Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
WILLIAM LONG, an enterprising and highly respected farmer, who resides on section 27, Lovejoy Township, is of English birth. He was born on the 27th of October, 1827, in Devonshire, England, and is a son of William and Jane (Lockyer) Long. His father was also born in the same locality as our subject, and throughout his entire life followed agricultural pursuits. On crossing the Atlantic he first located in Canada, where he remained from 1832 until 1845, when he took up his residence in Kendall County, Ill. He died at the age of sixty-nine years. His wife was also born in Devonshire, and was called to her final rest at the age of sixty-three years. He was a member of the Latter Day Saints, and she held membership with the Methodist Church. Unto them were born six children, four sons and two daughters, but all are now deceased within the exception of our subject and his sister Ann, wife of John Godwin, a resident farmer of La Salle County, Ill.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who was only four years of age when his parents left their native land and emigrated to Canada, where his boyhood days were passed and his education was acquired. He was a young man of seventeen years when he became a resident of Kendall County, Ill. Subsequently he removed to La Salle County, where he engaged in farming for eighteen years. He commenced life with a capital of only $200, but by his industry, enterprise and good management and the assistance of his estimable wife he has worked his way upward to a position of affluence.
Mr. Long was married on the 27th of September, 1849, to Miss Margaret Stewart, a native of Canada, who resided in that county until seventeen years of age. Her father, Charles Stewart, is a native of Pennsylvania, and farming has been his chief occupation through life. He is now living, at the advanced age of ninety years. His wife, who was born in Canada, is now deceased. There were thirteen children in their family, three sons and ten daughters, of whom seven are yet living. Mrs. Long is the eldest; Clarissa is the wife of Wells Morey, a farmer of Indiana; Charles resides in Canada; Melinda is the wife of George Jeffery, of Canada; Eliza Ann is the wife of John Thompson, who is living in Canada; Thomas resides in the same country; and Nellie is the wife of John Bruner, of Canada. Seven children graced the union of our subject and his wife, four sons and three daughters, of whom five are living: Mary Jane is the wife of Aaron B. Fry, a farmer of La Salle County; Harriet is the wife of William Linfoot, a farmer of Prairie Green Township; Newton is married and follows farming in Lovejoy Township; Harry is married and operates the home farm; and Maggie is still under the parental roof.
Mr. Long has always been a stanch supporter of the Republican party. He has served as School Director, but has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. Himself and wife are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints in La Salle County. Their farm comprises three hundred and twenty acres of rich land under a high state of cultivation and well improved, and its neat appearance indicates his thrift and enterprise. He is a man of strict integrity; his word is as good as his bond, and his friends are many.
ANDREW L. CARTER, who is now living in Cissna Park, was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, July 25, 1835. His father, James Carter, was also a native of the Buckeye State and was reared upon a farm; he also learned the blacksmith's trade in his youth. He married Miss Nancy Haskett, a native of Alexandria, Va., who when a child went with her parents to Ohio. Her father served in the War of 1812 and her grandfather served in the Revolution under Gen. Putnam. In 1853, the parents of our subject removed to Benton County, Ind., and in February, 1856, came to Iroquois County by team. The members of the family settled on different farms in Artesia and Pigeon Grove Townships. The county was wild and unimproved, the settlements were few, and one could ride for miles over the prairies without fences or buildings to impede progress. Mr. Carter improved several farms in this locality and also engaged in blacksmithing. His death occurred at Forest, Livingston County, and his wife died at the home of her son. In polities, he was a Whig and afterward a Republican, and he and his wife were both active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In the Carter family were three sons and a daughter, of whom our subject is the eldest. William S., who was born in Ohio and for three years during the late war served in the Twenty-sixth Indiana Infantry, was wounded in the ankle at Vicksburg and died as the result of his injuries in Buckley, Ill.; Elizabeth died in Ross County, Ohio, at the age of fifteen years; James M. is engaged in merchandising in Forest, Ill.
Andrew Carter spent his early boyhood days in Ohio. His advantages were indeed meagre; he probably never attended school more than seventeen days in his life, but educated himself through his own efforts and also taught his father to read. In 1853 he went to Indiana, driving a bend of cattle to Benton County. He had previously been there and had earned his first money by splitting rails at thirty-seven and one-half cents per hundred. In the spring of 1854, he returned to Ohio and brought his parents to the Hoosier State, and two years later they all came together to Iroquois County. Mr. Carter was married in Benton County September 20, 1855, to Lucinda Ladd, who was born September 13, 1835, and reared in Pike County, Ohio.
On the 22d of July, 1862, Mr. Carter enlisted at Ash Grove, in Company K, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. Joseph Davis and Col. A. W. Mack, of Kankakee. He bade good-bye to his family, and at Kankakee joined the regiment, which was the first in the field after the call for troops in 1862. They went to Columbus, Ky., thence to Bolivar and afterward to La Grange, Tenn. Subsequently, they went to Vicksburg, Miss., and for forty days and nights our subject participated in the siege of that city, being present at its surrender on the 4th of July. He now has in his possession a piece-of the tree under which the surrender took place. The Seventy-sixth Regiment next participated in the battle of Jackson under Gen. Sherman, then made a forced march back to Vicksburg, and thence went to Natchez. With Sherman they participated in the Meridian campaign from the 3d of February until the 4tln of March, and Mr. Carter was made First Sergeant of the company. The regiment was afterward transferred from Sherman's army to Gen. Smith's command to aid in the Red River Expedition. Subsequently, they went up the Yazoo River and participated in the battles of Burton, Danville and Yazoo City. On the 1st of July, 1864, they started for Jacksonville under Gen. Slocum. A sharp fight occurred on the 7th and the regiment was cut off from the command, but it cut its way through the rebel lines again, losing, however, one hundred and one men. They went up the Mississippi to the mouth of the White River and then to Memphis to drive off Forrest. On the 31st of December, 1864, the troops boarded a steamer for New Orleans and from there went to Mobile Bay and Pensacola. They participated in the capture of Ft. Blakely, having marched through the swamps and endured many hardships. The Seventy-sixth Regiment charged the works, captured the garrison and planted the first flag, but the company to which Mr. Carter belonged lost one-half of its number. He had his clothes pierced four times, thus narrowly escaping. This is was the last important battle in which he participated. He was a valiant and faithful soldier, ever found at his post of duty, and for meritorious conduct was commissioned Second Lieutenant.
Since the war, Mr. Carter has made his home continuously in this community, with the exception of four years spent in the West, from 1880 until 1884. He has traveled extensively in the West and for two years engaged in mining in Colorado, he and three others going into the grand River country in the midst of the Indians. Of late years, he has resided in Cissna Park, where he has a comfortable home.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Carter have been born seven children: Arthur E., a railroad engineer residing in St. Louis; Margaret J., deceased, wife of Thomas Mell; Andrew M., a photographer of Cissna Park; Mary E., wife of Andrew Poleson, a farmer of Hastings, Neb.; Wadsworth, who is living in Argentine, Ark.; Edward, who lives in Hastings; and Leroy at home.
Mr. Carter is Past Post Commander of G. H. Neeld Post No. 576, G. A. R.,and has filled all the offices in the Knights of Pythias Lodge to which he belongs. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, whom he saw in La Fayette, Ind., and has since been a stalwart Republican, he was a great admirer of John A. Logan, whom he thinks was the most brilliant military character of the late war. For a time, he was under his command, knew the General personally, and warned him about crossing a hill at Vicksburg. For thirty-six years, Mr. Carter has resided in this county and is numbered among its honored pioneers. He has experienced all the hardships and trials of frontier life, has ever borne his part in the upbuilding and development of the county, and is a leading citizen of the community, highly respected for his sterling worth.
ASA BERRY ROFF, an honored pioneer of Iroquois County, now Police Magistrate and ex-officio Justice of the Peace of Watseka, was born in Morris County, N. J., September 13, 1818, and is a son of Joseph and Many (Conger) Roff. When our subject was but a child of three years, he accompanied his parents to Newark, N. Y., where his father died three years later, leaving his widow and children in dependent circumstances. After the father's death, the mother returned with her family to New Jersey, where Asa was taken by an uncle to be reared.
When he was thirteen years of age, our subject was apprenticed by an uncle to a shoemaker and learned that trade, his term of service expiring at the age of nineteen years. He started out for himself with a cash capital of $225. His first stopping place was Albany, N. Y., where he worked for a time, and then started to Michigan, locating in Washtenaw County, that State. On the 2d of March, 1839, he set out for Indiana, traveling on foot to Ft. Wayne. Not finding employment there, he went to Logansport of the same State, where he worked that summer. In August, with his brother, he went down the river in canoes which they had themselves manufactured, to Independence, where he made a settlement. He was there married, Januamy 3, 1841, to Miss Ann Fenton, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of Eleaser Fenton.
Mr. Roff continued to reside in Warren County, Ind., where he was engaged in the boot and shoe business until the fall of 1847. He then came to Iroquois County, Ill., arriving in Middleport, then the county sent, on the 3d of September. He opened a shoe-shop in that place and continued business there until 1852, when he bought an interest in a sawmill, in what is now Watseka, and was engaged in the manufacture of lumber for eighteen months. In early life, he was a Whig in politics, and was appointed Postmaster of Middleport in 1849, serving in that capacity four years. In 1854, he was elected Sheriff and was ex-officio Collector for Iroquois County for two years. The county was not then under township organization. He read law and was admitted to the Bar in the spring of 1857, entering upon the practice of his profession as a partner of Robert Doyle, with whom he was connected for several years.
