BIOGRAPHIES published in
the "Biographical Record of Kane County, Illinois"
Originally printed by the S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1898
All biographies submitted by K. Torp
MOSES W. HAWES, deceased. In studying the lives and characters of prominent men, we are naturally led to inquire into the secret of their success and the motives that prompted their action. Success is a question of genius, as held by many, but is it not rather a matter of experience and sound judgment? When we trace the career of those who stand highest in public esteem, we find in nearly every case that they are those who have risen gradually, fighting their way in the face of all opposition. Self-reliance, conscientiousness, energy, honesty-these are the traits of character, that insure the highest emoluments and greatest success. To these we may attribute the success that crowned the efforts of our subject.
Moses W. Hawes was born September 2, 1814, in Watertown, New York, receiving his early education in that city. Later he went to Baltimore where he learned civil engineering, and in 1837 was sent from that city to the province of Conception, Chili, South America, to erect and put into operation the second flouring mill in that country. He was chosen from among one hundred applicants for the position. In that country he became a very prominent man and there continued to live for over twenty years. Being a first-class engineer he became a large government contractor and built many bridges, docks, etc.
While residing in Chili, he married a Spanish lady, by whom he had six children, only one of whom is now living, a daughter who married Bernardo Bambach. He died in 1877, and his widow now resides in Tome, Chili. In 1859 Mr. Hawes went to China and completing the circumnavigation of the globe returned to the United States. His wife having died, Mr. Hawes was married February 12, 1860, to Miss Jennie Rosencrans, who was born October 4, 1833, and is the daughter of Asa and Jane (Cole) Rosencrans. On the first of August, 1860, accompanied by his wife Mr. Hawes went to Chili, where he remained until the autumn of 1869, when they returned to the United States and first located in Elgin, Illinois. In 1870 he went to Mendota, Illinois, where he was engaged in the lumber business until 1872, when he returned to Elgin. After a short time he went to Europe and subsequently made two other trips across the ocean.
In 1877 Mr. Hawes was called home to serve as president of the Home National Bank, which position he resigned in 1879 and again moved to Mendota. In 1892 he once more returned to Elgin where he remained until his death, November 22, 1894, at the age of eighty-three years. He was a consistent member of the Congregational church, to which Mrs. Hawes also belongs. She is a lady of pleasing presence, and scholarly attainments, and is the only representative of the Rosencrans family once so prominent in Kane county.
JAMES C. BROWN, whose home is at No. 403 North Spring street, Elgin, was for many years prominently identified with the agricultural interests of Kane county, but is now living retired. He was born in Steuben county, New York, March 20, 1832, a son of Henry and Lois (Colvin) Brown, the former a native of Dublin, Ireland, the latter of Connecticut. While living in the east the father worked at the tailor's trade, but after coming to Illinois, in 1844, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, buying a tract of government land in Hampshire township, Kane county, which he transformed into a good farm. His wife died in May, 1845, at about the age of thirty-six years, and he subsequently married Lavina Gleason. He cared nothing for official honors, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to the development and improvement of his farm. In 1850, accompanied by our subject, he went to California by the overland route, starting from Grundy county, Illinois. On reaching Green River, Utah, the son was taken ill, so that he did not reach his destination until in 1851. The father remained on the Pacific slope, dying in Oregon, in 1870, when about seventy years of age. He was a consistent member of the Free Will Baptist church, to which the mother of our subject also belongs. Fraternally he was a Mason of high standing. In the family of this worthy couple were nine children, of whom five are still living: Betsy A., now residing on Ashland avenue, Elgin, is the widow of Willard B. Allen, who died at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while serving in the Union army during the Civil war; Charlotte is a resident of Hampshire, Kane county; James C. is next in order of birth; and Lois V. and Henry W. are both residents of California.
In the schools of New York, James C. Brown began his education, which was completed after the removal of the family to Illinois in 1844, by attending the public schools in Kane county. He assisted his father in the work of the home farm until the 1st of May, 1850, when they started for California. For eleven months he remained in Salt Lake City, becoming well acquainted with Brigham Young, and at balls would dance with several of his wives the same evening. He attended one wedding where the bridegroom, a Mr. Cook, married two sisters, standing up between them, the veil being over them all. This was a common occurrence in Salt Lake City at that time. Mr. Brown boarded with a man who had four wives living in the same home. Meeting with many interesting experiences, he thoroughly enjoyed his trip to California, in which state he engaged in mining for a year, and later farmed in the Suisun Valley for two years.
After about four years spent upon the Pacific slope, Mr. Brown returned to Illinois in the fall of 1853, having met with moderate success. Two years later, on the 23d of September, 1855, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Teressa P. Harney, who was born in Massillon, Stark county, Ohio, a daughter of T. J. and Mary (Burgess) Harney, natives of Canada. She was educated in a private school on the Western Reserve in that state, and at the age of eighteen began teaching near Massillon. After coming to Kane county, in 1854, she taught in the schools of Hampshire, teaching boys and girls, whose children years later attended a school conducted by her daughter, Mrs. Hollenbeck. Mrs. Brown is the only survivor in a family of six children, three of whom died when young. Thomas, the oldest, was a soldier of the Mexican war, and Sarcfield M. was a soldier of the Civil war. He was the first soldier whose remains were brought back to Elgin for interment.
To Mr. and Mrs. Brown were born four children, namely: (1) Lillie was educated in the Elgin Academy, began teaching in the schools of Hampshire township, and later taught for six years in the graded schools of Elgin. In 1884 she married Ralph D. Hollenbeck, who is a prominent attorney and graduated in the same class with his wife, by whom she has one child, Helen. In 1891 she was elected a member of the school board and served in that capacity for two terms, being chairman of the teachers committee for three years. Since its organization she has been identified with the Woman's Club, which is one of the best and largest clubs of the kind in the state outside of Chicago. It has erected and conducts an excellent hospital in Elgin, and has taken an active part in many enterprises for the good of the city. In its work Mrs. Hollenbeck has borne an active and prominent part. (2) Ira J., the second child of our subject, finished his education at the Elgin Academy, and is general milk solicitor for the Illinois Central Railroad, having charge of all the milk carried by that road. He married Estella Wilcox, by whom he has three children - Calvin W., James P. and Harry H. and they live in Genoa, Illinois. (3) Dairy died at the age of eleven years. (4) Mary L. is the wife of Walter P. Johnson, a grandson of Gail Borden, and they live in southern California. Their children are Borden, Calvin, Gail and Richard.
On his return from California Mr. Brown invested his capital in a farm in Kane county, to which he added from time to time until he had one of the most valuable and desirable places in the community. To agricultural pursuits he devoted his energies until elected sheriff in 1870, when he removed to Geneva to assume the duties of that office, which he so acceptably discharged that in 1872 he was re-elected, serving in all two terms. In October, 1861, during his country's hour of peril, Mr. Brown laid aside all personal interests and enlisted in Company B, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, under Colonel Farnsworth. For three years he was in the service, participating in all the battles in which his command took part, and when his term of service had expired, he was honorably discharged October 18, 1864. Fortunately he was never wounded, taken prisoner, sent to the hospital, nor confined in the guard house during the entire time, though he met with many narrow escapes. For a time he was on detached service. Since his retirement from the office of sheriff he has made his home in Elgin.
Socially Mr. Brown affiliates with the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while politically he is identified with the Republican party. Besides serving as sheriff of the county, he has filled all the township offices while residing in Hampshire township, and has always been recognized as one of the valued and useful citizens of his community. His wife and some of their children are members of the Congregational Church, and in social circles the family is one of prominence.
JOSEPH CLARK, one of the highly respected citizens of St. Charles, who for nearly half a century has been identified with the interests of Kane county, is a native of England, born in the city of London, August 27, 1837. His father, Edward Clark, also a native of that country, emigrated with his family to the New World in 1852, the voyage across the Atlantic consuming six weeks. The vessel on which they sailed, the American Eagle, carried them safely from London to New York, whence they proceeded by way of the great lakes to Chicago, and in May, 1852, they arrived in Kane county. St. Charles was then the terminus of the railroad. About a mile and a half from the village the father purchased a tract of ninety-one acres of land, which he at once commenced to clear and improve, erecting thereon a good frame residence. Upon that place he continued to make his home until about two years prior to his death, when he removed to St. Charles, where he passed away March 1, 1886. The mother of our subject died in England, and there the father was again married, his second wife dying in Kane county, in 1853.
The children born of the first marriage were Ellen, wife of W. H. Britt, of Chicago; William, now deceased; Joseph, of this sketch; Mrs. Cooley, of Batavia, Kane county; Mrs. J. F. Elliott, of St. Charles; and Edward, who during the Civil war was a member of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and died from effects of wounds received while defending the old flag and the cause it represented.
At the age of fourteen, Joseph Clark came to the United States with his father, and in Kane county grew to manhood. He had received good educational advantages in his native land, but after coming to this country attended school but very little. Remaining at home he assisted his father in the arduous task of developing the wild land into highly cultivated fields. Although of foreign birth, he had great love for his adopted country, and during her hour of peril he offered his services to the government to assist in putting down the rebellion. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee, and with his command he participated in the engagement at Tallahassee; followed Price while on his raid; was in the first siege at Chickasaw Bayou; took part in the battle of Arkansas Post, and in the siege of Vicksburg. He was then detailed for hospital service at Young's Point, where he remained for some time, and from March until July, 1863, he served on a hospital boat on the river. On account of illness he was then discharged and returned home, where he remained until he had somewhat regained his lost strength.
The following year Mr. Clark began farming upon rented land and continued to follow that occupation for a few years. He then removed to St. Charles, where he purchased a lot and erected his present residence in 1876, while he engaged in teaming for some years. After his father's death he bought the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead and to agricultural pursuits again turned his attention, successfully operating the farm until 1892, when he rented it and returned to St. Charles, where he is now living retired. Upon the farm he has made a number of useful and valuable improvements.
