Genealogy Trails
Marshall County Illinois
Biographies - D


Adam Davidson
Mr. Davidson was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland, in 1833, and came to the United States in 1850, locating in Marshall County, He married Miss Jane Rae in 1872, also born in Scotland. They have two children, Nellie and Maggie M. He owns 320 acres of choice land, in a roost perfect state of cultivation. He is a type of a large and influential class of Americanized Scotchmen in this country, who, to the intelligence and thrift of the fatherland, have joined the enterprise and push of the Yankee character. Mr. Davidson is a successful man, and owes it under Providence to himself alone.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 746 La Prairie Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Richard Davidson
Mr. Davidson was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland, in 1830, and emigrated to the U. S. 1850, locating in Marshall County, He married Miss Mary Scott in 1857, born in the same place in Scotland, and they have been blessed with six children - James A., Thomas S,, John, William H., Richard G. and Mary S. Mr. Davidson is serving as Justice of the Peace, has been commissioner of highways, assessor, collector and school director. He is popular everywhere and has many friends in the County, He owns 320 acres of land in a high state of cultivation, which in fact may he said of .nearly the entire Township.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 747 La Prairie Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

James B. Davis
Mr. Davis was born in Ohio, August 20th. 1816, and came to Marshall County in 1849. January 11th, 1844 he married, in Ohio, Miss Nancy Hiland. They have four children living and one deceased, the living being Eunice A., Daniel, Clara and Mary E. William M. died July 19, 1854, in the tenth year of his age. Mr. Davis is a farmer by occupation, and has been a justice of the peace for a number of years. They are members of the M. E. Church.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 736 Roberts Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Robert Davis

The Wealthiest Farmer in the State of Illinois - Robert Davis / Demise of Mr. Robert Davis / The Davis Obsequies

From the El Paso Journal , Printed in the Henry Republican
June 20, 1878

The Wealthiest Farmer in the State of Illinois - Robert Davis

It is the peculiar province fo the Journal to occasionally present, for the benefit of the rising generation, pen portraits of successful self-made men. Robert Davis of Henry, Ill., was born in Wales, and landed in Lacon with $70 and the trade of a cooper. He worked as a journeyman five years, during which time he learned to speak and write English. He commenced business by starting a saloon, and soon after bought land where Sparland now stands, which greatly advanced in price, and seems to have been a stepping-stone to his future prosperity. He owns about 5000 acres of cultivated land, divided by the Illinois river, and within the past year he has purchased 16 quarter sections in the vicinity of Rutland, for which he paid the cash. In addition to this, he owns a large amount of western land, and the bank of Henry, which is looked after by his son-in-law and nephew. His share of rest corn, last year, was 64,000 bushels. He is 61 years old, and worth a million dollars, which is quite a snug sum for one to accumulate, when we consider the humble beginning - ignorance of our language and customs, and other disadvantages under which this son of toil must have labored. He is without doubt worth more money than any one man or firm in the counties of Peoria, Putnam, marshall, Woodford or LaSalle, (barring Judge Caton, who, we think, now resides in Chicago, having removed there soon after his return from the trip to Norway.)

Mr. Davis has three children, one son and two daughters. The son does not have the reputation of being as prudent as the father, and has to content himself with the use of an 80 acre farm. Some say he has to shift for himself. Three years ago one of the daughters took to marriage a respectable young man of poor but honest parents. The daughter went to Chicago after bonnets and dresses, with a check, blank in every respect, except that the letters "Robert Davis" were written upon it. Here was a chance to fill a Saratoga trunk and go to Europe, but so carefully had the young lady been educated, that she used only $1800.

When Dwight and Charlie Webber were landlords of the Webber House, in Minonk, Mr. Davis applied to Dwight for lodging, and was told that he would have to put up 50 cents, or seek other place. While Mr. Davis (who somewhat resembles a renter) was begging for a bed, enjoying the joke, Charlie rushed in, and, grabbing him by the hand, exclaimed, "Why Bob, how are you?" I am glad to see you looking so well," etc. He was trusted for a night's lodging, and the Hon. Dwight was worse sold than when he tackled the lung tester.

Mr. Davis looks after all the details of his business, carefully examining every load of grain as it comes to market. Financially he is the soundest farmer in Illinois at the present time.


