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GEORGE WOODWARD ROUSE.

It is a pleasure to write brief biographical sketches of those whom one has known somewhat intimately in the business, professional or social world. It is somewhat saddening to have names recalled, in so a large number, of one's associates that have passed away—men who have been identified with prominent business or professional interests in the city of Peoria. George Woodward Rouse figured conspicuously, a few years ago, in business circles in Peoria, and was one of the organizers of the Humane Society of the city, which was afterwards erected into a public office by legislative enactment, and became a name only, furnishing a place for some local politician.

He was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, July 17, 1831, to Albion C. Rouse and Esther Susan (Woodward) Rouse. His father was a farmer of sterling old anti-slavery stock, which accounts possibly for the humanitarian views of the subject of this sketch later in life. At the age of eighteen he removed to Illinois and engaged in school teaching at Metamora, in Woodford County, and was Principal of what was known, years ago, as the Metamora High School. He was a graduate of Illinois College, and also more or less interested in the subject of education. In 1864 he removed to El Paso, Illinois, and engaged in the implement and farm machinery business which business he continued to the date of his death.

In 1859 he married Mary E. Wilson, of Metamora, who was a graduate of Knox College and descended in direct line from John Robinson, the Pilgrim pastor. One son was born as the result of this marriage, Harry G. Rouse, well known in business circles, but lately deceased.

In 1875 Mr. Rouse came to Peoria and engaged in the same business, part of the time individually and part in partnership with his son. He was a man of great energy and determination, was very active and energetic, always diligent in business. He was a man of large, sympathetic nature and interested himself in rendering assistance to those in need wherever and whenever he could. He left his large and growing business to his son, who conducted it successfully for several years, latterly under the corporate name of Rouse, Hazard & Co.  Mr. Rouse was an ardent Union man, an opponent of slavery and a radical temperance man. He had strong convictions and always the courage of his convictions, whether popular or unpopular. He was a Congregationalist in his church relations, and an earnest worker in the church.

Mr. Rouse was happy in his domestic relations, was proud of his son who early developed fine business capacity, and was a worthy successor to a worthy father.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




RUDOLPHUS ROUSE.

Among the pioneers of the West, and especially of Illinois, on account, of its location in the heart cf the Mississippi Valley, its fertility of soil and the beauty of its landscape, have been numbered many of the brightest, most intellec- tual and enterprising young men of the Eastern and Middle States. There is a fascination about a new country where Nature has distributed so many of her richest gifts, which irresistibly draw the choicest young men and women from the older communities, and these attractions the Illinois of an early day possessed in lavish profusion. Among those thus lured to the "Prairie State" during the period of its early development was the subject of this sketch—Dr. Rudolphus Rouse. He looked over this field as it lay almost in a state of nature, and selected as his home and this theatre of his future activities the most charming spot in it—Peoria. He was a man of medium height, full figure, compactly built—really a model in physique. In mentality and culture he was far above the average; he shone in the best circles, sparkled with wit and humor and, on occasion, scintillated with sarcasm. With all he was an honorable man of the strictest integrity and unimpeachable moral character. As a business man he was public-spirited and took a leading part in all enterprises tending to the upbuilding and development of the city of his adoption, while as a physician he had no superior and few equals in the State.

Dr. Rouse was of German descent on the paternal side, one of his ancestors being John Rudolphus Rouse, of Hanover, Germany, whose son, John Fernandus Rouse, emigrated from Hanover about 1715. His father was a farmer in Rensselear County, New York, where the son was born July 20, 1793, and where he spent his boy- hood on the farm.  His mother's name was Lydia McConnell, the daughter of George McConnell. Largely through his own personal efforts he acquired an academic education, and through the influence of an uncle who was a physician and whom he was accustomed to visit frequently, he was induced to study medicine, taking courses in Philadelphia and New York. He engaged in practice first in New Jersey in the vicinity of New York City, and later in Brooklyn; also served as Surgeon's mate during the War of 1812, at its close receiving an honorable discharge with the thanks of the commanding officer for his faithful and efficient service. In 1833 he decided to seek his fortune in the West, and after making a brief stay in St. Louis, which he first thought of making his permanent home, he was attracted to Peoria, where he at once settled down and engaged in practice. His standing in his profession is indicated by the fact that he became the first presiding officer of the State Medical Society, which was organized at Springfield in 1850. He also became prominent in business affairs, served as a member and Chairman of the first Board of Trustees of the Town of Peoria, retaining that position continuously for six years, and for some time was President of the Peoria & Oquawka Railroad Company, a part of which was absorbed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, while the remainder became a part of the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw line. He acquired a handsome property in Peoria real estate, including some of the most prominent business locations in the city.  Fraternally Dr. Rouse was a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar; was affiliated with the Episcopal Church and served for many years as vestryman, of St. Paul's Church of Peoria.  Politically he was an old-line Whig in early life, but became a Republican on the organization of that party, so continuing until his death, which occurred at his home in Peoria April 30, 1873, at the age of nearly eighty years.

Dr. Rouse was married October 6, 1825, to Miss Margaret Banta, daughter of Henry Banta, of what was known as the "English Neighborhood" in New Jersey—his wife's family being of Holland descent. Eight children were born of this marriage—five daughters and three sons— as follows: Margaret (wife of H. J. Sweeney), died April ll, 1900; Amelia R., widow of Elias Winchell; Martha (wife of Z. N. Hotchkiss) died October 28, 1861; Henry B.; Mary; Jennie; Rudolphus and John F.—the last named dying August 28, 1890. Five children—two sons and three daughters—still survive.

The "Peoria Medical Journal," in its issue of May, 1900, paid the following tribute to the memory of this honored citizen of early Peoria: Dr. Rouse was a man of great energy and perseverance, as well as gifted with professional skill. He was a man of excellent business character and public spirit, and when the time appeared ripe for the organization of the regular profession of this State, he appeared as one of the acknowledged leaders and took his place at the front."

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




HENRY IDE RUGG.

Henry Ide Rugg, early merchant and druggist, Peoria, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, August n, 1813, the son of John and Persis (Hildreth) Rugg, both of whom were descended from English ancestors who came to Plymouth Colony at an early day in colonial history. From Salem the family moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which became the permanent home. The father died in middle life, while the mother lived to the age of over eighty years.  Their son, Henry, was educated at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. On October 20, 1835, he was married, at Portsmouth, to Miss Celia Brackett Akerman, whose family, on the paternal side, was of German descent, and on the maternal, of Irish extraction. One of Mrs. Rugg's brothers was Amos T. Akerman, who went to Georgia about 1850, where he became distinguished as a lawyer. Although he espoused the cause of the Confederacy during the Civil War, after the War was over, he became an earnest reconstructionist, and, in 1870, was appointed by President Grant  Attorney-General of the United States, serving two years.

After the decease of his father, Mr. Rugg purchased a stock of goods in Boston and in 1838, in company with a brother-in-law, Walter Edwin Akerman, started West with a view to engaging in mercantile business at Rochester, New York. After having looked over the situation at Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, and finding the outlook unsatisfactory, he went on to Chicago, and being equally dissatisfied with the prospects there, sold out his stock of goods at auction.  In a letter dated at Chicago September 30, 1838, Mr. Rugg wrote to his friends, "I am disappointed in Chicago. From a book called 'Illinois in 1837-38,' I was led to expect greater things.  I find buildings irregular and small, and rents high.  A small store costs four to five hundred per year, and board is from five to nine dollars per week." This was in the closing year of Chicago's first boom, which was followed by a period of depression. The real estate men of that period, in their wildest imaginings, had no conception of the changes which would be brought about in population, rents and business conditions in the course of sixty years. Finding little to attract him in Chicago, Mr. Rugg extended his journey to Alton, then the principal commercial town in Illinois. In a short time he came to Peoria and joined his brother-in-law, already mentioned, in establishing a country store, which was located on Main street Street, near Water.  In 1840 he entered into partnership with Mr. John Reynolds, and purchasing the stock of Rugg & Akerman, removed it to Farmington, Fulton County, where he remained several years, when he returned to Peoria and here engaged in the drug business, first in partnership with Charles Fisher, under the firm name of Rugg & Fisher, at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets, but, in the latter '50s, conducting a drug business alone on Adams, at the head of Bridge Street, finally retiring in 1861.

Mr. and Mrs. Rugg were intensely patriotic, and, during the Civil War, he made more than one trip to the South carrying hospital and sanitary supplies to the Union Army, in which his son was serving. It was while on one of these trips during the siege of Vicksburg, that he contracted a severe cold, from which he never fully recovered, dying April 27, 1867.

Originally a Whig, under the political conditions growing out of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the attempt to extend slavery into free territory, he became an ardent Republican. Reared in his native New England as a Congregationalist, after coming to Peoria, he united with the First Presbyterian Church of that city, but later became one of the founders of the Second Church of the same denomination, of which he remained a member until the time of his death.  He was a man of true New England type, of medium height, sparely built, quiet in demeanor, gentlemanly in deportment, upright and conscientious in all his dealings and held in high respect by his fellow-men. That he placed devotion to his country above everything else was demonstrated by his willingness that his only son should enlist in the army for the suppression of the rebellion. From that day forth, as it had been before, his devotion to the welfare of the men in the field was assiduous, and it is more than probable that he sacrificed his own life in his country's cause. Mrs. Rugg was one of the original members of the Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society of Peoria, and continued to be a member under its several changes of name until her death, which occurred May 28, 1897.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




FRANK P. SARGENT.

Among the overwhelmingly, strong organizations which the enlightenment of the present has rendered possible, and which is an emphatic acknowledgment of the world's debt to the employed, is. the Brotherhood of Loco- motive Firemen, of which Frank P. Sargent is Grand Master. To the uninitiated this title may carry little significance; yet, to those who have watched the march of labor and capital and have seen the old order of things recede into the shadows with conditions which made the French Commune possible, and assured to the laborer the bitterness, but not the compensation, of toil, there has come a consciousness of an advance of unpredecented proportions,  best  typified  by  those  splendidly proportioned heads of organizations which formerly obeyed but now also command.

The origin of the name of Sargent is, at best, but vaguely speculative, but may possibly be derived from the Latin "Sergeus" or "Servius." The genealogical record of the family, compiled by Edwin Everett Sargent, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and published in 1899, gives at least forty different spellings of the name, "Sargon" being the most ancient. Sargon was king of Babylon four thousand years before Christ, and 722 B. C., Sargon or Sargian was king of Assyria. The name, with but slight change of orthography, is found in Persia, Gaul and the Netherlands.  There are several distinct families in, America, and many bearers of the name have distinguished themselves in their respective walks of life. Frank P. Sargent traces his descent directly to William Sargent, who came from England to Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, in 1632, and died at what is now Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1675. The line of descent from this New England pioneer includes William the first and second, Jacob, Winthrop.  John, Josiah, Jacob P., Charles and Edwin—the latter being the immediate ancestor of Mr. Sargent.

The commanding personality upon the industrial horizon to which forty-two thousand locomotive firemen look for guidance, and which six hundred lodges regard as their head, has something of the ruggedness of his native hills of Vermont in his nature, and something of the largeness of outlook and courage of judgment which unfailingly lives with those who have known the life of the frontiersman upon the Western plains. With a fair amount of schooling he started out to learn the photographic business in New Hampshire, and later followed it in Massachusetts until failing health made a change of location and occupation necessary. A solution of his difficulty seemed to beckon him from the diversity of Arizona, and when arrived there he enlisted in the United States Cavalry, and contributed his share towards the extermination of the murderous Apaches. Following his honorable discharge from the service in 1880, he resolved to try his hand at railroading, and so entered the service of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company at Tucson, Arizona, in the humble capacity of wiper. At the end of three months he was fireman on a construction engine; in six months he was a regular fireman on the road, and in twelve months a member of the Brotherhood—his initiation taking place in an improvised lodge room in a coal-bin in Tucson. As financier of the lodge he first displayed that genius for management and detail which have since gained command of large responsibilities, and, more than all else, elevated him to the present position of trust. In 1882 he was a conspicu- ous figure at the convention at Terre Haute, Indiana, and the following year, at Philadelphia, was made Vice- Grand Master, and was created Grand Master in 1885.

In 1898 Mr. Sargent was tendered a position on the Industrial Commission by President McKinley, but eventually resigned and continued his efforts for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. As further evidence of the esteem entertained for him by the great statesman and President, he was then tendered the position of Chief of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, which responsibility Mr. Sargent appreciated but did not accept. At times, while endeavoring to adjust matters which the unsettled condition of general affairs has made particularly arduous, Mr. Sargent has proved a generalship beyond the expectations of his warmest admirers. One of the most perplexing problems up for consideration was the settlement of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy strike in 1888, which was discontinued at the end of a year, but would have been indefinitely prolonged had it not been for Mr. Sargent's remarkable executive ability, and the confidence entertained in him by his subordinates. Again, in 1894, at the time of the strike of the American Railway Union, his utmost ingenuity was taxed, and the holding together of the vari- ous factions of the organization seemed an almost insurmountable difficulty.  However, victory was achieved, and the credit was largely due to the master mind whose calm controlling force never wavered, or for an instant lost its grip upon the essentials of good management.

October 17, 1881, Mr. Sargent married Georgie N. McCullock, a native of Saugus, Massachusetts. Mr. Sargent is a Republican in politics, and is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Fraternally he has an extensive acquaintance with many of the prominent organizations in the country, notably the Masonic Order—the Blue Lodge, Chapter, Commandery, Scottish Rites, Indianapolis Consistory, the Mystic Shrine, Knights of Constan- tine, the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Ancient Order United Workmen, —of which last he was a charter member at Yuma, Arizona, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.  Though practically a young man, and in the prime of a vigorous mentality, Mr. Sargent has made his way by the exercise of principles and ability which insures a continuation and increase of his present prestige in the industrial and social world.

On April 4, 1902, Mr. Sargent received from President Roosevelt the appointment of Commissioner General of Immigration for the United States, as successor to T. V. Powderly, and assumed the duties of the office July 1st, with headquarters in the Treasury Building in the City of Washington.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN F. SCHIPPER.

In the history of Peoria mercantile enterprises no name has been more conspicuous than that of John F. Schipper, for many years the senior member of the firm of Schipper & Block, proprietors of the extensive department stores conducted under their name in Peoria and Pekin.  Mr. Schipper was born at Wundel (which was the home of the Schipper family for over 200 years), near Wirdum, in Ostfriesland, Germany, December 22, 1838, and died in Pekin, Illinois, September 25, 1893. His father, Frederick Schipper, was a man of strong and pleasing personality, who occupied various positions of trust and honor in his day. Although in later life belonging to the landed gentry of Northern Germany, he bore an active part in the defense of his fatherland against the aggressions of the First Napoleon, being one of those who, under Blucher, took part in the overthrow of the despoiler of Europe finally consummated on the field of Waterloo. He was also active in the engineering department which constructed many of the publicworks of Northern Europe, especially the harbor at Cherbourg, France. He died respected and honored, in the old home in Germany, in 1876, at the advanced age of eighty-five, having survived his wife for many years.

John F. Schipper was the third of a family of five sons, and spent his boyhood in the family home in much the same manner as boys of his station and period. His educational advantages were of a superior order and, coupled with studious habits and an eager desire for knowledge, fitted him for the business career which he was ultimately destined to pursue. His preliminary training was received from private tutors and in the gymnasium at Wirdum, after which, at the age of seventeen, he took a course in a business college, when he obtained a position in a dry-goods store in Emden, and later spent two years in a similar position in Rotterdam, Holland. During the latter period, his health having become somewhat impaired he determined to visit Japan; but was induced by the urgent advice of his father to change his destination to America. This was in the year 1865, immediately after the close of the war for the preservation of the Union—a period when many young Germans of high culture and liberal principles were having their attention directed toward the New World, as that of their countrymen had been after the Revolution of 1848.

Coming to Pekin, Illinois, in the year just named, with the business experience gained in his native country, Mr. Schipper soon found employment as clerk in the dry-goods store of M. Heisel, but six months later entered into partnership with C. Bonk under the firm name of Bonk & Co., which continued until the death of Mr. Bonk.   He soon after organized a partnership with Mr. Henry Block, out of which, in addition to the Pekin establishment, have since grown the great department store of Schipper & Block, and the Schipper & Block Furniture and Carpet Company, of Peoria, which, combined, transact a larger business than any other concern in the State outside of Chicago. Of these Mr. Schipper was the President, and for many years was also a member of the banking firm of Teis Smith & Co., of Pekin. Although Mr. Schipper had the advantage of being born in affluent circumstances, he took the same pains to qualify himself for a practical business career as if he had been dependent upon his own resources.   With such training it is not surprising that he should have developed one of the most successful business enterprises ever achieved in, the State, and that, too, only by the employment of legitimate business methods.

Strongly cosmopolitan in his tastes, Mr. Schipper traveled quite extensively before coming to the country of his adoption, and during 1873, in company with his wife, visited the great Exposition at Vienna, and the ancestral seat of the Schipper family, later extending his travels throughout Germany and other portions of Europe. Again, in 1892, he and his wife made an extended tour through the United States, deriving especial enjoyment from a visit to the Pacific coast and adjacent regions.

On November 3, 1869, Mr. Schipper was married to Anna Look, the only daughter of Ibe and Lena (Steen) Look, of Pekin, Illinois. Six children were born to them—three daughters and three sons. Charlotte, the eldest, died at two years of age; Martena at the age of one year, and Leonora at seventeen.  The three sons— Carl, I. John and Frederick—survive; the two older embarked in business in Pennsylvania and the younger is preparing for a future career by study and travel. All are young men of ability and promise, who have received an ideal training from a devoted and loving mother.

Mr. Schipper was trained in the tenets of the Lutheran Church in his native land, but, inspired by a broad-minded independence and free from bigotry and sectarianism, he liberally aided other denominations in their worthy enterprises, and contributed freely but unostentatiously to public and private charities. Without being a politician in the partisan sense of the term, he believed in the principles of the Republican party, and more than once received its nomination for important offices; also served the city faithfully and efficiently as Alderman and Inspector of Schools for a number of terms. His death, in the very zenith ot his business career and in the midst of his greatest usefulness, was an irreparable loss to the cities of Peoria and Pekin, with whose interests he had been so long and so intimately identified.
 
from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JACOB P. SCHNELLBACHER.

A justifiable and discerning faith in the future of Peoria has led Mr. Schnellbacher to invest heavily and accomplish largely, and almost irretrievably to associate his fortunes with the city whose needs he has so thoroughly under- stood. From earliest youth his life has been fashioned upon strong and common-sense principles, inherited largely from a Teutonic ancestry, whose religion included unswerving loyalty to parents, to country and to every trust assumed. A native of Wersau, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, he was born August 25, 1855, and, at the age of ten years, came with his parents to America and settled in Pekin, Illinois, where the father engaged in the shoe business.

