Lee County Biography

BACON, Caleb M.

Farmer, Lee, eldest son of Daniel H. and Mary (Zuber) Bacon, was born in Pennsylvania in 1826. From his father’s farm he went at the age of nineteen to Now Bedford, Massachusetts, and engaged to go on shipboard. His first voyage was through the Indian ocean, by way of Australia and New Zealand, to Kaintchatka, thence to the Sandwich Islands, and from there home via Cape Horn. This occupied twenty-two and a half months. From 1847 to 1849 he was on a voyage in the Indian ocean, visiting Australia, island of Java, strait of Sunda, thence home by way of Cape of Good Hope, touching, on the passage back, at St. Helena. In October, 1849, lie sailed for the Pacific ocean and Polar sea, making ports on the west coast of South America and at the Sandwich and other islands. This voyage lasted thirty-one months. On his subsequent ones he went out and returned by the way of Cape Horn. He shipped again for the Pacific and Arctic oceans in October 1852, and visited the Sandwich and other islands and Hong Kong, and was absent twenty-nine months. In the autumn of 1855 lie sailed over nearly the same route on his fifth and last voyage, which he brought to an end in the spring of 1858, when his health broke down and he took a discharge from the ship at the Sandwich Islands, and came home from there as a passenger. The whole of his sea-faring life was spent in the whale-fishery. In the fall of 1858 he came to Willow Creek township and made permanent settlement on the S.W. J of Sec. 14, where he has lived until the present time. He had been twice to Illinois before, having come on visits between his voyages. His first marriage was with Miss Sarah Pettibone, of New York city, who survived her nuptials only five months. In 1802 he was married again, to Miss Sarah Brittain, who was born in 1833, and was the daughter of William Brittain. Five children have been born to them: Rhoda, Daniel, Elizabeth (dead), Mary, and Homer. When Mr. Bacon first came to the township he purchased 240 acres of land, afterward he added 80 more, but now has 300, handsomely cultivated, improved with substantial buildings, and valued at $15,000. He is a Congregationalist, but the society to which he belonged, and which assisted in building the Twin Groves Methodist church, has ceased, by reason of removals, to exist. He has been road commissioner, town clerk twice by appointment, assessor two years, and constable and collector. He is an independent republican, and a public spirited and prominent citizen.

History of Lee County together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc.
Chicago by H.H. Hill and Company Publishers 1881

BARGE, William

An honored citizen of Dixon, is a lawyer of distinguished ability, who stands at the head of the bar in this section, and is one of the foremost jurists of this, his adopted State. He is a native of Armstrong County, Pa., born February 26, 1832, to John and Jane (Elliott) Barge, who were respectively of French and Scotch descent. His paternal grandfather was a patriotic soldier in the ranks of the Continental Army during the Revolution, and he fell while bravely fighting at the battle of the Brandywine.

The father of our subject learned the trades of carpenter and joiner, and subsequently became a prominent contractor and builder, operating at Johnstown, Pittsburg, and in the vicinity of those cities. When his son William was still in his infancy, he removed with his family to Ohio, and settled in that part of Richland County now included in Ashland County, where he bought a tract of heavily timbered land about fifty miles south of Cleveland. At that time standing timber possessed no market value, and in clearing his land, he rolled together and burned large logs that would now bring a good price Four years later he located in Wayne County, and became one of its most active and useful citizens, taking up his residence in the town of Wooster. He carried on business in that county for several years, and his death in 1850 deprived it of the services of a valuable citizen.

Our subject laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Wooster, where his boyhood was passed. In the summer of 1851, he and his widowed mother and two sisters left their old borne in Ohio to migrate to Illinois, and after traveling for a month with a team across the intervening country nearly to the western bounds of this State, they arrived at his brother's home, four miles north of Geneseo, in Henry County. Mr. Barge began life in Illinois as a teacher, and acquired considerable prominence in the profession, which was to him, however, but a stepping-stone to that of the law, toward which his mind had a decided bent. Ho taught in the city of Moline, on the Mississippi, devoting his leisure time to reading law with Judge Ira O. Wilkinson, who was Judge of that circuit at that time, and since a prominent lawyer of Chicago. He also received instruction in his studies from Judge Waite, who since then has been Judge of the United Suites Court of Utah. In 1854 he came to Dixon to accept a position as teacher, and to him is due the honor of organizing the first graded school in the county. He acted as its principal for more than three years, and occasionally taught mathematics in the Dixon College. In the fall of 1859, he received a call to take charge of the High School at Belleville, Ill., in the vicinity of St. Louis, and in that city he had the advantage of pursuing his law studies under the supervision of the Hon. William H. Underwood, a noted lawyer of Belleville. While with him, our subject, of his own accord, and without assistance, prepared a brief in an important railway land case, in which Judge Underwood and Gov. Koerner were concerned, which they accepted, and by its merits won the case.

