Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
THEODORE BABCOX was born in Ohio, about fourteen miles from Cincinnati, in Hamilton County, on the 12th of March, 1824. His birthplace is about three miles from that of Gen. Harrison. His maternal grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was for many years a resident of. Montgomery County, Ind., near Crawfordsville, emigrating there from New York. He was of Irish descent, and at the time of his death was about sixty?seven years of age. On his father's side, our subject is of English origin. He is a son of John and Julia Ann (Bryant) Babcox. The former was a native of New Jersey, and the latter was born in Genesee County, N. Y. They were the parents of four children: Elizabeth became the wife of O. G. Willhite, a tailor in Crawfordsville, Ind., where she died in 1868. They had four children: John, Alice, Florence and Frank, all of whom are now living. Theodore is next in order of birth: John, Jr., died when a child of four years; Stephen is the youngest of the family.
In 1818, Mr. and Mrs. Babcox removed from New York to Ohio, settling upon a farm near Cincinnati, where they resided for eighteen years. In 1836, the father went to New Orleans, and there contracted the dread disease, yellow fever, which caused his death. Soon after ward, the brother of Mrs. Babcox, Zephaniah Bryant, moved a family from Ohio to a place within ten miles of Crawfordsville, Ind., and our subject chose to leave home, going with his uncle upon the trip to live with his grandfather, whose children had all grown up and had left the old homestead to make homes for themselves. After Mr. Babcox had resided with his grandfather for about two years, his mother, with her other children, also removed to the same neighborhood. She was again married, becoming the wife of Samuel Kirkpatrick, with whom in 1846 she went to Joliet, Ill. She departed this life in February, 1848.
Theodore Babcox made his home with his grandfather until nearly fifteen years of age, and then started out to make his own living in the world. In 1842, be went to Joliet, hear which city he obtained employment on a farm. He was allowed the privilege of reserving for himself a small tract of land, on which he sowed wheat in order to obtain money with which to secure a better education. During the summer months be worked upon a farm and attended school in the winter at Crawfordsville, going back and forth as the seasons rolled by. When he first removed to Joliet, the town was very small and he killed a deer on the present town site, which fact would indicate somewhat the wildness of the place at that time. In 1850, with his brother Stephen, he went to California, where they prospected for gold.. In October of the following year, be returned home, but his brother preferred to remain in the West, and a number of years afterward removed to Washington Territory, where be lived for some years. In 1877, his death occurred at Silver City, Idaho. He was about four years younger than our subject.
On the 18th of January, 1849, occurred the marriage of Theodore Babcox and Miss Nancy Ann Cameron, daughter of Hugh and Sarah (Zumwalt) Cameron. Four children have blessed their union: Florence became the wife of A. H. B. Ellis, who was a soldier in the late war, and who now draws a pension of $72 per month. Their home is at Hastings, Mich., where he has held a number of offices, among them those of Deputy Sheriff and Constable. They have four children: Effie, Emmet, Edith and Cecil. The second child of our subject, John, resides in California. Alonzo lives in Eads, Colo. He is engaged in farming, and is Deputy Sheriff and Constable. He married Miss Louise Vose and three children grace their union: Marie, Robert and Theodore. The youngest of the family, Nancy Ann, died on the 28th of October, 1861. The wife of our subject held membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church and died in that faith on the 27th of April, 1856.
Mr. Babcox was again married, on the 4th of March, 1857 when Miss Mary Hunter, a native of Kentucky, became his wife. Her parents died when she was about seven years of age. By this union have been born tile following children: Reason G., who was married in Peoria and now. makes his home in Wisconsin, where he is engaged in the railroad business. He has one child. Maude, who became the wife of Terry Steele, a stock buyer and shipper of Chebanse. Fred died on the 12th of November, 1863, while an infant. Emma Dora, the youngest of the family, is still at home. The mother of these children departed this life on the 21st of March, 1882. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and left many friends to mourn her loss.
Upon returning from California, where he had been quite successful, Mr. Babcox settled upon a farm about ten miles north of Crawfordsville, where he engaged in farming for about seven years. He then purchased a piece of land of eighty acres in Chebanse Township, and removed there in 1858. For five years he was exclusively engaged in cultivating and improving this farm, which he sold in February, 1863, and came to the village, which he has made his home since that time. In 1863, he entered into the hotel business, but as it was during the depressing time of the war, it was not much of a success. Accordingly, in 1874, he decided to adopt another calling, and has followed the business of auctioneering, in which he had some experience, after his return from the West. He is a man of good business ability and wide experience, and his dealings with his fellow?men are always marked by honesty and trustworthiness.
Mr. Babcox is a member of Chebanse Lodge No. 429, A. F. & A. M., which fraternity he joined in 1866. He has ever been a loyal Republican since the formation of that party, and previous to that was a stanch Whig. His life has been marked by perseverance and industry, and the comfortable competence which he has achieved is well deserved.
WILLIAM H. SELLERS, commercial traveler, makes his home in Clifton. He was born in Chebanse Township, on the 26th of April, 1857, and he therefore has the honor of being a native of the county. His father, Abraham Sellers, was a native of England, Yorkshire being the place of his birth, which occurred May 22, 1811. He served an apprenticeship of seven years to the blacksmith's?trade, and after his marriage emigrated to America. Crossing the Atlantic, he arrived in the United States in 1842, locating in Bristol, Kendall County, Ill., where he followed his trade for several years. Opening a shop, be did blacksmith and repair work and also engaged in the manufacture of wagons. In 1856, he came to Iroquois County and pre?empted land in Chebanse Township, where he improved and developed a farm, making it his home for about two years. At the same time he carried on the shop in Chebanse. In 1858 he came to Clifton, and here embarked in blacksmithing, engaging in active business until failing health forced him to retire from active work. The ten years previous to his death he passed in retirement from labor, enjoying the well?earned fruits of his former toil.
Mr. Sellers was twice married, his first wife having died before he came to this county. At Sandwich De Kalb County, Mr. Sellers was united in marriage with Miss Susan M. Kice, a native of the Empire State. She was born, reared and educated in Chemung County, N. Y. The wedding ceremony was celebrated on the 26th of July, 1855. William Kice, the father of Mrs. Sellers, died when she was but nine years of age. After the death of her parents, she found friends among strangers and came with them to Illinois in 1852. Mr. Sellers was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics was identified with the Republican party, strongly advocating its principles. He died on the 14th of March, 1889.
William Sellers is a son of Abraham and Susan Sellers. He received a good common?school education and in his early life learned the tinner's trade. For about a year he was engaged in clerking in Kankakee, and then returned to his trade. For several years succeeding, he held a clerkship, and in 1886 became a commercial traveler. Mr. Sellers is a natural salesman, and in this line has been very successful. He was in the employ of one firm for about four years. Socially and in his business relations, he wins many friends, and much of his success is due to his genial and courteous demeanor. In September, 1891, he embarked in the hotel business in Clifton, and his wife and mother now efficiently manage affairs in that line, while he attends to his commercial interests. However, he intends soon to abandon the hotel and will occupy his fine new residence which has just been completed.
January 5, 1888, witnessed the marriage of Mr. Sellers and Miss Anna Taddikin, the ceremony taking place in Bureau County, Ill. The lady was born in Germany, and came to the United States when a child of four years. She grew to womanhood and received her education in Ashkum. By the union of the young couple has been born a daughter, Anna. She is the light and joy of the parents' home, where she is known by the pet name of "Tootsie."
In politics, Mr. Sellers casts his ballot for the nominees of the Republican party, but has never sought official positions, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business enterprises. He was probably the first male child born in Chebanse Township, and his entire life has been spent in the county of his nativity. He is well and favorably known throughout the county and State. He is a man of marked business talents, and by his personal worth and nobility of character has won the friendship and good wishes of all with whom he Vas been brought in contact.
Mr. Vennum was born near Washington, the County seat of Washington County, Pa., and, is a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Kirkpatrick) Vennum. His father was also born near Washington, and his mother was a native of New Jersey, where she resided during the Revolutionary War. She saw Gen. Washington while he was with his troops in that State. In 1834, they emigrated with their family to what was then the far West, taking on their residence on Sugar Creek, in Milford Township, Iroquois County. The family numbered eight children, five sons and three daughters. Thomas K., while driving stock over the mountains in Eastern Pennsylvania, was taken ill and died at the age of twenty?two years. The other children all came to Illinois. In order of birth they were as follows: Thomas, Mary, Elizabeth, George, Urias, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Jane Thomas Kirkpatrick, and Hiram.
Our subject is the youngest of the family. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent in his native State, and at the age of twenty years he came with his parents to Iroquois County. He has experienced all the hardships and privations of pioneer life. His father built the first house erected on the prairie. The winter of 1837?38 was one of the must severe ever known in this part of the country. Snow fell to a great depth and then the weather turned intensely cold. It was thirty?five miles to the mill and a load of corn or yard of calico could not be bought in this neighborhood anywhere.
Mr. Vennum of this sketch also aided in the arduous task of developing the wild prairie into rich and fertile fields. In 1836, he settled on a farm on section 2, Milford Township, known as the Mound Farm. It is said to be the highest spot of ground between Chicago and Cairo, and he there resided for fifty?five years engaged in agricultural pursuits. He led a busy life and as the result of his industry and perseverance acquired a comfortable competence. He was married on the 22d of March, 1840, to Miss Nancy V. Wagner, but after a short married life the lady was called to her final rest June 1, 1841. At her death she left a daughter, Nancy V., who is now the wife of Wilder Slead, a resident of Council Bluff, Iowa. Mr. Vennum was again married March 24, 1846, his second wife being Mrs. Submit Fry, a daughter of Solomon Gilbert. She was an estimable lady and proved to him a faithful companion and helpmate. Her death occurred October 28, 1876. They had one son, Gilbert, who was married April 26, 1871, to Martha Elizabeth Hartwell, daughter of Albert and Ruth (Brown) Hartwell. He erected a beautiful residence in Milford and his father finds a pleasant home with him.
