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
HENRY G. SAWYER, of Carpentersville, Illinois, is one of the active and enterprising business men and manufacturers of Kane county. He has been connected with the Star Company since its organization in 1873, and to him much of the credit is due for its prosperous condition. He was born in Elgin, Kane county, March 21, 1844, and is the son of George E. Sawyer, a native of Vermont, born at Bradford, October 17, 1815. John W. Sawyer, the grandfather, was also a native of Vermont, the family locating in that state at an early day. They are of English descent.
George E. Sawyer grew to manhood in Vermont, and there married, January 5, 1837, Abigail P. Blake, a native of New Hampshire, of which state her father, Hezekiah Blake, was a native. By trade Mr. Sawyer was a carpenter, which occupation he followed in early life. In April, 1837, with a one-horse wagon, he started from his Vermont home to Illinois, arriving in Elgin in October of the same year. In his wagon were his entire earthly possessions, but he came here with an earnest desire to better himself in life. At Elgin his wife had some friends, including a sister, Mrs. David Corliss, who located here the previous year. Commencing work at his trade, he continued at that but a short time and then took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Elgin township, which he later entered and subsequently sold and then purchased a farm in Dundee township, near the present village of Carpentersville, to which he removed and on which he resided for about thirty years. Leaving the farm, he removed to Carpentersville, where he died May 22, 1894, at the age of seventy-nine years. His wife passed away August 31, 1891. Their remains were laid to rest in the Dundee cemetery. They were the parents of two children - William G., of Elgin, and our subject.
Henry G. Sawyer grew to manhood in Kane county, received his primary education in its district schools and for a time attended the Elgin Academy. He remained at home assisting his father in the cultivation of the farm until twenty-two years of age, when in company with his brother he purchased the mercantile business of J. A. Carpenter, at Carpentersville, in which he continued for eight years. He then engaged in settling up the business and was employed as a commercial salesman. He was one of the charter members and stockholders of the Star Manufacturing Company, of which he was the first secretary and treasurer. That position he continued to occupy until 1896, when he was elected president of the company. This is one of the extensive enterprises in Kane county, its products being sent all over the northwest, including Indiana, Ohio and Pacific coast. The institution was started in a small way on small capital, but under the wise management of Mr. Sawyer it has grown from year to year.
On the 7th of November, 1867, at Carpentersville, Illinois, Mr. Sawyer was united in marriage with Miss Ella A. Brown, daughter of True and Lucinda Brown, the father being an old settler and substantial farmer of Kane county. She was born in New Hampshire, but came to this county with her parents in early childhood. Her death occurred in November, 1868, and Mr. Sawyer was again married March 23, 1871, to Miss Mary Kingsley, a native of Illinois, born in Cook county, and the daughter of S. W. Kingsley, a native of Massachusetts, and came west by way of the New York and Erie canal and the great lakes. Settling in Barrington township in 1840, he entered about four hundred acres of land, which he improved and on which he resided for many years, but is now living a retired life in Dundee. By this union were five children: Lora, now the wife of Charles H. Harvey, of Carpentersville; Bertha E., who married Robert Nightingale, Barrington, Cook county, but is now deceased; Clara, now a student of Dickson College; George K. and Addie K., twins. The latter died in infancy. The former is a student of the Illinois State University. The mother of these children died March 25, 1879, and Mr. Sawyer, December 25, 1880, married Lillian M. Burkitt, who was born and reared in Cook county, and a daughter of William Burkitt. By this marriage were three children - Clarence E., Ethel M. and Howard C, all attending the home school.
Politically Mr. Sawyer is a Republican and a strong believer in the principles of that party. While taking an active interest in political affairs, especially local politics, his business interests have been such as to preclude his holding public office. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Maccabees, and the Knights of the Globe, while Mrs. Sawyer is a member of the Daughters of the Globe.
A lifelong resident of Kane county, Mr. Sawyer has gone in and out among its people, attending strictly to business, and is regarded as one of its valued citizens. Few men are better known throughout Kane and adjoining counties and he is held in the highest esteem by all.
EZRA M. STARR, who is spending his declining years in ease and retirement at his pleasant home, No. 539 Ryerson avenue, Elgin, was born June 23, 1836, in Cattaraugus county, New York, of which state his parents, William B. and Sallie M. (Bailey) Starr, were also natives. There the father continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until 1860, when he emigrated to Kane county, Illinois, purchasing a farm in the town of Campton, where he made his home until called to his final rest in 1892, at the age of eighty-two years. He held membership in the Universalist church, and was widely and favorably known throughout Kane county, having lived in several different localities.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, Samuel Starr, was born August 4, 1780, and died February 23, 1856. He served for three months in the war of 1812, being discharged at Sackett's Harbor, November 12, 1814, and for his services he received a land warrant. He was in every way a most reliable and excellent man and most capably filled the offices of township clerk and justice of the peace. Religiously he was a consistent member of the Presbyterian church. He married Miss Catherine Wright, who was born May 10, 1783, and died April 7, 1848. They reared a large family of children, but Mrs. Shaw, of Toledo, is the only one now living. Her husband was a pioneer of Lucas county, Ohio, and served as its first sheriff.
The subject of this sketch is the oldest of five children, the others being as follows: William A., one of the early settlers of Labette county, Kansas, died there at the age of thirty-five years, at which time he was serving as county auditor. He was also a successful teacher of that state, was quite an influential man, and was a most intimate friend of Senator Plum, of Kansas. Millard F. is a resident of Rutland, Kane county, and has served as assessor and in other county offices. Lydia C. is the wife of Frank P. Shepard, of South Elgin. Arthur died in infancy.
In the public schools of New York state, Ezra M. Starr acquired his education and upon the home farm early became familiar with the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He first came west in 1854, but later returned to New York. In 1857, however, he located in Ripon, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, where he worked at brick making for fifteen dollars per month and board, remaining there two years. He then came to Hanover, Cook county, Illinois, where he worked by the month for two seasons, and in 1863 purchased two hundred acres of land in Elgin township, Kane county, of Virgil B. Bogue, Mrs. Starr's father, who was one of the early settlers of the county. Our subject successfully engaged in the operation of this farm until laying aside business cares after a long and useful career.
On the 7th of January, 1863, Mr. Starr was married to Miss Jane Clarissa Bogue, who was born on the farm in Kane county which her husband purchased of her father. Four children graced this union, namely: Gertrude M., wife of E. D. Wheeler, a traveling salesman residing in Elgin; Chester, a cattle dealer of Kane county; and Catherine and William Virgil, who are attending school. Catherine gives lessons on the violin at the College of Music, Elgin, and well understands the art of bringing forth sweet strains from that favorite instrument.
Mr. Starr is a progressive and enterprising citizen, is broad and liberal in his views, and keeps well abreast with the times. He is quite domestic in his tastes, his greatest enjoyment being found in his home, and through his own efforts, he acquired a competence which now enables him to lay aside business cares and enjoy his quiet home life. Politically he is a stanch Republican, and he has served his fellow citizens as supervisor of his township two years and school director twenty years.
LEVI S. STOWE.
There is particular satisfaction in reverting to the life history of the honored and venerable gentleman whose name initiates this review, since his mind bears the impress of the historical annals of Kane county from early pioneer days, and for many years he has actively and prominently identified with the commercial and business interests of Elgin, in which city he is now living retired.
Mr. Stowe was born June 24, 1826, in Granville, Washington county, New York, and is a son of Asahel and Lydia (Davenport) Stowe. The father was born April 24, 1795, and was the son of Cyrus Stowe, who was born July 16, 1769, a descendant of Lord John Stowe, who on account of religious persecution was driven out of England and came to America, settling in either Massachusetts or Vermont. At an early day members of the family removed to New York. The Davenports were also early settlers of that state; but little is known of their history.
Leaving New York, Asahel Stowe, with his family, journeyed westward by team, and on the 28th of September, 1843, arrived in Elgin, Illinois, where his brother, Cyrus Stowe, had located three years previously. Besides these two brothers, the other children were Polly E., Samuel, Hannah, Edwin C., William C, Parley W. and Wealthy B. Cyrus C. Stowe was an active and prominent member of the Congregational church, of Elgin, in which he served as one of the first deacons. The children born to Asahel and Lydia (Davenport) Stowe were as follows: William H.; Louise J., wife of Jesse Rose; Marilla, wife of Theodore Cowen; Levi S.; Rebecca L., wife of Monroe Hammon; Electa and Eveline, who both died in childhood; Albert, deceased; Edwin, deceased; Martha, widow of William Battles. Of these, only five are now living: Levi S.; Henry; and Louise, of Martin county, Minnesota; Rebecca, of Michigan; and Martha, of Marseailles, Illinois. The mother of these children died in Conewango, Cattaraugus county, New York, in 1841, the father in Sycamore, Illinois, in June, 1859. In religious belief he was a Congregationalist, and in politics a Whig, until 1856, when he became a Republican.
On coming west with the family, Levi S. Stowe found employment in Elgin at chopping wood for twenty-five cents per cord, and subsequently he went to De Kalb county, where he engaged in farming for about three years. The following three years were spent in farming and lumbering in Wisconsin, and on his return to Illinois he located in Sycamore, where he remained for one year. After passing a year at St. Charles, he came to Elgin, where he first conducted a restaurant, and then opened a general store on Chicago street in the building now occupied by the Barclay hardware firm, carrying on general merchandise very successfully there for almost a quarter of a century. Since selling out his store in 1881, he has practically lived retired. Besides his own pleasant home at No. 56 Villa street, he owns considerable real estate, including residence property in the city which he rents.