On the 22d of October, 1863, in Kane county, Mr. Clark was united in marriage with Miss Amanda A. Wood, a native of Erie county, Pennsylvania, who, when a child of three years, was brought to Illinois. Her father, William Wood, was a pioneer of Kane county, first locating in Blackberry, and later in Batavia, where he spent his last years. Mrs. Clark grew to womanhood and was educated in Kane county.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Clark are as follows: Hattie A. died at the age of twenty-two years; Mabel A. is the wife of S. W. Durant, formerly of St. Charles, but now of Huntley, Illinois; William Edward married Clara Bennett, of St. Charles, a daughter of A. A. Bennett, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. They are both connected with the Boydton Missionary School, at Boydton, Virginia, where Mrs. Clark is serving as a teacher and Mr. Clark as an editor and publisher. They are well educated and both were formerly teachers. Mary J., the next of the family, was for a time matron of the Boydton School, but is now at home; Joseph O., Anson I. and Ruth Ellen are all at home.
The Republican party finds in Mr. Clark a stanch supporter of its principles, and he has voted for every presidential nominee of the party since casting his vote for John C. Fremont in 1856. Although he has never sought office, he was elected and acceptably served as collector of St. Charles for four or five years. Mrs. Clark, her oldest sons and two daughters, are members of the Congregational church, the services of which Mr. Clark also attends, although not a member, and to its support he contributes of his means. As a citizen he has always been true and faithful to every trust reposed in him, so that his loyalty is above question, being manifest in days of peace as well as when he followed the old flag to victory on southern battle fields. As an honored pioneer and representative man of the community he is also worthy of the high regard in which he is uniformly held.
REV. CALEB FOSTER, who resides at No. 93 South Fourth street, Aurora, Illinois, has been a minister of the Gospel for sixty-one years and in that time has been instrumental in bringing many into the kingdom, and has left the impress of his mind upon the minds and hearts of thousands of persons where he has broke the bread of life. He was born February 14, 1812, near Franklin, Venango county, Pennsylvania, and is the son of John and Mary (Martin) Foster, both of whom became residents of the Keystone state, in early life accompanying their respective parents from Baltimore, Maryland, during the last century.
John Foster was a farmer by occupation, owning a farm on the banks of the Allegheny river, where he and his wife resided until his death, the former in 1837, at the age of fifty-one years, though naturally a healthy man. When Caleb Foster was four months old his father was drafted into the war of 1812 - being drafted a second time. His wife survived him many years, dying at the age of eighty-four. They were the parents of seven children, who reached maturity: Ross; James, who is still living in Pennsylvania, at the age of eighty-nine years; Caleb, now in his eighty-seventh year; Mary, who married William De Woody, and raised a large family of children, most of whom grew to be men and women, is still living in Pennsylvania at an advanced age; John; Julia Ann, who married John Temple; and Eliza, the youngest of the family, who married Seth Temple, all of Pennsylvania.
Caleb Foster began his education in the common subscription schools of his state, where it was often found difficult to support the schools for lack of funds. He afterwards attended Allegheny College, at Meadville, Pennsylvania, during parts of 1834-5-6. He entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church and received an appointment July, 1846, at the organization of the Erie conference at Meadville,
Bishop Soule, presiding, and Bishop Morris by his side. From that organization he was transferred to the Pittsburg conference and was assigned to Florence circuit, Allegheny county, then Kittanning circuit, then Somerset, then Fish Creek Mission in Virginia, then Harrison circuit, West Virginia, Lewis circuit, West Virginia, and from there he was transferred back to his native state and assigned to Blairsville, where he formed the acquaintance of Miss P. J. Waterman, who afterward became his wife, and from there to the Pittsburg Wesleyan Chapel.
Mr. Foster was married in October, 1843, to Miss Parmelia Jane Waterman, daughter of Lyman and Parmelia Waterman, of Blairsville, Pennsylvania, her father at that time being a wholesale merchant at Blairsville. Subsequently removing to Pittsburg, he continued in the same line of business for some time. The year after his marriage, our subject removed to East Liberty circuit, where he remained two years; then to Chartier circuit, near the city of Pittsburg, one year; then to Asbury Chapel, Pittsburg, two years. While here he was a member of the committee on publication of the Pittsburg "Advocate." He was next assigned to Brownsville, two years; then to Monongahela City, two years; then back to Asbury Chapel, one year. In 1854 he was transferred to the Rock River conference, and was stationed at Peoria, Illinois, one year, and was then at Canton, Illinois, two years. Rock River conference being divided at that time, he fell in with the southern division, and took his certificate of location and moved to Ottowa, Illinois, where he spent one year, at the end of which time he was re-admitted to the Rock River conference at Waukegan and sent to Mendota, where he remained two years, and was then assigned Sandwich for two years and Oswego one year. While there, in September, 1863, he received the appointment of agent for Clark's, now Jennings' seminary at Aurora, in which he was engaged for three years, and so active were his exertions that in that time he raised by voluntary contributions the sum of eighteen thousand dollars to apply to the benefit of the seminary.
In the fall of 1866 Mr. Foster retired from that work, and being quite worn out by his excessive labor, sought needed rest, but for a brief period only, as the limited state of his finances urged further active exertions. His many friends ill-advisedly counselled him to take a supernumerary relation to the church, which he tried without much reward, turning his attention to various occupations, until February, 1871. In that year he was invited to enter into the American Bible work, a position he accepted, and has ever since been actively engaged in it with most gratifying success, and although eighty-six years of age, is as vigorous and energetic as most men who are thirty years his junior.
To Mr. Foster and wife were born seven children, five of whom are now living, as follows: Mary Emma, Parmelia A., Lyman W., Ada J. and Robert N. Parmelia A. is now the wife of Rev. W. H. Burns, D. D., of Oak Park, Cook county, Illinois. Mr. Foster is the oldest member, as well as being the oldest man, on the board of trustees of Jennings seminary, and has been trustee a longer period than any man ever connected with the position. He is widely known and respected by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance, and he possesses a wonderful retentive memory of people and events of the past, and his mind is no less active on those of the present. A good conversationalist, genial and pleasant with all, he finds pleasure in his work and health in the active exercise pertaining thereto. At his own request his relation to the conference is now that of superanuate. In politics he is a Republican.
DUANE B. BALDWIN, a farmer residing at section 24, Hampshire township, traces his ancestry back to Joseph and Elizabeth Baldwin, his great, great-grandparents, who were natives of New England, the former dying January 9, 1808, at the age of seventy-nine years, and the latter March 13, 1808, at the age of sixty years. Their son, Thomas Baldwin, was born in April, 1784, probably in Connecticut. He was a blacksmith and tool-maker by trade, and during dull seasons of the year would take his tools that he had manufactured and sell them through the country. On the 19th of April, 1817, in Connecticut, he married Polly Lanfear, who was born in 1798, and who was the daughter of John and Mary Lanfear. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Dorset, Vermont, where he died July 4, 1854, she surviving him, dying in 1872.
Lucian Baldwin, son of Thomas and Polly Baldwin, was born at Dorset, Vermont, March 29, 1819. He there grew to manhood and married Maria J. Lanfear in May, 1843. She was born at Ticonderoga, New York, and in childhood made the old fort a playground. Her father, David Lanfear, was a soldier in the war of 1812. He married a Miss Phillips and came west with Mr. Baldwin, later went to California, where he died in 1870, at the residence of a daughter. Lucian Baldwin came to Kane county, Illinois, in July, 1843, and settled on the farm now owned by our subject. It was all in timber at the time, and he cleared the land, split rails to fence it, built the log house in which our subject was born, there lived for some twenty years, and, in 1872, built the present large frame house. He died January 29, 1889. To Lucian and Maria J. Baldwin, four children were born - Charles H., who lives at Pingree Grove; Duane B., our subject; Ella J., wife of Scott Phillips, an employee of the watch factory in Elgin; and Anna M., wife of Silas E. Crane, a carpenter living on section 25, Hampshire township.
Duane B. Baldwin, was born on the farm on which he now resides, November 22, 1849. His education was obtained in the district schools of Hampshire township, supplemented by two terms at the Elgin Academy. The first school he attended was in an old log house with puncheon floor and puncheon benches. He attended school until about nineteen years old, in the meantime assisting in the cultivation of the home farm. In 1869 he took charge of the farm, and continued its cultivation until 1873, with the exception of a short time in 1870, when he operated a sawmill in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1873, he went to California and at Truckee, Nevada county, engaged in the lumber and wood business. He remained in California until 1876, a part of which time he was working in the interest of the Bank of California, getting out timber and lumber at Virginia City. Returning home, from 1876 to 1891, he was engaged in farming, then moved to the village of Hampshire, where he engaged in cultivating land near there, and also in bailing hay and other occupations. On the 1st of March, 1898, he returned to the home farm which comprises one hundred and sixteen acres, and is used for dairy purposes. He keeps about twenty-five head of cows and ships the product to Chicago.
Mr. Baldwin has been twice married, first in Elgin, February 11, 1879, to Miss Etta Allen, daughter of John A. and Patience (Bowen) Allen, by whom he had one child, Emory D., who is with a relative operating a steamer on Lake Michigan. The second marriage of our subject was at Columbiana, Ohio, December 30, 1885, when he wedded Verana Sinsel, a daughter of Henry and Caroline Sinsel. By this union four children have been born - Ethel M., Eva, Walter and Iva.
Fraternally, Mr. Baldwin is a member of Hampshire lodge, No. 443, A. F. & A. M. Politically he is a Republican. For years he served as assessor of his township, and has served as road commissioner and school director for several terms each. He is a whole-souled, genial man, very popular, and has many friends throughout Kane and adjoining counties.
GEORGE FREAR, who is living a retired life in Aurora, was for many years one of the trusted employees of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, and also a contractor and builder, having charge of the erection of a number of the substantial buildings of the city. He has been a resident of Aurora since April, 1856. A native of Canada, he was born in Quebec, February 4, 1821. His father, Joseph Frear, was born in Northumberland county, England, April 2, 1777. In coming to America, he was nine weeks in crossing the Atlantic. He first settled in Oswego, New York, but remained there only a short time, moving to Quebec, Canada. He married Eleanor Lee, also a native of Northumberland county, England. By trade he was a cabinet-maker, joiner and wheelwright, having served an apprenticeship in the old country. In Quebec he worked at his trade, and also for a time was engaged in merchandising. In 1828 he returned to the states, locating in the city of New York, where he worked at his trade a number of years. In 1839 he moved to Ulster county, New York, and purchased a farm of one hundred acres, and for ten years was engaged in farming. He later removed to Binghamton, New York, and there died, January 2, 1851. His wife passed away April 17, of the same year.
