Lee County Biography

DANA, Josiah P.
Deceased, he was for many years numbered among the leading business men of Dixon and it is but meet that he should be represented in this work among the honored pioneers and best citizens of the county. He was born on the site of the State Capitol of New York, on the llth of January, 1819, and came of an old and highly respected New England family. In direct line the ancestry is traced back to three brothers of the name of Dana —John, Joseph and Daniel—who left their home in England, their native land,and crossed the Atlantic with some of the Pilgrim Fathers. They located in Massachusetts and Vermont and the descendants are now numerous. The grandfather and great-grandfather of our subject, both of whom bore the name of Daniel Dana, were natives of Massachusetts, and served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War, participating in the battle of Bunker Hill. Merchandising was their business for many years, and they were both prominent men in the community where they made their home. The family has been one devoted to commerce, most of its sons being dry-goods merchants.
The father of our subject, John Wood Dana, was born in Warwick, Mass., in 1788, and there married Sophia Pomroy, a native of the Bay State. They removed to New York where the father engaged in merchandising until his death. His wife died in New York City at an advanced age. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church.
As Josiah Dana lost his father when nine years of age, he went to live with his uncle, Daniel Dana, by whom he was carefully reared and educated. There he found a home until twenty-two years of age, when he came Westward to try his fortune.
For a time he resided in Chicago. He also spent many years as a lumber merchant and miller on the shores of Lake Michigan, and afterwards located in Portage, Wis., where he engaged in merchandising. During his residence in that city he was joined in wedlock with Miss Winifred Nixon, a native of Staffordshire, England, where her parents, Enoch and Ann (Kidd) Nixon, were also born and spent their childhood. After their marriage Mr. Nixon in company with his brother John, engaged in the manufacture of fine crockery-ware in Staffordshire, England, for many years. At length, accompanied by his wife and six children, he crossed the briny deep to America, sailing from Liverpool to New Orleans, where he arrived after a voyage of seven weeks. He went up the Mississippi River to Montrose, Iowa, where he spent the winter, and the following spring removed to Wisconsin, purchasing a large farm near Portage. In the hope of benefiting his impaired health, he had determined to engage in agricultural pursuits, but his death occurred a few years later from the bursting of a blood-vessel. This was in 1855, and he was about forty-four years of age. A man of good business ability he had made of his life a success. His wife still survives him and is now seventy-eight years of age. With the Methodist Church she holds membership, her husband having also belonged to it.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dana were born four children, but two are now deceased: Charles D., who died in childhood; and Minnie F., who was killed in the bridge disaster in Dixon, May 4, 1873, when seven years of age. Kittie M., an accomplished young lady, graduated from the Dixon schools and the Northwestern Normal. Fred, who completes the family, is still at home.
From Portage, Wis., Mr. Dana came to Dixon in I860 and established business as a general merchant. Having inherited the business ability of his ancestors, he worked up an excellent trade, and the liberal patronage which rewarded his efforts brought him a handsome competence. In commercial circles and by those with whom business relations brought him into contact he was held in high esteem and was recognized as one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of the community.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

Farmer, Paw Paw Grove, was born in liarpersfield, Delaware count}', New York, in 1823, and was the eldest child in the family. His mother, whose maiden name was Pamelia Dayton, was a native of Weatherstield, Connecticut. His father, Erastus Davenport, was born in Columbia county, New York. His grandfather Davenport was a revolutionary soldier. The subject of this notice traces his lineage in this country from the Rev. John Davenport, a co-founder of New Haven. In his “History of the United States ” McCabe thus refers to him : “ In the year of the Pequod war (1637) John Davenport, a celebrated clergyman of London, and Theophilus Eaton, a merchant of wealth, and a number of their associates, who had been exiled from England for their religious opinions, reached Boston. They were warmly welcomed, and were urged to stay in the Bay colony; but the theological disputes were so high there that they preferred to go into the wilderness and found a settlement where they could be at peace. Eaton, with a few men, was sent to explore the region west of the Connecticut, which had been discovered by the pursuers of the Pequods. He examined the coast of Long Island Sound, and spent the winter at a place which he selected as a settlement. In April, 1838, Davenport and the rest of the company sailed from Boston, and established a settlement on the spot chosen by Eaton.” In the campaign against the Indians, which resulted in the total destruction of the Pequod nation, Capt. Davenport acted a conspicuous part. When their fort on the Thames was assaulted and taken he commanded one-half of the assailing party, and Capt. John Mason, who was in command of the whole expedition, directed personally the movements of the other half. Mr. Davenport received a good English education, and in 1846 commenced reading to prepare himself for the practice of medicine. In 1848 and 1849 he attended lectures at the Albany Medical College, of New York, and in 1850 located in Lorraine county, Ohio. Subsequently he settled in Van Wert county, where his health failed, and then he came to Lee county, Illinois, remaining one year. In January, 1874, he went to Washington Territory, living there two years. In 1876 he returned to the east, and finally settled down on a farm in Willow Creek township. In the summer of the present year (1881) he took a foreign tour. Dr. Davenport has had an eventful, as it is an interesting, history, but his native modesty will not permit us to detail it in full. lie was descended from old-line whig stock, and is naturally a republican.