Mr. Stowe was married October 26, 1852, to Miss Jane E. Holgate, of Elgin, Kane county, who was born in Franklin county, New York, April 27, 1833, a daughter of Rev. Ozem and Angeline (Safford) Holgate. She died in Elgin on the 6th of July, 1855, a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which her father was a minister. On October 3, 1857, Mr. Stowe was again married, his second union being with Miss Betsy Lessenden, who was born in 1835, a daughter of Ephraim and Caroline (Anderson) Lessenden, natives of Sheerness, Kent county, England. In 1849, they became residents of Kane county, Illinois, where the father engaged in farming many years, and both died in Elgin in 1895. They were earnest and faithful members of the Methodist church. Of their five children, John is now a resident of Osawatomie county, Kansas; Sarah, born in 1832, married Edwin Stowe, and both died leaving two sons, Sherman and Warren, residents of Elgin; Mrs. Betsy Stowe is next in order of birth; George is a resident of Osawatomie, Kansas; and Jane is the wife of Milton Townsend.
In his political views Mr. Stowe is a Republican, and has ever taken a deep and commendable interest in public affairs, giving his support to all measures which he believes calculated to prove of public benefit. He is one of the few early merchants of Elgin now living, and with the growth and upbuilding of the place he has been prominently identified. His wife holds membership in the Congregational church, and they have the respect and esteem of all who know them.
HENRY J. GAHAGAN, M. D., is a skilled physician and surgeon of Elgin, whose-knowledge of the science of medicine is broad and comprehensive, and whose ability in applying its principles to the needs of suffering humanity has gained him an enviable prestige in professional circles. A native of Grafton, Illinois, born December 27, 1866, he is of Irish lineage. His paternal grandfather, a native of the Emerald Isle, having emigrated to America, died in New York at the age of one hundred and four years. His wife passed away in Ireland at the age of seventy.
The Doctor's father, Bernard Gahagan, was born in County Sligo, Ireland, and on coming to America located near Lake Cham-plain, New York, whence he afterward removed to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later he floated down the Mississippi river on a raft and became one of the pioneer settlers of Jersey county, Illinois, locating at Grafton, where he lived for many years. He was a contractor and builder by occupation. He married Ellen Armstrong, also a native of County Sligo, Ireland, as was her father, who crossed the Atlantic to America in an early day, and spent the remainder of his life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Gahagan became the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters, four of whom are now living: Michael, of Tuscan, Arizona; Bernard, who is living in New York city; Henry J.; and Kate, wife of Simon Conroy, of Grafton, Illinois. The father of this family passed away in 1881 at the age of fifty-four years, and the mother's death occurred several years before. Both were members of the Roman Catholic church.
The Doctor was reared in his native town, was graduated in the high school there, and later attended a private school in Chicago. He also pursued a private course in medicine for two years, and in 1890 matriculated in the Rush Medical College of that city, in which institution he was graduated in 1893. During that time he had charge of the surgical instruments department of the Cook county hospital.
On leaving Chicago Dr. Gahagan accepted the position of assistant physician in the Eastern Illinois Hospital for the Insane, at Kankakee, and a few months later, at his own request, was transferred to the Northern Illinois Hospital for the Insane, at Elgin, having charge of the annex building until April 1, 1897. He then opened an office in Elgin for private practice and has already succeeded in establishing a good business. On the 20th of May, 1897, he was appointed city physician. He is already popular with Elgin's citizens as an able physician and his practice is constantly increasing in volume and importance. As he is yet a young man and possesses enterprise and laudable ambition, a successful future is undoubtedly before him.
The Doctor was married August 12, 1893, to Miss Delia Cullen, daughter .of William and Ellen (Conners) Cullen. They have one child, Edna. The parents are members of the Roman Catholic church, and the Doctor is a valued member of the Knights of Pythias fraternity of Elgin, in which he is now serving as chancellor commander. He is a medical examiner of the male and female Catholic Order of Foresters, Elgin court No. 137, St. Regina court No. 92, and of courts located at Elburn, Batavia, St. Charles, Huntley and Rutland, and belongs to Silver Leaf camp, Modern Woodmen of America; the Columbus Club, of Chicago; the Fox River Valley Medical Association, being chairman of its executive committee; the Illinois Medical Society and a charter member of the Association of Assistant Physicians of Hospitals for the Insane. In his political predilections he is a Democrat, but has never sought official preferment, desiring rather to give his entire time and attention to his profession, in which he is winning a desirable reputation.
JUDGE JOHN W. RANSTEAD, who has J attained distinctive prestige at the bar of Kane county, was born in Udina, Kane county, Illinois, June 14, 1843, and is a representative of one of the most prominent and honored old families in this section of the state. His great-grandfather was one of the heroes of the Revolution and fell at the battle of Bennington, giving his life for the cause of his country. The grandfather of the Judge was John Ranstead, a native of New Hampshire, and his son John was also born in the Granite state. The latter married Mercy West, a native of Vermont, and a daughter of Albert West, whose birth also occurred there. He studied for the medical profession but died in early life. In 1837, John Ranstead, father of the Judge, came with his family to Kane county, Illinois, locating in Udina, where he carried on agricultural pursuits. His ability for leadership made him one of the prominent citizens of the community and he was honored by an election to the state legislature, serving in the years 1852 and 1853. He died in 1868 at the age of sixty-five years, and his wife, who was a member of the Methodist church, passed away in 1895, at the advanced age of seventy-eight years. Their family numbered one son and two daughters, the latter being Julia W., now deceased, and Sarah, wife of G. H. Britton, of Udina.
Judge Ranstead was reared on his father's farm in Kane county, and in early life attended an old-time subscription school. He afterward pursued his studies in the public schools and Elgin Academy, leaving the last named institution in 1858 to enter Lombard University at Galesburg, Illinois, where he continued his studies until 1863. Having determined to enter the legal profession he matriculated in the law department of Michigan University and was graduated in the class of 1866.
In 1868 Mr. Ranstead came to Elgin, where he opened a law office. His success at the bar was marked and immediate, and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow-townsmen was indicated in 1873 by his election to the office of county judge, in which capacity he served for nine consecutive years, discharging his duties with marked fairness and displaying in his decisions a comprehensive knowledge of the science of jurisprudence. Since his retirement from the bench he has engaged in private practice and has an extensive clientage which has connected him with much of the important litigation of the district during his affiliation with the Elgin bar. He is also a director in the Home Savings Bank and is the president of the Home National Bank.
On the 2nd of April, 1867, the Judge wedded Miss Eugenia A. Fuller, a daughter of Rev. J. P. and Adeline (Cady) Fuller, of Galesburg, Illinois, both natives of Connecticut. One child graces this union - Janet M. The Judge and his wife attend the Universalist church, and in his social relations he is a Master Mason and a member of the Elgin Waltonian Club and the Black Hawk Club. His political support has always been given the Democracy, and of the principles of the party he is a stanch advocate. His entire life has been passed in Kane county, and his useful and honorable career commends him to the confidence of all. In his profession he has won the success which only close application and earnest purpose can bring, and in private life he has gained the respect which is ever accorded genuine worth.
ANTON F. SCHADER
Germany has furnished to the New World many of her best and most useful citizens. It has furnished not only needed workmen, skilled and unskilled, but enterprising merchants, manufacturers, artists and apt dealers upon our marts of trade. It has also naturally embraced the various professions, where these German-Americans prove themselves useful, talented and influential. Among Elgin's leading citizens is Anton F. Schader, native of the Fatherland, who is now the well-known and popular editorof the "Weekly Herald," and the "Germania."
He was born April 24, 1868, in Mayence, Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, of which place his parents, Frank and Anna (Haas) Schader, are still residents. The father was born in Worms, Germany, in 1844, a son of Frank Schader, Sr., while the mother was born in Bodenheim, Germany, in 1846, a daughter of Anton Haas, a school teacher, whose father, who was also a school teacher, bore the same name. The father of our subject is a well educated man, of scholarly tastes, who has for many years been professor of mathematics in the schools of Mayence. Anton F. is the oldest of his four children, the others being Frank, who is with his brother and is now serving as assistant editor; Lina, wife of Jacob Wollweber of Mayence, Germany, and Elizabeth, who is still with her parents.
Anton F. Schader began his education in a private school, later attended the gymnasium at Mayence, and also took up the study of languages. After leaving college he studied pharmacy and chemistry at a pharmaceutical institution, and then went to Darmstadt with the view of preparing for that profession, but was obliged to give up his plans on account of ill health. In 1887 he entered the German army after having passed an examination which required of him to serve only one year. He entered the artillery service as a private, but at the end of six months was promoted to assistant corporal, and before the end of his year was made a non-commissioned officer. He successfully passed an examination for the rank of lieutenant, but at the end of his time, resigned his position in the army.
In the fall of 1888 Mr. Schader began traveling over Europe for pleasure and instruction, and in April, 1889, sailed for the United States, arriving in New York on the 24th of that month. He remained in that city until May, 1891, and then came to Elgin, Illinois, accepting the position of editor of the Elgin "Deutsche Zeitung." About two months after his arrival the proprietor, Mr. Kramer, went to Europe, leaving him in charge. Upon his return Mr. Schader, in connection with Otto May, started a paper of his own - "The Herold " - which he has successfully published since 1891. They began in a small way, at first having the paper printed in Chicago, but meeting with success they enlarged the business, and in 1895 Mr. Schader purchased his partner's interest, being now sole proprietor. "The Herold " is now home-printed, and is a seven-column quarto published every Saturday, while the "Germania" is issued on Wednesday. Both papers have a very good circulation, and are proving quite profitable. They have a better advertising patronage than any weekly in the county. In connection with the regular plant Mr. Schader has a job printing office, where first-class work is done in both German and English. There are now seven employees in the office.
On the 29th of September, 1892, in Elgin, Mr. Schader was united in marriage with Miss Anna M. Muetterries, a native of Westphalia, Germany, who, when a little child, was brought to the United States by her parents, Conrad and Catherine Muetterries. Two children grace this union, namely, Anna and May.
