Henry S. Sabage was born in Morgan county, Illinois, April 22, 1824. His father, John Savage, was a native of New York State. He emigrated from there to Illinois, making the journey with teams, and becoming one of the first settlers of Morgan county. He located at Diamond Grove, near Jacksonville, and worked at the trade of carpenter for some time. He built the first frame house ever erected in Jacksonville. From Morgan he came to Cass county, and settled six miles southwest of the present site of Virginia. Here he bought a tract of land, built a log house, and subsequently a frame one, and passed the rest of his life on this farm. In politics he was a Whig until the organization of the Republican party, when he identified himself with it. He served as Sheriff of the county. His wife, Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Guy Smith, Esq., was a native of New York. She died on the home farm. The names of their seven children are as follows: Emily, wife of Hon. John W. Pratt; Spencer; George; Henry; Harriet, wife of O.J. Silverthorn; John W.; and Charles W.
Henry S. was reared and educated in Cass county. He remained on the farm till he was sixteen, when he engaged in clerking in Virginia. He clerked here some years and was then employed in the same capacity in Beardstown. He subsequently purchased a farm south of Virginia, and devoted his time to farming, residing there at the time of his death, March 29, 1865, meeting death by accident, having been thrown from a horse. Like his father, he was first a Whig and afterward a Republican.
January 10, 1844, he married Sarah Frances Ward, who was born in Scott county, Kentucky, August 8, 1828. Her father, Jacob Ward, was born in Kentucky in 1800, his parents being natives of Virginia and pioneers of Scott county, Kentucky. Grandmother Ward died in Scott county, and grandfather Ward afterward moved to Missouri, where he spent his last years. Jacob Ward was reared and married in Kentucky, and came to Illinois in 1830, making the journey overland with teams. He located near the present site of Arcadia, where he engaged in farming for a short time, after which he moved into the village of Arcadia and opened a dry-goods and grocery store, at the same time operating a blacksmith and wagon shop and conducting a hotel. Indeed, he was the proprietor of the greater portion of the business there. A number of years later he moved to Cass county, and bought a farm three miles south of the city of Virginia. From this he subsequently moved to a farm on the State road, near Virginia, and was a resident there at the time of his death. He was a prominent and influential man. He served as Associate Judge of the county, having been elected in 1851. The maiden name of his sife was Eliza J. Stevenson. She was born in Kentucky, in 1807, spent her last years in Cass county, Illinois, and died on the farm near Virginia.
Mrs. Savage was small when her parents moved to Illinois. She remembers well the incidents of their pioneer life here, and vividly describes the primitive log school houses with their rude furnishings. She resided with her parents till her marriage, and for some years past has occupied a beautiful home in Virginia. She has five children living, viz.: Charles W., Edward E., Lewis L., Ella Belle and Henry S. Charles W. married Kittie Kelly and has five children; Louise, Bertha, May, Harriet, Katie and Chase. Edward E. married Alice Heaton and has four children: Henry H., Walter W., Bessie and Zella. Lewis L. married Emma L. Stribling and has five children: Ada F., Charles J., Fred D., Lewis L and Tom. Ella Belle is the wife of Henry W. Collins, her children being G. Ward and Elizabeth.
Mr. and Mrs. Savage both joined the Christian Church before their marriage.
Andrew Schaad, who for many years has been identified with the agricultural interests of Cass county, Illinois, and who is a resident of Hickory precindt, was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, January 4, 1836.
John Schaad, his father, was a son of John Schaad, and boh passed their lives and died in Germany, the former in 1852. Grandfather Schaad was all his life engaged in agricultural pursuits. His son, John, became a civil dngineer, and was engaged in surveying for canals, railroads and turnpikes. His wife, nee Katherine Hamel, was born in the same locality as her husband, she being the daughter of Christian Hamel. She came to America in 1853, the year following Mr. Schaad's death, and spent her last years in Cass county, Illinois. She reared four children: Thomas, Charles, Andrew and Mary. Thomas and Charles both married and reared families, and spent their last years in Cass county. Mary is the wife of Henry Walter, and lives in Arenzville.
The subject of our sketch attended school in Hesse-Darmstadt until 1853, when he accompanied other members of the family to America. They set sail from Havre de Grace September 15, 1853, on the sailing vessel Farera, and landed at New Orleans after a voyage of forty-five days. There was cholera on board the vessel, which rendered the voyage and unpleasant one. From New Orleans they came north by river to Beardstown. Andrew and his brothers rented land and farmed together, being successful in their operations. Subsequently Andrew and Charles bought a tract of land on sections 6 and 7, township 18, range 10, and farmed together a few years. The former has been a resident of what is now Hickory precinct since 1858, and is now the owner of 320 acres of land, 177 acres of which are the finest tillable land, located on sections 6, 7, and 8, township 18, range 10. He has erected a nice set of frame buildings, and is confortably situated to enjoy life.
In 1860 Mr. Schaad married Miss Miza Taylor, a native of Scotland, and a daughter of Neill Taylor. He and his wife are the parents of three children Robert, Kate and Maud.
Politically Mr. Schaad is a stanch Republican. He is a member of the County Central Committee, Highway Committee in District No. 2, and has served as a member of his District School Board for thirteen years. Both he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
CHARLES A. SCHAEFFER, County Superintendent of Schools, of Cass county, is thoroughly identified with the educational interests of this county, and is as popular as he is well known. A resume of his life is herewith presented.
