C. R. Davis --Any volume which ventures to give anything like a comprehensive enumeration, biographically, of the prominent citizens of Clay county, Illinois, must necessarily be incomplete without inclusion of the life history of C. R. Davis, the popular editor and proprietor of two newspapers of large circulation The Toledo and The Louisville Republican. In his sphere of endeavor he has earnestly sought to expound and inculcate the higher ideals of citizenship; and not even the modesty characteristic of him has prevented his obtaining recognition as a moulder of public opinion in his section of the state.
Our subject was born in Maysville, then the county seat of Clay county, on the 28th day of January, 1844. He was the son of John W. Davis and his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Bishop. John W. Davis was a well known figure in the political life of the state in his day, and for many years of his life held responsible official positions of trust. He provided well for his family and lived a well ordered life. C. R. Davis spent his youth in the shelter of the paternal homestead and being eighteen years of age during the Civil war he enlisted in July of the year 1862 and served as a soldier, participating in many engagements, until September. 1865. His first vote as a citizen was recorded during this time and was cast for Abraham Lincoln while at the front in Georgia in 1864. On returning from the war he entered a printing office in Louisville and there learned the various phases of the printing trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years.
In the year 1871, in partnership with another, he launched the publication of a newspaper in Greenup, Illinois, which he sold in the spring of 1872. He then returned to Louisville and took charge of the official Republican paper of Clay county, which he conducted with marked success. In 1874 he became the publisher of The Baptist Banner for Reverends Kelly and Allen at Ewing. Franklin county. In 1876 he was in Louisville as editor and publisher of The Louisville Ledger. In 1882 he started The Farina News at Farina. Illinois, which he conducted for over nineteen years, disposing of the plant on the loth of January, 1902. On the 17th of December, 1901, he purchased The Pinckneyville Advocate, the official Republican paper of Perry county. Here he remained for four years and built up the paper when, having made it one of the best circulating in the southern part of Illinois, he sold it for a good price and purchased a job office in Centralia, where for a year he did excellent business and finally disposed of it to a company.
In October of the year 1907, gaining control of The Toledo Argus, he re-named it the Toledo Republican and added machinery and new material, making it an upto-date modernly equipped newspaper plant. The paper from the time of its reorganization gained in popularity, and each succeeding week saw an increase in its circulation. At the present time C. R. Davis also controls the destiny of The Louisville Republican which was established in 1894. Both papers are ably edited with undiminished vigor and receive all the benefits of the foresight and judgment of our subject. The veteran Republican newspaper editor and soldier of the Civil war is now in his sixty-fifth year and indications point to his still being in the harness many years from today. He is a well known figure at the gatherings of Republican newspaper editors and is popular with his confreres. In fraternal and social circles the subject of our sketch is a memljer of the Grand Army of the Republic, local post; of the Masonic Order up to the Royal Arch degree, and of the Eastern Star. In religion he is a member of the Methodist church. Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909
Matthew H. Davis, farmer, P.O. Iola. Among the prominent and best farmer of Clay County is the jovial, hospitable gentleman whose name heads this memoir. He is a native of Wilson County Tenn. and was born March 27. 