History of Lee County together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc. Chicago by H.H. Hill and Company Publishers 1881

DIMICK, Alfred S.
A real-estate dealer, money loaner and insurance agent of Dixon, has been engaged in business in this city since 1860. He is ranked among the leading business men of the community, and one of the public-spirited and progressive citizens of Lee County. For more than six years he has carried on operations in his present line, having embarked in the business in 1885. The same success which attended him in other directions has again followed his foot-steps, and among the substantial men of Dixon is numbered Albert Dimick. The Dimick family is of English origin and was established in America during early Colonial days. Lot and Jonathan Dimick, the great-grandfather and grandfather, spent their entire lives in Mansfield, Conn., their birthplace, and followed the occupation of farming. The latter married Alexis Stows, a native of Mansfield, who came of an old New England family, and died in her native town at an advanced age. The father of our subject,
Jabez S. Dimick, was born in Mansfield, Conn., and when a young man, emigrated to Massachusetts, where he acquired a knowledge of cloth finishing and pressing and also did fancy dyeing. He was overseer for many years in those departments of factories, and did his last work in that line in Leicester. In 1867 he came with his wife to Dixon, and spent his last days in the home of his son, where he died in 1873, at the age of seventy-three years. He was a good citizen and a man of noble character. Under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church he was reared, but afterward became a Methodist and was a devoted member and liberal supporter of that church until his death. In Worcester, Mass., he had married Miss Betsy G. Dunbar, who came of a long-lived family of Scotch origin, that in an early day was founded in Worcester. She is yet living at the age of eighty-seven years, her home being with our subject. Her life has been that of a consistent Christian, and she is beloved by all who know her.
The maternal grandfather of Mr. Dimick, Ebenezer Dunbar, was born in Leicester, Mass., where lie spent his entire life, and died at the advanced age of one hundred years and seven months. Sickness or disease had never undermined his constitution or broken down his health, but the flame of life grew fainter and fainter, and at last flickered and went out. He married Polly Golden, a native of Worcester County,and a daughter of Col. Golden, of Revolutionary fame. Her father was for many years a prominent citizen of the county, and a Deacon in the Baptist Church, as was also Ebenezer Dunbar. The father of the latter, Abner Dunbar, was one of the early settlers of Worcester County, Mass., where he died an old man. He was also one of the heroes of the Revolution, and married a niece of Gen. Warren, who won his title in the same war.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who was born in Leicester, Mass., in 1825. His education was acquired in the common schools and at Leicester Academy, and when twenty-two years of age he left home to begin life for himself. Going to Wilkes Barre, Pa., in 1847, he spent ten years at that place in the boot and shoe trade, and in 1857 came to Lee County, Ill., where for three years he engaged in business as a farmer and coal dealer. In 1860 he opened a boot and shoe store, and after four years built a business block on First Street, near the corner of Hennepin Avenue, which he occupied until 1885. He worked up an excellent trade and also did a fine jobbing business for some years. The latter business, however, proved disastrous. By the courteous treatment of his customers, and fair and honest dealing he secured a liberal patronage which he well merited. Not wishing to live in idleness, when he sold out his shoe store 111 1885, He embarked in his present line as real-estate dealer and loan and insurance agent. His son is now associated with him as partner, the latter having his headquarters in Cedar County, Neb., while our subject controls affairs in this community.