Having thus, even in his student days, given evidence of talents of high order that gave promise of the brilliant career before him, our subject returned to Dixon in 1860, and in November of that year successfully passed a searching examination in his legal studies,conducted by Judge Corydon Beck with, the Hon. Norman B. Judd and the Hon. Ebenezer Peck, and was admitted to the bar. In I860 he opened an office in Dixon, and entered into a law partnership with H. B. Fouke in 1861, under the firm name of Barge A. Fouke. In 1865 he severed his connection with that gentleman, and until 1869 was in practice with Dwight Heaton. In that year Judge Eustace, of Dixon, invited him to become his partner, our subject's brother-in-law, Sherwood Dixon, also becoming a member of the firm, which thereafter conducted business under the name of Eustace, Barge & Dixon until 1874, when Messrs. Barge and Dixon went to Chicago at the request of the Hon. W. W. O'Brien, with whom they formed a co-partnership as O'Brien, Barge & Dixon.

Mr. Barge has arisen to eminence at the bar through his unswerving devotion to his beloved profession, and by reason of a rare combination of those judicial qualities that mark a lawyer of the first rank. Possessing a clear, logical mind, fine argumentative powers, a quick wit, readiness of resource, and infinite tact in handling a case so as to present it in the best possible light, he has become famous both as a civil and a criminal lawyer, being particularly noted for his success in the latter branch of law, as even in capital charges he has never failed to secure the acquittal of his client. It is said of him that "during his whole practice in all the courts of record in every county north of the Illinois River, in the Supreme Court of the State, and in the Federal Courts of Chicago, no lawyer has been more generally successful or has won more cases than he." In 1874 Mr. Barge became one of the attorneys of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, and has rendered it valuable service, trying all its case's in twelve counties since he entered its employ. But few lawyers in the country have had more experience in that class of litigation, and none is more profoundly learned in the laws pertaining to it, or has met with greater success in that line of practice than he.

Our subject has a clean record as a gentleman of honor and unimpeachable character, who, during the thirty-two years that he has devoted to law business, has conformed to professional etiquette in his dealings with his clients, and with the legal fraternity, and has shown himself to be single minded and honest, with the courage and intelligence to uphold its principles. His intercourse with all is marked by that true courtesy and kindly spirit that have won him many a devoted friend both in and out of the profession. The high estimation in which he is held by his brother lawyers was exhibited when his name was urged for nomination as candidate for the position of Judge of the Supreme Court for the Sixth District in the spring of 1888, when the members of the Lee County Bar were to a man unanimous in their choice of him as the one most competent for the place, as will be seen by the flattering tribute to his worth and talent in the following letter. Dixon, Ill., April 3, 1888.

Sir: At a meeting of the Lee County Bar held today, it was unanimously determined to present the name of Hon. William Barge as the choice of the Bar of the county as candidate for the position of Judge of the Supreme Court for the Sixth District, and the officers of the meeting were instructed to make known this action to the members of the Bar of tho District. It is not regarded necessary to enter upon any lengthy statement of Mr. Barge's professional career, as it is believed that his extended acquaintance throughout the State has made known already his eminent ability and fitness for the position named.

Now, in the prime of life, with a mind thoroughly trained to study by experience, of unswerving integrity and recognized ability, we believe his qualifications for the place must command your favorable consideration, and for that reason present his name.

Respectfully,
I. D. Crabtree, Chairman.

Mr. Barge was married in 1856, to Elizabeth Dixon, daughter of James P. Dixon and granddaughter of John Dixon, the well-known pioneer of the Northwest in whose honor the city of Dixon is named. Our subject and his amiable wife stand high in the social life of this city, where they have a delightful home, and a large circle of friends.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biographical 1887