After the death of his wife, Mr. Vennum sold a portion of his farm and the remainder is now rented. His son Gilbert now manages his business affairs for him, thus relieving him of all care and anxiety. He has held the office of Supervisor for a number of terms and has been the administrator of a number of estates, which fact indicates the confidence and trust reposed in him, but he has always preferred to live a quiet life. He is familiar with the history of Iroquois County since the time when it was on the frontier, and can relate many anecdotes and reminiscences of his pioneer days. Almost sixty years have passed since he located in Milford Township, and few indeed are left who have so long resided here. With his means, which are abundant, he has always been liberal, assisting those who needed help. The laboring man has ever found in him a warm friend, and many who are now in comfortable circumstances remember with gratitude the pecuniary and received from this venerable gentleman.
THOMAS BURNS, one of the first settlers of this county, is a prominent farmer, who makes his home on section 18, Ashkum Township. At the time of his settlement here, there were few inhabitants, but there was an abundance of game. He often saw from twenty to twenty?five deer in one herd, and also great numbers of wolves and flocks of prairie chickens. Rattlesnakes were also very numerous. Mr. Burns was quite a hunter and killed many deer and great numbers of wolves. He has witnessed great changes, and has helped very largely in developing the county, which it to?day considered one of the best in the State, while it was formerly a swamp and wilderness.
Our subject is a native of Ireland and was born in County Carlow, Province of Leinster, on the 4th of December, 1826, and is a son of Charles and Johanna (Nolan) Burns. Both parents were also natives of the Emerald Isle, and there lived and died. The father was twice married. His first wife, the mother of our subject, died at the age of twenty four years, when Thomas was but a child. The father was a farmer by occupation, and died in the same neighborhood in which he was born, at the advanced age of one hundred and two years.
The early years of our subject were passed in the usual pursuits of farm life, and his education was that of the country schools. When he had reached the age of twenty years, he determined to strike out for himself, and believing that the New World afforded better opportunities to a young man of industry and perseverance, he accordingly went to Dublin and took passage in a sailing?vessel, called the "Infanta," which was bound for New York. The captain and vessel were both from Wales. They were six weeks and four days in crossing the briny deep, and encountered a severe storm daring the voyage. They arrived in New York about May 20, 1848, where he spent two days, and then went to Albany by way of the North River. Thence he went by Canal to Buffalo, where he spent about two weeks in a brick yard, after which he returned to New York. At that time he was very home?sick, as he was in a foreign land among strangers, and he had about made up his mind to return to the land of his birth, when in New York City he met an old acquaintance, and with him went to Orange County, near Newburg. There he started to work on a farm, in the hay field, at $9 per month, for Capt. Brown., who was also of Irish birth. After remaining on the farm for a couple of months, he went to Boston, Mass., and hired out to a farmer near that place, remaining with him during the two years succeeding.
In 1851, coming West, our subject settled in Wayne County, Mich., in Van Buren Township, not far from Detroit, where he purchased a farm of eighty acres, twenty?five of which were cleared. On the place was a log house and a good orchard. He did not remain there long, however, but went to Chicago and worked in a sawmill during the winter and until the following May. The next few months he remained in the employ of the same man at dredging. This man, Alexander Reed, was a Scotchman, and in his employ Mr. Burns continued until 1855, when he bought a team and engaged in teaming for several years in Chicago.
On the 23d of August, 1858, Mr. Burns was married to Eliza Gallagher, who was born in Ireland and reared in the same neighborhood as our subject. This union has been blessed with nine children: Charles is a farmer of Ashkum Township; James is employed in the stock yards at Chicago; Annie and Mary come next; Thomas holds a responsible position in Chicago; Katie makes her home in the same city; Walter, Terry and William are hill at home. The mother of these children was called to her final rest on the 17th of September, 1884, leaving many friends to mourn her loss.
After his marriage, Mr. Burns continued to live in Chicago for three years, and in July, 1861, came to Iroquois County for the firm of Gross & Phillips and located land here for them. Mr. Burns staid in Ashkum for a time, until a house could be erected on the farm, which was situated two and a?half miles west of Ashkum, on section 14. Here our subject opened up a farm and thoroughly cultivated and improved it. He was one of the first to locate in Ashkum Township. He engaged quite extensively in stock?raising and remained upon the farm for fourteen years. Three years after coming here he bought land for himself on section 18, the one on which he now resides. He first purchased forty acres, and as his financial resources were increased, added to his original tract, first buying forty acres adjoining, and then others, until he now owns two hundred acres in one piece, and all good, arable and well-improved land. He removed to his farm in 1875, and built a large and substantial residence, barns, and other necessary farm buildings. In 1887, he met with a severe loss by fire, his house and all its contents being completely destroyed.
The fire occurred in April of that year. and was a severe loss to our subject, as at that time he carried no insurance. On his land he has a good orchard and a great variety of fruit. He is one of the enterprising, thrifty and prosperous farmers of this county, and by these qualities well merits the success he obtained.
Mr. Burns was formerly a supporter of the Republican party, but now identifies himself with the Democracy. He has been called upon to fill several official positions, the duties of which he has discharged with ability and promptness. He has ever been a friend to education, and has served as a member of the School Board. He numbers a wide circle of friends and acquaintances throughout this township and county, who hold him in high regard on account of his many noble qualities.
EDWARD ALLEN TOPLIFF is a well?to?do farmer, owning and carrying on a farm on section 30, Chebanse township. He was born in Alden, Erie County, N. Y., on the 26th of October, 1839. His father, Franklin Topliff, was a native of the same county and is numbered among its pioneers. The family is of Scotch descent and at an early day emigrated to Erie County. The father of our subject, after arriving at man's estate, married Sabra McIntosh, also a native of the Empire State. Her father was born in Massachusetts. After his marriage, Mr. Topliff engaged for some time in agricultural pursuits in New York, and in 1840 removed to Ohio, settling near Columbus, where he located in the wilderness. The portion of the State in which he made his home was heavily timbered and a part of it he cleared and there made a farm. He resided there until his death, which occurred in 1850. His wife had passed away some four years after their removal to the Buckeye State. After the death of their parents, the children were obliged to go among strangers.
Our subject in his early life found good friends, who gave him the advantages of the public schools during the winter terms, the remainder of the year being spent in working upon a farm. Since reaching maturity, he has largely educated himself, as the limited advantages afforded by the schools at that early period but little fitted a man to meet the requirements of active business anal social life. When about eighteen years of age, Mr. Topliff came to Illinois and secured work in a broom factory at Kankakee, Ill., where he learned the trade and remained for about three years. With the exception of that time and that spent in the service of his country, his entire life has been spent upon a farm. After leaving the factory he worked upon the farm of his uncle, S. H. McIntosh, until the breaking out of the late war.
On the 25th of August, 1862, Mr. Topliff donned the blue, becoming a member of Company F, Seventy?sixth Illinois Infantry. He enlisted as a Corporal and took part in the battles of Tallahassee Bottoms, Holly Springs (Miss.), Jackson Cross Roads (Miss.), and was also in the siege and cap tare of Vicksburg and the fort at Jackson, Miss. From there his regiment went to New Orleans, thence to Pensacola, Fla., and Berkely, and took part in the charge on Ft. Mobile, Ala. On the 9th of April, in the last mentioned?encounter, he received a severe wound, a minie?ball passing through his left breast. He was also shot through the left forearm. He received his discharge at the close of tile war, in August, 1865, at New Orleans, and returned to Kankakee, where he remained about a year.
In 1867, Mr. Topliff came to Iroquois County, and purchased a, place, consisting of eighty acres of unimproved prairie land in Chebanse Township Of this property he made a good and fertile farm and resided there for several years. He then sold the same and came to the place where he now resides in 1880. This property, which consisted of one hundred and sixty acres, was also unimproved, and this he opened up and developed to its present high state of cultivation. He has built a commodious and substantial residence, good barns and other buildings, and has done considerable tiling on his farm. He also has three miles of fine hedge and his farm is justly regarded as one of the best in the township. He was early thrown upon the world to shift for himself, and owes his present prosperity to his industry, enterprise and perseverance. He is to?day one of the substantial and well?to?do farmers of the county and has accumulated a valuable estate and a good income.
In this county, on the 11th of November, 1867, occurred the union of our subject and Miss Ella Miner, who was born at Springfield, Mass., June 29, 1845. She received her education and grew to womanhood in tile city of Kankakee. By their have been born six children: Flora E. is an accomplished young lady, who is a teacher of vocal and instrumental music; Charles E. is engaged in helping to carry on tile work of tire farm; Lillie M. and Bert E. are also under the parental roof and are receiving the advantages of good educations; Lulu Belle died at the age of eleven. and Harry at the age of six months.
Politically, Mr. Topliff has been a member of the Democratic party since becoming a voter, with the exception of his first ballot, which was cast for Gen. U. S. Grant in 1868. Appreciating his ability, our subject has been elected to fill numerous official positions and has ever discharged the duties of the same most acceptably to his fellow?citizens. Education finds in him a very active supported and friend, and for twelve years he has served as one of the School Trustees. For the same length of time he has been Road Commissioner, being re?elected year after year to fill that position, and was again re?elected in the spring of 1892 for another three?year term. He has been a delegate to a number of county conventions and is Committeeman of his township. He has always taken an active part in all public affairs and has done much to advance the interests of the community in which he dwells. He is a member of the Chebanse Grand Army Post and is also President of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. As one of the earliest settlers and a man of upright character and worth, he has won a wide circle of friends who hold him in the highest regard.
