Lee County Biography


In the dual occupations of farmer and engineer, Mr. Wasson finds a good opportunity for the exercise of his fine physical powers and sound common sense. Since October, 1887, he has been employed as engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad and in connection therewith has superintended not only his farm of one hundred and eighty acres, but more than two hundred acres in addition. As the reader may imagine, his life is a busy one and contains few leisure hours. He resides on section 15, Amboy Township, and although he has been a railroad man during the greater part of his active life, he has yet found time to control his farming operations and maintain first-class improvements on his place.

Among the early settlers of this county were the parents of our subject, Lorenzo D., and Amelia H. (Gaylord) Wasson, natives of New York. About 1837 they located in Amboy Township, when the country around was almost in its primeval condition and scarcely a furrow had been turned. With the development of the township they were closely identified nnd contributed largely to its growth, becoming well known as brave pioneers and generous and hospitable people. The mother, who still lives, has long survived Mr.

Wasson who died in July, 1857. They had a family of three children, one son and two daughters, whom they gave as good advantages as the sparsely settled country would permit. After the death of Lorenzo Wnsson, the father of our subject, his mother was again married becoming the wife of Judge Alonzo Kinyon. The five living children are: Winnie L., Alonzo G. Sheridan G., Ivy A., and Hansom. Judge Kinyon died in Plankiuton, Dak., July 16, 1891. He was a man who held important public offices and was widely known and universally respected for his high abilities and unflinching integrity. At one time he was a leading attorney of Amboy and represented his district in the legislature for two term in succession. He was also Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and eminent for the justice of his decisions and his knowledge of the law.

The oldest in the family is the subject of this biographical notice, and was born in Amboy Township, May 3, 1849. He grew to manhood and has passed the greater portion of his life in his native place. For several years he was a resident of Fond du Lac, Wis., but returned to his native State, convinced that for a home there was no place like Lee County. He was married in his early manhood, February 22, 1862, in Amboy Township, to Miss Elizabeth M. daughter of James and Clan (Kinyon) Sprague. Mr. Spraguc, who was a native of Vermont, and his wife, who was born in New York, spent the first years of their wedded life in the Empire State, whence they removed to Boone County, Ill., and from there to Lee County, in 1861.

Mr. Sprague spent the remaining years of his life in this county where he died in October, 1878. His wife had passed away many years before his demise, her death occurring in Clinton, Wis., in the latter part of the '60s. Mrs. Wasson, who was the youngest among three children, was born in Boone County, IL July 23,1847,and accompanied her parents to Lee County in her girlhood. Of her union with Mr. Wasson, seven children have wen born, namely: Oddy A., Lorenzo D., Arthur G., Winn 8., Paul G., Ivy A., and Luetta M. Mr. Wasson operates about four hundred acres, of which he owns one hundred, nnd this work, in connection with his duties as engineer, allows him little opportunity for social recreation.

When he was about nineteen years old Mr. Sprague entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad as fireman and continued in that position until about 1872, when he became conductor on the Chicago and Rock Falls Railroad (now Chicago, Burlington and Quincy), his run being between Amboy and Sterling. After one year in that connection he became an employe of the Western Minnesota Railway Company (now the Chicago, Milwaukee it St. Paul) and continued with them as engineer for one year. He then settled on a farm near Amboy and there resided until the fall of 1873, when he removed to Fond du Lac, Wis., and was employed as engineer, conductor and assistant superintendent of the Fond du Lac, Amboy & Peoria, now operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul Railway Company. Mr. Wasson was in Fond du Lnc about three years and afterward held the position of engineer of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul Railroad about two years. He then returned to Amboy and engaged in farming until October, 1887, when he accepted the position of engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad. For several years he has occupied this place and performs his duties with unusual capability and great efficiency. He enjoys the highest respect of his fellow-citizens, and is a man of probity and honor.

Transcribed by Christine Walters "Portrait and Biographical Record of Lee County, Illinois,

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