Mr. Schaeffer was born in what is now Bluff Spring precinct, Cass county, Illinois, May 24, 1855. His father, Calvin S. Schaeffer, was born in Monroe precinct, same county, son of Phillip Schaeffer, a native of Ohio. Phillip Schaeffer's, father John Schaeffer, was, it is supposed, a native of Pennsylvania, and the family are descended from German ancestry. John Schaeffer removed to Ohio at an early day and was one of the pioneer settlers of that state. He continued his way westward in 1818 and took up his abode in Cass county, Illinois, where he passed his life. He and his worthy companion reared six sons and six daughters. Phillip Schaeffer was reared and married in Ohio, and moved from there to Illinois, becoming one of the first settlers of what is now Monroe precinct, Cass county. Here he entered a tract of Government land and on it erected a cabin which served as the family home for a number of years. Subsequently he built a frame dwelling. At that time Beardstown, Jacksonville and Springfield were the principal markets in this part of the country. There were no gristmills in this vicinity, and on his farm he erected a mill that he operated by horse power. People came for many miles to get their corn ground here. On this place he made his home until the time of his death, in 1854. The maiden name of his wife was Highly Carver. She was born in Ohio, of English descent. Her death occurred at the home place in 1880. The names of their six children are Washington, Valentine W., Calvin S., Cyrus J., Martha A. and Elizabeth. Calvin S. was reared on the farm and remained with his parents until his marriage, soon after which he moved to Petersburg and was engaged in farming there for a time. He then came back to Monroe precinct and leased a part of his father's estate, built a log house, and lived there about ten years. From there he moved to his present farm, which includes a part of his father-in-law's homestead in Hickory precinct. His wife was before her marriage Miss Mary Schafer, She being a daughter of Christopher and Rachel (Emerick) Shafer. Calvin S. Schaeffer and his wife reared six children, vis.: Charles A.; George W.; Winters L.; William D.; Rachel A.; and Jennie.
Charles A. Schaeffer received his early education in the district schools, afterward attending the Virginia High School and the State Normal School at Normal, Illinois. At the age of twenty-two he commenced teaching, and taught and attended school for nine years. On the thirty-first anniversary of his birth he received the nomination for County Superintendent of Schools, and was elected at the ensuing election. Four years later he was nominated by acclamation, and elected by a largely increased majority. In November, 1890, he bought an interest in the Virginia Enguirer, in company with his cousin, William A. S. Schaeffer (since deceased), and soon afterward bought the remaining interest. He was then sole proprietor of this paper until September, 1891, at which time he sold the entire interest in said paper to F. E. Downing.
Mr. Schaeffer was married, in 1882, to Nellie M. Garner, a native of Oregon precinct, Cass county, Illinois, a daughter of William S. and Nancy M. (Crews) Garner. Two children have been born to them: Ledru G. and Edna Belle.
Mr. Schaeffer's political views are in harmony with Democratic principles. He cast his first vote for Samuel J. Tilden. Fraternally, he is associated with Virginia Lodge, No. 544, A. F. & A. M.; Saxon Lodge, No. 68, I. O. O. F.; and Virginia Camp, M. W. A.
Henry M. Schmoldt, Beardstown, Illinois.--It is the constitutional privilege of every American to aspire to the highest honors within the gift of the people; and when such aspiration is supplemented by progressive and well balanced mentality, backed with integrity, tact and energy, it follows as a law of natural selection that such a man is a leader among his fellow men. It matters not whether his father be a prince of fortune, or an humble mechanic; the law of selection, made natural by the inspired principles of our constitution, remains the same; for under the beneficent and noble doctrine of a true republican government, monarchial succession is relegated to the repellent past, and all men are born equal--equal aristocrat being the man possessing a wealth of brains. Such a man may have an academic sheepskin learnedly inscribed as an early voucher to his mentality and title to distinction. When such is happily the case the man simply rises the more rapidly, simply obtains an earlier hold upon the confidence and respect of his fellow men. The history such a man makes becomes his own property, so to speak, and not alone an embellishment of the future. His progress has outstripped time, and he lives to read, in accredited form and in the suffrage of approval of his fellow men, the story of his life. How eminently fitting to a good life is such an honor, and how few men enjoy it! It is one of those few, a man who, though still in the morning of his life, has made a record worthy the pages of history that this sketch is written.
Henry M. Schmoldt was born in Cass county, Illinois, September 19, 1858. He is the eldest son of Robert G. and Johanna (Blohn) Schmoldt, both natives of Hanover, Germany. Robert G. Schmoldt was the eighth son of Herman Schmoldt, a wealthy land owner in Hanover. The father of Henry M. Schmoldt spent a portion of his early life upon the ocean. In 1852 he was married, by the American consul at Hamburg, to Miss Johanna Blohm, of Hanover, after which he emigrated to the United States, locating in New York city. In July of the following year he removed to Beardstown, where with his god wife he enjoys the fruits of a well-earned competence and good name.
In 1890, at the retirement of his father from business, Hemry M. Schmoldt, in company with his brothers, Adolph E. and Robert W., assumed full control of the extnesive business built up by their father, a business which with the advent of younger blood at the helm has made additional strides in the favor of the public. The boyhood of Henry M. Schmoldt was full of active usefulness and hard work. At the usual age he entered the public school at Beardstown, and to this, the education there obtained, was added a commercial course of study in a business college in St. Louis, Missouri after which he took a course at Asbury (now Depauw) University, Greencastle, Indiana.
In 1876, he returned to Beardstown and associated himself with his father in the manufacture of cooperage supplies, and has continued in the business ever since, the firm now being Schmoldt Bros. & Company. This firm also deals extensively in lumber and house-furnishing supplies.
