenty-three years a farmer of Iroquois County, was born in Ashland County, Ohio, his birth occurring February 8, 1832. He is a son of Henry and Margaretta (Brown) Gray. The father was born in the northern part of Ireland, and was one of five children, four sons and one daughter, of whom three came to America. William located in Canada; Hugh came to the United States in the interest of a large estate left for the family in the Old Country, and which is due the descendants. Their grandfather Gray went from Scotland to Ireland, and there acquired the right to a large tract of land for a long term of years, which on his death should have fallen to his children. When sixteen years of age, the father of our subject came to the United States, and located at Lyonstown, N. Y. He was a farmer and speculator. He there married Miss Brown, a native of the Empire State, and of Irish descent. Soon after his marriage, Mr. Gray removed to Pennsylvania, and later to Ashland County, Ohio. In 1836, he went by ox-team to Peoria County, Ill., where he was among the first pioneers. He broke much of the prairie, using nine yoke of oxen, receiving $9 per acre for his services. At that time the idea prevailed that the raw prairie land must be plowed very deep. He was quite an extensive farmer in that county. Politically he was a Democrat. His death occurred from the effects of a fall from a horse, when he was but forty-six years of age. His wife still survives him, and lives in California, at the ripe old age of ninety-two. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Our subject is the seventh child of his father's family, which consisted of eight sons and one daughter, six of whom survive. He received his education in the pioneer schools and suffered the privations incident to the opening up of a new county. Since sixteen years of age be has made his own way in the world. At that time he commenced learning the miller's trade, two years later going to St. Louis, where he completed his apprenticeship. For twenty-one years he followed that occupation in St. Louis and in Peoria. He was a fist-class miller, and though getting $1,800 per year and his house, failing health caused him to leave the business. In 1869 he came to Iroquois County, where he had purchased one hundred and six acres of land near Ashkum. There he farmed for several year's, and then returned for two years to the milling trade. In 1880, he came to his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres. The land was nearly all under water at the time of his purchase. He is a firm believer in the efficacy of tiling, and has placed about twenty-eight thousand tiles upon his farm, and has also added many other improvements.
Mr. Gray was united in marriage at Pekin, Ill., with Miss Sarah J. Williams, a native of Ohio. The ceremony was performed September 23, 1863. Mrs. Gray came with her parents to Tazewell County, Ill., when young. The union of our subject was blessed with four children, Clara, Mary, Nina and Ollie. Mrs. Gray passed to the home beyond November 23, 1889, her death being much regretted by all who knew her.
Mr. Gray has never been an office-seeker, though he has ample ability to fill any local position. He has served as Highway Commissioner. Politically he has affiliated with the Democratic party. He is a Thirty-first Degree Mason in the Scottish Rite. As a farmer, he is practical, enterprising and progressive, and by his upright dealings with his fellow-citizens he has commanded the respect and esteem of all who know him.
He grew to manhood upon a farm in that State, and after his marriage disposed of his property and removed with his family to Adair County, Mo., in 1865. He there purchased land, and upon that farm made his home until his death, which occurred in 1889, at the age of eighty-seven years. He started in life in limited circumstances, but by perseverance and industry became well-to-do, and at his death his possessions were valued at $30,000. In politics he was originally a Whig and cast his fist vote for John Quincy Adams. He became a strong Abolitionist and our the organization of the Republican party, formed to prevent the further extension of slavery, he joined its ranks, and from 1856 until his death supported that party. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he served as Class-leader, and his home was always open for the reception of the pioneer preacher.
In early life Mr. Hutchison manifested a love for study displaying special aptitude in school, and at the age of sixteen he began teaching in the public schools of Switzerland County, Ind. He afterward attended school in Battle Ground, Ind., for a few months; then began teaching in Howard County, and for nearly two years afterward was a student in Kokomo (Ind.) Normal School. While teaching in Northern Indiana, he organized the first Union League in Clinton County, procuring a charter from Oliver P. Morton, with whom he was personally acquainted. In 1864 he enlisted in Company F, Fifty-first Indiana Infantry, and served for thirteen months during the late war. He participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tenn., and at the battle of Nashville was taken sick, being confined in the hospital for about five weeks. With the exception of that time, he was always ready for duty, and proved a faithful soldier. On the 11th of July, 1865, he was honorably discharged.
After the close of the war, Mr. Hutchison removed with his father's family to Missouri, where he spent a short time in 1862. During that trip he had purchased two hundred acres of land, which he still owns. In connection with Prof. Baldwin, he organized the Normal School in Kirksville, Mo., in 1866, and for eleven weeks school convened in the Christian Church, until suitable quarters could be obtained. Mr. Hutchison was connected with the school as teacher for nearly two years. He then turned his attention to farming and shipping stock in the summer season, while he taught somewhat longer in the winter months. He followed that profession altogether for sixteen years.