JOHN SLATER is a prominent citizen and farmer residing on section 29, Milk's Grove Township. His birth occurred on the 8th of April, 1832, near the village of Larwick, in the Shetland Islands. His father, John Slater, was born in 1801, on those islands, and was there reared and spent his entire life as a fisherman. He married Ann Riddland. The father died in his eighty?fifth year, and the mother's death occurred in 1888. They were both members of the Presbyterian Church, and very strict in. their observance of its ordinances. They would not even cook upon Sunday, and were very honest and conscientious in all their actions. The father made a good living and gave his children fair educations. His family consisted of the following sons and daughters: Jane, who is still living on the Shetland, Islands; Lawrence, who, while following his calling as a fisherman, was cast away and never seen again; Thomas, a tailor in Edinburgh; John, who is next order of birth; Peter, now deceased, a sailor; Ann and Elspit, who still make their home in their native country. The daughters have all lost their husbands. James, the youngest son, is a fisherman his native land.
The boyhood days of our subject were spent upon islands where he was born, and he received an education in the public schools. During fishing season, he worked with his father at that calling, and also learned the carpenter's and joiner's trade. In 1857, determining to seek his home and fortune in America, he bade adieu to the friends and scenes of his youth and crossed the Atlantic in a steamship, which was bound for Portland, Me. He went immediately to Joliet, Ill., by way of the Lakes, and arrived there on the 26th of June, of that year. He followed his trade of carpentering for about three years, and then returned to Scotland on a visit. He was married there on the 26th of December, 1859, to Margaret Pottinger, of the same neighborhood in which he was born. He remained with his bride for a short time at his old home, and on the 16th of April of the following year, went to Liverpool, where they took passage in a steamer of the Allen Steamship Line, en route for Montreal. They were wrecked and cast on St. Paul Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and were there one week before they were rescued, and continued their journey by boat to Montreal. In due time, without further accident, they arrived in Joliet, where Mr. Slater again engaged in carpenter work. They remained in that city for about five years, and ire 1862 removed to Chicago, where our subject obtained employment in building Government bridges until 1872.
At that time Mr. Slater .decided to buy a farm and turn his attention to agricultural pursuits. He therefore went to Kankakee County, where he purchased eighty acres of wild Government land. There he lived, engaged in improving and developing the property, until 1881, when he came to Iroquois County and purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, where he now makes his home. . He erected a comfortable and pleasant. home and the farm is well equipped with good buildings and improved machinery. In addition to his farming interests, he has also worked more or less at his trade, and has been very successful in his business affairs. For some years he has made a specialty of keeping thoroughbred Poland-China hogs, which are the only registered ones of the township. When he came to America he was $50 in debt, but by his own efforts and energy has achieved the success which has crowned his years of labor. He is an enterprising farmer and a man of good business ability.
Mr. and Mrs. Slater are the parents of seven children: John Charles was born in the Shetland Islands on the 28th of January, 1861, and when he grew to manhood married Ellen Avery, and is a leading farmer of Milk's Grove Township; James Alexander is a farmer of Washington; William L. and George A. (twins) are farmers of Milk's Grove Township; Margaret Ann is the wife of Hopis Avery, of Kankakee County; Agnes C. and Frank are at home. These children received good public?school educations, and George attended the seminary at Onarga, and they were thus well fitted to meet the duties of life.
Our subject and his family attend the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Slater has been a School Trustee for about nine years, and is much interested in educational matters. He is not an office?seeker, preferring to devote his time to his home and farm interests, but has been induced to accept several positions of trust and honor, the duties of which he has discharged in an able and efficient manner. At present be is a Trustee and Road Commissioner, and for five years has been Treasurer of the Board of Commissioners. He heard political speeches by Lincoln and Lovejoy, and was an Abolitionist from the time of his first becoming a citizen of the United States. Later, he has been a supporter of the Republican party and its principles, and his sons are also members of that party. His first vote was cast for James A. Garfield. In local elections he votes for the man whom he thinks will best fill the position, regardless of party politics.
DANIEL MONROE is an old resident of Milk's Grove Township and owns a farm on section 1. His birth occurred on the 25th of June, 1837, in Glasgow, Scotland. His father, Hugh Monroe, was of Highland birth, and left his home when a boy, going to Glasgow, Scotland. Upon his arrival in that city, be apprenticed himself for seven years to the cabinetmaker's trade. Through his own efforts and diligent study he managed to acquire a good education. In Glasgow he met and was married to Miss Jean Campbell, who was a native of that city. They removed to London, where he worked at his trade for about fourteen years. In the spring of 1851, they took passage on a sailing?vessel, the "Hendrick Hudson," which was bound for New York City. They were seven weeks upon the Atlantic, and upon their arrival in New York City they started at once for the West. They settled in Joliet, Will County, Ill., where he worked at his trade. His death occurred in the year 1854 and the mother died at Wilmington in 1855. The, were both consistent members of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Monroe was a successful businessman.
Daniel Monroe lived in London from the time he was a year old until his parents emigrated to America, at which time he was about fourteen years of age. He received fair school advantage in London and also attended the Will County schools. Having to depend upon his own efforts for a livelihood, he was early inured to the hardships of pioneer life. In 1868, he came to this county and bought land where he now lives. His purchase consisted of one hundred and sixty acres of land which had upon it no improvements whatever. It was wild prairie and the grass upon it was about four or five feet high. The country was largely under water and great flocks of geese a ducks were abundant in this region. He now has a nice farm and a well?improved one. Upon it are a good house and other buildings, trees and hedges. He is a successful, enterprising and progressive farmer and has wonderfully developed his property.
On the 20th of October, 1869, occurred the marriage of Mr. Monroe and Miss Catherine Compton. Her father, James Compton, now living in Clifton, is an old settler and highly respected citizen of this county. Mrs. Monroe was born near La Fayette, Ind., and came with her parents to this county in 1865. This union has been blessed with four children, who were all born and reared upon this farm: Amy E., now at home, received her education in the county schools at New Carlisle, Ind.; Harvey J. assists his father upon the farm; Clarence H. and Eva A. are still under the parental roof.
At the first call of his country for volunteers in defense of the Union, Mr. Monroe enlisted in Company F, Twentieth Illinois Infantry, under Col. C. C. Marsh. He enlisted at Joliet, where the company was organized on the 24th of April, 1861. They first went to Alton and from there to Cape Girardeau. The first battle in which the regiment took part was near Frederickstown, Mo. It was followed by the engagements at Ft. Henry and Donelson. He was under Gen. McClernand and his regiment lost heavily in the engagement, forty being killed and one hundred and twenty wounded. On the 6th and 7th of April, 1862, the regiment was stationed in the thickest of tge battle of Shiloh, where they had hard fighting for two days and were driven back inch by inch. They also took an active part in the siege of Corinth. He was in the assault on Vicksburg under Gen. Logan, on the 22d of May, 1863, in which his regiment lost heavily. He witnessed its surrender and marched into the city on the 4th of July. The siege lasted from the 19th of May until that date and his regiment was most active during that time. He was also in the Meridian campaign under Sherman and participated in the battles of Baker's Creek and Jackson. The time of his service having expired, he returned home for a visit and re?enlisted at Joliet, in Company D, Sixth Regiment, Gen. Hancock's Corps. They went to Washington, from there proceeded to Harrisburg, thence to Pittsburg, and back to Washington during the winter of 1864?65. He was in that city at the time of Lincoln's assassination. After a service of four years and three months he received his discharge on the 1st of April, 1865, at that time being First Sergeant. He was ever found at his post of duty and was a faithful and brave soldier. With the exception of a short time after the siege of Vicksburg, when he wad obliged to return home on a furlough on account of fever, he was on active duty during the whole time of his service.
After his return from the army, our subject went to Atchison, Kan., and started across the plains by wagon, arriving in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1868. He spent the winter there and in the spring continued his journey to Salmon River, Idaho, where he went into the mines. In 1867, he returned to this county and has operated his present farm since that time. Politically, Mr. Monroe is a stanch Republican and cast his first vote in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln. He had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Lincoln plead a case as a lawyer before he was President. Our subject has been elected to fill several local positions, though he is not an office?seeker and prefers to devote his time to his business interests. He is one of the best and most public?spirited of citizens and is held in the highest esteem throughout this section. He is a self?made man and started in life without any means. He has ever shown an enterprising and progressive spirit and has achieved great success. He is a friend to educational measures and has given his children a good education. thus fitting them for the battles and duties of life.
WILLIAM G. SANDERS, a well?known farmer of Ashkum Township, lives on section 16. He is a native of England, and was born on the 24th of March, 1846, in the city of Birmingham. Warwickshire, of which place his parents, William and Mary Ann (Gray) Sanders, were also natives. The father, with his family, emigrated to the United States about September, 1856, settling in Westchester County, N. Y., where he resided for about a year and a-half. He then removed to Kendall County, Ill., where he located on a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits for about twenty years. Desiring to retire from the arduous labors and duties of the farm, he went to Bristol, Ill., where he spent the last years of his life. He departed this life April 6, 1884. His wife survives him and makes her home in Bristol.
William G. Sanders came to the United states with his parents when a lad of ten years and grew to man's estate in Kendall County, where his youth was spent engaged in the usual duties of farmer lads and in attending the common school. Later, he went to the Aurora Commercial College, where he received a good business education, thus fitting him for the active business pursuits of life. He remained with his father until after reaching his majority, assisting him in the care of his farm. During this time, however, he worked some for himself, and his first experience in farming for himself was in Ogle County, where he was thus occupied for about three years. In 1872, Mr. Sanders came to Iroquois County and bought a tract of eighty acres in Ashkum Township, on which he still makes his home. Of this farm but a few acres had been broken, and but slight improvements made. In the way of buildings there was but a small shanty, in which he lived while he made other improvements. Soon bountiful harvests rewarded his care and cultivation, and now a substantial home, good stables and other buildings show the owner to be a thrifty and prosperous farmer. This farm is located two and a?quarter miles from Clifton, and is considered a valuable piece of land.