Mr. Schmoldt, of whom this sketch is written, is one of the ounger war horses in the Republican party, and has widened his strength and wisdom in office by having been repeatedly elected to the office of Mayor of Beardstown, besides having served as Alderman for several years. He is a hard worker, scrupulous and exact in his dealings with men, and a staunch advocate of the principles of the great party, in whom and through whom he sees the great truths which his party believes have made America what it is. He is, however, more of a statesman than a politician; for politicians are not generally given to great scruples in matters of conscience in politics, and Mr. Schmoldt is; but it is the honest, straightforward man that wins a lasting meed of victory in politics as well as in social and business life; and such is the record of Mr. Schmoldt. In the local counsels of the Republican party he is an able and welcome adviser.
On May 12, 1880, Mr. Schmoldt was marriedto Miss Lena Earhardt, of Beardstown, daughter of the late Dr. Fred Earhardt, an old and leading physician of Cass county. They have one child, a daughter, whom they have named Jennie.
Socially, Mr. Schmoldt is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, and also of the Odd Fellows. Personally he is kind, courteous and affable.
Henry J. Schroeder, one of the old and well known contractors and builders of Beardstown, was born in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, in 1838. His father, Fred Schroeder, had always been a farmer, and he died when about 74 years of age, at Beardstown, and his wife died some time later, aged seventy-eight. The family came to the United States in 1844, and came straight to Beardstown upon landing in New Orleans. They came by the usual route up the Mississippi river to St. Louis, and from there up the Illinois river to their destination. Henry was a boy of eleven when he came to this city, and has since made it his home. He grew up, learning the trade of carptenter, and worked as journeyman for a time, and later was with his father-in-law, Henry Mohlman, in his substantial planing mill for some years. It was the first business of the kind in the city, and the firm was successful in doing work for a large territory and for all the lumber yards of the city. The railroads that came into the city interfered with the business, and Mr. Schroeder sold out his interest and launched into the flour-mill business; but a change in the making of flour came about, and to change from buhr to roller process required large outlays: so Mr. Schroeder traded his mill off for a farm and went back to his trade as a carpenter and a contractor. He has since followed his trade and has built many of the houses and public buildings of Beardstown. Among some of the buildings that he has constructed are the Park house, leading hotel of the city, opera house and many others that all bear testimony to the skill of the contractor and builder. He has dealt extensively in real estate, and has an interest in the Mohlman and Schroeder block, one of the best in the city. He also owns one of the largest and best two-and-one-half-story brick houses in the city. He has been a leading worker in local matters and a truly good citizen. For many years he has been a Democrat in politics, and his party once made him Alderman of the city. He has retired, to a certain extent, from active business and now enjoys the fruit of his labors. His sons succeed him: so there is no necessity for him to exert himself in regard to his business interests.
Mr. Schroeder was the first child that his parents had. He was followed by four sisters, but no brothers. The family were Lutherans, as are most of the German families, and were noted for their thrift and honesty. He has only one sister living, Jeanie Walch, of Leavenworth, Kansas.
He was married in Beardstown, to Miss Anna Mohlman, born in one of the Rhine provinces, Germany, in 1841, a daughter of Henry Mohlman, and when young she came to this country with her parents, and has since resided here. She is an intelligent woman, a good, kind wife, mother and neighbor. Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder have seven children, namely: Edward, a contractor of Beardstown, married to Mrs. Annie Balsemier; Dilla, wife of Charles Heinzes, of Beardstown; Henry G., a trimmer by trade, with Mr. Henry Keil, a hardware merchant of this city, and married to Miss Mene Wipker; George, at home, a carpenter; Rhoda, Walter and Edith: the last three named are all at home. Mr. Schroeder has a married daughter, Sarah, wife of Charles Kreke, a furniture dealer of this city. She is a child by a former marriage to Miss Dora Christiana, now deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder are members of the Fourth Street Lutheran Church, and are liberal supporters of the same, of which Mr. Schroeder used to be a Trustee.
Adam Schuman, one of the enterprising and successful young farmers of section 13, range 12, owning a farm of 120 acres which he has occupied since the death of his father, John A. Schuman, in October, 1886, has been the proprietor of the farm where he was born, reared and educated. The date of his birth is February 13, 1851. Since he came into possession of the farm, he has greatly improved it and made it very successful, having it well stocked and employing good farm hands. Although only a young man, he is ambitious and is bound to succeed.
Adam is the only son of John Adam and Katie (Loab) Schuman, both natives of Germany, of good ancestry. They were born, reared and educated in Germany, and while yet young came in the early forties to America, sailing from Hesse Darmstadt, arriving after several weeks voyage in New Orleans, coming from there to St. Louis, Missouri. Here he stopped for a short time and unfortunately was taken sick and was taken to the hospital. As soon as he was able to leave he came to Beardstown, with the help of an old friend, Valentine Thron. After his arrival in Beardstown, he worked for six months for Mr. Thron to repay him for his kindness; later John A. Schuman was engaged as a butcher for a time, but later purchased land on section 13, township 17, range12, at which place he spent the remainder of his life as a farmer, dying at the age of sixty-six. He was a good and worthy citizen, straightforward and upright in all his dealings with his fellow men. He was a prominent member and a good worker in the German Methodist Church, to which he was a generous supporter, being always ready to help everything that tended toward the advancement of good principles. The Sunday-school received much of his attention. He was a sound Democrat in politics. His wife died some years before in 1865, when she was forty years of age. She was a good, Christian woman, a faithful wife and devoted mother, a kind neighbor and a worthy member of the Emanuel Methodist Episcopal Church, near Arenzville.
Adam was the only son in the family, but there were four daughters, Lizzie, wife of George Hauffman, farmer of this township; Mary, wife of Joseph Pierce, of Bluff Springs precinct; Lydia, wife of William Schute, also of Bluff Springs; and Amelia, wife of Charles Johnson, a farmer of Beardstown.