1819. His father. Basil Davis (deceased), was a native of Carolina, and removed with his family to Clay County in 1834. Mr. Davis did not enjoy the advantages of educational facilities, as do his childrenand his neighbors' children at present. His term of school consisted of just 21 days. This school was taught by Judge William Erwin, in a log cabin in the Judge's own door-yard, and the seats consisted of split poles with pins in them for legs; the floor was of puncheon, and the window was simply a log cut out of one side of the cabin, with nothing over the aperture. They however kept a plank with which they covered this crack when the weather was too cold. The room was warmed by a huge fire-place, and the chimney was made of sticks and mud. Mr. Davis killed many a deer and other wild animals. He saw at one time sixty three deer in one herd. When the Davis family settled here, there were fifty -two voters in Clay County. Mr. Davis was all over the ground where Flora now stands, when there was not a rail or a house in sight. They ground their corn in a horse mill, and drove their stock to St. Louis and Evansville tomarket. Our subject began life poor, with no capital save willing hands and an iron constitution, and as a result has provided a competent fortune for his family. Although he has passed through many trials and troubles , yet he is jovial and witty as a person of twenty-five years. He owns over 800 acres of valuable land, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. He has been married four times, and is the father of twelve children, seven living Sarah J. (Armstrong), Peter, Stephen A. D.. William S., Charley, Victoria and Nevada. The names of the deceased were Mary E. (Patrick), John J. and Robert, besides two that died in infancy. Mr. Davis was Deputy Sheriff and Constable for Clay County many years.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
William Davis, merchant, Clay City, was born in Roane County, Tenn., on July 26, 1826, and is a son of John and Nancy (Jenkins) Davis. The father was a native of East Tennessee, and his father, George Davis, came to this country from Wales when a young man. The mother was born in Virginia. Subject was the eldest of ten children, five of whom
are now living, viz.: William (our subject), Sherwell (in Sheridan County, Mo.), Thomas (in Sedalia, Mo.), Mrs. A. J. Miller (in Kenton, Greenwood Co., Kan.), and Mrs. Rebecca Summers (of Greenwood Co., Kan.). When subject was about two years old, his parents came to Illinois and first settled in Shelby County, but after living there a short time they came to Lawrence County, where the mother died in 1862. The father then moved to Kansas, where he died in 1865.
Subject's education was received in the subscription schools of Lawrence County. At the age of fifteen, he commenced to learn the trade of a wagonmaker, but remained at home until about twenty-one, and then worked as a journeyman at his trade in a shop near Sumner, Lawrence County, for about five years. He then purchased a farm in that county, and farmed, and worked at his trade occasionally, until November, 1865, when he came to this county. He settled in Stanford Township, where he now owns 164 acres in Sections 2 and 3 of Township 2 north, Range 7 east. He resided there until 1882, and then came to Clay City. Here he first embarked in the implement business, and followed that until March; 1883, when he began merchandising. He now carries a stock of about $1,200 of general provisions. Mr. Davis was married, on October 16, 1851, in Richland County, to Miss Mary Jane Bunn, a daughter of Seeley and Densey Bunn. This lady was born in Richland County on November 3, 1831, and is the mother of five living children, viz.: Densey J. (wife of B. L. Marshall, of Coles County, Ill.), Seeley B. (in Stanford Township), Emma J. (wife of Henry C. Evans, of Clay City), H. L. (in business with his father), and Ida E.
Mr. Davis was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Richland County on February 4, 1864, and was discharged on September 4 following. Mr. Davis is a member of the Clay City Christian Church, and Mrs. Davis is connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, our subject gives his support to the Republican party, and while a resident of Stanford Township served as Collector for three terms. He is a member of the Clay City Lodge, No. 488, A. F. & A. M., and Clay City Post, No. 262, G. A.R.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
Joseph Dewhirst, farmer, P. O. Wilsonburg, was born in Edwards County, Ill., January 24, 1836, and is a son of James Dewhirst (deceased), a native of Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, who came to America when eighteen years old. He was a carpenter, but in after life a farmer.
Our subject has always lived on the farm. His educational advantages were limited, having attended a subscription school a short time, taught in a log cabin with a dirt floor and slab seats. He came to Clay County with his parents in 1851, and has since made this his home. He owns 170 acres of land, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising on Section 13.
