Captain B. Warren

Taken From the Henry Republican
July 25, 1878

Capt. B. Warren of Varna - An Eventful Career

At the re-union of Mexican war veterans at Peoria recently, the little navy which was engaged in that war had one representative in the person of Capt. B. Warren, the postmaster at Varna in this county. From a little sketch of him furnished for the official report of the proceedings of the reunion, the following facts of an eventful career as gathered:

He was on board the ship of the line Columbus, in her voyage around the world during the years of 1845-8, inclusive. During this voyage the Columbus entered Yeddo Bay, Japan, with a view of opening treaty relations, but the Japanese were then maintaining their ancient policy of nonintercourse. While lying here the commodore had occasion to visit a war junk, for the purpose of communicating with a Japanese official. As he was ascending the gangway he was violently thrust back by the soldier on duty. The timely assistance of Captain Warren, who was in the boat, alone prevented serious injury to the old commodore from his dangerous fall. Because the old hero did not resent the insult, the Japanese inferred that the Americans were lacking in spirit, a grave mistake in that case surely.

On her homeward bound voyage from China the Columbus put into Valparaiso. There her commander, Commodore James Biddle, received dispatches from Washington containing intelligence of the existing war with Mexico, and ordering him to proceed at once with his squadron to the coast of California, and occupy San Francisco and Monterey. Upon his arrival the American flag was flying at both places. There he remained five months, guarding these ports and capturing one prize.

But few of that ship's command remain. Of those known to be living are Robert Harris, late general superintendent of the C.B.&Q. railroad; Charles Nordhoff, for several years associate editor of the New York Evening Post, now Washington correspondent of the same paper; Waterman Brown, yard master of Nashua & Lowell railroad; Rev. H. Vallette Warren of Princeton, Ill., and the subject of this sketch.

Captian Warren, like hundreds of other Mexican veterans was one of the first to enter the war of the rebellion. He belonged to the Massachusetts "Sixth" of Baltimore massacre memory; was in Gen. Butler's expedition to New Orleans, and participated in the brilliant victories of the Sennadoah valley, under Gen. Sheridan. At the capture of the New Orleans forts, his regiment performed an important part - that of effecting a landing in their rear - a feat supposed to be impossible at that season, put when the confederates discovered that long line of Yankees emerge from the oozy, slimy morass of Back Bay, all discipline in the forts was at an end, and while the confederate commander formally surrendered to the navy, the garrison after spiking the guns that controlled the west bank of the river, abandoned the forts, and surrendered to this land force at quarantine. A battalion of the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Regiment was the first garrison, and Capt. Warren, the first commander of Fort Jackson, after its surrender. He remained there until July 1862, when nearly his entire command was prostrated with intermittent and malignant fevers, when he was ordered to New Orleans, and placed on detached service, first in command of the headquarter guard to Gen. Butler, a position that he held until Gen. Banks took command of the department. Subsequently, assistant of provost marshal of the defenses of New Orleans, and having charge of all the military prisons.

The duties of this position were of a nature that required great discretion in their execution, and were arduous in the extreme, and well calculated to develop the soldier and the man. There are hundreds of confederate soldiers who will remember with gratitude the sandy complexioned captain who visited them in the prisons daily; not to establish "dead lines," but to look after their comfort, as well as to provide against the possibility of their escape. It was upon these daily visits that their treatment and that of our boys at Libby and Andersonville, under such men as Wirz. stood out in bold contrast. Upon his arrival at the prisons, scores of persons, friends of the prisoners, would be in waiting to ask the privilege of visiting or doing something for their imprisoned husbands, brother or sons. To all of whom he had a courteous reply, and no one was refused a reasonable request. At the close of the war the captain came west, and in the change, while Massachusetts lost a good soldier, Illinois gained a good citizen.

Stephen B. Wilmot

Taken From the Henry Republican
March 22, 1877

Died in La Prairie, March 14, 1877, Stephen B. Wilmot, aged 79 years. He was one of the oldest residents living in La Prairie township. In early life he was engaged in the lumber trade, and shipping it to Baltimore and other large cities. In 1836 he came to his state and built the first dam on Fox river; after its completion, he returned to New York and re-engaged in his former business.