BERNARDIN, Joseph
Has done well financially since he came to this county in his boyhood, as his diligence, constant application to his work, and sagacity in conducting his affairs have met with due reward, and he is to-day the owner of one of the most desirable farms to be found throughout the length and breadth of Viola Township.
The birth of our subject took place September 6, 1839, in the village of Luxouel,in the Department of Vesoul, France. His parents, Peter and Mary (Boffy) Bernardin, were also natives of the sunny land of France. They emigrated to America in 1855, the father coming first to prepare a home for the remainder of the family. He settled in Sciota County, Ohio, and, with his capital of $800, purchased two hundred acres of timber land, twelve miles from the town of Portsmouth, paying $1.25 an acre for the land. His first work was to build a shanty for a temporary shelter, which he afterward replaced by a substantial log house. He worked hard to clear his land, and in time placed it under cultivation, and made of it a good farm, upon which he resided until 1870. In that year he came to Lee County, and was a resident of this section until he closed his eyes in death in August, 1889, at a ripe age. His is wife survives him and these seven of their children are living: Sophia, Rosalie, Virginia, Joseph C. Sadonie, Alfred and Julius.
The subject of this biographical sketch attended school quite steadily until he was twelve years of age, and then he began to assist his father on the farm. The latter came to this country in the spring of 1855, and in the fall of the same year he sent for his wife and children to join him. They journeyed by rail to Havre de Grace, and October 16 embarked on a sailing vessel at that port. Off the coast of England, the ship collided with a war vessel, and bad to lay by at Plymouth, England, twenty-four days, for repairs. Starting once again on its voyage, it crossed the ocean in safety, and arrived at New Orleans January 12, 1856. The family then went to their destination by way of the Mississippi River to Cairo, thence to a port on the Ohio River, whence they proceeded by rail to Portsmouth. His father being in limited circumstances, our subject had to assist him in supporting the family, and was of great help to him in dealing his land and tilling the soil. He remained a resident of Sciota County until 1870, and then abandoned Ohio mid transferred his citizenship to Illinois, settling in this county, and two years later he bought the farm he now owns and occupies.
Under his skillful care it is now a well-improved and valuable piece of property, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres Of very fertile land, including the northeast quarter of section 21, Viola Township.
Mr. Bernardin was first married April 14, 1866, to Miss Palmyrie Ranje, a native of France. She died in 1874, leaving three children: Mary, Henry and Charles. The second marriage of our subject, which was solemnized January 21, 1877, was with Miss Catherina Barlow, also a native of France. Three children have been born of their union: Julius, Peter and Louisa.
In our subject this county has a faithful, law-abiding citizen, who is contributing to its prosperity by his skill as a practical, wide-awake tiller of the soil. He and his family are members in high standing of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, and are greatly esteemed in their community for their personal worth.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biographical 1887

BERRY, Isaac
Is worthy of all honor and respect as one of the pioneers of Northern Illinois, who was identified with its early growth, both as a skillful mechanic and a practical farmer. He came to Lee County in 1862, and for several years devoted himself exclusively to agricultural pursuits in Wyoming Township, where he still owns a good farm, although he now makes his home in the village of Paw Paw, having retired from active business.
Our subject was born March 24, 1813, his birthplace being two miles from Onondaga Hill, and two and one-half miles from Syracuse, N. Y. James W. Berry, his father, is thought to have been a native of New Jersey. The grandfather of our subject removed from that State to New York, and settled three miles below Ft. Edward, near the North River, where he resided until his demise. The father of our subject was reared on a farm, He removed to Onondaga County about 1812, and was one of its early settlers. That was before the time of railways and canals, and the removal to his new abode in the wilderness was mode with teams. He leased land, and was a resident there until 1828, when he settled in Oswego County, buying a tract of timber in the town of Volney, and clearing a farm from the forests primeval, making his home there until death closed his eyes in the sleep that knows no waking this side of eternity. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Baldwin. Her parents were pioneers in the vicinity of Ft Edward. She too passed from death to the life immortal on the old homestead in Oswego County.
Isaac Berry gained his education in the rude pioneer schools of his native county, the first school that he attended being taught in a log building, that was furnished with slab scats, supported by wooden pins, and a board against the wall serving as the only desk for the pupils to write on. When he was a youth, there were no railways or canals, and the farmers had to haul their produce to Albany with teams. He was a small boy when lie first began to make himself of use on the farm, and he continued to help his father until he was nineteen years of age. Then his natural taste for mechanics led him to adopt the trade of a carpenter, and in order to gain a thorough mastery of his chosen calling, he served a three years' apprenticeship at Oswego, which was then but a village. The first year he received $96 in payment for his work, and the second year $935. After he completed his apprenticeship, he did journey-work in his native State until 1838, when he boldly resolved to try his fortunes in the flourishing village of Chicago, which at that time had a population of about four thousand people, and making his way thither, he was for a time actively employed at carpentering. He became a citizen of the place, and voted at the first city election, in 1837. Business was very dull there that year, and he took a contract to build a hotel at Warrenville, in DuPage County. He was pleased with that part of the country, and cast in his lot with its pioneers,buying, in 1888,a claim to a tract of Government land one mile from Warrenville, securing his title to it as soon as the survey was completed and the land came into the market. At that time deer and wolves were plentiful, and there were other wild animals there also, showing that the country was but little advanced from a state of nature.
Mr. Berry worked busily at his trade at Warrenville and Naperville, and contributed much to the upbuilding of those places, and at the same time he superintended the improvement of his land. He was a resident of Du Page County until 1862, when he came to Lee County, and has been identified with its fanning interests ever since. He bought a farm, pleasantly located in Wyoming Township, and vigorously engaged in tilling the soil and raising stock for some years. In 1867 he rented the farm, and the ensuing six years lived in the village of Earlville. At the expiration of that time, he returned to his farm, and spent the next nine years upon it very profitably and pleasantly. He then rented it, and coming to Paw Paw, has since lived there in retirement, in the enjoyment of the income that is the fruit of his industry.
Mr. Berry has been twice married, his first wife, to whom he was wedded in 1847, being Mary Louise Ward, a native of New York State, and a daughter of Dr. Levi and Lillie Ward. She departed this life in December, 1849. Our subject's marriage to his present wife was solemnized in 1856. Mrs. Berry was formerly Harriet K. Rogers. She is a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of David H. and Eliza (Jones) Rogers. Mr. and Mrs. Berry have two children living: Mary Louise, wife of David Dale, of Wichita, Kan.; and Mary E., wife of W. A. Pratt.
Our subject's course throughout a long career of usefulness has been such as to justify the trust in which he is held, as all who have ever had dealings with him have recognized his inherent honesty and truthfulness, and all who are acquainted with him know that he possesses other excellent traits of character that go to the making of a good man, a loyal citizen, a kind neighbor, and a devoted husband and father. In politics, he stands with tho Republicans. Religiously, both he and his good wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and are strong in the faith.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biographical 1887

