Lee County Biographies



CARNAHAN, Andrew J. Is the proprietor of a valuable farm in Brooklyn Township, joining the village of Compton on the south, on which he makes his home, is one of the pioneers of Lee County, who has been identified with various of its industries since the early years of its settlement, and has been no unimportant factor in developing its resources. During his residence here of forty-one years, he has accumulated a handsome property, whereby he is enabled to spend his declining years free from active business.
Mr. Carnahan was born in Columbia County, Pa., May 15, 1816, his birthplace being on a farm ten miles southwest of Danville. His father, whose name was David Carnahan, was also a Pennsylvanian by birth, while his grandfather, William Carnahan, was bora in County Antrim, Ireland, coming of one of the old Scotch families that colonized that region. He came from his native isle to America when a young man, and settling in Pennsylvania, was there married to Mary Stuart, who had come over in the same vessel with him. He spent his last years in Columbia County. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. They reared five children: William, David, Polly, Margaret and Ellen.
David Carnahan was reared and married in Pennsylvania, taking as his wife Margaret Mann, a native of Lancaster County, that .State. In his youth he learned the trade of a tailor and followed it for some years in his early manhood, but he later turned his attention to farming, for which he had a natural taste, and his last years were devoted to that occupation in Columbia County, where both he and his wife departed this life at ripe ages. They were sincere Christian people, who were reared in the Presbyterian faith, and were consistent members of that church to the last They wore the parents of these nine children: Polly, who married Samuel Hilkert, and died in Pennsylvania; Elizabeth, who married Joseph Madden, came to this county with him in 1846, and subsequently died here; William, who spent his entire life in Pennsylvania; Samuel, who came to this county in 1848, and resided here the rest of his life; Allen, who came to Lee County in 1846, and died in Brooklyn Township; Charles, who came to Lee County in 1850, and spent his remaining days in Brooklyn Township; Jane, who married Jeremiah Berringer, came with him to Lee County in 1853, and died in Brooklyn Township; our subject; and Margaret, who died in Pennsylvania.
He of whom this biography is written brought up in his native county, and was educated in its schools. At first there were no free schools, as they were conducted on the subscription plan in the early years of his boyhood, and his parents had to pay for his tuition according to the number of scholars sent. As soon as large enough to be of use, he was set to work on the farm, and by the time he attained his majority he had acquired a good insight into the most practical methods of farming, and when he was twenty-one he left the parental home to begin life on his own account on rented land in his native county. Two years later, he bought a farm of sixty-five acres there, upon which he continued to live until 1850. In 1849 he visited Lee County in search of a suitable location, as he had determined to try farming on the fertile virgin soil of Illinois, and he selected four hundred and eighty acres of land south of the present site of Compton and joining the plat He instructed a man to buy it for him if he could do so, and returned to Pennsylvania to spend the winter. In the spring he set out for his new home, with his wife and six children,starting on the long and momentous journey April 14, with two pair of horses and two wagons, and arriving at his destination May 25, when he located on the land that
He had previously selected and on which he has ever since dwelt in comfort and contentment. He has been an interested witness of almost the entire growth of this whole section of country, as when he came here the few settlers that had preceded him had made but little headway in reducing the land to subjection. The prairies were as yet uninhabited, as they were regarded as valueless as places of settlement, and deer and other wild animals were to be seen roaming over them and through the timber. There were no railways for some years, and Ottawa was the principal market.
Mr. Carnahan continued actively engaged in farming and stock-raising, bringing his land into a fine condition, until 1874, when he branched out in other directions, erected an elevator on his land, a saw and grist mill, and engaged in dealing in grain, in the manufacture of lumber, and in the mercantile business generally. His business facilities were increased by the railway company establishing a station on his land, known as Carnahan's Station. Mr. Carnahan continued in active business until 1885, and then retired to all intents and purposes, though he still exercises a supervision over his interests. His career is one of which he and his may well be proud, as it furnishes an example of what may be accomplished by honest purpose and persistent work, directed by sagacious forethought and a clear understanding of practical business methods, which have placed him in the front rank of the substantial men of his township. He is a Democrat in politics, who has been unswerving in his allegiance to his party, in adversity he well as in triumph. He has honorably served as Justice of the Peace for Brooklyn Township for twenty-one years, and has been an important agent in preserving law and order in the community. He and his amiable wife are faithful members of the Presbyterian Church, and contribute liberally to its support.