November 13, 1879
Taken From the Henry Republican

Demise of Mr. Robert Davis

Mr. Robert Davis died Tuesday afternoon at San Antonio, Texas, where he had gone accompanied by his daughter Maria, for climate benefit to an enfeebled and much wasted body. His death was not a surprise to the friends here, who were aware of his condition and feared that death might come at any time, though hoped against hope that he might obtain relief. On Monday, his nephew, Charles R. Jones, cashier of the First National back of this city, was summoned by telegraph to go to him, with the intelligence that Mr. Davis was in an alarming condition, and he left Monday afternoon for his four days journey to the Lone Star state. On Tuesday afternoon at three o'clock, a message came to his son-in-law, Mr. W. T. Law, president of the First National bank, that Mr. Davis was sinking, and at half past five another was received announcing that "mortality had put on immortality."

The deceased was born in Wales, October 31, 1815. When he was but seven years old his father died, leaving four children, Robert being the eldest, for the mother to rear. They had the advantages of education such as that offered by the parish school. At a suitable age himself and brother Thomas were apprenticed to the cooper trade, both becoming proficient mechanics. Seeking to improve their condition they turned their eyes towards America, and both brothers emigrated together, locating at Waverly, Ohio. The two brothers also married at this place. Mr. Robert Davis as his wife a Miss Goodwin, by whom a son was born, William, who still survives his father. Mr. Davis remained in Ohio about nine years, but inducements offered by a third brother who located at Henry, led him to come to this state in 1847, and for a time to reside in Lacon, where he for several years worked at cooperage. Here he buried his first wife; afterwards, at a later period marrying Miss Sarah Ann Fetter, the daughter of Dr. Fetter of Lacon, who he leaves a widow, by whom four children were born, two of them, Mrs. W. T. Law and Miss Maria, only surviving the father.

At an early age Mr. Davis manifested a remarkable business ability, and property began to accumulate. His investments were always remunerative, and he seldom or never made one that did not turn out as he predicted and calculated it would. He had foresight, judgment, wisdom and sagacity, and they served him in every transaction. It is said that for the past decade or more, his accumulations have averaged $23,000 annually. His landed estate embraces some 12,000 acres in the counties of Marshall, Putnam, Livingston, LaSalle, Iroquois and Henry. In this county alone he had 1400 acres. He has a tract of land in Iowa and city property at Council Buffs. He leaves a will.

In 1865, he was one of the incorporators of the First National bank of Henry and heaviest stockholder, since which time he has been one of its directors. He held 170 shares, the stock, a little over one-third being worth $17,000. The aggregated value of the estate is somewhere between $500,000 and $600,000.

For the past two years Mr. Davis has been an invalid, and consumption seems to have fastened upon him for another victim. He was admonished by friends to try a change of climate, and last Thanksgiving started in company with his daughter Maria, for California, where he journeyed about until March returning home without receiving the desired benefit. This summer he employed a physician at Springfield, and was there some time, but obtained no relief. A month ago he was induced, though greatly enfeebled, to attempt the journey to Texas, and among strangers and in a strange land at San Antonio, he has been gathered to his fathers. The only survivor of his father's family, is Mrs. Jones, a sister, a highly esteemed resident of our sister city Lacon.

The obsequies will take place at Henry, provided it may be deemed prudent to transport the body. The family friends await communication with C. R. Jones, who will report what is best as soon as he reaches San Antonio.


November 20, 1879
Taken From the Henry Republican

The Davis Obsequies

The funeral of the late Robert Davis, was held at the family residence in this city, on Tuesday last, at 10 a.m.  The remains left San Antonio, Texas, at five o'clock on Friday a.m., accompanied by Mr. Charles R. Jones, who arrived there from Henry late the night previous to receive the body, and also to accompany to a desolate home the bereft daughter, who alone was present with the deceased to cheer and console in the last extremity.  The remains were laid out and encased in an elegant coffin by stranger hands, who in sympathy and kindly offices performed every needed service for the dead, while laying the living under special obligations for their disinterestedness and generosity. .....  The remains were conveyed to Lacon, where they will rest beside the ashes of his former wife, a son Fred, and a brother Richard. .......

Dr. Davis and Mrs. Emily K. Davis

Mrs. Davis was wife of the late Dr. Davis, a leading physician of Lacon and most respected citizen, who died November 9, 1873. She was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1829 and married June 17, 1856, in Fulton County., Ill. Dr. Davis was a brother of Dr. Charles Davis of Henry, and born in Troy, New York. Few men were more entitled to respect and esteem of his neighbors. He was conscientious in the discharge of every duty, careful, respected the rights of others, lived within his means, and reared his family in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord. He was an excellent physician and enjoyed a good practice when cut short by his untimely death. To him were born four surviving children - Charles Fremont, George Sheaff, Hattie Estelle, Franklin Silver and one deceased, Mary Emma. Mrs. Davis' Children take after their father and stand well wherever known. Fremont has a good position in the Elgin Watch Factory, George is a farmer, and the younger children are with their mother, now Mrs. Turbitt, she having re-married April 13, 1875.