In 1845 he returned with his family to Marshall county, and purchased a La Prairie farm of Mr. Leavitt, on which he has since resided. At the commencement of the war, he was a very strong democrat; but after the first gun was fired on Sumter, he became a strong war democrat. At one time he was visited by a neighbor, but a personal friend, who stated his views and denounced the republican party as "violators of the constitution, in trying to put down the rebellion." Mr. Wilmot, who had not up to this time expressed himself, after hearing him through and being asked his opinion, answered him: "To h___ with your constitution; save the country first." The conversation and reply being reported to his friends in the army, created considerable enthusiasm.

Stephen B. Wilmot was born in Colesville, Chinango county, N. Y., February 20, 1798. August 14, 1825 he was united in marriage with Betsy Clawson who still survives to mourn his loss, and fill up the measure of her earthly pilgrimage. Four children have preceded their father to the spirit world; while three sons and two daughters still live, all with the exception of the youngest daughter, who resides in Kansas, live within a short distance of each other and of their now widowed mother. Of those, the estimable wife of Mr. George Scholes of Saratoga township, is one of the daughters. There are also living 22 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

The family and ancestry of the deceased furnish a remarkable instance of longevity. He has, in conversation, mentioned that at one time there was living in Connecticut, under one roof, representatives of five generations of his family. His great grandmother lived to the remarkable age of 105 years, his grandmother to 95, and grandfather 90 and his mother 79. He was the oldest of five brothers. His brother Amos, aged 75 years, is a farmer in Knox county; Asahel, aged 73 years, is a practicing physician in Chillicothe; Lyman, aged 71, lives in Lake county, and Jesse lives in Livingston county, Molk aged 68. Each of the brothers is now living with the wife of his youth. The deceased and his wife celebrated their golden wedding one year ago last August. Such a family record is exceedingly rare and noteworthy.

Chester Stores Woodward

Taken From the Henry Republican, Henry Illinois
October 30, 1873

Died in this city, Oct. 23, of kidney complaint Chester Stores Woodward, aged 69 years.


The subject of this sketch was born near West Point, on the Hudson river in New York State, Nov. 8, 1804, and had he lived to Nov. 8, 1873, would have been 69 years old. His father was sheriff at the time, so that our subject had the honor of being born within the enclosure of a jail. We know little of the early life of Mr. Woodward, further than he received a good common school education, and at Middletown, Conn., learned the shoemaker’s trade, and in April 23, 1826, married Miss Maria Hayden, his first wife, by whom he had six boys and one girl.

He moved to Illinois in 1840, when this section was a wilderness, and inhabited by a sparse white population. He stopped in Chicago a few months, but not liking it there, he struck out and came to Henry, then a mere point, consisting of but three dwelling houses; but he liked it, and concluded to pitch his tent here. Like all early settlers he struggled along amid the privations of the early day and took a prominent part in every thing that contributed to the growth of the town and settlement of the state.

His wife died in Nov. 1844, leaving quite a family of small children on his hands. His distress at this crises can be better imagined than described. Through the sympathy and assistance of friends, an acquaintance with Anna E. Read of Halfday, Lake county, was made, and after a short but affectionate correspondence, the parties were married at the first meeting of each other, on May 5, 1845. One child was the result of this union, as well as a very happy conjugal tie, which has afforded Mr. and Mrs. Woodward a happy life up to the time of his death last week.

Mr. Woodward has been a very useful man in his time. His earlier political affiliations were democratic, and through his energy and tact secured the appointment as the first postmaster of Henry, a place he held for about 10 years. During the first years of his administration, the families were so sparse that the mail he received once or twice a week by river, could be kept in the drawer under his shoe bench, and it was amusing even then, for a caller to see him, among his leather and pegs, lay aside his lapstone and hammer, pull the little drawer, and fumble over a little package of letters to find the right one. In those days too, postage was first 25 c, then 18, and then 12 c., and letters were not as lavish as they are now with a larger population and cheap postage.