While living in Missouri, Mr. Hutchison returned to Clinton County, Ind., and the object of his journey was seen when he brought back with him a bride. On the 16th of September, 1866, he wedded Miss Hannah Campbell, who was born in Clinton County, December 18, 1846. Unto them have been born two children: Florence, born in Adair County, Mo., January 1, 1874, became the wife of William Wallace on the l7th of August, 1892; Myrtle was born in Adair County, October 8, 1879.
Mr. Hutchison continued to make his home in Missouri until 1883. He made additional purchases of land while there, so that he now owns four hundred and thirty acres, all under a high state of cultivation. To agricultural pursuits he devoted his energies until failing health caused him to seek a change of location and work, and in 1883 he removed his family to Donovan, where he opened up a general merchandise store. He carries a full and complete stock, and from the beginning his trade has constantly increased, until he now enjoys a liberal patronage and is doing a thriving business. Mr. and Mrs. Hutchison are members of the Presbyterian Church, and their daughter Florence belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. U. S. Grant, in 1868, and has since been a stalwart Republican. For three years he has served as Supervisor. He ranks high in business circles, and has the confidence of all with whom he has come in contact. The Hutchison family is one of prominence in this community, their home is the abode of hospitality, and their friends are many.
GEORGE MARTIN is numbered among the leading farmers of Belmont Township. He resides on section 10, where he has made his home since 1888. He was born in Washington County, Pa., July 22, 1833, and is a son of Ephraim and Catharine (Featherling) Martin. His father, a native of Virginia, was there reared to manhood and when a young man he removed to Washington County, Pa., where he met and married Miss Featherling, a native of that State. In 1840, they left the East and in an old-fashioned wagon drawn by four horses started for Iroquois County, Ill. On reaching their destination, Mr. Martin settled in Belmont Township, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, and increasing the farm to two hundred and forty acres, there made his home until his death, which occurred in 1852, at the age of fifty years. His wife passed away the year previous, and both were buried in Vennum Cemetery. In politics he was a Democrat.
The Martin family numbered six children, who came with the parents to this county; Anna, the widow of Ferman Moore, resides with her brother John, in Belmont Township; Nancy, widow of Samuel Rush, is living in Milford; George is the next younger; Eliza is now deceased; John owns and operates the old homestead; and Andrew J., who completes the family, died in childhood.
The subject of this sketch was only seven years of age when he came with his parents to Illinois. This county was then an almost unimproved wilderness. The prairies were covered with rosin weeds, which grew to the height of several feet. There were few cleared spaces, and the county gave little promise of the progress which was so soon to transform it from a wild, undeveloped region to a tract of rich fertility. Mr. Martin during the summer months aided in breaking the wild land and developing a farm, and in the winter season he attended school, which met in an old log building, the floor and ceiling of which were made of puncheon. The seats were of slabs set upon pins, and to furnish light a log had been taken out and a long row of glass put in. The desks were ranged around the wall on pins inserted between the logs. The smoke from the huge fire place made its way upward through a mud and stick chimney.
At the age of twenty, on his father's death, Mr. Martin left school, for the management of the farm fell upon him. His mother was also deceased, but for some time afterward the family remained together. In 1884, our subject was married and left the home farm. On the 1st of May, in Belmont Township, he wedded Adelia Zumwalt, who was born in Tazewell County, and is a daughter of Christian and Selinda (Oder) Zumwalt; the latter came to this State in 1835, and are residents of Sheldon Township. By their union have been born three children: Ernest, who died in infancy; Virgie M., born June 23, 1887; and Nellie, born April 18, 1889.
Mr. Martin has affiliated with the Republican party since attaining his majority. He cast his first Presidential vote in 1856 for Gen. John C. Fremont. In local elections, however, he supports the man whom he thinks best qualified for the office, regardless of party affiliations, he has often attended the conventions of his party, and has filled a number of minor offices, but has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking.
Mr. Martin's first purchase of land consisted of one hundred and twenty acres in Belmont Township, which he bought previous to his marriage. Himself and wife there began their domestic life, making it their home for four years, when he sold and bought one hundred and sixty acres in Crescent Township, which he afterward sold, and bought two hundred acres on sections 10 and 11, where he resided four years. He now owns his home farm of two hundred acres, two hundred and ten acres of the old Martin homestead on section 33, and one hundred and twenty acres on section 35, also ten acres on section 21, making in all five hundred and forty acres in Belmont Township. He has recently purchased forty acres in Middleport Township, giving him a grand total of five hundred and eighty acres. Throughout his entire life he has followed farming, and has met with excellent success in his undertakings. During the thirty two years of his residence here he has witnessed almost the entire growth and development of the county, has seen the introduction of the railroads, and has seen its wild prairie transformed into beautiful homes and farms, while towns and villages, have sprung up. He has ever bore his part in the work of advancement, and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers the sketch of this honored pioneer, George Martin.