In religion, he is a Methodist. He was married December 25, 1856, to Nancy C, daughter of Samuel Byrne (deceased). They have had six children, five living James A , Elizabeth F., Solomon H., John M. and Jettie C.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
William H. Dillman, the well known president of the Clay County State Bank at Louisville, Illinois, was born in Oskaloosa township, on the family homestead, where he grew to manhood. The date of his birth was July 14, 1867. He is the son of Louis Dillman, a native of Kentucky, who came to Illinois when fourteen years old and settled in Oskaloosa township on a farm, where he lived for many years. He is now retired, making his home in Louisville. He was formerly president of the State Bank and is well known in the county as a man of much ability. Vachel Dillman, grandfather of the subject, was also a native of Kentucky, who came to this state at an early day and developed a good farm. The subject's mother was Harriett B. Smith, whose people were natives of Tennessee, where she was born. She is still living. Eleven children were born to the subject's parents, namely: Dr. Asa E., of Steuben, Wisconsin; Mrs. Mary E. Graham, of Oskaloosa township; Mrs. Sarah E. Burdick, of Oskaloosa township; William H., our subject; Dr. J. V., at Ingraham, Illinois; Lillie M., now deceased; Mrs. Ida Steeley, of Louisville, this county ; Mrs. Delia Montgomery, also of Louisville; Dora, deceased; Polly Ann, deceased; Henry, deceased. William H. Dillman was united in marriage in 1898 to Cora P. Brown, the refined and accomplished daughter of P. P. Brown, of Louisville, Illinois, and two children have been born to this union, namely : Howard B. and Robert V., ten and five years old respectively at this writing, 1908, both bright and interesting lads.
Mr. Dillman acquired a good common school education, and after spending three years at the State Normal, at the Union Christian College of Merom, Indiana, and at the Orchard City College at Flora, Illinois, where he graduated with honors, Mr. Dillman entered the law office of Hagle & Shriner in that city, and in 1896 was admitted to the bar, since which time he has been ranked as one of the leading lawyers of Clay county, and has built up an excellent business, practicing in all the courts in this and adjoining counties with great success. When Judge Farmer, now one of the Supreme Judges of the state of Illinois, was on the bench of this, the Forty-second Senatorial District, he selected Mr. Dillman as the Master in Chancery of this county. Later on, upon the death of William H. Hudelson, Mr. Dillman, by the terms of the will, was made the executor, the will conveying to him in trust for twenty years money and property representing over two hundred thousand dollars.
No better testimony of confidence in a man's integrity has ever been paid to a citizen of this county. Mr. Dillman was Master in Chancery for six years. The directors of the Clay County State Bank elected him president of that institution in the summer of 1908. He was the Democratic nominee for Representative from this district in 1908, but was defeated. He has always been a stanch Democrat and has taken an active part in his county's affairs. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Home Circle. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dillman are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Dillman, busy with the management of the bank, which he gives the most careful attention and which is regarded as one of the solidest banks of the southern part of the state, finds insufficient time to carry on his law practice, although it is not entirely abandoned.
Mr. Dillman throughout his career has been very active, progressive and determined, carrying forward in successful completion whatever he has undertaken in a business way. Mr. Dillman attributes a very large measure of his success to his many and faithful friends. He is clearly entitled to be classed among the leading citizens of Clay County a man whose strong individuality is the strength of integrity, virtue and deep human sympathy and no one has more friends than he throughout the district.
Excerpt from: Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois Pub. 1909
John Ditter, farmer and stock raiser, P. O. Sailor Springs, is a native of Smith County, Tenn., and was born December 7, 18(»7. His father, Elijah Ditter, was a native of North Carolina. John was raised on the farm in his native county, and received a limited education in a subscription school, taught in a log cabin with a dirt floor and a paper window.
He came to Clay County in the spring of 1829, and settled at Sailor Springs, on Section 25, Hoosier Township, where he entered a cabin on the claim of Hack Sams, paying him soon afterward $75 for his claim and improvements. Mr. Ditter afterward went ten or twelve miles to assist in house-raising, and the settlers worked the roads from Louisville to Fox River, near Olney, under the same pathmaster. The deer and other wild animals were numerous in those days, and Mr. Ditter killed many of them for his supply of meat.
He resided at the Springs for seven years, when he removed to his present homestead on Section 18, Pixley Township. He began life with little or no means, and gradually worked his way up. As a farmer and stockraiser, he has been eminently successful, and now owns 680 acres of land.