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 684-685 Lacon Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

C. M. Dawson
Mr. Dawson resides on section 17, his occupation being that of a farmer. He was born in Monongahela County, Va., in l839, locating in Bureau County, Ill., in 1857, and in Marshall County in 1878. In 1864 he married Mary J. Raymond, who was born in Connecticut. They have four children,-Freddie, Franklin, Martha and Edward. While a resident of Bureau County Mr. Dawson served his community some eight years as a school trustee. His present homestead embraces 90 acres of land, with good improvements.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 705 Henry Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Frank Lafayette Dawson
Clark Dawson

Frank Lafayette Dawson, who is engaged in general farming in Whitefield Township, is one of Marshall County's native sons, born on the 27th of November, 1876. His father Clark Dawson, was a native of Pennsylvania (*Born Jan. 21, 1838 in Blacksville, West Virginia) and in early life came to the middle west, settling in Putnam County (*then moved to Henry Township, Marshall County), Illinois, upon a farm. There he resided up to the time of his death, which occurred in April, 1903 (*April 2, 1903). He wedded Miss Mary Jane Raymond (*January 21, 1864), a native of Connecticut, who now survives him and lives in Henry. In their family were five children: Fred, a resident of Henry; Frank L., of this review; Mrs. Martha Schimmel, a widow living in Henry; Ed Dawson, a farmer of Henry Township; and one who died in infancy.
At the usual age Frank Lafayette Dawson began his education in the district schools of Henry Township and he was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He has always carried on general agricultural pursuits and is now engaged in cultivating one hundred and sixty acres of land which produces good crops, owing to the car and labor that he bestows upon the fields. He keeps everything about the place in neat and thrifty condition and a glance serves to indicate to the passer by his careful supervision and progressive methods.
In April 1892, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Dawson and Miss Anna Smith, a native of Whitefield Township and a daughter of Elwood Smith, who follows farming in that township. This union has been blessed with five children: Raymond, Clyde and Lafayette, all in school; and Hattie and Myrtle. Mr. Dawson holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America, being affiliated with Whitefield Camp No. 1653. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church and votes with the Republican Party, but he has no aspiration for the honors nor emoluments of office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which are directed by sound judgment, supplementing broad practical experience.
[Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties, By John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Printed by the Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago, 1907, Page 204]
*Taken from the Obituary of Clark M. Dawson, Henry Republican, April 9, 1903, page 4

Dr. W. W. Dean

Dr. Dean came from Plymouth County, Mass., where he was born in 1835, his parents removing to Tazewell County, Illinois, the year he was born. Here he obtained his education and studied his profession in Peoria County. An elder brother, Frederick, was a successful dentist, and probably influenced his choice. After passing the usual examination he removed to Tazewell County and worked one year, after which he removed to Lacon in the fall in 1860. He is a careful and conscientious workman and soon picked up a large practice, which he retains. In 1866 he married Mrs. Sarah E. Palmer (formerly Crane), to whom has been born one daughter - Lucy. Mrs. Dean was the daughter of Henry L. Crane, and was the first white child born in Lacon.

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 690 Lacon Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