WILLIAM L. KINSMAN, who is engaged in general merchandising in Loda, and also deals in grain and coal, has been connected with the mercantile interests of this place for many years, and for the past ten years has carried on business in his present line. A native of Canada, he was born on the 18th of November, 1857, and is of English descent. His father, Thomas Kinsman, was born in England and after attaining to mature years was united in marriage with Miss Harriet Cotton, also a native of that County, and a daughter of John Cotton, who emigrated to Canada in 1840, and there died at the ripe old age of eighty-three years. In 1868, Thomas Kinsman emigrated with his family to the United States, locating in Loda, where he has since made his home. He is a blacksmith by trade, and during much of his life followed that occupation, but for the past four years he has been engaged in buying and shipping hay. In the Kinsman family were eleven children, eight of whom are now living, namely: Sarah, Thomas J., William L., George W., Silas Henry, Charles C., Gertrude F., and Minnie. Louisa, the eldest; Frankie, and Frederick, the youngest, are now deceased.
William Kinsman, whose name heads this record, spent the first ten years of his life in Canada, and then came with his parents to Illinois. He acquired a good English education in the public schools, and entered upon his business career as clerk for John Weinandt, a general merchant of Loda, in whose employ he remained for about four years. Having by his industry and perseverance acquired some capital in that time, he then purchased the grocery stock of C. Livingston, but two years later sold out his store to J. A. Hill, and purchased the general store of his old employer, John Weinandt, in 1882. He has since carried on business in the line of general merchandising, and is now enjoying a liberal patronage.
A marriage ceremony performed on the 24th of April, 1879, united the destinies of Mr. William Kinsman and Miss Laura J. Stroup, daughter of Emanuel and Mary Ann (Ohl) Stroup, of Loda, Ill. Two children grace their union: Louisa M., who was born September 11, 1883; and Nora L., who was born September 24, 1892. The parents are both members of the Congregational Church. They are prominent and highly respected people throughout the community, who hold an enviable position in social circles, while their own home is the abode of hospitality.
Mr. William Kinsman exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and is a warm advocate of its principles. He is at present Village Magistrate, which office he has held for the long period of twelve years, and for eight years he has served as Town Clerk, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity, which has led to his frequent re-election; and won him the commendation of all concerned. Socially, he is a member of Abraham Jonas Lodge No. 316, A. F. & A. M. He started out in life empty-handed, but has steadily worked his way upward to a position among the substantial citizens of the community, and in addition to his business as a general merchant, he does a good business as a dealer in coal and grain.
MICHAEL DRINAN, one of the earliest settlers of Douglas Township, owns a farm on, section 28. He was born in the parish of Glenville, County Cork, Ireland, his birth having occurred on the 29th of September, 1826. He is a son of Eugene and Catherine (Hagerty) Drinan, and is the youngest in his father's family which numbered eleven children. He passed his early years in a manner usual to farmer-lads work, recreation and education each receiving a portion of his time and attention. He was the only member of the household who, leaving the parental roof, said good-bye to the friends and scenes of his youth. Turning his face Westward, he set sail upon the broad Atlantic for America, starting from Queenstown on the 8th of April, 1853. On account of adverse winds, the voyage was not completed until the 19th of May, at which time he finally arrived in New York.
On the 16th of September, 1855, he took for his helpmate in life Miss Catherine Donahue, a native of the parish of Water Grass Hill, County Cork, Ireland. She was born in December, 1832, and is a daughter of Patrick and Catherine (Berry) Donahue, both of whom spent their lives in Ireland. Mrs. Drinan is the ninth child in order of birth of a family of eleven children. She crossed the ocean on the same vessel as did her future husband. Mr. and Mrs. Drinan have ten children: Thomas, at home; Katie, the wife of Thomas Greely, a farmer of Douglas Township; Patrick, a farmer; Mary, at home; Eugene, a farmer; Nellie, also at home; Michael W., a harness-maker of Danforth; Timothy J., John and Cornelius.