Fifty-six years ago,May 14, 1835, Mr. Carnahan was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Holdren, and their wedded life of unusual duration has been one of true happiness. Mrs. Carnahan was born in Columbia County, Pa., April 27, 1816, and is a daughter of Aid and Abbie (DeMott) Holdren. Her union with our subject has been blessed with children, of whom the following are recorded: Sarah married William Morgan, and they have five children; La Fayette married Sarah Cobb, and they have four children; Ellen married Frank Cole, and they have four children; Miranda married Hugh Hendershot, and they have one child; Mary, who married John Huff, lost her life in a railway accident, and left several children motherless; Abbie, now Mrs. Smith McBride, has four children.

CHAFFEE, Fernando H. A capitalist, now living in retirement from business at Paw Paw, has a place in the history of the rise and progress of Lee County as one of its men of action and clear-sighted enterprise, who, while accumulating wealth for themselves, have materially assisted in raising the financial status of this section of the State.
Mr. Chaffee is of sterling New England ancestry, and in that part of the country he first saw the light. November 21, 1827 in the pretty town of Athens, among the hills of Windham County, Vt. His father. Eber Chaffee, was also a native of Windham County, of which his father, who was born in New England in 1769, was a pioneer. He was a shoemaker and a farmer, and carried on both occupations. He owned n farm in Athens, which he occupied many years, and he died in his adopted State in 1857, at a venerable age. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth Stickney. She was born in New England, May 3, 1777, the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, and she died in July, 1860.
The father of our subject learned the trade of a tanner, and followed it among his native hills a few years. In 1840 he emigrated from his New England borne to the Prairie State, accompanied by his wife and children, traveling with a train arrow the Green Mountains to Troy, N. Y., from there by the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and there by the lakes to Chicago, which they found to be a nourishing village, founded in the swamps, with a population of some five or six thousand souls. From the future metropolis of the West, the family proceeded with teams U> the present site of Compton, in Kane County. At that time all the land in that section of the State was owned by the Government, the surveys not being completed. Mr. Chaffee bought a squatter's claim to a tract of land, paying him for the improvements, which consisted of a double log house and a few acres of the land broken ready for cultivation. After taking possession of the log house, the father entered actively upon the task before him of reclaiming his land from the wilderness, and experienced the hardships rind privations that usually full to the lot of pioneers in a newly, settled country, where deer and other kinds of wild game betokened that civilization had not made much progress in that region, as was further attested by the absence of railways and the distance of markets, he and his fellow pioneers having to go all the way to Chicago with their teams when they wished to dispose of their grain and obtain family supplies. He was a resident of that county until his demise, which closed an honorable career as a citizen and a pioneer farmer of Northern Illinois. His faithful companion also died on the home farm. She bore the maiden name of Annie Davis, was a native of Vermont and a daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Richmond) Davis, who were natives of New England. Fernando H. Chaffee, the subject of this biographical review, was a lad of thirteen years when he accompanied his parents in their emigration from the hills of his native State to the prairies of this, and he remembers well the incidents of the pioneer life under whose influences he attained a strong, self-sufficient manhood. He is one of the oldest settlers of Northern Illinois, now residing in Lee County. Before he came here, he had begun his education in the public schools of Vermont, and after coming here, he was a pupil in the pioneer schools of Kane County, that were held in rude log houses, that had seats made of slabs, which were supported by wooden pins, and they had no desks in front. He commenced early in his boyhood to make himself useful in doing such farm work as he could, and he made his home with his parents until 1852. Like many another, he then tried his fortunes in California, starting with others in the month of April, with teams, crossing the Mississippi at Lyons and the Missouri at Council Bluffs, and from there traveling over a desolate region of uninhabited plains and lofty mountains, the Mormons at Salt Lake City being about the only settlers in all that vast expanse of country between the Missouri River and California. Buffaloes, deer, elk, and other wild animals were encountered in large numbers, and Indians were occasionally seen. Arriving in the Golden State in August, Mr. Chaffee engaged in mining the greater part of the ensuing four years, with reasonably good results, and, satisfied with his gains, in 1856 he returned home.
The next two years after he came back from the Pacific Coast, Mr. Chaffee resided in Compton, whence he came to I.ec County in 1858, and settled on a tract of land in Wyoming Township, which he had entered from the Government before going to California. He erected suitable buildings, improved the land, planted fruit, shade and ornamental trees, thus adding to the attractiveness of the place, and lived there until 1883. In that year, he again went to California, taking his family with him this time, but his life was saddened while there, as sickness came, and two of his children went on that silent journey whence no traveler returns. So, after a brief sojourn in that State, the remaining members of the family came back to Lee County, and our subject has since lived retired, engaging in no active business, but spending his time in looking after his private interests, which are extensive. He owns four hundred and eighty-four acres of choice fanning land in Wyoming Township, eighty acres in Kansas, and one hundred acres in Southern California.