In his political views Mr. Schader is a Republican, and gives his personal influence and support of his papers to the financial policy of that party. Being a young man of excellent education, he is well fitted for the profession he now follows, and is most ably conducting his journals. He is also serving as notary public. Socially he is a member of the Royal Arcanum, the Knights of the Maccabees, the Foresters, and the Order of Mutual Protection, being president of the last named. In 1897 he returned to Germany, visiting his old home, relatives and friends.
AMASA WIGHTMAN LOOMIS, residing on section 29, Elgin township, was born in the town of Sangerfield, Oneida county, New York, May 12, 1818, and is the son of Alvin and Wealthy (Wightman) Loomis, the former a native of Wethersfield, Connecticut, and the latter of the town of New Berlin, Ottego county, New York. Alvin Loomis was born in August, 1781, and lived in Connecticut until the age of twenty-five years, when he emigrated to the wilds of central New York, locating in Oneida county. In his youth he served as a sailor for a time and was once taken prisoner by the French, then fighting under the great Napoleon. In Oneida county he purchased a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits, dying there in 1856, at the age of seventy-six years.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, Stephen Loomis, served through the Revolutionary war as teamster. He furnished his own teams and hauled provisions to the various camps of American soldiers. During the winter, when nothing could be done, he returned to his home in Connecticut, and in the early spring again engaged in transporting provisions. At the close of the war he was paid in continental money, which depreciated until it became utterly worthless. He died at an advanced age. The Loomis family were among the first to settle in Connecticut.
The subject of this sketch remained upon the home farm until the age of eighteen years, assisting in its cultivation, and as the opportunity was afforded him attended the Waterville Academy. On leaving home he worked by the month on farms in New York, until coming west in 1846. Previous to this time his brothers, Hemen and Amenzo, came west, the former locating in Burlington, Wisconsin, and the latter at Half Bay, Lake county, Illinois. In 1842 Amenzo took up a claim of one hundred and twenty acres for our subject near Half Bay, and land was inspected by him in the fall of 1844, when he came west and remained one month. In 1846 he located upon his farm at Half Bay where he resided until 1850, when he went to California, taking passage on the steamer Illinois at New York city, for Aspinwall. At Panama he found all passage by steamer engaged many months ahead. Securing passage in a schooner he sailed for San Francisco, but the vessel was driven far out of its course and very nearly wrecked on a sharp needle of rock, rising from the ocean. He reached San Francisco July 1, being nearly two months in making the voyage. During the first year of his stay in California, he prospected with varying success. In 1851 he did much better, and continued to do fairly well until 1853, when he returned home with some "dust," though not a fortune.
In 1854 Mr. Loomis sold the Half Bay farm and purchased two hundred and forty-seven acres of G. W. Raymond, in Hanover township, Cook county. In 1864, he bought one hundred and sixty acres in Plato township, near Plato Centre, which he sold in 1882, and bought his present farm of one hundred and ninety acres in sections 29, 32 and 33, Elgin township. The farm is devoted to grain and dairying purposes, on which he raises about two thousand bushels of corn each year. He usually keeps about thirty-three head of milk cows. Fire destroyed all his farm buildings, November 5, 1893, since which time he has erected all the buildings on the place, which, though not large, are well adapted to the purposes for which they are used.
Mr. Loomis was married, October 18, 1859, to Mrs. Julia A. Jones, widow of William Jones, whom she married in 1845, and who died in 1856, leaving four children, only one of whom is now living, Franklin Jones, superintendent of the Terminal Railroad in Missouri. Mrs. Loomis was born October 2, 1824, and is the daughter of Judge Joshua Carmen and Almeda (Moore) Morgan, natives of Connecticut.
Judge Morgan was the son of Isaac Morgan, a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and a pensioner of that war, and who died at the age of seventy-four years. Isaac Morgan married Margaret Carmen, a daughter of Rev. Joshua Carmen, a pioneer Baptist preacher. The Morgans are of Welsh descent. In early life Judge Morgan moved to Ohio, and, later, to Sangamon county, Illinois, where he served as county judge. He also held that position until his death, after removal to Tremont, Tazewell county. He served in the Black Hawk war, and at Starved Rock found a tomahawk, which was probably left by one of the Illini Indians starved there. The relic was preserved in the family for many years.
To Mr. and Mrs. Loomis six children were born, as follows: Elizabeth, who died at the age of two years; Elmer Ellsworth, who died aged one year; Grant, who died when three months old; Amasa Sherman, who died at the age of six years; Alvin, who married Rose Emory, of St. Louis, by whom he has two children, Edna Belle and Lilian Jennett; and Benjamin Franklin, who married Ellen.Suttle, of Evansville, Indiana, by whom he, has one child, Mabel Julia.
Mr. and Mrs. Loomis are members of the Congregational church, in the work of which they are much interested. Politically, he is a Republican, with which party he has been connected ever since its organization. While taking an interest in political affairs it has never run in the direction of office seeking, and he has held but one local office, that of school director. A man of the strictest honor and integrity, he is esteemed for his many excellent traits of character.
CHARLES A. GRONBERG, of Aurora, Illinois, is a representative of the Swedish-Americans of Kane county, which has been his home since 1854. He is a native of Sweden, born May 23, 1837, and is the son of Charles P. and Johanna (Hemming) Gronberg, both of whom were also natives of Sweden, and who emigrated to this country in 1853, locating first in Chicago. The father was a machinist by trade, and in 1854 moved to Geneva, and found employment in the reaper factory, at that place. Three years later he moved to Aurora, started a factory, and engaged in the manufacture of reapers. He carried on business in Aurora, until 1872, when he moved to Elgin, and there engaged in the same business. His death occurred in Elgin about 1881, his good wife dying some twenty years previously. Of their family of five sons and one daughter, John was a soldier in the Thirty-sixth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and now resides in Evanston, Illinois; Otto was a member of the Fifty-second Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and after the war served for years as chief engineer at the asylum at Elgin, but is now deceased; Christine, wife of Charles Barlow, a merchant tailor of Aurora; Oscar, an employee of the Elgin Watch Factory; and Gustave, also in the watch factory at Elgin.
The boyhood and youth of our subject were spent in his native land, and when about sixteen years old, he came with his parents to America. In the old country he had good educational advantages in his own language, and also in the German tongue. On coming to this country, he attended school at Geneva and Montgomery, that he might acquire the English language. With his father he learned the trade, and also drawing, becoming a superior draughtsman. He worked in the factory with his father, and also in the shops in Aurora with him, and later in the car shops at Aurora. In 1886 he went to Pullman, Illinois, as foreman in the machine shops at that place, continuing there until 1893, since which time he has lived retired. While in Pullman he still maintained his residence in Aurora.
Mr. Gronberg was married in Rockford, Illinois, in 1862, to Miss Charlotte Linguist, a native of Sweden, where she was reared and educated. By this union were two daughters, Alma and Esther Iliana. The former holds a position with the Prang Educational Company, of Chicago. The latter also holds a position in a business house in Chicago. Immediately after marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Gronberg located in
Aurora, and two years later he built a residence on River street, where they resided about eighteen years. He then erected his present residence on 233 West Park avenue, and since 1882 it has been their home.
Politically Mr. Gronberg is a steadfast Republican, with which party he has been identified since casting his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln, in 1860. He is a member of the Swedish Lutheran church, of which body his wife is also a member. Fraternally he is a Master Mason. As a citizen he has ever been willing to do his part, to advance the material interests of his adopted city and county. For forty-four years he has gone in and out among the people of Kane county, with whom he is held in the highest respect.
FRED R. BRILL, the efficient postmaster of Hampshire, Kane county, Illinois, was born in Shaumburg, Cook county, Illinois, January 5, 1870, and with his parents came to Hampshire in 1876. Here he attended the village school until the age of fourteen, then worked in a grist-mill for his father for three years, and then he entered the office of the Hampshire "Register," under the control of G. E. Sisley, and after thoroughly mastering the trade and having also considerable experience in editorial work, in 1889, in partnership with C. H. Backus, they purchased the plant and continued the publication of the paper, with our subject as editor until 1892, when he purchased Mr. Backus' interest and alone continued its publication. Having received the appointment as postmaster of Hampshire, on July 1, 1897, he took his brother, William C. Brill, into partnership, and the duties of editor and manager devolved upon the junior member. One year later the plant was leased to William C. Brill, who is now in full control of the paper.
Mr. Brill was married in Hampshire, to Miss Nellie M. Backus, a native of Chaplain, Connecticut, and a daughter of Jirah L. Backus, of which further mention is made in the sketch of C. H. Backus, found elsewhere in this work. Although deprived of as extensive schooling as he desired, Mr. Brill through the educational advantages of his profession, made up that deficiency, and ambitious of learning, has completed the Chautauqua course and pursued independent study, until he is possessed of a liberal education, which is above the average. He is fond of good books and knows how to use them.
In politics Mr. Brill is a stanch Republican and is a local leader in politics. He has attended various county, district, state and national conventions of his party, and in the great convention at St. Louis in 1896, in which William McKinley was nominated for President, he served as assistant sergeant-at-arms. For six years prior to his appointment as postmaster he served as clerk of the village and township. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of the Globe, Modern Woodmen of America and Royal Neighbors. In each of these orders he has filled nearly all the official chairs.
John Brill, the father of our subject, was born in the village of Abterote, Hessen Cassel, Germany, April 27, 1831. He is the son of Martin Brill, also a native of Germany, who followed farming and lime burning in the old country, where his entire life was spent, he dying in 1849, at the age of about fifty years. John Brill attended the common and Latin schools in Germany, until the age of fourteen. For some years he lived in Albungen, where he married Martha Seppel, a native of that city, and in 1851 they emigrated to America, sailing March 1 from Bremen, on the sailing vessel Victoria, and after a voyage of six weeks landed at Baltimore. From that city he came west to Chicago, where he lived one month, and then located at Hoosier Grove, Cook county, where he followed his trade of shoemaking six years. In 1875, he moved to Hampshire, followed his trade a short time, and then engaged in other lines of business for six years. In 1883 he bought the mill at Hampshire, and ran the same until 1896, when he sold out and retired, and is now living in a comfortable home in the northern part of the village.