Mr. and Mrs. Roff were blessed with a family of ten children, but only four are now living: William A., the eldest, died at the age of two years; George W. died in infancy; Minerva R. became the wife of Dr. H. H. Alter, who is Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank of Watseka, and the lady herself is proprietor of a well-stocked book and stationery store, which she conducts in a successful and business like manner; Mary E. died at the age of nineteen years. A remarkable cure of an alleged insane girl of Watseka is credited to the latter's spiritual influence some twelve years after her death, a full account of which is published in pamphlet form, under the title of "The Watseka Wonder." Frances L. died in infancy. Joseph A. married Ella Eddinger and is the present General Freight Agent at Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad. Fenton J. is bookkeeper in the Citizens' State Bank of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Gaylord A. died at the age of one and a-half years. Frank J. resides in Kansas City. Charles C. died May 29, 1885, when nearly twenty-four years of age.
In the spring of 1857, Mr. Roff, on account of the ill health of his son Joseph, took his family to Texas, hoping for benefit for the invalid from a change of climate, and was gone about a year. On his return to Middleport, he engaged in the practice of law. When the South Middleport, or Watseka, postoffice was established in 1863, he was appointed its first Postmaster and served until 1866. He was elected Justice of the Peace, but resigned the office in June, 1879, removing to Garden City, Kan., a near where his sons had made claims and invested considerable money. He was disappointed, however, in finding the climate too dry for profitable farming, and removed to Emporia of the same State, where he spent a year. He next went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he resided two years, and subsequently located in Kansas City, where he made his home until 1885. He then returned to Watseka, where he has since resided.
In the spring of 1889, Mr. Roff was elected Police Magistrate for a term of four years, and is ex-officio Justice of the Peace. A year or two before the death of the late Hon. Micajah Stanley, Mr. Roff was, at that gentleman's request, appointed conservator of his estate. The duties of the position were intricate and delicate, owing to the extent and variety of property interests involved and the complicated condition of Mr. Stanley's business affairs. Mr. Roff proved equal to the responsible duties of the position and settled up tine business justly and fairly, and greatly to the advantage of the estate.
In politics, our subject was a Republican until 1872, since which time he has voted independently, but generally supports the Democratic candidates. He was the first Odd Fellow to settle in Iroquois County, and was a charter member of Iroquois Lodge No. 74, of which he was the first Noble Grand. He joined the Masonic order in Onarga in 1858, and is now a member of Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M., and Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.
Mr. Roff erected the first frame house on the site of Watseka, built the first fine brick residence in the town, and was at one time a large property owner. In an early day, believing that farming lands in Eastern Illinois were bound to advance rapidly in value, he invested extensively in raw land, on which he paid only part down. Much of his land hec sold at a good advance to actual settlers, but on small payments down and subject, of course, to the first mortgage, securing himself by a second. Ordinarily, this arrangement would be perfectly safe, but a succession of wet seasons prevented the settlers from securing crops and consequently from paying their interest. In the meantime, in order to protect himself, Mr. Roff, while receiving no interest, was obliged to pay interest on the first mortgage. This condition of things continued four years. About this time, the financial troubles of 1873, 1874 and 1875 came on, depreciating values and making sales of realty difficult. Under the circumstances, Mr. Roff had to submit to foreclosure and loss of the property, while holding some $20,000 worth of paper against the property which was made worthless. In this manner he has sustained the loss of a large and valuable property which caused his financial ruin from which he has never recovered. In spite of his business misfortunes, Mr. Roff has maintained his usual cheerfulness, and has made the best of life, as has his worthy wife, never allowing their troubles to sour them or to change their happy family relations or friendships. Probably no man today is more highly esteemed in the community or enjoys the confidence amid respect of his fellow-citizens in a fuller degree than the subject of this sketch. He is generous to a fault, just, considerate and independent. He practices what he teaches, as his neighbors know, and lets the broad mantle of charity cover a multitude of faults, rather than condemn too severely the erring.
JOHN C. FOWLER is a prominent contractor and builder, and also occupies the position of Police Magistrate, and is the present Postmaster of Ashkum, his birth occurred in Monongalia County, W. Va., on the 6th of October, 1838. He is a son of John and Sarah B. (Costello) Fowler, both natives of Virginia. The grandfather of our subject, Nehemiah Fowler, was born in the United States, but was of English descent. A family of this name settled in Virginia at an early day.
John Fowler, Sr., was a wagon-maker by trade, and was also a carpenter. He removed to Jackson County, Ohio, about 1850, where he was one of the pioneers, and where his brother had settled some years previous. He followed his trade there for over twenty years and was highly honored and beloved in that section of the county. He departed this life in 1872. His wife, who was of Irish parentage, died several years before his removal to Ohio.
Our subject is the only son of a family of six children, who grew to mature years and are still living. He reached man's estate in Jackson County and had the advantage of a good common-school and higher education at the Ohio University at Athens. After completing his studies, he engaged in teaching in the Ohio schools for about a year, and then turned his attention to carpentering, which trade he had learned with his father in early life. At that occupation he continued until the breaking out of the Civil War.
In February, 1863, Mr. Fowler enlisted in the One Hundred and Ninety-first Ohio Infantry, becoming a member of Company B. He was with his regiment in the Shenandoah Valley and participated in several skirmishes, but was in no regular battle. He served until the close of the war, receiving his discharge in December, 1865, at Columbus, Ohio, after which he returned home and joined his family in Gallia County.
On the 25th of August, 1859, Mr. Fowler had married Miss Amanda R. Badgeley, who was born and grew to womanhood in Gallia County, Ohio. She was a daughter of George Badgeley, an esteemed resident of that section. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fowler five children have been born: George N. is married and resides in Kappa, Ill., where he is a railroad agent. He is a young man of good education and business ability. Lillie E. is a successful teacher; Sarah is the efficient Deputy Postmistress of Ashkum; Ella, who resides at home, is an artist and does both fine needle-work and painting; Willie is still under the parental roof.
Until 1868, Mr. Fowler engaged in contracting and building in Ohio, but in the spring of that year emigrated to Illinois, arriving in Iroquois County in March. He located first on a farm one mile west of Ashkum, where he built a residence and opened up and improved his land, still continuing his business of contracting and building. About the year 1873, he removed to the village of Ashkum and built a residence here. He has been a contractor and builder in this county for many years, and many residences, business houses and other structures in this locality show his architectural skill and handiwork. Mr. Fowler, though formerly a Democrat, is now a supporter of the Republican party. He has held a number of official positions of trust and honor, and has proved himself admirably qualified to discharge the duties of such. He was first elected to serve as Collector, and was then made Assessor. He has served as Police Magistrate for sixteen consecutive years with fidelity and zeal. He was also appointed Census Enumerator in both 1880 and 1890. He was appointed Postmaster of Ashkum in February, 1891, and still occupies that position. He takes an active interest in political and local affairs, and has served as a delegate to numerous county conventions. Mrs. Fowler and her daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are among its best workers. Mr. Fowler is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Ashkum, of which he is Past Grand. He is now serving as the Secretary of the lodge. He is a representative citizen of the community, and has won the confidence and respect of all with whom he has come in contact by his upright and sterling qualities.
DAVID McGILL, President of the First National Bank of Watseka, and an honored pioneer of Iroquois County, was born in the city of Newport, R. I., March 2,1831, and with his parents emigrated to Illinois in 1838. After a short time spent in Chicago they settled on Government land in what was then known as Hawkins' Settlement, near Bourbonnais Grove, at that time a part of Iroquois County. The father of our subject had bought a claim, the land not then being in the market, and began to improve it. The summer of 1839 proved to be very hot and dry and the most unhealthy season ever known in the Kankakee Valley, almost entire families being carried off by bilious or miasmatic fevers. The father, mother and one brother of our subject died within a short time, leaving four small children, too young to care for themselves, to be cast upon the charity of a stricken and demoralized community. David and his sister were cared for by Squire Hill, who kept a tavern up the river near the old Hubbard trail leading from Chicago to Danville and on the site of the present city of Momence. Over this trail all the produce of the country was hauled by wagon to Chicago. It so happened that John Strean, a pioneer of Belmont Township, Iroquois County, was returning from market and stopped with Mr. Hill. Learning the story of David's misfortune, and liking his appearance, he asked the boy to go home with him to live, arrangements to that effect being made.
Our subject continued to live with his benefactor until twenty-one years of age and by his fidelity and industry fully justified the good impression Mr. Strean had formed of him. His intelligence, honesty of purpose and prudent care for the interests of his kind patron, entirely won the confidence of Mr. Strean, who made David the manager of his large farm and all the stock it contained. Mrs. Strean, or "Aunt Jane" as she was familiarly called, doted on the boy, for he was not only industrious, but was kind and considerate to the members of the family. In his early years, owing to the sparsely settled condition of the county and poverty of the new settlers, David found little advantage of education, but when of age, with his limited savings he determined to do what he could to remedy the loss which he had sustained, he became a student of Asbury, now De Pauw, University, of Greencastle, Ind. He studied hard and made the best use of his time, and when forced to discontinue his studies for the want of means to complete the course, he engaged actively in farming in Belmont Township and soon accumulated sufficient means to make the first payment on a farm of his own. He pushed his farm work with energy, raised stock and cleared himself of debt.
