Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails





WALTER BOWN resides about one mile southeast of Conconully, where he devotes himself to farming and stock raising. He was born in Sherbrooke, Canada, June 20, 1832, being the son of Henry and Jennette (Wilcox) Bown, natives of England and New York, respectively. When two years of age, our subject came to Columbus, Ohio, with his parents and when he was sixteen, the family moved to Peoria, Illinois. In 1857 he went to Johnson county, Kansas, and located a preemption on an Indian reservation. In the spring of 1860 he went to Pike's Peak and followed mining and freighting until the fall of 1863, when he enlisted in Company B, Third Colorado Infantry, which, one year later, was attached to the Second Colorado Cavalry. They were sent to Missouri and participated in the terrible battles against Price, and there our subject received a wound, the bullet entering his face and coming out at his neck, which though very serious kept him in the hospital only twenty days. He participated in a great many battles and skirmishes, the terrible fights with the bushwhackers, being the most dangerous of the war. In December, 1864, his regiment was returned to Leavenworth and then ordered to escort the United States mail from Larned, Kansas, to Fort Lyons, Colorado, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. They did considerable fighting with the Indians but carried the enterprise through successfully and remained on duty until 1865. Then he was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, where he was honorably discharged, being first sergeant. Mr. Bown experienced much of the hardship of a soldier's life, it being especially rigorous on account of his being on the border and in constant service. On the day following his discharge he returned to Peoria county, Illinois, and at Lancaster, in that state, he married Miss Emma Minnick. In 1869 they moved to Barton county, Missouri. Four children have been born to them, Kate S., wife of Charles A. Philhour, a passenger engineer on the Santa Fe railroad living in LaJunta, Colorado; William W., a machinist operating an engine at the Stem Winder mill at Fairview, British Columbia; Frances Maud, a school teacher, living at home; Edward J., at home, now handling the mail from Conconully to Loomis. Mrs. Bown died on November 9, 1880, in Barton county, Missouri. In 1889 Mr. Bown came with his people to Sprague, Washington, and engaged in farming and stock raising. In 1890, he brought some cows to Conconully and operated a dairy there for two years. He located his present place when he first came here, which is a good piece of land and well improved. Mr. Bown is a member of the G. A. R., also the A. F. & A. M. He took a trip to Illinois in 1898 and visited his home lodge from which he had been absent for thirty years and found many of the old associates still in harness. [Source: "An illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, and Chelan Counties in the state of Washington" Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904 - Tr. by Helen Coughlin]

Source Info: "The History of Adair County Missouri" by E.M. Violette (1911)
Contributed by Desiree Rodcay

FRANK A STROUP-- was born near Peoria, Illinois, July 25, 1877, being a son of I.F. and Martha Stroup. He was married September 08, 1897, to Maud V Frankford, daughter of Henry and Lydia Frankford. They have two children: Phena, aged twelve and Etelka, aged seven. Mr. Stroup moved to Randolph County Missouri, at the age of three years, remaining three years; then to Bevier, Macon County. On May 03, 1894, he came to Novinger, Adair County, where he has since resided. He attended the public school at Prairie school house, near Bevier, until thirteen years of age, then entered the mines at that place. He has since filled every position in and about the mines. He operated the Spring Valley Coal Company at Stahl, Missouri. In connection with his father he has been identified as one of the pioneer developers of the Adair County coal fields, having been engaged in contract construction work, sinking shafts, building railroad switches, etc, during the progress of opening up this great coal field. He has also engaged in the hardware and furniture business as managing member of the Stroup-Nunn Hardware Company. He is secretary of the Novinger Building and Loan Association, having held that position since its organization in 1904. Mr. Stroup is a Republican in politics and served as postmaster at Novinger, Missouri, under the appointment of President William H Taft. he is loyal to his party and was always identified with its interests. He is active in educational affairs, having been one of the board of directors when Novinger build the first school building of importance. Having the distinction of being the best marksman of the county, he is an ardent field sportsman, enjoying hunting and trap shooting. He has many trophies as evidence of his skill as a shooter, both at trap and in the field. He is now conducting an office of notary, insurance, abstract and law, as well as operating a farm near Novinger.