The childhood of Mr. Schnellbacher contained little of the joy and irresponsibility which is the portion of the average American lad, for, a few months after settling in the new home, he hired out to work on a farm for a year at $8 a month. His innate recognition of duty was, perhaps, best expressed in the disposition of the $96 which rewarded the year of toil, for his only expenditure was a fifty-cent ticket of admission to Dan Rice's circus, the remaining $95.50, together with $13 received for an extra month's work, being turned over to his father. That next winter he went to school in Pekin, and the following spring again hired out to a farmer—this time for three months at $13 a month, which profit also found its way into the parental purse. Again he attended school during the farm leisure of the winter months, and the coming spring found him physically stronger and more capable and able to command $15 a month for another summer in the harvest field, which increase of finances served to swell the much needed home fund. At the age of fifteen he was placed at the shoe bench and taught to fashion foot-gear after the most approved methods, and in time became one of the most rapid and skilled knights of the awl and bench in the county.  For several of the eight years devoted to shoe-making his skill brought in eight dollars a week, which earnings went the way of the farm-hand profits. With what seems like incredible industry he had, in the meantime, bolstered up his educational deficiencies by attendance at night schools during the winter time, and had become an expert bookkeeper. At the age of twenty-one he began to think about his own future, and to save whatever he earned for the nucleus of an independent business. This fund was materially increased through good fortune which came his way when twenty-three years of age, owing to a position assumed as bookkeeper for a large dry-goods and clothing house in Pekin, which paid him $900 for a year's services, which salary was the largest paid by any concern in the city up to that time. Out of these earnings he saved $631.25, with which he came to Peoria April 15, 1881, and started a little shoe store at 112 North Adams Street. After a time there was such an increase of business that, by 1885, he was obliged to remove to more commodious quarters at 110 South Adams Street, in what was then known as the Dewein Block. Here he worked up the largest shoe trade in the retail line in Illinois, and laid the foundation for his more extended general business success. With the making of money came also the necessity for investment of the same, and in this Mr. Schnellbacher displayed great sagacity and forethought. In 1896 he purchased the Frederick Hotel property, on the corner of Adams and Liberty Streets (now Hotel Grant), with a frontage of one hundred and four feet, and, besides the purchase price, expended $25,000 in an effort to make it one of the finest hotels in the State. In August of 1900 he purchased the fine busi- ness block in which his store is located, and the name of the structure was then changed from Dewein to Schnellbacher. The hotel and business block net their owner the handsome yearly rental of $15,000.

Mr. Schnellbacher also owns the Peoria Shoe Company's business, and is one of the stockholders in the large shoe factory of the Jones-Earl Shoe Company, of Racine, Wisconsin. Besides a large amount of valuable city property, he is a stock-holder and director in the Central National Bank of Peoria, and was one of the foremost promoters and builders of the $120,000 race track in the city.

The marriage of Mr. Schnellbacher and Lena Leisey occurred October 3, 1889, and Mrs. Schnellbacher died in 1897, leaving three handsome and promising boys: Freddie, Albert and Jacob Paul—aged, respectively, nine, seven and four years. Mr. Schnellbacher is very prominent in fraternal circles in Peoria, and, as a Mason, is identified with the Chapter, Commandery and Shrine, and is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is a member of the Creve Coeur Club, and was President of the National Saengerfest held in Peoria in June, 1902. Mr. Schnellbacher exerts a fine and progressive influence in the midst of his cosmopolitan surround- ings, and is a liberal contributor to church and general philanthropic undertakings. He furnished the first and one of the finest and largest rooms in the new addition to St. Francis' Hospital in honor of his deceased wife, Mrs. Lena Schnellbacher, and is now erecting one of the handsomest monuments in Springdale Cemetery to her memory. An extensive traveler in this and other countries, he has observed broadly and imbibed freely from the improving resources of art, letters, and music, and is withal entitled to the appreciation so gladly rendered by his fellow townsmen.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




WILLIAM SCHRODER.

In common with the successful builder of all time and place, William Schroder is granted a satisfaction denied the followers of many occupations, and though now enjoying a well-earned respite from business cares, may walk abroad in many streets of many towns of the State, as long as he lives, behold the tangible evidences of his skill and energy rising in strength and usefulness. Though skilled in computations, materials, and different methods of construction, he has been none the less successful in fashioning the foundation of his own career, or in forging his way through limitations and discouragements to the satisfying present. A native of Sulingen, Hanover, Germany, he was born March 12, 1826, a son of Henry and Magdalene (Sudmann) Schroder, and grandson of Conrad Schroder, all of whom were natives of Hanover.   Henry Schroder emigrated from his native land to America in 1842, and from New Orleans came up the river to Cincinnati, where his death occurred in 1849.

The childhood of William Schroder was filled with little of the joy and expectancy of life, for at an early age he was obliged to assist in the family maintenance, and can hardly remember a time when he did not have to support himself.  He worked first as a teamster, and the thrift and economy of the man was evinced by the fact that, though making but four and a half dollars a month for between three and four years, he managed to save fifty dollars of his wages. When about twenty years old he began to learn the carpenter's trade, at which he worked four years, but, before completing his trade, the Mexican War broke out, and he enlisted in the Fourth Ohio Infantry. During the year's service in Mexico he saw service at Matamoras, Vera Cruz and Pueblo, and after the restoration of peace, returned to Cincinnati and worked for five years at his trade. In 1852 he became associated with Peoria, and two years later began contracting and building, and there are now standing to his credit, besides numerous other buildings of importance, Calvary church, the First Methodist Episcopal and the German Methodist churches, the Young Men's Christian Association building, the Peoria Transfer House, and the Fey House (another important addition to the city), and Kingman's Warehouses, which were burned to the ground. Different parts of the State have also profited by the ingenuity of Mr. Schroder, and, among his outside creations, may be mentioned the school-houses of Chillicothe and Genesee, churches at Pittsfield, Henry, Princeville, Wenona and Watseka, as well as churches and other buildings at Fort Madison, Iowa.

March 6, 1849, Mr. Schroder was united in marriage at Cincinnati with Margaret Mielbar, daughter of Albert. Mielbar, who brought his family from Sieke, Hanover, to Baltimore, and thence to Cincinnati, in 1842. Mr. Mielbar was a farmer on a large scale, and eventually settled in Dearborn County, Indiana. To Mr. and Mrs. Schroder was born one son, Frederick H., who is now deceased, leaving eight children and two grandchildren.  Mr. Schroder and family are members of the Presbyterian Church.  As a stanch Republican he has served his party in various capacities, and, for the last four years, has been a member of the County Board of Supervisors. The home life of Mr. Schroder has been a singularly happy one, and March 6, 1899, occurred the golden wedding which indicated the half century mark of an ideal and helpful association. Gathered to bid them welcome at the Calvary Presbyterian Church, where the celebration was held, were eight hundred guests, among them being Mr. and Mrs. Vennemann, who, fifty years before, had assisted at the original ceremony.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Schroder occupy an enviable place in the hearts of their friends and associates, and Peoria has been the gainer by their hospitality and general good fellowship, as well as by the splendid earlier work of Mr. Schroder.
 
from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JAMES HADLEY SEDGWICK.

James Hadley Sedgwick, lawyer, of the firm of Bailey & Sedgwick, Peoria, was born at East Union, Coshocton County, Ohio, September 4, 1840. His father, Samuel Sedgwick, was a physician who was born in Connecticut about 1800, and who was a descendant of Robert Sedgwick, a native of London, England, born in 1590. After spending his earlier years in mercantile pursuits in his native country, Robert Sedgwick came to America in 1635, settling in Massachusetts, where he became prominent in Colonial affairs, serving as a Representative in the General Court (Colonial Legislature) and as commander of colonial forces under Cromwell. In 1654 he partici- pated in the conquest of the French colony of Acadia (now Nova Scotia), which resulted the next year in the forcible removal of the French inhabitants and their dispersion along the Atlantic coast and the drifting of a part of them into Louisiana. As one of Cromwell's Major-Generals and Governor of the Island of Jamaica, Carlyle pays him a high tribute, saying of him: "Brave, very brave, zealous and pious man; letters in Thurloe best worth reading of all."

While still a young man, Samuel Sedgwick removed from Connecticut to New York, where he attended medical lectures, conceiving so high an opinion of his instructors that he named his boys for them. Hence, the name of James Hadley Sedgwick. The elder Sedgwick married Reuhama P. Knight, of Oswego County, and afterwards removed to Ohio. While the Polk campaign of 1844 was on, he made another removal with his family to Illinois, locating at Little Rock, in Kendall County. The then youthful James recalls the fact that the first scrap of poetry that found a lodgment in his boyish mind was the following couplet from a campaign song of that period:

"Oh! the road that Polk erects us
Leads to slavery and to Texas."

The first event of which he has a clear recollection, is being in a mover's wagon stuck fast in the middle of a big pond, which he thinks must have been near the eastern border of Illinois— probably an Illinois "slough" of that day. He remembers his father as a quiet, kind, grave man, whose word was fundamental law to his boyish off- spring, but who died when the latter was eight years of age. The next eight years were spent at home with his mother, attending district school, working on the farm. reading everything he could lay hands on. The family then removed to Sandwich, Illinois, where James attended an academy for a few months, clerked for a year in a village store, then went to school at Oberlin, Ohio—first as a student in the preparatory department and then in the college. During his vacations he engaged in manual labor and taught school some to help along.

Life began for him in reality in the fall of 1859—about the time of the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry—when he went to Missouri to engage in teaching at Iron Mountain, but soon finding that he was persona non grata, he thought it best to leave—an opinion in which his patrons appeared to be unanimous.  Not having seen enough of the South, however, he went to New Orleans, thence to Galveston, and finally to Washington County, Texas, where he took a school, remaining until February, 1860, when he returned North, on the way taking in Peoria, with which he seems to have been captivated, as he says of it: "The lake, smooth and clear as a mirror, reflecting forest on the southern shore and town on the northern shore, seemed one of the most beautiful scenes he had ever beheld."

After spending more time at Oberlin, in 1861 he began the study of law in Chicago with Judge Booth, was admitted to the bar and opened an office, the same year, at Sandwich, Dekalb County. When, after the battle of Bull Run, Father Abraham called for more men to defend the Union, he enlisted in the army, spending three years in the service—part of the time in a Southern prison—receiving an honorable discharge, in 1865, as Sergeant of the Fifty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Then, returning to Sandwich, he resumed practice, edited the village paper for a time, and married Maria B. Merritt, his present wife, who is a second cousin of General Wesley Merritt. For two years (1867-69) he was, at Sycamore, the partner of Judge Lowell, but in 1873 opened an office in Chicago with his present partner, O. J. Bailey, Esq. In 1875 the firm removed to Peoria, where both of its members have since resided and practiced their profession. Mr. Sedgwick has four children living: Dr. H. M. Sedgwick, William C., Philip D. and Edna E. Sedgwick. He is a member of Bryner Post, No. 67, Grand Army of the Republic. In politics he is conservatively independent, or independently conservative—not believing that it is the chief duty of an American citizen to run for office, but to keep his eye open, watch events, cast his vote on conscientious principles and exert his influence on the side of stability and righteousness in government.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JAMES SELBY.

Among the pioneers in building up what has become, within less than fifty years, one of the leading industries of Peoria, no name has been more prominent than that which stands at the head of this article. James Selby was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, March 9, 1819, and spent the first twelve years of life in his native county, when he left to seek those opportunities for advancement which were denied him in his early home and its surroundings. His boyhood and early youth, in common with many others of his time and locality, was a period of struggle and privation. Before reaching nineteen years of age, he adopted the carpenter and building trade, which he prose- cuted for a few years, when he began, in a small way and on his own responsibility, the manufacture of farm implements—his product, at that time, being confined chiefly to fanning-mills and grain-drills of his own invention. The early years of his manufacturing life were spent chiefly at Deavertown and Lancaster, Ohio, his labors as a mechanic being diversified, at times, by becoming his own agent in selling the product of his handiwork. In 1857, having determined to seek a larger field for the development of his enterprises, he came to Peoria and established himself in the manufacture of graindrills, bringing with him a number of partially finished machines from his former location in Ohio. The site of his first factory in Peoria was at the foot of Persimmon Street, which he exchanged a year later for one at Oak and Washington Streets, and this he continued to occupy during his business career. About the time of this removal he entered into partnership with George W. Jones, for many years Clerk of the Appellate Court at Springfield, and the late Josiah Lombard, of Chicago, under the firm name of James Selby & Co., about the same time adding corn-planters to the product of their factory. This partnership lasted about three years, and at a later date he associated with him his two sons-in-law, M. D. Spurck and A. J. Elder, and Mr. R. A. Culter, the firm name remaining unchanged, by which the concern became widely known in this and other States. Mr. Elder withdrew about 1865 or '66, and Mr. Culter in 1867, the partnership with Mr. Spurck contin- uing until 1896, when Mr. Selby sold out to Mr. Spurck and his sons, who then formed the Union Corn Planter Company. Mr. Selby was the inventor and patentee of the devices employed in the manufacture of his various machines, as well as the controlling spirit in conducting the business; and, to his untiring industry, enterprise and perseverance was due the success which was recognized by Mr. Ballance in his "History of Peoria," in speaking of the establishment of which he was the head, in 1870, as doing the largest business in its line in Peoria. The value of the service rendered by him to the agricultural industries of the country, through his inventions and manufactured products, was recognized in the numerous prizes awarded to him by County, State, InterState and National Fairs and Expositions, at which his machines were on exhibition, including the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876.  Besides numerous money prizes, these took the form of diplomas, bronze, silver and gold medals, accord- ing to the plan on which the exposition was conducted.

In 1885, in consequence of having become heavy indorsers for the firm of Hart & Hitchcock, manufacturers of farm machinery, Mr. Selby and Julius S. Starr, Esq., became proprietors of that establishment, the company taking the name of Selby, Starr & Co. A year later, this factory, then located at the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets, having been burned out, was removed to North Perry Street and Glendale Park (Averyville), where extensive buildings were erected, and for nearly twelve years, Mr. Selby continued in active business, dividing his time between the new concern,—of which, during all this time, he was the President,—and his original factory.  In 1898 he sold his interest in the factory of Selby, Starr & Co. to his partner, Mr. Starr, although the concern still carries his name. Soon after his retirement, though enfeebled by advancing years and a long career of intense business activity, becoming restless from lack of occupation, he entered into partnership with his stepson, in the manufacture, in a small way, of cornplanters by contract for Messrs. Luthy & Co. of Peoria.  This arrangement was continued for two seasons, when he decided to close out the business, but before this was  accomplished the end came.

About 1898 Mr. Selby suffered from an attack of apoplexy from which he never fully recovered, although devoting his attention to business nearly two years longer. A second stroke overcame him while sitting at his office-desk on the morning of March 7, 1900, and, two days later (March 9th), on his eighty-first birthday, surrounded by his wife and her son Willis, two of his daughters and their families, his physician (Dr. Johnson), two nurses and numerous friends of the family, he breathed his last in the home which he had enjoyed during the last twenty-five years of his life. His widow and four children by former marriages survive him.

During all his business career Mr. Selby sustained a reputation for sterling integrity and honor, and was regarded as one of the most careful and conservative, as well as progressive and enterprising business men of Peoria and the State. Physically strong and of remarkable vitality up to .the last two years of his life, his career had been one of tireless energy and strenuous activity. Mild, unobtrusive and sympathetic in temperament, he was ever ready to assist the suffering and the needy, and hundreds of workingmen who had been in his employment found in him a faithful friend and adviser, and cordial and earnest were the 'words of sympathy coming from many who had profited by his advice and assistance. For seven years he served as a vestryman of Christ Reformed Episcopal Church of Peoria, contributing liberally to its support and attending its services regularly until prevented by
failing health. His death was regarded as the removal of one of the most conspicuous industrial land-marks of Peoria, and was most deeply mourned by those who knew him best.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




SHORT, CAPTAIN JOHN; Retired; Richwoods Township; born in Boston, Massachusetts, March 9, 1832; son of Hugh Short, born in Tyrone, Blair County, Pennsylvania, and Rebecca (Russell) Short, both of English descent.  Hugh Short was a carpenter and architect.  In 1849 he went overland to California and never returned.  Rebecca Short died in 1838.  John Short received his education in the Boston public schools.  When seventeen years of age he came to Illinois and located at Waukegan, afterwards removing to Chicago, where he remained a few years, and in 1857 went to Elgin where he became manager of a furniture factory.  During the first year of his residence at Elgin Mr. Short personally organized the Elgin Continentals, and in the following year (1858), he organized the Washington Light Guards, of which he was made Captain.  This organization was mustered into service as Company E, Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Tazewell, Captain Short being made First Lieutenant.  They went to Camp Douglas, Chicago, where Lieutenant Short was, for a time, commander, and posted the first guards at Camp Douglas.  On account of the conduct of Captain Tazewell, Lieutenant Short resigned, and, in October, returned to Elgin.  January 1, 1862, Mr. Short again enlisted at Elgin in Company B., Sixty-ninth Illinois Infantry, being mustered in as First Lieutenant, and again went into camp at Camp Douglas, where he assisted in drilling the company.  The regiment remained on duty guarding prisoners at Camp Douglas until September 26, 1862, when it was mustered out.  On the same day he re-enlisted as a private in the Fifth Illinois Independent Battery, and, November 15, was mustered in as Sergeant-Major.  January 9, 1863, his command left for Jeffersonville, Indiana, and in March was ordered to Glasgow, Kentucky, where, for meritorious service, he was promoted to First Lieutenant, April 1, 1863.  He took part in the Burnside expedition, engaged in the battles of Salina, on the Cumberland River, Montgomery, Loudon, Kingston and Knoxville, Tennessee, and chased guerillas in Kentucky.  He was brevetted Captain by Governor Yates, and March 7, 1864, was discharged by order of the Secretary of War for physical disability.  Captain Short returned to Elgin, where he remained until December, 1875, when he removed to Peoria.  September 24, 1876, Captain Short was married to Martha E. Colliers, who was born in Rahway, New Jersey, in 1850.  They have one son, Walter Scott, born September 28, 1880.  Captain Short is a Republican, and was elected Township Clerk for the ninth time in the spring of 1901.  He is a member of Chapter 67, Royal Arch Masons, and has been a Knight of Pythias for twenty-six years, having passed all the chairs.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ENOCH P. SLOAN.

Enoch P. Sloan was born in Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland, January 27, 1822, and died at Peoria, Illinois, March 10, 1897. He was the youngest of ten children, and, when his parents died in 1825, he was taken into the family of his brother-in-law, John S. Zieber, with whom he lived many years. Mr. Zieber published a paper at Cambridge, Maryland, and at the age of eleven years Mr. Sloan entered his office and learned the printing trade. In 1839 Mr. Sloan came to Peoria with Mr. Zieber and worked in the office of the "Peoria Democratic Press," which the latter soon afterward established, the first number being issued February 22, 1840. In a year or two thereafter Mr. Sloan became one of the proprietors, and so remained until 1846, when the paper was sold to Thomas Phillips. Three years later Washington Cockle bought the paper. Mr. Sloan continued to work in the office, and, in 1851, bought the paper and conducted it till 1856, publishing it for the last two years as a weekly, triweekly and daily.