On the 15th of November, 1855, Mr. McGill was married in Belmont Township to Miss Jane Wagner. She was born in that township and is a daughter of Jacob and Charlotte Wagner, both now deceased. Having established a reputation for industry and integrity, Mr. McGill was offered the use of capital to invest as he saw fit. He accepted the offer and purchased land, then selling at a low figure. As he could dispose of his property to advantage and good profit, he did so and paid off his obligations or bought more land until he owned in his own right a large number of acres. His possessions now aggregate eleven hundred and sixty acres, all in Iroquois County. In 1870, he removed to Watseka and became associated with Maj. George C. Harrington in the establishment of the First National Bank of that place, of which he was chosen Vice-president, and since 1890 he has been its President. A history of the bank is given else where in this work.
Mr. McGill and his wife have been blessed with a family of eight children, three sons and five daughters, of whom all are living except one son. Clara, the eldest, is the wife of R. W. Hilscher, a prominent lawyer of Watseka, and lately State's Attorney for Iroquois County; Thurston married Miss Hettie Martin and is a grain and coal merchant of Watseka; Dora is the wife of George W. Eastburn, a banker of Sheldon, Ill.; Lida married Porter Martin, a merchant of Watseka; Minnie is a student in DePauw University; Fred is employed in the bank with his father; Bertie, twin brother of Fred, died when eight months old; and Asenath, the youngest, is attending the Watseka High School.
Mr. McGill was chosen Assessor at the first election under township organization. He represented Belmont Township for two years in the County Board and was a recognized leader in that body. For four years he held the office of Assistant United States Assessor for his district under President Lincoln, but was removed under Johnson's administration, he being a Republican up to the time of the Independent movement in 1872, and was reappointed under Grant's first administration. Mr. McGill is a member of Watseka Lodge No. 446, A. F. & A. M. His family are members of the Methodist Church, to which he has contributed very liberally.
The history of the life of this worthy man teaches a moral and should serve to encourage the young who are left in want of friends and fortune. In the tender years of childhood he was heft to fight the battle of life as best he could, friendless and penniless. To be sure he was fortunate in falling into good hands, but had he not possessed the elements of character that won the confidence and trust of those worthy friends, it would have served him but little. His success in life was won by the sterling qualities of integrity, industry and a conscientious regard for the faithful discharge of all trusts reposed in him and for the duty of the hour, however distasteful or arduous it may have been. He possesses great energy and earnestness of purpose, sagacious and reliable judgment, combined with forethought. With such elements of character, backed by strict integrity and love of justice, he could not fail of success.
CHARLES F. RAPP, a well-known and prominent farmer residing on section 1, Ash Grove Township, claims Missouri as the State of his nativity. He was born near St. Louis on the 11th of September, 1846. His father was born in Germany in 1819, and in his youth learned the mason's trade. In 1841, he crossed the Atlantic to New Orleans, made his way up the Mississippi and located in St. Louis, where he was married, in 1845, to Caroline Schwartz, who came to America during her girlhood. Jacob Rapp worked at the mason's trade until 1848, and in 1850 he embarked in farming in Marshall County. He was afterward a resident of Bureau County, Ill. for eleven years, and then purchased a farm in Woodford County. He is now living retired in Minonk, Ill. He has been an industrious and hard-working man, but his enterprising efforts have been at length successful. In religious belief, he is a Lutheran, and in his political affiliations he is a Democrat. His wife died July 7, 1872, at the age of forty-eight years.
In the Rapp family were four sons and three daughters, of whom Charles F. is the eldest; Mary is a resident of this State; John is a farmer of Livingston County; Sophia is the wife of Peter Walter, of Nebraska; Edward is a farmer of Livingston County; Emma is the wife of Philip Walter, of Nebraska; and George resides on the old homestead in Woodford County.
Mr. Rapp, whose name heads this record, spent his boyhood days in his native State and acquired his education in its public schools. He was early inured to hard labor. He remained at home until twenty-three years of age, and then began farming for himself, purchasing forty acres of land from his father. He afterward bought another forty-acre tract, and operated his farm in Livingston County until 1882, when he sold out and came to Iroquois County. He here purchased one hundred and seventy-five acres of good land, and now has one of the desirable farms of the community. His home is a pleasant residence; his barns and outbuildings are models of convenience; He has the latest improved machinery; many rods of tiling have been laid, and the well-tilled fields yield to him a golden tribute. In connection with the cultivation of his land, he is also engaged in stock-raising.
On the 15th of July, 1869, Mr. Rapp was united in marriage, in Woodford County, with Miss Lena Miller, a native of Hanover, Germany, born November 6, 1848. She is a daughter of Simon Miller, who was born in Hanover in 1819. He married Gertrude Ostenburg, and emigrated to America in 1874. He first located in Livingston County, Ill., but is now residing in Champaign County. The family numbered the following children: Folke, who now resides in Germany; Gertie, wife of Gerhardt Lennes, of Milford Township; Frank, of Champaign County; Barbara, why is living in Nebraska; Mrs. Rapp; Grace, who resides in Champaign County; and Gete, who lives with her parents. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Rapp have been born twelve children: Jacob, born June 11, 1870, died in January, 1888, aged eighteen years; Lizzie, born October 19, 1871, is the wife of William Schaumburg, of Milford Township; Mina, born January 11, 1873, is the wife of A. Smith, a farmer of Crescent Township; Henry, born April 1, 1874, died in infancy; Mary, born July 24, 1876; Annie, October 24, 1879; Gertrude, August 24, 1880; Henry, February 7, 1882; Frank, October 20, 1884; Sophia, May 18, 1886; Lena, March 5, 1888; and Emma, February 15, 1890.
During the late war Mr. Rapp wished to enter the service, but as he was not of age his father prevented him. He cast his first vote for Seymour, and has since been a supporter of the Democratic party, but has never been an office-seeker. He has lived the quiet, unassuming life of a farmer, and by his sterling worth has won the high regard of all with whom he has been-brought in contact. His success in life is the reward of his own efforts. He started out to earn his own livelihood with no capital, but by perseverance, energy and well-directed efforts he has achieved a comfortable competence, which numbers him among the substantial citizens of the community.
GEORGE McCANN, a well-known contractor and builder of Gilman, is a native of the Keystone State, his birth having occurred July 15, 1846, in Dauphin County. He is a son of John and Rachel (Martin) McCann. His father was born in Dauphin County and was of Scotch descent, while his mother was a native of Lancaster County. Their marriage was celebrated at Elizabethtown, Pa. For a livelihood, the father followed the milling business, and died when about thirty-six years of age, leaving one son, our subject. Mrs. McCann afterward married a Mr. Sweigert and had one daughter. After his death, she was joined in wedlock with Daniel Sanders, by whom she had six children, two sons and four daughters. She is still living at Marysville, Pa.
Our subject was reared on a farm and received very limited educational advantages in his early life, attending school but a few weeks each year. Until about fifteen years old, he lived with his grandfather Martin. At that time, he worked for wages on a farm. When seventeen years of age, he apprenticed himself to learn the carpenter's and joiner's trade, serving three years. From the first he received $1 per day, and during harvest time had four weeks to work for himself. Having completed his apprenticeship, he still worked a year and a-half under instruction. In 1871, he came to Illinois, and in June of that year arrived in Gilman, where for over twenty years he has made his home.
On the 28th of September, 1871, he married Miss Elizabeth Urich, a daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Schefer) Urich, both of whom are natives of Pennsylvania and of German descent. Mrs. McCann is one of eleven children, of whom four were sons and seven daughters. She was born in Dauphin County, Pa., November 28, 1849, and came to Gilman in 1871. To them have been born four children: John assists his father; George A. is learning the carpenter's trade; Frank and Fannie A.
Both Mr. McCann and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, where they are earnest workers and of which he is an Elder. Politically, he was a Republican until 1886, since which time he has been a Prohibitionist. Socially, he is a member of the Odd Fellows' fraternity. For twenty-nine years, he has worked at his trade and is accounted a skillful mechanic and a reliable contractor. Among the best buildings he has erected are those belonging to Holch, West, Knibloe and Ashman, residents of Gilman, besides some of the best residences in the county. He has erected the Lutheran, Baptist and Presbyterian Churches, and completed the Methodist Church. He is recognized as the leading contractor of Gilman, and his business abilities are such as have won him success and have made him one of the honored and substantial citizens of this community.
JOHN B. WILSON, who resides on section 7, Lovejoy Township, has long been one of the prominent and influential citizens of Iroquois County, and is widely known throughout the State as well. He needs no special introduction to the people of this locality, for he has been so prominent in public affairs and has aided so materially in the upbuilding and development of the county and the promotion of its best interests, that he is known personally or by reputation to all.
Mr. Wilson was born in Warren County, Ind., April 7,1836. His father, Lewis Wilson, a native of Cabell County, W. Va., was born in 1811. He was reared near Bismarck, Ill., and was educated in the primitive schools of the frontier. In June, 1836, he went to the lead mines near Galena, Ill., and Dodgeville, Wis. In 1838, he removed with his family to Lee County, in the Territory of Iowa, becoming one of its pioneers. The red men were still numerous in that locality and the work of civilization and progress seemed scarcely begun. The father died in 1844, at the early age of thirty-three years, when our subject was a lad of seven summers. John still has in his possession a copybook which was used by his father in school in January, 1833, and it is a much-prized relic. Mr. Wilson was a generous and benevolent man, of noble Christian character, highly respected by all who knew him. In politics he was a Democrat, being a native of the locality where lived "the sage of Monticello," who was the founder of old-time Democracy.