Mr. Schuman was married, at Arenzville, to Miss Lizzie Thron, a native of this county, being born, reared and educated here. She is the daughter of Valentine and Margaret (Bier) Thron, natives of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. They were young, single people when they came to the United States, settling in Illinois, where they were married, in the city of Beardstown, where Mr. Thron engaged in wagon-making, and was thus engaged for some years, when he purchased land in the early fifties in twnship 17, range 12, and there lived for some years. Later he removed to Arenzville, and there his wife died, in January, 1884. She was then quite an old woman and a worth member of the Lutheran Church, to which she had belonged all her life. She was a good, kind wife and mother, and was highly respected by all her neighbors. Mr. Thron now makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Schuman, and passed his eighty-second birthday in June, 1892. He has been a good, hard-working man all his life and a consistent member of the Lutheran Church. He is a Democrat in politics.
Mr. and Mrs. Thron were the parents of nine children, six yet living and all are married, being successful in life. Mr. and Mrs. Schuman are active workers in the Emanuel Lutheran Church, and Mr. Schuman takes especial interest in the Sunday-school. He is a good and worthy man.
Mr. Schuman and his wife are the parents of six children: John W., Mary L., Fred G., Liddy E., Elmer and Myrtle.
John W. Seaman, an old representative citizen and successful stock raiser, was born in Jefferson county, Virginia, six miles north of Harper's Ferry, September 21, 1820. His father, Joseph, was also a native of Jefferson county, and was engaged there for years as a boatman on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, and kept a public inn for some time. His parents, who lived and died there, were American born, but of German ancestry, the father being in the Revolutionary war. Joseph J. was soldier in a Virginia regiment, was in many engagements, and for some time was stationed at Boltimore, Maryland. His wife was Nancy Deaver, who was born and reared in Jefferson county, and came of similar ancestry as her husband. After the birth of their children, of whom our subject is the youngest, Joseph Seaman and wife, in the spring of 1832, came West, taking a boat at Wheeling, and came down the Ohio, and up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and landed at Beardstown when it was a hamlet of a few houses. There the family lived for some years, Mr. Seaman following the trade of carpenter. He later went to Frederick, Schuyler county, and there died when sixty years of age. His wife died the next day, at about the same age. They had many acquaintances among the pioneers of Cass county.
John is the only surviving member of the family that came from Virginia to Illinois. He came here in 1832, found it new and unbroken, and has lived to note the many changes that have taken place during the past thirty years. He reached here about the time the Indians ldft the county, and hence has been closely connected with all pioneer history. He has seen the county settled, all the roads laid out and built, all the school houses built, all the railroads and all the other improvements made that have made this the garden spot of Cass county. His farm of about 500 acres, highly improved and well stocked, is located in section 16, township 18, range 11 west. He can boast of the character of his soil, except 100 acres on a sand ridge, and sixty-five acres in the bluffs. He purchased the place in 1852, and its present substantial condition is due to his perseverance and industry.
He was married in this county to Mary E. Thompson, born in New York, in 1828. She came to this county with her parents, George B. and Hannah Thompson, late in the '30s. Both lived and died in the county, Mr. Thompson being a farmer, and at one time a merchant in Beardstown. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were quite well known as pioneer settlers of this county, the former dying in Beardstown, about seventy years of age, and the latter in 1850. Mrs. Seaman was one of five children. A brother, Seth Thompson, now at the soldier's home at Quincy, Illinois, and Mrs. Seaman, are the only remaining members of the family.
Mr. and Mrs. Seaman are members of no church, but are good, moral people, and are beloved by all who knew them. He is not an office seeker, but is a decided Democrat in politics.
They are the parents of eleven children, four of whom are dead: Frank, Harriet, Charles and an infant. Those living are: John, a farmer on the old homestead, married Ida Kruse; George, a machinist living in Cass county, married Susie Heiket; Fred, at home helping on the farm; Hannah Heaton, living in Washington, on a farm; Cora, wife of James Heaton, also lives in Washington; Anna S. Pearn, near Virginia, Illinois; and Bertha S. Hale, of Springfield, Illinois.
The entire family are excellent people, and excellent representatives of Cass county.
A.H. Sielschott, Beardstown, Illiois.--The United States, the grandest government that shelters a people, possesses alone of all the governments of the world, the privilege which makes it possible for each individual to force his way through the ranks of the many and become one of the few. Emerson says "it is purpose that differences men," and the man who, by birth or its equivalent, enjoys the possibilities of a high and noble purpose, under such a government, and who through energy, tact, and strict integrity overcomes the obstacles that engulf smaller men, who levels the impossibilities of other men to his own convenience and makes them his opportunities, is that man of purpose, and is by the law of natural selection a leader. It is to such men that society and progression owes its highest attainments; and it is of one of those whose straightforward career has made his name worthy the pages of history, that this sketch is written.
A.H. Sielschott was born in the busy province of Hanover, Germany, in 1835. He is a son of Frederick and Amelia Sielschott, who were also natives of Hanover. His parents were of that sturdy conservative element that has enriched the great Empire of Germany and advanced it to the front rank in the world's history of great soldiers and statesmen, and placed it in close touch with the advance of civilization and the fellowship of men. They were farmers owning their land, and as is characteristic of that eminently worth husbandry, were given entirely to the cultivation of their land, leaving travel to those who were less inspired with the habits of their forefathers. They were never outside the borders of their loved fatherland, but lived out their alloted time, happy, and contented, with the pleasures and prosperity their home life and patriotism afforded them. They each attained the good age of three score years and ten.