George Frear is the youngest and only surviving child of Joseph and Eleanor Frear. While residing in New York city he attended St. John's Academy, where he received a liberal education. He there learned the carpenter and joiner's trade, but had previously worked three years at wood carving. With his father he went to Ulster county, New York, and took charge of the farm. He also removed with him to Binghamton, and there worked at his trade.
While, residing in Ulster county, Mr. Frear was married November 11, 1847, to Miss Jane Clemons, a native of New York, where she was reared and educated, and a daughter of Ira Clemons, a farmer of Ulster county. By this union they became the parents of four children, as follows: Mary Anna, now the wife of E. W. Shepherd, a soldier of the late war, but now a machinist of Aurora; Eleanor L., who for some years was a successful teacher in the public schools of Aurora; George William, who died in early childhood; and Maria Emily, who died at the age of four years.
After residing nearly five years in Binghamton, Mr. Frear moved back to Ellenville, Ulster county, New York, where he engaged in contracting and building for two years. In 1856, he came west, located in Aurora, then a town of less than two thousand inhabitants. Here he also engaged in contracting and building for a little more than two years, and in 1859, went into the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad shops, working in various departments, principally as a pattern maker, and also in the construction and the repair of coaches. He continued with the road some five years, and then purchased a farm in Cook county, to which he removed, and where he remained but eleven months. Selling out he returned to Aurora and went back into the shops, where he remained about twenty-five years.
Politically Mr. Frear was first a Whig, then an Abolitionist, and on the organization of the Republican party, became identified with it. His first presidential ballot was cast for General Winfield Scott, and his first Republican ballot for John C. Fremont. He has never desired or held public office, with the exception of being a member of the school board for three years, during which time he used his influence in securing good schools. Religiously he is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he has been an elder for a number of years. Mrs. Frear is also a member of that church, and both take a lively interest in whatever tends to promote the Master's cause.
Mr. and Mrs. Frear celebrated their golden wedding November 11, 1897, at which time a large number of their friends congregated and gladdened the hearts.
They were the recipients of a number of presents, showing the friendship and esteem in which they are held. The session of the church presented him with a gold-headed cane on that occasion. In the forty-two years of their residence in Kane county, Mr. and Mrs. Frear have made many warm friends, who esteem them for their Christian character.
Louis A. Constantine
LOUIS A. CONSTANTINE, postmaster of Aurora, was born in Buffalo, New York, March 13, 1853, and is the son of Louis A. and Fannie (Case) Constantine, the former born about 1800, in Berlin, Germany, while his father was a member of the French Legation. He came to the United States in the '30s, where he lived for some time and where his death occurred in 1865. On coming to this country, he adopted the principles of the Whig party, and later became a Republican. His wife, Fannie (Case) Constantine, was born in Devonshire, England, and came with her parents to Canada, when she was eleven years of age. She died in 1892, at Davenport, Iowa, where she was visiting her daughter. Louis A. and Fannie Constantine were the parents of eight children, four of whom are yet living: Sidney M., an attorney at Three Rivers, Michigan; Alice, now Mrs. Charles Stephens, of Davenport, Iowa; Louis A., our subject; and Benjamin F., manager of the "Post," Aurora. The deceased are William, Carrie, Maria, and Mary.
The subject of this sketch attended the public schools at Buffalo, N. Y., and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He then entered a printing office as an apprentice, serving, through all the grades and was then transferred to the business office. His first work was in the office of the "Republican,"at Dowagiac, Michigan, then the Grand Rapids "Eagle," the Jackson "Citizen" and the "Gazette" at Davenport, Iowa, and the Chicago "Daily News." From the "News" he came to Aurora, in November,"1877, and bought the "Post," which he has since published. This paper is a daily, seven-column folio, and devoted to the interest of the Republican party. It has been a prosperous paper since it was started, and has absorbed the "Democrat", "Times," "The Journal" and "Blade," weekly newspapers of Aurora.
Mr. Constantine was united in marriage March 27, 1882, at Aurora, with Miss Lillian Loomis, daughter of William and Isabel (Seeley) Loomis. She is a native of Aurora, and her parents were natives of Erie county, Pennsylvania. They had three children - William, deceased; Mary, now the wife of Dr. Douglas Long, of Detroit, Michigan; and Lillian. Mr. and Mrs. Constantine are members of the Peoples church, Aurora.
Since attaining his majority, Mr. Constantine has been actively engaged in politics, and, as a Republican, has been a leader in the councils of his party. He was clerk of the senate committee two terms, and was private secretary of President Bogardus, of the senate. For two years he was in the internal revenue service, in Chicago, under Christian Mamer. On the 13th of January, 1898, he was appointed by President McKinley, postmaster of Aurora, commissioned on the 20th and took possession of the office February 1, 1898. He has served as delegate to many county, district and state conventions, has been chairman of the city executive committee, and chairman of the senatorial committee. He is president of the Republican press association, of the eighth congressional district, and state organizer of the Illinois Republican League. A man of action, pleasing manners and good address, he has many friends, not only in Kane county, but throughout the state.
DR. WILLIAM A. PRATT, proprietor of the Cedarside Stock Farm, and breeder of Holstein-Friesian cattle, section 1, Elgin township, has the reputation of being one of the best breeders in the state of Illinois, his stock being found in nearly every state and territory of the Union. He was born in Naperville, Du Page county, Illinois, October 25, 1843, and is the son of Dr. Philomen Brown and Mary (Grimes) Pratt, the former a native of Brattleboro, Vermont, born in 1815, and the latter of Genesee Valley, New York, born in 1818. Her uncles on both sides participated in the war of 1812. Dr. Philomen B. and Mary (Grimes) Pratt, were early settlers of DuPage county, and he was one of the first dentists in Illinois, beginning practice in Chicago, in 1850. On the discovery of gold in California, he made a trip to the new Eldorado, but only remained one year, returning to engage in the practice of his profession, having previously studied under his brother, D. Amos Pratt. In early life he was politically a Whig, and later a stanch Republican.
When our subject was but six years of age, the family moved to Batavia, Illinois. Young as he was he drove three head of cattle twelve miles, on foot. After living in Batavia, they moved to his present farm, where he since continued to reside, a period of forty-seven years. He came soon after a railroad was built to Elgin, and when wolves and foxes were yet seen in the vicinity. His education was received in the common schools of Batavia and Elgin, supplemented by an attendance at Wheaton College, then under the presidency of the elder Blanchard. At the age of twenty-one he began the practice of dentistry with his father at Elgin, at which he continued eight years.
Since discontinuing the practice of dentistry, Dr. Pratt has given his entire attention to stock raising. At first he raised only Jersey cattle, but soon changed to Hosstein-Friesian and is now one of the largest individual breeders in America of that stock. He has been in the business since 1880, and has three farms stocked with registered cattle. The home farm consists of one hundred and fifty acres, partly lying in Cook county. He has one hundred and sixty acres near Gilbert and one hundred and thirty-five acres near Spaulding. The following are some of the noted strains that he has on hand in the spring of 1898: Pauline Paul, Nierop, Coronet, Duchess of York, Mathilda K., Ondine, Empress, Snowflake, Queen Bess, Zuider Zee, Astrea, Countess of Flanders, Maid of Twisk, Echo, Aaggie, Netherlands, Cliftons, Minks and Mercedes.
Dr. Pratt has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Mattie Patrick, born in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and a daughter of Hiram Patrick. After her death he married Katie Gibbons, daughter of John and Mary (Prendergast) Gibbons, by whom he has six children-Walter, Matie, Alice, Ada, Alpha, and William A. The first two died in infancy.
Dr. Pratt is a scientific and expert breeder and is an acknowledged authority on cattle. Cedarside farm, which adjoins the corporate limits of Elgin, is one of the best known farms in this section of the state. His dwelling house, which is of the Italian style of architecture, occupies an exceedingly fine location, with fine groves surrounding the house and cedars lining the roadside. Soon after electric roads were built to Dundee, the Doctor laid out a fine park of thirty-five acres, which he gave the name of Trout Park, making of it a fine summer resort. All kinds of outdoor amusements are provided for its patrons in the summer and Trout Lake is well stocked with brook trout secured from Seth Green. Politically Dr. Pratt is a Republican and fraternally a member of Lochiel lodge, No. 105, K. of P., of Elgin.
Years of quiet usefulness and a life in which the old-fashioned virtues of sincerity, industry and integrity are exemplified have a simple beauty that no words can portray. Youth has its charms, but an honorable and honored old age, to which the lengthening years have added dignity and sweetness, has a brighter radiance, as if some ray from the life beyond already rested upon it. Mr. Durant, one of the oldest residents of St. Charles, is also one of the honored pioneers of Kane county, where he has made his home since May, 1837, and it is safe to say that no citizen of the community is held in higher esteem than he.
In the town of Ware, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, Mr. Durant was born December 14, 1807, and is of the eighth generation of the family in this country. His ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the old Bay state, making their homes in Boston and Newton, and among their number were several who participated in the Revolutionary war, aiding the colonies in their struggle for independence. Our subject's grandfather, Denny Durant, was born in Newton, near Boston, of French extraction, and the father, John Durant, was a native of the same place. The latter engaged in merchandising in early life, but later turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. He married Abigail Ward, also a native of Massachusetts, and a daughter of Elijah Ward, another representative of one of the first families of that state, and a Revolutionary soldier. In 1849 John Durant joined our subject in St. Charles, where he spent his last days, and now he and his wife, who survived him about two years, sleep side by side in the cemetery at that place.
The subject of this sketch attended the public schools of his native state to a limited extent, but is principally self-educated and is a well-informed man. During his youth he learned the bricklayer's trade, at which he worked at Cambridge, Brighton and Newton for about sixteen years, and also engaged to some extent in farming in Massachusetts. In 1837 he came to Illinois, by way of the lakes to Chicago, where his brother James engaged in merchandising for many years. He arrived in that city in March, and the following May came to Kane county, where, in company with his brother and another gentleman, he bought a claim of one thousand acres, which he at once began to open up and improve. After following agricultural pursuits for two years, he had the farm operated by others while he worked at his trade in St. Charles and in different sections throughout Kane county for some years, though he still continued to live upon the farm. When the property was divided he obtained two hundred acres, on which he erected a substantial brick residence, good barns and other outbuildings, and made many other valuable improvements. The place is pleasantly located only two miles from St. Charles. About 1881 he rented the farm and removed to St. Charles, where he has since lived retired, enjoying the rest he has so well earned and so richly deserves.