BISHOP, Gordon E.
General Superintendent of the Star Printing Company, with which he has been connected at Dixon since its organization, March 28, 1891. He is a practical printer and pressman and three years previous to the above-named date acted as a job printer at the Northern Illinois formal of Dixon. He has been engaged in the publishing and newspaper work for eighteen years, having learned that art at Oshkosh, Wis., which was his home for some time. He has been associated with the Twin City News in Wisconsin, and for two years was employed in the circulating department of the Evening Diapatch, of St. Paul, Minn.
Our subject is a native of Oswego, N. Y., his birth occurring June 13, 1860. He was reared and educated in that city and there resided until going to Oshkosh, Wis., with his parents. Ho has spent the greater part of his life in the Northwest, and is therefore familiar with that portion of the country. Mr. Bishop is a thoroughly skilled workman in the printers' trade and is a member of Cream City Lodge of the Typographical Union, at Milwaukee. He is also connected with the Modem Woodmen of America, Lodge No. 16, of Dixon. In politics, ho votes the Independent ticket. The original of this sketch was married at Falls City, Neb., to Miss Rose Carrow. To them has been born one child, a son—Earl R. Mrs, Bishop, in religious matters, is a member of the Congregational Church. Our subject has traveled over every State and Territory in the United States and has visited tho principal points of interest in Canada, acting in the capacity of a musician for five years with the well-known circuses of W. W. Coles, Adam Forepaugh and John Robinson.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biographical 1887