He held the office of Supervisor one term, but has never sought political favors. He is a Mason, and in religious views a Universalist. He was married, July 10, 1828, to Amelia McKinney, a daughter of Jeremiah McKinney (deceased), and a sister of James McKinney, of Pixley Township, of whom we make further mention elsewhere in this work. This union was blessed with eight children, but one of whom is living, viz., John.
Mrs. Ditter died in November, 1848, and he married again in 1849, this time to Mrs. Thursey Chapman, by whom he has had four children, two of these are living George W. and Amanda (Hammer). Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
We are really joyful of the opportunity and for the privilege at this time of being able to feature on this page this man, Mr. C. D. Duff, the oldest in business of any business man now in Clay City, because we know that he has many absent friends who get this paper who will especially appreciate seeing his picture as he is today. C. D. Duff was born in Old Maysville, Illinois, October 16, 1855. After the death of his father, he, then six months old, returned with his mother to Tennessee, in a covered wagon, where he lived until 21 years of age. He then returned to Clay City and was employed as a store clerk by two uncles, R. E. and ,T. N. Duff. After the death of R. E. Duff in 1877, J. N. Duff and C. D. Duff continued the business under the firm name of J. N. Duff & Company until 1888 when C. D. Duff sold his interest in the store and soon thereafter entered into business with J. T. Evans & Company.
In 1907 Dr. J. T. Evans sold his interest in the business to his son, C. D. Evans, and the firm's name was changed to Duff & Evans, which continued business until 1911 when C. D. Evans sold his interest to John W. Duff, since which time the business has been conducted under the firm name of C. D. & J. W. Duff, father and son, and includes a second son. Carroll Duff. When Mr. Duff first became a member of The firm of J. T. Evans & Company, they were conducting a general mercantile store. A while before Mr. Evans sold out they had changed to buying grain, seeds, etc., and selling farm machinery, harness and other items along that line.
Today, Mr. Duff, his sons, Wallace and Carroll, through their courtesy, honorable and upright dealing with the public have an established business sufficient to reward them for their efforts, and at the same time they are rendering a most valuable service to the community, continuing the handling of grain, seeds, hay, feeds of all kinds, especially for poultry, and carrying a good line of harness, wire fencing, nails, etc. really a farm supply store and located at the same spot occupied by J. T. Evans & Company years ago.
Mr. Duff has served several terms as a member of the village council, several years and until about three years
ago as secretary of the Building & Loan Association. He is interested extensively in farming and stock raising and heartily enjoys meeting the farmers in the store where a comfortable chair is always offered the patrons and friends and also a hearty welcome extended to all. Excerpt from"' Pictures and Biographical Sketches of the Business Men of Clay City 1930" by the Clay County Advocate Press
P. B. Dow, farmer, P. O. Xenia, was born in Bellefontaine, Logan Co., Ohio, May 5, 1840, to Robert and Harriet (Brewster) Dow. The father was born in Scotland, near Crief, but came to the United States when only live years of age. He is yet living, and at the advanced age of seventy years. The mother was born in Pennsylvana, and died when our subject was small. She was the mother of five sons, four of whom yet survive one son died in 1878. Mr. Robert Dow has been married three times. By the second wife, however, he had no child, but has a daughter by the third wife. His occupation has always been that of farmer, but is now retired from active life.
Our subject was reared on the farm and educated in the schools of his native county. He has made farming his occupation during life, and has met with success, as he now owns a farm of 240 acres of well -improved land. On his farm there are never- failing springs of pure water, and also an outcropping of coal in a four-inch vein.
In the spring of 1864, he enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-second Ohio Infantry. Soon afterward, however, he raised a company for the One Hundred and Ninety-first Ohio Infantry, and was elected Captain of the company. He then served as Captain of Company F till receiving his discharge in September, 1865. During his service, he was in the Army of the Potomac, participating in all the engagements on the Peninsula and around Richmond during his time of service. After returning from the army, he again engaged in farming in Ohio, but in 1871 came to Clay County, Ill., to his present farm. In April, 1869, he was married, in his native county in Ohio, to Miss Sallie E. Patterson, a native of Washington County, Penn. This union has been blessed with the following named children: Stewart P., Robert B., William S., D. Jay, Mary Nina and Brewster.