Source Info: "The History of Adair County Missouri" by E.M. Violette (1911)
Contributed by Desiree Rodcay

JAMES E RIEGER-- was born in Peoria County Illinois, September 20, 1875, being a son of Gottfried and Rose Rieger. He was married August 25, 1900, to Alma Wray, daughter of W.M. and Angeline (Patterson) Wray. They have two children: Wray, born May 25, 1902; Nathan, February 13, 1904. Mr. Rieger came to Adair County Missouri from Illinois when a small boy. He attended the public school and took a course at the Normal School at Kirksville, then went to the Missouri State University, where he graduated in 1907. Having read law he was admitted to the bar that same year, after which he engaged in general practice in this county til 1908. Although the county is largely Republican, and Mr. Rieger is a Democrat, he was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Adair County. Refusing to be a candidate for the second term, he returned to the general practice. James E Rieger belongs to the Baptist church, and is identified with the M.W.A., I.O.O.F., K. of P. and Elk Lodges.

Source: "The History Of Adair County Missouri" by E.M. Violette (1911)
Contributed by Desiree Rodcay

GEORGE W EVANS-- a native of Peoria Illinois was born August 02, 1849. He is a son of George and Martha Evans. He was married to Elizabeth Bailey, daughter of James and Ann Bailey, at Moberly, Missouri on July 02, 1870. They have five children living and two dead: Etta, born July 01, 1872, now Mrs. Thomas McKinstry (her husband was killed in the Burlington and Rock Island wreck, September 15, 1910, on his engine); John A, born December 25, 1874; William J. October 28, 1876 (he was killed in a mine explosion at Delugah, Colorado, November 08, 1910. He was superintendent of the mines at time of explosion, trying to save the lives of the employees in the mine.); Daisy, born June 20, 1880, now Mrs. Ben Blackledge, he is engineer {for the} Iowa & St. Louis R.R.; Charles F., July 24, 1887; George W. Jr, April 14, 1900; Walter A, May 17, 1903, died September 10 same year. Mr. Evans remained in Illinois till 1868, then went to Iowa for a little over a year. He moved from there to Randolph County {Mo}, where he remained eight years in the mining business. In 1894 he went to Putnam County {Mo}, where he was superintendent of the Emporia Coal & Coke Company. He moved to Unionville, remaining till 1900, then came to Adair County {Mo}, accepting the position of general superintendent of the Manufacturers Coal & Coke Company, with headquarters at Connelsville. The company owns three mines of Connelsville and two at Novinger. The main headquarters of the company are at Chicago, A.E. Harper being the president. Mr. Evans is a member of the K. of P. Lodge.



Francis Ralph Dennis, a real-estate man, has operated largely in that field in different parts of the country and is the father of a number of town sites leading to the substantial development of the southwest, particularly of Oklahoma. He was born in Hennepin, Putnam county, Illinois, in 1877, a son of Francis S. Dennis, who was born on a farm near Henry, Marshall county, Illinois, in 1836. He is now living in Henry and, although he devoted his earlier years to agricultural pursuits, he later turned toward merchandising as a dealer in ice and beef. He married Ruth Bush Chance, a native of Putnam county, Illinois. Their wedding, which was celebrated in Henry, has been blessed with four sons and three daughters: Irving, deceased; Walter; James, who has passed away; Francis Ralph; Edith, who has also departed this life; and Agnes and Ella, who are both married. It is interesting to know something of the still earlier history of the Dennis family, for the grandfather, James Dennis, was an old-time newspaper correspondent and from Illinois wrote for Philadelphia papers about the Indian occupancy of this state and the pioneer development. He now lies buried in one of the oldest cemeteries of the state bordering the Illinois river, where the graves of the Dennis family indicate that they were among the first to settle in Illinois.

