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
John H. Hodder
JOHN H. HODDER, editor and proprietor of the "Aurora Daily and Semi-weekly Beacon," has been a resident of Aurora for forty-four years, save a short time spent at Woodstock, McHenry county. He is a native of Dorsetshire, England, where he grew to manhood, and served an apprenticeship to the printing and bookbinding trade. Hearing much of the United States and believing his success in life the better assured by his removal there, in 1853, when about eighteen years of age, he came to America, landing in New York city, where he remained for a time working at his trade. In 1854 he came west to Chicago, and thence to Aurora, where he obtained employment in the office of D. and J. W. Randall, who had just purchased the "Aurora Beacon." Two years later he established the first book bindery in Kane county, which he conducted for a time, when it was consolidated with the "Beacon" office, Mr. Hodder becoming associated with O. B. Knickerbocker, in the firm of O. B. Knickerbocker & Co., in the publication of the "Aurora Beacon." In 1858 the "Beacon" and "Republican" were consolidated and the firm of Bangs & Knickerbocker formed, which continued the publication of the "Beacon." Mr. Hodder having sold his interest, engaged in the job printing business on his own account, which he continued until 1861, when he removed to Woodstock, McHenry county, and for two years published the "McHenry county Union".
In 1863 he returned to Aurora, and for three years was foreman of the "Beacon" establishment. In 1866 he purchased Mr. Bangs' interest in the concern, and the firm of Knickerbocker & Hodder was formed, the co-partnership continuing until the death of Mr. Knickerbocker in May, 1885. Since that time Mr. Hodder has conducted the business, and under his management the "Beacon" has continued to maintain a position in the front rank of newspapers in the northwest. In 1882 Mr. Hodder erected a substantial building on the Island, expressly for the business, and has one of the best appointed printing and book binding establishments in the state outside of Chicago.
In December, 1859, Mr. Hodder was united in marriage with Miss Kate M. Heywood, a native of Worcester county, Massachusetts, who was then engaged as a teacher in the Aurora public schools. By this union there are two living children, one son and one daughter. Frank H. Hodder, after receiving his primary education in the public schools of Aurora, entered Michigan University at Ann Arbor, .from which he was graduated in 1882, with the degree of Ph. M. Soon after his graduation he accepted a position as instructor in history and political science at Cornell University, New York. After remaining there four years, he went to Europe, spending nearly two years at the German universities in study. While there he was cabled an offer of the chair of American History in the Kansas State University, at Lawrence, Kansas, which he accepted, and is now filling that position with distinction. The daughter, Miss Kittie B. Hodder, lives with her parents in their pleasant home at 241 South Lincoln avenue Aurora.
In 1876 Mr. Hodder invented and patented "Hodder's Blotter Tablet," a simple and convenient device in stationery binding, which speedily came into general use throughout the United States and Canada. In educational matters he has always taken interest, and for several years efficiently served as a member of the board of education of school district No. 5, Aurora. Coming to this country at a time when the slavery agitation was at its height, and when the slave power was determined to force slavery upon the territories of the Union, notwithstanding the terms of the Missouri compromise, he naturally allied himself to the Republican party, casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and has ever since taken an active part in Republican politics. In June, 1889, Mr. Hodder was appointed by President Harrison, postmaster of Aurora, and filled that position until March 1, 1894, his administration of the affairs of the office meeting with general approval. As editor of the ''Beacon," he has been a prominent advocate of every enterprise calculated to build up the city and county.
JONATHAN MILLET HOLT, of Aurora, was for thirty-seven years foreman of the freight car shops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, at that place. His great length of service attests his ability as a workman and manager of men. He was born in the town of Norway, Oxford county, Maine, January 13, 1827. The family are of English origin, and was founded in this country long prior to the Revolutionary war. Three brothers came from England, one of whom settled in the south, another in New York, and the third in Massachusetts. Our subject is descended from the one settling in the latter state. His grandfather, Darius Holt, was born in Massachusetts, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and participated in the battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington. For his services in the struggle for American Independence, he was pensioned by the general government. After the close of the Revolution he moved with his family to Maine, and was among the first settlers in Oxford county. He there opened up a farm in the vast wilderness, where he spent the remaining years of his life. His son, Darius Holt, Jr., there married Sarah Manson, born at Kittredge, Maine, her father being one of its first settlers. After their marriage he engaged in fanning in Norway, Oxford county, Maine, but later went to Canada, where his death occurred. His wife survived him a number of years, and died October 20, 1870, at her home in Maine at the age of eighty-one years.
Jonathan M. Holt is one of four sons and two daughters born to Darius and Sarah Holt, all of whom grew to mature years, but three are now living. One brother, Daniel Holt, is a farmer residing in Norway, Maine. His sister, Ann, married Silas Goud, and resides on Cousin's Island, Casco bay, Maine. Our subject grew to manhood in his native county and state, and in its common schools received a fair education. His boyhood and youth were spent on the home farm, assisting in its cultivation. During that time he also learned the carpenter and joiner's trade with his father. On attaining his majority he went to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and entered the carshops of the Boston & Maine railroad. He there remained until 1854, when he went to California, by way of Aspinwall, Panama, crossing the isthmus and proceeding to San Francisco. He remained in California for three years and a half, working for a time in the mines, but principally at his trade in San Francisco. While there the city was overrun with lawless characters, which he assisted in connection with the vigilance committee in subduing, thus restoring law and order. In 1857, he returned home by the same route that he went, and in his native town resumed work as contractor and builder. In the fall of 1858 he came to Aurora, where he also engaged in contracting and building, until in July, 1859, when he went into the shops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. He was soon made foreman of the freight carshops, a position that he held until 1897, when he was compelled to quit work on account of illness. He was then one of the oldest and most efficient employees in the shops at Aurora.
Mr. Holt was married in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in April, 1853, to Miss Elnora Phipps, a native of Maine, born in Otisfield, in 1827, and a daughter of John and Relief (Burnell) Phipps, the former a native of New Hampshire, and the latter of Maine. Mrs. Holt is one of their two remaining children, the other being Professor Sireno B. Phipps, now a resident of Aurora, where he has lived for about twelve years, and is engaged as a teacher of instrumental music. He is also a composer of music, and has published a number of volumes of considerable merit and which have had a ready sale. To Mr. and Mrs. Holt six children have been born, as follows: Eugene Oscar, married, and engaged in business in Aurora; Abraham Lincoln, married, and also a business man of Aurora; Ansel Lewis, married, and employed in the shops of the Burlington road at Aurora; George Wesley, also in the employ of the Burlington road, residing at home; and William Francis, engaged in clerking and residing at home. They lost one daughter, Elnora May, who died at the age of eleven months.
In early life Mr. Holt was a Whig, and cast his first presidential vote for Zackary Taylor, in 1848. He continued to act with that party until 1856, when he supported John C. Fremont, and has since been an earnest and enthusiastic Republican. For six years he served as alderman of his ward, during which time he was on several important committees. He was on the fire and water committee, when the water works was established; was chairman of the electric light committee, when electricity was adopted as a means of lighting the city; was chairman of the street and alley committee, and also chairman of the building and public grounds committee. The work done as a member of the various committees, is but another proof of his ability to render efficient service in whatever position he is placed. He has always taken great interest in political affairs, and as a delegate to various county and state conventions, has exerted a good influence. Fraternally he is a Mason, a member of the blue lodge, chapter and commandery. He is also prominent as an Odd Fellow, having passed all the chairs in the subordinate lodge, and represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of the state. Mrs. Holt is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and has been active in its work. The family are highly regarded in Aurora, and wherever known they are held in the highest esteem.
WALTER A. MERREFIELD, who for twenty-three years has served as assistant postmaster of Elgin, discharging his duties with marked promptness and fidelity, was born in Hanover, Cook county, on the 14th of November, 1850, and is a son of Charles E. and Harriet E. Barnard Merrefield. On the paternal side he is of English descent. His grandfather, Charles E. Merrefield, was a native of England, and crossing the Atlantic to America, spent his last days in Elgin, where he died at about the age of sixty years. Farming was his chief occupation. His family numbered two children, one of whom, the father of our subject, was born while the family were crossing the Atlantic. When a young man he took up his residence in Elgin and accepted the position of bookkeeper in the bank of Towne, Lawrence & Pease. He was also assistant postmaster here for some years. He married Miss Harriet E. Barnard, a native of New York, and a daughter of Ephaphas Barnard, who was born in the Empire state and was of Dutch descent. By occupation he was an agriculturist. Mr. and Mrs. Merrefield became the parents of two children, Walter A. and Frank C. The father died at the age of thirty-four years, and the mother, surviving him some time, passed away in 1874, at the age of sixty-one. He was a soldier in the Mexican war, and a highly respected citizen of Elgin. Walter A. Merrefield was reared in Cook and Kane counties, Illinois, removing to the latter when nine years of age. He spent his minority here, and after acquiring a preliminary education in the public schools, continued his studies in the Academy of Elgin. Entering upon his business career, he devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits, but after a time began the manufacture of cheese and butter in Hanover. After some years service as assistant postmaster of Elgin, he engaged in the manufacture of cheese and butter in LaSalle county for four years, and then returned to Elgin. He was first appointed assistant postmaster January 1,1871, serving at that time for eight years, and then after his four years' residence in LaSalle county, he returned and was again appointed assistant postmaster, which office he has now filled since 1879. His faithful discharge of his duties and his courteous treatment of the patrons of the office has made him a popular official.
On the 5th of August, 1874, Mr. Merrefield was united in marriage to Miss Esther Burnidge, a daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Field) Burnidge. Four children have been born of this union: Hattie May, Myra Jennette, Walter Charles and Floyd Austin. All are with their parents with the exception of Walter Charles, who died at the age of four years. The mother died in 1891, in the same month in which her son's death occurred.
Mr. Merrefield holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America, and gives his political support to the men and measures of the Republican party. His home is at No. 603 Spring street, and in the city where he has long made his home he is widely and favorably known.
JOHN J. CLARK.
The deserved reward of a well-spent life is an honored retirement from business, in which to enjoy the fruits of former toil. To-day after a useful and beneficial career, Mr. Clark is quietly living at the home of his son at No. 750 Highland avenue, Elgin, surrounded by the comfort that earnest labor has brought him.