Ere leaving the East, Mr. Dimick was married in Wilkes Barre, Pa., to Miss Emma M. Levering, a native of the Keystone State, and a daughter of Dr. Abraham Levering, who was born in France and came to America with his parents when quite young. Having been carefully reared and highly educated, he became an eminent physician, and for many years was known as a great cancer specialist, lie had an extensive and lucrative practice in Monroe County, Pa., where he also served as County Treasurer for five terms, and where for the last twenty years of his life he served as Associate Judge, filling the office with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents, as was attested by his continued re-election. He died of paralysis at the age of seventy years. He was a refined polished gentleman who won the respect of all and in religious belief was a Moravian. He wedded Miss Mary Rogers, an intelligent and cultured lady of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Dr. Rogers, who was long one of the most prominent physicians of Northampton County, Pa. He was the preceptor of Dr. Gross, the well-known physician of Philadelphia, and Dr. Levering also studied under his direction for some years.
Mrs. Dimick, the wife of our subject, was afforded excellent educational advantages, and is a lady of fine attainments and many virtues. By her marriage have been horn six children: Mary E., wife of H. C. Burrows, who is Superintendent of the iron works of Lancaster, Pa., and a son of the late Thomas H. Burrows, ex-Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, under Gov. Ritner; Eugene L., who engaged in the real-estate and insurance business in Hartington, Cedar County, Neb., married Georgia Herrick, niece of the late Col. Henry Noble, of Dixon; Harry C. is a commercial agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, and resides in Pittsburg, Pa.: Fred D., who wedded Ada Wall), of Meadville, Pa., now deceased, is lime keeper and telegraph operator for the Pullman Car Company of Pullman, 111.; and Nettie and Della are at home.
Mr. Dimick is a Republican in politics, and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church. No family is held in higher regard, and their rank in social circles is among the best. Our subject has long been connected with the business interests of Dixon, where he has won prosperity by industry, enterprise and the exercise of correct business principles, and has a host of friends throughout this community.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

DOLAN, Thomas
merchant tailor of a business in the Dolan Block, on Galena Avenue, located permanently in this city in 1871, but had resided here previously, the date of his coming being 1841. He was born in County Longford, Ireland, November, 14, 1827, and is a son of Michael and Ellen (Phiney) Dolan, who spent their entire lives in County Longford, on the farm which had been the family homestead for three generations. The death of the father resulted from an accident incurred at the age of fifty-four years, and his wife only survived him about six months. They both adhered to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church. Only two of their children are yet living—Thomas, of this sketch, and Mary, wife of James Carroll, who for thirty-seven years has been foreman of the water works of Jersey City, N. J.
Our subject is one of the self-made men of Lee County, having made his own way in the world from the age of fourteen years. Prior to that time he remained under the parental roof, but in the spring of 1841 bade good-by to home and native land, and accompanied by a brother as far as Liverpool, England, whence he crossed the Atlantic in the sailing-vessel “Kilber,” landing at New Orleans several weeks later. He then proceeded up the Mississippi River to Peru, Ill., and the same year joined another brother, William, in Lee County. Empty-handed he began life in the New World, and for the success which has crowned his efforts he deserves all the credit. Not long after his arrival he met with a sad accident. While working in a dye house his right leg was scalded and fears were entertained for his life, but through the kind treatment he received in the Sisters Hospital, of St. Louis, he ultimately recovered after two years of illness, but was left a cripple. In the fall of 1843 he began learning the tailors trade in Joliet, Ill., where he remained until 1846, when he went to Chicago, and in that city spent fourteen years in the line of his chosen profession. He was also employed as a journey- man in a tailoring establishment in Morrison, Ill., for five years, and for six years engaged as cutter with Wilson Allen in Polo, this State. In the meantime he had spent the years 1852 and 1853 in Dixon, and now returned in 1871, making a permanent location. For more than twenty years he has carried on his tailoring establishment in Lee County with good success.