When Francis Ralph Dennis was six years of age his parents removed to Henry, Marshall county, and later he attended the city schools and the high school. He left home at the age of eighteen years and was afterward employed in various cities but in 1898 joined the army, enlisting for two years' service or "during the war," following the outbreak of hostilities with Spain. The war closed at the end of eight months and he was then honorably discharged. He was a member of the First Illinois Cavalry under Captain Robert Fort, a greatly beloved officer and one of the leading young republican politicians of the state. He served as state senator, as had his father and his grandfather before him. and few men were ever more greatly loved than was the Captain of L troop of the First Illinois Cavalry.

When the war ended Francis R. Dennis went to Chicago and was employed at various places before entering the real-estate business in that city. He began operations in a small way but gradually extended his efforts and was very active in establishing new towns in Oklahoma, following the admission of the state to the Union. He was the original town site man at the beginning of the boom and largely through his efforts the towns of Thomas, Hobart, Siboney, Roosevelt and Davidson sprang into existence. He has carried on real-estate dealing in Peoria for seven years and is now at the head of a large clientele in this connection. He has thoroughly informed himself concerning property values here and has negotiated many important realty transfers in various districts, largely western lands. He is also a factor in industrial circles of the city, being engaged in the building of the Hebdennis grain weighers, which are continuous weighers. These machines are all manufactured in Peoria at the "Old Pottery" site at Adams and Mary streets, where are employed several score of workmen. These machines are of great value and are finding a ready sale on the market.

On the 10th of October, 1911, Mr. Dennis was married to Miss Florence G. McKelvey, of Hedrick, Iowa, and they reside at No. 400 North Glen Oak avenue. Mr. Dennis votes with the republican party. He has been described as "a clean cut young business man and a student of up-to-date things and methods." This indicates his progressive spirit, while something of his social nature and position is indicated in the words of one who called him a "prince of good fellows" extremely courteous and a true gentleman. His experiences in life have been broad and interesting and his ambition has kept him in touch with modern progressive methods. What he undertakes he accomplishes, for he is determined and energetic, realizing ever that when one avenue of opportunity seems closed other paths may be found which will lead to the desired goal.

(Source: Peoria city and county, Illinois: a record of settlement ..., Volume 2 By James Montgomery Rice, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912 Page 420-421.  Contributed by Nancy Piper )

Dr. J. H. ULRICH, who for the past eleven years has been successfully engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Peoria, maintains his offices at No. 510 Main street. His birth occurred in this city on the 9th of April, 1876, his parents being Charles and Amelia ULRICH. The father, who worked as a bookkeeper, crossed the Atlantic from Germany to the United States in or about 1860. He passed away in September, 1910, and was buried in the Springdale cemetery at Peoria. His widow makes her home in this city.

BENJAMIN WOOKEY, represents the large brick manufacturing interests of Rich wood Township as one of its leading manufacturers, one who is potent in advancing the growth of the county. He was born in Somersetshire, England, March 1, 1834, to William and Ann Wookey. He was the seventh son in a family of nineteen children, eighteen sons and one daughter, ten of whom grew to maturity. His parents were natives of the same shire as himself, and there spent their entire lives engaged in the occupation of farming.
Our subject lived in his native shire until he was almost eight years old, and then spent the ensuing time until he was twenty-two, in Newport, Monmouthshire. At that age, in the flush and vigor of early manhood, he came to this country to see what life held for him here and to build up a home under the favorable conditions offered to people of foreign birth by this Government. Landing in New York City, he came directly to Peoria in the fall of 1855, and was employed in that city making bride until 1866. He then established himself as a manufacturer of brick in Rich wood Township, and has since been engaged in business that here. He manufactures from a million to a million and a quarter of bricks each year, which are found by his patrons to be both durable and cheap, and from their sale he derives a very profitable income.
When our subject came to this country, he was a single man, but he left a sweetheart behind in the old Isle, who had agreed to share his home and fortunes with him in this new country, when he had prepared the way for her, and in 1860 he returned to his native land to secure his bride, Miss Mary Ann Lane, and their marriage was duly solemnized December 13, of that year.' Mrs. Wookey is a daughter of the late Thomas and Ann (Moore) Lane, natives, respectively of Cornwall and Devonshire, England. Her father died in Newport, Monmouthshire, England, in 1887. Her mother survives at an advanced age. They had a family of four children, of whom Mrs. Wookey was the eldest. She was born in Bridgewater, Somersetshire, England, July 23, 1834. Mr. and Mrs. Wookey's happy wedded life has brought them three children: Ella L., wife of Ernest W. Dickinson; William T., and Benjamin L.
By those fine traits of character that mark Mr. Wookey as a sensible, progressive, far-seeing man of business, he has not only built up his own prosperity, but has materially advanced the interests of his adopted county and township, and is classed among their best citizens. In the neat and finely appointed brick house that he has erected here, hospitality reigns supreme under the guiding hand of the good housewife, who understands well how to control the affairs of the household, and seconds her husband in his efforts to entertain friend or stranger while under the shelter of their roof. They are among the leading members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, taking an active part in all its good work. Mr. Wookey has aided very efficiently in the management of the affairs of the church in the various offices that he has held in connection with it, and especially as Superintendent of the Sunday-school when he held that position. He has been influential in political affairs, and is an influence in the councils of the Republican Party in this
part of the county. He has been a member of the North Peoria Board of Trustees, and made an excellent record as a public official who was to be trusted to work only for the interests of the community.