In Joliet, Will County, on the 29th of October, 1874, occurred the marriage of Mr. Sanders and Miss Elizabeth B. Malcolm, a native of Illinois, who was reared and educated in Joliet. Her father, James Malcolm, was born in Scotland, and grew to manhood and was married in Bristol, Kendall County, to Miss Jessie Y. Bertram, November 4, 1845. He was one of the first settlers and honored pioneers of Joliet, being one of the first to locate in the city. He was a miller by trade and a much?respected citizen. When crossing the ocean to this country, he was shipwrecked, and, with some others, climbed upon some floating ice and was afterward rescued by a passing ship. Many others of the crew and passengers who got into the ship's small boats have never been heard from, and are supposed to have found watery graves. He departed this life January 31, 1885. Mrs. Malcolm died July 16, 1889.
While not members of any church organization, our subject and his estimable wife attend the Clifton Methodist Episcopal Church, to which they give their support, and are firm believers in its doctrine. Socially, Mr. Sanders is a member of Clifton Lodge, A. F. & A. M. Since casting his first ballot for Gen. U. S. Grant in the Presidential election in 1868, be has ever supported the principles of the Republican party. He has never been an aspirant for official positions, but has preferred to give his entire time and attention to his agricultural and business interests. He is a representative citizen of this section, and has won many friends by his integrity of character and his manly course in life. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders have two interesting children: Cora and George, and two little girls, Edith and ES a, died in early childhood.
EBEN L. HILLS, Supervisor of Milk's Grove Township, resides on section 15. He was born in the town of Big Grove, Kendall County, Ill., on the 13th of November, 1843. His father, Eben M. Hills, was a native of Connecticut, his birth occurring on the 8th of October, 1801, in Goshen, Litchfield County. His early life was passed upon a farm, and when he arrived at mature years he was married, in Burnham Center, Oneida County, N. Y., to Miss Stella Sears. The wedding was celebrated on the 11th of June, 1828. Mrs. Hills was a native of the Empire State, her birth occurring in South Fast, Putnam County, N. Y., on the 21st of August, 1806. After his marriage, Mr. Hills removed to Illinois, coming way of the Lakes. His family and goods came by team overland. He arrived in Kendall County in 1833, when the country was nothing but a wilderness. He proceeded to open up and develop a farm and afterwards became the owner of another one. He was quite successful as a business man and farmer, and was a strong anti?slavery man, and politically a Whig. He was a firm believer in the common schools, was a good citizen and a kind neighbor. He and his wife were highly esteemed members of the Congregational Church of Lisbon, where for a long time he was a Deacon. He was a man of wide reading and intelligence and was held in high regard by all. His death occurred on the 17th of February, 1859, and that of his wife on the 19th of June, 1884. Mrs. Hills spent her last days with her children.
In their family were eight children: Mrs. Caroline Cass, a widow, resides in West Superior, Wis.; Hubert died in South Dakota; Frederick B. is a leading farmer of Kendall County; Melissa Stone lives in Sandwich, De Kalb County; Mary Ann dead when a child; Eben L., our subject; Sarah Lamira and Luther B. Make their home in California. With the exception of the two eldest children, who were born in Oneida County, N. Y., they were all born and reared in Lisbon, Ill.
The early years of our subject were passed upon his father's farm in Illinois in the usual pursuits of farmer boys. For that early day he received quite a fair common?school education, and at nineteen years of age he left his studies in order to enter the army. He left Lisbon in company with the regiment in which be had enlisted on the 15th of August, 1862, as a member of Company E, Ninety?first Illinois Infantry, under Col. H. M. Day, and was mustered into service at Springfield. The company was detailed to guard railroad bridges in Kentucky. Gen. Morgan made them prisoners, our subject being captured on the 27th of December, 1862. He was paroled and sent to St. Loius, where he was kept until. July, 1863. After being released, he proceeded to Vicksburg, once went to New Orleans and afterward to Texas. He then went to Mobile and assisted in the capture of that city. He entered the service a private soldier and was an Orderly at headquarters. He was a faithful and efficient soldier, ever to be found at his post of duty and true to the trust reposed in him.
Returning from the war, he went to Springfield and arrived at his home on the 28th of July, 1865. On the 29th of November, 1866, Mr. Hills was married to Miss Phila M. Bushnell, a native of the Empire State. Their marriage was celebrated in the house where he was born at Lisbon, Kendall County. Mrs. Hills is a daughter of Richard and Adeline (McCuen) Bushnell, who came to Illinois in 1848, when Mrs. Hills was but four years of age. They first settled in McHenry County, then at Dundee, Kane County, and finally removed to Lisbon, when she was about eleven years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Bushnell are now both deceased. Three children grace the union of our subject and his wife: Lillian M. is the wife of Arthur Boswell, and lives in Nebraska. She was born in the same house where her father's birth occurred, and grew to womanhood in Kankakee County. Susan H. resides at home and was born at Chebanse, Iroquois County. She acquired her education in the public schools of Onarga. Hubert was born in Chebanse and assists his father upon the home farm.
In 1870, Mr. Hills removed to Kankakee and engaged in farming there until 1885. Since that time be has made his home in this township and operates a farm of four hundred and eighty acres. This is a well?improved piece of property, and as an agriculturist he meets with success. For several years he has engaged in breeding English Shire horses and has a number of full?blooded imported and registered animals. He is the owner of some very fine stock, and in all his business enterprises he shows good judgment and sagacity. Mr. and Mrs. Hills are faithful members of the Congregational Church at Chebanse. Socially, he is a member of the Grand Army Post at Chebanse and belongs to the order of Modern Woodmen. He cast his first vote for Gen. U. S. Grant and has been a stanch Republican since the war. He has often attended the conventions of his party, both county and senatorial. At present be is Supervisor of the township, and has served as Township Clerk For four years. He makes an able and efficient officer and discharges the duties of his position to the satisfaction of all. Mr. Hills is pleasant and genial and his hospitable home is always open to his many friends.
Charles W. Raymond, the subject of this sketch, is an apt illustration of this fact. Born in humble circumstances, and battling with adversity, he has been constant in purpose, and has achieved a distinction in which he may well take pride, even as the friends who have watched his progress and admired his career are proud of the position he has attained among his fellowmen.
He was born in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Capt. William M. Raymond and Mary E. (Meyers) Raymond. Soon after his birth the family removed to Nashville, Tenn., where the father conducted a prosperous business until the clouds of war began to hang like a dark pall over the threatened nation. Treason stalked with arrogance through the streets of the Rock City and vowed dire vengeance upon all who dared to assert their loyalty to the Union. Capt. Raymond, in whose veins flowed the blood of Revolutionary sires, was, however, not to be intimidated; he denounced in vehement terms the folly and utility of secession, and so outspoken and emphatic were his sentiments of loyalty to the Old Flag that he became a marked man and was obliged to flee for safety, his escape from lynching being due to the warning of a friend, a Southern sympathizer, whose friendship was yet so strong and true that he secreted the loyal but despised Yankee on his own premises until he could find safe passage with his family to the North. Capt. Raymond landed at Lawrenceburg Ind., where he at once joined the Fifty?second Indiana Infantry, being elected First?Lieutenant of Company D, of which he subsequently became Captain. The family went on to Indianapolis, where they remained during the war. Capt. Raymond followed the fortunes of his regiment through all its vicissitudes; shared in its bivouacs, its battles and its marches, until he finally arrived with the army at Nashville, the old home from which he had been driven, and he here lost his life in the memorable battle of December 16, 1864. His remains were brought to Cincinnati (his birthplace) where they were tenderly laid to rest in the Cummingsville Cemetery in January, 1865.
The widow, with three orphaned children, then moved to Mt. Washington, Ohio, in order to be near her relatives, with whom she afterward came to Illinois, locating in Washington, Tazewell County. Charles, then a youth, spent three years upon a farm in Linn Township, Woodford County. Afterward he joined his mother, who had moved to Onarga, Iroquois County, where he entered Grand Prairie Seminary. He applied himself zealously to his books, and completed his studies in Wabash College, at Crawfordsville, Ind. For a time he worked in the flax mill at Onarga as tow?boy, but in 1818 he came to Watseka, where he was given a clerkship in the office of the County Clerk, being in 1882 installed as Deputy County Clerk under Henry A. Butzow. In the interim, he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1886. To?day, although still a young man, he stands in the front of the legal profession in Iroquois County. As an orator, he is the peer of any of his colleagues, having (in his determination to succeed as a public speaker) overcome obstacles which have discouraged many another even better equipped. Today he will stand before his auditors and command their profoundest attention by the fascination of his speech, while many people in Watseka well remember his complete failure and mortification in his first attempt to speak in public a few years ago. Words failed him, his tongue refused utterance, his face flushed, his limbs trembled; he stood there unable to utter a sentence, when, in abject humiliation, he took his seat, but in his discomfiture still resolved that he would yet overcome his timidity and some day prove to his friends that perseverance and determination will triumph in the end. This episode occurred in 1879 before a large audience (the writer of this sketch being one of the number), where he had been advertised to speak in the old Opera House on Third Street. The editor of the Iroquois Times, in his report of the proceedings, August 23, 1879, referred to the matter in these kindly words of encouragement: "Don't be discouraged, Charley; the greatest orators the world ever produced failed in their first efforts. We expect to hear from you yet." And "Charley" has verified the prophecy of the sympathizing editor.
Being thoroughly conversant with the affairs of the county, he was in 1886 selected by the Board of Supervisors to conduct the prosecution in the celebrated case of the People of the State of Illinois for use of Iroquois County vs. John W. Riggs, ex?Circuit Clerk, to recover certain trust funds and fees withheld by the defendant. In the prosecution of this, one of his first eases and a most important one, he exhibited such skill and determination that be at once sprang into prominence, and his reputation as an able and fearless attorney became established at the very threshold of his practice. The successful prosecution of this case did much to inaugurate some wholesome reforms among the county officials. From that time forth Mr. Raymond's career has been one of uniform success. He was employed by Hon. John L. Hamilton in 1891 in the contest between this gentleman and Henry A. Butzow for the seat in the Thirty?seventh General Assembly from the Sixteenth Senatorial District of Illinois, in which he scored a complete victory for his client, who was mated as a Republican, though the House in which the contest took place was Democratic. This contest attracted general interest throughout the State, as the election of a United States Senator was involves and much depended upon the complexion of the House, the parties being almost equally divided, three Independents wielding the balance of power. He was also engaged in the Munhall?Mann contest, wherein the latter, having been declared elected by the Board of County Canvassers and installed as Circuit Clerk, his rights were disputed by the complainant, who alleged irregularities at the polls, which, if corrected, would entitle him to the office.