William C. Brill, the brother and partner of our subject in 1897-8, was born in Hampshire, April 24, 1875, and received his education in the village schools, graduating from the high school at the age of seventeen. Since boyhood he worked in his father's mill during vacation, and when out of school. He became an expert engineer, and passed the state examination for an engineer's certificate, before attaining the age required for such certificate. Having also spent much spare time in his brother's printing office, he learned type-setting and press work, so when his father sold his mill in 1895, William C. entered the printing office, and, as Before stated, became a partner in the publication of the paper in 1897.
In addition to the work in the office of the "Register," he had some experience in editorial work elsewhere. While Mr. G. E. Sisley, of the "Genoa Issue," was absent, attending to his duties as clerk of the state senate, he did editorial work on his paper.
He was also employed three or four months on the "Harvard Herald." A ready and fluent writer, he is making of the "Register" a No. 1 home paper. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of the Globe, and politically he is a Republican.
SIMON P. BROWN, M. D., is recognized as one of the leading physicians of Kane county. His office is room 18, Spurling Block, Elgin, and he has been a resident of the city since 1874, during which time he has built up an extensive practice. He is a native of New Hampshire, born in Concord, June 11, 1832, and is a son of Manley H. and Hannah (Martin) Brown, the former a native of Vermont, and the latter of New Hampshire.
The Browns are of English descent, the first representative of the family coming to this country early in the seventeenth century, locating in Providence, Rhode Island. Rudolphus Brown, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a native of Orange county, Vermont, and died at the place where he was born and reared. By occupation he was a farmer. Of his family of fifteen children, Manly H., our subject's father, was the youngest. Jacob Martin, the maternal grandfather, was a native of Scotland. On coming to this country he located in New Hampshire, and on the farm selected on his arrival lived, and died at the age of about seventy-six years.
Manley H. Brown grew to manhood in his native state, and there learned the tanner and currier trade. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and while living in the east served as captain of a company in the state militia, and also served as justice of the peace. His marriage with Hannah Martin was celebrated while living in New Hampshire in 1831. With a laudable desire to better himself and give his children better opportunities to advance in this world, he came west with his family in 1843, and located on a farm in Du Page county. His ability was soon recognized by his neighbors, and in 1846 he was elected a member of the legislature from Du Page county, but died the same year before taking his seat, while in his thirty-seventh year. His wife died in 1840. They were the parents of four sons and one daughter, of whom our subject is the oldest.
Simon Preston Brown was eleven years of age when he accompanied his parents west. While in his native state he attended the public schools, and on coming to Illinois he attended first the Warrenville Academy and later entered Wheaton College, where he pursued his studies about two years. In 1856 he began studying medicine at Danby, Illinois, with Drs. Newton and Potter, and in 1860 entered Rush Medical College, Chicago, graduating from that institution in the spring of 1868.
On receiving his diploma Dr. Brown went to Arlington Heights, Illinois, where he opened an office and commenced the practice of his profession. He continued there with good success for eight years, and then went to Polatine where he remained two years. Desiring a more extended field he came to Elgin, where he has now been some twenty-four years. While engaged in general practice, he has made a specialty of diseases of Women, and on that subject is an acknowledged authority. His practice has been for years a large and extensive one, and his success has been such as to warrant it.
On the 15th of October, 1863, Dr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Mary Hitchcock, of DuPage county, daughter of Earl and Mary (Miller) Hitchcock. By this union seven children have been born, namely: Frank died June 3, 1892; Kate died November 15, 1894; Harriet Ann is sow the wife of George E. Haskell, of Grand Junction, Colorado; William is at home; Georgie and Mary Jeannette both died in infancy; and Cora J. is at home.
The Doctor and his wife are members of the Universalist church, of Elgin, and fraternally he is a member of Palatine lodge, F. & A. M.; Palatine chapter, R. A. M.; and Chicago consistory. Politically he is a Democrat, and while he takes that interest in political affairs that all patriotic American citizens should take, he has never sought official position, perferring to give his time to his professional duties. Professionally he is a member of the Fox River Medical Association, and in its work has taken an active interest.
The Doctor resides with his family in a comfortable home at No. 402 North Spring street, Elgin. He has been prospered in a financial way, and in addition to his city residence has a fine farm of two hundred and thirty-four acres five miles south of Elgin, and one near Palatine, Cook county, of two hundred and twenty acres. A resident of the state a period of fifty-five long years, and a practitioner of thirty years, he has been brought in contact with the best people of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties, and his friends are numerous in each. By all who know him, he is held in the highest esteem.
SAMUEL SWITZER, section 15, St. Charles township, is actively engaged in farming and in dairying, two and a half miles north of the city of St. Charles. He is numbered among the settlers of 1849, and is a native of Canada, born near Toronto, May 8, 1829. He is the son of Joseph Switzer, a native of Ireland, who went to Canada a young man, with his father, Samuel Switzer, who settled near Toronto. He there married Selina Switzer, a native of New Jersey, but reared in Canada. They were the parents of ten children, all of whom grew to mature years, save one. In order of birth they are as follows: Samuel, of this review; Martin, a farmer residing in St. Charles township; Charles, of St. Charles; Sarah, wife of E. W. Blackman, of Elgin; Mary Ann, wife of I. C. Towner, of Elgin; Elizabeth, who married Stephen Gates, is now deceased; Russell, who resides with our subject; William H., a farmer residing in California; and Jabez, who resides in Pingree Grove, Illinois.
In 1849, Joseph Switzer came to Illinois, and located in St. Charles township, Kane county, Illinois, where he purchased a farm of over four hundred acres, and here died in 1853. His wife died in Canada, just previous to his removal to the States. Samuel Switzer; our subject, was twenty years old when he came with the family to Kane county In his native country, he received a fairly good education in the Churchville Academy. He remained on the farm with his father, until the latter's death. On the sixteenth of June, 1853, in Kane county, he married Harriet Louisa Towner, a native of Lower Canada, born near Montreal, where she remained until sixteen years of age, when she came to Kane county, her father, William A. Towner, and family coming several years after her arrival. His last days were spent at the residence of his son in Elgin. By this union are six living children as follows: Philene M., wife of M. W. Stanhope, of Elgin; Joseph E., married and is a contractor residing in St. Charles; Florilla, wife of Walter Hare, of St. Charles, Illinois; Mary S., wife of Donald McDonald, of Brookwalter, Pawnee county, Nebraska; Hattie M., wife of C. Arthur Purcell, of New Haven, Connecticut; and Nellie M., wife of George Simmons, who is assisting in managing the home farm. They have lost three sons and two daughters - Henry C, who grew to the age of twenty-two years; I. C., who died at the age of eighteen; Grant, who died in childhood; Kate C, who died the age of fourteen years; and Alice, Belle., who died in childhood. They are also the grandparents of ten children.
Soon after marriage, Mr. Switzer located on a part of the old homestead, having succeeded to one hundred acres. After remaining upon that place three years, he sold out and moved to Palatine, Cook county, Illinois, where he purchased a farm and there remained twelve years. About 1867, he came back to Kane county, and purchased the farm where he now resides, which since coming into his possession has been greatly improved. Since residing here he has built a large residence, three good barns, erected a pump and wind mill for grinding feed, and otherwise improved the place, making it one of the best farms on Fox River, on which it is located. For some years he has been principally engaged in dairying and has kept on an average about thirty cows.
Since 1856, when he gave his support to John C. Fremont, he has voted the Republican ticket at every presidential election. While always interested in political affairs, he has never held office. For forty-eight long years he has been a resident of Kane county, and in that time he has done much towards its growth and development. On the 21st of March, 1889, he lost his residence and household effects by fire, which was a very severe loss. With characteristic energy, he rebuilt better than ever. Mr. Switzer is well known in Kane county, and he and his estimable wife are honored and respected by all who know them.
PERSONS C. GILBERT, deceased, was for many years one of the leading agriculturists and representative citizens of Elgin township, Kane county, but spent his last years in retirement in the city of Elgin, where he was also numbered among the valued and highly respected citizens. He was born in Cassanovia, New York, October 23, 1812, a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Wells) Gilbert. The father, born August 29,1789, died in 1816, and the mother, born March 25, 1790, departed this life in 1889, when in her one hundredth year. At the age of eighty-four she came from the east all alone to visit friends in Elgin. She was a cultured and refined lady of pleasing presence and was always very active. Our subject was the second in order of birth in the family of three children, the others being George, a farmer, who died in New York state; and Mary Ann, who married Gardner Wescote and both are now deceased.
Being only four years old at the time of his father's death. Persons C. Gilbert was reared by his grandparents, Theodore and Lydia (Albard) Gilbert, of Cassanovia, New York, remaining with them until he attained his fifteenth year, and acquiring his education in the public schools. Twice he undertook to learn a trade, but was obliged to give it up owing to ill health.
In his native state Mr. Gilbert worked at farm labor until twenty-three years of age, when, in 1835, he came to Illinois with two aunts - Fannie, wife of Dr. Nathan Collins, who settled at St. Charles; and Emeline, wife of Dr. Joseph Tefft, who located in Elgin. The journey was made in two wagons, each drawn by three horses, one wagon containing Dr. Collins' family, and also Dr. Tefft's. They were accompanied by Jonathan Tefft and family in the other wagon. These physicians were important factors in the new settlement, where fever and ague held sway, and at an early day their practice extended over a wide territory. Dr. Tefft was the first physician to locate in Elgin, and for many years was its most prominent one. Later he was elected president of the Elgin Academy and served in that capacity until his death. He was widely and favorably known both as a physician and educator, was president of the Scientific Society, and was the first mayor of Elgin, serving as such two terms.