The boyhood of A.H. Sielschott was practically the same as that of other boys whose parents were devoted to labor and frugality. At the age customary in his native land, Mr. Sielschott entered the public schools and acquired a classical education in his native tongue. After leaving school and being of a decidedly progressive temperament and endowed with a full share of native pluck, he decided to leave his home and try for his fortune in the broader fields of America. In the early part of 1854 he left Bremen on the steamer Hansa, ticketed for New York. Arriving there he soon pushed boldly westward and reached Beardstown in the fall of that year. Here he decided to remain, and here with but a five-dollar gold piece in his pocket he began the life that has been so full of good for himself and also for the community. Mr. Sielschott did not waste any time looking for an easy job, but with determination and energy took hold of the first honest work that presented itself. He was familiar with farm work and naturally bent his energies in that direction. He engaged to work on a farm, and went at it with a will. While working and while resting he kept his brain busy evolving plans for the future, and speculating honestly, and with a method well worked out, he advanced step by step in popularity and position until he had acquired not only a comfortable income but the higher victory, namely, the confidence and respect of all who knew him. In 1876 he was elected by a large majority to the office of Sheriff, and so satisfactorily did he discharge the duties of his office that he was repeatedly re-elected until he had held the office for an unbroken period of ten years. After ten years in office Mr. Sielschott had reason to hope for a rest from public service, but he was almost immediately elected to the office of County Treasurer, and held that important office until 1890, a period of four years. In 1889 the First State Bank of Beardstown was organized and Mr. Sielschott was elected its prsident, an office which he has continued to hold ever since. Under his wise direction the bank has propered, and is to-day one of the richest banking organizations in the State. Its principles are sound, and it enjoys a financial solidity far beyond any possible event or turn in values.
Mr. Sielschott's record in the government affairs in the city and county is a most unusual and remarkable one. In addition to the fourteen years in which he discharged the important duties of Sheriff and Treasurer of the county, he has served five terms as Mayor of the city of Beardstown. A single term in any office, no matter how important, seldom determines a man's fitness for high commendation. It is the repeated voice of the people in recalling a man to public office--in making him his own successor year after year--that establishes beyond question that man's ability and worthiness.
Mr. Sielschott has also served many times as delegate to County and Congressional conventions. He is a Democrat, believing the principles of that great party to be in closer touch with the needs of the people, and in greater harmony with the progress of the age than all the planks, priciples and platforms of all other political parties combined. In a word he believes Democratic doctrine everlastingly right, and all opposition thereto everlastingly wrong. He has always supported these principles fully and faithfully, and has done more than one man's share to establish purity in office and the great truth that public office is a public trust.
In business life Mr. Sielschott has been a promoter of many important enterprises, one of the most important of which was the construction of the fine bridge that spans the Illinois river at Beardstown. He is, also, identified with many other worthy and prosperous enterprises.
In March, 1862, Mr. Sielschott was married to Miss Ellen Piper, of Beardstown, a native of Hanover, Germany, who at the age of seven accompanied her parents to the United States and settled in Beardstown. They were worthy and consistent members of the Lutheran Church. They died after having attained the good old age of four-score years.
Mr. and Mrs. Sielschott have three children: A.F. Sielschott, of the firm of Spring & Sielschott, of Beardstown; Alice A. and Martha M. are still members of the family home. Both of the young ladies have received a splendid education, and both are prominent in social matters. The family worship at the Congregational Church.
Socially Mr. Sielschott is a leading member of the Masonic fraternity. Personally he is kind, courteous and affable. In a word, he possesses just such a personality as the intelligent reader would expect to find in conjunction with such an admirable record.
Oswell Skiles, cipitalist, Virginia, Illinois, was born in Ross county, Ohio, October 26, 1828. His father, Harmon Skiles, a native of Pennsylvania, went to Ohio when a young man and settled on Pickaway Plains, being one of the early settlers of that section of the country. In those days many of the more extensive farmers had distilleries on their farms, and made their own corn into whiskey, it being much more easily transported to the distant markets in that way. Mr. Skiles had l large distillery on his farm. He removed from Pickaway Plains to Washinton Court House, where he died in 1851. He was twice married. His first wife, nee Mary Thompson, died in January, 1829, leaving two sons, Ignatius and Oswell. By his second wife he had two daughters, Eleanor and Susan. Oswell Thompson, grandfather of the subject of our sketch, was one of the pioneer settlers of Pickaway Plains. In 1827, he started westward and came to Cass county, Illinois. He located on North Prairie, where he secured a farm and resided until his death.