Mr. Raymond has taken an active part in politics and is recognized as one of the leaders of the Republican party in Eastern Illinois, where he wields a marked influence. He has attended various conventions (county, congressional and district) and in 1892 was a delegate to the Republican State Convention, where he was chosen as a Representative?at?Large of that body to the National Republican League, which met at Buffalo, N. Y., in September of that year. Here he became conspicuous, being placed upon several important committees, and was honored as Chairman of the committee of three (Judge James H. Blanchard, of New York, and Judge John P. Seamans, of California, being the other two members) to notify Gen. J. S. Clarkson of his election as President of the National League of Republican clubs.
He was appointed Master in Chancery for Iroquois County by the Circuit Judges of this district, his fitness for this responsible position being generally conceded. He is also one of the Vice-presidents of the State Bar Association, of which Hon. Lyman Trumbull is President.
Not alone in the practice of his profession and in public affairs does Mr. Raymond find congenial employment, but he devotes much of his time and talent to the advancement of fraternal societies. He is a leading Odd Fellow, having passed through all the chairs in lodge and camp of the order, and is representative from Iroquois Encampment No. 81, I. O. O. F., of Watseka, to the Grand Encampment of Illinois. His services are much sought after by lodges as orator on anniversary and .holiday occasions. He is also a member of Milford Lodge No. 211, K. P., and a Sir Knight of the Uniformed Rank. He was instrumental in the organization of the Sons of Veterans in Iroquois County, and is held in high esteem by his comrades, who have frequently testified their appreciation of his services by honoring him with the highest offices in their gift.
No attorney in Iroquois County has more elegant apartments, his office occupying three rooms over the Citizens' Bank. It is a model of tidiness and good order, indicating to the caller at first sight the character of the occupant, the impression being that a man who keeps his books and papers in order knows where they are, and, knowing this, knows what they contain?in fact, knows his business. His library is one of the most extensive and valuable in the county, his aim being to keep pace with all that is new in the profession. He is a man of fine presence, dignified yet affable, a true friend and a charitable opponent, slow to anger yet quick to resent, mild of speech yet he can deliver terrific blows when occasion requires. He has risen by his own unaided genius from an obscure youth, guiding the plow upon a farm or pitching fibre in a flag?mill, to be one of the best known of the prominent citizens in Iroquois County; he has built up a successful practice and achieved an enviable reputation, the result of industry and perseverance. His career is but another illustration of what a young man may accomplish by well-directed effort and singleness of purpose ?- Per aspera ad astra. In this land of opportunities he wins who works.
JOHN F. SCHRADER, a well?known farmer of Chebanse Township, owns and carries on a farm on section 13. He is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred on the 7th of January, 1828, in Hanover. His early years were passed in an uneventful manner up to the age of seventeen in agricultural pursuits and in the acquisition of an education. In company with his father, John H. Schrader, he determined to seek a home and fortune in America. They accordingly went to Bremen, taking passage in a sailing?vessel, the "Anna" bound for Baltimore. After a voyage of some five weeks upon the briny deep they arrived at their destination in September, 1844. They proceeded to Indiana, settling in Ripley County, where the father engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in the winter of 1855.
Our subject was engaged upon a farm by the month in Indiana for nine years. He carefully saved his earnings and invested inland in the Hoosier State, which he afterward sold and with the proceeds purchased land, the place where he now resides. He had traveled through a large portion of Indiana and Illinois before deciding to purchase in this county, which he did in .June, 1854. He then went to Kankakee, where he spent the winter of 1854?55 in school. He has largely educated himself since arriving at mature years as his early education was limited. He is now well informed on all leading issues and affairs of importance, both national and otherwise. In the spring of 1856, he located upon his land and began in earnest to improve his property. The county at that time had but few inhabitants and much of it was under water. There were but two stores at Chebanse, and with the railroad depot they constituted the town. Mr. Schrader's first purchase was a tract of eighty?acres. After be had partially improved this be bought adjoining land from time to time as his finances would permit and now is the owner of over a section of good arable and well?improved land. The farm on which is his home adjoins the corporate limits of Chebanse. Mr. Schrader is pre?eminently a self-made man, having commenced his business career absolutely without capital. His years of enterprise, industry and effort have been crowned with a success which he has well deserved, and he is to?day one of the wealthy and influential farmers of the county.
On the 26th of March, 1859, he was married to Miss Jane Slinn, whose birthplace and childhood's home was Stafford, England. At the age of twelve dears she with her parents removed to America, settling in, New York City. .After two years they moved to Chicago, and four years later to Chebanse, where they permanently located. She was intelligent, energetic, a devoted Christian, and as a wife and mother faithful in the discharge of every duty. After twenty?nine years of married life she was culled to her home above, her death occurring August 12, 1888. Mr. and Mrs. Schrader are the parents of nine children, seven of whom are still living: Clare is the wife of Orin B. Streeter, who is engaged in a prosperous mercantile business in Denver, Colo.; George W. assists his father with the work upon the home farm; Emma, since the death of the mother, remains at home; John H., Charles, Joseph, Harriet and Flora are still under the parental roof and are attending school. Fannie J. lived to a beautiful young womanhood and died August 17, 1888, five days after her mother passed away. Freddie, the youngest son, died at the age of two years and six months.
Mr. Schrader cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and has been an active Republican, voting for every nominee since that time. Three of his sons are voters; two of them like their father are Republican, and the other is a supporter of the Prohibition party. Though never an aspirant for office, our subject has been a number of times called upon by his fellow?citizens to occupy positions of trust and honor; and has discharged the duties pertaining to them in an able manner and to the satisfaction of all. Mr. Schrader and his family are members of the First Congregational Church of Chebanse. Every worthy enterprise finds in them support and encouragement and they have always given liberally of their means to church and benevolent purposes. For nearly two?score years, Mr. Schrader has been a citizen of this State and is numbered among the honored pioneers of the county. By his life of integrity he has won and deserved the praise and commendation of all and numbers host of friends in this county and those adjoining.
JOHN D. ASH, who owns and operates one hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 6 and 7, Middleport Township, is an honored veteran of the late war, and a progressive and substantial farmer of this community. A native of Ohio, he was born in Clarke County, near Springfield, on the 8th of June, 1833. His parents, William and Elizabeth (Driskel) Ash, were also natives of the Buckeye State, and were of German and Irish descent respectively. Their family numbered six children, three sons and three daughters. Mary, deceased wife of Henry Gaines; John D., of this sketch; Katherine, wife of Dr. Harvey Mitchell, a practicing physician residing in Muncie, Ind.; Harrison, a resident farmer of Marion County, Kan.; Priscilla, wife of Martin Halloway, who is engaged in farming near Crawfordsville, Ind.; and Elias, who died in 1863. The mother of this family died in 1845, and Mr. Ash departed this life in 1862. Both were members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Ash, whose name heads this record, spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farmer lads.
In the summer months, he aided in the labors of the farm, and when work in the fields was over, he attended the district schools of the neighborhood through the winter season, until nineteen years of age. Under the parental roof he remained until his marriage, which was celebrated in 1857. The previous year he had come to Iroquois County, and having formed the acquaintance of Miss Sarah Buck, they were joined in wedlock. The lady was a daughter of David and Catherine (Lyman) Buck, who were numbered among the early settlers of Iroquois County.
After his marriage, Mr. Ash operated a rented farm until 1862, when, responding to the call of duty, and prompted by patriotic impulses, he offered his services to the Government, and became a member of Company B, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry. He was mustered into service in Chicago, and the first battle in which he participated was at Arkansas Post. The same day, he was taken sick, and the following day was sent to the field hospital. Soon afterwards, he was sent to the hospital in St. Louis, Mo., where he remained for eleven months, ill with typhoid fever. November 14, 1864, he received an honorable discharge, and returning to Illinois again resumed farming. He purchased forty acres of land on section 4, Middleport Township, where he made his home for six years, when, selling his first farm, he became owner of one hundred and twenty acres on sections 6 and 7 of the same township.
In 1876, Mr. Ash was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife. Five children bad been born of that marriage, namely: Mary, wife of Charles Jewitt, a resident of Pittwood, Ill.; Doretta, who died September 7, 1878; Noah, a farmer residing in Middleport Township; John and William, both of whom are at home, and assist their father in the cultivation of the farm. In 1878, Mr. Ash was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary (Bower) Buck, widow of David Buck. Five children graced this marriage, but the three eldest, Georgia, Charlie and Lena, are now deceased. Eva and Effie, twins, are at home..
Mr. Ash is a supporter of Democratic principles. He has never been a politician, in the sense of office?seeking, but has faithfully served his fellow-townsmen as School Director and Road Commissioner. His farm is a well?improved place, and its neat appearance gives evidence of thrift and enterprise which are among the owner's chief characteristics. He is a man of sterling worth, held in high esteem throughout the community, and has proved himself a valued citizen by his public spirit and the commendable interest that he manifests in all pertaining to the welfare of the community.
JACOB HELLER, a well?known former of Chebanse Township, makes his home on section 26. He has the honor of being a native of Illinois, his birth occurring in Cook County, on the 28th of January, 1856. He is a son of Conrad Heller, and a brother of John Heller, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume. Our subject came to Iroquois County with his parents when a child of but three years, and has here grown to manhood on the farm where he still resides. His boyhood days were spent in the usual manner and pursuits of farmer boys. His education was acquired in the district schools during the winter season, and these limited privileges were supplemented by a course of study in a German school at Kankakee. He remained with his father upon the home farm until the latter's death, which occurred October 2, 1890. In 1870, the father retired from the active cares and anxieties of superintending a farm, and our subject then took charge of the place and business. He has since added a forty?acre tract, thus making one hundred and forty acres in all. This is good arable land, and under a fine state of cultivation. Mr. Heller has just completed a good and substantial residence and has commodious barns and outbuildings. About his property on every hand are seen the thrift and enterprise of the owner.