While in Chicago Mr. Dolan married Miss Rose Crawford, who was born in Ireland, and in 1851 came with an uncle to this country. Her mother had died in the Emerald Island and subsequently her father, Nicholas Crawford, crossed the Atlantic tp America, joining his daughter in Chicago. In after years he went to Kankakee, Ill., where he is still living at an advanced age. He belongs to the Catholic Church, as did also his wife. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dolan have been born sixteen children, among these being triplets and twins. Ten of the number are yet living—Lucy, wife of John McBride, a publisher of periodicals in New York City; Thomas F., who wedded Maria O’ Conner, is engaged in merchant tailoring in Chicago, as a partner with his twin brother, Joseph M.; Minnie, Nina and Maggie are all stenographers of Chicago, one being employed as a court reporter, another in the Leland House, and the third in the Palmer House; William, who is a tailor by trade, hut is now employed as a salesman in a wholesale grocery house of Chicago; Agnes, who attends the Normal College of Dixon, where she is studying elocution; and Lizzie and John, both of whom are High School students.
Mr. Dolan, his wife and children are all active members of the Roman Catholic Church, and in polities he is a supporter of the Democratic party. While in Chicago he took quite an active part in local military affairs and was First Lieutenant of the Emmet Guards from 1856 until the late war broke out. With Capt. Pat O’Conner and First Lieut. D. M. Ward, he organized a company for service in the Rebellion, and out of the eighty-five men he was the only one not accepted, his rejection being due to his lameness. He has been quite a prominent citizen in Dixon for many years, and in 1883 and 1884 served as City Alderman. During this time the city waterworks were put in and the cemetery also laid out, Mr. Dolan acting as Chairman of the Cemetery Committee. It was largely through his influence that the Protestants and Catholics joined in making this burial city for their dead. Mr. Dolan has led a busy and useful life, and by his industry and perseverance has acquired a comfortable property, being now well-to-do.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

DUFFY, Bernhard
Deceased, he was formally years a leading agriculturist of Palmyra Township, and when called to his final rest his death was deeply mourned by many friends. A native of the Emerald Isle, he was born in County Monoghan, April 25, 1832. He lost his father, John Duffy, when only seven years of age. The death of Mr. Duffy, Sr., occurred while in the prime of life and resulted from injuries received by causing his horse to jump a picket fence. He was a farmer and followed that occupation in pursuit of fortune. His wife, whose maiden name was Ellen Lenon, died when Bernhard was eighteen years of age. Both she and her husband were members of the Catholic Church.
Our subject, with his brother Patrick, who is now living in the South, and his sister Bridget, now Mrs. Engel, of Clinton, IL came to this country together soon after the death of the mother. From Dundalk they went to Liverpool and thence sailed to New York. From that city Mr. Duffy came to Dixon. The year 1851 witnessed his arrival and the commencement of his life in the West. As he was in very limited circumstances, he began to work at farm labor which he continued until he had saved a sufficient sum to purchase land and begin farming for himself. He further completed his arrangements for a home by his union with Miss Mary Williams, celebrated in Dixon in 1878. The lady was born in Bilston, Staffordshire, England, in 1862, and is a daughter of William and Mary (McCuen) Williams. Her father was born in London in 1828, and in Staffordshire wedded Miss McCuen, a native of Ireland, who was reared and educated in England. After the birth of their two children the parents came with their family to the United States in 1868, locating first in Massachusetts. Subsequently they removed to Pennsylvania, and some years later came to Dixon, Ill., Mr. Williams purchasing a farm near that city where he and his wife spent the remainder of their days. Her death occurred October 3, 1884, and about two years later, on the 22d of July, 1888, the husband was called to his final rest. Both were consistent Catholics and were well and favorably known throughout this community. Their three children are yet living, namely: Mrs. Duffy, of this sketch; Agnes, who is employed as a saleslady in the store of Stearns Brothers, of Dixon; and William, who also makes his home in that city.
After his marriage, Mr. Duffy resumed his farm labors and the land which he purchased his placed under a high state of cultivation, also placed many improvements upon it which greatly enhanced its value and its attractive appearance. The farm, which comprises one hundred acres, is still the property of Mrs. Duffy, under whose management it is operated. She is a capable business woman, energetic and industrious, and her property yields her a good return. The home of this worthy couple was blessed with two children, sons. John and Edward, who are still with their mother.