The mother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Sarah McConnell, was born in the Buckeye State, December 15, 1814, and is yet living at the advanced age of seventy-eight years, her home being in Harper County, Kan. She acquired her education in the common schools and is yet a great reader, delighting in good books. She also keeps herself well informed on the current events of the day, possessing a remarkable memory for one of her years. When her husband died, with her family of four children she removed to Mahaska County, Iowa, in July, 1844, and built one of the first pioneer homes in Oskaloosa. Prior to this she can well remember when the Winnebago Indians of Wisconsin used to go past her home on their way to Prairie du Chien to receive their pay from the Government and then back to their wigwams. When residing in Lee County, Iowa, the Indians would often come to her home and ask her to cook their food. Mr. Wilson, our subject, tells how on one occasion two big Indians came to his mother and asked her to let them cook a turkey. She acquiesced, and after preparing it they ate the whole fowl. In the Wilson family were four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom our subject is the eldest. He has one sister living, Mary E., the wife of William Stroup, a resident farmer of Harper County, Kan. The two other children are deceased.
The family from which Mr. Wilson is descended on his mother's side, the McConnells, was founded in America during early Colonial days and is noted for longevity. The maternal grandmother of our subject reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Her cousins, a family by the name of Jolly, resided near Chillicothe, Ohio, during the War of 1812, and all were murdered by the Indians, except one child, William Jolly, whom the savages held in captivity for several years. He was afterwards liberated, and our subject well remembers the stories told by "Uncle" William Jolly about his life with the Indians. Another cousin of Mr. Wilson's mother was Judge Cradlebaugh, who was prominent in the history of Utah as an opponent of polygamy.
We now take up the personal history of the gentleman whose name heads this record. The first two years of his life were spent in Wisconsin after which he was taken to the Territory of Iowa. where he remained for seven years, and from that time was a resident of Indiana until eighteen years of age. His school privileges were very meagre. He could attend only in the winter season, but by self-culture, study, observation and experience, in later years he has made himself not only a well-informed but a highly educated main. He attended the first school ever held in Mahaska County, Iowa. Until eighteen years of age his life was spent upon a farm. He then left lime, on the 21st of February, 1854, journeyed Westward, and on the 4th of March sailed from New York for California, as a passenger on the "Northern Light" of the Nicaragua Line. He stopped for a time on the Island of Jamaica, and from there went to the San Juan River, where he changed steamers. At the Rapids they struck Lake Nicaragua, which it took twelve hours to cross. Crossing Central America to the Pacific Ocean, he sailed on the "Sierra Nevada'' for San Francisco, where he landed April 2,1854. After spending the night there, he started for Sacramento, and from there went to the Placer Diggings where gold was first discovered. He reached his destination with only $3 in his pocket, but after a year's mining started for home with $2,000 in gold dust. He sailed from San Francisco, January 16, 1855, on the steamer "Sonora," bound for Panama, crossed the Isthmus on the first through train which ever made the trip, amid sailed at once from Aspinwall on the "Star of the West" for New York, where he arrived on the 8th of February. In company with his comrade, Thomas Howard, for whom he had formed a deep attachment, he made his way to Philadelphia, where he had his gold dust coined.
On the 16th Of February, 1855, Mr. Wilson was again in Warren County, but immediately afterwards came to Iroquois County and purchased two hundred acres of raw prairie land, upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made. No settlements were near him, and in Lovejoy Township there were few inhabitants. John Crawford resided upon what is now the farm of Charles Dawson. On the "Red Pump Farm" were Andrew Endsley and William Scott. John Finney made his home on the farm now owned by J. L. Hamilton, and John Robinson and Charles Hildreth also lived in the neighborhood. Mr. Wilson gave $1,000 for his land. During the summer of 1855, he broke prairie with oxen and kept "bachelor's hall." He shared in all the experiences and hardships of pioneer life and has witnessed almost the entire growth of the county. When coming across the country he saw, about three miles from where William Scott now resides, a herd of over eighty deer. There were also many wolves and much wild game, and as Mr. Wilson was very fond of hunting he always kept his table supplied with meat. The first building which he erected was 16x26 feet and contained only two rooms. It is still standing in a fair state of preservation, one of the few landmarks of pioneer days that yet remain.
On the 28th of February, 1856, Mr. Wilson married Miss Eliza Jane Hickman, a native of Missouri, and unto them were born three sons and four daughters, of whom six are yet living. Mary E. is the wife of A. Pate, whose sketch is given elsewhere in this work; William Clayton is now deceased; Sadie A. is the wife of Alonzo Hall, a farmer of Milford. Thomas Newton, who is married and resides in Bern, Ark., possesses considerable inventive genius and has invented an auger which bores a square hole; Martha F. is the wife of C. A. Dawson, a druggist of Milford, who is represented elsewhere in this work; Eliza Jane is the wife of Walter Braddon, a merchant of Watseka; Lewis resides with his father amid is his partner in the grain business in Hickman, Ill. The children were all provided with good educational advantages, which fitted them for the practical duties of life, and have become useful and respected members of society. The mother of this family died September 12, 1874, and was interred in Amity Cemetery. which was laid out in 1859, by Mr. Wilson, and Richard and Levin H. Hickman. A beautiful and costly monument has been erected to her memory. She was a faithful helpmate to her husband, a loving mother, and a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Wilson was again married, June 1, 1876, his second union being with Mrs. Rachel (Baird) Mills, a native of Indiana. Unto them has been born a daughter, Hattie, who is the light of her parents' home. She possesses considerable musical talent. By her former marriage Mrs. Wilson had two children: Lora, who is now in Colorado Springs, Col.; and William, who resides in Muscatine, Iowa. The children are both well educated and the daughter attended school in Terre Haute, Ind.
Mr. Wilson organized the first school district in this community in 1859, and through his efforts the first schoolhouse was built. The cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend, and he has filled the office of School Director for the long period of twenty-one years, of which fact he may well feel proud. He cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas, then supported Abraham Lincoln, and has since been identified with the Republican party as one of its stalwart advocates. He has filled the offices of Justice of the Peace and Supervisor, also Assessor of what was then Milford Township. He did much towards securing the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad through the county. He has frequently been a delegate to the conventions of his party, has been a member of the Republican County Central Committee for many years, and is now a member of the Ninth District State Central Committee of Illinois. He was chosen one of the delegates to the National Republican Convention at Chicago in 1880, and supported Gen. U. S. Grant for the Presidency. He has a bronze medal in his possession which was given to him on that occasion as one of the famous "Old Guard" who cast their ballot thirty-six times for Grant. The medal is three inches in diameter. On one side in bas relief is the profile of Gen. Grant, and on the other is the proper inscription of the balloting. In 1892, Mr. Wilson was one of the State Central Committee who had the honor of receiving at Springfield, Ill., Whitelaw Reid, candidate for Vice-president.
Mr. Wilson was chosen by the State Live Stock Commission of Illinois as one of time three to appraise the pleuro-pneumonia cattle in 1887. Socially he is a Mason, belonging to Milford Lodge No. 168, A. F. & A. M.; Watseka Chapter No. 114, R. A. M.; and Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., of Paxton. In 1868, with two others, he gave $750 for the erection of the Amity Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a liberal supporter of all worthy enterprises calculated to upbuild and benefit the community and is one of the valued as well as honored citizens of his adopted county. He now resides upon his home farm, comprising two hundred acres of valuable land, under a high state of cultivation. His residence is built in the most approved style of modern architecture and is one of the most beautiful and pleasant homes of the locality.
Mrs. Dawson was also born in Ross County, January 30, 1813, and she is a faithful member of the United Brethren Church. They emigrated to Iroquois County in 1854, and Mr. Dawson purchased one hundred and sixty acres of partially improved land, from which he developed a fine farm. He has witnessed much of the growth and progress of the county and has done all in his power to aid in its upbuilding.
Of the Dawson family the following are still living: Silas, a farmer, who is married and resides in this county; John, who is married, and engaged in the livery business in Indiana; Charles W., of this sketch; Lewis, who is married and follows agricultural pursuits in Iroquois County; George, who is married and is a farmer of Iroquois County; and Sarah, wife of Peter Garner, a farmer of this county.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who is widely and favorably known in this community. He spent the days of his boyhood and youth until the age of sixteen years in Warren County, Ind., and attended its common schools, acquiring a good knowledge of the common English branches. The cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend, and he does all in his power for its advancement and to support any measure calculated for its upbuilding. He entered upon his business career at the age of twenty-one as a farmer and stock-buyer, and to this line of work has since devoted his energies. He has been an indefatigable worker, and as his financial resources were increased he added to his landed possessions until he now owns six hundred acres of valuable land under a high state of cultivation. It is well tiled, has good hedge fences and all the improvements of a model farm. He still carries on stock-raising and shipping, and is an excellent judge of all kinds of stock. This branch of his business has in a large measure brought him his success.
November 21, 1861, Mr. Dawson married Miss Julia Cadore, daughter of Joseph and Mary Ardelia (White) Cadore. She is a native of Canada, and is of French descent. Two children grace their union: Mary A., now the wife of A. J. Hume, of Chicago, an employe on the Wabash Railroad, and Priscilla, wife of A. M. Dawson, who is engaged in the boot and shoe business in Chicago.
Mr. Dawson cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln and has since supported every candidate of the Republican party. He has held the office of School Director for sixteen consecutive years, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the confidence and trust reposed in him. Enterprise and energy have been numbered among his chief characteristics throughout life and have won for him wealth and affluence. By his earnest efforts and perseverance, he has acquired a fortune of which he may be justly proud, and his example is well worthy of emulation. His home is a beautiful and commodious brick residence, situated in the eastern part of Wellington and built in the most approved style of modern architecture.