BLY, H.
Superintendent of the County Hospital and Poor Farm, located on section 26, South Dixon Township, is an intelligent, progressive and humane official, and a man of marked ability who has long been prominently known in public life and as a successful business man, whose record is without a blemish. Mr. Bly is a native of Chenango County, N. Y., and was born July 9, 1827. His father, Thomas R. Bly, was a native of Rhode Island, and a son of Job Bly, who was also born in that State, and was of English descent. It is supposed that ho spent his last years in Oneida County, N. Y., where he had been engaged as a farmer. He was twice married. His sou, Thomas, early became a mechanic, having much natural ability in that line, and was married in his native State after he attained manhood, to Miss Nancy Tanner, a native of Connecticut, and of good New England stock.
After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bly removed to Richmond, Ya», where he followed the trade of a carpenter. They subsequently retraced their steps Northward and settled in Chenango County, N. Y., where the most, if not all, of their children were born and reared. The father died there when about sixty years of age, and the mother afterwards came to Illinois to spend her declining years, and died in Ogle County at the age of seventy years.
Henry Bly, of the life review, was not of age when he came to this State in 1845, but attained his majority some three years later in Ogle County, where he first settled in the Township of Nashua, but he afterward made his mark as a pioneer of Northern Illinois. Five years later he went out from that township to join the great caravan that was streaming across the continent to the newly discovered gold fields of California, attaching himself to a party with whom he traveled across the plains and over the mountains to the Pacific slope, journeying over the South Pass by the Sublet cutoff route, and finally arriving at Hangtown after a trip lasting five and one-half months, from February 28, to August 17. After staying for awhile at their first stopping place, our subject proceeded to the valley of the America River, and later on in the spring of 1851 went up the Sacramento River to Scott River in Oregon with others, but before reaching their destination he and his companions found gold at what is now known as Shasta. At that place Mr. Bly mined nearly all the precious mineral that he obtained while in the Golden State during the fifteen months that he remained there. There he had full experience of the rough life of a frontier mining camp. Excitement ran high, and he witnessed the magic growth of the town from a lonely, desolate spot to a village of a thousand souls in thirty days. Well satisfied with his experiences as a miner and frontiersman, Mr. Bly resolved to return to more civilized regions, and in the fall of 1851, on the 15th day of November, he left San Francisco for an ocean voyage to New York by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, and some months later was re-united to his family in Illinois.
After returning to this part of the country Mr. Bly continued to live in Ogle County for several years, and was actively identified with its business and public interests. In the fall of 1865 he came to Lee County and took up his residence in the city of Ashton, where he soon made his influence felt as a man of affairs, far-seeing and enterprising in business, and a promoter of all plans likely to advance the growth of the city. For several years he conducted a grocery, to which he afterward added a market for the sale of meat. He was one of the leaders in the public and political life of his community, the Republican party, to which he has belonged since its organization, finding in him one of its most effective workers and steadfast champions in this section of the State.
For twentv-one years he was a member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, and was Chairman of the Board for some time. He was elected to the position of Justice of the Peace, having had several years' experience in that line while a resident of Ogle County. When he accepted his present position lie resigned that office and his membership of the School Board of Ashton, with which he had been connected for years.
In 1887 Mr. Bly was honored by being selected to be Superintendent of the County Hospital and Poor Farm of Lee County, as it was conceded on all sides by men of all parties that he was the man most competent to fill the onerous office, and he assumed the duties of his new position in the month of September. Mr. Bly has thrown his whole soul into the work here, devoting his time and energies to the efficient and conscientious discharge of his duties. He met with the State Board of Charities that convened in Chicago in November, 1888, and has at all times made a careful study; of the systems used in conducting such institutions, and has brought the one under his charge to such a high standard that it has a reputation of being one of the best managed in the State. The hospital is a good-sized building,very well equipped, and is kept nearly filled with insane patients, there being but comparatively few sane paupers here, as the county paupers are for the most part cared for outside of the county. The farm embraces one hundred acres of tillable land, is supplied with good buildings, and improvements are constantly being made in that line and in the way of adorning the grounds with trees and shrubbery under the supervision of our subject.
Mr. Bly and Miss Anna J. Wood were united in marriage in Ogle County. She is much interested in her husband's work, and he finds in her a wise, discreet, and able coadjutor. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her daily life shows her to be a consistent Christian. Her marriage with our subject has brought them seven children, of whom two are dead, Charles W., and Almeron, who were smothered to death in a grain bin at Ashton when sixteen years old. The surviving children are Egford, an attorney at De Land, Fla., who married Miss Samantha Sproul; Minn, wife of P. 0. Sproul, a teacher and editor at DeLand; Lela, wife of Perry Burdick (they being with her parents on the poor farm); Grant, who married Miss Emma Boeruer, and is connected with the Star newspaper office at Dixon; and Effie, at home with her parents.
Mrs. Bly was born in Prescott Canada, March 7, 1830, the eldest of a family of eleven children, one son and ten daughters, of whom four are yet living. Her parents, Anasa and Lourietta (Nettleton) Wood, were natives of Canada, and were respectively of English and Irish descent. Mrs. Bly was only eight years old when they left their Canadian home to establish another in the wilds of Ogle County, coming hither in 1838, and making the entire -journey with teams. They were among the early settlers of Light House Point, where Mr. Wood secured a tract of Government land, which he began to turn into a farm. He worked hard and was doing well, when death terminated his career in 1846. He was laid to rest in the Light House Cemetery, his body being the first to be buried there. He won for himself an honorable place among the pioneers of Ogle County, and was valued for his good citizenship. His wife survived him until the summer of 1885, when she died at the age of seventy-five at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Addie Tarbox, at Olive, Iowa, and she now lies sleeping her last sleep by the side of her husband in the quiet of the peaceful cemetery at Light House Point. Both were for many years connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Wood served it long and honorably as Class-Leader.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biography