He was born August 29, 1812, and died in 1888, being buried on the seventy-sixth anniversary of his birth. His first wife, Mrs. Emeline (Gilbert) Tefft, died August 18, 1844, and the two children born to them are also deceased. For his second wife Dr. Tefft married Mrs. Lavina Ormsby, who died in July, 1897, when over eighty years of age, and to them was born a son, Dr. L. E. Tefft. The mother had a daughter by her first marriage, Cornelia Ormsby, now Mrs. Strothers, of Texas.
After coming to Kane county, Mr. Gilbert took up a tract of government land and subsequently purchased a claim, the first tract being the present site of the shoe factory in Elgin. He was a very successful farmer, owning at one time several fine farms, including the old homestead, which originally contained two hundred and twelve acres, and after selling a right of way to a railroad company still comprised one hundred and sixty acres. He continued to reside upon that place until 1843, when they removed to the farm of one hundred and seventy-six acres on the St. Charles road, adjoining the city limits of Elgin, where they resided until their removal to the city of Elgin in 1869, locating on the lot where his widow still lives. His fellow-citizens recognizing his worth and ability, offered him the nomination of mayor of the city, but he refused all public positions, only serving as a member of the school board, as he always took a deep interest in educational affairs. Politically he was first a Whig and later a Republican. He was a man of excellent business qualifications, was enterprising and industrious, and was justly regarded as one of the valued and useful citizens of his community. Wherever he went he commanded the respect and confidence of all with whom he came in contact. He died April 22, 1895.
On the 30th of September, 1840, Mr. Gilbert was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Tefft, who was born in New York, a daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Collins) Tefft, the former a native of Rhode Island, the latter of Poughkeepsie, New York. Her paternal grandparents were Jeremiah and Rhoda (Hoxie) Tefft, also natives of Rhode Island, and they died in 1823 and 1832, respectively. The maternal grandparents were Solomon and Sarah (Perry) Collins, the latter a cousin of Commodore Perry. Mrs. Gilbert still lives at the old home in Elgin, where she is surrounded by many warm friends and acquaintances who appreciate her sterling worth and many excellencies of character.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert were as follows: (1) George P., born August 20, 1841, began his education in a private school and later became one of the first students in the Elgin Academy. He was a bright young man and was his father's able assistant on the farm until July, 1861, when he responded to President Lincoln's first call for three hundred thousand volunteers, being one of the first of the town to enlist. As a member of Company A, Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, he went to the front and assisted in the destruction of a railroad. While thus employed he was drenched by a cold rain, from the effects of which he took a violent cold which settled on his lungs, causing his death. He died on his way back to Cairo, Illinois, February 4, 1862, and while on this journey his regiment took part in their first battle, that of Fort Henry, Tennessee. (2) Melissa, born August 1, 1843, died August 25, 1844. (3) Mary G. is now the widow of A. D. Martin, of Elgin, by whom she had two children: Percy G. and Alia May. Percy married Leah McComb and has two children, Earl G. and Harry P. (4) Ada H. Baird, an adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, always found a happy home with them. She is now the wife of George W. Hinsdale, of Elgin, and has two children, Lillian and Ray W.
JAMES WALKER, ex-mayor of Aurora, and for forty-one years foreman of the blacksmith department of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad at Aurora, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, November 20, 1834, and is the son of William and Demaris (Patchet) Walker. Early in 1841 the family emigrated from Delaware to Detroit, Michigan, and while en route, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they received the news of the sudden death of President Harrison. Soon after their arrival in Detroit the father was taken down with typhoid fever, from which he never recovered. The mother long survived him, dying at the age of eighty-four years. They were both members of the Baptist church, and lived and died in the faith. Of their family of seven children our subject was second in order of birth, and of the number six are still living, and all save our subject reside in Michigan.
James Walker was but seven years old when his parents settled at Detroit, Michigan. He there grew to manhood, and in his youth began to learn the blacksmith and machinist trade, which he has followed throughout life. After obtaining a thorough knowledge of his trade, when but nineteen years of age, he was chosen to take charge of the blacksmithing department of the Chicago Steam Engine Works, in Chicago. This responsible position he held until chosen to hold a position with what is now the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company. On the 1st of June, 1857, he accepted a position with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company as foreman of their blacksmith shop at Aurora, with which corporation he has since been connected, a term of service which is without a parallel in the state for long, efficient and satisfactory service. He has from sixty to one hundred men under his supervision.
Mr. Walker was married in 1856 to Miss Jane Ann Atkinson, of Chicago, daughter of William and Hannah Atkinson, the latter still residing in Chicago, at the age of eighty-six years, with mind as clear as ever. By this union there has been one child, Alice, now the wife of C. C. Nichols, of Aurora. Mrs. Walker is an active and honored member of the Eastern Star, and is a past grand matron of the state of Illinois. She is a lady of culture and refinement, and in every way worthy to fill the high position in the state to which she has been chosen. At present she is president of the board of trustees of the Masonic and Eastern Star Home of Illinois, located at Macon. Her daughter, Mrs. Nichols, is a co-worker with her in the order, while Mr. Nichols takes high rank with the brethren, at present holding the position of grand lecturer of Royal Arch Masonry of Illinois.
In politics Mr. Walker is a Republican and has been honored by the citizens of Aurora with the highest office in their gift, being unanimously elected as mayor in 1870, and serving one term with credit to all concerned, While serving as mayor, great improvement was made in the streets by graveling. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, having obtained the thirty-second degree. He is deeply interested yet, as he always has been, in public affairs and the good of the community where he has so long resided. He is genial, courteous, enterprising and progressive, of commendable public spirit, and the highest integrity, and reflects credit on the community which has honored him in the highest office. His practical knowledge of all the details of his business, as well as his acquaintance with men, renders him a most valuable employee, as is evinced by his long continuance in so important a position in one of the. leading railroad companies of the Union. When the dark cloud of war arose, Mr. Walker rendered a very valuable service in raising means for the support of the soldiers at the front, and. their families at home. Mr. and Mrs. Walker are highly respected citizens, and are justly entitled to the high social position they now occupy.
JUDGE HENRY B. WILLIS. - Illinois has always been distinguished for the high rank of her bench and bar. None of the western states can; justly boast of abler jurists or attorneys. Many of them have been men of national fame, and among those whose lives have been passed on a quieter plane there is scarcely a town or village in the state but can boast of one or more lawyers capable of crossing swords in forensic combat with any of the distinguished legal lights in the United States. In Judge Willis we find united many of the rare qualities which go to make up the successful lawyer and jurist. His home is at No. 503 Prospect street, Elgin, and he is now serving his second term as judge of the sixteenth judicial circuit.
The Judge was born in Bennington, Vermont, May 8, 1849, and is a son of David W. and Laura (Haliday) Willis, also natives of the Green Mountain state. Four children were born to them, but two died in infancy. The only brother of our subject, Seneca Willis, is now a farmer of Sycamore, Illinois. The father, who was an agriculturalist, came to Illinois in 1852 and located in Genoa, where he purchased a farm and reared his family. In 1877 he removed to Sycamore, where he died September 23, 1896, when past the age of seventy-nine years, and his wife passed away in March, 1897, aged seventy-two. She was a faithful member of the Methodist church. Her father, Joseph Haliday, also a native of Vermont, and a farmer by occupation, came to this slate in 1855 and located in Genoa, where he died at about the age of seventy-four. In his family were six children who reached years of maturity.
Judge Willis was reared like most farmer boys upon the home farm in Genoa township, De Kalb county, and in the district schools of the locality he began his education. Later he attended Clark Seminary at Aurora, Illinois, and Hillsdale College at Hillsdale, Michigan. In 1869 he entered the Albany Law School of Albany, New York, and after completing the prescribed course, he was admitted to the bar in that state in 1870. The following year he was granted a license to practice in the courts of Illinois, and in 1872 opened an office in Elgin, where he has since made his home.
In October, 1874, Judge Willis was united in marriage to Miss Lucy, daughter of John and Betsy (Hammond) Wait, and they have become the parents of two children - Oliver P. and Meribah T. The Judge is a prominent member of a number of civic societies, including Monitor lodge, No. 522, F. & A. M.; Loyal L. Munn chapter, No. 96, R. A. M.; Everet commandery, K. T.; and Medinah Temple. He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, the Royal Arcanum, and is one of the oldest members of the Ancient Order of United Workmen in Elgin. His political support is given the Republican party.
After four years of successful practice in Elgin, Judge Willis was elected state's attorney of Kane county, serving in that position from 1876 until 1880. He also filled the office of mayor of Elgin for one term and during that time was instrumental in securing the city water works. In June, 1891, he was first selected judge of the circuit court, and in June, 1897, was re-elected to that position which he had so capably and satisfactorily filled. His mind is analytical, logical and inductive. With a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, he combines a familiarity with statutory law and a sober, clear judgment, which makes him not only a formidable adversary in legal combat, but has given him the distinction of being one of the ablest jurists of the state.
DANIEL B. WATERMAN, of Aurora, Illinois, is numbered among the pioneers of 1843, and in the fifty-five years of his residence here has been a most important factor in the development and improvement of the place. Not alone in Aurora has his influence for good been felt, but throughout all northern Illinois. He was born in Rochester, Monroe county, New York, and traces his ancestry back to Richard Waterman, who emigrated from England with Roger Williams in the ship Lion, and who married his daughter, Mary Williams. They first settled in Boston, Massachusetts, from which they were driven out on account of
their being of the Quaker faith. Resolved Waterman, the son of Richard and Mary (Williams) Waterman, was born in Rhode Island, and his son, John Waterman, born in Rhode Island in 1730, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, holding a colonel's commission. His son, Benjamin Waterman, was the father of Daniel Waterman, also a native of Rhode Island, born July 15, 1789.