In 1867, Mr. Drinan purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land, on which he removed his family the following year. After his arrival in this country, he found that he was in the possession of but very little money. For ten years he worked at whatever promised him an honest dollar. A few months of that time he worked on the railroad, and in 1865 commenced farming on forty acres of rented land in La Salle County, which he continued at for three years. In 1867, Mr. Drinan, as before stated, bought his farm of one hundred and twenty acres in this county, and came here in March, 1868. At that time no improvements had been made upon the land, but he has since erected good buildings, and has his farm under a high state of cultivation. Aided by his family, he has made what he has today -- a fine property of three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is under cultivation.
Mr. Drinan and his family are all Catholics. He is a Democrat, in political sentiment, but has never sought office. He is one of the numerous examples which America affords of self-made men, who, starting in life among strangers, and almost without a dollar, have steadily pressed onward, never daunted by discouragement or failure, until success has crowned their effort. He has reared his family comfortably and well, and given them good educational advantages, with which they are prepared to meet life's battles. His wife and family have all put a shoulder to the wheel, and have done all that ready hands and willing hearts could do to assist them, and, as the result of their united efforts, prosperity has blessed them. For twenty-four years Mr. Drinan has been a resident of this county, and has witnessed much of the growth and development thereof.
THOMAS GATES MORRIS, the leading merchant of La Hogue, was born in Bloom Township, Cook County, Ill., October 28, 1850. His parents, Charles and Sarah (Thomas) Morris, are represented in the sketch of Free P. Morris on another page of this work. Our subject spent the days of his boyhood on a farm and in the district schools. Subsequently, he was graduated from the Chicago High School. He also spent a year there as a teacher. Having become a stockholder in the Danville (Ill.) Wrought Iron Works, he was chosen a member of the Board of Directors and also elected Cashier, in which capacity he served for some two years. The following year he spent traveling in the West.
Returning to Danville, our subject led to the marriage altar Miss Emma, daughter of Judge E. S. Terry, who at the time of his death was legal adviser to the Adjutant General at Washington, D. C. This was during Garfield's administration. The wedding ceremony was performed on the 23d of October, 1878. Three children have blessed this union: Bernice, Ross Terry and Elizabeth Cora.
The year succeeding his marriage, Mr. Morris came to La Hogue, where he has since engaged in general merchandising. He built the first store in town, and since coming to this place has carried on business with marked success and enterprise, and now has the best store in the town. In addition to his merchandising interests, he owns the lumber business and carries on farming, having a fertile and well-improved farm one-fourth of a mile west of La Hogue, on which he makes his home.
Politically, our subject is a Republican, having cast his first Presidential vote for Rutherford B. Hayes. Socially, he is a Mason, belonging to Piper City Lodge No. 608, A. F. & A. M.; Fairbury Chapter No. 99, R. A. M.; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T. Both Mr. and Mrs. Morris take an active part in the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church of La Hogue, of which he is Steward and Trustee. For five years he has also been Superintendent of the Sunday-school. He has served his fellow-citizens as Postmaster to their satisfaction. Through the efforts of Mr. Morris and others the La Hogue Drainage District was organized in May, 1891, and he was chosen a member of the Board of Commissioners. The ditch is seven and one-half miles long and gives ample draining to twelve thousand acres of as fine land as the State affords. An estimate of the value of this ditch to the district can scarcely be made. Mr. Morris has proved himself a competent business man of enterprise and integrity. When he commenced in business in La Hogue he had but $275 capital, and by close attention to his interests and by the exercise of good judgment has acquired a handsome property. He is a public-spirited man, always ready to take an active part in whatever tends to the advancement of the people's best interests.
WILLIAM T. HOOVER, for thirty years a resident of this county and one of its first pioneers, owns a farm on section 24, Danforth Township. His birth occurred on the 3d of March, 1830, in Muskingum County, Ohio. He is the son of Cornelius A. Hoover, a native of Allegany County, Md., who grew to maturity, and there married Rebecca Thomas, who was born in the same State. The grandfather of our subject was born in Germany and was one of the pioneer settlers of the State of Maryland. Cornelius Hoover was drafted into the service of the War of 1812, but peace was declared before his services were demanded. Mr. Hoover removed to Ohio at an early day and settled in the wilderness, where he opened up a farm and there resided for several years. In 1840 he removed to Indiana and located in the wilderness of Tippecanoe County. He also cleared and developed a farm there. After rearing his family to mature years he went to White County, Ind. Near the close of his life he lost his eye-sight, and spent about two years with his son, the subject of this sketch, in his Illinois home. Later, he went to Missouri and located a farm near Pleasant Hill, Cass County, where he lived until his death, which occurred in 1872. His wife died about two years later.