BOURNE, Lemuel
It is interesting to trace the ancestry of this gentleman, who is engaged in business at Amboy as a grocer, back to its first representatives in America. The first member of the family to seek a home in the United States was Richard Bourne, who in 1640 emigrated from Devonshire, England, to Massachusetts, where he settled in Sandwich (now Bourne), Barnstable County. His descendants at the present date are residing in Boston and that place which is now called Bourne in honor of the various members of the family who have resided there and contributed to its progress.
Benjamin Bourne, father of our subject, was a large farmer and land-owner, his possessions amounting to some three thousand acres. He frequently held public offices, being Justice of the Peace many years and also serving efficiently as a member of the Legislature during several terms. At the close of an honorable and upright life, devoted to tho discharge of public duties and private affairs, he passed quietly away at the age of seventy-nine years. The paternal grandfather of our subject. Benjamin, was a physician and surgeon, who enjoyed a lucrative practice in Sandwich, and, as tho surrounding country was sparsely settled, his practice extended over a large territory.
Unto Benjamin Bourne and his wife Lucinda were born ten children. Our subject, who was the youngest, was born in Sandwich, Mass., January 21, 1830. He passed his boyhood upon a farm and, at the age of fifteen years, went to Westbrook, Me. where he attended school. Later he was a student in college in Oxford County, the same State, and, after completing his college course, engaged in teaching during one winter in the old Bay State. From there lie proceeded to New York, and was engaged as clerk in Albany for Uri Burt, who at that date owned the largest brewery in the United States. After serving in that capicity for one year, he went to Springfield, Mass., and took charge of a wholesale house for Mr. Burt, for two years. He then removed to Maine, where for a short time he was engaged in mercantile pursuits.
Thence in 1855 Mr. Bourne removed to Amboy and became the first station agent for the Illinois Central Railroad at this place, being thus employed for eight years. Then, in partnership with J. S. Briggs he was engaged in the drug and grocery business for about three years, and withdrew from the firm to purchase an interest in a dry-goods and grocery business, under the firm name of Hawks & Bourne At the expiration of seven years, the senior member of the firm sold his interest to our subject, who has since continued sole proprietor. For several years he was the proprietor and owner of two stores, a grocery and a dry-goods establishment, but ho now conducts the former alone.
The marriage of Mr. Bourne took place in April 1858, when Miss Anna M., daughter of David C. Smith, became his wife. Mrs. Bourne was born in Alabama, in 1813, and of her union with our subject six children have been born, namely: Franklin E., who is with the Union Pacific Railroad at Denver, Col.; Anna I.., who is at home; Frederick C, book-keeper for his father; Alice A., Helen A. and Lemuel H., all of whom still remain under the parental roof and are prominent among the young people of the community. The family finds a religious home in the Episcopal Church and contributes liberally to charitable enterprises. In his social relations Mr. Bourne is a member o the Masonic fraternity and his political affiliations bring him into the Republican party, to the principles of which he firmly adheres. His fellow-citizens have honored him with several offices of a local nature and he has contributed greatly to the development of the city. Besides his property in Lee County, he is the owner of a fine farm in Iowa, which yields him a good income. In his business enterprises he has been very successful, and although he came here with limited means, he has become well-to-do. His establishment is large and his trade extensive, as a result of the superior quality of his stock, the fairness of his transactions and the reliability of his dealings.
Transcribed by Christine Walters -- Portraits & Biographical 1887

BRECHON, Jules
Lee County has a large percentage of citizens of foreign birth among her population, who arc potent in developing, sustaining and carrying forward the great industries that flourish within her borders. Our subject, although reared and educated in this country, and has known no other home, is one of this class. His business is that of a farmer and stock raiser, and his farm of eighty acres on section 33, South Dixon Township, gives abundant evidence of the skill and intelligence with which everything about the premises is managed.
Our subject is of French extraction and birth, born February 20, 1862, in the province of Alsace when it formed a part of France. He is a son of Joseph and Margaret (Wane) Brechon, the father late a prosperous farmer of this section who was for many years closely identified with the agricultural interests of this county, which lost in his death a valuable citizen. Both he and his wife were of pure French blood, and they were natives of Alsace. After the birth of all their children, they decided to emigrate to this country in 1864, and took passage from Havre de Grace on a ship bound for New York, where they landed twenty days later. They came direct to Lee County, and settling in Bradford Township on a farm that was mostly improved, began life there as farmers. They made further improvements, and nine years later sold the place in order to remove to South Dixon Township, there Mr. Brechon had purchased a quarter of section 33, which was then only slightly improved. After he had made it into a pleasant home with the assistance of his wife and children, he rested from his labors in the sleep of death, which fell to him October 4, 1886, sixty- one years having passed since his birth in the land of his fathers across the sea. He was ever a consistent Christian, and the Catholic Church under whose teachings he had been reared found in him a worthy member. In politics he was a Democrat. His good wife survives him, making her home with her children. Three score years and ten mark her age, but in her activity and retention of all her faculties she gives but little sign of being elderly. She too has been a life-long member of the Catholic Church.
Our subject is the second child And-the second son of the three children born to his parents. His brother Gustave, owns And occupies eighty acres of the parental homestead. The sister, Mary, is the wife of Thomas Ford, a thrifty young farmer occupying the Dan McKenney farm in Dixon Township. Jules Brechon received the benefit of a common-school education in the district schools of this county, where he has lived ever since he was two years old, nine years of his boyhood being passed in Bradford Township, and the remainder of his life he has been a resident of South Dixon Township. He has devoted himself to farming from his youth to good purpose, and has owned his present farm two years. It is well supplied with buildings and with modern machinery for carrying on the various operations of farming, and it is well stocked with fine breeds of cattle, horses and hogs, which bring him a good yearly income. The marriage of Mr. Brechon with Miss Margaret Ulrioh was duly celebrated in Marion Township. Among the blessings it has brought them is the little daughter, born August 15, 1890, to whom they have given the sweet, old-fashioned name of Mary Margaret. Mrs. Brechon is a native of this State, having been born at Sandwich, in De Kalb Comity, April 20,1869. She was chiefly reared, however, in this county, her parents, Joseph and Margaret (Hunt) Ulrich, removing to Marion Township and settling there on a farm when she was a child. They are yet living in that place, and have a comfortable home. They are members in high standing of the Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Virion was born in Alsace, and came to this country when a young man. In DeKalb County he met and married his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Brechon are connected with the Catholic Church at Dixon, and are generous in their contributions to its support. In his political Affiliations Mr. Brechon is a Democrat.
Portrait and Biographical Lee Co 1892