JOHN C. RAMSEY, one of the well-known farmers and stock-dealers of Onarga Township, is numbered among the early settlers of the county, his residence here covering a period of almost forty years, dating from 1853. In the days which have since come and gone he has watched the progress and development of the county, has seen its wild lands transformed into beautiful homes and farms, its hamlets grow into thriving towns, schoolhouses and churches built, and the work of civilization and progress rapidly carried forward. He too has always borne his part in this improvement and well deserves representation in the history of the county.
Mr. Ramsey was born in Preble County, Ohio, at Morning Sun, September 23, 1824, and is one of five children whose parents were George and Nancy (Shephard) Ramsey. The father was a native of the Buckeye State, but the mother was born in Ireland, and when fifteen years old accompanied her mother to America, her father having been killed by the Catholics in the war between them and the Protestants. The children were Eliza Jane, John C., Margaret, Mary Ann and Hannah. The mother came to America when about fifteen years of age, and in 1829 the family removed from Ohio to Indiana, locating in Clinton County, where Mr. Ramsey died when our subject was a lad of seven years. The mother died about four years later.
John Ramsey, whose name heads this record, was thus left an orphan at the age of eleven. He remained on the farm until fifteen years of age, when he began learning the blacksmith's trade, which he followed until the spring of 1853. That year witnessed his arrival in Illinois and he located on a farm on section 15, in what is now Onarga Township, about four and a-half miles east of the present site of the village of Onarga, where he has made his home continuously since, with the exception of about three years when he was in the army. The tract of raw land which he purchased was entirely destitute of improvements, but it was soon placed under the plow, and in course of time the well-tilled fields were yielding to him a golden harvest. The country was almost an unbroken wilderness and the few settlements were widely scattered. Many hardships and privations were to be borne, such as are incident to life on the frontier.
On the 9th of December 1847, Mr. Ramsey was united in marriage with Miss Caturah Major, daughter of James H. and Mary (Hardpence) Major. Three children were born of their union: Barbara Ann, born February 8, 1849; William Major, born April 11, 1852; and Martha, born December 21;1854. None of the children are now living, and the mother died August 5, 1855. On the 13th of August, 1856, Mr. Ramsey was again married, his second union being with Miss Eliza A., daughter of George and Martha M. (Ramsey) Ramsey, of Preble County, Ohio, the former a native of Rockbridge County, Va., and the latter of Hamilton County, Ohio. They became the parents of three children: George, who was born November 16, 1859, died on the 14th of December, 1875; Lucy A., born January 21, 1862, is the wife of Henry Knoche, of Ridgeville, and they have two children, a son and daughter: Percy R. and Grace A.; Grace M., born March 7, 1866, is the wife of R. W. Harper, a grain merchant of Des Moines, Iowa, and unto them have been born two children, sons: John T. and Robert H.
During the late war, Mr. Ramsey, prompted by patriotic impulses, responded to the call for troops, and in August, 1862, became one of the boys in blue of Company D, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, in which he served for almost three years. For ten months he was held a prisoner and was confined in Andersonville and other loathsome Southern prisons, being captured the day following the battle of Guntown. There were thirteen of his company sent to Andersonville, but only seven lived to get out. After three months an exchange had been arranged, unknown to the prisoners. They were called out at night by name. As they feared it was for retaliatory purposes, many did not respond. Becoming convinced that it was all right, Mr. Ramsey responded to another's name. When they reached the place of exchange, so weak and emaciated were the men that Sherman refused to make the exchange, so the men were ordered to be remanded to prison at Salisbury, S. C. While waiting on the side track at Milledgeville, he and two companions cut a hole in the bottom of the car, and just as the engine backed up to pull them away, they dropped out and scrambled from under the car. It being dark, they easily made their escape and started for the Union lines at Atlanta. Almost too weak to walk, they proceeded for nine days, living on stock peas, cane, and whatever faithful negroes brought them. Recaptured, they were kept in jail at Augusta for eighteen days and in Lawton prison three months. To keep them from falling into Sherman's hands, they were sent by rail to Thomasville and marched across the country to Albany, whence most of the men were returned to Andersonville. Mr. Ramsey was not sent back. The rebels had stock to butcher at Albany but had no knives for that purpose, and as Mr. Ramsey was a good blacksmith he was selected to make them knives. Through the influence of Capt. Blackshear, Capt. Salter and Col. Jones, he was permitted to remain at Albany till paroled. He was a faithful soldier, ever found at his post, and continued in the service until after the chose of the war, when, the country no longer needing his aid, he was honorably discharged and returned home.
In 1868, in connection with farming, Mr. Ramsey began raising and feeding stock. He paid considerable attention to the breeding of Short-horn cattle and Percheron horses, and also raised a large number of hogs. He did an extensive business in this line, feeding all the grain that he raised to his stock he was thus engaged until 1884, when he discontinued breeding, but he still buys, feeds and sells cattle. His land is under a high state of cultivation and he is a prosperous and progressive farmer, and success has attended his well-directed efforts. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey are members of the Congregational Church, in which he has held the office of Deason for many years, and takes quite a prominent part in its work, being-earnest laborers in the Master's vineyard. In politics, he is a supporter of Republican principles. This we have recorded the life sketch of one of the county's valued citizens, a leading farmer, a veteran of the late war, and an honored pioneer.
JAMES CLOKE, an agent for the McCormick Machine Company at Ashkum, is one of the most honored pioneers of the county, and is numbered among the respected and influential citizens of Ashkum. He is of English birth and was born in Kent, on the 22d of September, 1824. His father, William Cloke, was a native of England, and after arriving at manhood married Philadelphia Snelling. Their lives were spent in the land of their birth, and there they were called to their final rest.
Our subject is the eighth in order of birth in a family consisting of six sons and six daughters, all of whom grew to mature years, married and had families. They are as follows: John, William, Eleanor, Anna, Thomas, Joseph, Richard, James, Mary Jane, Sarah E., Philadelphia and Harriet.
Mr. Cloke, whose name heads this sketch, passed his youth on the farm, and received good common-school advantages. He was first married in Kent, on the 1st of January, 1843, when he was but eighteen years of age, his bride being Miss Sarah Smith, who was born in India and was a daughter of Capt. Thomas Francis Smith, who followed the high seas, and was the captain of a vessel. He was of English birth, and in England Mrs. Cloke was reared and educated. After his marriage our subject engaged in the baker's and confectioner's business in Kent for some three years.
About the year 1846, Mr. Cloke sailed from London in a sailing-vessel, called the "New London." which was bound for the United States. For about two months they were tossed about on the Atlantic, meeting with several severe storms on the voyage. Some of the masts were broken and the sails carried away. On board the ship there were about twelve hundred passengers, a number of whom sickened and died on the trip. They arrived in the harbor of New York, where they cast anchor in the fall of that year. Mr. Cloke soon after his arrival started in the baker's and confectioner's business in New York City, and there continued to live for about three years. He removed to Monmouth County, N. J., where he engaged in agricultural pursuits for about four years. He next started Westward, and located in Iroquois County, Ill., where he was one of the first settlers. At that time the county was a vast wilderness and a swamp. The traveler could cross the prairie in any direction without coming to a fence or building of any description. Deer and other wild game were in great abundance, and the settlements were almost wholly in the timber near the streams. Mr. Cloke was one of the first to locate on the broad prairie, and made his first settlement two miles from the present town of Ashkum. This was before Clinton, Ashkum, or Danforth had been founded, and the Illinois Central Railroad was just completed through here. Mr. Cloke first purchased three hundred and twenty acres of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and opened up a farm, which yielded a bountiful harvest the first year. This place he operated for a number of years, or until 1865, when he sold his property and removed to Virginia, and settled in Alexandria, where he was in the Government employ for about two years. He returned to Illinois in 1868, and engaged in stock-raising for a period of two years in Ford County. In 1870 he again came to Iroquois County, purchasing a farm of five hundred acres in Danforth Township. He has been most successful as an agriculturist and a stock-raiser for a number of years. He bought a tract of fifty acres adjoining the village of Ashkum, and located his family there, where they still make their home. While living on his farm, Mr. Cloke was appointed an agent for the McCormick Machine Company, and has been one of their most successful and trusted employes for years. He established headquarters in Ashkum in 1884, and has built up a large trade here and in the surrounding country. He has been most successful both as a salesman and collecting agent.
The first wife of our subject died in the East, and,after coming to Illinois, he was united in marriage to Miss Jane Loyall, who departed this life in 1865. He was again married, in 1870, this union being with Maria Annetta Ayers, a widow, who died in 1888. One son of the first marriage, Talbert, is a farmer, who makes his home at Monee, Will County, Ill. His brother and sister grew to maturity, but have passed away. The brother, James, was a conductor on the railroad for a few years and died in Chicago; and the sister, Elizabeth, died in New Jersey. By the second marriage there were also three children: Jennie is the wife of Joseph Addison, a farmer of Iroquois County; one child died at the age of twelve years; and the other, who was run over by the cars in Monmouth County, N. J., died at the age of nine. There are five living children by the last marriage: Philadelphia received an education in music, and has been an efficient teacher of instrumental music for three years; Grace M. is the wife of E. Harding, a real-estate dealer of Chicago; May, William and Jessie are attending the home schools at present.
In his political sympathies Mr. Cloke is a supporter of the Democratic party. He has never been an aspirant for official positions, but has held several local ones of trust and honor. To whatever position he has been elected, he has made a faithful and efficient officer. He has assisted very materially in the development and advancement of this portion of the State, and has witnessed its change from a swamp and wilderness to its present condition of fine farms and thriving villages. He is well known far and wide as a man of honorable character and upright life, and during the long years of his residence in this community he has made a large circle of friends, by whom he is held in the highest regard.