In 1856 Mr. Sloan was elected Circuit Clerk and Recorder on the Democratic ticket, and four years later was re-elected. When the war broke out. being a Democrat, he took strong grounds in favor of sustaining the Govern- ment and gradually drifted into the Republican party. In 1864 he ran for Circuit Clerk on the Republican ticket, but was defeated. He studied law while attending to the duties of the office, and, in 1865, was admitted to the bar. He practiced law two years only, and then engaged in the Abstract Business, which he continued to the time of his death.

In the early '70s he was a member of the Board of Education. From 1877 to 1881 he served as Alderman from the old Fifth Ward. When the Peoria branch of the United States Court was established in Peoria he was appointed Chief Deputy Clerk, and held the office at the time of his death. For a number of years he was President of the Central City Loan and Homestead Association.

Mr. Sloan was married, on April 15, 1845, to Miss Elizabeth M. Banvard, and eight children were born to them, six of whom still survive.

When the Red Ribbon temperance movement was inaugurated in Peoria Mr. Sloan took an active part in it, making soeeches and helping to sustain the rooms of the Club. This was one of the most vigorous temperance movements Peoria has known, and its influence is yet felt in many quarters.

Mr. Sloan was an able and judicious writer, always maintaining his views with a calm firmness which gave great weight to his editorials and other writings. In the days of the Kansas-Nebraska controversy he took the side of Douglas, and maintained his side of the controversy so long as he remained editor. Later in life he became much interested in the labor question, and, while discouraging strikes and violent resistance to law he wrote much on the side of the laboring man as against the domination of unprincipled capitalists. He gave much study to the growing controversy between capital and labor, always maintaining there should be no antagonism between them, but recognizing the fact that a man's labor was as much his capital, and entitled to as much protection, as the money or property-capital of the employer.

In early life Mr. Sloan united with the Methodist Church of Peoria, and during life adhered to its faith, but for many years, on account of the position of antagonism with some of his fellow-members into which he was forced by his occupation, he ceased to be a communicant. But none could doubt the sincerity of his heart or say much against his conduct, either in private or public life. In all things he brought a conscientious effort to the performance of every duty.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




FREDERICK H. SMITH.

Frederick H. Smith was born in Buffalo, New York. His father, William Henry Smith, was for many years General Manager of the Lackawanna Railroad Company, and was prominent in railroad and general business circles.

Frederick H. Smith is a graduate of De Veaux College, and received a practical business education in the office and under the instruction of his father.   When quite young he started out with a view to entering upon an in- dependent business career, and, coming to Peoria, became established as the General Agent of a fast-freight line, representing Eastern railroads, in which he remained until 1891. On May 27th of the latter year he was married to Sarah Brockway, of Saginaw, Michigan, and since that time has devoted his attention chiefly to real estate and general business in the city of Peoria. His wife inherited a large fortune, and the care ot it has devolved largely upon her husband. He is a director in the Merchants' National Bank of Peoria, besides being interested in timber and lumber, lands in the States of Wisconsin and Washington. He has been quite successful in his business affairs, and is considered a man of sound judgment and good business capacity.

In recent years Mr. Smith has become quite prominent in local politics, and is recognized as a force in State politics as well. After the inauguration of Governor Tanner in 1897 he was selected as a member of the Governor's staff, and commissioned with the rank of Colonel. This position he continued to occupy during Governor Tanner's administration, and on the accession of Governor Yates was reappointed to the same po-
sition. Under the last two administrations it has devolved upon him and his amiable wife to entertain the represen- tatives of the State Government on visits to Peoria, and this they have done in a most generous and hospitable manner.

At the Republican State Convention held in Peoria in 1900 Colonel Smith was selected as a delegate from the Fourteenth Congressional District to the Republican National Convention of that year, was Committeeman on "Rules and Order," and performed his duty to the general satisfaction of the members of his party throughout the State.  During the last year he was named by Governor Yates as Commissioner in connection with the Charleston Exposition, was elected President of the Commission and had charge of the Illinois Department during the exhibition. He is, and always has been, a Republican in politics, and for three years past has been President of the Kickapoo Club, a large and well-known Republican organization of much influence.   The Club does not engage in active local politics, but was organized to keep alive and foster the spirit of true Republicanism, and to keep in remembrance the anniversaries of National characters, with an idea of fostering and perpetuating a spirit of patriotism among its members and the community generally.  He is also a member of the Country Club of Peoria, and has been its President, besides being President of the Central Illinois Golf Association, and was First Vice- President, and afterwards President, of the Peoria Corn Exposition and Carnival Association of 1901.

Colonel Smith has purchased a beautiful home upon the Bluff, and is prominent in social circles in the city of Peoria. His genial and affable manners, his kindliness, his courtesy and generosity have made for him many warm friends, not only in the city, but throughout the State at large, where he has a wide acquaintance. The fact is generally recognized that he is destined to hold the position in social, political and business affairs which he has already achieved.

The home of Colonel and Mrs. Smith is always open to their friends, and its hospitality is greatly enjoyed by a large circle who always meet a cordial and friendly welcome.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN LANCASTER SPALDING.

When on May 1, 1877, John Lancaster Spalding, Priest Assistant in St. Michaels' Parish, New York City, was consecrated First Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, this city was made the abiding place of a vital force in American life. The inheritance of talent and piety come to him from a sound-hearted wholesome race, had been so largely increased by his personal worth, that he at once took high rank in a distinguished hierarchy.

The Spaldings are an old English Catholic family from Lincolnshire where Spalding Abbey, founded in the Middle Ages, still stands as a monument to their early devotedness to the church.   The American Spaldings date their origin in the days of Lord Baltimore. For two hundred and fifty years the numerous branches of the family have been conspicuously active in the development of Maryland and Kentucky.  No name shines brighter in the annals of the Catholic Church in America than that of Martin John Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore.

John Lancaster Spalding was born in Lebanon, Kentucky, June 2, 1840. Early in the days of his happy boyhood he began to show signs of the priestly vocation and set about fitting himself for that holy calling. His preparatory studies finished at Bardstown, he went to Mount St. Mary's, Emmitsburg, thence to the American College, Laurain, Belgium, when he was ordained priest in 1863. Among his class-mates at this institution, which had been founded a short time before by his uncle, the Archbishop Spalding, was Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco. A year then spent in special studies in Rome left him thoroughly equipped to begin his life work. In 1865 he entered upon his priestly career at the Cathedral of Louisville. Even at this time he was a scholar of such marked attainments that he was chosen Theologian to Archbishop Blanchet of Oregon at the second Plenary Council of Balti- more in 1866. With Father Hecker, the Paulist, and Father Ryan, now Archbishop of Philadelphia. He was elected, though but twenty-six years of age, for the rare honor of preaching at the Council.

His labors, on his return to Louisville, included the founding of a parish for negroes, which, in spite of many difficulties, he completed and left in a flourishing condition after three years of zealous and persistent effort.

In 1872 death ended the strenuous career of  his illustrious uncle. Father Hecker, to whose keeping the archbishop's papers had been entrusted, persuaded that the records of a life so worthy should be cast in permanent form, set about finding some one equal to the task. His choice fell upon Father Spalding who left his parish in Louisville and took residence in the House of the Paulist Fathers in New York in order to devote his uninterrupted thought to this labor of love.

When the life of Archbishop Spalding was published it was accepted as the best biography in American Catholic Literature.  One distinguished critic, Brownson, says: "It proves the author an accomplished literary man, a deep, earnest thinker, a learned and enlightened theologian, and a devoted priest. . . . The author shows' a breadth of view, a depth of reflection, a knowledge of the moral and spiritual wants of modern society, of the dangers of the country and the real issue of the hour that promise the country an author of the first order, and to the church a distinguished servant."

Father Spalding did not return to Kentucky but resumed work as Assistant to Father Donnelly at St. Michael's Church, New York. A preacher of rare excellence he soon impressed himself on the thought of the city; priests and people flocked to hear the orator who could make men think.

From the field of promise, while still an Assistant Priest, he was called to another sphere of activity in the newly erected diocese of Peoria. He accepted the responsibility and was consecrated Bishop of Peoria in St. Patrick's Cathedral. New York, May 1, 1877.

Here his work has been writ large; he that runs may read. Churches, schools and charitable institutions have sprung up everywhere; waning parishes have waxed strong again; scattered communities have been united into parishes; a strong, purposeful priesthood has been formed, and all in a spirit of such kindly and masterful leadership that not once in twenty-four years has an appeal been made against his judgment.

But a diocese afforded too narrow a scope for action. He had a message for mankind. Keen observation and study had convinced him that Catholics were slow to understand that America meant opportunity for the church. Most of them were gathered in a few cities. The vast numbers of immigrants who came from many countries of  Europe, especially from Ireland, were swallowed up in the large centers of population. For generations they had tilled the land at home and could not suddenly enter another kind of life without danger to themselves and, perhaps, ultimate deterioration for their children. With wise prevision of these lamentable consequences Bishop Spalding, in association with Archbishop Ireland, established the Catholic Colonization Society for the purpose of placing the immigrant farmers on the fertile prairies that stretched inimitably over the whole West. It was a magnifi- cent conception. In time prosperous parishes, nourishing dioceses would spring up; the church, unhampered, would grow into vigorous life, and, in free America, the dream of centuries would come true.

Notwithstanding the immense labor and energy of its two great promoters, the plan did not wholly succeed. The immigrants are still in the cities; the land is held by a thriftier race; the opportunity is gone forever, while the prosperity of the colonies that were established proves, the wisdom of their founders.

Through a lecture on The Higher Education of the Priesthood, delivered at the Silver Jubilee of Archbishop Heiss of Milwaukee, the Catholic world was made aware of another grand conception that had for some time been taking form in the mind of Bishop Spalding. In due season it was given expression in the Catholic University of America at Washington. During the ten years of its existence it has developed more and more into the ideal seat of universal knowledge that is to be the intellectual center of American Catholicity.

In many other ways has he shown deep interest in things educational.  The comprehensive Catholic Educational exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, was due to his breadth of view in the office of President of the Board. Spalding Institute, a Boys' High School established in Peoria, will be a fitting memorial to his munificent faith in education. Bishop Spalding is by nature a teacher. The deepest purpose of his life and writings is to lead men to higher life to give emphasis to the divine in man. He is the embodiment of his own ideas. America has no finer type of the cultured Christian gentleman; an uncynical sage, a thinker not afraid, a churchman without cant, an unselfish patriot, a large minded, genuine, reverent man.

His writings have the ring of kindly sincerity; he writes himself into books. In The Life of Archbishop Spalding one can feel the throbbing of a great heart.

"Essays and Reviews", a reprint of articles that appeared in the Catholic World, is a volume of rugged discussion of church questions, supplemented by a charming "Essay on Religion and Art." "The Religious Mission of the Irish People" was written to further the cause of the Catholic Colonization Society, but will long outlive the occasion that inspired it. Two books of virile verse, "America and Other Poems," and "The Poet's Praise," gave assurance that the versatile Bishop of Peoria was a poet. The assurance has been made doubly sure by the translation, "Songs Chiefly from the German," which has the rare merit of recreating both the body and the soul of the originals.

But thus far his literary fame will rest on his series of essays in education. In these four volumes, "Education and the Higher Life," Things of the Mind," "Thoughts and Theories of Life," and "Education and Opportunities" and other essays, there is the chrystalizing in brilliant permanency of expression of his profoundest thought. No more inspiring appeals to higher manhood have been uttered in these latter days. The spirit of eternally hopeful youth breathes in them, the soul is stirred to courageous aspirations, humanity is lead into its high inheritance.

On May 1, 1902, Bishop Spalding celebrated his Silver Jubilee as Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, commem- orating the twenty-fifth anniversary of his consecration to that high and holy office. The occasion was a memorable one in the history of the church in this city, and the imposing ceremonies were participated in by the leading dignitaries of the church throughout the country and by nearly three hundred priests. Bishop Spalding celebrated the solemn Pontifical High Mass at the Cathedral, and the eloquent jubilee sermons delivered by Cardinal Gibbons and Archbishop Ireland, breathed the fervent spirit of deep appreciation and religious brotherhood. At the banquet, which followed at the Episcopal residence. Bishop Spalding was presented with a purse containing $7,000 from the clergy of the diocese, and an engraved check for $1,000 from Spalding Council, Knights of Columbus, for the establishment of a free scholarship in Spalding Institute to be controlled by the Bishop. The
addresses delivered by Archbishop Keane, of Dubuque, Archbishop Riordan, of San Francisco, Dean Keating, of Ottawa, Dean Greve, of Peoria, Dean Mackin, of Rock Island, and Rev. Frank J. O'Reilly, Rector of the Cathedral, were heartfelt tributes to the high personality and progressive spirit of the man in whose honor they had assembled.

At the beginning of this new century Bishop Spalding stands Prophet-like apart to remind men of the nobler purposes of living.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




MICHAEL D. SPURCK.

Michael D. Spurck (deceased), manufacturer and dealer in agricultural implements, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, May 5, 1833, and died in Peoria, Illinois, June 18, 1897. His parents were George and Ann L. Spurck, who came to Peoria in 1846, and where they afterward became prominent in business and social circles.  The first business venture in which the son, Michael D., was engaged, was in connection with his father in the distilling business, to which he devoted his talents and industry for several years with great success, both in a financial point of view and in laying the foundation for a future business career.

In 1860 Mr. Spurck was married to Miss Harriet U. Selby, .the daughter of the late James Selby, who came to Peoria in 1857, and for a period of more than forty years, and to the time of his death in 1900, was one of the most prominent manufacturers and business men of the city.  In company with his father-in-law, in 1863, Mr. Spurck began the manufacture of corn planters on a large scale, which was continued until 1806, when, on account of failing health, he retired.  Out of this co-partnership grew the Union Corn Planter Company, which still exists, being conducted by his sons. In 1890 he organized the Spurck Paving Brick Company, and for several years was Vice-President of that concern. During his life he was connected with many other important business enterprises, his entire life being devoted to manufacturing and commercial pursuits.

Although not a politician in the ordinary acceptation of the term, his desire for the advancement of Peoria as a city and his love for his fellow man, led him to take a keen interest in all questions affecting the welfare of society and the State, and to throw his influence on the side of right and justice. Intelligence, capacity and worth, as essential elements of the highest character, always found ready recognition at his hand, as can be attested by many a business man who receives his first impulse in a successful business career through his financial support and wise advice.

Mr. Spurck was eminently successful in his business enterprises, and, at the time of his death, was one of the largest property holders in the city of Peoria, He was shrewd, active and energetic in the utilization of his business
opportunities, but honest in every sense of the term.   Maintaining an unblemished character and spotless reputa- tion, his, home life was as happy as his business career was successful. He lived a rich, full and complete life, and died as he had lived—a God-fearing man.

As a result of too long and constant application to business which had weakened his vital powers, Mr. Spurck succumbed to an attack of la grippe, on June 18, 1807.  There still survive him his widow, Mrs. Harriet U. Spurck, and their seven children:   Charles J., Frank S., Clara I. (now Mrs. Eugene P. Blake), Walter L., George A., Luelle C. and Michael D., Jr., all residing in Peoria. except Frank S., whose home is in Nelson, Nebraska.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ASAHEL AUGUSTUS STEVENS.

Of the many pastors who have left an impress for good upon the religious life of Peoria, no one is held in more affectionate remembrance than Rev. Asahel Augustus Stevens, who, for more than forty years, was Pastor and Pastor Emeritus of the First Congregational Church in this city. He was of Puritan and Revolutionary stock, born at Cheshire, Connecticut, December 24, 1816, son of George and Sarilla (Hitchcock) Stevens, both his grandfathers having served in the army of the Revolution, one belonging to the "Minute Men" of Connecticut. He was the youngest of four brothers; and, while yet in the paternal home, developed a character for uprightness and integrity which was a predominant feature of his afterlife.  His academical education was begun at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, in the autumn of 1835, and continued there with some interruptions until 1839, when he entered Yale College. He did not, however, complete the course of studies there, but after being in the ministry for some years, he obtained the degree of Master of Arts from that institution in 1851. In 1847 he graduated at the Yale Theological Seminary and, in September of that year, was married to Mary C. Bristol, daughter of Gideon and Julia .(Parker) Bristol, of Cheshire, Connecticut. He began his ministry soon after leaving the seminary, his first charge being Center Church, Meriden, Connecticut. After remaining there one year he retired from the ministry, and for the ensuing year engaged in agricultural pursuits at his old home in Cheshire. From 1855 to 1856 he was pastor of a Presbyterian Church at Newton, Iowa. In the autumn of 1856, the Main Street Congregational Church of Peoria being without a pastor, he was introduced to it by Rev. Flavel Bascom, who twenty-two years before had been present at and assisted in its organization as a Presbyterian Church. Mr. Stevens' coming to Peoria is thus described by himself in an address delivered at the semi-centennial anniversary of the church.

"In the autumn of 1856, twenty-eight years since, after spending a pleasant Thanksgiving with the family of that patriarch of Illinois ministers, Rev. Flavel Bascom, I was conducted by him to this Central City and introduced to the family of Deacon Moses Pettengill. Partly in consequence of a night ride in the cars, and partly, perhaps, as a natural result of Thanksgiving festivities, I was not feeling well. It was, too, a time of depression in our political status, and of discouragement in the church; for our campaign, under Fremont as leader, had ended in seeming failure; and the church, after trial of three ministers in as many years, had been rent asunder and was left, not only greatly depleted in numbers and resources, but resting under a cloud as to its reputation and character. But the next day was the Sabbath, and we must "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together." Casting around for a subject to meet in some good measure these conditions, this text seemed fittest of all for an introduction to this field:  'The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.' It enabled me to define at once my position, make known my prin- ciples, strengthen my faith and brighten my hopes, as well as comfort and encourage my brethren. I think it may truly be said that some degree of affinity and real friendship sprung up between us from that first hour of our meeting.

"After a few weeks further acquaintance, a call was given and accepted at a salary of $1,000, and we proceeded quietly to do our work and fulfill our mutual relations as well as we knew how. As already indicated, the church and congregation were small. Something over thirty names were on the books, but some of these were in a tran- sition state, and some, I fear, in a, state of suspended animation."

His relations to the political events of those stirring times are shown by the following extract from the same address :

"When the campaign of Lincoln came on, it began to be acknowledged that we were on the right side. When the Civil War began, it was declared emphatically that this church stood right in the matter. There was never any uncertain, sound or holding back in respect to what the Government demanded or the cause of the oppressed required."

The pastorate, commenced under the discouragements mentioned, continued for a period of ten years, when impaired health induced him to resign and to seek a less laborious field. Of the character of this period of his ministry the following testimony was borne by one of his successors, Rev. E. Frank Howe, on the same occasion:

"I will only say what he would not say—-but what all of you who know him and are familiar with his labors here know to be true—that what this church now is, is very largely due to his patient and conciliatory spirit, his wise leadership, his great and general acceptableness as a preacher, and his character, which has won for him the heartiest respect and the warmest affection, not only of this church and congregation, but of the entire community."