William C. Decker
Mr. Decker is a furniture dealer and undertaker, born in Orange County, New York, in 1848. He removed west in 1871, stopping first at Morris, where he had an uncle living. From there he went to Aurora and came to Wenona in 1873 where he succeeded B. A. Moore and purchased the establishment he has since run. He married Annie Wood in 1874. Their children are Maud W. and Jesse. He keeps a fine stock of furniture and gives particular attention to undertaking in all its branches.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 715 Evans Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Peter G. Defenbaugh
Mr. Defenbaugh lives on his farm in Evans Township, but his post office is Magnolia. He was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1821, and moved to Marshall County in 1851 and married Sarah A. L. Walter, born in Pennsylvania. They have nine children-Zachariah, Eluchie, Allan, Durriah, Mary, Emma. Francis, William O., Edwin and Louisa (deceased). They are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He has been school director several times and is trustee now. He owns 139 acres of land in Marshall County, and 80 acres in LaSalle County, He is a kind, generous hearted man, and a good citizen and neighbor.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 725 Evans Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Alered J. Deihl
Mr. Deihl was born in Frederick County,Md. in 1833.and is a son of Daniel Deihl.of York County Pa., and Mary A.Kohler, a native of Adams County, They bad eleven children, seven of whom survive. £zekiel resides in Whitefield; Alice married Jas. S. Brassfield, of Sparland; Marv A. married A. W. Forney. Woodford County; Calvin resides in Sedgwick County, Kan.; Irena married Ichabod McKinney, Champaign County Ill.; Martin U lives in Ford County, Ill. Mr. D. came west in 1862. first settling in Peoria County, and then in Marshall County, Was married in 1867 to Sylvia M. Aunt, daughter of Richard Hunt and Ruth Horram, residents of Whitefield, formerly from New Jersey. They have four children-Mahion A., Blanche May, Citrrie R. and Ina Pearl. He enlisted in 1862 in company B. 86th Ill. Volunteers. Was corporal ordnance sergeant, and color sergeant Fought at Mill Creek, Tenn., Deo. 4.1862; Chicamauga. Ga,. Sept. 18, 19.20,1863; Mission Ridge, Tenn., Nov. 24,1863; Buzzard Boost, Ga., Feb. 25,1864; Kenesaw Mt., Ga., Jan. 27.1864. Was discharged at Camp Butler, Springfield, Ill., Aug. 5th, 1865. for wounds received in battle. He is a farmer and owns 241 acres of good land.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 761 Whitefield Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Abraham Delong
Mr. Delong is a resident of Varna, and a mason by trade. He was born in Pennsylvania, October 7th, 1805. Moved to New Jersey in 1830, where he lived three years; thence moved, in 1833, to New York City, where he remained nine years, and came to Marshall County in the spring of 1842. February 22. 1836, he married Anna E. Conley, by whom he had ten children - George, Isaac, Henry, Albert, Adrian, Emily E., Adaline, Margaret, Joseph N. and Mary. Albert died May 11th. 1864. Mrs. Delong died October 4th. 1864 and in June, 1867, he married Mrs. Caroline F. Taylor (Hester), who died in August, 1871, leaving two children, - Lucinda and Albert. January 1,1873, Mr. Delong married Miss Martha Malone, a native of Indiana, born August 4, 1829.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 736 Roberts Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

John O. Dent
Mr. Dent is a capitalist residing in the city of Wenona. He was born in Monongahela County, W. Va., in 1819, and in 1823 moved with his father to Wayne County, Ind., where they remained until 1832, when they located in Putnam County, Ill. In 1849 he made his first entry of land, in Osage Township, LaSalle County, which he still retains and has occupied ever since. About the same time he entered 160 acres in Evans Township, Marshall County, He built his first residence in 1851. In March of 1850 he married Harriet F. Spencer, daughter of Horace Spencer. of Whitefield Township. They have seven children living,-Frances M., Mary S., Horace F., Rosalie S., Eva L., John O., Jr., and Judith G. he is a member of the Masonic order, and both he and Mrs. D. are members of the Chapter of the Eastern Star. He was supervisor of Osage Township during the first eight years from its organization, was a member of the State legislature, filled successfully all the local offices, and was president of the Wenona Union Fair Association for the term of 1878-79. Mr. Dent is an extensive land owner, having 600 acres around Wenona, 80 acres in Gilman, and about 300 acres in Vermillion County, all of which is rented with the exception of his home farm of 120 acres in LaSalle County, just across the line from Wenona. This is composed of very choice land, specially devoted to the raising of fine stock, in which he is extensively engaged. He keeps a large number of cows for breeding purposes exclusively, and markets on an average about fifty fat steers per year. To Mr. Dent is also due the credit of starting the first nursery in this part of the country, raising from seed nearly all the trees within twenty miles of Wenona, His home farm is divided by handsome hedge fences into eleven fields, each having a grove of timber which serves admirably as shade and shelter for his stock, A. main avenue with which each field connects extends through the entire farm, and is thickly lined with shade trees on either side, affording a delightfully cool and snady retreat in the warmest weatner. It is a model farm-the creation of a model farmer.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 708-709 Evans Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

James Dever

James Dever, was born in Virginia near Wheeling, July 20.1791. He moved to Scioto County, Ohio, with his parents when a young man, and married Mary Barnes, March 6, 1817. She was born in Maryland, Oct. 13 1799. They had seven children, of whom the subject of this sketch (Mrs. Sarah E. (Dever) Coutlett) was the third, the two oldest having died in infancy. James Dever died Dec, 26, 1834 and Mrs. Mary Dever is still living and enjoys fair health, although in her 81st: year; her mind is as clear and bright as many not half her age. When Mr. Dever came to Marshall County there were but few families, the Roberts and Col. Strawn's and three other families residing on Round Prairie, and two men who were working for Col. Strawn. The fort was built around Mr. Devers house, which was occupied by the settlers during the Indian war. Mr. Dever was a member of Capt. Barnes' company of volunteers. He was one of the soldiers in the war of 1812 who was surrendered by the treachery of Hull at Detroit, Mich. He was a temperate man in all matters, and although not strictly speaking, a Church member, he started the first Sabbath school in the County, at his own house, which has been continued down to the present day.