[Portrait and biographical album of Peoria County, Illinois; Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1890, 776- 777 - Transcribed by: Bailey H. for Illinois Genealogy Trails]


One of the most pleasant rural abodes in Radnor Township is that of the gentleman above named, which is located on section 17, in the midst of fertile fields, where everything necessary in the way of farm building has been erected, and all other improvements made which would add to the value of the estate or the comfort of those who occupy it. The greater part of the life of this gentleman has been spent in the county, and he is quite well known as a man of means possessed of decided business ability, who has succeeded as an agriculturist, and has loaned considerable sums to those less fortunate than himself. father of our subject was born in Chester County Pa., June 18, 1794, and died in Peoria County, November 8, 1881.

The mother was born in Dauphin County, Pa., Oct. 28, 1805, and departed this life July 19, 1879. When John L. Wakefield and Martha Strickler were married they set up their home in Butler County, Oh., remaining there until 1834, then locating on Orange Prairie, Kickapoo Township, this county. After sojourning there two years they removed to Radnor Township and on section 18, spent the remainder of their lives. They had a large family consisting of fifteen children, the name of our subject being the sixth child on the family roll. birth of the gentleman of whom we write took place in Butler Co., Oh., January 30, 1832, he being therefore about two years old when his parents came to Illinois. He continued to live with his father until a year or more after his marriage, when he settled in Jubilee township. There he pursued his vocation until 1867, then settled in Gilead Township, Henry county, sojourning there a year. Returning to this county he settled on Section 18, Radnor Township, and actively engaged in farm work until the spring of 1885, since which time he has lived more of a retired life. His land estate consists of about eight hundred and fifty-three acres in Radnor and Jubilee Townships.

The lady whom Mr. Wakefield was so fortunate as to secure for his wife was Miss Elizabeth Wilkinson, with whom he was united in marriage in Radnor Township, Jan. 1, 1857. The parents of Mrs. Wakefield were Aaron G. and Sarah (Harland) Wilkinson, natives of Virginia and Ohio respectively, whose first home after their marriage was in the vicinity of Rockville, Ind. Thence came to Peoria County in 1836, living in Princeville Township about a year and then making their home in Radnor Township. After a time they changed residence to Kickapoo Township, thence removing to Galva, IL, and subsequently to Red Oak, Iowa. They had two sons and nine daughters, Mrs. Wakefield being the third in order of birth. She opened her eyes to the light in Radnor Township, Aug. 2, 1839, growing to womanhood possessed of intelligence, an estimable character and many domestic virtues. The first born in the family of our subject and his wife is George w. who married Miss Carrie Davis; the second child, Frank L., married Miss Isabella Davis; the older daughter Addie, married William Duggins; the youngest member of the family is Mabel E. who is still unmarried and gladdening her parents by her presence in the home.