Daniel Waterman grew to manhood in Rhode Island, and engaged extensively in the manufacture of cotton goods, having three large mills. Soon after the close of the war of 1812 he moved with his family to Rochester, New York, where he established himself in business, and a little later read medicine, and engaged in practice until his death. He married in Rhode Island, Sabra Pierce, a native of Coventry, Rhode Island, born September 7, 1785, and a daughter of Wheeler Pierce, a native of Massachusetts, who spent the last years of his life in Rochester, New York, dying in January, 1858. His wife died many years previously, passing away in 1833. To Daniel and Sabra Waterman six children were born, who grew to mature years, of whom our subject is the oldest. Hiram M., next in order of birth, is a farmer and printer residing in Orleans county, Nebraska; Mrs. Dr. A. K. Smith resides in Chicago; George G., for many years a prominent man and merchant of Aurora, is now deceased; Ann Eliza, located in Waterloo, New York, but died at the residence of her sister at Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Sabra Caroline, now deceased, married D. S. Thorpe, and located at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Daniel B. Waterman was born April 21, 1821, and spent his boyhood and youth in Rochester. New York, and was educated in its common schools and Yates County Academy. In 1842, after reaching his majority, he came west to Indiana, and spent one season, earning sufficient to purchase eighty acres of timber land, in Whiteley county. He returned to Rochester, and in the spring of 1843 came to Aurora, where he joined his brother, George G. Waterman, who had located here in 1837, and was engaged in the hardware trade on the east side. He commenced clerking for his brother, and a little later purchased an interest in the establishment. In the fall of 1849, he started in business alone, on the west side in a very small way, putting in a stock of sheet iron, stoves, etc., to which was added hardware the following year. As his trade increased he added to his stock from year to year, building up a very extensive business, which he continued until about 1866, when he sold out to engage in railroading. Through his personal influence, there was raised about eight hundred thousand dollars, with which to build the Chicago & Iowa railroad. By the governor he was appointed a director to represent the cities and townships that had subscribed to the capital stock. The city of Aurora subscribed one hundred thousand dollars to the stock of the road, issuing bonds for the same bearing ten per cent interest, taking certified stock for the amount. Mr. Waterman continued to serve as a member of the board of directors until 1877. In 1870 the people of Clinton, DeKalb county, along the line of said road, named the station Waterman in recognition of his service in the completion of the road, at which time, owing to the mismanagement of its president, it was placed in the hands of a receiver. Previous to this a line of road had been completed from Rochelle to Rockford, of which Mr. Waterman was made president, and it was later leased to the Chicago & Iowa railroad as a feeder to that road. In 1870 he was appointed by Governor Palmer to represent the. stock subscribed by cities, towns and counties under the law existing at that time, and subsequently Mr. Waterman was elected by the directors president of the Chicago & Iowa railroad, in which capacity he continued to serve for six or seven years. While connected with the road, it was decided by the people of Aurora to dispose of the stock it held at public sale. Through the influence of Mr. Waterman it was sold for one hundred and thirty thousand two hundred dollars. With the proceeds of this sale, the public roads of Aurora were graveled, and bridges constructed over Fox river. Mr. Waterman has also been connected with other important railroad enterprises in Illinois and Minnesota, including the 'Chicago & Northwestern railroad. He was with the Northwestern while it was being built through Minnesota and Dakota, and for it purchased the land, secured the right of way and located the stations.
Mr. Waterman was married in Aurora, February 17, 1852, to Miss Ann White, a native of Jefferson county, New York, and the daughter of Harry White, one of the first settlers of Blackberry township, where he opened up a .farm of four hundred and twenty acres. By this union there was one daughter, Emma Sabra, who grew to mature years and died February 4, 1875, when in her twenty-second year.
Politically Mr. Waterman was originally a Whig,and beinga strong anti-slavery man, he later identified himself with the Free-soil party, and was a delegate to the convention that nominated James H. Woodruff, of Chicago, to congress, to which office he was elected. On the organization of the Republican party, he became identified with it, and has since been a stanch advocate of its principles. He has served as delegate to various state and county conventions, as a Whig and Republican, and early in the fifties was a Whig candidate for the legislature. For ten years he served as alderman and one term as mayor of the city. Fraternally he is a Mason, and member of the blue lodge and chapter of Aurora. As a citizen none stands higher in the estimation of his fellow-men, and no man has done more for the material interests of Aurora, than has the subject of this sketch.
DANIEL M. McKINDLEY, who owns and operates a valuable and well-improved farm of two hundred and twelve acres, a mile and a half east of the city of St. Charles, and which is known as the Glenmona farm, dates his residence in Illinois since August, 1872, and in Kane county since 1894. He was born in the city of Belfast, Ireland, February 2, 1850, where he remained until thirteen years of age. His father, Hugh McKindley, died in Belfast, and, being thrown on his own resources, Daniel determined to come to America that he might better himself in life. He was a young man of seventeen years, and, with the buoyancy of youth, determined to succeed in life. Landing in New York City, he remained there about one year and then went to Canada, and there worked for a farmer for a short time, near Montreal. In August, 1872, he came west to Chicago, and run on the lakes for one season. He then attended the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College, and received a fair business education. For a few years following he worked in a grocery store, and then engaged in the coal business, which he operated with success for some years. In 1894 he came to Kane county and bought the farm where he has since resided. He is now regarded as one of the active and enterprising farmers of the county,-and is also engaged in the dairy business. Since coming here he has made some substantial improvements on the farm, erecting a large barn, 54x116 feet, with a basement, a large carriage house and horse barn, put in a wind pump and water works, both for his residence and barn, and it is now one of the most valuable places in the township.
Mr. McKindley married, in the city of Chicago, December 29, 1886, Miss Hannah Carbine, a lady of fine education, and a graduate of the old Chicago Normal, in the class of '76. Later she was one of the successful teachers in the Chicago schools, where she was engaged for a period of ten years. She was born and reared in Chicago, and is the daughter of James Carbine, now deceased. She was elected a member of the board of directors of District No. 6, St. Charles township, the first lady elected to that position, and being a practical teacher, she was enabled to discharge her duties of the office in a most satisfactory manner. She later resigned. To Mr. and Mrs. McKindley six children have been born, as follows: Daniel, Hugh, Innoc, Virginia, Leo and Adelaide.
Mr. and Mrs. McKindley and their family are members of the Catholic church of St. Charles. Politically he is an independent, voting for men, not party. Although they have resided here but a few years, they have made many friends in that time, and are held in high esteem because of their many excellent traits of character.
WILLIAM E. MARSHALL, one of the substantial and wide-awake farmers of Plato township, residing on section 25, is the son of George P. and Mary (Burton) Marshall, the former a native of Yorkshire, England, born May 9, 1817, and the latter near Montreal, Canada, in the town of Sharrington, August 14, 1825.
The boyhood and youth of George P. Marshall were spent in his native land and he there learned the carpenter's trade, which occupation he followed for some years. In 1842 he crossed the Atlantic, locating near Montreal, Canada, where his marriage occurred. In 1844 he came to Kane county, Illinois, and rented a farm in Plato township for two years, then purchased seventy-seven acres in sections 27 and 28, where he continued to farm until his death, which occurred October 3, 1881. While residing in England he was a member of the Odd Fellows, but did not affiliate with the order after coming to America. A man of unblemished character, he commanded the highest respect of all who knew him. He was a man of his word and upright in his dealings with his fellowmen. The paternal grandfather of our subject, James Marshall, married Ann Parker, and lived and died in Yorkshire, England. The maternal grandfather, John Burton, was born at North Burton, Yorkshire, England, a town named for one of his ancestors. He was a son of Richard and Mary Burton. While yet residing in England he married Jane Stringer, born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, in 1794, and daughter of Richard and Hannah (Garbutt) Stringer, both of Yorkshire, England. Her death occurred at the age of sixty-seven years. In 1818 John Burton emigrated to Canada and was killed in battle during the Canadian rebellion, while in the service of the crown.
William E. Marshall was born in Elgin township, December 25, 1847. He attended the district school until about eighteen years of age, and remained at home until thirty years old, working for and with his father. In 1878 he was united in marriage with Miss Agnes McKinnell, daughter of Peter and Jessie (McDowell) McKinnell. She was the second in a family of seven children born to her parents. Her father was born in the parish of Kirk Kinner.Wigtonshire, Scotland, June 26, 1825. He was the son of James McKinnell, of the same parish, who married Janet Hawthorn, daughter, of John and Elizabeth (Cleave) Hawthorn. Jessie McDowell was born in the parish of Kirk Kinner, February 2, 1834, and her marriage with Peter McKinnell occurred in that parish April 20, 1854. In the winter of 1854-5 they came to. America. She was the daughter of Charles McDowell, who married Ellen Patterson, of the same parish, and a daughter of James and Janet (McHarg) Patterson. To our subject and his wife six children have been born - Charles H., Jessie May, Lucy, Mary, Hattie and Willie.
Mrs. Wm. E. Marshall
Soon after his marriage, Mr. Marshall rented eighty acres in Elgin township, for two years, then rented the Sargent farm two years, in Plato township, and the Roseburough farm, near Udina, one year. He then went to DuPage county, and lived upon a rented farm, near Wayne, one year, when he returned to Elgin township and rented the George Stringer farm, upon which he resided seven years. In 1890 he purchased his present farm of two hundred and thirty acres, upon which he has since continued to reside, and for some years has engaged in dairying, usually keeping about sixty head of cows, and shipping the product to Chicago. For some time he engaged in raising driving horses, principally the Hambletonian stock. His farm is in a good state of cultivation, having on it a good dwelling house, a large barn and various outbuildings. Fraternally Mr. Marshall is a member of Silver Leaf camp, No. 60, M. W. A. Politically he is a Republican, and has acceptably filled several minor official positions in his township. He is a man well esteemed throughout the community and has many warm friends.
GEORGE S. CHISHOLM, of Elgin, residing at No. 306 Spring street, was born in La Fayette county, Wisconsin, February 13, 1845, a son of Robert S. and Sarah (Van Vaulkenburgh) Chisholm, in whose family were the following named children: One daughter, Frances, died at the age of nine years. William W. is a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, and is president of the Bank of Commerce there. O. P. was formerly an attorney of Elgin and represented this district in the Illinois legislature, but is now a resident of Bozeman, Montana. George S. is next in order of birth. Robert B., Jr., lives in Manhattan, Montana. Mary Emma is the wife of George Bennett, of Geneva, Illinois.
