Lee County Biography


EDWARD S. FARGO, of Dixon, is widely known throughout the Northwest, among the mercantile class and traveling men as one of the oldest and most successful commercial travelers in the United States. He is descended from good old New England ancestry, and was born amidst the beautiful hills of Berkshire County, Mass., in the town of Tyringham, November 15, 1822. His father, Samuel Fargo, was also a native of the old Bay State, born in Sandisfield, September 1, 1799, while his father, whose name was the same as his own, was a native of New London, Conn., whence he removed to Sandisfield, where he carried on farming for many years, although his last days were spent in Tyringham. The maiden name of his wife was Eunice Stebbins. She was born near New London, Conn., and coming to Dixon in her old age, about 1857, died here a few years later.

In his early manhood the father of our subject was engaged in the mercantile business in what is now Monterey until 1821, and from there to Tyringham, where he remained until 1855. In 1855 he came to Lee County and bought land three and one-half miles south of Dixon, and while he resided in this city he superintended the. improvement of his farm, and was classed among the substantial farmers of the county. He died January 15, 1891, full of years, and leaving behind him the record of a well-spent life. His wife had preceded him in death, dying in 1883, after an unusually long wedded life of more than sixty years duration. She was born in Hudson, Columbia County, N. Y., February 22, 1802, her maiden name Eliza Buel, and she was a daughter of Joseph and Lucy (Pickett) Buel. She was the mother of five children: One who died in infancy; George A., Edward S.; Charles, a resident of Chicago; Joseph B., of Dixon; and Samuel M., of Chicago.

The subject of this biographical record received his early education in the schools of his native town, and subsequently enjoyed the advantages of a course of study at Lenox Academy, of which John Hotchkin was then principal. At the youthful age of seventeen years, he entered upon the business, which he has almost continuously pursued ever since, as a commercial traveler, and but very few, if any men, have had the large experience that he has had in that line, or have been so successful in making sales and advancing the interests of their employers as he. He has always exercised due caution, discrimination and excellent judgment in dealing with buyers, and at the same time has displayed marked enterprise and a real talent for securing custom, that have rendered his services invaluable to his firm. He traveled for several years in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, but in 1854 he came to Dixon, and has made his home here ever since. He bought a tract of land near the city in company with his father, yet did not attempt farming, but still gave his attention to mercantile pursuits, obtaining a position as clerk in Dixon. A year later, he threw up that employment to resume his old business as a commercial traveler in the interests of Bill, Fargo Kelog & Co., wholesale dealers in boots and shoes, which was subsequently changed to Charles H. Fargo & Co., and he has traveled for that firm continuously since, being an important factor in its prosperity. Through him it has become extensively known throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, and he has built up for his employers a good business in those States. More than half a century has elapsed since he first entered upon his vocation in New England, and then much of the country through which he now travels was an unknown wilderness—the great States of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin were in their infancy; Iowa and Minnesota, but little settled, (the latter not even an organized Territory) were on the furthest frontier; and the Dakotas were unheard of.

Mr. Fargo was married in 1843 to Miss Margaret, daughter of Daniel and Sophia (Strong) Garfield, and a native of the same Berkshire town in which he had his birth. She is a member of the Baptist Church, and is an exemplary Christian woman. Her happy wedded life with our subject has brought them two daughters: Eliza Sophia, wife of Samuel B. Bovey, of Chicago, and Eva M., at home with her parents.

Our subject is esteemed wherever he is known for his sterling worth and for his pleasant disposition, which have gained him many friendships among the people with whom he has come in contact in the course of his business. In his social relations he is connected with the following organizations: Friendship Lodge, No. 7, A. F. & A. M.; Nachusa Chapter, No. 57, R. A. M.; and Dixon Commandery, No. 21, K. T.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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