He then for a time returned to his early and loved occupation of tilling the soil, occupying a small farm in the immediate vicinity of Peoria, where he commenced the raising of fruit, which he continued for many years thereafter. Having been in a measure restored in health he began, in the fall of 1866, supplying the Congregational Church at Lacon, where he continued to preach for over three years. In the fall of 1870, he was recalled, to the pastorate of the Main Street Church, and continued to serve it as pastor until 1882. It was during this period that the union took place between the Main Street Church and the New School Presbyterian Church, out of which grew the present First Congregational Church of Peoria; and, during the same period their present elegant church was erected. Immediately after his second resignation, by a unanimous vote of the congregation, he was made Pastor Emeritus, which position he held until the time of his death, which occurred July 16, 1901.

At a commemoration service held on October 23, 1901, in addition to the adoption of a suitable memorial, it was resolved to place a tablet dedicated to his memory in the auditorium of the church.

Mr. Stevens was of medium height, rather slender, of exceedingly meek and quiet demeanor, yet always standing firm for the right as he understood it, graceful but not florid in speech, convincing in argument and persuasive in his appeals. During a residence of nearly half a century in the city of Peoria, more than half of which was spent in the active ministry, no man of any calling commanded a higher degree of respect and confidence than he.

He was a man of remarkable foresight in regard to the future of Peoria, and, on one Thanksgiving occasion more than thirty years ago, when the city was confined between the bluffs and the river, he provoked the smiles of his congregation by the prediction that, one day in the not distant future it would extend its domain over the bluff as far as Dry Run, a prediction that is already fulfilled. Although of limited means himself, he had the happy faculty of so influencing the charitable inclinations of others as to direct them towards the formation of charitable institutions,
and, were the whole truth revealed, it is not at all improbable that more than one of our most important charities would be found to have originated in his counsel and advice.

He was also an earnest advocate of popular education, as well as of every measure calculated to elevate the moral and intellectual tone of the community in which he lived, and to this end he took an active part in the organ- zation and became a charter member of the Peoria Library.

His domestic life was one of great felicity. He and his estimable wife had the rare good fortune of celebrating both silver and golden weddings among the people whose warmest affections they so fully enjoyed. Soon after the golden wedding Mrs. Stevens died at the age of eighty years. There are four surviving children: Walter B., Mary E., Edward A. and Moses Pettengill Stevens—the first named being now Secretary of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, and formerly Washington correspondent of the St. Louis Globe Democrat, the second and
fourth residing in Peoria, and the third in the State of Kansas.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN SANBORN STEVENS.

John S. Stevens was born at Bath, New Hampshire, September 16, 1838, the son of Joshua and Abigail (Walker) Stevens, both of whom were natives of New Hampshire, the father being of English and the mother of Scotch ancestry. They were married in Bath and continued to reside there until 1849, when they removed to Hardwick, Vermont. Here the son received his primary education in the public schools, and fitted himself for college at the Caledonia Academy, meanwhile supporting himself by working upon a farm and by teaching during his vacations in the district schools. In 1858 he entered Dartmouth College, graduated with honors in 1862, and in due time received the degree of Master of Arts.

Soon after leaving college Mr. Stevens came to Peoria, where he engaged in teaching for a couple of years—for the first year in the grammar school and the next in the Peoria High School - when he carried out a purpose, entertained in his college days, by entering upon the study of law in the office of Alexander McCoy, a prominent attorney of that period. In June, 1865, Mr. Stevens was admitted to the bar, and immediately entered into part- nership with his preceptor, which was continued with various changes in its membership until 1870, when Mr.
McCoy removed to Chicago. Others who were associated with the firm during this period were Judge Marion Williamson and Lorin G. Pratt.

On the dissolution of the firm of McCoy & Stevens in 1870, Mr. Stevens formed a partnership with Judge David McCulloch, which lasted until 1876, when without solicitation or agency on his part, the office of Postmaster of the city of Peoria was tendered to him, under the administration of President Grant, and accepted. During the next four years he gave his attention to the duties of this office, though not entirely withdrawing from the practice of his profession, as, during 1877, he entered into partnership with the late Senator John S. Lee. Patrick W. Gallagher was also for a time a member of the firm. Walter S. Horton later became a partner in the firm, which took the name of Stevens. Lee & Horton. This firm continued until the death of Mr. Lee, and soon thereafter, by the admission of William T. Abbott, it became Stevens, Horton & Abbott, as it exists at the present time.

In June, 1868, Mr. Stevens was united in marriage with Miss Sarah M. Bartlett, a native of Peoria and daughter of the late Amos P. Bartlett, who was, in his day, a prominent merchant and public-spirited citizen, as well as founder of one of the most highly respected families of Peoria. Mr. and Mrs. Stevens have had two children, both of whom died while quite young. The estimation in which Mr. Stevens is held by members of the legal profession throughout the State is indicated by his position at the present time (1902) as President of the Illinois State Bar Association. Although a lifelong and earnest Republican, and frequently urged to allow the use of his name as a candidate for the Legislature, or some other office, he has been in no sense a seeker for office, preferring to devote his attention to his profession. Besides one term as Postmaster of the city of Peoria, which came to him unsought, the political positions held by him have been limited chiefly to membership in local and State Conven- tions, and upon the Republican State Central Committee, to which he was elected for the Peoria District at the time of the Republican State Convention of 1000. Liberal, patriotic and high-minded in his connection with State and National politics, he looks rather to the honor of his party and the welfare of the whole people than to selfish promotion or advancement.

With an ambition to be a lawyer in the highest and most honorable acceptation of the term, he has advanced to the front rank of the profession, and is to-day in the enjoyment of as large a practice as any member of the profession in the city of Peoria or Central Illinois, representing, as counsel, many of the leading corporations in this section, besides numerous business firms. The following deserved tribute to his abilities and worth as a member of the legal profession is taken from "The Bench of the Bar of Illinois," issued a few years since under the editorship of the late ex-Gov. John M. Palmer—a publication presumed to be especially suited to furnishing a just and discrimi- nating estimate of those with whose characteristics, as lawyers, it had to deal: "Possessed of a mind of rare keenness of perception and of great powers of analysis, and having had the advantage of a good collegiate education, Mr. Stevens took up the study of law as a profound science, rooting itself in those fundamental principles of right which ought to govern in all the affairs of men. Having laid his foundation deep, he has by constant application of these great principles been able to practice his profession with such a degree of success as to have merited and gained the confidence of all who have known him. As a citizen he is highly esteemed, and his kindly impulses and cordiality of manner have rendered him exceedingly popular among all classes."

Mr. Stevens has always been a devoted advocate of popular education, and for several years last past has been, and is now, a member of the Board of School Inspectors of the city of Peoria. For this position his education, his experience as a teacher and his knowledge of the law have rendered him in an eminent degree fitted. He is a member of Christ (Reformed Episcopal) Church, in which he has held the office of vestryman from the time of its organization.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




WILLIAM E. STONE.

William E. Stone was born in Beaver, Pennsylvania. August 13, 1836, and died at Peoria, Illinois, December 28, 1894. His father was a New England sea-captain who lost his vessels and his fortune during the Napoleonic wars. His mother was a woman of superior culture and mental endowment, who had the benefit of the instruction of Mary Lyon, in Mt. Holyoke Seminary. then the leading school for young women in this country.

Mr. Stone received his education at Beaver Academy and Washington College, Pennsylvania. In 1855 he came to Peoria with his brothers, George H. and Marshall P. Stone, and associated himself in the banking business under the firm name of M. P. Stone and Company. William was connected with the firm until it was succeeded by the First National Bank. when he became its book-keeper and later cashier and director, retaining that position until his death. He was an excellent financier and, under his management, the First National Bank soon took first rank in the city and in the State outside of Chicago.  Mr. Stone was perhaps entitled to as much credit as any other man for the development of the city of Peoria. He was one of the foremost spirits in the building of the West Bluff car line, and the rapid advancement of this section of the city was largely due to his efforts.

He was a pioneer, also, in Averyville, as is attested by the Fairholm Addition and the Straw Board Mill, which he was largely instrumental in building. He was also active in South Peoria, platting, selling and building up large tracts, now known as Bismarck Place, Westmoreland, Humboldt and various other sub-divisions.

Together with Mr. William H. Binnian, Mr. Stone bought the Hodges Harvesting Machinery plant, and this enterprise, now known as the Acme Harvester Company, is another monument to his rare business judgment. He was a thoughtful, kindly, generous, open-hearted, broad-minded man. One of his characteristics was that he never said, "I don't know."  His knowledge on all subjects was deep and showed the results of years of study. He had collected one of the finest private libraries in this section of Illinois. He never cared for conspicuous public place, but voluntarily chose the quiet side of life. His greatest joy was a holiday in the woods with his family. He knew all the flowers, the birds, the trees. Geology and astronomy were also familiar pursuits to this many-sided man. His children idolized him and would forsake their companions any hour for a tramp with him in Rocky Glen or other favorite resorts of natural beauty.

Mr. Stone was so identified with various business interests of Peoria, so generally known and consulted touching all matters of public enterprise, that his loss has been most seriously felt by the community and his place has not been filled.  Mr. Stone married Gertrude H. Gustorf, and his married life was exceptionally happy. His wife, two sons, William E. and Harry C. Stone, and four daughters, Carolyn M. Hays, Gertrude G. Hastings, Pauline S. Newton and Ethel S. Cassell survive him.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




HENRY THIELBAR.

Henry Thielbar was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany, May 10, 1832, to Albert Henry and Margaret (Schweke) Thielbar. His father was a farmer, but, finding it hard to make a living in his native country, he came to America with his family in 1842, and settled in Dearborn County, Indiana. He enjoyed the advantages of a few terms in a country school in Dearborn County, laying there the foundation for work which he afterwards accom- plished in his education. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed in Cincinnati, Ohio, to learn the trade of a
shoe-maker. While he was preparing himself for the trade, he devoted all his spare time to study, thereby acquiring a very good knowledge of the elementary branches of education which enabled him, in after life, to adopt a broader and more general line of reading and study.

He came to Peoria in 1853 where he worked at his trade for one year, then bought out his employer and continued custom-work until 1861, when he began to deal in ready-made boots and shoes. His business continued to grow, and he built up a large and lucrative trade. During all the earlier years of his business career, he was compelled to make frequent trips to the East for the purchase of his stock of goods. In 1893, he organized a corporation known as "The H. Thielbar Shoe Company." and conducted the business under that name to the time of his death, and it is still continued by his daughters and son under the same name.

He was a very ardent Republican and an earnest supporter of the Government during the Civil War, but was precluded from rendering personal service in the field by having both his legs broken, thereby rendering him unable to do military service. He, however, opened a recruiting office and did what he could for the Government. He was for many years an active member of the A. O. U. W. and the Odd Fellows. He was also very much interested in Sunday School work, and did much to establish schools among the poorer classes of the city of Peoria. In early life he belonged to the Lutheran Church, but afterwards became connected with the Methodists and continued a member of that church till the time of his death, in 1897.

He traveled extensively in Europe with much pleasure and profit. He married Frances Bruninga in 1856, by whom he had eleven children, five of whom are still living: Minnie, Margaret J., and Henry W., now residing in Peoria; Frederick J. Thielbar, residing in Chicago; and Mrs. Lydia Eckerman, residing at Los Angeles, California.

Mr. Thielbar took great interest in the growth of the city of Peoria and the development and extension of its manufactories and trade. He was also interested in what seemed to be for the best interests of the city and performed his full part as a citizen. He left a name for honor, uprightness and fairness in his dealings surpassed
by none.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




WILLIAM W. THOMPSON.

William W. Thompson, who for some years represented Peoria County in the State Senate, was born at Brimfield, Massachusetts, on February 23, 1786. In the year 1826 he removed to Northampton in the same State, where he resided until his removal to Peoria County in 1839. During his residence in Massachusetts he became a member of the Legslature and, as that State was in the fore-front in the matter of public education, he became well qualified to take a leading part in his new home. The settlement about Charleston, as it was then called, and the neighboring one at French Grove, were made up of an exceptionally intelligent class of people, mostly from the East, among whom Mr. Thompson found congenial companionship. Amongst others may be mentioned the Wolcotts, Wileys, Freemans, Fessendens,  Haywards,  Willards,  Churches, Belchers, Guyers, Cutters, Tuckers, Metcalfes, Sutherlands, McRills, Cockles, Wellses and Riggses, many of whom became prominent in the affairs of the county. As stated elsewhere, they formed a lyceum association in which Mr. Thompson took a prominent part.

When only three years in the State he was elected to the State Senate, and, at the expiration of his term, was re-elected, serving in that capacity from 1842 to 1846. While a member of the Senate he attended and took a prominent part in the educational convention held in Peoria, in 1844, as elsewhere noted. He was also elected a member of the Convention which framed the Constitution of 1848, in which body he was a strong advocate of all measures having as their object the establishment of a system of commonschool education. From early manhood he almost constantly held some office in the gift of the people. While a member of the State Senate 'he procured the passage of a bill changing the name of the village of Charleston to that of Brimfield after his native town. He was a "Democrat," not only in politics, but in personal feeling and demeanor, according to the high and low alike, not only equality in civil rights, but equality in that personal courtesy and consideration which mark the true gentle- man. His influence in moulding the character of the community in which he lived was of a lasting character.

Mr. Thompson died at his residence in Brimfield, Peoria County, on February 24, 1850, aged sixty-four years.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ALEXANDER GRISWOLD TYNG.

Alexander Griswold Tyng was born in Prince George County, Maryland, on July 28, 1827. His father was Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, D. D., for so long a period Rector of St. George's (Episcopal) Church, New York, and his mother Ann De Wolf Griswold, the daughter of Rt. Rev. Alexander Viets Griswold, Bishop of the New England Diocese for many years, and presiding Bishop at the time of his death. Along with his fine ancestry flowed into his blood a choice endowment, mental and spiritual. His home nurture was of the carefulest and wholesomest. His training in academy and college was under the best masters.  His childhood and youth were chiefly spent in Phila- delphia, Pennsylvania, where his father was, during that time, Rector of the Church of the Epiphany. He was for three years a student in the University of Pennsylvania, but spent his final college years in Columbia College, New York. from which he graduated with honor in 1845, being second in his rank in. the class. He afterward entered upon the course of study for the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Theological Seminary at Alex- andria, Virginia, but was obliged, on account of failing health, to relinquish it after the first year. He spent more than a year in foreign travel, visiting Europe, where he was introduced to many notable persons through his father's previous acquaintance and visits, and had the rare pleasure and distinction of sitting with University dignitaries, famed scholars and government officials in the banqueting hall at Cambridge.  Later he made an extended ocean voyage on board a merchant vessel, going to China and spending some months there.

He came to Chicago in 1848 to enter into mercantile life in the vast lumber interests conducted by his brother-in- law, George M. Higginson, Esq.  A very unexpected Providence led him to Peoria, Illinois, in 1849, where the re- mainder of his life was spent. He was married on January 9, 1851, to Lucie Brotherson, eldest daughter of P. R. K. Brotherson. Esq., with whom he spent a most happy and useful life. He has been actively identified with the religious and business life of this city. "Mr. Tyng's residence here stretches over nearly half a century. During all this period he was in active business on his own account: one of the oldest, if not the oldest, grain-dealers in Illinois, a record which can scarcely be duplicated among our surviving citizenship. When he came here Peoria was just an ambitious, booming western village, without railroads or telegraph, and with the scantiest means of intercommunication and transport. No one has contributed more than he to its commercial advancement. He gave emoloyment to hundreds of laborers, advertised the town and attracted enterprises to it. His sanguine temperament, his optimistic views, his boldness and enterprise may now and then have brought loss upon himself, but they have benefited the community at large.''

Mr. Tyng's business career in Peoria was a conspicuous one. As early as 1852, in conjunction with P. R. K. Brotherson, he was engaged quite extensively in the pork-packing industry, .which they carried on for a number of years.  Later the same firm were leading factors in the grain and general produce trade. Mr. Tyng having erected here one of the earliest grain-warehouses, which was located at the corner of Water and Walnut Streets. After the opening of the first railroad lines into Peoria, by the establishment of local agencies in the more important towns reached by the railroads, this firm did much to promote trade between the city and the country, and probably Peoria is indebted as much to Mr. Tyng for the development of its general produce trade as to any other single individual.  In the latter part of his life Mr. Tyng was for a number of years Secretary and Manager of the Peoria Marine and Fire Insurance Company.

He was one of the wardens of St. Paul's Episcopal Church for twenty-five years, and of Christ Church (Reformed Episcopal) for twenty-three years. In Sunday-school work he was actively engaged during his entire life, and both Church and Mission Sunday-schools, as well as State and International Associations, were benefited by his interest and labors. He was a member of the first International Committee to select, for seven years, the Sunday- school lessons, representing with Rev. Richard Newton, D. D., of Philadelphia, the Episcopal Church on that committee.  He was very public-spirited and patriotic. "He was at the head of the Christian Commission work in this State, went. to the front with supplies and personally ministered to the wounded, sick and dying, needy and desolate. The members of the Grand Army he counted heroes, every one, tp whom we owe an unspeakable debt. To every good cause, philanthropic, educational, reformative, he gave a helping hand. He never grew old, was the friend of young men, rescued not a few, and aided many in life's struggle." A citizen interested in the prosperity of the city, he was for years a member of the School Board, and a liberal donor to every project for the general good. "Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," applies truly to him. Since the organization of the "Woman's Christian Temperance Union" it has had in him a devoted coworker and its stanchest friend. "For
more than twenty years his presence every week at Gospel Temperance meetings brought cheer and delight; his beautiful, stirring messages, his humble, faith-filled prayers awakened and quickened every heart. His loving word and sympathy reached to the lowliest and blessed many.  At least one thousand times has his voice been heard in the local work, while his help and in terest went out to State, National and World's W. C. T. U. workers, among whom his name and memory are cherished."

His sons, who yet survive, are: Alexander G. Tyng, of Peoria; Dudley Atkins and Philip Brotherson Tyng, of Chicago; and Pierre Kissam and Lucien Hamilton Tyng, of Buffalo, New York.  Mr. Tyng entered into rest July 8, 1897. His  funeral services were held in Christ Church, and he was laid among his beloved relatives in Springdale Cemetery, near the city he loved so well, and in whose future he had great faith—the city of his labor and love, and in which "his works do follow him." He will live in the intellectual and religious life of this city, and in the institutions which he helped to found.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ISAAC UNDERHILL.

[The following sketch of Isaac Underhill is taken from the "Atlas of Peoria County," published during the life-time of Mr. Underhill, and believed to have been revised by him:]

Isaac Underhill was born in Westchester County, New York, January 4. 1808. His father's name was Solomon Underhill, who settled in Sing Sing, New York, about the year 1806, and carried on mercantile business until the war of 1812, when he purchased a farm, one mile east of Sing Sing, and lived there till he died, about 1844.

The early life of Isaac Underhill was spent on his father's farm, where he had the advantage of a good common- school education. At the age of nineteen he went to New York City, and was engaged as a clerk in a wholesale and retail provision store, remaining about two years in that capacity, when he engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business for himself, which he continued about three years.

On the 11th day of March, 1830, he was married to Miss Jane S. Underhill, a distant relative.