On the 16th of April, 1879, Mr. Heller led to the marriage altar Miss Mary Zopf, a native of Kankakee, born April 24, 1855, and there reared to womanhood. She is a daughter of Sebastian Zopf, one of the first settlers of Kankakee, whose birth occurred in Germany. 'To Mr. and Mrs. Heller have been born four children: William is now attending school, and is bright in his studies, while Nettie and Laura are still under?school age. Jessie, twin to Laura, died at the age of four months.
Our subject uses his right of franchise in favor of the Republican party, and is a believer in our public?school system and a stanch friend of education. He has served for several years as a member of the School Board, and has always been active and efficient in the work. Almost his entire life has been spent in this County, where he is well known and highly esteemed and respected as a man of upright character and life. He has seen wonderful changes in this county, as at the time of his first arrival here it had few inhabitants, and was but little developed. He has always taken an active part in all measures tending to advance the prosperity and welfare of his fellow?citizens, and well merits a representation in this volume of the pioneers and early settlers of this region.
HENRY R. FIELDS, a well?known citizen Sheldon, was born in Danville, Ky., June 10, 1837, and comes of an old family of that locality. His great?grandfather, William Fields, was born in Ireland and came to Danville when the region round about was all wild and unimproved. He entered from the Government fourteen hundred acres of land, and the farm has been in the possession of the family for over one hundred years. The grandfather of our subject bore the name of Henry Fields, was a native of Danville and one of the early settlers. He owned six hundred and forty acres of land, the boundaries of which had been marked by his father by blazing trees with a hatchet. He was a large farmer and slave?owner in that locality.
William M. Fields, the father of our subject, was born in Danville in 1815, and spent his entire life there. In 1832, he embarked in merchandising and for near half a century was proprietor of one of the leading dry?goods stores of that place and a prominent and influential business man. He married Miss Ann Thorn, who was born in Yorkshire, England, in October, 1815, and when six months old was brought by her parents to America, the family locating in Lexington, Ky., where her father owned and operated a woolen?mill until his death. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fields was born a family of twelve children, eight of whom are now living: Henry R. is the eldest; Elizabeth D. is now the wife of Eloi Joffrion; Susan R. married the Hon. E. J. Joffrion; T. T. is living in Louisiana; Miss Annie, L. B. and W. M. reside in Lexington, Ky.; and Miss Carrie B. still makes her home in Danville.
The subject of this sketch was educated in his native city, a college town, and the seat of the old Center College which was founded sixty?nine years ago and from which have graduated some of the ablest men of the country, including Governors, statesmen, prominent journalists, etc. On attaining his majority, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary F., daughter of John and Mary Garrard. Their union was celebrated in La Porte, Ind., December 22, 1858. Mr. Fields had received his business training in his father's store, and after his marriage embarked in merchandising in North Liberty, St. Joseph County, Ind., where he carried on operations successfully until the fall of 1863.
At that time, Mr. Fields abandoned business pursuits and entered the service as a member of Company H, Twelfth Indiana Cavalry, in which he served until after the close of the war. He, with his command, was driven from Tullahoma to Murphreesboro, Tenn., and was there surrounded by Hood's forces for twenty?two days, fighting and skirmishing each day, and after the battle at Nashville, in which Hood was defeated by Thomas, he participated in the Mobile campaign. Lieut. Fields way ever found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the Old Fag which now waves over a united nation. When the war was over, he returned to his home and in 1872 came to this county.
By the union of Mr. and Mrs. Fields have been born six sons: William M:, now a prominent and enterprising business man of Fowler, Ind.; John G., who for ten years has been traveling over the world; Henry R., a prosperous merchant of Fowler, Ind.; Bennett J., Louis A. and Arthur Bruce, at home. Mr. Fields is a well?known citizen of Sheldon and takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. He has been quite prominent in political affairs and is an enthusiastic supporter of the Republican party. Those who know him esteem him highly for his sterling worth, and his friends and acquaintances throughout the community are many. Mr. Fields is now engaged in publishing the Sheldon News, one of the leading Republican organs of the Ninth Congressional District of Illinois.
HANS RASMUSSEN, who owns and operates one hundred and sixty acres of good land on section 12, Milk's Grove Township, is a native of Denmark. . He was born in the city of Volkenbach, on the 28th of April, 1846, and is a son of Rasmus Hanson. His father was born and reared on the same farm as our subject, and there spent his entire life, engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was a well?educated man, quiet and unassuming in manner, and highly respected by all knew him. He served in the War of 1846. He married Miss Metta Christina Hanson, who is still living and makes her home with her children in this country. Mr. Hanson was a member of the Lutheran Church, to which his family all belong, and died in that faith in his native land, at the age of sixty?six years. In the Rasmussen family were four children, the eldest of whom is Hans Frederick crossed the Atlantic in 1870, and is now engaged in farming at Fowler, Benton County, Ind.; Maria Christina is married, and resides on a farm in Cars County, N. Dak.; and Mrs. Mary Larssen is a resident of Chicago.
Our subject was only nine yearn of age at his father's death. He then started out in life for himself, and has since been dependent on his own resources. His school privileges were very limited?in fact, he is self?educated, but by observation and experience he has made himself a well?informed man. He remained in his native land until he had attained his majority, when he was married, May 16, 1866, and emigrated to America. The lady of his choice was Miss Mary Jensen, who was born May 16, 1837, in the city of Holstenburg. In the spring of 1866, the young couple bade good bye to their old home, and sailed to Hamburg, Germany, thence to New York. On landing in this country, they at once made their way West ward, locating in Rolla, Mo., but after a short stay of a month in that place came to Illinois. Mr. Rasmussen located in Chebanse, and for two years worked on the railroad. On the expiration of that period he began farming in his own interests, renting forty acres of land, which he operated until 1874. In that year he went to Newton County, Ind., where he engaged in farming for some time, when he removed to Fowler, Benton County. The last nine years of his life have been spent upon his present farm, which comprises one hundred and sixty acres of arable land under a high state of cultivation, well improved and well tiled.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Rasmussen have been born three children, two sans and a daughter: James L., who was born in this county; Olle John, who died when four months of age; and Lena M., born in Newton County, Ind. Both the living children were educated in the public schools, and are yet at home. Mr. Rasmussen and his family are all members of the Lutheran Church. He cast his first Presidential ballot for Gen. Grant in 1872, but since that time he has been a supporter of the Democracy. It was twenty?six years ago that he came to this county. In the years of his residence here he has proven himself a valued citizen, who takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community. He is held in high regard throughout the locality in which he has made his home, and his friends and acquaintances are many.
FRANKLIN J. HENNESSY is a retired merchant and a native son of this county. He has the honor of having been the first male child born in Milk's Grove Township, his birth occurring on the 29th of July, 1853. His father, Humphrey Hennessy, was born in County Cork, Ireland, and followed the life of a farmer in the Emerald Isle. In 1848, determining to seek his fortune in the New World, he crossed the briny deep and located in the neighborhood of Le Roy, N. Y., where he also followed agricultural pursuits. The mother of our subject, who was before her marriage Margaret Gleason, was also born in Ireland, the place of her birth being the Silvermines in County Tipperary. In 1849 she came to America and settled near Le Roy, where she became acquainted with, and in 1852 married, Mr. Hennessey. Soon after their marriage they removed to Illinois and worked upon a farm in Milk's Grove Township, this county. For six months after their arrival they never beheld the face of a woman, and the howl of the prairie wolf and the morning call of the prairie chicken were to tie heard on every hand. There was no pause or settlement within many miles, with the exception of one log cabin in Pilots Grove, one in Oliver's Grove and one at Sammons Point, near the Iroquois River. Though the trials and hardships of that early day were enough to try the soul of any one however brave, Mr. Hennessy and his wife were made of that kind of material which knows no such word as fail. In their strong resolution to succeed they toiled on with patience and waited for such developments as time would surely bring. They lived to see their labors rewarded and saw the desert blossom as the rose and become one of the most fertile and profitable portions of the State. In the spring of 1856 they removed to a farm near Sugar Island, four and a?half miles east of the village of Chebanse, which farm is still owned by the family. The father's death occurred on the 23d of July, 1870, but the mother is still living and makes her home with our subject in Chebanse.
Their family consisted of two sons, Franklin J. and John. The latter lost his life in Chicago on the morning of the 25th of March, 1892, by falling from the third?stow window of the New York Hotel. His remains were brought to Chebanse, where on the following Sunday he was laid to rest in the Catholic Cemetery. His occupation was that of farming and stock?raising, and for twenty-two years he had managed the farm formerly owned by his father. His mother lived with him and he made a comfortable and pleasant home for her. He was a young man of much promise, genial affable and happy and had a host of friends. He was in Chicago with stock, arriving the morning of the 24th of March.
Our subject, Franklin Hennessy, received but a limited education in the district schools of his neighborhood, as at that early day they had not been brought to their present standard of excellence. His first school teacher was O. S. Whitehead, and among his other school teachers was J. P. H. Trescott, who is still a resident of Chebanse, and one to whom he will ever be grateful for his kindness. Mr. Hennessy also took a short course in the Holy Family's Catholic School in Chicago. He always had a natural talent for business, and on the 8th of .June, 1874, entered the employ of the celebrated Lemuel Milk in his general store, which was known as the Combination Store, and in his service remained as clerk until the 1st of March, 1883, at which time, Messrs. McKee and Bard purchased the stock of Mr. Milk. Our subject then entered their employ and was with them until May 1, 1886. On the 8th of that month, in company with his former employer, Mr. Milk, he opened the store with an entirely new stock of goods under the firm name of Milk & Hennessy. Their predecessors, McKee & Bard, removed their stock to Iowa just previous to this. The firm of Milk & Hennessy continued in business until the 9th of July, 1892, when they closed out their stock to H. Y. Swan and E. A. Brown, of Waldron, Kankakee County, to which place the latter removed their purchase. Mr. Hennessy always made a success of his business and enjoyed a large patronage, but tiring of the mercantile life be determined to give his attention to agricultural pursuits. He owns a farm comprising about one hundred and eighty?five acres, which he intends to improve and cultivate with the most modern appliances. He contemplates placing upon it about two thousand five hundred rods of tile, and will make of it a model farm of this decade.