BRINK, Isiah
Is extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising on sections 19 and 20, Nachusa Township. He is numbered among the early settlers of the county, where he located in 1851. He was born on the 17th of October, 1817, in Columbia County, Pa., and is a son of Joshua and Rebecca (Cole) Brink. His father was born in Delaware, of German lineage, and when eighteen years of age removed to the Keystone State, where, in Columbia County, he met and married Miss Cole. She was a native of that county and a daughter of Ezekiel Cole, a miller by trade, who was born in New Jersey. Her father removed to Columbia County, Pa., in early life and ever afterward resided in that locality.
Joshua Brink and his wife also continued to reside in Columbia County until called to the home beyond. He was nearly ninety-four years of age at the time of his death and his wife died when sixty years of age. In religious belief they were Episcopalians and were people of worth and intelligence, highly esteemed by many friends. Their family numbered nine children, of whom our subject is third in the order of birth.
In the usual manner of farmer lads, Isaiah Brink spent the days of his boyhood and youth and in the county of his nativity was Joined in wedlock with Miss Elizabeth Stiles, a native of Luzerne County, Pa., and a daughter of Jerry and Elizabeth (Clintup) Stiles, who were also born in the Keystone State. From Luzerne County they removed to Columbia County, where upon a farm they lived many years. Both are now deceased. They died in the faith of the Episcopal Church in which they held membership.
Mr. and Mrs. Brink began their domestic life in the county of his nativity but at length be determined to try his fortune in the West and we find him located in Lee County, in the autumn of 1851. The following spring he joined a party of emigrants who, with ox-teams, made their way over the plains to California. Several months had passed away ere their journey was ended. At length they reached Shasta City on the Sacramento River and Mr. Brink embarked in mining but after a few months he began working at the carpenter's trade, which he followed until the fall of 1856, when he returned to Illinois, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and New York City.
In the meantime Mrs. Brink had purchased their present homestead with money which her husband had sent her from California, and in the spring of 1857 they located thereon. Within the boundaries of the farm are comprised four hundred and twenty acres, and in return for the care and cultivation bestowed upon it the owner reaps a golden tribute. The improvements are such as one would there expect to find and the accessories arc those of a model farm. Mr. Brink also owns two hundred and forty acres of land in Amboy and Marion Townships.
His possessions have all been acquired through his own efforts and his prosperity is certainly well deserved. In 1888 he became n member of the firm of Brink & Deiter, lumber manufacturers and extensive dealers in the same. They do a large business in that line and employ about twenty hands. Three children grace the union of Mr. and Mrs. Brink: John, who wedded Lena Tolen, and resides on the home farm in Nachusa Township; Charles, also a resident farmer of Nachusa Township, wedded Mary Wattcrs, who was born of English parentage and Catherine, the youngest, is the wife of Penny Cromley, a farmer of Marshall County, Iowa. In social circles Mr. and Mrs. Brink rank high and their friends throughout the community are many. The lady is a member of the German Informed Church. In political sentiment Mr. Brink is a Democrat but has never sought or desired public office, being content to devote his energies to his business interests in which he has met with such signal success.
Portrait and Biographical - Lee County 1892

