Lee County Biography
William B. Brinton

The name of William B. Brinton figures prominently upon the pages of the history of Lee county, for he is today at the head of one of the most extensive and important business interests of this part of the state, being president of the Grand Detour Plow Company.

Mr. Brinton was born in Greencastle, Indiana. His ancestors were Quakers and his father was a farmer. The advantages of a public-school education were enjoyed by him in his youth, and in 1865 he moved to Illinois, then only ten years of age. When seventeen he was clerk in a retail implement store. Thus his initial step in the business world led him in a direction that brought him eventually to the head of the important enterprise in which he is now the controlling spirit. He continued to act as clerk until 1873. In 1876 he went on the road as traveling salesman for the Moline Wagon Company, which he represented until 1893. In June of that year he was appointed United States marshal for the southern district of Illinois, and discharged the duties of that position in a capable manner for four years. He next bought an interest in the Peru Plow Company in 1897 and was its president until 1905, when he came to Dixon and entered upon active connection with the Grand Detour Plow Company as its president. Mr. Brinton was a director of the National Association of Manufacturers of Implements and Vehicles for several years and was its president for one term. For sixteen years he was treasurer of the state democratic committee. He has received appointments from republican officials, Governor Yates having made him a commissioner to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, while Governor Tanner appointed him Illinois commissioner to the Omaha Exposition. He has been a delegate to national conventions of his party held in Denver, Colorado, and in Baltimore, Maryland. He has never been active as an office seeker, but in 1911 his fellow townsmen prevailed upon him to become the mayoralty candidate and at the election in April he was chosen to the office for a four years' term.

In 1875 Mr. Brinton was united in marriage to Miss Rhoda E. Wyeth of Tuscola. Illinois, and they now have two children: Helen, at home; and Bradford, a Yale graduate of 1904, who is now secretary and treasurer of the Grand Detour Plow Company. Fraternally Mr. Brinton is a Mason, and has attained the Knight Templar degree.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.
Photo from the Dixon Telegraph 1951


Dixon's first mayor under the commission form of municipal government was William B. Brinton from 1911-14. Mr. Brinton was United States marshal for the southern Illinois district form 1893-96. He was a delegate to three Democratic national conventions and was treasurer of the Illinois state Democratic committee for 16 years. He was a commissioner ot the omaha Exposition in 1898, Pan American Exposition (Buffalo in 1901), and Charleston Exposition in 1902. Born at greencastle IN in 1850, he died on Dec. 22, 1937.

Dixon Evening Telegraph 1951 Centennial Edition

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