The subject of our sketch was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Ellen Linehan, the ceremony being performed on the 23d of Maya 1880. Her father, John Linehan, of Chebanee, was a native of Ireland, and her mother, who was before her marriage Miss Harriet De Witt, was born in Sullivan County, N. Y.
The citizens of Chebanse have a number of times called upon Mr. Hennessy to fill positions of public trust, He was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, and became a member of the Village Board of Trustees, which office he held for eight years and was School Director for tour years. Like his father before him, he is a supporter of the Republican party and cast his first ballot for President Hayes. Socially, he is a member of Chebanse Council No. 1079, R. A. He and his wife are members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Hennessey has always been identified with all measures for the welfare of the community and is a public?spirited and patriotic citizen.
HENRY CLAY FRITCH, who is engaged m farming on section 24 Lovejoy Township, owns and operates one hundred and sixty acres of arable land, comprising one of the best farms in this locality. The fields are well tilled, and the many improvements, which are such as?are found on a model farm, indicate his thrift and enterprise. He has one of the best barns in the township.
Mr. Fritch was born in Berks County, Pa., on the 9th of June, 1848. His parents, George and Christina Fritch, are also natives of the Keystone State. His father has followed the occupation of farming throughout his entire life and by his own exertions. has become well?to?do. Himself and wife are members of the Baptist Church. In their family were twelve children, but only four are now living, Henry Clay being the eldest. Celia is the wife of William Dungan, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Mercer County, Ill.; Austin is married and follows farming in Kansas; Amanda is the wife of Ed Smallwood, a telegraph operator of Indianapolis, Ind.
The subject of this sketch was the third to order of birth in the family. The first seven years of his life were spent in the State of his nativity, and then with his parents he went to Williamsport, Ind., where he resided for about eight years, the days of his boyhood and youth being spent in the usual manner of farmer lads. On attaining his majority he started out in life for himself. His capital was very limited, but he possessed industry and a strong determination to succeed.
When the war broke out he tried to enlist in his country's service, but being so young he was brought home by his father, who, to satisfy his military aspirations, permitted him to join the Home Guards, with which he was connected for some three years. The company numbered about one hundred, being well equipped and thoroughly drilled. Mr. Fritch was married August 10, 1870, to Martha, youngest daughter of John and Rebecca Mulholland. The lady was born March 25, 1854, and died March 18, 1872. One child, Clara, born of this union, died in infancy. Bereft of his companion, Mr. Fritch made four trips West, visiting several States, but finding no place he liked better than Iroquois County he returned and has since made it his home.
On the 23d of October, 1873, Mr. Fritch was united in marriage with Miss Ella McClure, daughter of John and Sarah (Kirk) McClure. Their union was celebrated in Milford, and has been blessed with a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, but only four are now living: George who was educated in the Wellington schools and is a telegraph operator by profession, resides at home with his parents; John died at the age of two years; Edd aids his father in the farm work; Effie died at the age of two years and ten months; James is at home; Henry C. died at the age of five years; and Ruth is the baby of the household. The mother of this family is a native of Indiana. She was born November 9, 1855, and when a maiden of twelve summers became a resident of Illinois. In the McClure family were ten children, seven sons and three daughters, of whom eight are yet living. Mrs. Fritch is the eldest; Minnie, is a resident of this State; Charlie is at borne; John is married and makes his home in this county; Thomas resides in Iroquois County; Hugh is married and resides in this county; and Toliver and Daniel also make their home in this county.
In his social relations Mr. Fritch is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Wellington Lodge No. 785, I. O. O. F. His wife holds membership in the Daughters of Rebekah. In politics he is an ardent adherent of the Republican principles, and his first vote was cast for Gen. U. S. Grant. He has never been an office?seeker, but has frequently been called to fill public positions of honor and trust, yet has never accepted. His fellow townsmen well recognize his worth and ability and know him as an honorable, upright man.
DR. JACOB M. MURREY, who is engaged in the practice of medicine in Sheldon, was born on the 12th of November, 1814, in Franklin County, Ind., and is of Scotch descent. His father, William Murrey, was a native of Scotland, and with his parents emigrated to America in 1800, when about twenty years of age. He was a cabinet?maker by trade and followed that occupation throughout much of his life. In the Buckeye State he met and married Miss Hannah Vansyeck, a native of Ohio, and in 1814 they removed to Franklin County, Ind., but after a short time returned to Butler County, Ohio, and subsequently removed to Louisville, Ky. It was not long afterward that Mr. Murrey joined the regular army, and this is the last knowledge which our subject has of his father. Whether he was killed or what became of him the family never knew. In September, 1834, the mother came to Iroquois County, Ill., where she resided for forty-one years, or until her death, which occurred at the advanced age of eighty?eight. Jacob was the third in order of birth in a family of five children and is the only surviving member.
The common schools of the Buckeye State afforded the Doctor his educational privileges. At the age of sixteen years he began earning his own livelihood, and afterward followed farming for a period of five years. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, he chose Miss Mary Wood, daughter of Jeremiah Wood, of Kentucky, their union being celebrated February 21, 1836. They lived together as man and wife for fifty?five years, sharing with each other the joys and sorrows, pain and pleasure, adversity and prosperity, which checker the lives of all. At length the faithful wife was called to her final rest, passing away on the 6th of April, 1891.
By their union were born six children: Jeremiah B., the eldest; Margaret J., now the wife of David Stewart; Minerva Jane, who married J. P. Sutton; Josephine, wife of Francis W. Raymond; Josephus, twin brother of Josephine; and Albert P., who completes the family. Not long ago the Doctor made a visit to Kansas, and while there saw twelve of his great?grand children.
It was about twenty years ago that Dr. Murrey began making a specialty of the treatment of cancers. He has made a life study of this disease, and thorough preparation and natural skill and ability well fitted him for this line of practice. He has done an extended business over many States and has performed some wonderful cures. He has a wide reputation and well deserves the liberal patronage which he has received. In politics Dr. Murrey advocates the Democratic principles and has always supported that party, except in 1860 and again in 1864, when he voted for Abraham Lincoln. His life has been a busy and useful one, well and worthily spent, and he has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, being held in the highest regard by all who knew him.
JOHN PAYNE is a highly respected farmer of Chebanse Township, residing on section 11. For a quarter of a century he has made his home in this county. He was born in Fayette County, Pa., in 1825, and is a son of Edward and Sarah (Anderson) Payne. His parents were both slaves in an early day. .His father was liberated by the emancipation act of the State at the age of twenty?three years. Like the rest of the race, he was not given any chance for education. Both parents spent their entire lives in Fayette County. Of their children, Edward died in Pennsylvania in 1890, less than a mile from his birthplace; John is the second in order of birth; Barnes resides in St. Louis and is employed on a steam?boat on the Mississippi River; Josephine is the wife of Isaac Bach and is now living near the old home in Fayette County; Mrs. Mary Curry resides in Washington County, Pa.; and Mrs. Sarah Jane Gilkeson is living in Allegheny City; Pa.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who spent the days?of his boyhood and youth in the State of his nativity. His educational advantages were limited, yet he managed to obtain a good knowledge of the common branches in the subscription schools, which be attended to some extent, paying $2 per quarter for the privilege. He worked as a farm laborer in Pennsylvania until nineteen years of age, when he went to Ohio, locating near Cadiz, Harrison County. He was there under the employ of John Niccolls, with whom he remained seven years. When his employer removed to Bloomington, Ill., in 1851, Mr. Payne accompanied him. They were twenty?one days upon the road, making the journey with teams. For a time he worked upon a farm near Bloomington, and in 1856 went to Will County, working on a farm near Joliet for his old employer. He there carried on farming on shares.
It was in 1865 that Mr. Payne came to Iroquois County, and with the capital he had acquired through his industry, perseverance and economy he purchased eighty?five acres of land. This tract was entirely destitute of improvements. He hauled the lumber from Joliet, a distance of fifty?five miles, to build his house. All the improvements upon the place stand as a monument to the thrift and enterprise of the owner, who now has a comfortable home and good farm. In fact, he has so well succeeded in his business career, that, he is now living retired, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves.
Mr. Payne was married, in Cadiz, Ohio, to Miss Ann B. Yancey, who was born in Virginia as a slave and was emancipated when about twelve years of age. From that time until twenty-two years of age she made her home with Isaac Kirk, of Belmont County, Ohio. Their marriage was celebrated in 1850. Mrs. Payne holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Clifton. In 1868, Mr. Payne cast his first Presidential vote, thereby supporting Gen. Grant, and has since been a warm advocate of Republican principles. For twenty?seven years be has resided in this county, has ever faithfully performed his duties of citizenship, and has done what he could for the best interests of this community and its upbuilding. He is truly a self?made man and his success in life is richly deserved.
BENJAMIN LOWER, a retired farmer residing in Ashkum, is a native of Blair County, Pa., born March 2, 1824. He is of German descent, his grandfather, Adam Lower, coming from Germany to this country at a very early day, being a pioneer of Huntingdon County, Pa. John Lower, the father of Benjamin, married Isabella Lancey, a native of Ireland, who came to this country with her parents while an infant and grew to womanhood in Pennsylvania. John Lower was a shoemaker by trade and worked at that line in Williamsburg, Pa., at which place he died many years ago.