At Genoa, DeKalb county, Illinois, Mr. Durant was married in 1842, to Miss Jerusha Shurtliff, who was born and reared in Lowell, Massachusetts Her father, David Shurtliff, was born in Plymouth, that state, and belonged to one of its earliest families. Mr. and Mrs. Durant have six children, namely: Julia is the wife of J. W. Johnston, of St. Charles; Henrietta is the widow of Frank Herrington and now resides in Oberlin, Ohio; William H. is a business man of Chicago; Emma is the widow of Dr. Lane, who was a leading physician of St. Charles for some years, and she now resides with her parents, while she is successfully engaged in teaching in St. Charles, being a lady of superior education; Abbie is the wife of Henry Allen, of Iowa; and Charles is married and engaged in farming in Kansas.
Since the election of General Jackson to the presidency, Mr. Durant has always been found at the polls on each election day, supporting first the candidates of the Whig party, and since the organization of the Republican party has been one of its earnest advocates, voting for John C. Fremont in 1856. He attended the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for the presidency, and was always a warm admirer of the martyr president and his policy. Believing that a protective tariff is best suited to the needs of the American people, he gives it his heart) support, and he is also a stanch supporter of the gold standard of currency. With the Congregational church he and his wife hold membership. Although their lives have been quiet and unassuming, they have made hosts of friends throughout Kane county, and by all who know them they are held in high regard.
HORACE J. SEYMOUR, a well-known contractor and builder residing at No. 40 Jefferson avenue, Elgin, is a native of Illinois, born in Cook county, February 10, 1851, and is a representative of one of the oldest and most distinguished families of the United States, its members being well represented in the early wars of the country. On the paternal side he traces his ancestry back to Richard Seymour, who came to the New World about 1635, and was the first mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, his name appearing on the monument erected to the first settlers of that place, in Center church burying ground. His son Thomas was the father of Captain Matthew Seymour, whose son, Captain Thomas Seymour, took an active and prominent part in the French and Indian war. The son of the last named, Ebenezer Seymour, was born May 16, 1729, near Greenwich, Connecticut, and married Ruth Scribner, who was born in 1730 and died in 1820. Their son Jesse, who was the great-grandfather of our subject, was a commissary in the war of the Revolution, and emptied his private purse to pay for food for the soldiers. He married Mercy Fancher, of Dutchess county, New York, and to them were born fifteen children.
John Seymour, our subject's grandfather, married Elizabeth Wright, who was born November, 1794, and was one of a family of six children, whose parents were Ephraim and Martha Wright, the former born February 6, 1766, the latter April 8, 1770. Her grandparents were John and Elizabeth Wright, the former born December 25, 1736, the latter May 2,1746. John Wright was a son of John and Ruth Wright, the former born April 5, 1703, a son of Gideon and Margaret W. Wright. Gideon Wright was born in Germany, January 8, 1675, and was the founder of the branch of the family in America. To John and Elizabeth (Wright) Seymour were born the following children: Samuel, Susan, Wright, and Ephraim, all deceased; Hannah, who is still living; Elizabeth and Frederick, both deceased; and Harvey, Joseph, John W., Cordelia, deceased, and Deziah, all living. The mother of these children died September 28, 1816, aged sixty-six years, nine months and twenty-seven days, and the father passed away at the home of John Seymour, in Elgin, aged ninety-seven years, nine months and seven days. Both were laid to rest in the cemetery at Barrington, Cook county.
Our subject's father, Joseph B. Seymour, was born near Dundee, Steuben county, New York, and on coming west in 1844 located upon a partially improved farm in Barrington township, Cook county, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits until his removal to Aurora in 1867. There he still continues to reside at the age of seventy-four years.. He married Mary S. Haven, who was born in Carthage, Jefferson county, New York, November 28, 1832, a daughter of Samuel and Lydia (Strong) Haven. Her mother was born in Stafford, New Hampshire, August 22, 1799, and died November 22, 1874. Mrs. Seymour is one
of a family of seven children, of whom only two are now living, the other being Martha Malvina, who was born in Carthage, New York, July 9, 1836. The parents of our subject are both earnest and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are held in high regard by all who know them.
Horace J. Seymour was reared upon the home farm in Cook county, and after the removal of the family to Aurora continued his education, taking a miscellaneous and business course. He is the only child of his parents. After his marriage he engaged in farming for three years in Cook county, and for the following four years was employed as clerk and driver by the American Express Company at Aurora. He then engaged in farming near Kankakee for three years, after which he lived in that city for two years, and in 1884 came to Elgin in time to vote for James G. Blaine for president. Having learned the carpenter's trade in early life, he has successfully engaged in contracting and building in Elgin, erecting residences principally. He has also been interested to some extent in the real-estate and mercantile business, and in his undertakings has met with a fair degree of success.
On the 20th of March, 1872, Mr. Seymour was united in marriage with Miss R. Jennie Smith, a daughter of Reuben B. Smith, of Lamont, Cook county. Her great-grandmother, a Mrs. Streator, of Washington county, New York, lived to the extreme old age of one hundred six years. Her seven brothers all went as volunteers in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war, while the sisters were left at home to carry on the farm. Mr. and Mrs. Seymour have two children: Hattie and Fred Wesley.
The former is now the wife of H. T. Pixley, of Marion, Iowa, and has two children: Merle Seymour and Ira A.
Our subject, his wife and children all hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mrs. Seymour is a teacher in the Sunday-school. She is a graduate of the Aurora high school, and for several years successfully engaged in teaching in that city. Mr. Seymour is a charter member of and active worker in the Modern Woodmen Society of Elgin, of which he was treasurer for several years after its organization, and is at present a member of the sick committee, which during the past year dispensed about two thousand dollars for the relief of the sick. Politically he is an ardent Republican, and has filled the office of assistant supervisor, but cares nothing for political honors. As a business man and citizen he enjoys the esteem of the entire community.
LESTER M. BURROUGHS, M. D., is one of the oldest and most successful practitioners in Kane county, and has been a resident of Batavia since 1861. He is a' native of Ohio, born in Shalersville, Portage county, September 25, 1820. His father, Daniel Burroughs, Jr., was born in New Hampshire, but reared in Williamstown, Vermont, while his grandfather, Daniel Burroughs, Sr., was a native of Connecticut, born in May, 1755, and was a faithful soldier in the Revolutionary army. The family are of English descent.
In 1810 Daniel Burroughs, Sr., accompanied by his father's family, located in Portage county, Ohio, and were among the earliest settlers of that locality. In that county Daniel Burroughs, Jr., married Miss
Abigail Hine, a native of Connecticut, whose father, Daniel Hine, was also a native of that state. He located in Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1808. By trade Daniel Burroughs, Jr., was a brick and stone mason, but in later life followed farming. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and at Detroit was among the number surrendered to the enemy by General Hull, but was soon after paroled. In 1836 he moved to Illinois and located in Kendall county, where he engaged in farming. His last years, however, were spent at Batavia, and his death occurred at the residence of his son in 1866. His wife passed away in Kendall county in 1863.
The subject of this sketch came to Illinois with his parents at the age of sixteen years. His literary education commenced in the common schools of Ohio, and completed in the public schools of Illinois. In early life he conceived the idea that he would make the medical profession his life work. Purchasing some books he commenced reading, and later entered the office of Dr. Gardiner, of Blackberry, Illinois, and under his instruction continued his studies. He then took a special course of lectures in the medical college at Cleveland, Ohio, and later spent one year in the medical college at Kenosha, Wisconsin. After some three or four years' study he commenced the practice of medicine. Soon after he commenced practice, he was called to attend a smallpox patient, and before his patient recovered he was called to treat sixty-nine other cases.
While residing in Blackberry, Dr. Burroughs was united in marriage, November 24, 1849, with Miss Almira Wheeler, a native of Troy, New York, who came with her parents to Kane county, Illinois, in 1838.
Her father, David Wheeler, was a prominent man in Troy, and there served as postmaster eight years under General Jackson. After his removal to Blackberry he served in like capacity for ten years. In the -war of 1812 he was taken prisoner by the British, and held at Barbados for some time. He married Judith Pearson, of Newberryport, Massachusetts, in 1815. He reared a family of eight sons and one daughter. In Kane county he was quite a prominent man until his death.
In 1861, Dr. Burroughs located at Batavia, where he has since continued in active practice, although nearing his four score. In the early days he was an Abolitionist, and was one of the conductors on the underground railroad, assisting fugitives who were fleeing to a free land. His first presidential ballot was cast for James G. Birney. Believing that the desires of his heart might the sooner be gained, on the organization of the Republican party, he identified himself with it and has voted for each of its presidential candidates from Fremont to McKinley. While always taking an active interest in political affairs, his professional duties have prevented his holding official position.
To the Doctor and Mrs. Burroughs, two daughters were born. Mary B. is now the wife of William K. Coffin, a banker of Wisconsin, and president of the Bankers' Association of that state, and Nellie May, who yet resides at home. Fraternally Dr. Burroughs is a Master Mason and is also a member of the Odd Fellows. In the subordinate lodge of that order he has passed all the chairs, and in the encampment he has likewise filled all the offices. For sixty-two years he has been a resident of the state of Illinois, the greater part of which time he has been engaged in his professional duties, and the good that he has done in the alleviation of human suffering can never be known. Few men have more friends throughout Northern Illinois than has the subject of this sketch.
NATHANAEL J. THOMAS, city electrician of Aurora, was born in Greene county, Ohio, April 7, 1838, and is the son of Henry and Susannah (Bayliff) Thomas. The father was a native of Virginia, born March 14, 1803, and was the son of Jacob Thomas. By occupation Henry Thomas was a farmer, and he removed to Ohio with his parents, when a small boy, and where he resided for many years. He came to Illinois, locating in Bureau county. In 1862, he removed to Iowa, locating in Pocahontas county, where he purchased a farm, and carried on farming until his death, October 25, 1881. In religion he was a Methodist, and politically was originally a Henry Clay Whig, and later a Republican. His wife, Susannah Bayliff, was born February 15, 1808, and died February 20, 1883. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church. They were the parents of eleven children, nine of whom grew to mature years. They were Daniel, now living in Washington; Jacob, deceased; Lydia, who married Jeremiah Young, and is living in Washington; Joshua, deceased; Benjamin, who died in infancy; Joel B., of Oklahoma; Nathaniel J., our subject; William A., who died in the army, was a member of Company B, Ninety-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry; Ellen, who married Barney Hanshire, living in Iowa; Henry H., who died in infancy, and Sally A., who married George Strong, and after his death, married Mr. Brice and is in living in Washington.
