Lee County Biography



W. F. Strong is the capable and popular head of Strong's College of Music at Dixon, an institution which, though established at a comparatively recent date, has made substantial growth and won a well merited reputation as one of the art colleges of the state. Mr. Strong has devoted his entire life to music, developing the talent with which nature endowed him, and is as widely known perhaps as a composer and publisher as an instructor. He was born in Akron, Indiana, November 11, 1857, and is a son of Andrew and Sarah (Osgood) Strong, both of whom were natives of New York and were pioneers of Indiana. The father was a carriage maker, which trade he followed in the middle west.

Spending his youthful days under the parental roof, W. F. Strong pursued his education in the public schools of Indiana and in the Northern Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso before concentrating his energies upon the development of his musical talent as a student in the Cincinnati College of Music. He afterward became a student in the Chicago Musical College and each year has marked his progress in the art. He specializes in piano, violin and harmony. His life has been devoted to teaching and composition and he has published much music, writing and compiling books for both the piano and violin that are now largely used by music teachers.

Mr. Strong organized a college of music in Shenandoah, Iowa, in connection with the Western Normal College, which he conducted for seven years, after which he went to Chicago for further study. In fact, throughout his entire life he has been a student and is thus continually advancing his own efficiency as well as assisting others in cultivating their musical gifts. In 1890 he came to Dixon, where he was associated with the Dixon College until 1903. In that year he removed to Rochester, Indiana, where he was half owner of a normal college, but in 1907 returned to Dixon and was again with the Dixon College until 1911. In that year he organized W. F. Strong's College of Music, giving instruction in all branches of music and granting diplomas in three graduating courses. The success of his pupils has demonstrated the accuracy and practicability of the college methods. The three courses for graduation include the academic, the normal and the classic course, and all pupils have the benefit of a musical atmosphere, attending morning classes in harmony, musical history and biography, weekly evening meetings in the studio for private rehearsals and monthly meetings in the large auditorium for public recitals. The degree of Bachelor of Music is conferred upon those completing the classic course. Moreover, Mr. Strong has arranged that those so desiring may combine with music, courses in stenography, bookkeeping, typewriting, English branches, oratory or art.

In 1887 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Strong and Miss Mary Bell, of Valparaiso, Indiana. Mrs. Strong is also an accomplished musician, displaying notable ability as a pianist and pipe organist, and she has successfully taught with her husband. She has studied music under Amy Fay and August Hillistead of Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Strong have two daughters: Kathryn, who is a graduate of Strong's College of Music and is now pursuing advanced work in Chicago, at the same time teaching in her father's school; and Delia, a violin student. Mr. Strong is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. In polities he is somewhat independent but inclined toward the progressive party. Genial and courteous in manner, thoroughly earnest in his chosen profession, he has the ability to inspire his pupils with a deep interest in the work and in his teaching he makes a study of individual needs so that instruction is given to meet the specific requirements of each pupil. His compositions, too, have won recognition among music lovers and those thoroughly interested in the art, and Dixon has reason to be proud of the Strong College of Music.

Written by Karen Holt from various sources

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