William T. Hoover grew to manhood in Indiana, and received such a limited education as could be obtained in the district schools of that early day. He is the eldest son and the fourth in order of birth in his parents' family. The eldest, Catherine, grew to mature years and died in Missouri, as did her sister Elizabeth, who was the wife of James McKinney; Martha, now deceased; Wilmina is the wife of William Foster, of Pleasant Hill, Mo.; Sevillia is the wife of Joseph Denton, of the above-named place; William T., our subject; Andrew J. is a native of Bates County, Mo.; and Calvin S., also a farmer in Western Missouri. The brothers were in the army and served through the war.
Our subject remained with his father on the farm until he had reached his majority and then farmed for himself. For some time he carried on a farm in Benton County, Ind., and then sold his property there and removed to Illinois. He purchased a farm without improvements in Douglas Township, Iroquois County, in 1862. He first bought one hundred and three acres, on which he built fences and farm buildings and in many other ways improved, he now has one hundred and eighty-one acres of arable and well-developed land, on which he has a fine large residence. The place is well tiled and is considered a most desirable and valuable piece of property.
In Benton County, Ind., on March 22, 1860, Mr. Hoover led to the marriage altar Almira Hunt, who was born in Indiana, in Randolph County. She is a daughter of Lewis Hunt, one of the honored pioneers of that county, to which place he came from Kentucky. To Mr. and Mrs. Hoover were born three children: Lewis, who is married and carries on the home farm. He has three children: May, Elmira and William. Lydia Jane is the wife of John Cox, a farmer of this county. In their family are two children, Elmira and Nora. Andrew Jackson died at the age of three years and ten months.
Mr. Hoover is in sympathy with the Republican party and has always cast his ballot for the nominees of that party. He has never asked for or accepted official positions, preferring to give his time and attention to his farm and business interests; nevertheless, he is a man who faithfully discharges the duties of citizenship and ever does all in his power to uphold right measures and to advance the welfare of the community. He and his worthy wife are ever ready to lend a helping band to the needy and have reared and educated a number of orphan children. At present they have with them two orphans: William Anderson, who was born in New York; and Mamie Parks, whose parents are likewise deceased and who is a native of this county. Mrs. Hoover is a member of the United Brethren Church and is accounted one of its most beloved and respected members.
GEORGE W. LANEY, one of the earliest settlers of Iroquois County, is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred on the 10th of December, 1830, in Greene County. He is a son of John and Margaret (Huffman) Laney. His father was of Irish descent, and his grandfather came to America direct from Ireland. On the maternal side the family is of German extraction, but the mother's birth occurred in Pennsylvania. About the year 1837, the parents of our subject removed to Clarke County, Ohio, and purchased a farm near Springfield. In 1852, they went to Ogle County, Ill., where, after residing some three years, they removed to McLean County. In Ohio, Mr. Laney had carried on farming, and in addition to that kept a grocery, but after coming to McLean County he followed agricultural pursuits until the village of Towanda was started, when he again embarked in the grocery trade. Both he and his wife lived at that place until their deaths. He died when he had reached the age of sixty-two years. In politics, he was a Democrat, and his wife was a member of the Baptist Church. The family consisted of five sons and one daughter.
The subject of this sketch was the second child of his father's family, and his early days were spent upon the farm. He had very poor chances of obtaining an education, as his father was a poor man, not able to pay for his schooling. However, as soon as he was old enough to run errands, he was hired out, receiving for his service $1 per month. Until twenty-one years of age, he faithfully turned over to his father his small earnings. After coming to Ogle County, he, in company with his father and brothers, purchased a piece of land, which he tilled for three years.
On the 5th of April, 1856, Mr. Laney was married to Mrs. Alvina Alford, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hunt) Ferrel. Mr. Ferrel was a native of Kentucky and of Irish extraction. His wife was born near Jamestown, Va., and, when eight years of age, accompanied her parents to Kentucky, where she was afterward married. She was of Welsh descent. Mr. and Mrs. Ferrel were among the pioneers of Lawrence County, Ky., and about 1830 they removed to Green County, and opened up a farm in the woods. In 1843, they emigrated to Ogle County, Ill., where their remaining days were spent. Mr. Ferrel followed farming for a livelihood, and was a strong supporter of the Democracy. While living in Lawrence County, Ind., he served as Sheriff, and also held a number of minor offices, such as Magistrate and Constable. Both he and his wife were members of the Episcopal Church. He lived to be fifty-five and she sixty-eight years of age, and at their deaths they left a wide circle of friends and relatives to mourn their loss. Of their family of eleven children but four are now living: Mrs. Laney, the wife of our subject; Mrs. Martha Gilbert, of Oregon, Ill.; Mrs. Sarah Jenkins, residing near Masonville, Iowa; and Daniel, who gallantly served in the Union cause during the late war, and now lives at Oregon, Ill.