Mr. Chaffee was a second time married July 15, 1858, to Miss Delia Barber, in whom he has a devoted wife, who has lessened for him the sorrows of life and added to its joys. Mrs. Chaffee was born near Montreal Canada, in September, 1837. Her father, Labina Barber, was a native of Vermont, but in the early part of his life he settled in Canada, and was there married to Anna Nichols,who was likewise a native of Vermont. Her father was a Scotchman, who had first located in Vermont after coming to America, hut had subsequently removed to Canada. Some time after marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Barber went to New York, and after a residence there of seven years, came to Illinois in 1847. From that time until death claimed them, they made their home on n farm that he purchased at Compton, in Kane County, both living to a ripe old age, he dying in May, 1883, And she preceding him to the life beyond in 1880.
Mr. and Mrs. Chaffee have had ten children, of whom these five Are living; Edmund, Elmer S., Wilbur T., Ella M. and Minnie A. Our subject and his wife are firm believers in the value of a liberal education and besides giving their children a careful training in the home, have given them the advantages of the best schools, and the four younger children Are students of Lake Forest Seminary. Edmund, who has a rare talent for music, went to Europe after completing his course at Aurora Seminary, and for three years he has devoted himself to the study of his beloved art under the instruction of the most competent masters of German v. Mr. Chaffee has one daughter, Abbie F., by a former marriage, who is now the wife of William H. Faber and resides in Wyoming Township, Lee County, IL.
Portrait and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

CHASE, Everett E. The ordinary, everyday life, with its duties and cares, affords splendid opportunity, for acquiring practical experience, and its most common high road gives to the true worker available openings toward success. The honored position occupied by Mr. Chase in social and business circles is not the result of accidental fortune, but has been secured by tireless energy and honorable dealings with all. During a period of thirty-six years he has resided in Amboy, where he is at present (1892) serving as Justice of the Peace, and has heretofore occupied other positions of honor and trust The ancestors of Mr. Chase were among the Puritans of New England, where various representatives of the family still reside. Simpson Chase, father of our subject, was a mason by trade, and for a number of years was engaged in contracting and building. One hand becoming disabled, he gave up his trade, and during the remainder of his life was engaged as a grocer in Providence, R.I. In that city he resided during the greater portion of his life and until he passed away, at the age of fifty-six years. His wife, whose maiden name was Rebecca Goff, survived him many years, and attained to the great age of seventy-six years. The worthy couple held membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which they were earnest workers.
The subject of this biographical notice was one of nine children, of whom five attained to their majority. He was born in Paw tucket, R. I., September 27, 1840, and was the recipient of excellent advantages during his youth. Of the family to which he belongs, only two members survive besides himself: his sisters, Rebecca E. and Elizabeth J., both of whom reside in Providence, R. I. An elder brother, Newton S., came to Amboy soon after this place was started, and engaged in business as a merchant tailor until his death. Charles, a younger brother, was a fine musician, but died when a young man. After completing the course of instruction in the schools of Providence, our subject came to Amboy in 1856, when sixteen years old. His first employment was in clerking in his brother's merchant tailoring establishment, and later he was engaged as Deputy Postmaster for a short time.
Again Mr. Chase was employed as a clerk and as Deputy Postmaster, and some time later, in connection with the latter position, he became a partner in a book and stationery business. In 1864 he enlisted in the United States service as a private in Company A, Eleventh Illinois Infantry. He server! one year, being principally on detached duty and doing clerical work. After the war he was not in any regular business until 1868, when he entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad, as clerk in the office of the Superintendent, a position which he held until 1875. He then engaged in the live stock business for two years, until his election to the position of Justice of the Peace. He has since served in this capacity with the exception of four years (from 1885 to 1889) when he was not engaged in any special work. In 1867 Mr. Chase was married to Miss Mollie, daughter of John C. Jacobs. Mrs. Mollie Chase died in 1868, and seven years later Mr. Chase was united in marriage with the widow of Capt. M. W. Wells, whose maiden name was Orace Cowdrey. Mr. and Mrs. Chase have an attractive home in Amboy, and he is also the owner of a farm of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the city. The only society to which he belongs is the A. 0. U.W. In his political affiliations he has always been a strong Republican, and has been a delegate to State conventions. Besides the office which he now holds, he has filled various other local positions, having been City Clerk twelve years and Tax Collector for two terms.
Portraits and Biographical 1892 Lee County

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