When the agitation of the slavery question came up, Mr. W. was convinced that his conscience and sense of right placed him with the republican party, and because he refused to vote for Buchanan, his office was taken from him and given to P. M. Janney, Esq.  Nearly all the intervening time since Mr. W. has held some office of the town, city or county. He was county commissioner years ago, and for many terms city and town collector, and also street supervisor. When the rebellion took place, he sent two sons into the army, of of whom died from disease before his term of service expired.

In 1862 the Henry Courier was purchased by Mr. Woodward and his son Jonas D. Woodward, of R. H. Ruggles, under whose management it was conducted until July 1866, when Mr. W. sold his interest to Burdick, Burt & Woodward, and the paper changed to the name it now bears. In those years the paper was a bold exponent of republicanism, a firm supporter of war measures, and held a fearless, frank and stable position upon all the issues of those exciting times.

Mr. Woodward has also been an Odd Fellow for over 40 years, being initiated at Baltimore, Md. He, with Geo. Burt, Sen;, father of the editor of this paper, were the only two resident membrs that instituted Marshall lodge of this city in 1850. They both have lived to see it a large, prosperous and vigorous lodge, fulfilling a missiion of usefulness and benificence in this vicinity. The latter gentleman, also venerable in years, was at the funeral of Father Woodward, and was assigned to a post of honor both in the church and procession, for his pairlarchal services and fidelity to the order.

Mr. Woodward’s religious faith was that of a Protestant Methodist. He was converted under the zealous preaching of Rev. Lorenzo Dow in the year he was first married, and had ever been an earnest, faithful, consistent christian. He held important trusts in the church, and to much of the prosperity of that society in Henry years ago, may be credited to the zeal and assiduous labors of Father Woodward. His home always welcomed the brethren, and for long years it was a stopping place of the ministers who came this way.  Though the society failed in time, he never reliquished his regard and fidelity to the Protestant methodist faith, and live and died therein.

The last sickness of Father Woodward was a painful one, much of the time being delirious.  He had been feeble for some months, and when the summons came, amid much suffering, he said he was ready, and on Thursday, Oct. 23, delivered himself to the realities of the world to come. The widow, and three children all married, survive the husband and father, William H., the eldest living at Wyanet, Bureau county; Jonas D., employed at this office, and Delia M., wife of H. W. Ruggles of this city.

The solemn funeral obsequies took place at the Presbyterian chruch (it being the largest in the city) on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 26, and although rainy cold and very muddy, was perhaps the largest one held in Henry for a long time. The member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, to the number of some 200, from lodges in the vicinity assisted to deposit the remains of their most worthy brother in its final resting place. The services were solemn and the occasion was one long to be remembered. Thus has passed into life, one of our most exemplary, useful and respected citizens. May we emulate his virtues and be as ready for immortality as he.

John Wier

Taken From the Henry Republican
November 14, 1872

Death of Mr. John Wier

Mr. John Wier, another veteran settler of Marshall county, died suddenly at his residence, one mile east of Lacon, on the morning of October 31st, at the ripe age of 74 years. For a number of years Mr. Wier has been showing infirmity of age, and while able to direct his business has not been able to do much labor. On that fatal morning, he had an attack from heart trouble, a complaint which he had experienced at times for years, coming on about three o’clock. He got up from his bed and commenced walking the floor, but feeling uneasy, he fell slowly backward upon the bed, and his spirit took its eternal flight.

Mr. Wier is well known throughout this region of country, having been one of the pioneer settlers, and one of its sturdy and respected citizens. He had great possessions, and was a large farmer and fruit raiser. His sons Henry and Daniel survive him, both of whom are men of means, the latter being one of the best authorities in horticultural science in this country. Mr. Wier was born in Waldo county, Maine, May 18, 1797, and of parents who ere from Glasgow, Scotland. His school education amounted to a three month’s term, but application at home during his boyhood made him a scholar for all practical purposes. He lived at one time in Pennsylvania, married his wife Catherine Byrn near Wheeling, Va., and after 15 years there found his way to Illinois. Here he was fitted for the early privations, and the emergencies of a new country, being a man of large heart, of sound judgement, and excellent habits and morals. In the Black Hawk War he was a lieutenant. He was a good business manager and succeeded in opening a large farm and amassing a considerable competence.