ISAAC MARLOW, who carries on general farming on sections 27 and 34, Stockland Township, is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred in Warren County, on the 13th of February, 1850. He comes of a long-lived family, his grandfather, George Marlow, attained the remarkable age of one hundred and four years. He was a native of Virginia, and died in Warren County, Ind. The parents of our subject were Isaac and Isabel (Smiley) Marlow. They had only two children: Isaac of this sketch, and Eunice, who was born September 17, 1848. The father died March 6, 1850, and the mother survived him only about a year, being called to her final rest July 7, 1851, in her twentieth year.
As our subject was left an orphan at an early age, he was reared by his maternal grandparents, James and Lovica Smiley, with whom he made his home until he had attained to mature years. They came to Illinois in March, 1853, and located a farm in Stockland Township, this county, about seven and a-half miles southeast of Milford. Isaac aided in the cultivation of the land and the development of the farm.
It was on the 25th of January, 1872, that Mr. Marlow led to the marriage altar Miss Mary E. Decker, daughter of Chrisley and Mary A. (Rosenberger) Decker, both of whom were natives of Virginia. They had located in this county about 1849. Two children grace the union of Mr. and Mrs. Marlow, namely: Musette, who was born April 23, 1876; and Lessie Zazel, born on the 8th of June, 1888.
The farm which Mr. Marlow now owns and operates is an arable tract of land of one hundred and twenty acres, situated on sections 27 and 34, Stockland Township. The well-tilled fields are now highly cultivated and abundant harvests reward his efforts. There are many useful improvements upon the place, and the whole in its neat appearance indicates the careful management and thorough supervision of the owner.
In political sentiments, Mr. Marlow is independent. He holds himself free to support whoever he pleases, regardless of party ties, and always votes for the man whom he thinks best qualified to fill the position. He has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his attention exclusively to his business interests. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend, and while serving as School Director for six years he did effective service in its interests. Himself and wife are faithful members of the Christian Church, arid throughout the community they have a wide circle of warm friends. Mr. Marlow has led an honorable, upright life, in harmony with his professions, and is classed among the leading agriculturists of Stockland Township.
SIDNEY NILSON, an enterprising young farmer of this county who resides on section 3, Milford Township, was born on the farm which is still his home, on the 6th of August, 1858. He is a son of Robert and Susan L. (Wagner) Nilson, both of whom were natives of Ohio, and are represented on another page of this book.
Sidney Nilson, the subject of this sketch, was the fifth child in order of birth. His boyhood days were passed quietly under the parental roof. The early life of almost any farmer lad would show us a facsimile of his boyhood. The common schools of the neighborhood afforded him his educational privileges and since leaving the school room he has added not a little to his fund of knowledge, for he possesses a retentive memory and an observing eye. Since his father's death he has had charge of the home farm, and a glance at the place indicates the supervision of careful manager. The land is under a high state of cultivation. Many improvements have been made and the place seems complete in all its appointments. Well may Mr. Nilson be ranked among the practical and progressive farmer's of the township. In politics he is a supporter of the Democracy.
In 1869, Mr. Meents determined to seek fame and fortune in the New World, and starting from Bremen in a steamer, he crossed the Atlantic in twelve days. On the voyage, several days of severe weather were experienced. Arriving in New York City in May of that year, he immediately started Westward, going first to Chicago, and thence to Danforth, where he had several acquaintances. For three summers he worked on a farm, and attended school in the winter' months, in order to become proficient in the English language. In the summer of 1873, he purchased a team and rented a farm, which he carried on with good success for about a year. He then engaged with C. H. Comstock to work in his elevator at Ashkum, and in his service he remained for thirteen years, proving a most valuable and faithful assistant. During his long term in that business he learned much of the trade and was gradually advanced, and during the last years was book-keeper, giving his attention exclusively to that portion of the business. He was afterward taken into partnership, but in October, 1885, withdrew from the firm and engaged in business for himself. He bought two elevators, the first one being purchased in 1882. These he moved near to each other, and rebuilt them, and largely increased his trade. He purchased the established business of James Capin & Co., and in 1891 bought the lumber trade of John McCurdy. The first year he dealt solely in grain, but has since added several other lines of business. Among these, he has a large trade in coal and farm implements. He has also shipped stock quite extensively.
Mr. Meents has been a supporter of the Republican party, casting his first ballot for Rutherford B. Hayes, and has since voted for every Presidential nominee of that party. Recognizing his worth and ability, the fellow-citizens of our subject have several times elected him to positions requiring ability and fidelity. He was elected Township Trustee and Clerk, and has also served as Treasurer of the schools. He has ever given his hearty support to the cause of public-school education, and served for years as a member of the School Board. He was recently appointed Treasurer of the drainage district of Ashkum and Danforth Townships, a responsible position. His family are members of the Ashkum Methodist Episcopal Church, winch numbers them among its most esteemed supporters. Mr. Meents is one of the Church Trustees. He commenced his business career in the New World with little means, and has by his own industry and wise business investment accumulated a fortune and has an extensive business. He owns an elegant home, and today is recognized as one of the most substantial and progressive business men of this county. He is widely and favorably known, and has won the friendship and respect of all, both in his business and social relations.
CHARLES M. DAZEY is numbered among the prominent business men of Milford, and to his enterprising and progressive spirit this place owes not a little of its growth and prosperity. He was born in Stockland Township, Iroquois County, on the 15th of December, 1859, and is a son of Jacob and Larinda (Wilkinson) Dazey, both of whom were natives of Indiana. His father was twice married, his first wife being Miss Whitlash. By this union was born a daughter, Elizabeth, who died at the age of twenty-seven. The mother was called to her final rest about 1852. Mr. Dazey was again married, in 1854, his second union being within Miss Larinda, daughter of Abraham and Harriet Wilkinson. Ten children were born of the second union, seven of whom are yet living: James Henry, who married Emma Richards, of Kankakee, by whom he has three children, and is now a resident of Stockland Township; Charles M., whose name heads this sketch; John W., who wedded Maggie Williamson, daughter of Joseph Williamson, of Stockland Township. They have four children. Joseph William married Ella Smith, of Indiana, who died in December, 1891, leaving three children. Frank L. was joined in wedlock with Miss Eva Dove, daughter of G. W. Dove, of Hoopeston, where they reside. They had two daughters, but one died in infancy. Mary M. and George complete the family.
The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood upon his father's farm. As soon as old enough to handle the plow, he began aiding in the labor's of the farm, and to that work devoted his energies during the summer months, while in the winter season he conned his lessons in the public schools. When twenty years of age, he left home and started out in life for himself, since which time he has been dependent upon his own resources. Industry and enterprise have ever been numbered among his chief characteristics, and a well-deserved success is his. In addition to general farming, he has carried on stock-dealing on an extensive scale, buying, selling and shipping. He is now associated with his cousin Charles L. Dazey in farming, stock-dealing and the grain business, this connection having been continued uninterruptedly for about seven years. He owns a valuable tract of eighty acres of land about three and a-half miles south of Milford and six miles east in Prairie Green Township. He also owns some excellent town property, including his magnificent home.
On the 5th of October, 1882, Mr. Dazey was married to Miss Mary E. Fitzgibbon, daughter of Patrick and Mary Fitzgibbon, who are natives of the Green Isle of Erin, but now make their home in Beloit, Wis. Three children grace the union of our subject and his worthy wife, all sons: Edward M., born on the 5th of August, 1886; Alba William, January 11, 1890; and Charles, who was born November 7, 1891, died on the 11th of the same month. The elegant home of the Dazey family is the abode of hospitality, and Mr. and Mrs. Dazey rank high in social circles. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
As before stated Milford finds in our subject one of its best citizens. He is now efficiently serving as Mayor, and his administration of affairs has won high commendation. He is a thrifty and successful business man, and his prosperity is all the reward of his own efforts. Success comes to those who labor for it, and the well-directed efforts, good management and business ability of our subject have won him prosperity.
JOHN SMETHURST, a well-known farmer of Ash Grove Township, residing on section 2, is of English birth. He was born in Lancashire, December 1, 1824, and is a son of Ellis Smethurst. His father was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was a mason by trade, bunt through much of his life followed the occupation of farming. He married Nannie Peel, who comes of the same family as Sir Robert Peel, the great English statesman. Mr. Smethurst was a man of fine physique. He was six feet two inches tall, and in his native land was solicited to enter the Life Guards, but refused. In 1843, he emigrated with his family to America, locating in Lisbon, Kendall County, Ill. He died at the home of our subject, in February, 1865, at the age of eighty-four year's, and was laid to rest in Onarga Cemetery. His wife died in Chicago. They had but two children, our subject and Mrs. Ellen Shaw, a widow, residing in Kendall County, Ill.
At the age of fifteen, John Smethurst was apprenticed to a shoe-maker, but after serving some time he ran away, and in 1844 sailed for New York. He has crossed the ocean three times, and has never slept in a house in this country except in Illinois. He first located in Chicago, where he worked at his trade for some time, and while there took two premiums, in 1846 and 1847, on cork boots.
On the 6th of November of the latter year, he returned to England, there residing until 1851. During that time he was married, May 14, 1848, to Elizabeth Smethurst, a distant relative. Their marriage was celebrated in Disbren, in the same church where his parents were married. Unto our subject and his wife have been born the following children: Ellis, who married Hattie Davis, and is engaged in farming in Onarga Township on his father's land; Ann Harriet, wife of Oliver Shepherd, of Gilman; Elizabeth Jane, John Peel and Emeline, who were all born, and still reside, on the old homestead.