Jesse Hale was the first circuit preacher permanently located in Marshall County, and made his home at James Dever's house when he held his meetings and preached for one year in 1833. Zadoc Hall was sent from conference in the fall of that year and preached at Mr. Dever's also until the fall of 1834, when he moved to another station. Mr. Dever having died that year, Church service was soon after held in a large house which belonged to his uncle, John Dever. Mr. Dever was an active, energetic thrifty man. and accumulated a competency, which he left his three daughters surviving him. He was a very successful farmer. Mr. Dever was a Jackson Democrat.

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 687 Lacon Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Mrs. Nancy Dever

Mrs. Dever lives in Lacon, and was born in the State of Delaware, in 1798. She came with her parents to Scioto County, Ohio in 1809, and from there moved to Marion County, Ohio, in 1826. She was married to Mr. Deaver Sept. 27, 1827, and located in Marshall County in 1833. Mr. D. died Jan. 3, 1845, leaving four children, one of whom has since died; James. William and Mary are still living. Her brother, Hubert Barnes, settled in this County three years before she came, and her brother Thomas B., who died in 1862, was a practicing physician and surgeon in Whitefield Township. Mrs. D. and family are members of the M. E. Church.

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 686 Lacon Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

M. P. Dilley

Mr. Dilley, the senior member of this firm, was born in Mercer County. Pa., in 1843, and came to Clay County, Ind., in 1865, to Madison County in 1875, and to Henry in 1876. Their present business was established Oct, 1st, 1879. Mr. Dilley married Ara K. Gwathney in 1869. She was born in Putnam County, Ind. Two children bless this union - Walter and George. He belongs to the Masonic order, and the firm is building up an excellent business. They are young, ambitious and accommodating,

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 696 Henry Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

William Dillman
Mr. Dillman was born in Brown County, Ohio, in 1828 and came to LaSalle County, in Hope Township, in 1845, along with his father. He settled in Evans Township in 1849, and married Miss Ann M. Griffin the same year. She was born in Fayette County, Pa. They have eight children living-Fannie, Mary, Ida, Sadie, John, David, (Eva, Ella), Effie and Gertrude. Are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He owns 189 acres, all under cultivation. He enlisted in Co. H, 104th Ill. Vol. in 1862, and was discharged in 1863, through disability. He was captured at Hartsville, Tenn., in 1862, and paroled and exchanged in March, 1863.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 716 Evans Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Michael Dodd
Mr. Dodd was born in the County of Durham, in England, in 1824, and came to the United States in 1853 and to Marshall County in 1854. He married Matilda Arkless in 1852, born in England, in 1829. They have nine children living, - Thomas, Hannah (Currie), Edward, Ellen, Frederick F., James C., Robert W., Walter H. and Wallace H. He Owes 160 acres in his home farm, with first class brick house, and 320 acres in Ford County, all improved. He owns the only brick residence in the Township, of any pretensions, which was erected in 1858, and is as substantial now as then.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 748 La Prairie Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

C. W. Dodge
Mr. Dodge was born in Sullivan County, town of Claremont, New Hampshire, in 1830. When he came west he first settled in Wisconsin, and in Marshall County in 1866, and has been postmaster at Lawn Ridge since 1873. Married a Miss Dennison in 1853, who was born in Rensselaer County, New York. They have three children.- Alice, Florence and James E. He has been in business for himself since 1851. He is a boot and shoe maker by trade, working steadily at his business and making money. Mrs. Dodge has a decided love for flowers, and her home exhibits much taste and elegance.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 746 La Prairie Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Delia (Drake) Doran (F.B. Drake - Putnam)
Mrs. Doran was born in Athens County, Ohio, in 1824. Her father was Frank B. Drake, the pioneer settler of Drake's drove, from whom it received its name. When ten years old she came to this County, and in 1853 married Thomas Doran, a native of the Isle of Man. They came to the old homestead to live, and have ever since remained there. Two children have blessed their union, Mai and Lessie. When Mrs. D. came to this country it was almost a desert, and their journey here is best described by herself.

The journey was made in company with her parents, two brothers Frank and George, and the children of the latter, one of whom is now Mrs. Sherburn and the other Mrs. Cotton, of Sparland. The little company passed through a wild and uncultivated country, infested with game and innumerable snakes, and often made a reluctant halt beside swamps in place of a better locality. F. B. Drake, who is noted for his able rending of a good yarn, describes the traveling as endured with less fortitude when some poor soul would startle them with a deafening yell of "Get off my head!" Their team being part oxen and not decidedly fleet, were forsaken at one point by Mrs. D., who describes the self-importance with which she set forth, re marking she would walk to the next house and wait till they arrived the following day, but was met with the withering reply there was not a house within 15 miles.