His funeral was largely attended, 70 carriages following the remains to the family vault at the Broaddus burying ground, a few miles east of this city. Throughout his life, Mr. Wier was respected for his good character and mighty acts, and dies as one fully ripe and ready for the grave. He never professed religion, but lived circumspectly and honestly, doing all the good he could, and we trust will reap the reward of those who do uprightly.

Sara Jane Myers Wright

The Old Settler Dying

Jane Wright, one of the oldest settlers of Roberts township was laid to rest in the Varna cemetery last week. The Lacon papers in their obituary notice of her say:

Sara Jane Wright was born in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 1824, and was with her mother at the ovation given to Gen. Lafayette in 1826, he being the nation’s guest at that time. Her parents moved to Madison county, Ohio in 1827, remained there three years and in 1830 they came to Tazewell county, Ill. They lived there for one year when they moved to Roberts township.

Her father, John Myers, was among the first meeting with the hardships common to pioneers in a new country. Her first home was what is known now as the old homestead of John Myers, about 3 miles north of Varna on the Magnolia road. During the following year, 1832, the Black Hawk war took place and they came in for their share of trouble and fear of attack by the murderous redskins. The country being new and thinly settled the few settlers built a stockade and spent the greater part of that year within it.

She remained with her parents until Jan. 1, 1846 when she was married to Alexander Wright, going to housekeeping in a little log cabin on the present site of the Wright homestead. Three sons were born of this union, John Blair Wright, of Florida; Daniel Wright of Wenona, but the third son died in infancy.

The young people were industrious and saving and soon a competency was theirs. Nothing pleased her so much as to gather around her friends and neighbors at a spread fit for a king. It was unbounded to anyone who chanced beneath her roof.

Some 45 years ago she remained at the old home. Then Varna began to be quite a town and the farm was given over and the little village made her home up to the day of her death on November 18th, at 11 o’clock p.m., when the suffering body found rest, for disease had robbed life of its sweetness and peace. Through her protracted illness no means was spared to ease he suffering; a competent nurse, Miss Vila Boldman, assisted by Mrs. W. Rogers, were ever present to care for wants and relieve her sufferings.

The funeral was held last Sunday in the M.E. church, by Rev. Dudman. The floral tributes were roses in their frail beauty.........She was laid to rest in a steel vault in the Myers cemetery beside that of her husband, reunited in death.

Taken From the Toluca Star Newpaper, Toluca, IL
Front Page, December 12, 1902


Hiram C. WRIGHT, a pioneer of Marshall and Putnam counties, Illinois, is now living a retired life in Henry, where his familiar figure, white hair and beard are known by every man, woman and child for miles around. He is a native of Canada, born at Morris Hollow, about fourteen miles north of Toronto, May 4, 1819, and is a son of William and Sophia (CLEVELAND) WRIGHT, both of whom were natives of New York, from which state they emigrated to Canada and were there married. When Hiram was but eight years of age they determined to emigrate to Illinois, and, with their family of three children, located in Tazewell county. William WRIGHT was a tanner and currier by trade, and followed that occupation in his native state and in Canada, but on coming to Illinois engaged in farming. He remained in Tazewell county but one year and then removed to Peoria county, three miles west of the present village of Chillicothe, locating on La Salle prairie, which was his permanent home during the remainder of his life. He died at the age of fifty-six years. He was a man of limited means and made the journey by team from Canada, accompanied by the family of his wife's father, who also located near him in Peoria county. His wife survived him some years, dying when about seventy years old. Of their four children, two are now li8ving, our subject and his sister, Harriet, who also resides in Henry. One daughter died in Indiana, while en route to Illinois. One son, William, grew to manhood in Peoria county, where he engaged in framing, but has since died.

