Lee County Biography

Joseph Tait

Following the maxim that "Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well," in the the truth of which he has always believed, Mr. Tait has been remarkably successful in life and is a man of note in AMboy and the surrounding country. Besides the considerable amount of real estate which he holds, in the city, he is the owner of five hundred acres of valuable farming land and is an extensive dealer in livestock. His solid reputation has been gained by strenuous application and continuous labor, and he has always been most conscientious in the faithful discharge of every duty which faces him.

Mr. Tait was born in County Durham, England, December 15, 1820 and is the son of John and Mary (Gibson) Tait. The following is noted of the remaining members of the family ofeight sons and two daughters, of which he was a member; Mary married Robert Kirk and died in 1890 at Buffalo NY; John remained in England and died in 1889 in the house in which he was born; Thomas came to the US and returning to his native land, now resides in Northumberland; Margaret married and remained in England until her death in 1854; William resides in Bismarck; Iowa; James and Ralph are located in Denver, Col., while George lives in Akron, Ohio.

The son of poor parents, our subject was early in life thrown upon his own resources and com­menced to learn a trade. He became a millwright and engaged at his trade until he emigrated in 1841 to the United States. In this country he traveled over several of the states and worked on the building of the college at Iowa City, Iowa. After spending one year on this side of the Atlan­tic he returned to England, where he learned the trade of pattern-maker with Jonathan Robinson and the trade of a machinist with George Steven­son, the originator of the locomotive. In 1849 he again came to the United States and on the Hud­son River, opposite Newbury, built two locomo­tives, the "Erie" and the "Mohawk," both of which were in use for many years.

Next Mr. Tait removed to Schenectady, N. Y., where he worked at his trade of a machinist for a few months but he was never paid for the work he did, and thus without money he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked for the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railway Company. In 1855 he came to Amboy and was the best machin­ist in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, with whom he continued for twenty-­one years as foreman of the round house or gang foreman. Later he proceeded westward to Lar­amie, Wyo., from which place after a sojourn of four years, he returned to Amboy and again entered the employ of the Illinois Central Rail­road. After continuing with the company eight years he began to engage in the live stock busi­ness and still operates in this way with consider­able success.

The marriage of Mr. Tait to Miss Caroline Gasgoine took place December 31, 1840, and brought them mutual happiness until death removed the loving wife, September 27, 1880. Seven children were born of the union: Mary, who married W. Coleman and died in 1873, leaving one daughter, Carrie, now the wife of Frank Calkins; .John, a machinist on the Pacific Slope; Thomns G., a ma­chinist and locomotive engineer on the Missouri, Kansas &; Texas Railroad; Joseph R., who has charge of his father's large farm in this county; Ann, who is the wife of Samuel Adams; Carrie, now Mrs. William Gasgoine and Sarah, the wife of Asa Dresbach, of New Louisville, Ark. In poli­tical belief Mr, Tait is not a strict partisan but is a friend of protective tariff, and socially belongs to the Masonic fraternity.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 229


Lee Co Bios

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