Mr. Clark was born October 26, 1816, in Dundee, Yates county, New York, and is a son of Thomas and Jane (Plummer) Clark, the former a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the latter of Yates county, New York. Thomas Clark, Sr., the paternal grandfather, was also born in Philadelphia, was a carpenter and contractor by occupation, and during the Revolutionary war he aided the colonies in achieving their independence. He reared a family of three children, one son and two daughters. At the time of his death he had reached the extreme old age of one hundred and two years, but was still quite active, having walked four miles a few days before he died. The maternal grandparents of our subject were George P. and Hannah (McMurtrie) Plummer. He was a farmer and during the Revolutionary war made a number of sleds for the soldiers. He died when about ninety-two years of age.
During his early manhood Thomas Clark, Jr., was a boat builder and sea captain, but later turned his attention to farming. On coming west in 1840, he located in Udina, Kane county, Illinois, where he died in 1859, at the age of seventy years. He was a Spiritualist in religious belief. Being drafted during the war of 1812, he hired a substitute. His wife survived him only two years, dying in Sacramento, California, when about seventy years of age.
After his death she had crossed the plains by wagon with some of her children. Nine children were born to them but only four are now living, namely: John J., George, Palmer and Barton.
John J. Clark grew to manhood upon a farm at Dundee, New York, and during his youth learned the millwright's trade, which he successfully followed for over twenty years. In the fall of 1841, he came by way of the Great Lakes to Kane county, Illinois, and purchased fifty-three acres of his father's farm, but after operating it for a few years, he sold and bought a drove of horses, preparatory to starting across the plains to California. When about sixty-five miles above Fort Laramie, the Indians stole his horses and also shot one of the company but did not kill him. They pushed on to California, walking much of the distance. In that state Mr. Clark and his son Byron worked at bridge building, receiving three dollars and a half per day, and after two years spent upon the Pacific slope they returned to Illinois by way of the Isthmus.
Mr. Clark next owned and operated a planing mill and sash factory in partnership with his brother Thomas, who afterward raised two companies for the Civil war and in the service rose to the rank of colonel. His death occurred in Chicago, in 1894. When our subject and his brother dissolved partnership, he and his son bought a water power and run a machine shop for many years, but for the past three years he has lived retired, enjoying a well-earned rest.
On the 16th of November, 1843, was consummated the marriage of Mr. Clark and Miss Delia Maria, daughter of John Rich, and they became the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters. Roselia married Edwin Little, but is now deceased. Byron wedded Mary Sovereign and has two children - Alice, wife of Joseph King, by whom she has one child, Lyle; George married Mary Dorrissey, now deceased, and to them were born two children - Arthur, and John Ella is the wife of Jacob Deill, of Chicago, who is a conductor on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. The two children born to them are now deceased. Mrs. Clark, who was a faithful member of the Methodist church, departed this life November 3, 1860, and our subject now makes his home with his son Byron.
In his political affiliations Mr. Clark is a Democrat. For almost fifty-seven years he has been a resident of Kane county and therefore has witnessed almost its complete development. On his arrival here the land was mostly in its primitive condition, and wild game of all kinds was very plentiful. Mr. Clark has ever taken great delight in hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports and when a young man he always came out ahead in a jumping contest. He now belongs to the Elgin Rifle Club, attends the big shooting matches in various parts of the country, and although eighty-one years of age he can shoot as well now as he could twenty years ago, for his eyesight is strong, being able to read without glasses. As he still enjoys boating, hunting and fishing, he has two small family steamboats, tents and other hunting paraphernalia, and takes numerous trips up the river, spending several days at a time in his favorite sports. He has always endeavored to live peaceably with all men, having never had a quarrel, and he therefore has the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances who appreciate his sterling worth and many excellencies of character.
George P. Sovereign, the father of Mrs. Byron Clark, is a native of Canada. In 1847 he married Agnes Windsor, a native of England, from which country she came with her parents when fourteen years of age. Immediately after their marriage, which was solemnized at Simco, Canada, they came direct to Kane county, locating on a farm in Plato township, where they resided until 1877, when they removed to Elgin. In 1879 they moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where they now reside. They were the parents, of nine children, seven of whom are yet living - Mary A., Frances, Ella E., George, Harriet, Myra and Daniel. Mrs. Sovereign is a member of the Baptist church.
GEORGE MUIRHEAD, the well-known supervisor of Plato township, resides on section 16. His father, also named George, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1802, and died in Plato township, Kane county, January 2, 1892. He grew to manhood in his native city, and learned the weaver's trade, which he followed until his emigration to America. He was eleven years with one firm, and fifteen years with Sir James Anderson. On leaving his employer, the latter gave him a present of ten pounds in gold, thus showing his appreciation of his long service. He arose from the rank of weaver to that of warper, and had charge of the weaving over many operators.
On emigrating, George Muirhead, Sr., took a boat from Glasgow to Liverpool, and embarked in the American vessel, Thomas H. Perkins, for Philadelphia. Soon after landing at the latter place he went to Baltimore and thence to Cumberland, Maryland. Looking through Maryland, he found nothing that exactly suited him, so came on to the west. Embarking on the Ohio river, the family came by boat down that stream and up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and by canal to Chicago. From the latter, place he came to Dundee, Kane county, and a few weeks later, in November, 1849, came to Plato township, where he had bought eighty acres in section 14. This he sold in 1860, and bought one hundred and sixty acres in section 16, which became the nucleus of the large estate now owned by his sons, the greater part of it in partnership, but some in severalty.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, William Muirhead, spent his entire life in Scotland, as did his wife, who was a Miss McFarland, and one of his father's brothers, William, uncle of our subject, was in the battle of Waterloo. George Muirhead, Sr., first married Jane Bennie, in Scotland, and to them four children were born: Catherine, who married William McKensie, of Creston, Illinois; George, our subject; Annabella, wife of Gordon Ellis, of South Dakota; and Jane, wife of John McKensie, living at South Grove, De Kalb county, Illinois. For his second wife, Mr. Muirhead married Mary Morrison, in Scotland, who bore him eight children as follows: Emily Elizabeth, widow of Emery Lee, of Kane county; Mary Jeanette, who first married William Tanner, and at his death Brainard Goff, of Newhall, Iowa; James, in charge of the brother's store, at Plato Centre; William, cultivating part of the farm owned by the brothers; Maggie L., wife of Charles Sherwood, of Plato township; Lily Alice, who makes her home with our subject; Charles, who also makes his home with our subject; and John, in the store at Plato Centre.
George Muirhead, our subject, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, June 8, 1838, and as the eldest son, much of the responsibility of the farm management fell upon him. For over forty years he has been the recognized head of the family. He was eleven years old when the family emigrated to America, and his education began in the schools of Scotland, was completed in the district schools of Plato township, which he attended as the opportunity was afforded him. Much is due to him for the successful management of the affairs of the Muirhead brothers, which is composed of George, James and William Muirhead.
James Muirhead was born on section 14, Plato township, November 1, 1854, and his education was obtained in the district schools and Elgin Academy. He occupied one of the farms until 1888, engaged in agricultural pursuits. In 1887, in company with his brothers, he opened a store at Plato Centre. Since 1886, he has served as postmaster of that place, and for three years served as justice of the peace. He has been twice married, his first union being with Anna A. Aiken, a native of Scotland, and his second union, with Sarah A. Shedden, who was born in Plato township, and a daughter of John A. and Margaret (Rosborough) Shedden. By this union four children have been born - George, Margaret, Boyd, and one who died in infancy.
William C. Muirhead was born in Plato Centre, June 15, 1857. His education was also received in the public schools of Plato township and in Elgin Academy. His life work has been principally that of farming, and in 1888, when his brother James took charge of the store, he moved to the farm near the station. His marriage with Martha A. Sherwood took place December 10, 1884. She was born in Burlington township, Kane county, and is the daughter of Milton and Sarah (Pease) Sherwood. By this union are three children - Milton, Mary and Ethel.
Religiously, George Muirhead is a member of the Congregational church, and politically he is a Republican, as was his father before him. George Muirhead, Sr., was one of the first abolitionists in Kane county. While coming here he incensed the captain of a boat on the Ohio river by freely expressing his opinions. He and a fellow sympathizer were ordered by the captain to be silent on the subject of slavery, as it was distasteful to the rest of the passengers who were mostly southerners. However, he continued to express his opinion as freely as he wished. Our subject has been honored by his neighbors with nearly all the official positions in their gift. He is now serving his second term as supervisor, which position he most acceptably fills. His love for his native land has never abated, and he has twice visited the scenes of his childhood. The Muirhead family are of sterling qualities, honor and honesty being their two leading traits. Thrift and energy are the secret of their unusual success. All are held in the very highest esteem.
W.P. LILIBRIDGE, secretary, treasurer and general manager of the St. Charles Lumber Company, is numbered among the leading business men of that city, which has been his home since 1892. He was born at Harvard Junction, McHenry county, Illinois, January 11, 1869. His grandfather, O. P. Lilibridge, was a native of Pennsylvania, who emigrated to McHenry county early in the '30s. There his son, L. M. Lilibridge, was born about 1845.
After he grew to manhood, L. M. Lilibridge married Miss Ella J. Billings, also a native of McHenry county, and a daughter of Capt. William G. Billings, a prominent man of that county, who served as internal revenue collector of the northern district of Illinois, and who was a soldier in the late war, holding a captain's commission. At present, L. M. Lilibridge is a prominent business man and stock dealer of McHenry county, Illinois, and the owner of considerable real estate in that county.
W. P. Lilibridge, our subject, is the son of L. M. and Ella (Billings) Lilibridge. His boyhood and youth were spent in his native county, and after spending some time in Beloit College he took a regular course in the Rockford Business College. He then spent two years in the lumber yard at Harvard, with W. D. Hall, and in 1889 went to Marathon county, Wisconsin, into the lumber regions, and spent two years in the employ of the Alexander Stewart Lumber Company, the greater part of which time, grading, inspecting and looking after the stock. In 1892 he came to St. Charles as general manager of the yard here, and served in that capacity one year, then purchased an interest in the business, of which he has since had entire charge as secretary treasurer and general manager.
Mr. Lilibridge was united in marriage in St. Charles, Illinois, December 6, 1894, with Miss Lottie Marsden, a daughter of Thomas Marsden, a prominent manufacturer of Kane county. She was born in St. Charles, reared and educated in its public schools, being a graduate of the West Side High School, and for four years held a position in the office of the circuit clerk of Kane county. By this union are two children - M. Duane and Gladys V.