He and wife are members of the United Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the G. A. R. of Xenia. In politics, he is Republican. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
Robert Earl Duff
You've all wondered who would be next. Here he is. Robert Earl Duff, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Duff. Mr. Duff, now deceased, was a pioneer business man of Clay City. The subject of this sketch was born October 5, 1886, on East Second street, where his mother now resides. Earl is a comparatively young man and has no lengthy biography, but he has been active since completing his education in the Clay City schools. After several years of clerkship in the stores of Clay City, in 1923 he formed a partnership with John D. Bones, now deceased, in the real estate business. He was also elected in that year as secretary of the Clay City Building, Loan & Homestead Association. He also was elected at this time as supervisor of Clay City township and was re-elected supervisor in 1925, serving two terms with the credit of furnishing the tax payers of Clay county with the long form tax receipts and moneys being paid into the treasury that had been forgotten or misplaced by some of the county officials. He was elected chairman of the board in his last term. He refused a place on the ticket in 1929 which meant his election again to this office.
In 1926 Mr. Duff and W. H. Banker purchased a grocery store, located in the south room of the I.O.O.F.
building, from J. E. Brissenden. In March, 1929, Mr. Duff sold his interest to Henry Weiler. Since that time Mr. Duff has maintained an office at the store where he handles the business of the Building & Loan, his real estate and insurance. Earl is now serving not his first term as one of the village councilmen. He is active and ready at all times to do his part in any civic affair that comes up. He has a family, three children all in school, owns his home and is president of the Clay City Booster Club. Earl is well liked and quite congenial among his fellow citizens, and our little booklet, which we will issue within a few months and which will be preserved by hundreds of our readers, will not be able to mention all the good that there is in Robert because there ir a lot that is to come and cannot be predicted at this time. Source: "Pictures and Biographical Sketches of the Business Men of Clay City 1930" by the Clay County Advocate Press
R.F.Duff, merchant, Clay City. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch is a native of this county, and is descended from one of its pioneer families. The greatgrandfather of our subject, Samuel Duff, came to this country some time prior to the Revolution. He brought with him his wife Barbara, and the twain settled in Pennsylvania.
To them were born two sons, John and William. When John was but a youth, his parents moved to Washington County, Va., where the father died in 1818, the mother in 1812. John grew to manhood in Washington County, and there married a Miss Mary Dryden, a daughter of David and Barbara Dryden, who had come from England in an early day. Nine children blessed this union Samuel (who remained in Virginia), David (came to this county, and settled in Maysville, in 1829, and afterward became one of the leading merchants of that place), Jane (married a Mr. Hopper, and moved to Ohio, where she died), Barbara (married John McConnell, and settled and died in that county), John N. (is yet living in Washington County, Va., at the hale old age of seventy- eight), Nathaniel H. (our subject's father), Mary (still living in Virginia),
Stephen B. (settled and died in that county), and Alexander (who died when a boy). Judge N. H. Duff's education was but meager, and was received in the subscription schools of his native county. He learned the trade of a blacksmith,
and at the age of twenty-one helped his brother David move to this county. After arriving here, he helped on the latter's
farm for a short time, and after spending a year here he again returned to his home in Virginia, where he worked on his father's farm.
In 1831, he again came back here, this time accompanied by James Lethco and William T. Duff, a cousin, who made one of the first settlements in Stanford Township. This time Judge Duff settled in Maysville, and, buying a small farm, tilled that, and worked at his trade of blacksmithing, but his health failing him he was compelled to give up the latter occupation. After about two years' residence in Maysville, he moved into what is now Stanford Township and settled on the farm now owned by J. M. Chaffin; he first entered eighty acres, and afterward increased the tract to 120 acres.