Oswell Skiles was an infant when his mother died, and he was reared by a family named Smith. Mr. Smith was a poor man, had ten children of his own, and lived on a rented farm. In addition to his farming operations he also had a contract to carry the mails between Washington Court House and Columbus, a distance of thirty-seven miles, and to Chillisothe, twenty-five miles. As soon as he was large enough, young Skiles commenced to earn his living by assisting on the farm, and when about fifteen years old he carried the mail, making the journey on horseback. They used to make two trips a week to Columbus. Many of the streams were not bridged, and during high water he had either to swim his horse or wait until the water subsided. When he was about twenty years old he began to learn the trade of hornessmaker. He continued work at that trade, in Ohio, until the fall of 1851, when he came to Illinois, making the journey with a horse and buggy, to Springfield. He rode on the cars from there to Jacksonville, that being the first railroad he had ever seen. He landed in Jacksonville with $5 in his pocket; hired a horse and rode to Arcadia, from which place he walked to the home of his uncle, Oswell Thompson, have sent the horse back. On his arrival at his uncle's he received $100 which he had inherited from his grandfather's estate, and with that he bought a horse, saddle and bridle. Thus equipped, he made the journey on horseback the following winter to Iowa, where he joined another uncle residing in Louisa county, for whom he worked about one year. Then he returned to Cass county, and April, 1853, started for California. A man named Welch had fitted out a train of ox teams, and Mr. Skiles paid him $75 to carry his provisions, clothing, etc., and he assisted in driving the oxen and loose stock. They crossed the Illinois river at Beardstown, on the 6th of April, and continued their way westward over rivers, plains and mountains, arriving in the Sacramento valley in October. At that time there were no white settlers between the Missouri river and California, except the Mormons at Salt Lake, and the country abounded in game of all kinds. Mr. Skiles had only about $2 left when he reached California. He engaged to work for Mr. Welch on his ranch for $75 per month and board, and the two lived together in a cabin, keeping bach. Mr. Skiles was soon taken sick, however, and had to seek quarters where he could receive better attention, and for which he had to pay $9 per week. With the first money he earned after his recovery, he paid his board. He remained with Mr. Welch about one year, and then went to Forbestown, Butte county, where he bought an interest in a mining claim, for which he paid $100. He was successful in his mining operations that winter. In the spring he sold out and went to Sierra county, prospected for a time, and then for some months was engaged in preparing a tunnel for deep diggings. The winter was very severe, the snow falling to the depth of ten feet. In the spring he engaged in mining, being thus occupied there for two years, at the end of which time he sold his interest for $1,000. He then worked by the day about three months, for $5 per day. Next we find him in the Sacramento valley, engaged in farming and stock raising, he having purchased an interest in a claim to a tract of Government land near Marysville. In 1858 he took passage on the steamer Oregon and went to Victoria; but, instead of being encouraging, the reports from the mines in the British possissions were th opposite, and consequently he returned to his ranch, where he remained till 1862. Then, with four yoke of oxen he started to take a load of flour to Virginia City, Nevada. On his arrival there, he sold his load and engaged in drawing cord wood to the quartz mill, receiving $15 per cord. In the fall he returned to his ranch and spent the winter, and the following spring wnet back to Virginia City. The next autumn he took a load of shakes to Austin, Reese river, 150 mile distant from Virginia City, selling them for $150 per 1.000. He spent the winter there, and in the spring sold his oxen and wagon, and started on his return East. He journeyed by stage, via Austin and Salt Lake City, to Atchison, Kansas, thence by steamer and rail to Jacksonville, arriving at his uncle Oswell Thompson's on the 4th of July, 1864. His success in California was not unlike that of many others who sought their fortunes in the Golden State--sometimes successful and at other times in hard luck. On his arrival in Cass county, he had about $1,000. He formed a partnership with his brother Ignatius, and engaged in buying and shipping stock, in which he was very successfully engaged for a number of years. For the past few years, however, he has devoted his attention to banking and farming. He is a member of the firm of Petefish, Skiles & Co., of Virginia; of Skiles, Rearick & Co., of Ashland; and of Mertz, Skiles & Co., of Chandlerville; and Bloomfield, Skiles & Co., of Mt. Sterling. He owns farms in different parts of Cass county, some of which he rents and some of which he superintends.
Mr. Skiles has been twice married. In July, 1870, he wedded Miss Ann Conover, a native of Cass county, Illinois, a sister of George Conover (a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume). She died in 1877, and in 1879 he married Eliza J. Epler. He has one child living, by his first marriage, Lee Harmon, who is in the bank at Chandlerville. The children of his present wife are Louis Oswell and Stella.
Politically, Mr. Skiles is a Republican. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Alfred M. Smith, a well-known citizen and an honored veteran of the late war, now residing in Ashland, Illinois, was born in Brown county, Ohio, June 30, 1849. His parents were Wesley and Mary M. (Moore) Smith, both natives of Ohio, the former of Chillicothe and the latter of Feesburgh. They had nine children, five now living: Margaret C., wife of Charles Wiggins, resides in Ashland; James Monroe served four years and three months in the Union army, enlisting in the Twenty-third Kentucky Regiment, and participated in all the principal engagements in which the Twenty-fourth Corps took part; he died, unmarried, of smallpox, in Hamilton county, Ohio, in 1876. John Wesley served in the Fifty-fourth Kentucky (Union) Regiment, is married, and lives in Tallula, Menard county, Illinois; the next in order of birth is the subject of this sketch; William Henry is married, and is a Methodist Episcopal minister in Akron, Ohio; Alice Virginia married John R. Hull, and lives in Bracken county, Kentucky; Mary, Joseph and Eliza died in childhood. In 1858, the parents removed to Kentucky, where the father died in 1861, leaving a large family of children to the care of the mother. She afterward married Sovereign Greene, who also died in Kentucky. She then removed with her children to Frederick, Illinois, where she married Martin Bridgman, surviving her marriage only about a year, dying in Frederick in 1874.
The subject of this sketch was but nine years of age when his parents moved from Ohio to Kentucky, at that time a new and sparsely settled county. He was reared on a farm, and followed that vocation until the breaking out of the war. Those happy, peaceful days, spent in rural scenes and homely duties and pastimes, were interrupted by his enlisting, at the age of sixteen years and seven months, in Company K, One Hundred and Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry, for the period of one year, which he served in full, being under the command of General Hancock, in the Second Army Corps. He took the measles while in Camp Chase, Ohio, and was discharged from the hospital to accompany his regiment to the front, when he took cold, and the disease settled in his eyes and lungs, destroying the sight of his right eye, severely injuring the other, and superinducing neuralgia, from which he greatly suffered. He now receives a pension for these diabilities.
On September 11, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Baltimore, Maryland, whereupon he returned to his widowed mother in Pendleton county, Kentucky, where he experienced some exciting scenes, caused by the return of the disbanded rebel army of that vicinity. It was while he was at home that his mother became a widow a second time, after which Mr. Smith accompanied her to Frederick, Illinois, where she spent the rest of her life. She is now buried in the Messer cemetery, near Frederick.