On the 9th of November, 1832, he loaded a ship, mainly with groceries, and with his wife sailed for New Orleans. They remained in New Orleans until the 10th of May following, when, not daring to stay through the summer for fear of yellow fever, they went by the river to St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Niagara Falls and thence back to New York. In the following December, having shipped his merchandise by sea to New Orleans, Mr. Underhill went by way of Baltimore and the Ohio River to St. Louis, arriving there about the 20th of the month. The water being low and the boats not running, and having heard of the magnificence of the Illinois prairies, he took stage with a friend for Peoria, arriving here on Christmas Day, 1833.  Peoria then contained about forty people. There were two frame houses and seven log cabins. Being charmed with the beauty of the town site, he concluded to remain and purchase some lots.  Finding one of the County Commissioners, Aquilla Wren, in town, in charge of the sale of the lots, he and his friend purchased each two lots, 77 feet front by 171 feet deep, on the corner of Washington and Liberty Streets, at $40 a piece, one quarter cash and the balance in three half-yearly installments, at six per cent. interest. At that time there were no buildings on any street in Peoria above Washington.  After purchasing these lots Mr. Underhill made a trip by steamer to New Orleans, whence he returned to Peoria the following summer. The town by this time had started to grow and lots were rising in value.

On the 5th of August, 1834. Mr. Underhill purchased of John L. Bogardus the Peoria ferry, and the land then known as the "ferry fraction," now known as "Bigelow & Underhill's Addition to the city of Peoria," paying for all $1,050. On this addition was located, in part the old French village.  In July, 1836, Underhill and Bigelow platted their addition into lots, and offered them at public sale, subject to French claims, Mark M. Aiken making the facetious remark that "Underhill was willing to guarantee against anything but the rightful owners."

From 1834 to 1840 Mr. Underhill's time was divided between St. Louis and Peoria, being engaged a portion of his time as a merchant in St. Louis. In the spring of 1840, quitting the latter place, he came to Peoria, and commenced farming on two hundred acres of land near the town of Rome. In 1841 he built on the bluff where St. Francis Hospital now stands a stately residence, with a colonnade in front, at a cost of $10,000, where he resided thirty years; also in the same year built three pork-houses, of brick, where the Armour building now stands, and a two-story slaughter-house below the present Union depot, and fenced and broke five hundred acres of land, in addition to his farm operations at Rome. Subsequently the farm at Rome was increased to twenty-two hundred acres. In the fall of 1841 Mr. Underbill sowed three hundred acres of winter wheat, and had an excellent crop, cutting it all with the old-fashioned cradle. This he sold at thirty-two cents per bushel, which was that season the highest market price. Expecting wheat to pay better the next year, he put in one thousand acres, and did not cut a bushel of it, from the fact that it was all winter-killed. That was the hard winter of 1843. The river closed that year on the l3th of November and remained closed until the first of April. In the year 1846 Mr. Underhill set out on his Rome farm an orchard of ten thousand grafted apple trees, and six thousand peach trees. He cultivated them seven years, and on the first of April, 1853, sold his farm to Clapn and Butler for $40.000. This immense planta- tion gave the name of Rome Farms to the locality.

In 1853 Mr. Underhill helped to organize the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railroad Company, was made its first President, and by the aid of Farnham & Sheffield (contractors) was enabled to put it in operation in eleven months from the time of first breaking ground.  By a vote of the stockholders be. signed a lease for ninety-nine years to the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad Company. On the first of Anril, 1855, he organized the Peoria Marine and Fire Insurance Company, and was President of the company thirteen years until succeeded by B. L. T. Bourland, Esq.  In 1865 he helped to organize the Mechanics' National Bank of Peoria, and was its first President. In 1866 he sold out bis interest in the bank, and built the Metropolitan Hotel on the northeast corner of Water and Fulton Streets.  On the first of March, 1868, it was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss.

In 1870 Mr. Underhill went to reside at Marseilles, La Salle County, where on the first of April, 1867, he had organized the Land and Water Power Company, of that place, and was President of the same five years. He also at the same time organized the Marseilles Bridge Company, of which he was President, and built a bridge, at a cost of $31,000, which, after being open for travel about ten days, was swept away. The following year it was rebuilt.

Mr. Underbill was elected one of the Trustees of the town of Peoria in 1842, served three terms as an Alderman of the city, was twice elected Supervisor, and once Township Assessor. He was Chairman of the committee that built a fence around the court house square and planted the square with trees, also to alter the interior arrange- ments of the old court house.  He had picked strawberries where the court house now stands, had seen the prairie fires burn over where the central part of the city now is, and had hunted prairie wolves where are now its most densely settled western portions.

In 1836 the jockey club of Peoria, of which Mr. Underbill was a member, got up three days' races on the prairie below the town. Horses came from Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan, and a high time was had. Six shanties were put up by the sporting fraternity for gambling purposes and for the sale of liquor. The Grand Jury met soon after- ward and made diligent inquiry into the violations of the license law, but could get no witnesses to prove the sale of liquor, except a saloon-keeper, living on Water Street, by the name of William C. Terry. He testified that "there was a great deal of liouor sold there, but he got so drunk he could not tell who sold it."

During the war of the Rebellion M.r. Underhill conceived and carried into successful execution a scheme for insuring able-bodied men against an impending draft by furnishing them substitutes. He was during most of his life successful in business, but, in consequence of losses incurred in his enterprise at Marseilles, he lost all his property and finally closed his life in the State of  Texas, in very reduced circumstances. To his energy and business enterprise, however, Peoria owed much of its early prosperity.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN WESLEY VAN SANT

John Wesley Van Sant, dentist, was born October 2, 1852, at Lower Bank. Burlington County. New Jersey, the son of Rev. Isaac Newton Van Sant, who was born at Fort Republic. New Jersey, May 31, 1830. The Van Sant family, as indicated by the name, are of Dutch origin, their American ancestry having settled at a place called Shamony on the Delaware, nearly two hundred years ago. The Rev. Isaac N. Van Sant was a Methodist minister of engaging personality and rare oratorical powers, who spent his life as an itinerant in New Jersey and New York State, dying at Stony Point, New York. December 27, 1897. Gov. Samuel R. Van Sant, the present executive of the State of Minnesota, belongs to a lateral branch of the same family, being the cousin of Dr. Van Sant, of Peoria.

Doctor Van Sant received his primary education in the common schools of his native State, and at thirteen years of age began learning dentistry with E. F. Hanks, a celebrated dentist of New York City. He began practice at Amboy, New Jersey, in 1866, and four years later (1870) came West, after visiting various points, finally locating in Peoria. After eleven years' successful practice here he decided to give up the profession of dentistry, and removed to Gage County, Nebraska, where he engaged in stock-raising. This venture, however, proved unsuccessful, and, after having sacrificed most of his savings in an experiment lasting between three and four years, he returned to Peoria and resumed the practice of his profession. Beginning anew he soon regained the success which he had previously achieved, and is to-day probably doing a larger business than any other dentist in a city of equal size in America.

In 1899 Doctor Van Sant erected a building at the corner of Adams and Chestnut Streets, three stories in height with basement, and costing about. $40,000, and is now (1902) erecting an addition of 60 by 80 feet, with the addition of a fourth story to the original structure, the improvements to cost $35,000. His establishment is, in some respects, unique, as it amounts practically to a dental sanitarium, containing, besides operating rooms, sleeping and living rooms in which he furnishes lodging and board, free of charge, to out-of-town patients whose cases require that they should remain in the city for any considerable period. In this way, as well as by his skill in dental surgery, he has attracted patients not only from distant points in Illinois, but also from many adjacent States. With the aid of competent assistants he operates eight chairs, many patients coming hundreds of miles to avail themselves of his mode of treatment. He was one of the first to make seamless crown-work a specialty in his department, and has kept pace with every modern advancement in his profession.

Having begun to feel the strain of over-work in 1897, Dr. Van Sant determined upon a vacation. For this purpose he chose the rather novel and adventurous plan of a trip to Alaska, which included an almost mid-winter trio on his return from Dawson City. Having reached the Pacific coast on his outward trip, he embarked on a steamer at Seattle about the first of August, reaching Skaguay on the 8th, and was a member of the first party who mapped out the trail from Skaguay to Lake Bennett, the head of navigation on the Yukon, where they arrived on Septem- ber l0th. Here they hired boats built and descending the Yukon arrived at Dawson City September 23d, where he soon after engaged in mining, remaining until the latter part of November. The return trip required twenty-seven days, which was accomplished by means of a dogtrain of sixteen dogs with five sleds to carry provisions. The trip was a successful one even in a financial point of view, as, besides the experience gained in an absence of six months, the Doctor brought out with him $5,000 above his expenses. In the meantime Mrs. Van Sant had kept the dental parlors in Peoria going, and had made as much as or more than, he had. Doctor Van Sant was married September 22, 1876, to Miss Ida Siefkes, who is of Holland descent, and they have three children: Birdie; Ralph Newton, now a student in the Dental Department of the Northwestern University, Chicago; and Leport. who is at the present time a student at Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana. In politics he is a Republican: is a thirty-second-degree Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, a Modern Woodman of America and a Forester. He has an interest in mines at Cripple Creek, Colorado, and in the Meteor mines near the British Columbia line.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ISAAC WALKER.

Isaac Walker, former head of the Isaac Walker Hardware Company, and one of Peoria's pioneer business men, was born at Williamstown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, December 1, 1803, the son of James and Ann (Cain) Walker. His parents came to America from the north of Ireland, his family on the maternal side being of Scotch- Irish extraction.

Mr. Walker received a common-school education and then learned the hardware business in his native town. Coming to Peoria in 1842, with Harvey Lightner as a partner he opened a retail and jobbing hardware store at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets, where they remained about two years, when they removed to a building which they had erected on Main between Washington and Water Streets. Mr. Lightner having retired from the firm, he was succeeded by George H. McIlvaine, when the style of the firm became Walker & McIlvaine, so continuing for many years. During the existence of this copartnership, the store was removed to Mr. McIlvaine's building on Adams between Main and Fulton Streets, where it remained until the withdrawal of Mr. McIlvaine to engage in the banking business. About this time the business was removed to the northwest corner of Washington and Fulton Streets, and Mr. Walker began to give his attention exclusively to the wholesale trade, admitting his son Edward H. into partnership. Alexander Thompson was also a member of the firm for some time.

Mr. Walker conducted a quiet, conservative business and, after the admission of his son to partnership, much of the management of its affairs devolved upon the latter. New life was gradually infused into the business and more progressive methods adopted, the effect of which was soon seen in the doubling of the volume of trade. Although gradually yielding the management of the firm to younger hands, Mr. Walker remained at its head and active in its affairs up to the very day of his death, which occurred November 27. 1880, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. On the 1st of January, 1879, the firm took the name of Isaac Walker & Son, and after his decease, its location was removed to Adams Street between Liberty and Fulton. Here it remained until the completion of the magnificent new building which it now occupies at 514-516 South Washington Street. In the meantime, after the demise of Mr. Walker, the firm name was changed to "The Isaac Walker Hardware Company," as a memorial in honor of its founder on the part of his children.

Mr. Walker was married. April 1, 1845, to Miss Sarah S. McIlvaine, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Siemens) McIlvaine, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Of this union seven children were born, of whom four died in infancy. The surviving children are: Edward H., President of the Isaac Walker Hardware Company; Mary, now Mrs. William A. Herron of Peoria, and Anna, present Mrs. N. G. Moore, of Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago.

In politics Mr. Walker was an earnest, high-minded and patriotic Republican, who vigorously sustained the Government during the period of its greatest peril. He became a professing Christian in 1858, and united with the Second Presbyterian Church of Peoria by letter, in 1866, ever after adorning his profession by a consistent life which won the respect of all classes. To a reputation for integrity, which placed his name beyond the faintest suspicion of wrong-doing, he joined a spirit of generous benevolence, which made him the friend of the deserving poor.  Trustful and confiding in others, he commanded the confidence of all who came in contact with him. It has been claimed by one who knew him best, that "his virtues were as conspicuous as they were gentle and helpful," and that "he never had an enemy." In fine, he was accorded, by the unanimous testimony of his fellow-citizens, the reputation of a pure and high-minded Christian gentleman.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




BENJAMIN WARREN.

Benjamin Warren, Jr., was born at La Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois, July 22, 1852. His paternal great- grandparents were Benjamin and Charlotte Warren, born in England; his grand-parents, Luther and Charlotte Warren, were born in Waterboro, Maine. His father's name is Benjamin Warren, born in Shapleigh, Maine.

Benjamin Warren, Sr., first went to Boston, where he lived a few years, and then moved to La Harpe, Illinois. He was engaged in the mercantile business for a number of years, but is now retired and still lives at La Harpe. Benja- min Warren, Jr., attended the common schools at La Harpe, and afterwards the High School at Macomb, where he graduated in June, 1869. After his graduation he clerked for about two years in a dry-goods store in La Harpe, and then commenced buying grain. March 15, 1876, he came to Peoria and went into the grain and commission business, under the name of Warren and Company. His transactions in the grain business during all these years have been very large and his business career has been attended with marked success. Notwithstanding his attention to business, he has taken a decided interest in the up-building of Peoria and has been identified with most of the important public enterprises in the city. Mr. Warren was one of the prime factors in the organization of the Peoria Herald Publishing Company. He has been, for many years, a director of the Iowa Central Railway Company, is Secretary and Manager of the Iowa Elevator Company, a director in the Peoria Gas and Electric Company, a director of the Illinois National Bank, has been a director of the Board of Trade for more than twenty-five years, and was instrumental in building. He completed his Peoria Wagon Company, and  Vice-Presi- dent of the Peoria Terminal Railway Company, which he was instrumental in building. He completed his third term as Trustee of the Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria, and is now President of the Board.   Thus it will be seen that Mr. Warren has identified himself with many things which have tended to develop and build up the city.

In politics, Mr. Warren has always been a Democrat, but has never allowed his political actions to be controlled by partisan spirit. In all local matters he has been controlled more by the public good than partisan preference or prejudice. He refused to go with his party in 1896 and in 1900, being a strong believer in the gold standard.

Mr. Warren was married, February 12, 1879, to Bertha Day, of Joliet, her father having been a prominent merchant in Joliet for many years. Mrs. Warren was born in Brattleboro, Vermont. Three children have been born to them: Ella, born August 4, 1880; Charles D., born January 3, 1882; and Frank M., born March 1, 1885; Ella, the oldest child, is now a student at Smith College, Northampton. Massachusetts.

Mr. Warren's domestic life has been a happy one, and he is justly esteemed in the community for his good citizen- ship, his interest in all public affairs and his efforts in behalf of the city. He has always enjoyed a personal popu- larity, justly merited.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN WESTON, D. D.

John Weston was born in Rutherglen, Scotland, on December 8. 1838. In the veins of his ancestors (on both his father's and his mother's side) flowed the blood that has made the stalwart Christians of the centuries. They were all members of the Established Church of Scotland, and were brave defenders of "the faith once delivered to the saints." When but ten years old, in company with his parents, he left Scotland, coming by sailing vessel from Liver- pool to New Orleans, where they took a steamer and went tip the river to Cincinnati. Here they resided for a few years, when they went to St. Louis, making their home for a short time in that city. They then removed to Galena, Illinois, then an important city of the Northwest to which the Illinois Central Railroad had been completed during the previous year. Shortly after his arrival in Galena, his father died.

It was about this time Mr. Weston became impressed with the thought that he had a call to enter the ministry. This conviction deepened upon him, and he determined to surmount the financial difficulties that stood in his way. A born hero, he could "endure hardness" and was "willing to plunge through the rapids of life in his own canoe." He availed himself of an opportunity to pay his own way through Hanover College, Indiana, graduating in the class of 1864. His summer vacation was spent in the army, and, being mustered out at the expiration of his term of service, he at once entered the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, graduating in 1867.

About this time there was need of laborers in a large mission field in Peoria. William Reynolds, a man of extensive business interests, and afterward the Field Superintendent of International Sunday School Work, had organized a Mission Sunday School, and so rapid was its growth the demand for a church organization was urgent. He felt that a young man, adapted to the work, should at once be called to this field. In consultation with Mr. D. L. Moody and a relative in Chicago, Mr. Reynolds was directed to John Weston, then about to graduate from McCormick Theological Seminary, and regarded as eminently furnished for the work, having, during his period of study in the Seminary, been engaged in practical work in one of the Missions of Chicago.

Mr. Reynolds was so favorably impressed with him that he invited Mr. Weston to Peoria to look over the field. He came, and the result was a ministry extending over a period of nineteen years. The record of these nineteen years can only be written in the hearts of the countless number it has blest.

The secret of Mr. Weston's wonderful success has been a single-hearted devotion to the cause to which he has devoted his life. One of his marked characteristics was a righteous indignation against those who assaulted the infallibility of the Scriptures. The harshest words he ever utters in the pulpit now are in impatience with those higher critics who, "wise above what is written," would take from and add to the word of God. His life itself is a gospel for this age of skepticism and backs up strongly his denunciation of it. It is doubted if in the length and breadth of this land, or other lands, there can be found a more ideal pastor than Mr. Weston. Full of a strong Christian sympathy and cheer, his presence is a benediction to every home he enters.

Mr. Weston commenced his labors in Calvary Mission in April, 1867, just before entering upon his work being married to Miss Alice C. Stephens., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has proved a true helpmeet in the work in which he is engaged. They have five children, all of whom are now holding positions of usefulness and proving a blessing to their home, to the Church and to the world.

In 1886, after these nineteen years of faithful service in Calvary Church, he told the Presbytery of Peoria that the care and strain of so large a field had well nigh broken his health and spirit, and asked to be relieved of this charge. His resignation was a sorrow to every member of the Church, and it was feared that the Church would go to pieces, but, "The storm that blows can never kill The Tree God plants."

A call came to Mr. Weston from an inviting country church in the midst of a Scotch settlement in Elmira, Illinois, and there he remained four years. Then, with renewed health and strength, he began to feel that the work in this country charge was too limited, and he accepted the position of Superintendent of Missions of the Presbytery of Chicago. This place he filled with great ability for three years. At the expiration of that time he felt a longing desire to have once more his own church and people, and he accepted a call from the North Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, where he remained five years, doing good work and adding many to the membership of the church.

In 1898 there was a vacancy in the pulpit of Calvary Church, and it was the unanimous desire of the people that a call should be extended to Mr. Weston. Twelve long years had not impaired the love that bound them together as pastor and people, and his return was warmly welcomed to the Church he was pleased to call his first love. He had lost none of his old time fervor, and is still the same faithful, fearless minister that he was in the early days of his charge. He still retains the beautiful simplicity and consistency of the old time in spite of the honor of D. D. having been conferred upon him by Gale College. Wisconsin. Nor is Dr. Wes'ton's usefulness confined to his church. Like his Master, he goes about doing good, and the city at large appreciates his life and his work. He is wielding an influence for good in the Grand Army of the Republic, where his lot has been cast as Chaplain of the Old Soldiers, of whom he is proud to count himself one.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




CROSBY WHITE.