Benjamin Lower, the subject of this sketch, is the third in order of birth in a family of four sons and three daughters, who grew to mature years. He grew to manhood in his native county, where he received an ordinary common?school education. For about sixteen years he followed the trade of a plasterer, working at that trade usually in the summer season, and in the winter helping his father at the bench. He was united in marriage in Scott's Valley, Blair County, Pa., January 14, 1851, to Anna Mary Milliken, a native of Blair County, Pa., a daughter of Edward and Catherine Milliken, the former of German parentage and the latter of Scotch descent.
In 1858, Mr. Lower came to Iroquois County and purchased eighty acres of land of the Illinois Central Railroad Company in Ashkum Township, and soon afterward bought forty acres adjoining and at once commenced its improvement. Fur the first few years the family suffered severely from fever and ague and typhoid fever, during which time two of ?the children died. In a few years they became acclimated, and have since enjoyed reasonably good health. For sixteen years Mr. Lower remained upon his first farm, and then purchased one near the village of Ashkum, where he remained until 1888, and then built a good, substantial residence in the village of Ashkum, and has since lived a retired life. In the thirty-four years in which he has resided in this county he has witnessed many changes, and has contributed largely to its growth and prosperity. In early life, he was politically a Democrat, afterward a Republican, and is now thoroughly independent. He has never aspired to office, but has served his township in various local offices.
Mr. and Mrs. Lower are the parents of four living children: Ada C., now the wife of John Bride, of Iroquois County; John A., a clerk in a store of Ashkum, a young man of fair education and ability; Dora, who resides at home; and Mary Malinda, Dow the wife of Edwin Duckham, of Ashkum. Two sons were lost: James, who died February 16, 1864, aged twelve years; and Abraham Lincoln, who died, March 24, 1864, at the age of fourteen months. Mrs. Lower is a member of the Ashkum Congregational Church.
GEORGE A. REAKIN is a retired farmer re siding in Danforth. He is a native of Germany, born in Hanover, February 9, 1833, and is a son of Clans and Nancy (Aden) Reakin, both natives of the same country. He grew to manhood in Germany, received a good education m his native tongue, and acquired his English education after coming to this country. In 1855, he married Cassie Saathoff, also a native of Hanover. In 1857, the young couple took ship at Oldenburg for New Orleans. The ship was a sailing-vessel and they were three months on the voyage, during which time cholera broke out on board the ship and nineteen of the passengers died. They arrived at New Orleans November 4, 1857, and at once went up the river to St. Louis and thence to Peoria, where Mr. Reakin spent about fifteen months, doing such odd jobs of work as he could find to do. When he landed, in America he had about $700 in gold, which he deposited in a bank, and every dollar of which he lost by its suspension. But he was not disheartened, continued on with his work, and soon accumulated a small sum and rented a farm in Livingston County, where he remained for about eight years. In 1866, he removed to Danforth Township, Iroquois County, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land and ten acres of timber land, paying down but a very small part of the purchase money. Now came the struggle of his life ?- first to free the land from debt, and then to place himself and family in comfortable circumstances for life. Success has crowned his efforts and he is now the owner of three farms, all of which are under a good state of cultivation.
Mr. and Mrs. Reakin are the parents of nine children who grew to maturity: Nancy, now the wife of Mr. Johnson, of Danforth; John, a farmer of this county; Claus, who resides in Minnesota; Seve, wife of Frank Wanths, of Ashkum; Sarah, wife of Eno Flessner; Rachel, wife of John Lottman; George, Eddie and Mary. Mr. and Mrs. Reakin are members of the Lutheran Church. Politically, he is a Democrat.
SANFORD A. ROBERDS was born near Jonesboro, Grant County, Ind., July 14, I 1851, and is a son of Phineas and Elizabeth (Russell) Roberds. His father was a native of Ohio, and for many years was a minister in the Christian Church, much of the time being spent in evangelistic work. He removed to this county in 1867 and located in Milford, where he died June 11, 1890. He had been twice married, his first wife dying early in the '40s. His marriage with Elizabeth Russell, daughter of Samuel Russell, of Jonesboro, Ind., occurred in 1846, He was the father of thirteen children by the two marriages. The children of the first marriage are Martha Ann, Lucinda, Freeman, Morris, Matilda] and Sarah. By the second union were born Nancy Jane, Sanford A., James L. Phoebe L., William D., Margaret and Ulysses S. The latter served five years in the regular army and was mustered out in 1891. He married Miss Ida Doren, of Sheldon Ill., where they now live.
Sanford A. Roberds grew to manhood in his native State, where he received a common?school education at Farmington. Throughout the early years of his life he was engaged in farming, but retired from farm life about seven yeah previous to this writing. He came to this county with his father in the year 1867, having driven a team with household goods the entire way. On the 2d of April, 1873, he was married to Miss Laura Fanning, daughter of John and Mary (Spitler) Fanning. Five children have been born to them: Mary E., Minnie C., Amie L, Bessie L. and Arthur J. Minnie died April 3, 1876, and Amie, August 22, 1877. Mary E. graduated from the Milford schools in 1891, and afterward attended the Onarga Seminary at Onarga, Ill. She is now engaged in teaching the White College School, north of Milford.
Mr. Roberds is engaged at present exclusively in stock business, buying and selling, which business lie has followed for about thirteen years. He is a member of Woodland Lodge No. 649, I. O. O. F., and of Watseka Camp, I. O. O. F., and also of Milford Camp No. 91, M. W. A. He is a man well known throughout Iroquois County, and enjoys the respect. and confidence of all who know him.
JOHN FITZGERALD is an old resident farmer, who makes his home on section 36, Milk's Grove Township. He was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, on the 8th of February, 1847, and is a son of Thomas and Mary (Fogarty) Fitzgerald, who were both born and drew to maturity in that part of Iceland. The father followed agricultural pursuits for a livelihood, and in 1848 emigrated to America, where he went to work upon a railroad near Joliet. He was in the employ of the railroad until 1863, when he once more turned his attention to farming. In 1854, his family came to this country, and were five weeks and three days in crossing the Atlantic. Mr. Fitzgerald carried on the farm in Will County until 1868, at which time he came to Iroquois County, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of good land in Chebanse Township. For many years he was occupied in developing and improving his property, and it was only about six years ago that he retired from active duties and cares; he now makes his home in Clifton. He is about seventy years of age, and has always been a strong Democrat and good citizen. Both he and his wife, who is also living, are faithful members of the Catholic Church.
Thomas Fitzgerald, a brother of our subject, has been on the police force in Chicago for many years. Patrick, who was born in Joliet in 1855, is in the employ of the Chicago Street Railroad Company; Kate, wife of T. F. Donovan, was the mother of two children, and died in this county.
John Fitzgerald is the oldest living member of his father's family, and was about six and a?half years old when he first set foot on American soil. He was educated in the parochial schools of Joliet. On the 20th of May, 1863, he commenced the active duties of life by entering the employ of an uncle, who set him to work cutting wood on the railroad. At that time he was about sixteen years old, and has since been actively engaged at hard labor. After about two years is his uncle's employ he returned to his home and worked upon the faun. In 1876, he purchased his present farm, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres of valuable arid well?improved land. He is now erecting several commodious and good farm buildings and has placed his farm under a high state of cultivation. He is counted a successful, thrifty and careful farmer, as is shown by his well?tilled fields and neat residence.
On the 9th of November, 1871, Mr. Fitzgerald led to the marriage altar Mary Hickey, who like her husband is a native of County Tipperary, Ireland. Her parents came to America in 1848, when she was a child of six years. They located upon a farm in Chebanse Township, where they are prosperous and well?known residents. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald are the parents of six children: Thomas was educated in the common schools, and is now on the home farm; Katie attended St. Mary's School, and joined the Sisters of Providence, who are stationed about four miles from Terre Haute at St. Mary's; Lizzie is a member of the same order having been educated at Chatsworth and at St. Mary's; Mary, Lydia and Raymond are still at home. The girls received their education at Chatsworth.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald and their family are faithful workers in the Catholic Church at Clifton. He is a man of large information and keeps posted on all the leading issues of the day. He is independent in politics and supports the man whom he considers best qualified to fill the position. He cast his first vote for Weaver, and for some time was a supporter of the Greenback party. At present his sympathies are with the Democratic party, as he is not in favor of Protection. For fourteen years he was a School Director, and is Drainage Commissioner of Milk's Grove Township, special district No 1. His father gave him some start in life, and with that exception, he has made his own way with the assistance of his family. He is a man of cool and clear judgment, and sagacious in his business enterprises and investment. He numbers many friends in this community, whom he Ms made in his twenty?four years' residence in this section.
THOMAS F. MOLONEY, born in Ottawa, Ill., August 17, 1859, is the son of John and Kate (Leahy) Moloney, both of whom were born in Ireland. Our subject was the only child born to them. John Moloney came to America many years ago, and located at Ottawa, Ill., when he was in the employ of the Rock Island Railroad Company for some time as baggageman. He has been deceased about thirty years. His widow married Michael Riordan, and they live three miles west of Buckley, and have six children. Mr. Riordan had one child by a former marriage a daughter, Kate, who is married to John Feehan they have three children. The names of the six children by the second marriage are: Michael, John, Mary, Dennis, Honors and Jerry. Mr. Riordan came from Ottawa to Buckley in 1876, and settled on a farm three miles west of town.
On the 3d of June, 1889, Thomas F. Moloney the subject of this sketch, was united in marriage with Miss Frances Fisher, daughter of John and Mary Fisher; they have one child, John Francis Lane, born June 18, 1891. Abort two years age Thomas F. Moloney removed to Buckley from farm west of town, and forming a partnership with his cousin, Thomas James Moloney, opened hardware store, which they are now running under the firm name of Moloney & Moloney. They handle hardware, stoves, tinware, agricultural implements and machinery, buggies, wagons, etc.
Mr. Moloney and his wife are members of Catholic Church. In politics, he is a Democrat.