Lee County Biography

Jerome B. Hussey

Jerome B. Hussey of Franklin Grove, dealer in lumber, coal, lime, cement, paint, oil etc., is a fine representative of the native-born citizens of Lee County who are such important factors in carrying forward its great commercial, agricultural and manufacturing interest. He comes of sterling pioneer stock, and was born on his father's old homestead in Franklin Grove Township May 9, 1847.

Our subject is a son of the late Amos Hussey, one of the earl}' settlers of the county, and until his death at a ripe age April 14, 1891, a valued citizen of Franklin Grove Township, where he had lived for more than half a century on the fine farm that he had purchased from the Government when it was a tract of wild uncultivated land. Amos Hussey was born in Little York, York County, Pa., August 18, 1806. At the age of twenty years he migrated to the forest wilds of Ohio, and was there married in 1836 to Jane Fredonia, daughter of Jesse Holly, who was the first white female child born in the town of Fredonia, N. Y. Mr. Hussey was a corder and fuller by trade, and worked in woolen mills in the early-part of his life, but after he came to Lee County in 1838 he turned his attention to farming, and be­came one of the well-to-do farmers of Franklin Grove Township, where he located on a claim, which he purchased from the Government as soon as the land came into the market, the deed being signed by James K. Polk. When he came here he had but little money, and he and his wife experienced all the hardships and trials of a pioneer life. They mutually sustained and helped each other to bear the privations to which they were subject in a newly settled country, worked cheer­fully and to a good purpose, and in due time prosperity smiled upon them. The farmers of those days had to cultivate their land without the aid of modern machinery, and in the absence of railways had to transport their grain to market with their own teams, the settlers of this vicinity for the first few years taking their produce to Peru, and later to Chicago. Mr. Hussey became the owner of some three hundred and fifty acres of land, on which he made substantial improvements. He was a man whose strict adherence to the principles of truth and honesty, inculcated by his religion as a Quaker, made him universally trusted and respected. In his early life he was a Whig, but after the formation of the Republican party he became a stanch supporter of its policy. His good wife was a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, and was one of the organizers of the society of Franklin Grove. Of the six children of our subject, these three grew to maturity: Mary A., now Mrs. Josiah Little; Jerome B. and Columbus D.

He of whom we write passed his early life on the old homestead that was his birthplace. He was a studious lad and was given fine educational advantages at the Illinois State Normal School, at Normal, and he also attended the seminary at Wheaton. While still a youth he taught school two winters, and then throwing aside the profession, became cashier of the bank of Josiah Little, at Amboy, before he was twenty-one. He held the responsible position for some fifteen years, and then was obliged to give it up on account of ill health. Wishing for a more active, out-of-door life, he purchased his father's old homestead, and for two years devoted his energies to tilling the soil. At the end of that time he traded the farm with his brother and since then, 1885, has been engaged in the lumber trade, and in dealing in coal, etc., at Franklin Grove. He has built up a remunerative business by excellent management and strictly fair dealings, and is regarded as one of the solid men of this part of the country. Good mental endowments, a well-trained mind, and a high reputation for unswerving integrity have won him the confidence of the people among whom he has spent his entire life, and they have shown their trust in him by placing the management of the local public finances in his hands, and he is doing good service as Township Treasurer. He inherited his father's sound political convictions, and is a true Republican.

Mr. Hussey was married in 1875 to Miss Ella E. Badger, a daughter of Henry E. Badger, and their home at the north end of Main Street, is cozy and comfortable in its appointments, and the center of true culture. Five children complete their house­hold,—Fred, Warren, Raymond, Alice and Rush. Mrs. Hussey is a lady of refinement and education, and a graduate of the Northwestern University. Religiously, she is of the Methodist Episcopal faith and a member of the church.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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