During an unusually active life Mr. White has diversely applied his abilities, and, though engaged in the grocery business since 1871, and consequently one of the pioneers in that line in Peoria, he has a correspondingly thorough knowledge of the brewery business, and of the uncertainties which beset the venturesome and ever-confident miner. He has traveled much and observed broadly, and his deductions have resulted in a wise conservatism consistent with the best and most enterprising citizenship. A native son of Illinois, Mr. White was born in Springfield, June 4, 1840, and is a son of Robert Crawford and Mary A. (Wright) White. When four years of age he removed with his parents to McLean County, Illinois, and, two years later, to Woodford County, where he was educated in the public schools and well trained in the duties of the agriculturist.

When eighteen years of age Mr. White entered upon his business career at Wesley City and afterwards at Peoria; and, in a surprisingly short time, had mastered every detail of the brewing business, and become an expert yeast-maker, his salary advancing in leaps and bounds from starvation wages to one hundred dollars a day. During his busiest years as a brewer, he was connected with distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and California, and was at one time half-owner of a distillery near Jackson, Tennessee. His most valued services were in connection with the firm of Dobbins & Spears, at Wesley; dark & Company, Zell & Francis, Spears & Company, and the Thomas O'Neil Company, at Peoria; Nusbaum & Company and the Dow distillery in San Francisco; Mattingly Brothers and Schultz & Company of Louisville, Kentucky; the Hopkins & Company distillery in Robertson County, Tennessee, and the Ketchum distillery near Nashville, Tennessee. It is doubtful if any man in the State has a more accurate knowledge of the brewing business than has Mr. White, or has made a more practical demonstration of his advanced theories. In spite of his successes he determined, in 1871, to withdraw from his former occupation, and the grocery business has since been his argest field of activity, and his most remunerative source of income. Mining also—which at one time loomed upon the horizon with astonishing possibilities, and was tested from all sides during his residence in California—has been abandoned to the limbo of things found wanting, and substituted by the slower and less erratic dealing in necessary commodities.

July 25, 1869, Mr. White was united in marriage with Mary A. Butterfield, of Louisville, Kentucky, and of this union there are two children: Lucy B., who is now the wife of Richard Rees, of Oak Park, Illinois, and Jeanne, who is living at the home. Fraternally, Mr. White is very prominent in Illinois, and has been identified with the Masonic Order since his twenty-first year. He has taken all of the degrees except the thirty-third, and is a member of Temple Lodge, No. 46; the Commandery, No. 3; the Chapter, No. 7; the Peoria Council, and the Peoria Consistory. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, and of Peoria Lodge, No. 250, Knights of Khorassan: the Royal Arcanum; the Royal League; the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Politically Mr. White entertains most liberal views, and believes that the men best qualified for public trust should be the incumbents of office, regardless of the color of their political faith. Mr. White is one of the representative men of the Middle West, and it would seem, from the volume of his business and the esteem in which he is held, that to an unusual degree he has realized his expectations of a successful life.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




RICHARD H. WHITING.

Richard H. Whiting was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, January 7, 1826. His early years were spent with his parents, Allen and Amanda Whiting, upon a farm, during which time he had the advantage of the educational opportunities that were afforded at that period— the common school and academy at West Hartford.

Thereafter different enterprises engaged him, until in 1850 he located at Victoria, Illinois, where he engaged in mercantile business until 1860, when he removed to Galesburg, where, in the same year, he built and owned the Gas Works, and, a year later, built the Gas Works at Aurora. Illinois.

Mr. Whiting was married. July 28, 1851, to Miss Elizabeth H. Kirkbride, of Woodsfield, Ohio, a lady of marked qualities who survives him, and whose father was one of the pioneers of the "Buckeye" State. David Kirkbride was an aggressive and public-spirited man, and, at Woodsfield, was Postmaster, and for years was Probate Judge of Monroe County.

By this union there resulted eight children, only four of whom are now living—three having died in infancy, and the oldest daughter, Ida, who married Howard Knowles, having died a few years after her marriage. Ellen, the second daughter, married John R. Farnham, of New York City. Charles R. and Thomas W. Whiting live in Kansas, where they are engaged in .farming and stockraising, and Frank K., who resides upon the old homestead.

Mr. Whiting, by close application and persevering industry, became prosperous and acquired an honorable reputation as a business man. He invested his money always to good advantage in different enterprises, a great portion of it in farms in Knox County, Illinois, and in Kansas, and to some extent in stock-raising. During President Lincoln's administration he was appointed Paymaster in the army, with the title of Major; he was next appointed United States Assessor, the office then being located at Galesburg, which office he held until it was merged into the office of Collector of Internal Revenue in 1871, when President Grant, of whom he was a personal friend, appointed him Collector of Internal Revenue for the Fifth Collection District of Illinois, with headquarters at Peoria, where he lived during the remainder of his life. He resigned the office of Collector of
Revenue to take his seat in the National House of Representatives, to which office he was elected in 1874. One term satisfied his ambition as an office-seeker, for, although he always was a Republican and tended to con- servatism, yet, when convinced that wrong would be perpetrated or extended by conservatism, he was a radical. He was independent in thought, of sound judgment, and abhorred party strifes and the distasteful jealousies of political wars.

He was for many years prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity. There was no public enterprise of utility but with which he identified himself; he was slow to form attachments, but true as steel when formed; his devotion as a citizen was to the common good; as a man, his relations to his fellow-men were pleasant, co-operative and cordial; as a neighbor, the soul of accommodation; as a father and husband, devoted and indulgent. His hospitality and generosity were not often seen in the highways ; but his helping hand was opened to the worthy and the needy, unknown and unseen by the public.

He was clear-headed, penetrative and emphatically practical in all his transactions.  A sound and reliable judgment directed his deliberations ; he had the ability to analyze things and look forward and lay his hand upon the "hem of results." His investments were made with great care, and gratifying and substantial were the realizations; his life was a sample of solid virtues; it was a scene of activity, unostentatious, and rounded, in its decline, with comforts and crowned with worldly competence.

Major Whiting died May 24, 1888.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




OTHO BOYD WILL.

Whether regarded as a general practitioner, as a specialist in the line of gynecology, or as a medical writer, Dr. Otho Boyd Will holds a prominent place among the members of his profession in Illinois. Dr. Will was born at Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, June 27, 1846, the son of William S. and Elizabeth (Baxter) Will, both of whom were natives of the same State, his father having been born at Mercersburg and his mother at Lancaster. His paternal grandparents, David and Elizabeth Will, were born at Welsh Run, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, while his maternal grandfather (William Baxter) was a native of Ireland, the wife of the latter having been born at Lancaster, in the Keystone State. Mr. Baxter, after coming to this country, became an apprentice in Benjamin Franklin's printing office in Philadelphia, and later founded the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Bee, and was also connected for a number of years with the Mercersburg Journal, being one of the pioneer journalists of the country.

In 1856 Dr. Will's parents removed to Illinois, locating at Canton, Fulton County, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Here the Doctor attended the primary and high schools, still later pursuing a course in scientific studies under Prof. John Wolf and other private tutors. In 1866 he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. William M. Swisher, of Canton, and, in the following year, matriculated at Rush Medical College, Chicago, from which he received the degree of M. D. in 1869, subsequently taking a post-graduate course in gynecology and nervous diseases in New York.  During the year last named he located at the village of Kickapoo, in Peoria County, and later assisted to build up the town of Dunlap, in Radnor Township, on the line of the then newly constructed Rock Island & Peoria Railroad. In 1881, after taking a course in special studies in the East, he came to Peoria, and, in conjunction with the late Dr. J. L. Hamilton and Dr. T. M. McIlvaine, assisted in organizing the Cottage Hospital. In 1894 he was elected President of the Illinois State Medical Society, of which he has been an active member for many years; has also been President and Secretary of the Military Tract Medical Association, is a member of the American Medical Association, the Chicago Gynecological Society, the North Central Illinois Medical Society and of the Peoria City Medical Society, and has served as President of the Rush College Alumni Association, besides being identified with several nonprofessional societies, including the Peoria Scientific Asso- ciation, of which he has served as President. Biology is a department of general science in which he takes a deep interest and to which he devotes much of his leisure time.

Since locating in Peoria, Dr. Will has spent considerable time abroad studying the Old World masters, and investigating the great hospitals of Europe, in order to perfect himself in the department of medicine which he has espoused as a specialty. For six years past he has been editor of the "Peoria Medical Journal," and is also a member of the medical staff of the Cottage Hospital. He has been a member of the Creve Coeur Club since its organization, and, for two years, one of its Directors. In politics he is an Independent Republican. On April 14, 1870, Dr. Will was married to Miss Elizabeth Grant, of Brimfield, Peoria County, and they have had four children —all deceased: Maud Elva, Otho Grant and Blanch Irene—the fourth dying in infancy.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ERASTUS SWIFT WILLCOX.

That man may be considered fortunate who succeeds in finding a place in the business or educational world, for which he is in all respects thoroughly adapted.

The above reflection applies with full force to Erastus Swift Willcox, the Librarian of the Peoria Public Library. Mr. Willcox was born at Port Henry, Essex County, New York, February 16, 1830, to Henry Willcox and and Mary Keziah (Meacham) Willcox. They both belonged to that sturdy, substantial, sensible class common to New England and New York State. The father was a farmer. He came West as one of the first colonists who settled on the prairie where the city of Galesburg, in Knox County, now stands. His Object in settling there was to give his children the benefit of a liberal education in the college which, under the plan of Dr. George W. Gale, was about to be established in Galesburg, now and for a long time known as Knox College.

James Willcox, grandfather of Erastus S., was born in Killingworth, Connecticut. His ancestors came from Plymouth, England, about 1640. In 1773 the grandfather, being about the age of eighteen, removed to Bridgeport, Vermont, where he owned a large farm on the shore of Lake Champlain, residing there until the time of his death in 1840. He was one of the two guides to help Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain boys across the lake at the time of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. His remembrance of the language of Ethan Allen, at the time of his demand for the surrender of the fort, was: "In the name of God's Mighty," etc., instead of the language usually attributed to him.

The great-grandfather, on the mother's side, was Capt. William Meacham, Commander of a Company in Colonel Woodbridge's Regiment. He was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, and his name is inscribed on the bronze tablets at Winthrop Square, just below that of General Warren.

Thus it will be seen that the subject of this sketch is descended from patriotic, fighting stock, and it accounts, in a measure, for that persistent tenacity which has characterized his entire career.

Mr. Willcox graduated in the classical department of Knox College in the class of 1851. As before stated, his father was a farmer, and Mr. Willcox was reared upon the farm. His taste, however, was not for that sort of a life, but rather for books. After graduation he taught a select school in Farmington, Illinois, for one year; then became clerk in a bank in Peoria, where he remained for a year, after which he studied and traveled in Germany, France, Italy, and England, for two years, with his personal friend, Professor Churchill, of Knox College. He was then Professor of Modern Languages for six years, until the War of the Rebellion compelled retrenchment in the college finances. He then returned to Peoria, studied law, and subsequently engaged in the business of manu- facturing and coal mining, which he continued until 1891, when he assumed the duties of Librarian of the Peoria Public Library. Probably no man in Peoria was so actively and earnestly engaged in the establishment of the Public Library as Mr. Willcox. Soon after his return and settlement in Peoria he interested himself in the Library as it then existed, and was one of the prime movers in the establishment of the Mercantile Library. With great persistence and sound judgment he aided in the development of the latter, and subsequently, in connection with others, brought about the establishment of the Peoria Public Library, to which was transferred all of the personal prop-
erty of the Mercantile Library Association. The beautiful building, now known as the Public Library building, was largely the result of the earnest efforts of Mr. Willcox, and it will stand as a monument for years to come of his zeal and interest in the education of the people. He has occupied the position of Inspector of the Peoria Public Schools, and was President of the Board for two years. He has always been especially interested in the subject of education, not only in the public schools, but through the influence of the Public Library, and has been noted during his whole career in Peoria for his devotion to this cause. His experience as a Director of the Mercantile Library from 1864 demonstrated that a subscription library—the only kind of public library known in those days—was a failure, so far as reaching the masses of the people was concerned; and, for the very good reason that the women and children who hungered for books did not hold the family purse-strings, while the men who held the purse-strings did not care particularly for books.

Mr. Willcox has always earnestly favored the societies and organizations that had for their purpose the develop- ment of all that was best in the city, and has given of his time and means generously in that direction. He is the author of the present State Library Law, which was adopted March 7, 1872—the first really comprehensive Free Public Library Law in the United States, and the model of the Library Laws which other States have enacted since. The proof that such a law was needed is seen in the fact that, whereas the old Subscription Library had a membership never exceeding 300, the Free Public Library now, April 1, 1902, has a membership of 8,000.

He grew up under the influence of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists, but, in his maturer years, has not been able to subscribe to all the peculiar tenets of either of those churches, but has always believed in all that was best in all church work.

In .politics he is and has always been a Republican, but believes in that manly independance which leads a man to vote for the best man for public office, especially in local affairs, whether belonging to his own party or another.

In July, 1857, Mr. Willcox was married to Mary T. HotchKiss, of Peoria, the only daughter of J. P. Hotchkiss, and granddaughter of General Walter Booth, of Meriden, Connecticut. She died January 10, 1863, leaving two children: George M. and Mary H. (now Mrs. Sisson), of Flagstaff, Arizona. Mr. Willcox's second wife, whom he married June 22, 1869, was Mary L. Hatch, of Warwick, Massachusetts. Two children have been born to them: William Arthur and Harold Hatch.

As the beginning of this short sketch indicates, Mr. Willcox is the right man in the right place. His thorough education, his foreign travel, his interest in and acquaintance with books, render him an invaluable man in the position he now occupies. It would be exceedingly difficult to fill his place with any one so well fitted to discharge the duties of the position. He has for years kept himself well abreast of the times, and well informed in reference to books and writers. His sound judgment touching the value of books peculiarly fits him for the position. He has made a special study of Public Libraries, and is well versed in all modern methods relating to their operation. All the friends of the Public Library earnestly hope for many future years of his efficient, acceptable service, and would seriously regret his retirement. He has always in all his dealings and life been highly regarded for his high purpose, his advocacy of all that is best in personal, municipal and National life. The influence of such men is not always fully appreciated during their life, but it leaves its mark for good upon the community, becoming more apparent and potential as time goes on.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




EDGAR LAMAR WILLIAMS.

Rev. Edgar LaMar Williams, Presbyterian minister and evangelist of Peoria, was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, in 1848. His paternal grandparents were Thomas O. and Susannah (Stier) Williams. His father, Owen Williams, was born at Beverly, West Virginia, in 1809, and was a prominent and successful merchant and banker. His mother was Catharine A. (Moffett) Williams, born at Hagerstown, Maryland. The maternal great-grandparents were John and Elizabeth (Fergus) Moffett, born in Scotland. General Fergus, a brother of Elizabeth, was with General Washing- ton in the Revolutionary War, and died at Dayton. Ohio, at the age of one hundred and nine years. The  grand- parents, on the maternal side, were William Moffett, who was born in Ireland in 1783, and died at Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1832; and Elizabeth (Shuman) Moffett, of German descent born in 1793, and died at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, in 1839.

Mr. Williams' parents moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, when he was four years old. Scarcely had he reached the age of fourteen when his father met with business reverses, which forced the boy into a personal experience of earning his own living.  Unflinchingly he met these new conditions, and, with a courage born of older hearts, he faced the future, shadowy with uncertainties and thick with difficulties, determined that, if integrity, honesty and conscientious service counted for aught in the conflict, he would win.

He was blessed with a Christian home, where he was taught, both by precept and example, the truths of the gospel; yet he had reached the age of seventeen before he yielded his heart and life in loving, loyal service to the Master. Having taken this step, he at once united with the Third Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, then under the pastorate of the Rev. George C. Heckman, D. D. This decision did more than simply add another name to the membership of the church; it not only changed the entire trend and purpose of his life, but solved the greater question of his future. Often had he read and heard the words, "The harvest truly is great but the laborers are few;" yet the true significance of their meaning was not understood until he saw the golden harvest of immortal souls ripe for the gathering, with so few 'willing hands' to thrust in the gospel sickle for the gathering. Under the divine influence and the greater needs presented, he determined to be one of the glad messengers of hope and joy, and, with this object in view, he determined on a thorough collegiate and theological course of study. With only a small sum saved from his meager earnings, and with no other financial assistance, he entered Hanover College, Indiana. He afterwards went to Butler University, now the University of Indianapolis, where he completed his literary course. He then entered McCormick Theological Seminary at Chicago, where he remained two years, and, in 1876, graduated from the Union Theological Seminary, New York City, in a class numbering forty-six members.   He was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Indianapolis Presbytery in June of the same year, and at once assumed the double pastorate of the Eighth and Twelfth Presbyterian Churches of Indianapolis. His successful ministry in these fields extended his reputation beyond the borders of Indiana, and he was soon called to become the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Albia, Iowa. He brought to this work the same quality of service and Christian zeal that had marked his previous labors, and it was not long before the churches of Geneseo and Rochelle, Illinois, recognizing his ability and worth, called him successively to these larger and more important fields.

Mr. Williams possessed, to an eminent degree, the spirit and qualifications of a successful evangelist. He responded to the many pressing invitations to assist the pastors in other parts of the State, which attracted the attention of the Synodical Home Mission Committee of Illinois, and, at their urgent request, he consented to assume the more arduous and varied work of State Evangelist. After two years of very marked success in this department of labor, the committee reluctantly accented his resignation, and, at the unanimous invitation of the congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church of Peoria, he became their pastor. About four years of unquestioned success followed, resulting in the marked advancement of the church and congregation along the lines of spiritual and material affairs. The music of harmony succeeded the discord of strife. Breaches in Zion's walls, occasioned by contention and indifference, were repaired and strengthened, the sweet gospel of Christian love and faithful service was exemplified in a reunited and prosperous church, and it was only because of his earnest convictions of the greater needs and wider door that he was induced to take up the work of an evangelist. In many of our Western and Middle States, where for more than five years he has conducted meetings, both pulpit and press have testified, in unmeasured terms of praise, of his remarkable success.

As a pastor, Mr. Williams' affable address, genial manner and sympathetic nature have always won the respect and love of his people, and given him a glad welcome to the hearts and homes of those to whom he bore the gospel message of comfort and grace. As a preacher, he is strong, clear, original and attractive, always adding to the earnest message the graces of oratory and the beauty of illustration.   He is ever loyal to the truth, and his hearers are never led by tricks of sophistry into paths of doubt or speculation. He is a student and thinker, never following the beaten paths of others, but by blazing new trails into unexplored regions, and pushing into untrodden fields of scholastic research, literary knowledge and biblical truths, he brought to the people in his sermons and addresses the results of thorough study and original thought. He has preached an entire gospel; he does not hesitate to proclaim "the terrors of the law that he might persuade some," but magnifies the  glories of the cross with its full and free salvation, so that the most abandoned need not despair.  Through the fierce diapason of  God's hatred of sin could be heard in his earnest message the sweeter harmony of divine love for the sinner.

During his busy life as pastor and evangelist, Mr. Williams has found time to publish many of his sermons in pamphlet form, which have met with wide circulation, and his facile pen has furnished, both to the secular and religious press, many articles of interest and profit. He has in preparation for publication in the near future, a large volume of his carefully revised sermons and addresses, which will be elaborately illustrated.  In his leisure moments, following the trend of a naturally inventive mind, he invented and has perfected the noted Archarena parlor game-board for home and social amusement, combining more than fifty games on one board. Although it has been on the market for a comparatively short time, the sales have already reached the phenomenal number of one hundred and seventy-five thousand boards, and the business is still in its infancy.