The birth of Mrs. Laney occurred in Lawrence County, Ind., on the 1st of September, 1820. Before leaving Indiana, she was married, on the 10th of September, 1840, to Thomas Alford, a native of Tennessee. In 1842, Mr. Alford moved to Ogle County, where he engaged in farming. Subsequently, he removed to Galena, where he died of the cholera during the prevalence of that scourge. Of this marriage were born six children, of whom two, Erva, wife of Harrison Nichols, of Nebraska; and Harriet, wife of Benjamin F. Heller, living Dear Bloomington, Ill., now survive. Unto Mr. Laney and his wife were born two children: John, who died when two years old; and George D., a talented young man, possessed of wonderful mechanical genius, married Nettie Vorys, who died, leaving four children. He died November 13, 1892, and is buried in the Gilman cemetery.
In 1857, our subject moved to McLean County, where he farmed until 1868. That year witnessed his arrival in Iroquois County, where he had purchased eighty acres in what is now Danforth Township, and on which he proceeded to make some improvements. Two years later, he purchased eighty acres of his present farm, and has since added to this original tract, until he now owns two hundred and one and a-half acres, our which he has erected first-class buildings. He has brought his property under a high state of cultivation, and is numbered among the thrifty and prosperous farmers of Douglas Township. Mr. Laney helped to make the switch at La Hogue. The land on which the village was started belonged to T. J. Laney, a brother, and a Mr. Hogue. The name of the village was formed by adding one syllable of Mr. Laney's name to that of Mr. Hogue. Mr. Laney started in life as a hired farm hand, and by good business investment and careful industry is now one of the most successful and well-to-do farmers of his township. He is one of the earliest settlers of this region, and has seen the deer and wolves in all parts of this now fertile farming section. At that time it was almost wholly covered with water. In politics, Mr. Laney is a supporter of the Democratic party and principles, and has held many minor offices, such as School Director and Pathmaster. Mrs. Laney is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
ELWIN HULL, who is extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising in Artesia Township, is numbered among the early settlers of the county, dating his residence from 1853. He has lived in this township longer than any other now residing in it. He was born in Delaware County, Ohio, on the 27th of March, 1843. His father, Japheth Hull, was a native of Crawford County, Ohio, born March 3, 1821, and after attaining to mature years married, March 3, 1842, Betsy Lusk, a native of Genesee County, of N. Y., born November 1, 1822. In 1853, they emigrated to Iroquois County, Ill., locating in what is now Onarga Township, although the township was not then organized. A year later they removed to what is now Artesia Township, settling on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres near Buckley, where they resided for twenty-one years, and where the children grew to manhood and womanhood. Japheth Hull engaged in farming, and by his industry and enterprise won success. At the time of his death he owned six hundred and thirteen acres of well-improved land. He died on the 25th of October, 1876, at the age of fifty-five years. Japheth Hull was a prominent man in political affairs. In an early day he was a strong Abolitionist, being a conductor on the Underground Railroad. On the rise of the Free Soil party, he joined its ranks, and then the Republican party, continuing in the last as long as he lived. He had held a number of official positions; for several terms he was a member of the Board of Supervisors, and for sixteen years was Justice of the Peace, besides holding minor offices. Socially he was a Master Mason. In 1850, he went overland to California, where he worked bp the month and mined; he met with good success, but lost $8,000 by loaning it to a man in whom he had such confidence that he took his individual note. In 1853, he returned by Cape Horn and New York City. The same year he came on horseback to Iroquois County, and located the farm he owned at the time of his death. Returning to Ohio, he moved his family out by teams. When he located here his nearest neighbor on the north was four miles away; on the east five miles; west, eighteen; and on the south thirty-five miles. Their post-office was old Middleport, at a distance of twenty-five miles. His widow is still living, and although seventy years of age is hale and hearty, and superintends the management of her farm. Unto this worthy couple were born five children, two sons and three daughters, of whom four are yet living: Elwin, Elmer, Alice and Alwilda. Alma, the third in order of birth, died March 3, 1872.