Mr. Smith was married in Springfield, Illinois, April , 1878, to Miss Anna Ratliff, an estimable lady, and a native of Morgan county, Illinois. She is a daughter of Richard and Mary (Bridgman) Ratliff, both of whom had been previously married, the father having one son and three daughters: Lucy J., Mary Elen, Isaac Wesley, and Lucretia. The mother was formerly married to a Mr. Houston, to which union three children were born: Hezekiah, Isaac and William Thomas. All of these children of both marriages are now living, except Lucy J., and all are married. To the marriage of Mrs. Smith's parents, four children were born, of whom she is the eldest: Ann Nancy J., now Mrs. E.T. Welch, resides in Amarillo, Texas; Mary M., married James Allen, of Ashland, Illinoisp; James Albert, unmarried, is a farmer. The mother still lives, at the age of seventy-one years, and is comfortably situated in Ashland. The father, Hezekiah Bridgman, was a prominent citizen and esteemed pioneer of Morgan county, Illinois, who died in Concord, that county in 1884. He was widely known throughout this vicinity and was deeply mourned by a large community.
Since the war, Mr. Smith has been in rather poor health. Thinking a change might prove beneficial, he traveled through the South for two years, visitin Texas, New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Some of the time he is able to work, while often he is incapacitated for active pursuits.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have five children: Jessie, Clarence, Randolph, Mary Alice, William Ellsworth and Ada Belle, all at home with their parents. Miss Jessie Smith is particularly intelligent and active. She is now at that age commonly known as "sweet sixteen," and is attending the high school in Ashland, hoping some day to become a teacher. She is an earnest member of the Christian Church, and takes an active part in church and Sunday-school work, never having missed a session of Sunday-school for two years. Mrs. Smith is also a most devoted and useful member of the same church.
Mr. Smith is Democratic in his political affiliations, and takes a deep interest in the affairs of his State and county.
He is a member of Dick Johnson Post, No. 381, of Tallula, Illinois, and of the Brotherhood of United Friends, as well as of the I. O. O. F.
Having followed his career thus far, which has been most honorable, it is reasonable to prognosticate a fitting close, as, surrounded by sympathetic friends, to whom his many sterling qualities have endeared him, and vindicated at the tribunal of his own searching conscience, he peacefully pursues his ptheway through life.
Joseph M. Spencer, an intelligent and progressive citizen of Ashland, Illinois, and an honored veteran of the late war, was born in Gibson county, Indiana, October 24, 1842.
His parents were Joseph and Elizabeth (Hayhurst) Spencer, both of whom were natives of Morgantown, Virginia, the father of Welsh and the mother of German ancestry. They were married in Miami county, Ohio, removing thence to Indiana, from where they came to Morgan county, Illinois, in 1849. The parents and younger children later removed to Kansas, where the father died in 1870, leaving his family and many friends to mourn his loss. He was a man of superior intelligence and generous inpulses, and was very popular among his associates, who keenly felt his loss. His devoted wife, whose greatest interest was the welfare of her husband and family, returned to Illinois after her husband's death, finally expiring in Morgan county, Illinois, in 1879, deeply lamented by all who knew her and who appreciated her many excellent qualities of mind and heart.
This worthy couple were the parents of seven children, four of whom are now living: Job H., the eldest, died in Arkansas, in April, 1890, leaving two children, his wife having previously died; John D. served three years in the Forty-second Indiana Infantry, is now married and is a prosperous farmer of Gibson county, Indiana; William S. resides in Buena Vista, Colorado: he is a widower and has a family; Rebecca, wife of William A. Baldwin, lives in Loami, Sangamon county, Illinois; Amos and Simeon died in youth.
The subject of this sketch accompanied his parents to Illinois when he was seven years of age, and his boyhood and early manhood was spent in this State, in the quiet pursuits of farm and home life. These peaceful, happy days were disturbed by the Civil war, and young Joseph enlisted at Springfield, on September 15, 1861, in Company K, Thirty-third Illinois Infantry. He was in the Department of Missouri, and was taken prisoner by the notorious Jeff Thompson, at the battle of Blackwell Station, in October, 1861, and was paroled on the same day. Jeff said "they could either take the oath of allegiance, receive a parole, or be shot;" that he had "no use for prisoners." It was at this battle that Mr. Spencer saved the life of General Lippincott, a service which the General appreciated until the day of his death, and the heroic act afterward brought many courtesies to the subject of this sketch. He was offered a commission as Second Lieutenant, but declined it as a reward for doing his duty. We pause to exclaim, In what other country could such an incident have occurred? Truly, America rears kings, not ordinary men!
Mr. Spencer was seven month under parole, when he returned to the right of his command, at Village Creek, Arkansas, and took part in the fight at Cotton Plant, which occurred the following day. Here, he captured Colonel Harris' horse, sword and two revolvers. This was the Colonel who commanded the Texas Legion in that engagement. Mr. Spencer was next engaged in battle at Port Gibson, May 1, 1863; he had been in several unimportant battles during the interim, but this was the next general engagement. He was at Champion Hills and Black River Bridge; after which came the siege of Vicksburg, where he dug in the ditches and was under fire for forty-seven days. Here, he received a sunstroke, and was sent to St. Louis on a hospital boat. It was then that he realized fully the saying that misfortunes never come singly, for, while en route, he fell down a hatchway, striking on his head and causing deafness in his left ear, from which he has never recovered.
He rejoined his regiment at New Orleans, in February, 1864, they being on their way home on veteran furlough. Mr. Spencer reenlisted as a musician, and accompanied the boys home. Afterward, he returned to New Orleans, where he did garrison duty until the Mobile campaign, when the regiment was badly decimated by a railroad wreck, which killed and wounded many men. Mr. Spencer was assigned to the Sixteenth Army corps, under General A.J. Smith, and participated in the fight at Spanish Fort. He then went to Montgomery, Alabama, and thence to Selma, of the same State, whence he and the command moved forward to Meridian, Mississippi. From there they went to Vicksburg, and, later, to Yazoo, where Mr. Sprncer was mustered out of service, November 24, 1865, after a continuous service of more than four years.