The St. Charles Lumber Company carries a very complete stock of building material, including sash, doors and blinds, and in connection have established a coal yard, all of which is under the management of Mr. Lilibridge, who is regarded as one of the best business men of the city. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic lodge of St. Charles of which he is the present worshipful master. He has represented his lodge in the grand lodge of the state. He is also a member of the Fox River chapter at Geneva; the Modern Woodmen of America, at St. Charles, of which he is venerable consul, and also the Knights of Pythias.
Nathan J. Aldrich
NATHAN J. ALDRICH, senior member of the well-known law firm of Aldrich, Winslow & Worcester, with office on River street, over the Second National Bank, Aurora, was born in Kendall county, Illinois, December 3, 1851, and is the son of L. T. and Delia A. (Southworth) Aldrich, both of whom are natives of New York. The father, who is a retired farmer, residing at Millington, Kendall county, Illinois, came to the state in 1838 from New York, and is one of the pioneers of Kendall county. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order. Few men are better known throughout Kendall and adjoining counties. His wife is a member of the Congregational church. Of their three children, Nathan J. is the eldest; Elizabeth is now the wife of George J. Marvin, a farmer of Livingston county, New York, and Edward P., who resides in Millington, Illinois.
Our subject was reared on the home farm in Kendall county, and his primary education received in its public schools. He later attended the Fowler Institute at Newark, Illinois, and the State Normal School, at Normal, Illinois.
On leaving the latter institution he began reading law in the office of Judge M. O. Southworth, of Aurora, and then attended law school in the Michigan University at Ann Arbor, from which he was graduated in 1876. One year later he came to Aurora and commenced the practice of his profession. He later formed a partnership with Albert J. Hopkins, and under the firm name of Hopkins & Aldrich, they continued in practice from 1879 to 1895, when the co-partnership was dissolved and the present firm of Aldrich, Winslow & Worcester was formed.
On the 28th of August, 1879, Mr. Aldrich was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Winchell, a native of Kendall county, Illinois, and daughter of George W. Winchell. By this union one child has been born: Louisa A., who yet resides at home. Mrs. Aldrich is a member of the Baptist church of Aurora, and is quite active in all church and benevolent work. Fraternally Mr. Aldrich is a member of the Masonic order.
In politics Mr. Aldrich is an ardent Republican, and in every general and local campaign takes an active part for his party. But it is as an attorney that he is best known. His practice, which is a general one, is extensive, and few cases of note in Kane county in which he is not employed on one side or the other. He practices in all the courts of the state and the United States courts.
JOSEPH NEWMAN has for over a quarter of a century been prominently identified with the business interests of Elgin, and has taken an active part in promoting the substantial improvement and material development of the city, his labors in its interests being most effective and beneficial. Like many of its leading and influential citizens he was born on the other side of the Atlantic, his birth occurring May 10, 1854, in Herefordshire, England, and in that country his parents, William and Emma (Thurgood) Newman, spent their entire lives. Of their twelve children, only four sons came to America, the others being, John of Elgin, and Henry, who resides in Chicago and is with the firm of Sprague, Warner & Company; and Walter, who lives in Rogers Park, Chicago, where he is engaged in business.
Joseph Newman attended the common schools of his native land, but as his parents died when he was quite young, he started out to make his own way in the world at the age of twelve years, being first employed as errand boy in a printing office. He continued with the same company until he came to America in 1869, crossing the Atlantic in a London steamer, which was twenty-one days in making the voyage. He made his home in Chicago with a maternal aunt, Mrs. Sarah Pinkerton, who had brought his brother John to the United States in 1859. Our subject remained in Chicago, working for Norton & Company until the great fire of 1871, which destroyed most of the city and reduced his aunt's home to ashes.
Coming to Elgin in 1872, Mr. Newman secured the position of bookkeeper in the First National Bank, and was thus employed until 1880, since which time he has been interested in the creamery business, at first as a member of the firm of Newman & Hawkins, later Nolting & Newman, with A. Nolting as a partner, and now with his brother John in the John Newman Company. In 1893 he purchased an interest in the Spring Brook Creameries, forty in number, which are scattered throughout several different states. The firm does an extensive and profitable business, and is one of the leading concerns of the kind in this section of the country. On leaving the banking business in 1877, Mr. Newman went into the Fountain Creamery, east of Elgin, and worked under the tutelage of L. H. Wanzer for one year, thus becoming thoroughly familiar with every department of the business. He afterward, however, returned to the bank for a time. He is now vice-president and treasurer of the Illinois Dairymen's Association, and is also trustee of the Universalist church, to which he belongs. In business circles he stands high, his upright, honorable course winning him the confidence of all with whom he comes in contact. In politics he is a Republican.
On the 23d of May, 1879, Mr. Newman was united in marriage to Miss Winna S. Balch, a most estimable lady, who is also a member of the same church. They have four children, namely: Balch William, Mary Emma, Louise and Margaret.
Rev. William Stevens Balch, Mrs. Newman's father, was for many years one of the most prominent ministers of the Universalist church in this country. He was born in Andover, Vermont, April 13, 1806, a son of Joel Balch, who was the oldest son of Hart Balch. Joel Balch was not a great man as the world counts greatness, but was one of the representative citizens of Vermont, being a man of simple ways, strong common sense and rugged, sterling character. Rev. W. S. Balch inherited the rare intellectual and moral gifts which so distinguished his ancestry; he was an ardent and practical lover of all that was noble and good in man; was a hater of selfishness, greed, hypocrisy and pretence; and his influence was great and always on the side of right. He led a consistent, noble Christian life. At an early age he entered the ministry of the Universalist church, preaching in Vermont and New Hampshire in 1827 and 1829. The following year he married Adeline Gail Capron, and removed to Albany, New York. In 1830 became pastor of the church at Watertown, Massachusetts; in 1832, at Claremont, New Hampshire; and in 1836 at Providence, Rhode Island. In 1841 he took charge of the Bleeker Street church in New York City, preaching for the same congregation there for seventeen years, during which pastorate his wife died, and a few years later he married Mary Ann Waterhouse. On leaving that city it was his intention to retire altogether from the ministry and spend his remaining years at his rural home in Ludlow, Vermont, but in 1865 he came west, and was subsequently pastor of Universalist churches at Galesburg, Illinois, Hinsdale, Elgin and Dubuque, Iowa, his pastorate at the last named extending from 1877 until 1880. The last six years of his life were passed mostly at Elgin, where he died December 26, 1887, after sixty years of faithful work in the ministry. In his death the Universalist church lost one of its oldest ministers, as well as one of its most devout and saintly characters, and wherever known he was held in high regard, having the respect not only of his own congregation, but also the esteem of the entire community.
The children of Rev. W. S. Balch were as follows: Addie, wife of Sydney A. Miller, of Omaha, Nebraska; W. D., who was vice-president of a bank at Mason City, Iowa, and died in 1897; Emma, widow of Linus Dickinson; Edward E., cashier of the Omaha National Bank at Omaha; Estelle of New York; Elena, who died unmarried; John J., agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad at Mount Clair, Illinois, children of his first wife, and Winna S., wife of Joseph Newman, of this review; and George W., a civil engineer of Elgin, now at Moorhead, Mississippi, constructing a branch for the Illinois Central railroad; and Clarence, who died at New York, children by the second union.
ARTHUR L. GILLETT, who is engaged in the livery business on River street, Aurora, is a native of Kane county, born in Sugar Grove township September 27, 1857, and is the ' son of Lewis and Rachel (Harmes) Gillett, both of whom are natives of New York, the former born in Sullivan county, in 1821. By occupation he was a farmer and was engaged in agricultural pursuits before moving west. About 1850 he came to Kane county, Illinois, and located in Sugar Grove township, where he purchased a farm of two hundred acres, to which he added from time to time until he owned about one thousand acres in Kane and De Kalb counties, all of which was under cultivation. He was a very enterprising and substantial farmer, and resided upon his original tract until his death, in 1888. His wife survives him and resides in the village of Sugar Grove. Arthur L. Gillett was second in order of birth in a family of four children, of whom two are deceased. His sister, Rachel May, is now the wife of M. O. Shoop, of Kaneville, Illinois. In his native township he grew to manhood and in its common schools received his primary education, which was supplemented by a course in Jennings Seminary. He remained with his father on the farm until after attaining his majority, and in Kane county married Helen E. Ravlin in November, 1878. After their marriage they resided on a farm in De Kalb county for five years, and then moved to Sugar Grove township, where he also engaged in farming for five years. Leaving the farm he removed to the village of Sugar Grove and engaged in the lumber and coal business, buying out a firm that had been some time established. After remaining there for five years he sold out and moved to Aurora, where he purchased a livery business, and has since been engaged in that line. Mr. Gillett lost his first wife, who died in Sugar Grove in 1890, leaving two daughters, Grace E. and Edith M., both students of the West Aurora High School. Mr. Gillett was again married in October, 1892, his second union being with Miss Delia M. Todd, a native of Kane county, and a daughter of Eleazer and Emma Todd, her father being a business man of Aurora.
Politically Mr. Gillett is a Republican, the principles of which party were instilled in him in his youth. He was made an Odd Fellow in Sycamore, but is now a member of Wabansia lodge, No. 45, of Aurora. He is also a member of the Knights of the Globe and the Royal League of Aurora. Socially he is a member of the Aurora City Club. A lifelong resident of Kane county, save for the period of five years, which he spent on the farm in De Kalb county, he has been identified with its institutions and has witnessed its growth and prosperity until it is today one of the best counties in the great state of Illinois. A man of exemplary habits and upright character, he is held in the highest esteem, and with his wife holds a high social position in the city of Aurora.
ALFRED W. KELLY - Among the pioneer settlers of Kane county this gentleman is worthy of notice in a work of this kind. For fifty-three years he has been identified with its interests, having located here in the spring of 1845, and has contributed his share to its material progress and prosperity. He was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years, but is now practically living retired in St. Charles.