On the 1st of July, 1890, Mr. Duffy met with an accident which resulted in his death. He was thrown from a load of hay by the fork failing to act aright, and falling to the floor was partially paralyzed. The accident, resulted in complete paralysis and he died thirty-six hours later, his family lost a faithful husband and father, the Catholic Church a consistent member and active worker, and the county a public-spirited and valued citizen who always bore his part in public affairs and took an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare and upbuilding of the community. Mrs. Duffy has recently built a beautiful home on Peoria Avenue in Dixon, where she now resides with her two sons. She is a member of the Catholic Church and has many warm friends throughout this community.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

Hugh Duffy has shown marked ability as a farmer by transforming the one hundred and thirty-eight acres of land now included in his homestead, situated on section 15, Nelson Township, into a fruitful, highly cultivated farm, which is amply supplied with modern improvements and all the appliances and machinery for facilitating agricultural labors. Mr. Duffy devotes his farm partly to the dairy business, which is quite an important source of income, and partly to raising grain and stock, he has also for many years conducted a lucrative business as a well digger.
Our subject was born in October, 1829, in County Monaghan,Ireland, in the parish of Anna Mullen, in the town of Carntree, his birthplace being within a mile of the ancestral home of Gen. Jackson’s father and grandfather. The parents of our subject, Philip and Ann (Coyle) Duffy, were life-long residents of that Irish county and were descendants of the old Celtic stock. Both died when comparatively young, his death occurring in 1840, at the age of forty years, and hers at the age of thirty-live years. They were members of the Catholic Church and were true Christian people, who were greatly respected by their neighbors. The father was a farmer by occupation.
Our subject was but ten years old when his mother died, and only eleven years of age when his father closed his eyes in death. This sad bereavement left him dependent on his own resources for a livelihood. Fortunately, the little Irish lad was made of good stuff that could withstand the buffets of the world, he had a resolute will, an unfaltering courage and a cheerful, hopeful disposition. He was active and healthy, had been trained to industrious habits, notwithstanding his youthfulness, and was ready at all times to perform any kind of honest labor. To a mind like his, the United States presented many attractions, and in 1847 he carried out his determination to emigrate to this country, sailing from Liverpool March 22, in the “Wisconsin,” which was commanded by Capt. Mumford. He landed in the city of New York on the 20th of April, after an unusually quick passage for those times. The next two years of his life were passed at Warwick, R. I., and he then came Westward in the year 1849, and has since lived in Lee County. He was well equipped for the pioneer life of those days, as we have seen, and has made his mark as a pioneer to whom all honor is due. He has not only witnessed the great changes that have taken place since he first set foot on this soil, but he has had a hand in bringing about the gradual development of the county into a rich and highly improved agricultural center.
In 1851 Mr. Duffy made his first purchase of land, to which he has since added other land. The fine farm that he now owns is the result of his untiring labors. He has erected a substantial, commodious barn, fitting it up with all the conveniences in general use to-day, and he has put up other well-arranged buildings. Together with his farming he carries on quite an extensive dairy business, using thirty cows for the purpose. For many years he has been a well-digger, having all the necessary machinery, and has dug overdone hundred deep wells. As in all things else, Mr. Duffy is independent in politics, having a mind of his own, and is bound by no party ties. He is a thoroughly good citizen, loyal in thought and act to his adopted country. His fellow-townsmen always find him genial and obliging in his intercourse with them and fair in his dealings. The religion of his ancestors is dear to him,and he and his family are Catholics.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Isabel Hammill was solemnized at Dixon. Mrs. Duffy was born and reared in the same county where her husband bad his birth, her parents, Patrick and Catherine (Dailey) Hammill lived and died in Ireland, her father attaining the venerable age of ninety- seven years, while her mother was in the prime of life when her death occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Duffy have experienced sorrow in their wedded life in the death of six of their children, all dying quite young, who were named Mary A., Philip, Patrick, Katie, Isabel and Frank. The children spared to bless and cheer their declining years are John, Alice, Patrick and Henry. John, who works in the condensed milk factory at Dixon, married Miss Kate McManus. Mrs. Duffy departed this life at her home in Nelson Township, December 28,1891, aged sixty-three years.
Portraits and Biographical 1892

Back Home