He remained on that farm until 1843. and then selling out to John L. Apperson, moved to another farm about two miles northwest of his former place. (It is now owned by subject.) In 1848, he again returned to Maysville, and purchased David Duff's store, who went from there to Tennessee. The Judge continued in business there until the laying-out of Clay City. He then came to the latter point and embarked in business with Robert E. Duff. This partnership continued for some years, and the former turned his attention to stockraising.
For the last few years, he has lived a quiet and retired life, making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Naomi Figg. Judge Duff has been much before the people of this county, in one way or another. In 1851, he was first elected to the office of Associate Justice. These officers were elected for the purpose of attending to the county business. His Associates were J. W. P. Davis and a Mr. Loofboro. He held this office until 1862, when the plan of township organization was adopted. He was then elected the first Justice of the Peace of Clay City Township, and served in that capacity for a number of years. He also served as Township Supervisor for one or two terms. Judge Duff has been twice married. The first time in old Maysville Precinct, on September 25, 1832, to Miss Margaret Apperson, a daughter of Richard and Mary (Aikin) Apperson.
The parents were among the very earliest settlers of Stanford Township. Mrs. Duff was born in September, 1809, and was the mother of nine children, but two of whom are now living Richard F. (our subject), and Mrs. Naomi C. Figg.
This lady died on April 2, 1857, and the Judge was married the second time, on October 20, 1872, to Miss Sarah
Babbs, a daughter of Alexander Babbs. But one child resulted from this union Albert H. (now at home with his father). This lady died in the winter of 1877.
The schools of this and Stanford Township furnished our subject his means of education, and he assisted his father on the home farm until about twenty-one. He began learning telegraphy under W. C. Roach, who was station agent at this point. From here he went to Cincinnati, where he worked for three months, and then for two years acted as operator in different points on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. He then went to Xenia, and was appointed station agent and operator. After serving at different stations in this capacity for three years along the line of the O. & M., he accepted a similar position on the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad, and worked at both Bunker Hill and Hillsboro.
In 1867, he returned to Clay City and embarked with J. D. Allender in the provision business. The firm afterward opened a general store, and have since been one of the leading houses of Clay City.
Mr. Duff was married October 28, 1868, to Miss Mary E. Manker, a daughter of Jenkins and Sarah (Rogers)
Manker, of Clay City. Three children have blessed this union Charles L., Effie M. and Carey E.
Mr. Duff is a strong Democrat, and is at present serving as Township Supervisor. Mr. and Mrs. Duff are both members of the Clay City Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Duff is a member of Clay City Lodge, No. 488, A. F. & A.M. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
W. W. Duncan, physician, Bible Grove. Among the men who owe their success in life to their own energy and ability stands him whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He was born, December 10, 1829, in Nelson County, Ky. He is a son of James Duncan, a native of South Carolina, and a farmer by occupation. The grandfather of our subject was William Duncan. He was a native of Virginia, of Scotch descent. The mother of our subject was Editha (McKay) Duncan, a native of Nelson County. Ky. Dr. Duncan was married, November 28, 1860. in Mason, Effingham County, Ill., to Miss Mary Ella White, born March 18, 1841. in Bond County, Ill. She is a daughter of William and Agnes (Johnson) White. He is a native of North Carolina and she of Tennessee. Four children are the result of this happy union, viz., William C, born January 31, 1863; Anna J., August 2, 1868; Mary Edith, February 19, 1871; and Charles Ed, June 23, 1877. Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Duncan are religiously connected with the Baptist Church. The Doctor received his medical education in Louisville, Ky., but is mainly self-educated. On October 30, 1861, Dr. Duncan settled in Georgetown, where he follows his noble profession, he having practiced over two years in Kentucky and three years near Mason, Effingham County, Ill., previous to his coming here. He does not shun his work, and is one of that kind of physicians who ride themselves into a lucrative practice. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "
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