The subject of this sketch was a lad of ten years when with his parents he came to Iroquois County, where he has since made his home. He has witnessed much of the growth and upbuilding of the county, has aided in its development, and has ever borne his part in its onward progress. He was reared and the wild scenes of frontier life, and his educational advantages were those afforded by the old-time subscription and labor district schools of the neighborhood. On the 12th of November, 1873, he was united in marriage with Sadie R. Kerns, daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Entrekin) Kerns. Mrs. Hull was born in Chester County, Pa., September 7, 1852, and is one of eight children, of whom seven are still living. Her father was born in the same county, February 12, 1815, being of German parentage. Her mother was also born there January 7, 1819. In an early day they moved to La Salle County, Ill., and in 1868 moved to Iroquois County, where she died December 21, 1889, and he December 1, 1892. He became quite an extensive farmer. Both he and his wife were active workers in the Methodist Church. Seven children graced the union of our subject and his wife, of whom five are yet living, namely: George J. born September 24, 1876; Frank E., September 20, 1878; Cora Belle, November 4, 1880; Leo R.; March 19, 1885; and Jay L., August 23, 1889. Two died in infancy.
For a number of years after his marriage, Mr. Hull resided on a part of the old home farm. On the death of his father he received his share of the estate. He continued to reside on the old homestead until the spring of 1888, when with his family he removed to the farm on which he now resides, on section 13, Artesia Township. He owns three hundred and twenty acres of land, but also operates seven hundred and thirty-mime acres additional, belonging to the estate of E. R. Searles. He engages principally in stock-raising, breeding horses, cattle and hogs, but makes a specialty of thorough-bred cattle. He is one of the largest stock farmers in this section, and in his business he is meeting with excellent success, being now numbered among Artesia Township's substantial residents.
In his social relations, Mr. Hull is a member of Buckley Lodge No. 634, A. F. & A. M.; and of Mt. Olivet Commandery No, 38. K. T. of Paxton. In politics he is a Republican, and a stalwart advocate of the principles of that party. He has held the office of School Director and School Treasurer for many years, and does all in his power for the advancement of the cause of education. He is now serving his thirteenth year as Highway Commissioner, and has been Treasurer of the Board of Commissioners for twelve years, the prompt and faithful manner in which he performs his duties having led to his frequent re-election. He is a man of sterling worth, a valued citizen of the community, and well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county. Mrs. Hull is a member of the Methodist Church, and a most estimable lady.
ROBERT WOODARD FOSTER, a prominent merchant of Sheldon, who for eleven years has engaged in the furniture business in that place, claims North Carolina as the State of his nativity. His birth occurred in Northampton County on the 3d of April, 1829, and he is one of a family of ten children. The parents, James and Sarah (Hicks) Foster, were natives of North Carolina. The ancestors of our subject were a long-lived people, and his paternal grandfather reached the very advanced age of one hundred and eight years. James Foster was a farmer by Occupation, and in 1830 removed with his family to Ohio, settling in Logan County, near Zanesfield, where he spent the greater part of his life. Of the family only four children are yet living. The elder brother resides in Battle Creek, Mich., and the two sisters are living in Middleburgh, Ohio.
At the age of sixteen years, the subject of this sketch started out in life for himself and earned his livelihood by working as a farm hand. In 1856 he came to Iroquois County, but ere his removal West he was married in Ohio to Miss Hulda Inskeep, daughter of Job and Sarah Inskeep. Her parents were natives of Pennsylvania, and were among the early pioneers of Ohio. Her father was born in Virginia, and in the usual manner of farmer lads was reared to manhood. The common schools afforded him his educational privileges. After arriving at man's estate, he led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah Sharp, a native of Ohio, and by their union they became the parents of nine children. Of this family six are yet living, namely: Levi, who is now living a retired life in the Buckeye State; John and Isaac, who also make their homes in Ohio; Amos, who resides in Iroquois County, Ill.; Eliza, now the widow of Mr. Stakes, and also a resident of Iroquois County; Hulda, wife of our subject; and Sarah Ann, wife of Ab Morton, a resident of Ohio.
Mrs. Foster was also born in the Buckeye State, and in the days of her maidenhood attended its public schools. The marriage of our subject and his wife was celebrated on the 20th of March, 1851, and unto them were born three children, but only one is now living, Annetta, wife of Mahlon Inskeep, a resident of Iroquois County. For forty-one years Mr. and Mrs. Foster have traveled life's journey together, sharing its adversity and prosperity, its sorrows and joys.
On his removal to this county, Mr. Foster embarked in farming, which he followed successfully until 1862. The Civil War was then in progress and, feeling that the county needed his services, he responded to the call for troops on the 7th of August, joining the boys in blue of Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry. He was with Giant on his march to Vicksburg, and was at Holly Springs at the time of Van Dorn's raid upon that place. From there he went to Memphis, where he remained until the siege of Vicksburg. In August, 1863, he returned home on a furlough. His leave of absence was granted him on account of illness, which developed into a severe attack of typhoid fever. After remaining at home for about six months, he rejoined his regiment at Black River Bridge, east of Vicksburg, where he remained during the siege, after which he was sent to Mound City Hospital, in the fall of 1864. Three weeks later he was sent home on account of disability. He received his discharge and was mustered out of service in Galveston on the 2d of August, 1865, and was paid off in Chicago on the 25th of the same month. He still feels the effects of his army service and has never been quite the man physically that he was before he experienced the privations and exposures of army life.