Our subject was in his twelfth year, when his parents left Ohio and came to Illinois. He was reared on the home farm, where he assisted his father, and attended the country schools as the opportunity was afforded him. On the 12th of August, 1862, at Dover, Illinois, he enlisted in Company B, Ninety-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and went into, camp in Chicago, on duty at Camp Douglas, guarding Shiloh prisoners. The regiment remained there until November 9th, and was then ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and was with Grant on the Holly Springs expedition. Returning to Memphis they remained until they went out against Vicksburg. The regiment was in the Third Brigade, under command of General McPherson, which formed a part of the Seventh Division, of the Seventeenth Army Corps. Mr. Thomas took part in all that siege, until the surrender. He was next on the expedition against Johnston, on the Big Black river, after which he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, February 14, 5864. He was then sent to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where they had a recruiting camp, and was there until ordered to Little York, Pennsylvania, where he remained two months. From Little York they went to Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was there seven months, then to Philadelphia, and Chester, Pennsylvania, where he remained until mustered out, July 8, 1865. He came out of the service without a scratch.
After being mustered out, Mr. Thomas returned to Bureau county, and February 1, 1866, went to Mendota, and there entered the telegraph service of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad company until December, 1886. Early in 1887, he resigned from the service of the company, and entered the service of the city of Aurora, in charge of its electric lights.
Mr. Thomas was married August 12, 1862, to Miss Mary E. Barr, a native of Coshocton, Ohio, and daughter of Hezekiah and Hannah Barr. By this union was one child, which died in infancy. Mrs. Thomas died July 18, 1871, and Mr. Thomas married his second wife, Adaline Warner, October 11, 1874. She was a native of Prophetstown, Illinois, where her parents now live. She died December 23, 1876. The third marriage was to Miss Libbie M. Evans, who was born in Aurora, and was a daughter of Griffith and Elizabeth (Welden) Evans, both of whom are natives of Pennsylvania. She died February 27, 1897.
In politics, Mr. Thomas is a Republican, and a stalwart member of the party. He is a charter member of Charlemagne lodge, No. 245, K. P., and of the Mendota lodge, No. 293, I. O. O. F. He is also a member of the Aurora post, No. 20, G. A. R., of which he is past commander, and has served as delegate to the state encampments, also a member of Greusel Garrison, No. 143, Knights of the Globe. For his services during the late war, he is now receiving a pension. In political matters he has always taken an active part, and is regarded very highly as a citizen, and as an official. In him the city has a faithful and a capable officer in charge of their electric system, and one in whom they can rely as always being ready, and at his post of duty.
EBENEZER DENNEY, one of the old and much respected citizens of Aurora, and president of the board of public works, was born in Yorkshire, England, August 15, 1840, and is the son of Joseph and Jane (Spur) Denney. His father came to the United States in 1855, located in Aurora; he was a cabinet maker and followed his trade in this country for a time, and then retired from active business. His death occurred in 1878, at Aurora. Politically he was a Republican, and religiously a member of the First Congregational church. He was a man of medium size, solid built, of strong character, but generous with all. His wife, Jane Denney, was a native of Nottinghamshire, England, and was also a member of the Congregational church. She died in 1861. They were the parents of seven children, and those living are Thomas, residing in Aurora; Joseph, Hallifield and our subject, all residing in Aurora.
Ebenezer Denney, our subject, attended the schools of Yorkshire, and worked with his father at the cabinet maker's trade. In 1850, his brothers, William and Joseph, came to the United States and engaged in cabinet making at Aurora. On their recommendation, the remainder of the family came also to this country, and our subject went into the business with his brothers. William died in 1861. Our subject enlisted to serve his adopted country, and was mustered into the service on his birthday, in 1862, at Chicago, as a member of Company G, Seventy-second Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. From Chicago they went to Cairo, and from there to Paducah, Kentucky, thence to Columbus, at which place the regiment joined Grant's army, and took part in the siege and reduction of Vicksburg. He was with the force of sappers and miners, whose duty was night work in the mines and fortifications. His regiment was one of the first to march into Vicksburg, after the surrender.
Mr. Denney was detached from the Seventy-second Regiment and made quartermaster sergeant of the Fiftieth Regiment, United States Colored Troops. He was with that regiment for a few months, when he received a commission as second lieutenant of Company E, of that regiment. After remaining at Vicksburg for some time, he went with the regiment on the Mobile expedition, and was in the great attack on Fort Blakeley. They then returned up the Mississippi and was stationed at Jackson, Mississippi, when he was finally mustered out. In 1864, he was promoted to first lieutenant, after which he was on staff duty, on the staff of General M. F. Force, who was a great friend of his. While at Jackson, a singular thing occurred, Lieutenant Denney for one day being in command of the department, General Force having turned the command over to him when he was mustered out.
After his being mustered out Lieutenant Denney was sent to Vicksburg where he was paid off and discharged. He then returned to Aurora, and took up his business again. In 1882, he formed a partnership with his brothers, Joseph, Thomas and Hallifield, the firm being known as the Denney Brothers. In March, 1894, Albert Denney, son of Joseph Denney, and our subject, purchased the interest of the other members of the firm, and the firm name is now Denney & Denney. They carry a general stock of furniture, and undertaking supplies, and their large warerooms are full of all kinds of goods in the line of their trade. They do their own upholstering, and manufacture mattresses, etc.
Lieutenant Denney was married September 10, 1861, to Mary Elliott, daughter of W. T. and Rebecca (Pierce) Elliott, who were numbered among the early settlers of Kane county, and who were natives of New York. The mother is still living on the old homestead in Aurora township, the farm being the one purchased from the general government. Mrs. Denney was born on that farm. Her death occurred in 1862, ten months after her wedding day. On the 7th of November, 1865, Lieutenant Denney was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary Mix, at Raymond, Mississippi. Thus something was done toward bringing the two factions together. Not having any children of their own, they adopted George Burton Denney, when the child was but two years old. He is now twenty-two years old and is associated with his father in the business. In the public schools of Aurora, he was liberally educated, and was then sent to the conservatory of music, at Chicago, to perfect his musical education. He has fine musical talent, and plays several instruments. He is a member of the Aurora cornet band, and gives instructions on the clarionet, piano and guitar.
Mr. and Mrs. Denney are members of the Congregational church of Aurora, and in politics he is a Republican. He has served in the city council two terms, and has been on the hospital board, the library board and is now on the board of the Old Ladies' Home. For a number of years he was secretary of the Building and Loan Association, and is now its president. In 1897, he was appointed by Mayor Holden, president of the board of public works, the duties of which office he fills in the most satisfactory manner. While a member of the city council, he was chairman of the committee on public lights, and the present splendid electric light plant, which is now owned by the city, and its fine system, dates back to the time when Mr. Denney took hold of the subject and to the city's ownership. He is a member of the Masonic order, Jerusalem Temple and of the chapter. He is also a member of the Odd Fellows, the United Workmen, Knights of the Globe and Aurora post No. 20, G. A. R., of which he past commander, and by reason of his position, has been delegate to the state and national encampments.
JOHN ADAM SCHOEBERLEIN, the efficient chief of the fire department of Aurora, is a native of the city, born March 3, 1861; and is the son of John A. and Barbara (Pfeifer) Schoeberlein, both of whom were born in Bavaria, but were married in this country. The father was born in 1813, and came to the United States in 1854, locating in Aurora, where he followed his trade of blacksmithing until 1873, when he engaged in the coal business, which he conducted for sixteen years. His death occurred at Aurora, January 27, 1892. He was a member of the German Methodist church, and was the founder of that denomination in Aurora, and continued one of its main pillars until his death. Politically he was a Republican, and a strong advocate of the principles of that party. His father, also named John Adam, was by occupation a farmer, and lived and died in Bavaria. His wife is still living in Aurora, and is a worthy member of the church founded by her husband. They were the parents of eight children, of whom three grew to maturity-Fred, who was at one time an alderman in the city of Aurora, and the youngest person ever holding that position in the city council, died April 17, 1888; Sabilla, died at the age of fifteen years.
The subject of this sketch was reared in Aurora, and received his education in the public schools. He was but sixteen years of age when he commenced the grocery business at the corner of New York and Union streets, which business he carried on for twelve years, when he sold out. He was in partnership with his brother. In June, 1892, he was appointed by W. S. Frazier, then mayor of the city, chief of the fire department, serving for two years, when a change of government took place. In June, 1897, he was again appointed to the position by Mayor Holden, and is still holding that place. His administration has been satisfactory and he is making a good officer, as is demonstrated by the efficiency of the fire department.
Mr. Schoeberlein was married March 15, 1883, to Miss Mary Peetz, a native of Aurora, and a daughter of Jacob and Mary Peetz. By this union are three children - Ella May, Earl and Mate. Religiously Mr. and Mrs. Schoeberlein are members of the German Methodist church. In politics he is a Republican, and fraternally is a member of the Knights of Pythias.
John A. Schoeberlein, the father, erected the Schoeberlein block, a three-story brick structure, on Fox street, which he gave to our subject before his death. Chief Schoeberlein has a good substantial home which he erected for himself and family on the corner of State and New York streets, and where he resides, respected by all who know him.
JOHN ALLEN, deceased, was for some years one of the leading farmers in Hampshire township, residing on section 23. He was born at Louisville, St. Lawrence county, New York, September 10, 1809, and was the son of Elijah and Susan (Edson) Allen, both of whom were natives of Vermont. The former died at about the age of eighty-two years in Beaver, Crawford county, Pennsylvania. The latter died at about the age of eighty years. Elijah was the son of Aaron, who served through seven years of the Revolution, while he served in the war of 1812.