Mr. Williams has a large and generous heart, and the remarkable success of his business enterprise will enable him to realize, in the near future, some of his most cherished desires, chief of which is to perfect and carry out larger plans and broader Christian work. He is rapidly arranging his business affairs, placing them under competent management, so that his time and talent may be used unhindered in the more glorious work of preaching the gospel.

He has traveled extensively both in this country and in Europe, and being a keen and intelligent observer of customs, places and people, the experience and knowledge thus gained has added much to the interest and charm of his address in pulpit and social circle alike.

In his home life Mr. Williams especially exemplifies the character and qualities of a Christian gentleman, an affectionate and devoted husband, a wise and loving father, and sways the scepter of love over his charming household. He was married September 25, 1878, to Miss Matilda J. Woerner, daughter of Philip Woerner, of Indianapolis.  Six children have been born to them, four of whom are now living: Frieda Kate, born March 24, 1881; Susie Bell, born May 19, 1883; Clayton Edgar, born May 22, 1894; and Philip LaMar, born March 24, 1898. To his devoted and faithful wife, Mr. Williams owes much of his success in the Christian ministry. In perfect accord and hearty sympathy with all his work, he gratefully yields to her the well-earned meed of praise for the helpfulness of her wise counsel and her unfaltering support.  Cheerfully she has shared his every burden, sweetened every sorrow and brightened every joy.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




MARION WILLIAMSON.

Marion Williamson was born in Adams County, Ohio, in November, 1825. He received an education in the common schools of that State only. He was dependent upon his own personal exertions for a larger education and his knowledge of the law. He studied law in the office of William Burke, in Adams County, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Immediately after such admission he went to Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa, where he remained for only one year, and then removed to Oquawka, Illinois, where he engaged in the practice of his profession for three years. In 1856 he removed to the city of Peoria, and, for three years, was associated with Judge Wead, who was, at that time, one of the leading lawyers in the State of Illinois. After dissolving partnership with Judge Wead, he conducted an office of his own. In 1865 he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court, the circuit at that time being composed of Peoria and Stark Counties.

Judge Williamson was always an earnest student and an indefatigable worker. Unlike most lawyers, in investigating the law upon any subject as held by the courts in this State, he would not use a Digest, but would stand at his case and go through the volumes of reports, one by one. Whenever his eye caught a case involving principles new to him, he made a minute of it and entered it in his brief book. In that way he became familiar with the decisions of the courts and familiar with the principles of law generally. His knowledge of law was not confined to any particular branch. From the beginning of his career, when employed in any case, no matter how insignificant and unimportant, he thoroughly investigated the law upon that subject, both for and against his side of the controversy, and made a complete brief, which he entered at length in a book kept by him for that purpose. This method he uniformly followed and hence became one of the most thoroughly posted lawyers for his age, in the State of Illinois. His knowledge of law in all branches was remarkable.

After he retired from the bench, he entered the law firm of McCoy & Stevens, which was composed of Alexander McCoy, Lorin G. Pratt and John S. Stevens, and the firm name became Williamson, McCoy & Co. The business of the firm grew very rapidly and was in an exceedingly prosperous condition when Judge Williamson was suddenly taken ill with hemorrhage of the lungs, which resulted in his death, April 21, i868, at the age of 43.

The writer of this article was associated with Judge Williamson in the practice of the law, and also practiced before him while upon the bench. Judge Williamson was a man of strong prejudices, but he had as profound a respect for the law and equity as any man with whom the writer has ever been acquainted. Nothing of a personal character, no influence of any kind, could move Judge Williamson to render any decision not strictly in accordance with the law, as he understood it. He was a man of the highest personal integrity, truthful, open and honorable. No man ever despised the tricks of the profession more thoroughly than did Judge Williamson, and no man was more open in his expression of opinion concerning them or more determined in exposing and punishing them. His reverence for the law was of the loftiest character. He was, in the opinion of the writer of this article, the best posted man in all branches of the law to be found in the central portion of Illinois at the time of his death. He knew absolutely nothing of the commercial spirit which has since crept in and apparently dominates the profession at the present time. It was impossible for him to prostitute his legal attainments to the purpose of mere money-getting. When he retired from the bench, the Peoria bar, as a slight testimonial of their appreciation of his character as a Judge, presented him with a magnificent gold watch and chain, a present he would not have accepted had he continued upon the bench.  Judge Williamson was not an orator in any sense of the word. He was a very plain, incisive advocate, without any of the flowers or rhetoric or the graces of oratory. His thorough comprehension of the case and plain statement carried conviction where the best efforts of oratory would fail. While not the best educated man at the bar, he prepared a better set of instructions than any of his associates.  His instructions were always the plainest, most concise, simple and direct statements of the law governing the case.

In 1860 he married Louise Maxwell, the only daughter of David Maxwell, and left at his death, his widow and two children: Sally M., intermarried with J. F. Vincent, and Marshall H., now in the real-estate business in the city of Chicago.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




GEORGE A. WILSON.

Prominent among the citizens of Peoria whom it is a pleasure to hold in affectionate remembrance was George A. Wilson. Although not born within the precincts of Peoria County, yet he must be regarded as a native Peorian. His father, Jacob Wilson, and his mother, Emily (Donahoe) Wilson, were both among the earliest settlers in this vicinity, they having become residents of what is now Fond du Lac Township in Tazewell County as early as 1823 or 1824. When the new county of Peoria was organized Jacob Wilson was appointed by Governor Coles one of the first Justices of the Peace, and, on March 22, 1825, he performed the first marriage ceremony in the new county by uniting in the bonds of matrimony William Blanchard and Betsey Donahoe, sister of his future wife. In December of the same year Jacob Wilson and Emily Donahoe became husband and wife, and took up their residence on a farm at the foot of the bluff directly opposite the present village of Averyville, and continued to make it their home for a period of almost forty-four years. Mr. Wilson and Major Donahoe, his wife's father, were among the most prominent of the settlers at Ten Mile Creek, the former having, as soon as the public lands had come into market, secured a half-section, and both of them having been assessed for taxation among the highest in the settlement.

When Tazewell County was separated from Peoria, the settlers at Ten Mile Creek no longer formed a part of the population of Peoria County, but, because of their proximity to the village of Peoria, they continued to maintain a very close intimacy with its people. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were both devoted Methodists and the adherents of that denomination living in Peoria were accustomed frequently to cross the river to attend meetings at their house. Mr. Wilson's house was the rendezvous of all the Methodist ministers in the vicinity, several of whom would frequently
meet there. He also built the first church in that settlement, which was located at what is now the intersection of the Pekin and Spring Bay Road with that leading to Metamora. He also furnished and hauled to Peoria the rafters for the first Methodist Church erected in Peoria.

Mr. Wilson, after a long and useful life spent on the farm, died September 15, 1869, his wife surviving him until November 25, 1888. They had a large family of children of whom Joseph F. and George A. enlisted in the army at the outbreak of the rebellion, while a third, Robert T., became a sutler and was killed in an attack by guerillas near Helena on the Mississippi River. In the battle of Fort Donelson Joseph received a desperate gun-shot wound, which caused the loss of nearly the whole of his lower jaw-bone, and it was only through the heroic efforts of his brother George he was rescued from his perilous position and brought to his home, where, through skillful treatment, his life was saved. Joseph F. Wilson was a lawyer by profession but, by reason of this disaster, he was totally disabled from continuing his professional life, but was given important positions in the government service at Washington, filling them with credit until his death, which occurred January 4, 1898.

George Asahel Wilson was born in the year 1840, on the home farm, and continued to reside with his parents until he was old enough to be sent to college. Having a desire to enter professional life, he entered the senior prepara- tory department of Eureka College in September, 1856, where he remained for two years. He was in the same class with Rev. B. J. Radford, D. D., now President of the College; Hon. Jonathan H. Rowell, late member of Congress, and Charles P. Taggart, once County Superintendent of Schools of Peoria County. He would have graduated in 1861, but left in June, 1858, at which time he began the study of medicine in the office of Drs. John D. Arnold and dark D. Rankin, of Peoria. In due time he entered Rush Medical College at Chicago and attended its lectures until about the time of the breaking out of the war, when, within a short period of his expected gradua- tion, fired with patriotic zeal for his country, he abandoned his studies and came home to enter the army. On May 25, 1861, he was mustered in as a private in Company G, of the Seventeenth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel Leonard F. Ross. The company in which he enlisted was made up largely of volunteers from Woodford and Tazewell Counties, with many of whom he had become acquainted at and near Eureka, among whom its Captain. Otis A. Burgess, and its First Lieutenant. Jonathan H. Rowell, were his intimate friends.  He was soon thereafter assigned to duty in the regimental hospital, where he gained much valuable experience. Having served in that capacity over a year, he was appointed First Assistant Surgeon in the Fourteenth Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, then recruiting at Peoria, under the command of the veteran, Colonel Horace Capron, and was mustered in with that regiment, January 7, 1863. He was with the Seventeenth at the spirited battle of Frederick- town. Missouri, on October 21, 1861, in which battle that regiment took the leading part; also at Fort Donelson, where his brother was so desperately wounded, and at the battle of Shiloh, where his regiment did much to save Grant's army from disaster on the first day of that memorable contest. While with the Fourteenth Cavalry he accompanied his regiment in all its weary marches and raids until August 3, 1864, when, in Stoneman's Raid in the vicinity of Macon, Georgia, he was made prisoner and was confined at Macon and at Charleston, South Carolina, until the last day of October, when he was exchanged. He remained in the service until the final victory was in sight, and resigned his office April 7, 1865, the regiment remaining in the service until July 31, of the same year.

After leaving the army Dr. Wilson resumed his studies and graduated at Rush Medical College in 1866. He then entered upon the practice of his profession in Peoria with good prospects of success, but, being somewhat inclined towards political life, he accepted the Democratic nomination, in 1868, for the office of Circuit Clerk of Peoria County. His election to that office was a signal testimonial to his character as a citizen, as well as his patriotic devotion to his country. The Republican party was then in the ascendency, and while it had carried such veterans as Isaac Taylor, John D. McClure and John C. Yates into the offices of County Treasurer, County Clerk and Judge of the County Court, respectively. Dr. Wilson received sufficient support from that party, especially from his late comrades, to give him a handsome majority. In the discharge of the duties of this office he was faithful and painstaking, and at the end of his first term was again nominated and without difficulty re-elected. Had he desired it, he might have had the nomination for a third term; but the holding of office for more than two terms being then a vital question in politics, upon which the Democratic party had taken the negative side, he declined the use of his name for re-nomination.

Dr. Wilson was a Democrat from principle. While taking the side of the War-Democrats in support of the Government in its efforts to suppress the rebellion, and having for four years rendered his personal services in the army, he never yielded up those principles of Jeffersonian Democracy which he considered essential to good government. He was in favor of maintaining State sovereignty so far as compatible with the preservation of the Union, and against every tendency to centralization of power in the General Government; he was opposed to all class legislation which would tend to build up one class of interests to the detriment of another; he was opposed to the concentration of wealth in the hands of banks and other corporations, and in favor of a currency issued directly bv the Government and having a gold and silver basis: in short, he was an earnest advocate of all those measures which had, in former times, distinguished the Democrats from the old line Whigs. He therefore earnestly supported his party and endeavored by every means in his power to promote its success.  When Grover Cleveland came to the front as a political factor, and long before he was nominated to the Presidency, Dr. Wilson was his ardent admirer.

Having during his term of office taken advantage of the opportunities it afforded for engaging in the study of the law, he was, in the year 1876, admitted to the bar, and after his retirement from office entered upon the practice of that profession. By diligent work and faithful devotion to the interests of his clients he had attained to a good measure of success, when, in 1885, the Democratic party having, at the election of 1884, been successful in the election of Mr. Cleveland as President, Dr. Wilson received an appointment at his hands to the responsible office of Collector of Internal Revenue for the Fifth Collection District of Illinois. This position he filled with signal ability for the term of four years, at the expiration of which time, the Republicans having again been successful, he was superseded by Julius S. Starr.

His devotion to his party was possibly too earnest for his own good, for on two occasions he was induced to accept, at great odds, a nomination for Congress, once against Thomas A. Boyd and once against Philip Sidney Post; and notwithstanding the great popularity of these two experienced men, he succeeded in materially reducing their expected majorities.

After retiring from the office of Collector of Internal Revenue. Dr. Wilson resumed the practice of the law and entered into co-partnership first with Dan F. Raum, son of Commissioner Green B. Raum, and, later, with Hon. Sabin D. Puterbaugh, formerly Circuit Judge of this Circuit. Upon the election of Grover Cleveland for the second term and the appointment of James W. Hunter to the office of Collector of Internal Revenue, he was made Deputy Collector, in which capacity he served so long as the state of his health would permit. This was his last public service. For several years prior to his death his health gradually failed under the insidious ravages of a spinal complaint, having its inception in exposure and an injury received during the war, which terminated fatally on the 6th day of April, 1900. Two days later his funeral was attended by a large concourse of sorrowing friends and he was borne to the tomb by a deputation from Bryner Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he had long been an active member. His character is well summed up in the following lines written at the time of his death: "Probably no man ever lived who more fully exhibited the true spirit of democracy in his daily life and conver- sation. At all times and in all places he was the same frank, courageous, openhanded gentleman. He recognized neither caste nor creed, age or condition. He saw only the man created free and equal with himself, and entitled to the same consideration." The same kind consideration for his fellow-men which characterized his every day life led him to discard the rigid doctrines held by the so-called orthodox churches, and to unite with the Universalists. His life, public and private, political and domestic, was pure in an eminent degree, and, although sometimes seemingly engulfed in the maelstrom of party politics, he invariably came out triumphant without a smirch upon his character.

On February 21, 1876, Dr. Wilson was united in marriage with Helen Marr Hoskinson, daughter of John L. Hoskinson, an influential citizen of Macomb, Illinois. This union was a happy one, and it was the Doctor's chief delight to surround his home with everything within his means that would promote its happiness. For this he was well rewarded in the comforts bestowed upon him during the weary months of his last illness

Dr. Wilson was one of the charter members of Bryner Post. of the Grand Army of the Republic, and its Commander in 1882, and, during life, took an active interest in its prosperity. Since his death his memory has been most fittingly perpetuated by naming for him "The George A. Wilson Circle" of the "Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic."

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN WILSON.

John Wilson was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, June 7, 1826. His parents were Henry and Martha (Wood) Wilson, who came to America from Strawberry Bank, Westmorland County, England, about the year 1824. John was third youngest of nine children, four boys and five girls.

Shortly after his arrival in America, the father began to search for a place to locate. He visited various sections of the country and, finally, the beautiful prairies and fertile valleys of Illinois, then very sparsely populated, seemed to offer the greatest attraction, and he concluded to move his family thither. Accordingly, early in the year 1835, while the snow was yet upon the ground, father and mother, with their four youngest children, including our subject, drove in a one-horse sleigh West from Bainbridge, New York, to Olean on the Alleghany River in the western part of that State. Here a raft was constructed upon which the party floated down the Alleghany and Ohio Rivers to Louisville. Kentucky. The raft was abandoned, at this point, and the journey continued by steamer; thus the party arrived at Peoria in June, 1835.

For several months thereafter, the family lived at the corner of Main and Washington Streets, Peoria, on the present site of the First National Bank; but when, in the autumn of 1835, their residence was destroyed by fire, they moved to the neighborhood of Monroe's Mill on the Kickapoo, and in the spring of 1836, to a farm in Limestone Township. Here the son remained until sixteen years of age, working upon the farm, and, during two winters, when his services were not otherwise needed, he attended the neighborhood school, where the founda- tion of his education was established.

At the age of sixteen years, he determined to go out into the world and earn his own livelihood. He came to what is now known as South Peoria and engaged himself for two years as an apprentice at the cooper's trade, receiving for his two years' services the sum of seventy-five dollars. At the end of this term, he started for New Orleans, but being without funds, he did cooper's repair work on boats for his passage. After a short time, having decided to return to Peoria, he worked at his trade at various points en route, finally reaching Peoria after an absence of about three years. Here he worked at his trade until the spring of 1850. when he joined a party of "argonauts" and, with an ox-team, crossed the  plains to California, and became a gold-miner. This occupation he followed about Hangtown, on the South Fork of the American River, California, with some success, until 1852, when, growing weary of life in a lonely cabin in the wilderness. he concluded to return to his Peoria home. Having reached Panama by steamer from San Francisco, he walked across the Isthmus and took a steamer on the eastern shore for New Orleans, and thence by boat to Peoria. He then engaged in the retail grocery trade, but still dissatisfied, sold out his grocery business and, in the spring of 1853, organized a company and again started for the gold-fields of California. While in Iowa en route, he invested all the funds at his command in cattle, which were driven to California and sold there at a very considerable profit. He again became a miner, but, in 1854, again returned to Peoria via Nicaragua. Again he entered the retail grocery business, but retired shortly and, after trying various occupations, about the year 1860, he decided to become a dealer in cattle and other live stock. This business he has gradually enlarged and extended until it involves the handling, annually, upon the farms in Illinois, and the ranches owned by him in the Western States and Territories, and at the distilleries in and about Peoria, of a vast number of cattle prepared for human food.

Mr. Wilson has ever been a representative citizen of Peoria, and an earnest worker for the advancement of the city, always interested in its welfare and proud of its standing in every way. He was one of the original promoters and a prominent stock-holder of the Central City (Peoria's first) Street Railway; also. the Commercial National Bank, of which institution he is now a Director; the Peoria Savings Loan and Trust Company (now the Illinois National Bank), of which institution he is also a Director; the German-American National Bank of Pekin, of which he is a Director; the Wilson Grocery Company (Wholesale Grocers), Peoria. of which he is now the President: the Peoria Packing Company, Peoria, of which he is now President; the Illinois Sugar Refining Company, and the American Distilling Company of Pekin, of which institutions he is also a Director, besides numerous other industrial enterprises of lesser importance.

On June 5, 1855, John Wilson was married to Emily J., daughter of Samuel and Clementine Woodruff, who came to Peoria the same year as did our subject (1835), from the State of Ohio, and settled in what is now known as South Peoria. Seven children were born to them, five of whom survive, as follows: Arthur W., of Peoria ; Everett W. and Charles L. of Pekin, and John A. and Frederick L. of Peoria.

In politics, Mr. Wilson was an old line Whig, casting his first vote for Zachary Taylor. Since Lincoln's time, he has been a stanch Republican, but has never aspired to any office or belonged to any secret societies.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN C. WOELFLE.

Germany has contributed to this country a class of citizens of which any country might be proud.  Intelligent, industrious and honorable, they have found this new world opening up to them avenues of industry and employment not anticipated when they left their fatherland. They become citizens of the Republic, and at once identify themselves with all that pertains to the prosperity and best interest of the localities where they reside. They are not foreigners, but Americans in every true sense of the word, in the various homes of their adoption.