Wakefield has served as Township supervisor two terms, discharging his duties in a creditable manner. He has taken quite an active part in the political work of the vicinity, exerting himself to advance the interests of the Republican party. Although not a member of any religious body, he contributes freely to the support of various churches, and has manifested an equally liberal spirit in promoting the cause of education. He and his wife are regarded with much respect, their hospitality frequently being enjoyed by their many friends.

Transcribed By: Londie Benson
Portrait and biographical album of Peoria County, Illinois; Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1890

Weers, Henry S. (of H.S. Weers & Sons), dealers in general hardware and house furnishing goods, 1163 S. Adams street. Was born in Oldenburg, Germany, January 1, 1834, and is the son of John S. and Rindelt Maria (Clausen) Weers, natives of Hanover. He was raised, educated, and learned his trade of baker there, and in 1854 came to America with his parents, landing in New York in July of that year. They settled in Cincinnati, O., and he worked at his trade three for two years, and in 1856 came to Peoria, and after working one year at his trade, started for himself in the grocery business, and carried it on until Spring of the present year, when he went into partnership with his sons in his present business, and keeps a full line of stoves, shelf hardware, tinware, and house furnishing goods. He married in Peoria, in 1856, Miss Regina Benedina Frayer, who was born in Prussia in February, 1833, by whom he has had seven children, four now alive -- John, Anton, Henry and Theodore. The two eldest are his partners in business. He owns three stores, with the lots on which they stand, on the corner of South Adams and Peoria streets. Mr and Mrs Weers are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The History of Peoria County, Illinois (Johnson & Company, 1880)- submitted by Amy Robbins-Tjaden

Thomas A. Walsh.
That person who knows his own mind and understands his own ability, who chooses a congenial trade or occupation early in life, thoroughly masters its principles and continues to work at it persistently and intelligently usually succeeds. Most people are able to become really expert in but one line of endeavor, and it is a fortunate circumstance that enables them to commence their lifework in a channel to which they can bring their best endeavors and greatest enthusiasm without wasting valuable years in discovering their true bent. A well known man of Butte whose entire business and industrial career attests the truth of these general statements is Mr. Thomas A. Walsh, secretary and treasurer of the Montana Iron Works, with which during the past fourteen years he has served successively as foreman, general manager and secretary and treasurer.

Mr. Walsh is a native of Peoria, Illinois, in which city he was born, July 26, 1861, spent his early boyhood, was educated and learned his trade. His parents, John and Catherine (Halligan) Walsh, came to this country from their native Ireland when a boy and girl, and both the Walsh and the Halligan families were early settlers in Peoria. John Walsh was a man well known up and down that section of the country for many years, he having been a boat owner who ran his steamboats with their cargoes on the waters of the Illinois and lower Mississippi rivers, and he continued to maintain his residence in Peoria up to the time of his death, in 1901. Thomas A. was fourth in line of a family of nine children. When sixteen years old, having finished his studies at the parochial school in Peoria, he was apprenticed to learn the boiler-making trade in the Central Boiler Works of his native city. Upon completing his four-year apprenticeship the young man went to Chicago and worked at his trade in that great metropolis for about two years. The opportunity then presented itself to go to the northwest territory of Canada, and he spent thirteen months in that section of country in the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Following this he returned to his home at Peoria, and having by the exercise of thrift and industry succeeded in saving sufficient to finance the deal, in partnership with his uncle, Michael Halligan, he purchased the Central Boiler Works, where a few years previous he had been but an apprentice boy.

A year later, however, Mr. Walsh disposed of his interest in the works and went south as far as Texas, working at his trade in a number of the larger cities of that part of the country. Later he turned his steps toward the northwest, and in March, 1888, established his residence in Butte and has been a prominent citizen of this progressive city continuously since that date. Shortly after his arrival here he formed a partnership with Mr. Thomas McGrade, and the firm installed the Vulcan Iron Works plant and continued to do a growing business until 1908. The business depression which swept the country about that time affected the operations of the plant, however, and it was found advisable to dissolve the partnership, Mr. Walsh retiring.