The father was a man of marked business ability, was the discoverer of the Emma mine, named in honor of his daughter, and was eminently successful in his mining operations, that mine alone yielding from five to six hundred thousand dollars, principally in gold and silver. It is located twenty-seven miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Little Cottonwood district in the Wausatch range of mountains. At an early day he became interested in lead mining at a place called Benton, twelve miles east of Galena, Illinois, and here also met with success. In 1851 with an ox team he crossed the plains to California and Nevada, where he engaged in mining with Captain Day, of Galena, Illinois, who died in Galena, in 1895. The original owners of the Emma mine were Robert B. Chisholm, Captain Day, Captain James Smith, of Chicago, and J. F. Woodman, now the president of the Centennial Eureka mine, located at Eureka, Utah, eighty miles south of Salt Lake City. With the exception of Captain Smith, the others were associated in the mining business from boyhood. The father of our subject died in Oakland, California, June 30, 1893, at the age of seventy-eight years, and his remains were brought back to Elgin for interment. He was a Knight Templar Mason, and was honored and respected by all who knew him. His wife died in 1882 aged fifty-two years.
George S. Chisholm was reared principally in Elgin, and in the Elgin Academy completed his literary education. For some years he successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits in. Du Page county, Illinois, where he owned a fine farm of four hundred acres, which he sold about ten years ago. In connection with general farming he was also extensively engaged in the raising of fine stock, making a specialty of Norman horses, shorthorn and Durham cattle and Poland China hogs, getting his stock from Ohio; but in 1887 he disposed of that business and has since devoted his time and attention to his mining and real-estate interests. The shares of the Eureka mine, above referred to, are owned by Mr. Woodman, George S. Chisholm, his brothers, William W., O. P., Robert B., and their sister, Mrs. Bennett, William W. being the secretary and treasurer of the company. The mine has now been in successful operation for twenty years, and up to April 15, 1897, had paid in the way of dividends two million and ten thousand dollars. The company is now testing a new process of treating ores from this property, which, if successful, a plant will be erected abundantly large enough to care for all the ores taken from the mine. Both gold and silver are here mined and also a certain per cent of copper.
In 1872, Mr. Chisholm, the subject of this sketch, was married to Miss Angeline Hatch, a daughter of James C. Hatch, who is now ninety-four years of age, and is still well preserved both physically and mentally. Her mother died in 1877, at the age of sixty-five years. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm are: Cora May, Marie Louise, Archie S., James Harold, William Wallace, Olive Edith, and George Edward, who are all living, except Cora May, who died October 15, 1878, and Olive Edith, who died on the 1st day of August, 1896, at the age of four years. . Mr. Chisholm takes some interest in political affairs, but votes rather for the man than for the party which he represents. Socially, he is a prominent Mason, belonging to Monitor lodge No. 522, F. & A. M., and the consistory and Medinah Temple of the Mystic Shrine of Chicago. He also belongs to the Uniformed Rank, Knights of Pythias. He takes a deep interest in everything pertaining to the public welfare of his adopted city, and withholds his support from no enterprise calculated to prove of public benefit. His wife is a member of the Congregational church, also a member of the Elgin Woman's Club and the Elgin-Philharmonic Society, and in the social circles of Elgin they occupy an enviable position.
HON. SILVANUS WILCOX, ex-judge of the twenty-seventh judicial circuit of Illinois, now residing on the corner-of Bridge and West Chicago streets, Elgin, is one of the best-known and most distinguished citizens of Kane county. He was born in Charleston, Montgomery county, New York, September 30, 1818, and is a son of Elijah and Sally (Shuler) Wilcox, both of whom were natives of New York, the former born in Charles, and the latter in the town of Florida, Montgomery county. Of their ten children, eight grew to manhood and womanhood, and five are yet living- Silvanus, our subject; Hannah Maria, wife of Charles R. Collins, of Elgin; Edward Sanford, of Cloud Chief, Oklahoma; John S., of Elgin; and Captain William H., also of Elgin.
Elijah Wilcox was a man of marked ability, and in his native state was duly honored by his fellow men. For some years he served as county commissioner of Montgomery county, was collector of toll on the
Erie canal, and held various town offices. He also served as general in the state militia. By occupation he was a farmer. In 1842 he came to Illinois, bringing his family with him, and located on a farm of three hundred acres two and a half miles west of Elgin. Three years later he was elected a member of the state senate, the duties of which office he discharged in a most satisfactory manner. The farm on which he settled was in an almost primitive condition, and he at once began its improvement. His death occurred there in 1862 at the age of seventy-two years. His wife survived him some years, dying at the age of eighty-five. In early life she was a Presbyterian, but later in life became a Universalist, accepting the faith of her husband, who was steadfast in that belief.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, Silvanus Wilcox, was a native of Dutchess county, New York, of Welsh origin. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and was one of the guard at Tarrytown when Major Andre was captured, and was present at the execution. His death occurred at Fultonville, Montgomery county, New York, when he was eighty-seven years old.
The maternal grandfather, John Shuler, was also a native of New York, born near Catskill of German parents. For years he served as justice of the peace and held other minor offices in the town of Florida, Montgomery county. He was a very able man and one of strong intellect. He was eighty-six years old at the time of his death.
The subject of this sketch was reared in his native county, and received his primary education in the common schools of the town in which the family resided. Later he attended the academy at Amsterdam, and in July, 1836, was appointed a cadet at West Point, his examination giving him fifth place in a class of fifty. On account of failing health he resigned August 15, 1839. His roommates were H. W. Halleck, R. Q. Butler, Stewart Van Vliet and Schuyler Hamilton, all of whom are dead except Van Vliet. In 1861, at the Planters House in St. Louis, he met Hamilton going up the stairs and accompanied him to Halleck's room. He was a great friend of these gentlemen, and on meeting them Halleck exclaimed "Wilcox, I thought you were dead." He corresponded with them all through the war. Besides those mentioned, William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas, both famous generals of the Civil war, were his classmates. The following is a letter to Mr. Wilcox from the superintendent of the military academy at West Point:
MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT, December 4, 1839.
Mr. S. Wilcox:
SIR: Your friend, Cadet Van Vliet, has requested me in your behalf for such a statement of standing and merit in your studies and character relative to conduct, as the records of this institution will enable me to give.
It appears that you joined the Academy as a cadet in July, 1836, and that, at the last examination at which you were present, the Academic staff pronounced you the fourth in order of merit in mathematics, the ninth in French, and the thirteenth in drawing; which, when compared with the rest of your class, then consisting of fifty members, secured you the fifth place in general merit. It also appears from the records of the Institution that you left here in bad health, and that, after a protracted illness of more than a year, you tendered your resignation, which was accepted by the secretary of war, to take effect the 15th of August, 1839.
It gives me much pleasure to have it in my power to put you in possession of such highly favorable testimonials of your conduct and talents when a member of this Institution.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major of Engineers, Superintendent of Military Academy.
For over two years after his resignation from West Point Mr. Wilcox was an invalid, but in 1840 he came west to Elgin, and located some land in that vicinity. Returning to New York for a time, he acted as agent for his father for a line of boats running from New York City to Utica.
On the 27th of August, 1840, Mr. Wilcox was united in marriage with Miss Jane Mallory, daughter of Henry and Polly Bent Mallory, of Yankee Hill, town of Florida, Montgomery county, New York. One son was born to this union, Silvanus Marcus, who died at the age of thirty-two years. Mrs. Wilcox died in Elgin April 24, 1884. Religiously she was a Universalist, as is also the Judge. She was a woman of domestic tastes and habits, one who tried to make a happy home, and in this she succeeded admirably.
In May, 1844, Mr. Wilcox came with his family to Elgin, and here has since made his home. Since 1845 he has lived upon the site of his present home, except five years, when he resided upon his farm near Elgin. About the time he came here he commenced the study of law, and in 1846 was admitted to the bar, and at once commenced an active practice. His success was assured from the very start, and it was not long before he secured recognition as one of the most active practitioners in his circuit. His standing among the legal fraternity was such that in 1867 he was nominated and elected circuit judge, and served the full term of six years. In the spring of 1873 he was re-elected for another term, but in the fall of 1874 he was compelled to resign on account of ill health. The impartiality displayed as a judge, and the justness of his decisions, is well known and duly acknowledged by all his circuit.
For some two or three years after his resignation from the bench, Judge Wilcox devoted his time principally to regaining his health and looking after his private business interests. In 1891 he platted a part of a farm, and for a time was engaged in the disposal of town lots, with which he combined other real estate business, greatly to his profit. In addition to his other private business, he was a stockholder in the Elgin Condensed Milk Company, and was its president for three years. In every enterprise in which he engaged he brought to bear a well-trained and well-balanced mind, and was therefore greatly relied on by his business associates.
The Judge has traveled extensively for business and pleasure, and has visited every state and territory in the United States. In 1891 he went to the Pacific coast, and on this trip visited Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle and Yellowstone Park. His next trip was from Portland, Oregon, thence to Tacoma, then to Sitka, Alaska. His third long trip was to Mexico, at which time he visited nearly every city of any note in that country.
Politically the Judge is a gold Democrat, from the fact that in order to have genuine prosperity in the country its currency must have stability and be accepted at its face in any country in the civilized world. He has never cared for political office, and has held but few. In 1844 he was appointed and served as postmaster of Elgin until 1849. As a citizen he is honored and esteemed by all. The Judge, B. F. Lawrence, Walter Pease and Henry Sherman were instrumental in locating the Elgin watch factory in this city; was also identified in locating the Elgin Packing Company.