They intended wintering at Springfield, but could find no habitation excepting those whose former inhabitants had all died of the cholera, and not liking these, they pushed on 8 miles further to a settlement of southern people, who had been there for 20 years, and owned 300 acres of splendid land and large droves of cattle, feeding them on unhusked shocks of corn, which the following spring was burnt if not consumed by the stock, preparatory to another crop. Their food consisted of bread ground on an ox or horse mill, and pork fried to a cracklin over their fire-places-stoves being unknown-no fruit or vegetables, excepting a very few sweet potatoes. Their school house, l2 by 14 feet square, furnished light from one window having but four small panes of glass, and scholars numbering about 60, all of whom, both boys and girls, had learned to chew tobacco. In the winter these resolute emigrants received a visit from Dr. Wm. Thompson, who having some acquaintance with the country and being most pleased with what is now Marshall County, advised their removing there, which they accordingly did in the year 1835 and found the country very sparsely inhabited, save with wolves, deer, wild hogs, prairie chickens and wild turkeys.

They settled on Senachwine Creek, what has since been called Drake's Grove, in honor of Mrs. D's father, F. B. Drake, Sr., who was the first white settler. Their nearest neighbor on the east was a Mr. Graves, living where Sparland now stands; on the west was Gen. Thomas, at Wyoming, a distance of 16 miles: on the north lived Elder Chenoweth, a Baptist minister, this being 15 miles distant. In Lacon there was but one house, though there were several scattered along the river bottoms.

The wild animals were fierce and quite dangerous, wild hogs sometimes "treeing" settlers and keeping them there until friends came to their relief, which might not be until starvation seemed imminent. Deer were so plenty that the hunters killed several a day, while the Indians were peaceable, but earned much anxiety from their peculiar mode of association, coming into the house and searching for something they wished, and upon finding it, would offer to swap their venison and wolf meat, the latter of which the settlers invariably declined. The distance to mill being twenty-live miles, the trip, including detention at the mill, would often occupy a week, while those at home would pound corn upon which to subsist during their absence. Obliged to travel over a trackless prairie, they often became lost from wandering round and round, supposing they were taking a direct route for home. To pay for their land they took their cattle on foot to Chicago, receiving $6 to $10 a head for the best, while Mrs. Drake's mother took cheese, etc., to St. Louis to lighten the family expenses.

Mr. Drake was once employed by William Fenn, then engaged in merchandising, to plough a furrow from Sparland to Wyoming, to direct people here. It may be set down as the longest advertisement ever made. While living in the state of New York himself and two others discovered a den of rattlesnakes, and destroyed 300. One of the men fell in convulsions from the poison inhaled and died on the ground, the other died not long after, while Mr. Drake was ever after subject to cramps, and finally died from cancer in the face, the effect, as stated by physicians, of inhaling the poison.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 756 Steuben Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Patrick Doran
Mr. Doran was born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1827. He came to this country in 1851, locating first in New York, and in Illinois in 1854. He married Miss Ellen Mornan in 1854, also born in Ireland. They have eight children,- Ann, Walter, Philip, Johanah, John, Ellen, Patrick and Bridget E. They are members of the Catholic Church. He owns 80 acres with fine improvements. Mr. Doran is a successful farmer, generous and hospitable.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 757 Saratoga Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

George Dorff
Mr. Dorff is a farmer living on section 2, and cultivates seventy acres of land. He was born in Pennsylvania, in the month of February, 1847, and came to Marshall County in 1859. After remaining here nine years, he went to Missouri, where he lived nine years, and then returned to Marshall County. In 1870 he married, in Missouri, Miss Mary Geter, and they have had four children, two of whom, Mary E. and Emma E., are living. Etta May and Mary M. died in Missouri.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 738 Belle Plain Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Samuel Dorsey

Mr. Dorsey is a citizen of Bennington township, and is by occupation a farmer.  He was born in West Virginia, in 1831 and came to Marshall county, Illinois in 1869.  He married Joanna Holliday in 1861, and six children have been born to them, William C., Samuel, James Fillmore, Mary Bell, Ortie and Charlie. During the war he entered the Union army and served in Co. G, 17th W. Va. Inf.  At tis close he came to Rutland, and for some time followed merchandising, after which he bought the farm he now occupies.  He owns 240 acres of land, in a high state of cultivation, with a fine residence and outbuildings.  He has been township supervisor, has filled other official positions, and is a leading and influential citizen.