Like many of the best citizens of the county, Mr. Kelly is a native of the Empire state, born in Schenectady, March 17, 1828. His grandfather, William Kelly, was a native of Scotland, and at an early day came to the new world with his father, Robert Kelly, a pioneer settler of Albany, New York. John S. Kelly, our subject's father, was born in the city of Schenectady, in 1805, and was there married to Eliza Mansfield, who was born in New York, May 20, 1808. In his native city he engaged in the lumber business and also carried on operations as a contractor and builder. He took quite a prominent and active part in political affairs, and served for several terms as alderman of the city. Emigrating to Illinois in 1845, he purchased a tract of seven hundred acres of land in Rutland and Plato townships, Kane county, and to its improvement and cultivation devoted his energies with good results. Here he also became one of the leading and influential men of the county, served as justice of the peace for several years, and held other positions of honor and trust. In connection with his farming operations, he engaged in contracting and building in Elgin, and built the old Baptist church at that place. He died in Rutland township, in 1892; his wife passed away in 1884, and both were laid to rest in Udina cemetery, where a substantial monument marks their last resting place.
The subject of this sketch is the oldest of the children of this worthy couple, the others being as follows: Sarah is the wife of Stiles Mansfield, of New Haven, Connecticut; Elizabeth is the wife of Owen Weld, of Elgin; Captain Leveret is married and resides in Washington, District of Columbia, where he is serving as deputy commissioner of pensions. He served through the Civil war as a member of Company A, Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and from private rose to the rank of captain. After his marriage he first located in Rutland township, Kane county, and was afterward elected sheriff of the county, serving in that capacity for two terms. He was one of the leading and popular men of his community. Dr. Lin A. Kelly is a prominent physician of Winona, Minnesota. The foregoing were all born in Schenectady, New York. John H., born in Rutland, Illinois, is a substantial farmer now living in Elgin. John and Marietta both died in infancy. Mary died after reaching womanhood and was buried in Elgin. Charles died at the age of twelve years.
While living in New York Alfred W. Kelly was provided with good educational privileges, having attended the Lyceum at Schenectady, and after coming to Illinois attended school to some extent. He was thus well fitted to engage in teaching. He assisted his father in opening up and developing the home farm, and remained under the parental roof until he had attained man's estate.
At Udina, Kane county, Mr. Kelly was married, April 2, 1851, to Miss Elizabeth Pruden, Rev. C. R. French officiating. She was born in Romulus, Seneca county, New York, October 7, 1828, a daughter of John and Sarah (Ransom) Pruden, the former a native of Pennsylvania, but reared in New York, the latter a native of Rome, Oneida county, New York. In 1843 her parents came west and settled near the present city of Elgin, Mr. Pruden purchasing a tract of about six hundred acres four miles west of that place. He was a prominent and successful farmer and highly respected citizen. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have three children : Sarah Eliza, wife of Frank W. Alexander, of St. Charles ; Emma Isabel, deceased wife of A. H. Perkins, of Genoa, Illinois, and Walter Scott, who married Nellie Guptil, of Chicago, and located on a farm in Kane county, where he lived for three years, removing at the end of that time to Elgin, where he died, leaving a widow and four sons.
After his marriage Mr. Kelly located upon a partially improved farm in Plato township, Kane county, his residence being a log house, and for four years he made that place his home. He then removed to a place in Rutland township, comprising one hundred sixty-five acres, a small portion of which was under cultivation and a little frame house erected thereon. To its further improvement and cultivation he devoted his energies until he had one of the best farms in the locality. His first home was replaced by a substantial and commodious residence, a good orchard was set out, and in fact, the place had all the conveniences and accessories of a. model farm of the nineteenth century. On leaving the farm he came to St. Charles, where he was employed in a store for eight years, and he subsequently had charge of a store at Pingree Grove, where he served as postmaster for two years and a half. The following five years were spent upon his farm, but since February, 1888, he has lived retired in St. Charles, enjoying a well-earned rest, free from the cares and responsibilities of business life.
The Republican party finds in Mr. Kelly a stanch supporter, and he has voted for all its presidential candidates since John C. Fremont with the exception of the year he supported Horace Greeley. Twice he was elected alderman of St. Charles, but after serving for three years he resigned. He also filled the offices of school director in Plato township and trustee in St. Charles and his work along this line has been very effective in securing better schools. As a public-spirited and progressive citizen, he has given his support to all measures for the public good, and his life has been such as to command the confidence and respect of all with whom he has come in contact, either in public or private life.
SIDNEY B. HAWLEY, M. D., deceased, was born in Fairfax, Vermont, March 29, 1831; he was the son of Lyman and Melina (Wells) Hawley, both natives of the Green Mountain state. Lyman Hawley, the father, followed the occupation of a farmer and on the home farm our subject worked in his early youth and attended the district schools of the neighborhood. He was afterwards placed in the seminary at Brattleboro, where he completed his literary education. He later attended the medical college at Castleton, Vermont, graduating with honors in 1851, and receiving his degree of M. D. On the 8th of November, 1853, he married Mary A. Webster, a daughter of Alanson and Lucy (Reed) Webster, all residents of Fairfax, Franklin county, Vermont, and there the marriage ceremony took place. After his marriage he removed to the town of Jefferson, Ashtabula county, Ohio, and commenced practicing as physician and surgeon. Her father was of Welch descent, while her mother came of good New England stock. Alanson Webster was a second cousin to Noah Webster, the renowned lexicographer, and moved from Connecticut to Vermont at an early day. In his family were seven children - Alonzo, Jane, Buell, Ami, Fidelia, Clark and Mary A.
Dr. Hawley continued the practice of his profession very successfully in Ashtabula county, Ohio, for five years, when on the advice of friends he removed to Chicago, but remained there only two years. In the meantime he visited Aurora, and was favorably impressed with the beauties of the place, and seeing it to be much preferred to Chicago for rearing his young family, he decided to remove here, which he did, bringing with him his wife and three children as follows: Clark, born November 15, 1854, at Jefferson, Ohio; Idelia M., born March 9, 1856, also at Jefferson, Ohio; Burritt, born October 9, 1860, in Chicago. The latter died in Aurora, November 26, 1883. After the removal of the family to Aurora two more were added, Alanson W., born December 14, 1865, and Arthur Lyman, born May 31, 1868.
On coming to Aurora Dr. Hawley opened an office at No. 45 River street, in 1860, where he practiced his profession until the war commenced. He then joined the army as assistant surgeon of the Thirty-sixth
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was commissioned surgeon of the Thirty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and chief operator of the Third Division, Fourth Corps, of the Army of the Cumberland. He was present at the battles of Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga, and during the latter engagement was taken prisoner and spent six weeks in Libby prison, where everything he possessed was confiscated. Being exchanged, he returned to his regiment and continued in the service three years, ministering to sick and wounded. While in the service he narrowly escaped injury, but was never wounded.
In 1864 Dr. Hawley returned to Aurora and resumed his practice in the same office he had formerly occupied, and carried on a very successful practice until his death, which occurred November 26, 1877, and his remains were interred at Rose Hill cemetery. While caring nothing for office, he was prevailed upon to serve as alderman of the First ward for one term, and discharged the duties of the office in a conscientious manner. Fraternally, he was a member of the Aurora post, No. 20, G. A. R. . He was also a member of Trinity Episcopal church, in which he was vestryman for thirteen years. Mrs. Hawley is also a member of the same church. During his life he built an elegant home at 227 Walnut street, where his widow still resides.
The father of Mrs. Hawley was for many years a prominent citizen of Lowell, Massachusetts, where he filled the office of justice of the peace and represented his town in the legislature. He and his wife lived together nearly sixty-five years, he dying in his ninety-fourth year and she when eighty-five years old.
The children of Mrs. Hawley now living are Clark, who is practicing his profession of oculist and optician at 70 State street, Chicago, and who married Edna Chittenden, by whom he has two boys, Ralph and Webster. Idelia L. married James Hanna, by whom she has three children, Ruth, Phillip and Paul; they reside in Aurora. Alanson is unmarried and is a practicing physician at the state asylum at Kankakee, Illinois. Arthur, the youngest son, married Miss Olive McGrath, of Rochester, New York, and they now reside at Seattle, Washington.
MRS. CLARK WILDER, who resides at No. 463 North Lake street, has been a resident of Kane county since October 20, 1837. She was born in New London county, Connecticut, at Old Lyme, October 17, 1810. Her father, Timothy Lord, who was a native of the same county and state, there married May Munsel. By trade he was a wheelwright, and followed that occupation until his death in 1812. Mrs. Lord later married William H. Harrison, said to be a relative of President Harrison. She died in February, 1826. Mrs. Wilder was the youngest and the only survivor of three daughters by the first marriage. She grew to womanhood at Lyme, and then moved to New York, with a sister, and there gave her hand in marriage to Clark Wilder, the marriage ceremony taking place February 17, 1833.
Clark Wilder was a native of New Hampshire, and when a lad of fourteen years, moved with his parents, Joel and Lydia (Newton) Wilder, to New York. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wilder began their domestic life On a farm in St. Lawrence county, New York, where they remained about four years. They then came to Kane county, Illinois, by team and the lakes, coming through Canada into Michigan and after visiting a brother of Mr. Wilder at St. Joseph, Michigan, they came to Aurora, which then had but three frame houses and one log house on the west side. Mr. Wilder had visited this section in 1836, and purchased a claim of one hundred and sixty acres on the west side of the river, and forty acres of timber on the east side. There was a log house on the claim in which he moved with his family, and there they lived for eleven years. It was a very rudely constructed house and until repaired by Mr. Wilder, snakes would stick their heads through the open floor, and the roof was so that one could see the stars through the cracks. After residing there the time mentioned, in 1848 Mr. Wilder built a large, substantial stone residence, where his widow and daughter now reside. He at once commenced the improvement of his place, and there resided until his death, August 5, 1870, at the age of sixty-nine years. Clark Wilder was a man of good education, was interested in the public schools and served as school commissioner for a time. He was a very active business man, progressive in his views, and on the organization of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, invested in its stock. In early life he was a Whig, and later a Republican.