BRITTAIN, George A.
Farmer, Paw Paw Grove, was the second son of William and Elizabeth (Oman) Brittain, and was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, in 1848. His paternal ancestors were residents of New Jersey, and those on his mother’s side belonged to Pennsylvania. His parents reared a large family; their twelve children were named as follows: Margaret, Susannah, Sarah, Eftie (dead), Hester Miranda, Amelia, Mary, Rebecca, John, George, William Wesley, Oman Peter (dead). John was a soldier in the 156th Ill. Vols., and served nearly a year. In 1855 Mr. Brittain’s parents came to Lee county and rented land ten years. In 1865 his father bought the farm where our subject now resides, the S. £ of N.W. \ Sec. 28. On this place the former died in 1878, at the age of seventy-nine years. Mr. Brittain has increased the homestead which he received from his father, by the addition of the S.W. of N.E. Sec. 28, making 120 acres valued at $6,000. He was married in 1876, to Miss Marietta Hall, who is the daughter of Reuben Hall, and was born December 22, 1859. Their children are Oman R., born August 15, 1878; and Martha, September 9, 1880. Mr. Brittain has been constable and collector, belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church, and is a republican. Mrs. Brittain is a member of the United Brethren church.
History of Lee County together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc. Chicago by H.H. Hill and Company Publishers 1881

BROOKNER, Henry C.
Was a master mechanic and builder of more than usual ability, and in that rapacity occupied important positions in the employ of the Illinois Central and the Big Four railways at different times. During the latter part of his life he settled on his farm in the vicinity of the city of Dixon, which he had owned for many years, and superintended his improvement.
Mr. Brookner was born in Osnahruck, Hanover, Germany, June 15, 1827, a son of George and Maria (Engle) Brookner. His father was a renowned contractor and builder, and was architect to the king. He and his wife spent their entire lives in the German Fatherland. They reared a family of six sons of whom these throe came to America: Henry C, Edward H., who settled in Dixon, but he and his wife are now in Hamburg. Germany, educating their two children, and Charles J., a resident of Rochester, Minn., who is married, and has two children.
Our subject attended school constantly in his native town during his boyhood. At the age of nineteen, ambitious to we something of the world, and to try his fortunes in America, he left the parental homo, and crossing the Atlantic on a sailing vessel,six weeks later he landed at New Orleans. His outlook was not very encouraging as he was in ill health, and the expenses of the voyage had left him but $4. With true manliness he at once sought employment whereby he could turn an honest penny, and found a situation in a hotel in the Crescent City. He remained there a few months and then made his way to St Louis, and became a clerk in a hardware store in that city, continuing in that occupation until 1847. In the month of August, that year, ho came to Dixon, and commenced work with his uncle Christopher Brookner, who was a carpenter. lie evinced great aptitude for the trade, quickly mastering it in every detail, and in no very long time became a builder on his own account. The Illinois Central Railway Company engaged him to superintend the construction of bridges, and he remained with them nine years, resigning at the end of that time to accept the position of roadmaster and master builder with the Indiana d; St. Louis Railroad Company, now known as the "Big Four." He retained that situation ten years, making his headquarters at Litchfield. In 1879 he retired to Lee County and located on his farm, which he had bought in 1856, which is a mile and a half south of Dixon, he busied himself with its improvement during the remainder of his life, which was brought to a close January 10, 1889. In dying he left behind him a high reputation as a man whose conduct at all times and in all places showed that his life was guided by Christian principles, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which he connected himself early in life, found in him an exemplary member, who was esteemed for his unswerving honesty and veracity.
During his residence in Litchfield Mr. Brookner was married to Miss Emma R. Keithley, their union being solemnized April 4, 1875. She was tenderly watchful of his interests and comfort, made his last years the best, and reverently cherished his memory. She is a woman of sterling worth, and is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which she united when she was young. Her marriage with our subject brought them these three children—Mae Adella, Paul, and George Keithley.
Mrs. Brookner, who was born in Greenville IN, is a daughter of Seth M. Keithley, who was born at Elizabethtown, Ky., in 1812. His father was John Keithley, and he was a native of Maryland coming of German ancestry, he removed from that State to Kentucky in the early days of its settlement, and thence to the Territory of Indiana, where he became one of the early settlers of Floyd County, locating in the primeval forests near Greenville. He bought a tract of heavily timbered land. elected a log house on it, and before his death had cleared a good farm. The maiden name of his wife was Phebe McCollum. She was a native of Maryland, and of Scotch ancestry. Both she and her husband are sleeping their last sleep in a church yard near Greenville.
Mrs. Brookner's father was very young when his parents removed to Indiana, and there he grew to manhood under pioneer influences, he learned the trade of a carriage maker and followed it in Greenville some years. In 1857 became to Illinois with his family, and settled in Litchfield, where he was engaged in manufacturing carriages until 1878 when he retired from active business, making his home with his children in that place until his death March 28, 1887. The maiden name of his wife was Theresa Miller. She was born near Elizabethtown, Ky., was reared in Floyd County, Ind., and died in Litchfield in 1872.
Portrait and Biographical Lee Co IL 1892

Back Home