On his return to America, Mr. Smethurst engaged in farming in Kendall County until 1858, when he came to Iroquois County, purchasing one hundred and six acres of wild prairie land. With characteristic energy he began its development, and the once wild tract has now been transformed into rich and fertile fields, winch yield to him a golden tribute. The boundaries of his farm have also been extended until it now comprises three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land.
Mr. Smethurst is Vice-president of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association, and a warm advocate of the principles of that organization. He east his first vote in 1848 for Cass, and has since supported the Democratic party except in 1860 and 1864, when he voted for Lincoln, but he does not consider himself bound by any party ties. Mr. Smethurst intends to exhibit some of his work in the line of his trade at the World's Fair at Chicago in 1893. His wife has taken many premiums on her knitting work at fairs all over the country, and carried off a premium at the New Orleans Exposition on a knitted quilt. She makes much beautiful fancy work, which adorns her home. The Smethurst household is the abode of hospitality, and its member's rank high in social circles. Our subject need never regret his emigration to America, for although he began life empty-handed in this country, he has here met with success, acquiring a handsome property, and has also found a pleasant home and made many friends.
SILAS BROCK, who resides on section 19, has longer been a resident of Ash Grove Township than any other of its citizens, and this work would be incomplete if his life record were omitted. He has watched the growth of the county from the days of its earliest infancy, has seen its progress and advancement, and has aided in its upbuilding and development. He was born December 12, 1841, on the old homestead of the Brock family.
Lewis Brock, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of Knox County, Tenn., and there wedded Mary Richards. In 1810, he emigrated to Washington County, Ind., becoming one of its pioneer settlers, and in the midst of a forest he hewed out a farm. In 1837, he came with his family to Illinois, and cast in his lot with the earliest settlers of Ash Grove Township. His home was a log cabin, and he there spent the remainder of his days, his death occurring in 1847. His wife survived imim about six years. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are numbered among the pioneers of the county. At the time of their arrival here, deer, wolves and wild hogs roamed at will, and the prairies were covered with high grass. Few were the settlements, and there were many privations and hardships to be endured. The family of Lewis and Mary Brock numbered nine children: George A. came to Illinois, married Elizabeth Harvey, and died in this county; Gabriel also came to this State, but spent his last days in Indiana; Nancy died in this county; Polly, deceased, was the wife of John Willoughby; Rachel died in Indiana; and Minerva became the wife of Aaron Moore, but is now deceased. The other children never came to Illinois.
Lewis R. Brock, father of Silas, was born in Indiana, in 1823, and when a lad of thirteen years came with his parents to this county. Amid the wild scenes of frontier life he was reared to manhood. In 1840 he wedded Mary Ann Bishop, a native of Ohio, and then improved a farm on section 23, Ash Grove Township. At length he sold, and developed land on section 25, there making his home until his death, which occurred on the 8th of November, 1855, at the age of thirty-two years. His remains were interred in Ash Grove Cemetery. His privileges in youth were very limited, but he made the most of his opportunities, and became a substantial and highly respected citizen of this community. He was a member of the Methodist Church, and in politics was a Whig. After his death Mrs. Brock became the wife of Wesley Harvey, and they now reside in Cissna Park. The Brock family numbered four children: Silas, of this sketch; Charles, who resides in Chicago; Hannah Mary, wife of John S. Gilbert, of Onarga; and Mrs. Sarah A. Rutley, of Cissna Park.
The history of the early life of our subject is that of pioneer days in this county. The township was but sparsely settled, and wild game was plentiful. The nearest markets were Middleport and Milford, and all grain was hauled to Chicago or La Fayette. Oxen were used in farming and in marketing, and the farm implements were very crude. The schools which our subject attended were conducted on the subscription plan. At the age of sixteen, however, he went to Greencastle, Ind., and for eighteen months was a student in Asbury (now DePauw) University. The first year after his father's death he operated the home farm, but as his health was not good, he again returned to school in Indiana, his mother removing to Greencastle. Later he returned to the farm, and August 7th, 1860, he married Maria L. Aye, a native of Vermilion County, Ind., who came here to teach school. She was one of the first public school teachers in this community, and for three months service received only $50.
On the 8th of August, 1862, Mr. Brock enlisted for the late war as a member of Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. Irvin. The troops were then sent to Cairo and Columbus, and afterward were attached to Grant's army, participating in the siege of Vicksburg. They then marched into Mississippi, below the Tallahatchie, River. Their supplies were cut off at Holly Springs, and they had to retreat, during which time they lived for twenty days on cornmeal without salt. Subsequently they returned to Memphis and went down the river. Later, they went to Jackson, Miss., after Johnston, and after the battle returned to Vicksburg. In February they went with Sherman to Meridian, and after that raid were again in Jackson, where a severe fight occurred, the Seventy-sixth Illinois losing heavily. Mr. Brock was grazed by a bullet, but the injury was slight. He did duty in Mississippi for some time longer, and in February, 1865, went to New Orleans, from where the troops went to Florida and engaged in the siege and capture of Ft. Blakely. They then went to Mobile and on to Galveston, Tex., where they were mustered out July 22, 1865. The regiment was disbanded at Chicago on the 1st of August, and after three years service, Mr. Brock returned home. With his regiment he marched twelve hundred miles. He was always found at his post of duty, and proved himself a valiant soldier.
On his return from the war, Mr. Brock engaged in farming for about twelve years, and in 1877 removed to Ash Grove. Five years ago he established a drug store, which he has since operated. He is a registered pharmacist, and has a well-kept store. Two years ago he opened a general merchandise establishment, and is now carrying on a successful business in that line. He is a man of excellent business ability, sagacious and far-sighted, and by perseverance and good management he has won prosperity. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brock were born four children: Mary L., wife of Austin Pierce, of Milford; Bertha A., who assists her father in the store; Rose E., wife of Henry Bishop, a farmer of Ash Grove Township; and Marcus K, at home. The children were all educated in the public schools and in Onarga Seminary.
For twelve years, Mr. Brock acceptably filled the office of Justice of the Peace, for four years was Township Collector and for four years was Assessor; he has held some school offices, and for five years has been the efficient Postmaster of Ash Grove. Socially, he is a member of G. H. Neeld Post No. 576, G. A. R., at Cissna Park, and in religious belief he is a Methodist. The church finds in him a faithful member, and he does all in his power to advance any worthy enterprise and to promote those interests calculated to prove of public benefit. His residence in the county covers a period of fifty-one years. He has been a valued citizen, a leading and enterprising business man, a faithful soldier and an honored pioneer.
GEORGE W. ROBERTS, who owns and operates two hundred and ninety-five acres of valuable land, resides on section 35, Milford Township. He was born on the 26th of March, 1831, in Fountain County, Ind., and is descended from good old Revolutionary stock. His paternal grandfather served in the War for Independence, and his Grandfather Taylor was in the War of 1812. His Grandmother Roberts reached the advanced age of ninety-seven years. The parents of our subject, Archibald and Anna (Taylor) Roberts, were both natives of Virginia, and in 1829 they emigrated to Fountain County, Ind., where Mr. Roberts entered land and began the development of a farm. The mother died in 1839. Our subject was her only child. In 1840, Archibald Roberts was again married, his second union being with Phoebe Allenduff, a native of Ohio. They became the parents of six children, five sons and a daughter, the eldest of whom, William, a resident of Fountain County, Ind., married Lizzie Canfield, by whom he has three children. Frederick was twice married. He wedded Miss Margaretta Duncan, who died a year later. His second wife, who is also deceased, was in her maidenhood Miss Josie Stanley, and unto them were born a son and daughter. Mary died in the fall of 1864. Joseph H. married Miss Mary Driscoll, by whom he had two daughters, but one died when only a year old. Jasper J. married Miss Mattie Pearson, and their family numbers a son and daughter. Charles A., the youngest of the family, resides on the old homestead in Indiana, where his father first located.
George W. Roberts, of this sketch, was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes of frontier life, and was early inured to the hard labors of improving and developing a farm on the frontier; here he developed habits of self-reliance and industry which have proven of incalculable benefit to him in later years. He continued to make his home in the State of his nativity until twenty-four years of age, when, in 1855, he came to Illinois, settling in Iroquois County, about three and a-half miles south of Milford. He purchased a farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres and has since made it his home, devoting his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits, with the exception of a period which he spent in the army. August 9, 1862, he responded to the country's call, enlisting in Company E, Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, and for three years was one of its faithful defenders. When his term of service had expired and the war was over, he was honorably discharged, and reached home August 7, 1865. He participated in the siege of Vicksburg, the battles of Jackson, of Jackson Cross Roads, and of Ft. Blakely. They traveled over twelve thousand miles and did duty in eight of the Confederate States. Our subject was in every engagement of his regiment.
On the 3Oth of March, 1868, Mr. Roberts and Miss Mary H. Gray were united in marriage. Their family numbered six children, but their firstborn died in infancy: Florence, Archibald, Rebecca, Nellie and Kittie were the other members of the family, but Florence and Nellie are the only ones yet living. The family have a pleasant home upon one of the fine farms of the county. Mr. Roberts has added to his first purchase and now owns a valuable tract of two hundred and ninety-five acres, all under a high state of cultivation and well improved. For many years he has engaged in stock-raising on an extensive scale.
Mr. Roberts cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont in 1856, and has since continued to support the Republican party, of whose principles he is a warm advocate. He has never been an officer-seeker, yet was elected and twice served as Assessor of his township. Socially, he is a member of Vennum Post No. 471, G. A. R., of Milford. Mr. Roberts is numbered among the early settlers of the county, and during his long residence his upright life, straightforward business dealings and sterling worth have won for him many friends. To every duty of citizenship he is as faithful as when he wore the "blue." On the 26th of August, 1891, his wife was called to her final rest. She was a member of the Universalist Church.