To Mr. and Mrs. Wilder ten children were born, eight of whom grew to mature years, and six are now living. The oldest, George W., married, has six children, and is a prominent man in Aurora; Bert S. married, and resides at Cedar Falls, Iowa; Joel, who died at the age of one year; Mary W., widow of Peter S. Lossing, by whom she had eight children; Emeline W., wife of Fred Hotz, deputy sheriff of Kane county; William Wallace, who was a soldier in the Civil war, taken prisoner, held one year at Andersonville, paroled, and died while on his way home; Lewis, who resides in Aurora; Joel M., of Yates Centre, Kansas; Amelia, who died at the age of one year, and Frank C., who met death by accident at the age of about twenty years. Mrs. Wilder has seventeen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
When seventeen years of age Mrs. Wilder was converted and was immersed in the Connecticut river and united with the Baptist church. On coming to Aurora she formed one of the original number in the organization of the First Baptist church, with which she has since been identified and has been one of its active workers, and is to-day the oldest member of that church. Although more than four score years have passed over her head, she yet takes the same interest manifested in her younger days, in every department of church work. Her place in the house of God is always filled whenever possible for her to be there. For sixty-one years she has been a resident of Kane county, and her experience of pioneer days were such as to make her more fully enjoy the luxuries and comforts of the present day.
CHARLES H. BACKUS, banker, Hampshire, Illinois, is a representative of the commercial and financial interests of Hampshire, and is well known throughout Kane, DeKalb and adjoining counties. He traces his ancestry back to colonial days prior to the Revolutionary war, in which, both paternal and maternal ancestors were prominent participants. On the maternal side Ephraim Lyon, a descendant of Ponce de Leon, served a number of years during the struggle in various official capacities. For a time he was adjutant in the Twenty-first Massachusetts Regiment, was first lieutenant in Captain Obadiah Johnson's company, Third Regiment, Militia of Boston, was a member of Captain Bute's company, of "Lexington Alarms," was first lieutenant in the Third Massachusetts Regiment under General Israel Putnam, and lieutenant in Captain Whiting's company, Fourth Regiment, commanded by Colonel John Ely. Ephraim Lyon's son James married Polly Trowbridge, daughter of James and Mary (Kendall) Trowbridge, the former being a son of Daniel and Hannah (Spring) Trowbridge. Daniel Trowbridge was a sergeant in the Eighth Company under Captain Ingalls, of the Eleventh Regiment, from Pomfort, Connecticut. He was chairman of the committee to secure clothing for the Revolutionary soldiers, and was a mem- (sic)
of the committee to suggest means to prevent depression of continental money. Mary Lyon, daughter of James and Mary (Trowbridge) Lyon, married Augustus Dodge, whose daughter, Susan, married Jirah L. Backus, father of our subject. He was the son of De Lucena and Olive (Simonds) Backus. The latter was a daughter of Elijah and Martha (Canada) Simonds, her father being a member of the Lexington Alarms, from Windham, Connecticut, and was a participant in the battle of Bunker Hill. Charles H. Backus, our subject, was born in Chaplin, Windham county, Connecticut, June 9, 1856. He attended the common schools in his native town until seventeen years old, and then taught school for two years. Desiring a good business education, he attended Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, and after which he again engaged in teaching for two years. In the spring of 1879 he came west and for one year clerked in a genera] store at Marengo, Illinois, after which he was for two years in the Farmers' and Drovers' Bank, at the same place. He then came to Hampshire, and April 1, 1882, established the Kane County Bank. From that time to the present, he has been a moving power in a number of industries in the village. With E. C. Sholes, he established the pressed brick and tile works, with a capacity of a half million brick and one hundred and fifty thousand tile per annum. For some years, under the firm name of Backus & Maynard, he was in the coal business. This business was discontinued in 1897. At present he is the senior member of the firm of Backus & Sisley, dealers in clothing, boots and shoes, at De Kalb, Illinois. He is half owner in the "Genoa Issue," a weekly paper published at Genoa, Illinois. He is also the owner of considerable farming land in McHenry county. Among other lines in which he is interested is that of insurance, in which he represents fourteen leading companies. This is the only insurance agency in Hampshire and vicinity. Some years since he established the "Hampshire Register," which later he sold to its present proprietor.
On the first of January, 1884, at Geneva, Illinois, Mr. Backus was united in marriage with Miss Emma L. Sisley, born in West Chicago, and a daughter of John and Anna Sisley. By this union there is one son, Charles Sisley, who resides at home.
In politics Mr. Backus is a Republican, and since coming to the township has taken a very, active interest in political affairs. He has been a member of the village board for six years, clerk of the school board six years, township supervisor four years, and village treasurer ten years. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of the Globe, Knights of the Maccabees, and Sons of the Revolution. As a citizen he is thoroughly enterprising and has always lent a helping hand in the establishment of any industry calculated to advance the interest of his town and county.
THOMAS HARTMAN, who resides at No. 106 South Lincoln avenue, Aurora, Illinois, has been in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company for about forty-three years, and in the passenger service since 1870. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 2, 1840, and is the son of Michael and Margaret (Heaton) Hartman, who were married in New York city, and settled in Cincinnati, in 1838. In 1851, the family came to Aurora, where the father died in 1859, his wife surviving him for many years, dying in 1888. Thomas Hartman was the oldest of their four sons and one daughter. Mary Ellen married James Sunderland, who is now a retired farmer of Gifford, Illinois; William and John, who died in childhood while the family were residing in Cincinnati; and Eddie, who died in Aurora, at the age of ten years. The subject of this sketch was eleven years of age when the family came to Aurora. Here he finished his education in the common schools and at the age of fifteen, entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, in the freight house at Aurora. He was then made yard switchman, and later yardmaster. He next went on the road, first serving as a brakeman on a freight, running from Aurora to Chicago. He was in the freight service for ten years as brakeman and conductor, and in October, 1870, was given charge of a passenger train, from Aurora to Chicago. He was later transferred to the Fox River branch, and for ten years was on the Dubuque line, after which he was given charge of the Omaha express, and has been on that run ever since. During the great strike of 1887-8, he was used by the company to get trains out of Chicago, when no other man could do the work. He knew the strikers, and had no trouble to switch and run his trains. As a matter of course his services have been appreciated by the road, and by the public and he is one of the most valued of the employees of the road.
During his residence in Aurora, he has bought and built a number of residences and has contributed his share in beautifying the place. Mr. Hartman was married in Aurora, April 29, 1897, to Mrs. Catherine Russell, a daughter of John Russell, who is now deceased. She is a native of Ohio, and was reared and educated in Cincinnati. By her first husband, she had five children, three of whom are grown, while two, Clem and Lillian, are yet at home. By a former marriage, Mr. Hartman has two children, Charles, a young man in the employ of the Burlington road and on the train with his father, and Katie, a young lady at home. She is well educated, and after attending the Aurora schools finished her course at St. Joseph's College, Dubuque, Iowa. She is quite proficient in music, and has gained quite a reputation by her singing.
Politically Mr. Hartman has been a Democrat from his youth up, but in 1896, on account of his views on the currency question, being a believer in sound money, he voted for William McKinley. In local elections he usually casts his vote regardless of party politics. Religiously he and his family are members of the St. Mary's Catholic church, of Aurora. For nearly half a century he has been a resident of Aurora, and in its progress and development he has taken a lively interest. As a citizen he enjoys the respect and esteem of the community, and as a railway conductor he is very popular.
LOUIS THON, a representative of the great mercantile interests of Aurora, doing business as a general merchant, at No. 16 North Broadway, was born in Hessen-Cassel, Germany, December 22, 1846, and is the son of Eckhardt and Elise Thon, both of whom are natives of the same country, where their entire lives were spent, the father dying at the age of fifty years, and the mother some years later at the age of sixty-eight years. They were members of the Protestant church. Of their family of eight children one died in infancy. The living are Wilhelm, a farmer residing in Germany; Karl, also a farmer in Germany; Louis, our subject; Richard, a jeweler in Germany; Emma, Minnie, and Amelia, all unmarried and residing in Germany.
The subject of this sketch was reared to farm life, at which occupation he continued until seventeen years of age in his native land. His education was received from private tutors. In 1864 he came to America in a sailing vessel, and was sixty days on the water. While they encountered several storms, no serious damage was done. After landing in Quebec, Canada, he there spent a day or two, and then came west to Chicago where he spent a month. From Chicago he came to Aurora, and engaged as a farm hand by the month. In May, 1864, he enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and being the only German in his company, he rapidly learned the English language. The regiment was one of the number called into service for one hundred days, and was stationed at Columbus, Kentucky, from which place they scoured the country and did guard duty. They were once out on a raid for a full month, but had no engagements. The service, however, was hard on our subject, and although he went out weighing one hundred and sixty-five pounds, on his return he weighed but one hundred and twenty pounds. With his regiment he was discharged at Chicago, October 10, 1864.
Returning to Aurora he engaged with the same farmer from whom he first obtained employment, and continued with him until the fall of 1865. He then went to California, by the way of New York and the Isthmus of Panama, taking a steamer on the other side of the Isthmus for San Francisco. He then went to Gold Run, and worked on the Central Pacific railroad for a time, and then returned to the neighborhood of San Francisco, where he worked on a farm until the fall of 1866. Having enough of California, he came back to Aurora by the same route that he went. On his return he again commenced farm work, at which he continued until the spring of 1867. Securing a position as clerk in the grocery store of John Plains, he there remained until 1869, when, having accumulated some money, on the 7th of June of that year, he engaged in business for himself as the senior member of the firm of Thon & Otte, dealers in dry goods and groceries. That partnership continued about twenty years, when it was dissolved, since which time Mr. Thon continued alone in the business until April 1, 1898, when he associated with him his two oldest sons.
On the 7th of March, 1869, Mr. Thon was united in marriage with Miss Augusta Naeher, .a native of Germany, coming to this country in 1853 with her father, Dr. Naeher. Her mother died in this country, and her father returned to Germany where his death occurred. To Mr. and Mrs. Thon six children have been born, as follows: Lizzie, wife of Willie J. Eitelgoerge, a cigar manufacturer of Aurora, by whom she has two children, Norma and Rhoda; Eckhardt, partner In his father's business; Carl, also a partner; Willie and George, in the High School; and Emma, who died at the age of two years.
The family are attendants of the Lutheran church of Aurora, and, fraternally, Mr. Thon is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In politics he is independent, though usually voting the Democratic ticket. Although he came to this country a poor boy, by his industry, economy and strict attention to business, he has met with good success in life. He is a stockholder and one of the directors in the Aurora National Bank, and has been active in many of the enterprises of the city. The family reside in a beautiful home at 286 South Lincoln avenue, which only thirteen years since was the last house out; but now nice residences extend for a mile beyond. Mrs. Thon, although unobtrusive, is positive in those qualities that go to make up noble womanhood. The genial bearing of the parents do much to sustain the social life of family and friends. Mr. Thon is a man of strict integrity, of good business qualifications, and is ranked with the leading business men of the city.