In 1829 our subject moved to Burton county, Ohio, and in 1833 moved to Crawford county, Pennsylvania. While residing in the latter county he married Jane De Wolf September 26, 1852, born in the town of Corinth, Saratoga county, New York, January 26, 1826, and who removed with her parents to Crawford county, Pennsylvania, in 1838. She is the daughter of Charles and Betsy (Putnam) DeWolf, both natives of Chester county, Vermont. Her grandfather, Edward DeWolf, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, while her father served in the war of 1812. By this union were five children-Edna Jane and Edwin John, twins, the latter being deceased; Charles C, deceased; Adelbert and John E. Politically Mr. Allen was originally a Whig, and later a Republican. Religiously he was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
In 1865 Mr. Allen moved west, with a view of bettering his condition in life. He arrived in Kane county, Illinois, April 14, of that year, and bought one hundred and thirty acres of land on section 23, Hampshire township, known as the old Doty farm. In 1883 he bought eighty acres adjoining on the east, on which was a fine large house and large barns. In this house the family has resided for some years, the old house having burned. After a long and useful life Mr. Allen was called to his reward May 28, 1895. His residence of thirty years in Kane county had brought him somewhat prominently before the people, and he was well known in Kane and McHenry counties.
Adelbert Allen, son of John and Jane Allen, grew to manhood on the home farm, and married Minnie Howe, November 14, 1894, who was fourth in a family of eight children born to William J. and Johanna (Benke) Howe. Her father, was born in the village of Baenkenhaven, province of Pomerania, Prussia, April 1, 1842, and her mother born April 11, 1842, was reared in Germany, and came to America in 1868, embarking October 15, at Hamburg, on a sailing vessel. The voyage was a stormy one and required eleven weeks and four days. They landed at New York, December 25-a memorable Christmas day-and came direct to Dundee, Kane county, Illinois, where Mr. Howe secured work until spring. He first worked for Dr. Crabtree and later farm work near Harmony, in McHenry county. After working as a farm hand for seven years, he rented a farm near Harmony for one year, then rented in Hampshire township two years and again one year more in McHenry county, and for five years on the farm of William Willetts, in Hampshire township, and later two years in Rutland township. He bought his present farm of eighty acres in December, 1883, to which he moved January 1, 1884. William J. Howe was a son of Christian Howe, born in Pomerania, about 1810, and then died about 1854, when William was a boy. The grandfather, John Howe, was a farmer in Germany, where his entire life was spent. Christian Howe married Mary Miller, now living in McHenry county, at the age of eighty-three years. Her father was a shepherd in the old country. William J. Howe married Johanna Benke, in the village of Giescehn, Pomerania, December 10, 1867. She is a daughter of Joseph Benke, a farmer who lived and died in the old country. To Adelbert Allen and wife one child has been born, Walter Raymond, born September 28, 1895.
JOSEPH SANFORD FERRY, of Aurora, Illinois, has spent sixty years of his life in the Prairie state, almost within hailing distance of Aurora. He is a native of Washington county, New York, born October 18, 1829. His father, Sylvanus Ferry, was a native of Massachusetts, born in 1800, and there grew to manhood, moving from thence to Washington county, New York, in company with his brother, Homer Ferry. He married, in Washington county, Miss Rhoda Wilson, a native of that county and state, and a daughter of James Wilson, also born in the same county. By trade Sylvanus Ferry was a tanner and currier, and followed that occupation during his entire life. In 1836 he moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where he remained about one and a half years. In 1838 he moved west to Du Page county, Illinois, locating in Naperville township, where he purchased a claim and where his death occurred two years later. His wife survived him many years, and passed away at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Our subject was the youngest and only survivor of their three children. His brother, Melanethon Ferry, grew to manhood, married and farmed for some years, later removed to Aurora, where he lived retired, and where his death occurred. The sister, Louisa, died a single lady.
Our subject was but nine years of age when he came west with his parents to Du Page county, and on the home farm grew to manhood, and, as the opportunity was afforded him, attended the district school a few weeks in the winter months. He married in Du Page county, November 25, 1855, Miss Sophronia Kenyon, a native of Washington county, New York, born January 12, 1830, and a daughter of Daniel and Esther (Warner) Kenyon, both of whom are natives of Vermont, the latter being a daughter of Israel Warner, and a granddaughter of Col. Seth Warner, who served in the Revolutionary war under his father, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Ferry. Israel Warner was for many years a prominent man in Vermont, and, later, moved west, and died at -the age of ninety-eight years. Mrs. Ferry grew to womanhood and was educated in the schools of New York and Vermont, and was a teacher in each of those states about eight years. She came west, in 1853, with her parents, who located in Du Page county, where she again engaged in teaching, in which she continued until her marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Ferry three children were born: Addie, wife of Edward Strong, a business man of Aurora; Jenny, wife of Jesse Tenney, also a business man of Aurora; and William W., married, and now living retired in Aurora. There are now in the family eleven grandchildren.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Ferry located on his farm of one hundred and thirty acres, lying near Naperville, where they remained a number of years, then sold and moved to Aurora, where Mr. Ferry purchased residence property and vacant lots on which he erected several neat dwelling houses. They remained in the city some six or seven years, then traded some city property for two hundred acres of land lying in Du Page and Kane counties. On that place they remained from 1873 until 1890, in the meantime purchasing two adjoining farms, giving them about six hundred acres of very valuable land. In 1890 they returned to Aurora, where they have since continued to reside, Mr. Ferry again engaging in building enterprises. Being a natural mechanic and very handy with tools, he has assisted in the erection of all his buildings.
Like the great majority of the wealthy and influential men of the country, Mr. Ferry commenced life in limited circumstances, and by his own exertions, assisted by his good wife, he has succeeded in acquiring a competency, and is numbered among the well-to-do men of Aurora. In addition to his residence property he has invested in the stock of the German National Bank.
Politically Mr. Ferry is a Republican, voting for the nominees of that party in all state and national elections, but in local elections he casts his ballot for the one he considers the best man. He never wanted or held office, save that of school director, which he was induced to accept, because of his interest in good public schools. Mrs. Ferry is a consistent member of the Congregational church of Aurora. They are both highly respected, and have many warm friends in Kane and Du Page counties.
MRS. SARAH F. (GIFFORD) PRESTON is a worthy representative of the oldest and one of the most highly respected families of Elgin. She was born in Chenango county, New York, at Dundee, September 13, 1834, a daughter of James T. and Laura (Raymond) Gifford, also natives of the Empire state. There the father was interested in a manufacturing business until 1835, when he emigrated to Illinois, locating in what is now Elgin. He had the distinguished title of the "father of Elgin, " as he was the founder of that city, erecting the first house, which was his home for several years, and also served as the first post office, school building and church. It stood for many years, but was finally torn down when Prairie street was cut through. Near its site a stone has been placed which bears the inscription: "One hundred feet from this spot stood James T. Gifford's log house - the first home in Elgin - built in the spring of 1835, where was organized the first Congregational church, May 12, 1836, of the following members: George McClure, Sarah McClure, Julia McClure, Philo Hatch, Mary Ann Kimball, Relief Kimball, Reuben Jenne; Ruth C. Dixon, Experience Gifford, James T. Gifford, Laura Gifford."Gifford street was named in his honor, while Raymond street was named for his wife's family. His sister, Miss Harriet Gifford, familiarly known as "Aunt Harriet," was the first white woman to wade the Fox river at Elgin, crossing the stream for the purpose of visiting a sick friend. She was an excellent, kind-hearted lady, given to deeds of charity and benevolence. Mr. Gifford watched with interest the growth of the city which he had founded and lived to see it number several thousand inhabitants.
On the first day of January, 1800, James T. Gifford was born at Herkimer, New York, and on New Years day, 1823, he was united in marriage with Miss Laura Raymond, of Sherburn, New York, who was born November 26, 1800. Her father, Newcomb Raymond, was a Revolutionary soldier, entering the Colonial army when but a boy. He married a Miss Gray. Coming to Elgin in 1835, Mr. and Mrs. Gifford bore an important part in the upbuilding and development of the city, and became widely and favorably known throughout this section of the state. He erected the brick building at the corner of Prairie and Villa streets, which he rented. Being a good mechanic, and of an inventive turn of mind, he invented a reaping machine, which he was giving a trial in a harvest field the day of his death, which was probably hastened by great exposure in the hot sun. He was attacked with Asiatic cholera, dying that evening, August 10, 1850. Thus passed away one of the honored pioneers and representative citizens of Kane county. He had served as the first postmaster of Elgin, and also acceptably filled the office of justice of the peace for a time. In every way he proved a valued and useful citizen, taking an active part in the work of the Congregational church, of which he and his wife were charter members, while he was a leader in the Sunday-school and in other good works.
She, too, was an earnest Christian, and a most estimable woman. Her death occurred August 5, 1872.
In the family of this worthy couple were six children, namely: Caroline, wife of Orlando Davidson; Lucy D., who died at the age of eighteen years, while the family were living in Wisconsin for a few years; James H., who was born December 3, 1830, and died in Elgin, January 15, 1883; Fulton, a banker of Mendota, Illinois; Sarah F., the subject of this sketch, and Newton Dexter, who was born in 1841, and died in Wisconsin, November 1, 1847.
Reared in Elgin, Sarah F. Gifford began her education in the public schools of that place, and afterward attended a young ladies' seminary on Wabash avenue, Chicago. On the 26th of April, 1860, at Elgin, she gave her hand in marriage to George Preston, a native of Manchester, New Hampshire, and a son of Paschal and Ruth Preston, who visited the west several times but never located here, and both are now deceased. George Preston spent his boyhood and youth upon a farm in his native state, and in early life came to Elgin. In the fall of 1861 he responded to his country's call for aid, enlisting in Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Army of the Southwest. He had served but a short time when he was taken ill, and was first confined in a hospital at Vicksburg, and later at St. Louis. On account of physical disability he was honorably discharged and returned home. After his recovery he worked in the watch factory of Elgin until life's labors were ended, August 7, 1873, being forty-one years of age at the time of his death.
Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Preston, namely: Mabel, now the wife of Dr. Peterson, of Dundee, Kane county, by whom she has four children - Max, Elsie, Moritz and Waldemar; Starr K., who is employed in the watch factory in Elgin, and Ruth, an accomplished musician, who is now engaged in teaching music in Elgin, and is also serving as organist at the Baptist church. The mother and daughters are all consistent members of the Congregational church, and the family is one of prominence in social circles.