When the war was over, Mr. Foster returned home and resumed farming, but in 1875 abandoned that pursuit and removed to Sheldon, where he was employed by W. Sherman in the lumber business for a short time. Soon afterward he formed a partnership with Richard Carroll and bought out his employer, remaining in the business for about a year, when he sold out and engaged in the flour and feed business. He afterwards added a stock of groceries and carried on operations in that line until 1881, when he sold out and opened a furniture store. He carries a full and complete stock of goods in this line and has built up an excellent trade, which has constantly increased from the beginning. His liberal patronage is well deserved, and his success is but the just reward of his efforts.
Mr. Foster is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Sheldon Lodge No. 609, A. F. & A. M. He also holds membership with A. B. Brown Post No. 151, G. A. R., and the Patriotic Order of Sons of America. In religious belief, he is a Methodist, and he votes the Republican ticket. He has long supported the men and measures of the Republican party and takes quite an interest in political affairs. His first Presidential vote was cast for Gen. Winfield Scott. He has been honored with a number of public offices, having served as Justice of the Peace in Stockland Township and as Commissioner of Highways. He was also Supervisor for a number of years.
Mr. Foster's career has been a prosperous one, owing to his well directed efforts, his industry and enterprise. He also attributes much of his success to the aid of his faithful wife, whose counsel and advice have been of much benefit to him. She has ever been ready to do her part, and has worked nobly and faithfully by his side. Mr. Foster is a man of great generosity and benevolence, and the poor and needy are never turned from his door empty-handed. They have found in him a friend, and many poor widows and little children has reason to member his with gratitude for his kindly assistance. Instead of hoarding up his possessions, he has considered them a trust placed in his care and has given liberally of his means to aid others. The public duties of Mr. Foster were ever promptly and faithfully performed, and he is one of Sheldon's most highly respected citizens. His pleasant, genial disposition endears him to all who know him, and he has won many friends.
PROF. JOHN RILEY FREEBERN, Principal of the Onarga public schools, and one of the prominent and influential citizens, is a native of the State which is yet his home. He was born in Granville, Ill., on the 17th of October, 1858, and is of Scotch and Irish descent. His father, Archibald Freebern, was a native of Scotland, and his mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Riley, was born on the Emerald Isle. When quite young, they were brought by their respective families to this country, and were reared to manhood and womanhood in the State of New York, Where their marriage was celebrated. At length they determined to try their fortune in the West, and in 1854 emigrated to Illinois, locating upon a farm near Granville, where they resided for about twelve years, and then removed to the village. The mother died on the 17th of July, 1879, and the father November 19, 1892. Their family numbered eight children, six sons and two daughters: George J., John Riley, William T., Elmer E., Annie E., Jeannie, Archie W., and Roscoe H. The children are all living except Jeannie, who died in infancy.
Our subject has spent his entire life in this State, and was reared to manhood under the parental roof. After attending the common schools, he entered the Granville High School, from which he was graduated. In early life he displayed special aptitude in his studies, and, not content with the educational advantages he had already received, after completing the course in Granville, he attended Wheaton College, and subsequently was a student In the Normal University, of Normal, Ill. On leaving school, he embarked in the profession of teaching, which he has since followed. For ten years he was employed as a teacher in Putnam County, being for the last two years of that the Principal of the schools in Hennepin. He then came to Iroquois County, and was Principal of the Ashkum schools for about a year. He then received an appointment as Principal of the Onarga public schools, and in September, 1890, entered upon the duties of that position, which he has since filled. He is now serving his third year, and gives excellent satisfaction.
On the 7th of July, 1883, Prof. Freebern was joined in wedlock with Miss Lola A. Holsburg, daughter of Dr. D. B. and Rebecca (Adams) Holsburg, of Granville. One child has been born of their union, a son, Walter H., born September 18, 1884. The Professor and his wife are leading citizens of this community, widely and favorably known, and in social circles where true worth is received as the passport into good society, they rank high. Mr. Freebern holds membership with Onarga Lodge No. 208, I. O. O. F., and in politics, is a supporter of Republican principles. Highly educated himself, he has the ability to impart knowledge to others, and is an able instructor. He has won the commendation of the community in which he is now employed, and the schools of Onarga are in a prosperous and thriving condition under his leadership.