GEORGE A. YOUNG, ESQ., a well-known and popular citizen of Elgin, is now serving as justice of the peace, with his office at No. 13 Chicago street. He was born in Orange county, New York, April 2i, 1830, and is the only child of George A. and Betsy (Allen) Young, the former also a native of the Empire state, and the latter of Windsor county, Vermont. During his early manhood the father was employed as professor of mathematics, and later engaged in merchandising, but his earthly career was short, dying in Minnesink, New York, in 1830, at the age of twenty-nine years. His widow then returned to the home of her parents in Windsor county, Vermont, where she died when our subject was only fourteen. He then went to live with his uncle, William G. Young, in Oneida county, New York, remaining with him until he had attained his majority.
Mr. Young began his education in the schools of Vermont, and later attended the Delancy Institute at Hampton, New York, where he had for a room-mate the late Judge Barton, of Freeport, Illinois. Before he reached the age of twenty-one he successfully taught a village school at Deansville. New York, where his predecessor had been run out of by the older scholars, who boasted that the next teacher would be treated in a like manner. But Mr. Young resolved to conquer the school, and for three years he remained at that place. Later he purchased a farm of seventy-five acres and another tract of fifty acres in Oneida county, New York, and gave his attention to agricultural pursuits for three years.
In November, 1851, Mr. Young married Miss Lydia Atherton, a daughter of William Atherton, and to them were born two children: Jennie, who died at the age of ten years; and one who died in infancy. Emigrating westward in 1854, Mr. Young located in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he engaged in the lumber business and made his home for twelve years. In the winter of 1861 he commenced to raise a company in that place for the Civil war, but before the quota was complete he was taken dangerously ill and being sick for some time, he was prevented from joining the army. On his recovery he was connected for two or three years with the American Express Company in Chicago, and for a time during the war had charge of the Adams Express Transfer at Cairo, Illinois, which place at that time did the largest transfer business in the United States.
In 1866 Mr. Young removed to Leland, Illinois, where for nineteen years he was engaged in the lumber business, but since 1885 has made his home in Elgin. Previous to coming here he had engaged in the raising of fine horses, and in Elgin superintended the building of race tracks and also dealt in horses until 1896. Since his election to the office of justice of the peace in 1897 he has devoted his attention to the duties of that position, and is proving a very capable official.
Mrs. Young, who was a most estimable lady, departed this life March 19, 1891, after having been an invalid for many years. Her husband has since made his home at the corner of South Channing and Stella streets. Since the organization of the Republican party he has been one of its stanch supporters and while a resident of Leland, Illinois, he served as police magistrate for a number of years. He also filled the office of city treasurer of Janesville for two terms, and the duties of these various positions he discharged in a prompt and able manner, thus winning the commendation of all concerned. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman and has made a host of warm friends since taking up his residence in Elgin.
NATHAN A. DRAKE, deputy sheriff and alderman of the fourth ward, Batavia, first came to Kane county in 1870, locating at Batavia, where he has since continued to reside. He was born in Potter county, Pennsylvania, March 30, 1839. His ancestry can be traced back to Sir Francis Drake, of England, and was founded in this country in the seventeenth century, three brothers arriving here at that time, one locating in Virginia, another in New Hampshire and the third in New Jersey. Our subject is a direct descendant of the latter brother. Thomas Drake, his great-great grandfather, was born in New Jersey, as was also his grandfather, Jonathan Drake, and his father, John Drake, the birth of the latter being in 1805.
From Essex county, New Jersey, John Drake moved with his parents to Cortland county, New York, where he later married Sarah Barker, a sister of L. P. Barker, a former sheriff of Kane county. They were the parents of four sons and one daughter, all of whom grew to mature years. They were as follows: Francis D., who was a soldier in the Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, is now a resident of Freeborn county, Minnesota; Martin V., also a soldier of the Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, died at Corinth, in 1862; Nathan A., our subject; F. H., who was a member of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, now resides at Albion, Dane county, Wisconsin; and Sarah E., widow of Daniel P. Davis, now resides at Harrison, Nebraska.
In 1845, John Drake moved west with his family, and settled in Dane county, Wisconsin, and later moved to Waushara county and located on Indian land, being the first white man to settle in that county. He there engaged in farming and also kept a stage station and tavern. In 1860, his wife died, and in 1862, he moved to Winona, Minnesota, and engaged in the hotel business for several years. While residing there he married Mrs. Lytle, a widow lady. From Winona, he moved to Ord, Valley county, Nebraska, where the last years of his life were spent, his death occurring November 2, 1888.
The subject of this sketch, a youth of sixteen, came west with his parents to Wisconsin, and in Waushara county, January 9, 1860, was united in marriage with Miss Phebe Holcomb, a daughter of Joseph Holcomb, and a native of Allegany county, New York, where she was reared and educated. By this union are four children- Carrie E., wife of Solomon Trumbull, residing in Irvington, Iowa; Frank L., who died a young man, meeting his death by accident; William J., a contractor and builder of Batavia; and Minnie, at home.
After his marriage Mr. Drake commenced farming, but in response to the call of President Lincoln and the governor of his state, enlisted May 20, 1861, in the three-months' service. He re-enlisted November 25, 1861, as a private in Company K, Thirteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. With his regiment he was sent first to the Army of the Frontier, under Gen. Jim Lane, was subsequently transferred to the Army of the Tennessee, under Grant, and later to the Army of the Cumberland. He participated in many skirmishes and small fights, marching many hundreds of miles over Kansas and in Tennessee, chased Forrest for nearly fifteen months, having many skirmishes with his army. At Clarksville, Tennessee, he was wounded and disabled for life. At Nashville, Tennessee, in February, 1864, he was discharged on account of his wound.
Returning to his home in Wisconsin, Mr. Drake engaged in farming during the summer of 1865 and in the winter following went to Memphis, Tennessee, in the employ of the government. There was a militia regiment at that place to protect the city, and with it Mr. Drake served on picket duty a few times. In the spring he again returned to Wisconsin, where he remained one year, then went to Winona, Minnesota, where he spent four years, coming to Batavia in 1870, as already stated. He here engaged with L. P. Barker & Company, and was with them fifteen years, working at his trade of mason. For the last ten years he has followed mason work during the season. Politically Mr. Drake is a stanch Republican, his first ballot for president being cast for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He was appointed deputy sheriff by Mr. Burke in 1894, and is now serving his fourth year. In 1895 he was elected constable, but after qualifying he soon resigned the office. In the spring of 1897 he was elected alderman of the fourth ward, and is yet filling that position. As a delegate he has attended many conventions of his party, both city and county. Fraternally he is a member of the G. A. R., post No. 48, from which he has been sent as delegate to the state encampment, and in 1894 was commander of the post.
HENRY C. KRUMM, general superintendent of the tile works at McQueens station, was born in the village of Klein Lukow, province of Mecklenberg, Schwerin, Germany, August 3, 1846. He is the son of Joseph and Caroline (Strohpager) Krumm, both of whom are natives of Germany, in which country the latter died. Joseph Krumm was the son of Karl and Sophia (Bloom) Krumm. He came to this country at an early day, and settled in Wisconsin, dying at Manitowoc, at the age of fifty-nine years.
Henry C. Krumm attended the public schools of his native land until the age of fourteen years, when he was confirmed and united with the Lutheran church. He then secured employment in a brick and tile works in his native place, and was thus engaged at the time of his coming to America, in 1869. During this time, however, he served in the German army in its war with Austria in 1866. Five years later his brother served in the war with France.
Mr. Krumm sailed from Hamburg, and landed at New York, September 26, 1869. He proceeded at once to Marine City, St. Clair county, Michigan, and for seven years was employed in the brick and tile works at that place. He then came to Kane county, and at Dundee worked in the brick and tile works for D. H. Haeger nineteen years. In May, 1894, he bought the tile works at McQueens station, which he run for two years. In 1896 the business was incorporated under the name of the Elgin Brick and Tile Company, the incorporators being a number of gentlemen of Elgin and Dundee. Its officers are J. B. Lane, president; D. McBride, secretary; and Henry C. Krumm, general manager. In addition to the tile works at McQueen, the plant includes the brick works at Pingree. Its output is about six hundred thousand each of tile and brick per annum.
Mr. Krumm was married in Michigan, February 16, 1871, to Miss Lena Haeger, a daughter of Fritz and Johanna Haeger. She was born in the village of Kriesow, province of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, and came to America with her parents on the same vessel with our subject. By this union six children have been born, as follows: Matilda, who married Richard Ludwig, employed in the tile works at Mc-Queen's station, by whom she has three children, Herbert, Elsie and Fairy. Emma, who married William Lawrence, also of the tile works, is the mother of three children, Bertha, Lydia, and an infant. Clara married August Pasley, a machinist in Dundee, Adolph, Henry and Robert, at home.
Politically Mr. Krumm is a Republican, with which party he has been identified since becoming a naturalized citizen. Fraternally he is a member of Port Huron tent, Knights of the Maccabees. He is a member of the Lutheran church, of which body his wife is also a member. As a citizen, Mr. Krumm is held in high esteem, and in common with others of his nationality, has done much to build up and improve his adopted country.
CHARLES T. WILBER, proprietor of the Wilber House,. Carpentersville, and who for some years efficiently served as postmaster of the village, has resided here since 1863. He was born at Seneca Falls, New York, August 5, 1838. His father was a native of England and settled in New York in the early part of the present century. He there married Maria Walters, a native of Connecticut, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, as follows: Mary A., wife of Patrick Drew, of Seneca Falls, New York; William, who came west in 1862, and worked in the shops in Carpentersville, is now deceased; Kate M., wife of W. H. Haley, of New Hartford, New York; and Charles T., of this review.
The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in his native state, attended the common schools and learned the molder's trade, in Seneca Falls, and there followed the business for two years. In 1863 he came to Illinois and joined his brother in Carpentersville, and soon after went to work in the shops of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company, where he continued to work for about twenty-five years, resigning his position in July, 1893.