JOSEPH PRUITT has for thirty-seven years been an honored and respected citizen of Iroquois County. He now resides on section 23, Lovejoy Township, and is recognized as one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of the community. He was born in Tippecanoe County, Ind., on the 16th of March, 1843, and is the eighth in order of birth in a family of eleven children, born of the union of John R. and Barbara (Baker) Pruitt. His parents are mentioned more fully in the sketch of J. A. Pruitt, of Ash Grove Township, on another page of this work. Of their seven sons and four daughters, nine are yet living.
Our subject was a lad of twelve summers when he came to Iroquois County. He is largely a self-educated and self-made man. His advantages in youth were limited, except in the line of farm labor. His father purchased four hundred and eighty acres of raw land, and Joseph aided in its development and cultivation, transforming the tract into rich and fertile fields. His parents afterward met with reverses, and when he started out in life for himself he had no capital save a pair of willing hands and a strong determination to succeed. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Augusta Hurd, their union being celebrated on the 25th of January, 1865. Mrs. Pruitt claims Michigan as the State of her nativity. She was born January 26, 1843, and when ten years of age came to Illinois. She has three brothers and a sister yet living, who are mentioned in the sketch of A. P. Hurd, on another page of this work.
During the late war, Mr. Pruitt responded to the country's call for troops and joined the boys in blue of Company E, One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Indiana Infantry. under Capt. W. D. Lee and Col. Billy Wilson. He enlisted in May, 1864, and was mustered into the United States service at Indianapolis, whence he was sent to Nashville, Tenn., and on to Bridgeport, Ala., to re-enforce the troops at that place. He was mostly on guard and detail duty. Subsequently, the command was sent back to Nashville, Tenn., to intercept Gen. Forrest and in that city remained until after the close of the war.
Mr. Pruitt was mustered out October 16, 1865. He was never in guard-house or hospital, and was never taken prisoner, but was always found at his post, faithfully discharging his duties. All honor is due to the boys in blue, who preserved the Union, and valiantly defended the Old Flag, which now floats so proudly over the United Nation.
When the war was over, Mr. Pruitt returned to his home, and resumed his farming operations, which he has since followed. His landed possessions, comprising five hundred and sixty acres, pay to him a golden tribute in return for his care and labor. All the improvements of a model farm are there found, and their comfortable and commodious residence is pleasantly and conveniently situated about a mile and a-quarter from Wellington. The home has been blessed by the presence of five sons and three daughters: Charles L., who was educated in Wellington, Milford and in the Onarga Business College, from which he graduated, now resides in Lovejoy Township; Dolly is the wife of Dr. A. L. Brobeck, a rising young physician and surgeon, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Hiram Dodge, Frank, Kittie, Nellie, Jodie and Allie are still under the parental roof.
Probably no man in the community has done more for the public schools than Mr. Pruitt. The schools indeed find in him a warm friend, and for thirteen year's he has been connected with the Board of Education of Wellington. He believes in securing good schools by hiring competent teachers. For a number of years he served as President of the Board, and the officers at this writing are: W. M. Prillaman, President; Alex Pate, Clerk; and Joseph Pruitt, Director. There are three departments in the school under E. J. Blake, Principal; Miss Maude Tomlinson, who has charge of the intermediate department, and Miss Mollie E. Shean; who is in charge of the primary. Mr. Pruitt also gives his support to every enterprise calculated to prove of public benefit, or advance the interests of the community, and is regarded as one of the valued and representative citizens of Lovejoy Township.
JOHN C. BRUNER, a well-known breeder of Percheron horses residing in Buckley, was born in Licking County, Ohio, on the 5th of September, 1841. His father, Franklin G. Bruner, was a native of Virginia and in an early day removed to the Buckeye State, where he met and married Miss Ellen Conard, who was born in Licking County, Ohio. They became the parents of two children, who are yet living, namely: John C. and Nelson J. They have also lost two children: George W., the second in order of birth, was killed by a falling tree, on the 25th of January, 1867; and Emma Louisa, the next younger, died about 1868.
In the autumn of 1842, Franklin G. Bruner removed within his family from Ohio to Illinois, locating on a rented farm in La Salle County near Ottawa. He afterward purchased an eighty-acre tract of land from the Government, to which he added by additional purchase until at the time of his death, in 1871. He had about six hundred acres of valuable land. His children were reared in La Salle County. In connection with farming, he gave considerable attention to stock-raising, dealing in horses, cattle and hogs, and was a successful agriculturist. In fact, he was a self-made man, who by his own efforts worked his way upward from a humble position to one of affluence. His first wife died in 1852, and he afterward married Elizabeth Brumback, who was the first white child born in Rutland Township, La Salle County, and a daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Pitzer) Brumback. There was one child born unto Mr. and Mrs. Bruner, a daughter, Ida May, who is now the wife of John Thompson, by whom she has two children. They now reside on the second farm owned by her father in La Salle County. Our subject was only about a year old when brought by his parents to this State, and amid the wild scenes of frontier life he was reared to manhood, his education being acquired in the common schools of the neighborhood. At length he attained to mature years, and on the 8th of February, 1866, married Miss Louisa J. Deenis, daughter of David G. and Lydia (Funk) Deenis. Two children were born of their union, Lydia E. and Cora May. The elder daughter married J. K. Love, a native of Ireland, and they reside in Peotone; Cora May is the wife of B. N. Sloan, a native of New York, and they reside in Chatsworth, where Mr. Sloan runs a Hardware store. They have one child, a daughter, Mabel Bruner. Mrs. Bruner died on the 2d of ,June, 1872.
On his father's death, Join C. Bruner of this sketch, came into possession of a farm in La Salle County and, in connection with the cultivation and development of his land, he engaged in breeding horses. While there he owned some celebrated horses, including "Baffle," a thoroughbred running horse who was never beaten on the race track but once, although displayed at a number of State fairs. He also owned "Cruiskeen," also a thoroughbred Kentucky running horse, a very speedy animal, whose reputation is well known in La Salle County. In 1878, he sold his stock farm in La Salle County and removed to Buckley, where he has since continuously made his home. He is now engaged in the breeding of Percheron draft and trotting horses. He is an excellent judge of horses and is an ardent lover of the noble steed.
In 1881, Mr. Bruner sold his La Salle County farm and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land four miles east of Buckley, which he disposed of in 1891. In politics, he is a Democrat and served as Assessor of Artesia Township in 1880 and again in 1881. He is Director of the Iroquois County Agricultural Society and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Bruner has a wide acquaintance throughout this community, is recognized as a straightforward business man and is a highly respected citizen. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Modern Woodmen.
ADAM JACOB, an honored veteran of the late war and a merchant tailor of Watseka, is a native of Germany, and was born September 14, 1828. His father, George Jacob, was a farmer by occupation, living near Baden. Adam was the youngest of five children and is the only one now living. When about twenty years of age, on the 29th of April, 1849, he set sail for America. He had received a good common-school education and served an apprenticeship at the tailor's trade in his native country. The thorough knowledge of tailoring he had gained enabled him to secure employment immediately upon his arrival in New York City, where he remained for about two years. At the end of that time, he was employed in Newark, N. J., where he continued for four years. By his industry and steady habits, he had succeeded during this time in getting quite a start in life, and, having a desire to see more of this country, he set his face Westward. He went as far as Peoria, Ill., arriving there May 24, 1855. Here he remained, engaged at his trade, until the spring of 1861, when he removed to New Middleport, now Watseka. With the exception of his service in the army, he has resided here up to the present date.
Responding to the call of his adopted county for volunteers, he enlisted at Watseka on the l4th of August, 1862, in Company F, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry. On the Tallahatchie march, he was taken sick and was sent to the hospital at Holly Springs, Miss., where he arrived December 1, 1862. He remained there until Van Dorn's raid upon that place, when he was captured, but was immediately paroled. About a week later, he was sent to Memphis and on to St. Louis, where he was exchanged as a prisoner of war at Benton Barracks, remaining there until June 16, 1863, at which time he went to Camp Butler and was on guard duty until the 4th of March, 1864, when he again joined his regiment at Memphis, Tenn. On the 10th and 11th of June, he took part in the engagement at Guntown. From there he was sent to Memphis, and was stationed on picket duty until late in the fall, when he was sent on the raid to Eastport, Miss. After some unimportant services, the regiment returned to Memphis, where he was discharged June 19, 1865, and was paid in Chicago. As a soldier he was prompt and faithful in the discharge of his duties and with true courage earnestly defended the Flag of his adopted country.
Mr. Jacob returned home after his discharge from the service and engaged in his former occupation. He has been fairly successful in all his business undertakings, and such a measure of success has rewarded his perseverance and industry that for the past few years he has been able to live a retired life, doing but little at his trade.
Mr. Jacob was united in marriage with Miss Yohannah Mastik at Peoria, Ill., on the 16th of June, 1857. The lady passed away on the 3d of March, 1873. He was again married, January 13, 1874, at La Fayette, Ind., to Christina Wurster. Two children have blessed this union: Emma D. and Mina, both of whom are still living under the parental roof.
In political sentiment, Mr. Jacob affiliates with the Republican party, having cast his ballot for its support since coming to this country. He was elected Alderman of this city, which position he filled very acceptably for two years. He is a member of Iroquois Lodge No. 74, I. O. O. F. In the discharge of his duties, the performance of his labors, and in all his intercourse with his fellowmen his life has ever been such that the people have accorded him their regard and friendship.