Lee County Biography


A history of the business development of Lee county during the past thirty years would be incomplete without mention of the activities of F.M. Yocum, who beginning with the installation of one telephone line among his neighbors has evolved a large system, known as the Yocum Telephone Lines, thus contributing in an exceptionally useful way to general progress and advancement in this section of the state. Moreover, he has been for many years connected with agricultural interests as the proprietor of a fine farm of four hundred acres near the city limits of West Brooklyn and by practical methods in its cultivation has made this one of the most valuable properties in the locality. He was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, March 5, 1851, and is a son of Thomas D. and Rachel (Stedman) Yocum, pioneers in Lee county. The father settled with his family south of Amboy on the Colonel Wyman farm, in 1855 and after four years and a half bought a farm on the same section whereon his son is now residing. He became one of the prominent men of this locality and his death, which occurred in 1907, when he was eighty-five years of age, was widely and deeply regretted. He had long survived his wife, who passed away in 1878, at the age of fifty-eight. Both are buried in West Brooklyn.

F.M. Yocum acquired his education in the district schools of Brooklyn township and also attended the academy at East Paw Paw for a few winters. He laid aside his books at the age of twenty-one but continued on his father's farm until 1877, when he bought a drug store at Lamoille, operating this for one year. In 1878 he returned to the farm and soon afterward installed a telegraph line from his home to the town of West Brooklyn. Later he ran telephone wires between his neighbors' houses and his own, extending these by degrees until gradually the large system known as the Yocum Telephone Lines was established. This has grown with great rapidity, exchanges being now operated in West Brooklyn and Compton and the lines covering seventy square miles of territory.

In West Brooklyn, October 16, 1878, Mr. Yocum married Miss Martha Cooper, a daughter of William and Hannah Cooper, both of whom have passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Yocum have one son, Floyd, a telephone manager at Ventura, California. Mr. Yocum is independent in his political views and, while not an office seeker, is interested in the development of the community in which he so long resided. To its progress he has made many substantial contributions in the course of years, winning for himself a place among men of marked ability and substantial worth.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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