Mr. Wilber was married at Carpentersville in 1867, to Miss Mary Allison, a native of Illinois, born in Chicago, and a daughter of John Allison, a pioneer merchant of Carpentersville. By this union there are five children - Flora M., residing at home; and who served as deputy postmaster under both her father and mother; Wallie B., who died at the age of six months; W. H., an electrician, now employed in the Bolt Works; Guy R., a farmer residing in Janesville, Wisconsin; and Elion Gladys, a pupil in the home school.
Politically Mr. Wilber is a lifelong Democrat, and cast his first presidential vote for the "little giant," Stephen A. Douglas, in 1860, and has voted for each succeeding presidential nominee of that party "to the present time. Under the first administration of Grover Cleveland, Mrs. Wilber received the appointment of postmaster of Carpentersville, and acceptably filled the office for four years. Under the second administration of Cleveland, Mr. Wilber was appointed and efficiently conducted the office for four years.
In 1888, Mr. Wilber engaged in the hotel business and from that time to the present has continued to minister to the wants of the traveling public. He makes a good landlord, being of genial disposition and one who tries to do right by his fellow-men. For more than a quarter of a century he has been a resident of Carpentersville and his friends are numerous throughout this section of the state.
JOHN F. THORWARTH, president of the Aurora Brewing Company, is one of the most enterprising of the German-American citizens. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, April 16, 1834. His parents, George and Mary Thorwarth, were also natives of that country, where their entire lives were spent. On a farm in his native country our subject spent his boyhood and youth, and there received his education, with the exception of two winters' schooling after coming to America. In 1852, when but eighteen years of age, he started for the New World, shipping onboard a sailing vessel, and was fifty-six days from London to New York. He came direct to Cook county, and from 1852 to 1860 was engaged in farming. He then visited the old country, and on his return to Cook county engaged in general merchandising in the town of Bremen, where he remained until 1868. During the war Mr. Thorwarth did much in helping the poor men of Bremen township who were subject to draft. On one occasion he went out and collected six hundred dollars for a poor blacksmith. By his own exertions he secured means for paying bounties and securing substitutes for men who were unable to leave their families. These kind deeds brought him prominently before the people and made him very popular. His popularity was such that the people insisted on his accepting the office of supervisor of the township, which position he filled from 1864 to 1866. He also served as postmaster and was justice of the peace until his removal to Aurora. His acquaintance throughout his section of the county was quite extensive, and he enjoyed the confidence of one and all.
In 1868 Mr. Thorwarth came to Aurora and resumed general mercantile business. In 1873 he formed a partnership with Joseph Fulton in the hardware trade which connection was continued until 1889, when he sold his interest and in 1890 sold out his general merchandise store. In the mercantile business he had been quite successful.
After selling out his mercantile establishment, with two others, he organized the Aurora Brewing Company, and was elected its first president, which position he still continues to hold. The brewery is situated on the west side of Fox river, and covers several acres of land. Its output is about thirty thousand barrels per year, and they pay the United States government about twenty-six thousand dollars per year as a revenue tax. Some thirty-five men are given constant employment and the business is a prosperous one.
Since coming to Aurora, Mr. Thorwarth has repeatedly been honored by his fellow citizens with various offices within their gift.
From 1872 until 1884, he served as a member of the city council. He was then elected mayor and served one term. While mayor an application was made by certain persons for a franchise for the establishment of water works for the city. Through the influence of Mr. Thorwarth the application was refused. Under their proposition they were only required to lay out about ten miles of water main and the water furnished the city would have cost six thousand dollars per year. Rejecting the proposition, and after a hard legal fight, which was taken to the supreme court of the state, the city was bonded for a sufficient amount to put in the works, and in due time completed forty miles of water main. The interest on the bonds amounts to no more than would have been paid to the private corporation for the use of ten miles of main and the city has an income at the present time (1898) of about twenty-five thousand dollars per year, which, after paying the interest, will secure a sinking fund that will in time pay the principal of the bonds. For this good work the citizens can thank Mr. Thorwarth and those who backed him in the matter.
For nine years he served as assistant supervisor from Aurora and was a valuable member of the county board. He has always been prominent in developing the best interests of the city, and is one of Aurora's valued citizens. In securing the location of the present magnificent bridge across the river on New York street he was quite active and much credit is due him. Enterprising and progressive in all things, he never stands back when a work is being done that will prove beneficial to his adopted city and county. Fraternally he is a Mason, and is a member of the blue lodge, chapter and commandery. In politics he has been an ardent and enthusiastic Republican since the organization of that party. Religiously he was reared a Lutheran, of which church his parents were members, but with his family he now attends the People's church in Aurora.
CHARLES C. QUACKENBUSH, who resides at No. 310 South Lincoln avenue, Aurora, Illinois, is the present well known and efficient superintendent and cashier of the Carpentersville, Elgin & Aurora Electric railway, was born in Aurora, May 12, 1866. His father, John Quackenbush, is a native of Onondago county, New York, where he was reared and educated. When a young man he came to Aurora, where he remained until the commencement of the Civil war, when he enlisted in the first call, for three months men. At the expiration of his time, he re-enlisted as a private in Company H, Twenty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and later was promoted to first lieutenant of the company and served as such until the close of the war. With his regiment he participated in many engagements, was with Sherman in his march to the sea, and was also in the grand review at Washington, at the close of the war. On receiving his discharge from the service, he returned to Aurora, and engaged in the mercantile business for a number of years. His marriage with Sarah Riley was celebrated in Aurora. She is a native of New Jersey, where she grew to womanhood, and received her education. Withdrawing from the mercantile trade, Lieutenant Quackenbush entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, with whom he remained some years and then moved to Chicago, where he now resides.
Charles C. Quackenbush grew to manhood in Aurora, received his education in the public schools and was graduated from the high schools. He then began working in the car department of the Burlington road, where he remained some eight or nine years, resigning in 1891, in order to accept the position of superintendent of the Aurora Street Railway Company. From that time to the present, he has had charge of the business and has increased the number of miles of track from eighteen to twenty-eight. That he has made an efficient officer is attested by his length of service and by the estimation in which he is held by the stockholders and patrons of the road.
Mr. Quackenbush was married in Aurora, October 25, 1892, to Miss Delia Verbeck, a native of Kane county, Illinois, born in Aurora, where she was reared and educated, and was a successful teacher in the public schools. By this union there are two children, Elizabeth Gail and Alta Mabel. Mr. and Mrs. Quackenbush are members of the People's church. They reside in a beautiful home on the east side of Aurora, which is the abode of hospitality. Politically, Mr. Quackenbush is a Republican, with which party he has been identified since attaining his majority. A lifelong resident of Aurora, he is well known by all its people, and by them is held in the highest esteem.
CHARLES E. ERIKSON, secretary and treasurer of the Aurora Automatic Machinery Company, of Aurora, Illinois, was born in Stockholm, Sweden, April 19, 1824, and is the son of Erik and Catherine Erikson. The elder Erikson came to the United States in June, 1869, and located in Chicago, where he is still living, but retired from active business. He and his wife are members of the Lutheran Church, and politically he is a Republican. They are the parents of six children of whom our subject is the oldest, the others being Erika, now the wife of Axel Wessman, of Chicago; Ida, wife of Erik Peterson, of Chicago; Hannah, wife of Gustav Osterholm, of Chicago; August, in Chicago; and Adolph, who died in childhood.
The subject of this sketch received his education in Stockholm, where he learned the machinist's trade, becoming quite proficient in all branches of machinery. In 1872, he sailed for the United States, coining direct to Chicago, and at once engaged at his trade, making vaults, etc. This was after the great fire, and his skill as a machinist was particularly desirable and useful at that time. He remained there until 1880, when he went to New York City, and remained one year, and then returned to Chicago and engaged in the machinery business, remaining there until 1890. He then came to Aurora, and was superintendent of the Gardner Sewing Machine Company up to the fall of 1893, when the Automatic Machinery Company was organized and he was chosen secretary and treasurer. The business was first established by Mr. Erikson and Alex Levedahl, and was commenced in a small way, but has had constant growth. In 1895, the company was incorporated, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, all of which is paid in. The present officers are Alex Levedahl, president; Simon Florsheim, vice-president; and C. E. Erikson, secretary and treasurer. The officers mentioned, together with Oscar Norling and Thomas H. Ball, comprise the present board of directors. The present building was erected in the fall of 1895.
The Automatic Machinery Company manufacture bicycle parts, hubs and all the ball bearings in connection with their wheel. Their goods are known by the trade mark "Thor."They ship their products to all parts of the United States, England, France, Germany and Sweden, and have built up a large trade. The output is from two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to three hundred thousand dollars annually, and they are running to their full capacity. The factory is located on Claim street, in the eastern part of the city. They employ in the busy season from two hundred and thirty to two hundred and fifty hands, during which time they usually run night and day. The plant is very complete and they make their own patterns, and have their drafting rooms and blacksmith shop.
Mr. Erikson was united in marriage November 2, 1886, with Miss Josephine L. Miller, a native of Chicago, and they have now two children, Clifford and Ethel. The parents of Mrs. Erikson are still living in Chicago. In politics Mr. Erikson is a Republican. As a business man he is enterprising, and thoroughly abreast with the times. To Mr. Levedahl and himself too much credit cannot be given for the successful management of the business of the Automatic Machinery Company, which is now one of the leading industries of Aurora.
REV. ANDREW PINGREE.
The Pingree family in America sprang from the youngest of two brothers, Aaron and Moses Pengree, who emigrated from England early in the seventeenth century. Aaron Pengree died childless, while a large family was born to Moses Pengree, which scattered over New England. Moses Pengree died January 2, 1696, at the age of eighty-six years. .The spelling of the name in due time was changed from Pengree to Pingree. Of the descendants of Moses Pengree, was born Andrew Pingree, Sr., in the town of Rowley, Essex county, Massachusetts, February 17, 1775. He became a manufacturer of shoes in a town near Lynn, but afterward moved to the town of Weare, Hillsboro county, New Hampshire, where their first child was born. He subsequently lived in Springfield, Granthum, Meriden and Plainfield, New Hampshire. In 1838, he moved with his family to Kane county, Illinois, and bought a farm on which he lived until his death, March 25, 1846. He married Abia Straw, born in Weare, New Hampshire, in 1786.
