Carroll County IL Biography


Frank Stedman, an honored citizen of Savanna, connected with its business interests, has also been identified with its civic life, he having held some of its most responsible offices. He was born in Canandaigua, Ontario Co., N. Y., Oct. 30, 1835. His father, Albert Stedman, and his grandfather, George Stedman, were natives of the Empire State. The latter was a cooper by trade, and removed from New York to Michigan, settling in Washtenaw County and spending his last years there. The father of our subject was reared in his native State, and early learned the papermaker’s trade. He went to Michigan in 1834, and, settling among the pioneers of Washtenaw County, followed the cooper’s trade there. In 1836 he returned to New York for his family, and after that continued to reside in Washtenaw County until 1840. In that year he came with his wife and children to Illinois, the removal being made with a pair of horses and wagon, and, locating in Oreco, became a pioneer of Stephenson County. Mr. Stedman built a distillery there; which he operated for a time, and then traded for a farm in the same county, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits and at his trade of cooper in that place until 1846. In that year he came to Savanna and was employed at coopering here until 1850. He was then seized with the gold-fever, and started with an ox and horse team to perform the long and tedious journey across the plains and mountains to California. He remained in the Golden State two years, actively engaged in mining, and then, returning home by the way of the Isthmus, invested some of his savings in a farm near Savanna, where he resided until his death.

He was a man whose many excellent qualities of head and heart won him the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact, and his death was regarded with sorrow beyond the family circle. The maiden name of his wife was Jane Buchanan, and she like-wise was a native of New York, her parents being James and Hannah Buchanan, natives of the United States, but of German parentage. She survived her husband, dying on the old homestead. They were the parents of nine children – Frank, of whom we write; Caroline, the wife of William Smith; Adeline, wife of D. C. Pierce; George; Louisa, wife of J. R. Robinson, of whom see sketch; Hattie, wife of William Lambert; Emma, Ira Lincoln; Edward died in infancy; Emeline died at the age of eight years; George died at the age of four years.

The subject of our sketch was but an infant when his parents removed to Michigan, and was five years old when they came to Illinois, so that most of his life has been passed in this state. He received his early education in the pioneer schools of Stephenson County, and in the intervals of schooling he assisted in the labor of caring for the farm. At the age of sixteen he entered upon his mercantile career as a clerk in a store, and subsequently went to Iowa with his employer in 1854, and clerked for him in that State a year. Returning to Illinois he again commenced work on a farm. Two years later he resumed clerking, and was thus engaged until 1860, when, ambitious to see more of life, and to try his luck in the gold fields of California, he made a trip across the plains, crossing the Missouri at Omaha, then a small place. He engaged in mining a few months; but being dissatisfied with the rough, uncertain life of a miner, he returned to this part of the Continent and secured a position as clerk for the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, remaining with that company until the fall of 1884, a period of nearly twenty-four years. After such a long term of service he needed rest, and he spent the following winter in Arkansas. Since his return to Savanna, he has been working for an insurance company as book-keeper. He is an accurate accountant, and is ever faithful to the best interests of his employers, who place in him the utmost confidence.

As a man of undeniable honor, of sound intellect, and good business capacity, his fellow-citizens have shown commendable discernment in selecting our subject to assist in the local government, and at various times they have called him to fill important and responsible offices. He has served as a member of the City Board of Trustees, was City Clerk and City Treasurer for two years, and was a member of the School Board ten years, discharging the duties incumbent upon him while a civic official with characteristic ability and fidelity, with an eye single to the best interests of the public. He is a thorough believer in the policy of the Democratic party, and one of its warmest supporters in this vicinity. He is prominently identified with the A. F. & A. M. as a member of the Mississippi Lodge No. 385; and also with the I. O. O. F., belonging to Savanna Lodge No. 164.

Mr. Stedman was married in 1864 to Miss Mary A. Sargent, a native of Savanna, and daughter of Porter and Emma C. Sargent. Their plesent (sic) wedded life was brought to a sad close by the death of Mrs. Stedman. One son was born to their union – Kleber.

Contributed by Carol Parrish - Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, Illinois (1889), Pg 804

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