From  "The  Record of Olden Times or Fifty Year on the Prairie" embracing sketches of the discovery, exploration and settlement of the country. by Spencer Elsworth,   Lacon, IL Home Journal Steam Printing Establishment Copyright Date MDCCCLXXX (1880), Bennington Township, Page 740

Michael Dougherty
Mr. Dougherty was born in County Longford, Ireland, in 1830 and came to the United States in 1852, where he located in Marshall County, He lived in Senachwine Township, Putnam County, 14 years, and married Mary Mulhern in 1860. She was born in County Donegal. Ireland. Their children are Sarah. Jane, John, James, Charles and Mary. They are consistent members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Dougherty is school director. He owns 80 acres of land in a prosperous state of cultivation. He is a liberal, generous hearted man and a good neighbor.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 758 Saratoga Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Rufus Douglas
Mr. Douglas was born in Cumberland County, Maine, and came west in 1857, first locating In Nashville, Washington County, Ill., whence he moved to Wenona in 1860 and embarked in the carriage business, which he continued until 1874, and then retired. In 1843 he married Menella A. Nickerson, born in Massachusetts. They had one boy, Henry Clay, who enlisted in Co. I, 104th Ill. Vols., and was killed in the battle of Mission Ridge. Mr. Douglas went to California in 1849, returning in 1856. He has been a member of the masonic order over thirty years.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 712 Evans Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Jesse Drake
Mr. Drake is a resident of La Rose, and a dealer in grain, lumber and coal. He was born in Monroe County, Pa., and came to La Rose in 1872. In August, 1876, he married Annetta Welty. They have two children,-Mabel and Maud.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 739 Belle Plain Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Charles H. Dressler

Mr. Dressler (barber and hair-dresser) was born in Prussia, and left the Fatherland in 1873, coming to Chicago. He remained there five years, and removed to Lacon, where he settled in 1877 and began work for Fred Peters. His first start in business for himself was in Varna where he started a shop, and not succeeding to suit himself, sold out and removed to Lacon, opening the popular establishment he still runs. He is a good workman, is very industrious, and is much thought of in the community.

[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 691 Lacon Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

John J. Duncan
Mr. Duncan was born in Indiana County, Pa., in 1825, his father being a soldier in the war of 1812. He came to Marshall County in October, 1869. His wife was a Miss Eliza A. Davidson, whom he married in April. 1863. Their children are Thomas, Annie, Robert, John, Agnes, James. William, Dollie and George. They are members of the U. P. Church. He owns 158 acres of very choice land, beautifully located, with fine improvements. Mr. Duncan desires to sell his elegant home, with a view to purchasing a larger place, as he has a large family for whom he wishes to provide.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 752 Steuben Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

William J. Duncan
Mr. Duncan is a farmer, living on section 6, who was born in Indiana County, Pa., in 1820. He entered the service of the United States during the war of the rebellion, and served until disabled in the Signal Corps. On one occasion he got within "the rebel lines and encountered a ''pray back," who presented his shooting-iron and told him to "come in." Suspecting the Dutchman couldn't read, he told him he was a spy going through the lines, and showed an old letter as his authority. The intelligent soldier turned it upside down, looked it carefully over, "hefted " it, and drawling out, " Yas, dat ish goot," allowed him to pass on. In 1842 he married Elizabeth Clark, and there was born to him A. Jackson. George, Matilda, Sampson, Annie, Estep. Watson and Mary. Jackson enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment when 15, and was killed at the battle of Bull Run. George also enlisted and lost a leg in the service. His wife having died, he married Martha Parks in 1864, by whom he has one child, Maggie.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 753 Steuben Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Deacon M. Dunlap and John Dunlap
Mr. Dunlap was born in Licking County, Ohio, in Nov. 3, 1838, and is a son of John Dunlap, born and raised in Rockingham County, Va., and Margaret Robinson, born in Licking County, Ohio, who had eleven children, only four of whom survive. Sarah married William York and resides in Henry: John in Iowa; Ann Eliza married Nelson Ham and located in Kansas. Mr. Dunlap came west with his parents in 1847, settled in Fulton County, then went to Peoria County, and in 1852 came to Marshall County. Mr. Dunlap, Sr., died in 1864. He was a blacksmith and gunsmith. Mr. D. married Sabra E. Wood, daughter of Thomas Wood and Rachael Flowers, April 10th, 1867. They had two children - Lois M. and Oscar M., deceased. He is a farmer by occupation and his farm consists of 80 acres. He is a member of the Harmon G. Reynolds Lodge, No. 395. Also a member of the M. E. Church. Mr. D., Sr., was a member of the same Church and an earnest and zealous worker in the community in which he lived. Deacon M. is a zealous worker in the temperance cause, likewise is a class leader in the M. E. Church. Mrs. D. was a teacher for twelve years in Marshall and Stark counties.
[Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 760 Whitefield Township - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]