JOHN GUSTAVUS LINDGREN, a retired mechanic, who for thirty-five years was a trusted employee of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad shops at Aurora, dates his residence in Kane county from 1854. He is a native of Sweden, born March 18, 1826, and in his native country grew to manhood, and received a common-school education. His knowledge of the English language was obtained after coming to this country. In Sweden he learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, serving a regular apprenticeship. The chance for advancement in the countries of the old world are very limited, and the aspiring young man usually thinks very seriously of emigrating to the United States, where golden opportunities are offered to every one. Our subject had heard much of this country and here determined to make his home. Accordingly in June, 1854, he took a sailing vessel at Guttenberg, for Boston, and was six weeks on the Atlantic, making landing July 24, and coming direct to Chicago, and thence to Geneva, where friends had previously settled. He immediately began work at his trade, and soon engaged in contracting and building.
On the 6th of May, 1855, Mr. Lindgren was united in marriage with Miss Mary Olson, a Swedish lady, born in 1822, in the same neighborhood as her husband, and who came with him on the same vessel to the new world. By this union there are three children - Charles John, married and residing in Aurora, and employed as foreman in the foundry of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad; Christine, wife of Edward Lundgren, a machinist residing in Aurora; and F. W., married, and who is also a machinist in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad.
In 1860 Mr. Lindgren began work at the reaper shops in Geneva, and in December of that year moved to Aurora, and commenced work in the railroad shops, doing the wood work for the locomotives. He remained in the employ of the company for thirty-five years, a length of time which tested his ability, and showed the estimation in which he was held by the Company. Soon after coming to Aurora, Mr. Lindgren erected a neat residence and is now the owner of another which he rents. Both himself and wife are members of the Swedish Lutheran church. Politically he is a Republican, with which party he has been identified since becoming a naturalized citizen. While Swedish born, he is a thorough American, and has great love for the country of his adoption. A man of exemplary habits, and upright character, he has many friends in Aurora and Kane county.
MAJOR J. S. VAN PATTEN is a well-known business man and the present efficient postmaster of St. Charles. He has been a resident of the city since 1854, a period of forty-four years, and in that time has built up a reputation and established a character which will be as enduring as time. He is a native of the grand old Empire state, born in Preble, Cortland county, July 23, 1823, and is a son of Ryer and Mary (Spence) Van Patten, natives of Schenectady county, New York, and County Down, near Belfast, Ireland, respectively.
The Van Pattens are of Holland descent, the grandfather of our subject being a native of that country, from which he emigrated at a very early day. A year or two prior to the opening of the present century he located in Schenectady county. New York, and was one of its pioneers. Ryer Van Patten, his son, and the father of our subject, was born in Schenectady county, in 1789, but in 1809 removed to Cortland county, where he opened up a farm, married Mary Spencer, who was born near Belfast, County Down, Ireland, of Scotch parents, and reared his family of two sons and seven daughters. His death occurred there in 1874 at the age of eighty-five years. John R. Van Patten, his son, yet occupies the old homestead, which comprises about three hundred and fifty acres, but he owns adjoining lands sufficient to make in all twelve hundred acres, and which is a most valuable property.
On the home farm in Cortland county, New York, our subject spent his boyhood and youth. His education, begun in the common schools, was completed in Cortland Academy. Like the average farmer boy, he did his share in the work of cultivating the soil, but his tastes were not in that direction. At the age of nineteen he commenced teaching and for three winter terms was in charge of the same school. However, he commenced farming on his own account in his native county, and continued in that line until his removal west to Kane county, Illinois, in 1854.
In December, 1847, Mr. Van Patten was married in Cortland county, New York, to Louisa R. Bacon, who died six years later in 1853, leaving one son, Dr. Louis Van Patten, one of the leading physicians of St. Charles. The following year Mr. Van Patten took up his residence in St. Charles, purchasing the drug business which was established in 1842 by Elisha Freeman, and which was then enjoying a good patronage. This business he yet continues, and it is one of the oldest establishments in the city.
After residing in St. Charles about two years, Mr. Van Patten was again married, his second union being with Miss Jane A. Clark, a native of Green Oak, Michigan, where she was reared and educated. She removed with her parents to Chicago, where she was married December 18, 1856. By this union two daughters were born: Eveline, now the wife of Lorenzo Van Patten, of Cortland county, New York; and Mabel, wife of Frank Rockwell, assistant postmaster of St. Charles, by whom she has three sons.
The first seven years of Mr. Van Patten's stay in St. Charles covered a very trying period in the history of the country. In that time occurred the financial panic of 1857, which destroyed many valuable business concerns in all parts of the country, but which was particularly severe upon the west, which was flooded with worthless Nebraska currency. This panic he passed through safely with well-established credit.
But a more trying period was close at hand. The war cloud which commenced forming about this time continued to grow in size, and notwithstanding the heroic efforts of the lamented Stephen A. Douglas and others to prevent the calamity, it broke upon the country in 1861, upon the inauguration of President Lincoln. The southern states, restive for some years, committed the overt act, firing upon Fort Sumter in April of that year. A call was immediately made by the president for troops to put down the rebellion. The first call was followed by others until soon the armies ranged upon either side were greater than those in any modern war.
Through the stirring scenes of those first days of the war our subject was not an unconcerned witness. As soon as possible he offered his services to his country and was commissioned quartermaster of the first battalion of the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, with rank of first lieutenant. In February, 1862, he was promoted regimental quartermaster and served in that capacity until November, 1862, when he resigned. He was at once, however, commissioned first lieutenant of Company M, and was detailed April, 1863, as acting commissary of subsistence of the cavalry division, Army of the Potomac, Major-General A. Pleasanton commanding, when he returned home.
Nine months later, Mr. Van Patten again re-enlisted in the Eighth Cavalry, and in February, 1864, was appointed quartermaster in the Eighth Illinois Cavalry. In May, 1864, he was commissioned captain and assistant quartermaster United States Volunteers, and was assigned to Vicksburg, where he remained as post quartermaster until November 3, 1865, when he resigned and again returned home in March, 1866, when he was breveted major by President Johnson, and as such was mustered out of service.
On his return to St. Charles, Major Van Patten again resumed the drug business, and in 1872 was elected cashier of the Kane County National Bank and served in that capacity for six years. During all the time, either in the military service or in the bank, he retained his interest in the drug store, and when released from the latter duties again took his place in the store. He has always enjoyed a good trade.
Politically Major Van Patten has always been a Democrat, having an abiding faith in the principles of that party as best calculated to subserve the best interests of the people. In 1894 he was commissioned postmaster of St. Charles, and yet fills that position acceptably to the people. In the great campaign of 1896 he espoused the gold wing side of his party. Fraternally he is a Master Mason. As a citizen he is greatly esteemed and his friends are numerous throughout the entire county.
PHILIP FREILER, the leading wholesale liquor dealer of Elgin, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, April 3, 1860, his parents being Joseph and Mary (Bachrach) Freiler. His father was a native of Austria, born near Prague in 1833. He came to the United States about 1850, locating in Hartford, where he engaged in the wholesale meat business. About 1863 he removed to New York City, where he conducted a hotel until 1867, when he went to Chicago.
He engaged in the wholesale liquor business in that city until 1878, when he removed to Elgin, carrying on business along the same line and at the same time retaining his business interests in Chicago. In 1883, owing to failing health, he sold out to his son Philip and went abroad, remaining in Europe for about six months, after which he returned to this country. He died on the 6th of August, 1884. He was a man five feet, eight inches in height, solidly built, and of genial temperament. In his political views he was a Democrat. His wife was a daughter of Jacob Bachrach, who was born near Frankfort-on-the-Rhine. Crossing the Atlantic, he located at Hartford in 1860, having a daughter living in that city. Later he took up his residence in Chicago, where he died in 1884, at the age of ninety-seven years.
Joseph and Mary Freiler had a family of seven children, namely: Emma, wife of Adolph Stein, of Chicago; Philip; Frances, wife of Lewis Kuhn, now deceased; Moses J., a resident of Chicago; Benjamin, deceased; and Julia, wife of Bernard Stein; and Harriet, wife of Nathan Herzog, of Chicago. The mother is still living and makes her home with her daughter Frances.
Philip Freiler spent the first five years of his life at Hartford and afterward attended school during a three-years residence in New York. He then removed with his parents to Chicago, where he continued his studies in the German high school, later pursuing a course in the Dryenfurth Educational and Business College. He entered upon his business career in connection with his father and his brother-in-law, Adolph Stein, who were at that time in partnership. Later Mr. Stein purchased his partner's interest and our subject continued with his brother-in-law until 1883, when he came to Elgin. Here he began business on his own account as a wholesale liquor dealer on River street, near his present location and from the beginning he prospered in his undertakings, his trade constantly extending until it covers the territory embraced within the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Missouri. He has the largest jobbing trade of any dealer in the west outside of Chicago, and his extensive patronage has brought to him a handsome competence. As his financial resources have increased he has made judicious investments in real estate and is also a stockholder in banking institutions and in city railway lines.
Mr. Freiler was married July 8, 1883, in Elgin, to Miss Lizzie Ehrlich, daughter of Joseph and Kate (Smith) Ehrlich, the former a native of Austria and the latter of Frankfort, Germany. Mr. Ehrlich is now deceased, but the mother is still living. Mrs. Freiler is a native of New York City, and by her marriage she has become the mother of four children; Florence, who is attending school: Helen, deceased; Hilda, who is also in school; and Ruth.
In his political affiliations Mr. Freiler is a Democrat. He held the office of treasurer of the Insane Hospital for four years under Governor Altgeld, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, preferring to devote his energies to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success. He is a prominent Mason, holding membership in the blue lodge of Chicago, the chapter of Elgin, and the consistory and mystic shrine of Chicago. He is also connected through membership with the Knight's of Pythias, Korassin, Foresters, Red Men and the Free Sons of Israel of Chicago. He is a man of sound judgment in business affairs, reliable and trustworthy, and is very popular with all who know him.
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