Andrew Pingree, Sr., while not a church-goer, was a profoundly religious man, and remained at home with his family on the Sabbath day, reading his Bible. One year he was elected tithing man of the church and did not miss a service. One of his duties was to keep order in the church, and it is said that the youngsters were more circumspect that year than any other. Only once during the year did he lose control of his gravity. A small urchin sitting next to him in church, drew from his pocket a knife and twist of tobacco, gravely offered Father Pingree a chew. He was so seriously earnest in doing so that the humor of it struck the tithing man as too ludicrous to restrain an extensive smile. During the rest of the year he was solemnity and gravity personified. Andrew Pingree, Sr., and wife were the parents of ten children, three of whom are now living-Sallie, Dr. Daniel, and Betsy Ann. The deceased are Andrew, our subject; Israel Straw, Abia, Francis, Betsy, Emily, and William Cutler. Of the three living, Sallie is the wife of Moses Fall Ramer, of Elgin. Daniel is a physician and surgeon of Hico, Texas. Betsy N. is now the companion of Mrs. Pingree, the widow of our subject. She first married Hiram Nelson, of Vermont, and their only daughter, Jenny C, married A. J. Nichols, of St. Charles, and they have one child, Harry. The second union of Betsy N. was with Otto W. Perkins, who died in 1870. They had no children of their own but adopted John Vanderhook, who married Lizzie Gallagher, by whom he has three children, John Lester, William Roy, and Sadie May. Father Pingree was a man of noble character, industrious, economical, temperate and honest. At the time of his death, he was of Universalist faith. In politics he was a Democrat.
Rev. Andrew Pingree, the subject of this sketch, was born in Weare, New Hampshire, July 16, 1803. He subsequently resided in Springfield, Granthum, Meriden and Plainfield, New Hampshire. He received a good common-school education, and at the age of about twenty-one years learned the clothier's trade. He taught school winters and worked at his trade during the remainder of the year, until he earned enough to pay his expenses while attending Kimball Union Academy, at Meriden, until the spring of 1827. About that time he went to Hingham, Massachusetts, where he clerked in a store, taught school in winter, and at the same time studied for the ministry with Rev. A. A. Folsom, of Hingham. It was during this period while teaching at North Scituate that he met the girl who later became his wife. She was one of his pupils at one time. In 1834 he began his ministry, and soon afterward went to Belfast, Maine, where he was minister of the gospel and principal of the high school. Later he filled a like position at Castine, Maine. In 1838 he came west with his father's family and took up a tract of land, shortly afterward returning to the east, where he continued preaching and teaching until his final emigration to Kane county, in 1846.
On the 14th of January, 1844, at Scituate, Massachusetts, Mr. Pingree was united in marriage with Miss Hannah Merritt Curtis, born in Plymouth county, Massachusetts, April 12, 1811, and the daughter of Ammiel and Hannah (Merritt) Curtis, both descended from Pilgrims who came over in the Mayflower. Hannah Merritt lived all her life on the place where she was born, and died there in 1825, at the age of forty-five years. She was the daughter of John Merritt. In early life Ammiel Curtis was a merchant, and, later, a farmer in Massachusetts. He came to Illinois and died in 1851, aged seventy-one years, his death being the result of an accident. He was the father of three children - John, who died in infancy; Hannah M., widow of our subject, and Martha Augusta, who made her home with Mrs. Pingree until her death.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Pingree took up their home at North Scituate, where they resided until September 1, 1846, when they came to Kane county. For a year and a half after coming west they re-sided in St. Charles, Mr. Pingree teaching school and filling the pulpit of the Universalist church. Some time after the death of his father he moved to the family estate in Rutland township and began the accumulation of land, which at the time of his death aggregated nearly fifteen hundred acres. He continued preaching until the business, incident to the management of his large estate, prevented, but at funerals and weddings he officiated until the end.
Mr. Pingree was a man of wide learning and culture, with a knowledge of civil engineering, doing considerable surveying throughout the county. He was the second supervisor of Rutland township and served in that capacity for eighteen years. He often served as special commissioner for the county and as executor and administrator of estates, guardian of minor children, notary public and for many years postmaster at Pingree Grove. He was a trustee of Lombard University, Galesburg, and did much to promote its interests. In politics he was a Democrat, but was in favor of the abolition of slavery.
Mr. and Mrs. Pingree were never blessed with children of their own, but adopted Emma Gilbert, who married Captain L. M. Kelly, of Elgin, and died, leaving three children. Mrs. Pingree still attends to her own business, can read without glasses, and is in possession of all her faculties to a remarkable degree. Mr. Pingree died at his home at Pingree Grove, August 18, 1879, and in his death Kane county lost one of its most useful and highly respected citizens. Few men in northern Illinois were better known, and none more highly esteemed.
MICHAEL STENGER, deceased, was born at Gramschatz, Bavaria, Germany, February 2, 1827, and there grew to manhood. In 1848 he accompanied his parents, Peter and Barbara (Stark) Stenger, to America. They were both natives of Bavaria, as were also their parents. On landing at New York the family made their way direct to Naperville, Du Page county, Illinois, where the father engaged in a brewing business for a number of years. His brewing plant was burned down, but at once rebuilt and the business continued with gratifying success. He eventually retired, turning the business over to his two sons, John and Nicholas, who carried it on until 1892, when they sold out to a syndicate. The children born to Peter Stenger and wife were: Anna, Peter, Nicholas, Mary, John, Michael, Nicholas, second, Melchoir and Barbara. Of these Anna, Michael, Nicholas and Melchoir are deceased.
Michael Stenger attained his education in the parochial schools of his native country. In 1850, while living in Naperville, he caught the gold fever and went with a body to delve for the precious metal in the newly-discovered mines of California. There is a superstition existing among Germans that the first day of August is an unlucky one to commence an important enterprise, and it was on August 1, 1850, the expedition set forth, with some misgivings as to a successful outcome. The superstition was fully verified in his case, he finding little or no gold, and later turned his attention to farming. He remained in California for seven years.
Returning home by sea and the Isthmus of Panama, Mr. Stenger again took up his life in the Prairie state. On the 26th of December, 1857, he married Miss Margaretha Herbert, a daughter of Phillip and Margaretha (Dieter) Herbert, natives of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, where Margaretha Herbert was also born, and from which country the family emigrated to the United States in 1854. After marriage our subject came to Aurora and carried on the business of retail liquor dealer until 1876, when he retired on a competence, having amassed property to the value of seventy thousand dollars. At the time of his death, which occurred May 25, 1895, he owned several business blocks, some seventy lots in the best residence portion of the city, also six residences, including the one at No. 310 New York street, in which his widow now resides. He owned a tract of land of thirty-eight acres on New York street, which he converted into a park-called Stenger park. He later sold it to a syndicate, who platted the same-it now being known as Arlington Heights. He was a man of good education and had learned much by travel and business associations with other men. He possessed a good knowledge of the law, which was of considerable utility to him on several important cases in which he became involved. His desire was to obtain that only which was his by right and justice, and he was always willing to battle for these privileges. To Michael Stenger and wife were born the following named children: Henry, Mary; Emma, who died young; Emma, second of the name; Michael, Jr., Barbara and Anna. With the exception of the infant, Emma, all are still living, and reside in Aurora, save Henry, who is in business at Mendota, Illinois. In politics Mr. Stenger was a stanch Democrat, and a member of the German Catholic church of Aurora, as are his wife and family. Three daughters and one son make their home with their widowed mother. The family are held in high esteem.
EDWIN W. THOMPSON, one of the leading livery stable keepers of Aurora, was born June 7, 1845, Dorset, Vermont, and is the son of John and Julia A. (Colson) Thompson. The father was born in the town of Grafton, Windham county, Vermont, September 1, 1814, while his father, William Thompson, was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where he engaged in farming, and from which state he removed to Vermont at an early day, settling in Windham county, where he lived and died. His children were Jonathan H., John, Henry, William, Harvey, James and Mary Ann, all of whom came west except Mary Ann and Henry.
John Thompson was by occupation a farmer, and came to Kane county in September, 1845, locating in Sugar Grove township, where he purchased a partially improved farm of one hundred and twenty-five acres. He continued the cultivation of that farm, to which he subsequently made some additions, until his death in August, 1892. In politics he was a Republican, and in early life was a member of the Congregational Church, to which his wife also belonged. He was a large-sized man, fully six feet in height, and weighed about one hundred and eighty-five pounds. Julia, his wife, was a daughter of David and Chloe (Morse) Colson. She was a native of Dorset, Vermont, and her father was a native of the same state. He was an officer of the State Militia, and our subject as yet has his old commission. Mrs. Thompson died in August, 1891. She was the mother of five children, all of whom died in infancy but Bert H. and our subject. Bert H. is now living on the old homestead.
The subject of this sketch was reared on the home farm in Sugar Grove township, where he attended the common schools, and assisted his father in the cultivation of the farm. At the age of twenty-one years he started out in life for himself by renting a farm, adjoining that of his father. He continued in that occupation until about 1885, with the exception of about three years, when he removed to Sugar Grove Station, and engaged in the lumber, coal and feed business, and also did some auctioneering. He remained in Sugar Grove until 1890, when he removed to Aurora, and buying out the stables of Fred Wright engaged in the livery business which he has since continued. He is located at No. 67 Broadway and has a full line of livery, and is well equipped for the business. He also operates the sprinkling wagons, and has a transfer line, merchant's express, and storage warehouse. His business is quite extensive, and he is worthy of the patronage received.
Mr. Thompson was united in marriage March 5, 1866, at Batavia, Illinois, to Miss Mary E. Paull, a native of Sugar Grove township, and a daughter of Stephen G. and Roxey A. (Barker) Paull, who were natives of New York, who moved to Medina county, Ohio, and from there came to Illinois in 1837, locating in Sugar Grove township, where they engaged in farming. Their other children were Jane H., who married N. W. Thompson, and died in 1893; John B., Mary E., and Flora D., the latter being the wife of Robert L. Wing. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are the parents of two children, Clarence Stephen, and John Paull, the latter dying November 10, 1895.
Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are members of the People's church, Aurora. In politics he is a Republican,and for twelve years served as school trustee, in Sugar Grove township, and for a time served as highway commissioner. Fraternally he is a member of Waubansie lodge, No. 45, I. O. O. F.; Aurora lodge, No. 390, KP, and is captain of the uniform rank. He is also a member of the Knights of the Globe, and Modern Woodmen of America. He is a man of good business standing and is respected by all.
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