Enoch Dent

Taken From the Henry Republican, Henry, IL
November 28, 1872

Another Old Settler Gone

The Index announces the death of another old settler, Father Enoch Dent of Wenona, who died on Monday of last week, aged 76. He was first taken sick about the time of the Wenona fair, supposed at that time to be lung fever, but from which he has not recovered, a complication of diseases setting in, finally resulting in his death.

Father Dent was born In Monongalia county, W. Va., May 21, 1796. He married in April 1817, Miss Judith Gapen of Pennsylvania, who has been his companion upwards of 55 years. By this union 12 children were born to them, five only of whom survive the father. In 1820 he moved into the wilds of Indiana, and in October 1832, into Marshall county, during the Black Hawk war, in which he took active part. He has lived about 40 years near where he died.  

Few persons were better known in this community. In person, he was commanding and dignified. His constitution was powerful. His manners were peculiarly kind and genial.  His sense of honor was fine. He was a kind husband and an affectionate father. The funeral was large. His wife, three years his junior, will soon follow him.

Wm. B. Duke

Pioneer Business Man, Died Early Sunday Morning
As a Banker and Business Man Did Much for the Building Up of This Community

After more than eight weeks of confinement to his bed, Wm. Duke died at 4 o’clock Sunday morning from heart failure. Mr. Duke’s health had not been very well for the past three years and during that period had been confined to his home for a few weeks at different times. Last winter he suffered an unusually hard siege of it. His trouble had been high blood pressure and it was the indirect cause of his death. His physician had been called shortly before he passed away, but before he answered the final summons apologized for having gotten the doctor out so early in the morning.

Through his business and banking affiliations he was one of the best known men in central Illinois. Since the year 1880 when he and his brother Thomas founded the business of Duke Bros., Mr. Duke was most actively engaged in the business life of the city and community up to the year 1821 when he relinquished his interests in the hardware and implement business to his nephews Walter and Clarence Duke. Less than a week before his death he was re-elected president of the First National Bank, which office he has held for two and one-half years. He was a director of that institution for six years.

As a boy he worked in the shop of his father who was a boot and shoe maker here; he worked for the state while the lock and dam were being built; he tended the locks some years after the locks were completed. At one time he engaged in carriage painting and free-hand sign writing in which line nature had endowed him with unusual talent. Mr. Duke’s memory of things that happened in his early days was remarkable, it being possible for him to name dates and places in an almost miraculous way.

Wm. Duke was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Duke. He was born at Gambler, Ohio, December 26, 1852 and died Sunday, January 15, 1922 at the age of 69 years and 21 days. He came to Henry in 1857, this city being practically his home all his life. He was one of seven children - four boys and three girls - William, Mary, Thomas and Walter (deceased), Elizabeth (Mrs. Charles Greenlee), Kay (Mrs. George McGillick), and Joseph, deceased.

In 1880 the firm of Duke Bros., was organized, and they opened business opposite Central Park in carriages, implements, etc. A fire on the morning of June 9, 1888, entailed a loss of $15,000, after which they built a number of building for their extensive trade, purchasing the discarded M. E. church building which was moved and became a central building for their business.

On January 21, 1901, the Paskell hotel and the stores of the block were burned. The firm then planned to expand and move to Edward street. They purchased the four lots 80 by 160 feet - on which the Paskell house stood, from the heirs and erected a structure for their business, which with modern equipment, cost the firm about $24,000. They did business on Second street for 21 years. Their many lines developed a business covering a large territory and no doubt the structure they built was a larger building than of cities of quadruple the size of Henry. They made it successful and gained a reputation.

He was married to Miss Belle Steele of this city in 1909. Upon the sudden death of his brother Thomas in 1911, Mr. Duke took the business over and continued at the head up to the time of his retirement. Surviving him are his wife and three sisters, Mary Duke, Mrs. Charles Greenlee and Mrs. George McGillick all residing in Henry.

Many from out of town came to pay their respects to him, he who was so well loved and thought of where he was known and who did so much for the building up of Henry and the surrounding country. The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon from St. John’s Episcopal church, Rev. P. M. Cooper conducting the beautiful Episcopal services.  Interment in the Henry cemetery.

Taken From The Henry News Republican
January 19, 1922

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