John C. Woelfle, born in Baden, Germany, January 16, 1843, is one of the class above referred to. When fourteen years of age, he entered upon an apprenticeship in the jewelry business. After passing examination of the trade, at Gewerbeschule, he left his fatherland, in the fall of 1863, and came directly to the city of Peoria, where he has resided ever since, except for a short time. He immediately commenced work at his trade, and, by his industry and economy, having saved something from the salary he received, in the fall of 1871, purchased the jewelry business carried on for some years previous by Mr. M. E. Erier. Commencing with the capital saved from his earnings while working for others, he entered upon his business career in the location still occupied by him, at 122 South Adams Street, and by his courteous, gentlemanly and obliging demeanor, and his uprightness and strict integrity, has succeeded in securing a large trade, ranking as one of the leading jewelers in the city of Peoria.

On November 1, 1888. he married Miss Hesler, daughter of Mr. August Hosier, who had established himself in a successful business in the city of Peoria. One child—a daughter—has been born to them.

Mr. Woelfle received his education and his early training in Germany, which was such as to make him an accurate, pains-taking, careful business man. He has never sought for notoriety, nor has he ever attempted to do business beyond his means. In his business, where there is such a large opportunity for dishonesty and fraud, he has commanded the public confidence, and his word is always relied upon.

Mr. Woelfle has never taken an active part in politics, but has interested himself in whatever he believed to be for the best interest of the city of Peoria. He has always been on the side of good government, and, in the admini- stration of public affairs, has done his part to secure economy, honesty and fidelity. He has no sympathy with trickery, fraud or deceit, either in politics, religion or business.  He has the confidence of the community.
 
from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


 


WILLIAM FREMONT WOLFNER.

Among the younger business men of Peoria, there is none who has achieved a larger or more notable degree of success than he whose name heads this sketch. Mr. Wolfner was born in Chicago, March 10, 1862—the son of Isaac and Josephine (Saxe) Wolfner, who were natives of Bohemia, Austria, which was also the birthplace of his four grandparents, Carl and Bertha Wolfner, and Joseph H. and Francesca Saxe. After receiving his education in the public schools cf Chicago and St. Louis, at the age of nineteen (1881) he came to Peoria as the Assistant Secretary of the Great Western Distilling Company and the local representative of the cattle interests of Nelson Morris, the well-known Chicago packer. In 1887 he became manager of the Great Western Distillery, which position he continued to fill until July, 1897, when he purchased an interest in the Mound City Distilling Company of St. Louis. A year later (July, 1898) he became associated in the same capacity with the Standard Distilling and Distributing Company of Peoria, which he still retains, having charge of the manufacturing branch of the company's business. He is also Vice-President of the National Cooperage and Woodenware Company, besides having other large financial interests connected with the city.

Mr. Wolfner is prominent in charities work, having, within the last few months, been reelected President of the Hebrew Relief Association of Peoria—a position which he has held continuously for the past ten years, and for which he is eminently well qualified both by his business capacity and his sympathy in the welfare of the poor. Of a modest and retiring temperament, he makes no effort to parade his service before the public, but enjoys the confidence of all acquainted with his career. While adhering to the religious faith of his fathers, he is liberal and tolerant towards all other forms of religious belief. In politics he is a stanch, high-minded and conservative Republican, who seeks rather to promote the welfare of the whole people than mere partisan success.  Mr. Wolfner was married, January 26, 1887, to Sophia Woolner, of Peoria, and they have three children: Ira W., Rose and Josephine.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




SAMUEL WOOLNER.

Samuel Woolner, distiller and financier, was born in the City of Szenitz, Hungary, on March 11, 1845, the fifth son of Solomon and Sallie Woolner, who were also natives of Hungary. He acquired his education in the schools of his native city, where, during his minority while still at home, he gained a practical knowledge of the distilling business in which his father had been engaged. In 1863 he came to America. Arriving almost penniless, he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where, through the assistance of one of his countrymen, he engaged in peddling merchandise throughout the State of Ohio, for a few months; but peddling being distasteful to him, he sought employment at his own trade. Having succeeded in reaching Philadelphia, he obtained employment as a distiller, and soon acquired a reputation for himself in this line which made his position very lucrative.

On the 20th day of March. 1869, Mr. Woolner was married to Miss Johanna Levy, with whom he lived unto her death, which occurred in the city of Peoria in 1872, leaving one child, Hannah, now Mrs. William B. Woolner. He remarried on the 19th day of October, 1892, being united to Miss Miriam Sternbach, his present charming and charitable wife, daughter of Louis Sternbach of the city of New York, and they have one son, Seymour Woolner, now about nine years of age.

Soon after his first marriage, Mr. Woolner and his brothers, Adolph and Ignatius, who had preceded him to America, entered into co-partnership and purchased a distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, which they conducted jointly until their removal to the city of Peoria in 1871, where soon after they purchased several distilleries and have remained in that business ever since. As soon as their business permitted they sent for their brothers, Jacob and Morris H., whom they had left in Hungary, and who, also being practical distillers, upon their arrival, were immediately admitted to partnership in the various distilling enterprises in which their predecessors were already engaged—a relation which was continued until 1891. Having adopted the maxim of Abraham Lincoln, '"United we stand, divided we fall," the brothers kept united.

The surviving brothers at the present time are Samuel. Jacob and Morris N.—Abraham, Ignatius and Adolph having died in the city of Peoria.

The Woolner Brothers have become one of the most widely known firms in connection with distilling and other branches of business in the city of Peoria. They have also been instrumental in founding and building up the grape sugar business in Peoria, and were large stockholders in the Peoria Grape Sugar Company, an institution which they established. At present Samuel Woolner is engaged with his nephews, the sons of his brothers Ignatius and Adolph Woolner, in various extensive business enterprises. In addition to the distilling business, Mr. Samuel Woolner has also been prominent in connection with banking enterprises, and, at the present time, is a Director and Vice-President of the German-American National Bank, the most largely capitalized institution of its kind in Peoria. He is also a large stockholder in several Chicago banks. In 1894 he built the Atlas Distillery, at that time the largest distillery in the city.  In 1890, in connection with his brother Adolph, he erected the Woolner Building, the largest and most complete office-building in the city, which stands as a monument to the enterprise and business foresight of the Woolner Brothers.

Mr. Samuel Woolner is a member, and has filled nearly all the offices, of the Peoria Board of Trade, including the Presidency, and has served the city of Peoria faithfully for eight years as one of the members of the City Council. A few years ago, on account of pressing business, he was compelled to decline the nomination for Mayor of Peoria, tendered him by a Republican convention. He is a member of Schiller Lodge and a thirty-second degree Mason, a member and President of the "Anshai Emeth" Congregation (Hebrew) of Peoria, and has served as President of the order B'nai Brith for this District, and of the Home for Aged and Infirm Israelites at Cleveland, and is now a Trustee of the Jewish Orphan Asylum at Cleveland, Ohio, which maintains five hundred orphan children. He is also Vice-president of the Union American Hebrew Congregations, whose college is located at Cincinnati, Ohio, and he is largely interested, and an active worker in, almost every Jewish and nonsectarian charities organization, being a firm believer in Conservative Reform Judaism. His liberal donations of time and money to the above and kindred causes, have made him known as one of "the Jewish Philanthropists of America."

Nature has endowed Mr. Woolner with an indefatigable will-power and thorough business sagacity, which, coupled with sterling honesty and frugal habits, has not only given him the reputation of being one of the foremost business men of Peoria, but has also won for him a national reputation. His success in life and the enviable position which he now occupies, furnish an exemplification of the opportunities which this country offers "to good worthy men," of which fact no one is more appreciative than Samuel Woolner.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOSEPH WRIGHT.

Joseph Wright was born in Camden, Camden County, New Jersey, July 1, 1816, where he spent his early life. At sixteen years of age he began to serve his time as a brick mason, and spent four years in learning the trade in Philadelphia, working nine months of each year. for which he received his board and the munificent sum of $25 per year, leaving the other three months without salary and with his board to pay. During that time the working hours were from fourteen to sixteen each day. He especially prepared himself for the finer work of laying fronts of buildings.

After completing his time, he went to New York, where he remained for one year, and from there sailed to New Orleans. On this trip the vessel experienced the roughest of weather, and  very man on board was compelled at times to take his turn at the pumps. Food and water became scarce before the end of the voyage, but the vessel finally reached its destination. While in New Orleans Mr. Wright went through a season of epidemic cholera, and subsequently went through a similar experience at Natchez and Vicksburg. He was charmed with the climate in the South, however, and would have located there had it not been for slavery. Leaving New Orleans, he journeyed up the Mississippi River, and then up the Ohio, landing at Cincinnati in 1838, where, two years later, he married Theodosia Eldridge Rork, making that city his home for about nine years.

In the fall of 1847 Mr. Wright came West prospecting for a new location, and selected Peoria as his future home. He then returned to Cincinnati, disposed of all his interests there, and, in the spring of 1848, settled permanently in Peoria. Here he invested in real estate, which seemed, at the time, far removed from the center of the city, with no immediate prospect of any increase in value; but the wisdom of his selection was shown by subsequent events, when the property became valuable, and he realized from it a reasonable fortune.

Mr. Wright was always interested in educational matters in the city, a stanch supporter of public schools, and of various charitable institutions that grew up, from time to time, in the city.  His charities were numerous but never ostentatious. He never gave to be seen of men, but to be helpful to the needy and unfortunate.

In politics he was a Democrat of a pronounced type; but such was his integrity that he did not allow his politics to prevent him from voting for those whom ne considered best fitted for local administrative offices. He was a man temperate in all things, of earnest convictions, who formed his own judgment, and who had the courage of his convictions and his judgment; a man of the strictest integrity, and of the highest personal character.

He died, after a few days illness, on September n, 1895, in his eightieth year.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




PHILIP ZELL.

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." This sketch, however, shows that a good name and riches are not necessarily inconsistent or antagonistic.

Philip Zell was a prominent figure in the business enterprises of Peoria for many years, and his name was always a synonym for integrity, uprightness and purity of life. He was born in Schlitz, Prussia, September 8. 1829, where he received the ordinary school education of a German boy. He was always fond of books, and all his life was a student; was especially fond of practical chemistry, and devoted considerable time to its study, becoming reasonably well-informed upon the subject. His father was a miller and the son was taught the trade of a cooper. At the age of twenty-one the latter left Germany, as he had no taste for military service, which the Government was about to compel him to perform. Coming to this country, he went to Baltimore, Maryland, where he entered into business as a cooper. From Baltimore he removed to Madison, Indiana, and there started in the cooperage business for himself. Three years afterwards he removed to Peoria, and in the summer of 1857 commenced the distillation of alcohol, bringing to Peoria the first alcohol still used in the city. He was engaged in this business a number of years, in partnership at different times, with Charles P. King, Hervey Lightner, P. R. K. Brotherson and Alexander Tyng, and later with John H. Francis and H. & J. Schwabacher. In the year 1888 he severed his connection with the distilling business, owing to the formation of what was called the Distiller's & Cattle Feeder's Trust—an organization which he did not approve. Prior to this time (in 1870) he engaged in the banking business with Walter B. Hotchkiss, under the firm name of Zell, Hotchkiss & Company, which business was continued, under that name, to the date of his death, April 11, 1900.

He was for many years President of the Peoria National Bank and Vice-President of the Savings Bank of Peoria, and was one of the organizers of the Peoria Mercantile Library Association, with which he continued his connection until it became the Peoria Public Library. He always took a deep interest in the prosperity of the Library, and was faithful in the discharge of every duty connected with its development and management.   Other business enterprises in which he was interested included the electric lighting plants in the city of Peoria and the building of the National Hotel.

Public-spirited and enterprising as a citizen, Mr. Zell was interested in whatever pertained, in his judgment, to the prosperity of the city. He was conservative in his ideas of business, but progressive, keeping up at all times with the spirit of the age. He was always willing to do his part financially and otherwise, in developing any and everything he considered beneficial to Peoria.  He was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and a vestryman for a number of years.

Mr. Zell was married, March 28, 1854, to Sophia Green, and to them were born five children —one son and four daughters: Katherine S., George H.. Elizabeth V., Annie I. and Edith S.

Mr. Zell, although in every way public- spirited, never desired or sought public office, preferring to serve the people in some other capacity.   He was essentially a home man, domestic in all his tastes, fond of his family and of being with them. No man had a better reputation for integrity of character, purity of life and honorable business methods, and consequently none enjoyed in a greater degree the profound respect of all who knew him. He left his mark for good upon the city and its institutions, as well as all those public and private enterprises with which he was associated. The death of such a man is always a public, as well as a personal, loss.
 
from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




JOHN R. ZIEGLER.

Capt. John R. Ziegler was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, December 10, 1832. the son of Jacob and Maria (Myers) Ziegler. His father was in the flour-milling business, and under his instruction John received his first business education. In 1851 he built and operated, in Zanesville, Ohio, a sash, door and blind factory, but sold out and came to Peoria in 1852, and engaged in carpenter work and building. Prior to this time he had been a railroad engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad, foreman on the Delaware Canal, and a contractor in construction work for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In all these different lines of business he acquired a very general knowledge of business affairs, and whatever work he was engaged in he pushed with remarkable energy.

In 1861 he enlisted in Company E, Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Cavalry was elected Captain, and served with credit and distinction for three years. When his term of service expired, he returned to Peoria and engaged in the undertaking business, which he conducted, with marked success, to the time of his death.

Captain Ziegler was a man of great energy and public spirit—liberal with his time and money for the benefit of the public. He always took a very active interest m the administration of public affairs, although he was never an office-holder or an office-seeker. He always discharged his duties, as a citizen, by doing his full part in the selection of public officials. He was a member of the Masonic Order of the Consistory and Knights of Pythias.  At one time he was interested in Mexican coffee lands, and made several trips to Mexico in the interest of his  holdings.

He was not a member of any church, but was reared in the Presbyterian faith, which was the faith of his ancestors,  in politics he affiliated with the Democratic party, but did not allow his partisan zeal to warp or control his judgment in the selection of municipal and local officers. He believed in absolute honesty on the part of every official in the discharge of his public duties, and sided with those who held them to a strict accountability, regard- less of political preferences. In May, 1858, he was married to Ellen Smith, the daughter of Harrison Smith. Esq., an old, respected, prominent and influential citizen. Three children, born of this union, still survive: Warren C., Florence and J. Frank.

Captain Ziegler was eminently social in his disposition, genial and companionable. He was liberal in all respects, and always contributed fully up to his means, to the charitable institutions of the city. He was attentive to his business, but, owing to his energy and business methods, he found time to discharge his other duties as a good citizen of Peoria. He was always greatly interested in the development and growth of Peoria. and favored everything looking to its improvement, and particularly to the improvement of the streets of the city. He was a public-spirited citizen, and continued such to the day of his death, which occurred December 2, 1896. He was strictly honorable in all his business transactions, and thus he left to his posterity the inheritance of a good name.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




ZINK, HYMAN PENN; Farmer; born in Brown County, Ohio, July 14, 1856; educated in Delaware College. His maternal grandparents were John S. and Sarah (West) Beasly, who come from Ohio. His father. Rev. M. P. Zink, was born in Highland County, Ohio, in 1825; his mother, Mary Jane (Beasly), was born in Brown County, Ohio', September 23, 1834; they were married September 26, 1855, by Rev. Mr. Dustin, while she was a .student at Oakland Female Seminary. She was a loyal and consistent member of the Methodist Church for over forty-five years; she died January 18, 1898. Rev. M. P. Zink was a circuit rider of the Methodist Episcopal Church for forty years, but was superannuated in 1889. Mr. H. P. Zink was married to Ida Bell Bowers, in Elmwood, in January, 1882. They had four children: Merle P., born September 4, 1886; Dale F., born October 6, 1888; Lelia M., born October 2, 1890; and Ruth, born January 16, 1899. Mrs. Zink was born in Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa, January 22, 1862. She was the daughter of Charles L. and Emeline Bowers; her mother is deceased, but her father is still living in Elmwood. Mr. Zink came to this township in 1875 and located on Section 6, one mile northwest of the city. He has a fine farm where he makes a specialty of raising thoroughbred short-horn cattle and Percheron horses. He is a Republican, and he and Mrs. Zink are members of the Court of
Honor.
 
  from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 190
 

JOHN JOHNSTON.

The public, political and other services rendered the County of Peoria by Mr. Johnston, have been characterized by a broad understanding of the duties involved, and more than ordinary dignity and discretion in the fulfillment thereof. Although born in Beloit, Wisconsin, October 3, 1860, Mr. Johnston has passed almost his entire life amid his present surroundings, for in 1862 his parents, Robert and Eleanor (Taylor) Johnston, removed from Beloit to Peoria, where the elder Johnston was the first dry-goods merchant to locate on Adams Street. In his youth Mr. Johnston was favored from an educational standpoint; for, after completing the training of the public schools of Peoria, he attended the Episcopal College at Belfast, Ireland. Upon returning to American soil he acquired his first business experience as cashier in his father's store, and afterwards received a broader recognition of his ability while serving for seven years as Assistant Librarian of the Peoria Public Library. In the meantime he had made his influence felt as a stanch advocate of Democracy, and, in the fall of 1890, was elected to the Thirty-seventh General Assembly of Illinois, and was one of the famous "101" Democrats whose enthusiastic backing rendered possible the election of United States Senator John M. Palmer. In 1892, when the requisite population of Peoria County rendered possible the separation of the hitherto combined offices of Recorder of Deeds and Circuit Court. Mr. Johnston was elected to the former office, and was re-elected in 1896 and again in 1900.

The union in marriage of Mr. Johnston and Magdalena Prasch was solemnized June 26. 1889, and the death of Mrs. Johnston occurred October 6, 1901. Mr. Johnston has been active in promoting many of the enterprises of Peoria, and his assistance may be counted on for the furthering of any worthy and wise cause. Fraternally he is well and favorably known, and is identified with the Fraternal Mystic Circle, the Independent Order of Foresters, and the Improved Order of Red Men. Throughout the years of his public service he has demonstrated a particular aptitude for political responsibility, and this, combined with a singularly genial and courteous personality, an un- changing obligingness, and genius for method and detail, renders him one of the most popular and trusted county officials.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


 



MILES, REV. ARTHUR; Congregational Minister; born in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, England, March 5, 1864. His maternal grandfather, Charles Steele, and his parents, William and Matilda (Steele) Miles, were born in England. Arthur Miles began his education in the National School in London and came to America in 1887, and finished his studies at the Theological Seminary in Chicago, receiving the degree of B. D. in 1892. He was called to preach at Henry, Marshall County, Illinois, where he was stationed three years. He then went to Galesburg, and, in 1896, assumed charge of the Congregational Church at Elmwood, where he still remains. He married Louisa D. Hull in Stark, Stark County, August 8, 1889. They have two children: Arthur Edgar, born June 16, 1894; and Leslie, born May 14, 1897. Mrs. Miles was born in Osceola, Stark County, in 1867. She was the
daughter of C. N. and Calista E. Hull. Her father enlisted in the Peoria Battery and fought through the Civil War. After his discharge he returned home and established a store and elevator, which he managed until his death.
 

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902
 

 

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