His duty done, his thoughts naturally turned to procuring a means of livelihood. It was then that he turned his attention to learning the business of painting and decorating, which he has followed most of the time ever since. In 1866, he went to Kansas, where he remained until 1874, at which time he removed to Iowa. While in Missouri, in the winter of 1862, he met with a very painful accident, in which he lost one finger and had another severely injured, which, although not incapacitating him from work, has, at times, seriously interfered with his dexterity. In 1880, he finally retuned to Ashland, Illinois, to which place he is attached by all the associations of his childhood. Here he and his family have since resided, in a substantial and comfortable home surrounded by neat and attractive grounds, the whole place breathing the air of thrift and content. Besides this, Mr. Spencer is also the owner of other valuable property.
He was married, Auust 7, 1870, to Miss Mary E. Gard, an estimable lady, who is a native of Morgan county, Illinois, of which place her parents, Ephraim and Paulina Gard, were worthy pioneers. Her eldest brother, John S., died in the United States service, while waiting for his discharge, after the close of the war. Mrs. Spencer was the second of six children, only three of whom now survive: William, Mary and Lydia.
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have three daughters, Ella, Anna and Lulu, all of whom are at home, the second being a teacher in the public schools. They are all highly intellectual and have been liberally educated. Mrs. Spencer and the two older daughters are useful members of the Christian Church.
Mrs. Spencer is a straight Republican in politics, and takes an active interest in all public affairs.
He is a prominent member of John L. Douglas Post, No. 592, in which he served for two terms as Quartermaster, and one term as Officer of the Day. He is an Ancient Odd Fellow, to which order he has belonged for a number of years.
Any one who has read thus far in the life of this noble, upright man, will not be at a loss to make deductions in keeping with his exemplary character. Unaided, he has attained to prominence and acquired a comfortable income for himself and family, while his numerous generous qualities appeal successfully to the hearts of his countrymen.
William Stevenson, of township 17, range 10, section 26, Little Indian post office is an honored pioneer of Cass county. He was born in Scott county, Kentucky, December 2, 1813, a son of James and Mary (Elliott) Stevenson, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Kentucky. To them were born nine children, of whom three are living at this writing (1892), viz.: Sarah, now Mrs. W.A. Bennett, of Springfield; Louisa, wife of Mr. Anthony Boston, residing near Jacksonville, Illinois; and William of this notice. Those deceased are Wesley, Eliza J., Harriet, James, Robert and Augustus. In 1892, Mrs. Stevenson died, and the same year Mr. Stevenson brought his family of children to Illinois, settling in Morgan county, on the three mile strip that afterward became a part of Cass county.
Our subject spent his boyood in his native State, and there received such educational advantages as the common schools of the time afforded, which was supplemented by a few months' schooling after coming to Illinois. While a resident of Kentucky he was well acqainted with that somewhat noted soldier and philanthropist, Colonel Richard Johnson, who claimed the honor of having slain the celebrated Indian chief and warrior, Tecumseh, at the battle of Moraviantown in 1814.
Mr. Stevenson was reared on a farm and farming has been his occupation all through life. On February 11, 1836, he was united in marriage to Miss Frances, daughter of William and Rachel (Roe) Berry, who came from Virginia to Cass county in 1832, adn settled on a farm near the Stevenson homestead./p>
Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson were the parents of seven children, four of whom are still living: Mary Eliza, died in 1838; Thomas, in 1839; Rachel became the wife of William E. Martin, and died in 1879; Robert Roe, married Mary J. Scott, and resides in Jacksonville, Illinois; Sarah Cornelia is the wife of John J. Bergan, a prosperous merchant of Virginia city, Illinois; Joseph B. wedded Dora Vandeventer, and lives in Springfield, Illinois; and Charles married Mary Epler, and resides on the home farm. Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson also reared two orphan children.
In 1884, when in his seventy-first year, Mr. Stevenson contested for the prize of a gold-headed cane offered by the county fair association for horse-back riding, which he won, and shows with a commendable pride.
On February 11, 1886, Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their married life, which joyous event was participated in by all the living relations. Many handsome and valuable testimonials of affection were presented to them on this occasion by their admiring friends.
Mrs. Stevenson died at her home July 13, 1891, after a happy married life of fifty-five years, being in the eighty-eighth year of her age. She was a woman possessing many excellencies of character, a faithful wife, loving mother, kind neighbor, and devout Christian, whose many act of kindness endeared her to a large circle of friends. By reason of a robust constitution and good habits whe attained nearly fourscore years, and passed away as peacefully as the coming dawn, in the full consciousness of an immortality beyond the grave.Mr. Stevenson has been a resident of Cass county for sixty-three years, and has resided on the same section of land since 1829. He has not only witnessed the wonderful change in the country but has actively participated in transforming the wilderness and unbroken prairie into fertile farms. Every enterprise for the material or moral advancement of the community has received his cordial support. He and his family are Presbyterians, and have contributed liberally in support of the church. He was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party, when he joined that organization and has since supported its principles. He has never sought public offic, preferring the quiet pursuits of farm life. By honest industry he has been successful in acquiring a handsome competence. He has assisted his children to good starts in life and still owns a fine farm of 375 acres, which is supplied with good buildings and all modern conveniences. In addition to his duties of superintending his farm, he was until recently agent for the Jacksonville Southeastern Railroad which runs through his farm, on which Little Indian station is located. He was for twenty-four years agent for the Wabash, Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville and the Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad Companies, but resigned that position in August, 1892.