WILLIAM LEET, deceased, was for many years a well-known banker and business man of Bradford, Stark county, but who for the last ten years of his life residing in Aurora, where he was recognized as one of the best business men of the city. He was a native of Connecticut, born in Chester, October 20, 1827, and was the son of Samuel W. and Anna Leet, both of whom are natives of the same state. His ancestry is traced back to William Leete, who came from England in 1639, and who filled many offices of trust, being governor of the New Haven colony, and after the union of that colony with the colony of Connecticut, was governor of the latter, which position he filled continuously until his death in 1683.
But little is known of the boyhood of our subject. His parents were in limited circumstances, and when quite young he went to live with a Mr. Jones, of his native town, and served as a chore boy. He accompanied Mr. Jones to Illinois, in 1841, and remained with him on his farm in Trivola township, near Elmwood, Peoria county, some four or five years. The treatment received from his employer becoming unbearable, he left and worked for other persons until he secured enough to pay for his return east. Having had a taste of western life, he was dissatisfied with his New England home, and again returned to Illinois. In some way he was attracted to Milo township, Bureau county, and he there engaged with a farmer for ten dollars a month. His first month's wages were promptly paid, but on the expiration of the second month, his employer told him that he could not pay him. "Very well," said Mr. Leet, "Give me the amount due. I want my money to be earning something as well as my hands."
As a boy Mr. Leet showed none of that trait of character which so distinguished him in after life. In fact, his employer, Mr. Jones, who was his uncle, told him that he was a worthless fellow, and would never be able to earn his living. The incident related above marked but the beginning of whatever afterwards was the ruling spirit of his life-the determination to accumulate and succeed in all his undertakings. When he was able to buy out Mr. Jones three or four times over, he took pleasure in calling his attention to his estimate of him so freely expressed.
Mrs. William Leet
No educational advantages were given our subject, and it is doubtful if in his entire life he spent six months in a school room. But he was possessed of a large amount of common sense and Yankee shrewdness, and his remarkably success is but another illustration of what may be accomplished, even through the environments may not be the best. Too much stress is laid by many for their failures by ascribing it to the influences with which they were surrounded. But William Leet, the poor boy, exiled from home, and the tender and loving care of parents, while yet in his boyhood, rose above his surroundings and set a worthy example to coming generations.
As soon as his accumulations were sufficient Mr. Leet made his first purchase of land, consisting of eighty acres of wild prairie in Milo township. This land he at once commenced to improve, but later sold to Andrew Britton, and purchased three hundred and twenty acres on section 33, which became the old home place. Early in the spring of 1854, Mr. Wilcox came to Milo township and rented a portion of the Leet farm. In his family was a young lady, Miss Helen Spear, a native of England, who was brought by her parents in infancy to this country. Her mother having died a few months after her arrival, she was kept in the families of different persons until she was about four and a half years old, when she was taken and reared by Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox. Mr. Leet was at once attracted by this young lady, and after an acquaintance of but a few months, they were united in marriage, August 29, 1854. By this union eight children were born, three of whom died in infancy. The living are: (1) Mary J., wife of Rev. J. C. Stoughton, of Aurora, a noted minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, of whom a sketch will be found on another page of this work. (2) Frank M., who married Lyda Lenton, of Audubon, Iowa, and has two children, Helen and William. (3) Rosa, now the wife of Robert Thompson, of Bradford, Stark county. They are the parents of two children, Claude R. and 'William L. (4) Anna L., wife of Asmus Boysen, of Manning, Iowa, by whom she has three children, Allan, Helena, and Anna. Mr. Boysen is a land agent and dealer, owning considerable land in Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota, with his main office in Chicago. (5) George Kellar, who is unmarried and resides with his mother in Aurora.
At the time of his marriage Mr. Leet had accumulated about twenty thousand dollars, and was considered a wealthy man. But this was but the beginning. His aim was still higher. Industrious as the day was long, he gave himself little rest. While yet residing on the farm it was his custom to be up long before day, and seldom did he retire until late in the night. Some years before the war, he erected a warehouse in Henry, Marshall county, and commenced the purchase of grain, shipping to Chicago and other markets. Although his farm was twenty miles away, when the roads were at all passable, he drove to and from each day. His success here was remarkable. Soon after the war Mr. Leet commenced buying and shipping grain from Bradford, and until his removal to the village in 1873, he rode in daily from his farm, returning in the evening. For some years he not only controlled the grain market of Bradford, but at Castleton, Duncan and Lombardville, on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. When business was rushing he would not stop to write checks for grain purchases, but would tear off the corner of any envelope, letter head, or take even a piece of brown paper, jot down the weight and price, and tell the seller to take it to the bank and get his money. When the cashier would remonstrate with him and tell him to write regular checks, he would reply: "You know my figures and you know my signature; that is enough." They were paid.
William Leet was a man of remarkable brain power and great business sagacity. His memory of business transactions, and even the smallest detail of each transaction was wonderful. It mattered not how many loads of grain he may have weighed any day, he would remember every circumstance attending the purchase of each. He could not be deceived. While his accommodations at the bank were all that could be expected, he felt it to his interest to have control of one, and in 1875 purchased the Bradford Exchange bank, then operated by A. B. Miner & Co. This bank he continued to operate until his death, and with the success attending every enterprise in which he engaged. Although he had no experience in that line of business, and knew nothing of the system of bookkeeping in such institutions, he intuitively grasped every detail. Quick of action, with clear foresight, he made few mistakes. Business was rapidly carried on; no time was lost. With him a minute lost was so much money. Persons having business with him were expected to make it known with as few words as possible, and with just as few words he rendered a decision, it mattered not if thousands of dollars were involved.
While giving much of his time to the grain trade, and later to his banking interests, Mr. Leet was always more or less engaged in the real estate business, buying and selling lands, and loaning money upon real estate security. At one time he was the owner of nearly five thousand acres of land in Stark county alone, and his purchases elsewhere were enormous. Loans were made and mortgages taken upon farms not only in Stark, but in adjoining counties as well. He was never known to foreclose a mortgage that could be avoided. He would renew loans already made time and time again, giving the mortgagors all the time necessary in which to meet their pay merits. Many farmers throughout the section in which he operated, have reason to bless his memory for the forbearance shown them in distress. As long as he believed one would do what was right, he .never showed a disposition to crowd. Many illustrations of this fact could be given, and but few farmers within a radius of twenty miles from Bradford but will bear testimony to the statement. A wealthy farmer residing in Osceola township, Stark county, but lately remarked that all he had was due to William Leet. He said he came to this country a poor man, and Mr. Leet loaned him four hundred dollars with which to make his first purchase of land, and from time to time loaned him thousands of dollars, "And," said the farmer proudly, "he never required from me a mortgage."
In the course of time his business interests extended into other states, especially into Iowa, and he established a bank at Audubon, in that state, which is now under the control of his son, Frank M. Leet, who has shown much of the characteristic energy that distinguished the father. The bank building was personally superintended by him in its erection, and the business was put upon a safe footing. To-day the estate has many large tracts of land in Iowa, and very large sums loaned upon farm lands.
At quite an early day Mr. Leet began to operate upon the Board of Trade in Chicago, and in 1888 removed to that city, where he remained two years, and then made his home in Aurora, going to Chicago and returning each day. The same success attending him in his enterprises elsewhere followed him upon the Board of Trade and his profits were very large. Whether upon the bull or bear side of the market, he seemed to know what was best and where his money should be placed. He continued to reside in Aurora until his death which occurred September 5, 1896, and his remains were laid to rest in the beautiful Spring Lake cemetery.
William Leet was a man strong in his likes and dislikes. For a friend he would do much; for an enemy nothing. With mind fully absorbed by business, he gave but little attention to his social nature. A good provider, his family never lacked for the comforts of life. Fraternally, he was for some years a Master Mason, but later in life was dimitted. Religiously, he was in sympathy with the Methodist Episcopal church, although he never united with any organization. He believed in the Bible literally, and enjoyed a sound orthodox and practical sermon above everything else. With much of the modern style of preaching he had no sympathy. He believed in calling things by their right names, and not mincing matters by trying to smooth them over. Politically he was a Republican, though he gave but little attention to politics in the common acceptation of the term. He would not accept local office under any consideration. For the same reason that he did not exercise his social nature more-his great business interests-he gave but little attention to local affairs, though on the construction of the railroad through Stark county he invested in its bonds and advocated the local aid of his township and county.
Few men with such limited opportunities have accomplished so much. At his death he left a large estate, which, by his request, has remained intact, a co-partnership having been formed by his widow and heirs under the firm style of Leet & Company, and under that name they now carry on the business which he established and so successfully conducted for many years. The family seems to have inherited much of the business sagacity of the father, and are all honored members of society and highly respected. The widow yet makes her home in Aurora, and enjoys the love and respect of a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
JOHN A. BROWN, a progressive business man of St., Charles, who owns and successfully operates a fine farm in Kane county, is a native of New York, born in the town of Dryden, Tompkins county, near Ithaca, September 7, 1832. His grandfather, Daniel Brown, also a native of New York, was one of the early settlers of Tompkins county, and was a soldier of the war of 1812. Jacob Brown, our subject's father, was born in that county, and there married Anna Baldwin, born in New York, of Holland parentage. Throughout life he continued to engage in agricultural pursuits in Tompkins county, where he died in 1836 when our subject was only four years old. The mother carefully reared her family of ten children, all of whom reached years of maturity, but only four are now living, namely: Mrs. Sally Grover, a widow, residing in New York; William W., a business man of Cortland county, New York; John A., of this sketch; and Jacob E., a resident of Tompkins county.
In the county of his nativity John A. Brown grew to manhood and obtained a fair common-school education. Until fifteen years of age he lived upon a farm and devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits. He then learned the saddler's and harness-maker's trade in Ithaca, and later followed that occupation at Deposit, New York, on the Delaware river. Coming west in 1854, he located at St. Charles, where he purchased a harness shop and business already established, successfully conducting the same until 1864. That year he bought a farm in Du Page county, Illinois, which he operated for three years, and then removed to Virginia owing to ill health. At Spottsylvania Court House he bought a plantation, on which he also engaged in farming for three years, trading his property at the end of that time for a farm near Olean, McKean county, Pennsylvania. In connection with agricultural pursuits, he here engaged in the oil business, owning an interest in twenty-one oil wells, which were in successful operation. After residing in that county for six years, he sold his land, but still retained his interest in the oil wells. Returning to St. Charles in 1881, he bought two adjoining farms of two hundred and forty acres in Campton township, and has since given his attention to their cultivation and further improvement. For dairy purposes he keeps upon his place from thirty to sixty cows, but to a great extent he now leaves the more active part of the work to his son, Frank J. Brown.