The subject of this sketch remained under the parental roof until nineteen years of age, and in common with all farmer boys, attended school during the winter months and assisted in farm work other seasons of the year. The lead mines in the vicinity of Galena, and which extended across the line into Wisconsin, in early days afforded about the only place where employment could be secured and wages paid in cash. Thousands of men in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri from 1832 until well in the 40s annually made pilgrimages to the mines that they might secure money for taxes and for such things as could not be had by barter. Young Hiram, at the age mentioned, thought it was time for him to handle a little of the "filthy lucre" there to be had by those industriously inclined, and so went to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and for several years engaged in mining and in farm work. Returning to Illinois, he made a claim on Senachwine lake, in Putnam county, about six miles west of Hennepin. This claim consisted of three hundred acres of good land, on which he removed in 1844, and at once commenced its improvement. His capital being limited he could not at once improve the entire claim, but did so as rapidly as his means would permit. The management of a farm, without the aid of a "gude wife" has ever been found to be difficult work, and our subject realized this in due time; accordingly we find that on the 27th of October, 1847, he was united in marriage with Miss Sophia HUNTER, a native of Cortland county, New York, born October 25, 1828, and a daughter of Andrew and Huldah HUNTER. Soon after this event occurred he removed to Boyd's Grove, Bureau county, near the home of his wife's father, where he purchased an improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres and there remained six years. He then returned to his original farm on the Senachwine, and actively engaged in general farming until his removal to Henry, shortly before the commencement of the civil war. For some years after his removal to the village he retained possession of the farm, but finally sold. He yet, however, still owns the Boyd Grove farm, which he leases. In addition to his farming interests he has made some investments in the west, but at present has only such interests as will prevent his rusting out.

After a happy married life of forty-six years, Mrs. WRIGHT departed this life February 23, 1893. She was a quite, unassuming woman, caring but little for the vanities of this world. For some years she was a member of the Christian church, but on removal to Henry she united with the Presbyterian body, there being no church of her choice in the village. Tow daughters came to bless their union, one dying in childhood. The other, Clarissa, is now the wife of Dr. F. A. POWELL, a druggist of Henry. They also adopted a boy, Walter SMITH, who died after being an inmate of their home for three years and a half.

On the 25th of June, 1894, Mr. WRIGHT married Miss Ruth McKINNEY, of Henry, a native of Putnam county, Illinois. Her father, Joel McKINNEY, was a native of Indiana, and there married Miss Emeline JACKSON, a native of Oxford county, Maine, who removed with her parents to Indiana when but fifteen years of age. From Warsaw, Dearborn county, Indiana, Joel, McKINNEY moved to Putnam county, Illinois, in 1842. He died in Tennessee in 1880, and his widow now makes her home with Mrs. WRIGHT, who is her only child, now living in Marshall county. Of her five children, three sons and two daughters, all are scattered, living in various places, from Illinois to Oregon. For some years prior to her marriage, Mrs. WRIGHT was an active business woman in Henry, and is well known and universally esteemed. She is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. WRIGHT is not a member of any church, but usually attends and contributes to the Presbyterian church. In politics he is a thorough, out and out republican.

[The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, Published in Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1896. - transcribed March 2011 by Norma Hass.]

E.H. Ward

Mr. Ward is a farmer living on section 18, and cultivates 165 acres of land.  He was born in Franklin county, Indiana and came to Marshall County in 1859.  October 1, 1874, he married Sarah A. Skelton, and they have one child, Robert A.

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

Edward Welch

Mr. Welch is a locomotive engineer whose residence is in Lacon. He was born in Essex county, New York in 1843. In October 1861, he enlisted in Company F, 118th N.Y. Volunteer Infantry, serving in the armies of the Potomac and the James under Gen. Butler. At the battle of Fair Oaks, Oct. 24th, 1864, he was captured, confined in the celebrated Libby Prison of execrable memory two weeks and in Salisbury, S.C. until March 2, 1865, when he was paroled and released, sent to Annapolis, Md., and thence to New York, where he lay sick several weeks and was finally mustered out at Plattsburg, N.Y., in June, 1865. December 15th, 1864, he was commissioned a lieutenant. In 1872 he married Helen Logan, a native of Pittsburg, Pa. They have three children, Clarence, Edward and Edith E. Mr. Welch is a member of the Masonic order and belongs to the brotherhood locomotive engineers.

Source: Record of Olden Times or 50 years on the Prairie, 1880, Page 683 Lacon Township. Transcribed by Nancy Piper