In Du Page county, December 7, 1857, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Lucretia J. Wheeler, a native of Massachusetts, who, during childhood, was brought to Illinois by her father, Job Wheeler, a pioneer of Du Page county, where he secured a tract of government land. Three children bless this union: Frank J., who is married and carries on the home farm; Albert W., who is a resident of Houston, Texas, and is a railroad engineer running on the Southern Pacific; and Lucinda May, wife of Harry Hatch, of Chicago.
Reared a Democrat, Mr. Brown has always been a stanch supporter of the principles of that party and cast his first presidential vote for James Buchanan. Although he has never cared for official honors, he has most creditably served his fellow citizens as a member of the school board. Socially he is a Master Mason, belonging to the blue lodge of St. Charles, and both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. Wonderful indeed are the changes that have taken place in Kane county since Mr. Brown first came here in 1854, and in this work of transformation he has borne an important part, and he is justly numbered among the valued and useful citizens of the community. The part he has taken in the development of the county has impressed his name indelibly upon its records and he well deserves mention among the honored pioneers.
WILLIAM WALLACE McDONALD, general merchant and postmaster of East Plato, Kane county, Illinois, is a native of the county, whose parents were among its earliest settlers. John McDonald, his father, was born near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1814. When about fourteen years of age, he emigrated to Canada, sailing from his native city. The weather was quite stormy, with head winds, and the vessel was often blown back. The voyage was a long and tedious one; they ran out of provisions and the water was low. The last few days the passengers and crew subsisted on tallow candles, but they arrived at last, all being nearly starved. After remaining in Canada for a time, he moved to the state of New York, and at the age of twenty-one came to Kane county, Illinois, when the country was in its primitive state. He secured land in section 30, Elgin township, and by his thrifty habits acquired a fine farm and goodly amount of property. He was a man of strong determination, inflexible will, and spoke the Gaelic language. In the early days he was, politically, a Whig, and, later, a Republican.
John McDonald married Miss Rebecca Denmark, born in England, March 22, 1820. Her parents died when she was quite young, and she came to Elgin about 1835, with the Gifford family. They were the parents of ten children, as follows: Elizabeth Ann, married John Linkenfelder, and is now deceased; Mary Eliza, wife of H. H. Allan-son, of Plato township; William Wallace, our subject; Miranda Jane married Clark Tucker, and is now deceased; James D., Jiving in Plato township; George, a resident of Elgin; John Horace, who died at the age of six years; Sophia Jeanette married Duncan Johnson and lives in Iowa; Nancy married Frank Butterfield, of Elgin; and John L., clerking in Elgin. The father of these children died August 26, 1870, and the mother in June, 1893.
William Wallace McDonald was born on the old .homestead, section 30, Elgin township, October 14, 1846. His education was obtained in the district school, mostly in winter terms, which he attended until the age of nineteen. He remained with his father, assisting in the cultivation of the farm until he was twenty years of age, when, on the 4th of October, 1866, he married Miss Elizabeth M. Younges, a native of Elgin township, born October 17, 1848, and a daughter of Charles and Madeline (Linkenfelder) Younges, and fourth in a family of six children. By this union three children have been born, the first dying in infancy. The living are: Charles Adelbert, who married Elizabeth Hogereffe, by whom he has one child, Nona Emily; and John Freeman, who married Annie Phalen.
On 1879 our subject, in partnership with his brother James, purchased fifty acres in section 30, a part of his father's old farm, on which they built a creamery and operated the same until 1885, when they sold out. Our subject had previously purchased the old home farm, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1896. In 1888 he erected a store building at East Plato and commenced merchandising, but sold out the following year. In February, 1896, he rented his farm to his son, repurchased the store and resumed merchandising. About the same time he received the appointment of postmaster, and is yet holding the office. In addition to his stock of general merchandise he deals in farm machinery and implements. His trade is a fairly satisfactory one.
Fraternally Mr. McDonald is a member of Greenwood tent, No. 117, K. O. T. M. In politics he is a Republican. For many years he served as school director of his district, since April, 1897, has been a justice of the peace. He is a hustling business man, genial in manners and a general favorite. The family have been long and favorably known in the township, being among the earliest settlers, who struggled hard to make Kane county occupy its proud and enviable position.
HENRY FICKENSHER, 271 Fox street, Aurora, Illinois, is one of that sturdy, persevering and honorable sons of Germany, that have played such an important part in the progress of our American Union. He came to Aurora fifty years ago, when this place was a struggling village of less than eight hundred people. Born in Bavaria, Germany, July 4, 1828, he is the son of Frederick and Mary (Giegold) Fickensher, both natives of Bavaria, as were their forefathers.
Frederick Fickensher, with his wife and family of five children, emigrated to America in the spring of 1848, and came direct to Aurora, Illinois. They expected to here meet friends, but were much disappointed to learn on their arrival that their friends were located at Aurora, Indiana. However, they liked the appearance of the Fox river village so much, that they decided to remain. The father purchased a small farm of forty acres on the Wauponsie, on which was a log cabin, and in this the entire family resided. His children were William P., Henry, George, Elizabeth, and Margaretta.
Henry Fickensher's opportunities for an education were very meager. His family were of limited means, and his ambition from youth up was to assist in their support. He therefore gained but little school education, but learned much through observation and association, with men through nearly forty-five years of active business life in his adopted city. He had learned the trade of a barber in his native land and soon perceived a good opening for the practice of his trade here. Therefore in 1850, he opened the first barber shop in East Aurora, and did a fair business from the beginning. In course of time he built a brick block, No. 9 South Broadway, which building he still owns, but in 1893 retired from active business.
On the 26th of December, 1851, he married Miss Dorothy Weise, whose parents were residents of Kane county, but were originally from Saxony. Our subject and wife have three children living, and three have gone to "the land beyond." Those living are Eno L., who is practicing his profession of dentistry in Chicago, and is married and has one son, Harry. Bertha is the wife of Asher Breemer, a druggist of Amboy, Illinois, and they have three children, Clara. Eno and Waller. Clara, the third child of our subject, is the wife of F. W. Bloss, a hardware merchant of Aurora, doing business on South Broadway.
In politics Mr. Fickensher is a Republican and in the early '60s held the office of city collector. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while both himself and wife are members of the Lutheran church. They reside in a pleasant home at 271 Fox street, which he built in 1852. They are both highly respected in the community in which they have resided for fifty years.
EDWARD L. HUNT, now living a retired life in the city of Batavia, has been a resident of Kane county since 1853, and for more than a third of a century was one of the enterprising business men of Batavia. He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, July 22, 1817. His father, William Hunt, born in 1785, was also a native of that town and state, as was likewise his grandfather, John Hunt. The family are of English origin, the first of the number settling in New Jersey prior to the Revolutionary war. William Hunt, was by trade a blacksmith and carried on business in Princeton for many years. He there married Eleanor Schenck, a native of Middlesex county, New Jersey, and a daughter of John
Schenck, whose father served in the Revolutionary war. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter. John, the eldest, was a soldier in the Mexican war and killed in the battle of Monterey. Edward L., was next in order of birth. Voorhes, the third son, grew to mature years, married and died in Trenton, New Jersey. The one daughter, Elizabeth Schenck, is a resident of North Adams, Massachusetts. The mother of these children passed away in 1839, while the father lived until 1877, dying at the advanced age of ninety-two years.
Edward L. Hunt grew to manhood in Princeton, New Jersey, and there received a fair common-school education. When a lad of thirteen years, he went into a store as clerk, where he received a thorough and practical business training. In 1841 he was united in marriage, at Princeton, with Miss Catherine F. Ross, a daughter of Robert R. Ross, and a distant relative of Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag. Mrs. Hunt was reared and educated in Middlesex county. Her father, Robert Ross, was a soldier in the war of 1812, while her grandfather, Robert Ross, Sr., was a Revolutionary soldier, and later was elected and served as sheriff of Middlesex county. He was a very prominent man in his day.
In 1853 Mr. Hunt came west and located in Batavia. He first clerked one year, and then bought an interest in the store and continued in the business until 1857. Selling out, he moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, and engaged in farming about five years. While there he formed the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, our first martyr president. In 1862 Mr. Hunt returned to Batavia, and in August, of that year, enlisted as a member of Company B, One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered into service at Springfield, Illinois, in the later part of that month. He enlisted as a private and served till the final close of the war, being discharged and mustered out at Camp Douglass, in August, 1865. He was under fire of the Rebels eighty-two days and sixty nights in defense of the old flag and the union. Among the engagements in which he participated were Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, siege of Vicksburg, siege of Spanish Fort, fourteen lesser fights and skirmishes and two other sieges. While in the service he traveled over four thousand miles.
After his discharge, Mr. Hunt returned to his home in Batavia, and engaged in clerking for some years. In 1871, he bought out an established business and engaged in the mercantile trade with John Davis, under the firm name of Hunt & Davis. The partnership was continued until 1891, a period of about twenty years, when Mr. Hunt sold his interest to his partner and has since lived a retired life. However, in December, 1897, he was appointed receiver of a drug stock, and has also acted in like capacity for several parties that have failed.
In his early life Mr. Hunt was a Whig, his first presidential vote being cast for William Henry Harrison in 1840, and his second for Henry Clay in 1844, On the organization of the Republican party in 1856, he voted for John C. Fremont, and from that time to the present has been a stanch advocate of Republican principles. He never sought a public office, but in 1893 was elected justice of the peace and was re-elected in 1896.
To Mr. and Mrs. Hunt four children were born, two of whom died in infancy. The living are Robert R., a machinist in the watch factory at Elgin, and Mrs. Elizabeth Spooner, a widow lady, now residing with her parents. She has three children as follows: Frank Ed, married and residing in New York City; Flora, wife of Ferdinand Wirtz, of Chicago; and Catherine, wife of Frank H. Hall, of Chicago. Mrs. Spooner is a member of the First Congregational church of Batavia, while her mother is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Fraternally, Mr. Hunt is a member of the G. A. R. and is now past commander. He is held in the highest esteem, and is popular in the community where he has so long resided.
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