Having established a reputation as a thorough business man and one with expert experience and ability in all lines of his trade, Mr. Walsh found no difficulty in making a satisfactory connection and was immediately importuned to accept a position as foreman of the boiler shop of the Montana Iron Works. The Montana Iron Works is one of the most extensive operators in its line in this part of the country, employing an average of forty skilled workmen in its various departments, and filling contracts for a large number of well satisfied customers in all portions of the northwest. Mr. Walsh during the fourteen years that he has been connected with the works has amply proven his ability to cope with all emergencies and has been a potential factor in increasing the demands upon and output of the factory.

While he has at all times devoted the greater part of his time and energy strictly to business, he yet finds time to take an active interest in social, religious and civic affairs. In politics he is a Democrat and in 1894-96 proved himself to be an efficient public official in the capacity of alderman from his ward. He is a devout member of the Roman Catholic church and contributes liberally to its charities and benevolences. Personally he enjoys a wide popularity and is highly esteemed for his many fine qualities as a man and a citizen throughout the community in which he has lived so long.

On May 5, 1897, at Deer Lodge, Montana, Mr. Walsh was united in marriage with Miss Barbara Vilsmeyer, who was born in Minnesota, the daughter of John Vilsmeyer. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh occupy a comfortable and attractive home at 745 South Main street. [Source: the History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, Volume 3, 1913 - Submitted by Friends for Free Genealogy]

JOHN M. YERION is eminently worthy of representation in this biographical work, where the record of many of Peoria County's pioneers and leading men is preserved for the benefit of rising and future generations. He is a farmer and stock-raiser and is conducting his business in Trivoli Township, where he is pleasantly located in that part generally known as Brunswick. The father of our subject, George Yerion, was a native of Wythe County, Va., while his grandfather was a Pennsylvanian by birth and of German descent. He married in the Keystone State, and then removed to Virginia, where he was successfully engaged as a farmer and stockman and became a large landowner. He was an early settler there and took part in the War of 1812.
His son was bred to the life of a farmer on the old plantation. He made tar and mined coal to some extent, and also engaged as a blacksmith. He was a good mechanic and made wagons and could do anything that required manual skill. His wife urged him to move to Illinois, where she wisely thought a man of his practical ability would find a good opening in the building up of a new country. In 1848, they started with their family on the eventful journey, traveling with two teams and a wagon, crossing the Ohio at Louisville, and the Wabash at Terre Haute, and proceeding slowly on their way to Peoria, which they reached at the end of nine weeks' travel, and which they found to be a small place. One of the sons was sick on the journey, so they had camped for twenty-one days. They found plenty of game along the way, and it added greatly to their supply of food. The father rented land in Trivoli Township, and engaged in farming until his death in 1850, closed an honorable and industrious life. He was a Democrat in politics, and while a resident of Virginia was Justice of the Peace. He was a conscientious and upright man, and a member of the Presbyterian Church.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Sallie Miller, and she was born in Wythe County, Va., a daughter of William Miller, who was of English extraction. He was a farmer by occupation and during the War of 1812, was a soldier and an officer, and was wounded. The mother resided with her children here until 1875, and then went to live with a daughter in Platte County, "Neb., where she died in 1886, at the age of eighty-one years. Thirteen children were born of her marriage, of whom eight grew to maturity: Susan, Mrs. Minnick, who died in Trivoli; Sarah, Mrs. Hollands worth, who died in Trivoli; John, Randall and Jackson, who died in Trivoli; David, a resident of. Arkansas; Nancy, Mrs. Yerion, of Farmington; Martha, Mrs. Wolf of Nebraska. David was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Company I, Eighty-sixth Illinois Infantry, in 1861, and serving creditably throughout the war.
John Yerion was born February 12, 1829, on the Cherry Purchase in Tennessee, during the residence of his parents in that locality. He was reared in Virginia, gleaning what education he could in the subscription schools, that were held three months of each year in a rude log house, furnished with slab benches and having greased paper instead of glass in the windows.
He helped on the farm, engaging in making tar, etc, and was twenty-one years old when he came to this county. Beginning life for himself in the fall of 1848, he worked out by the month until he was thirty-six years of age. In 1856, he leased a farm in Orion Township, Fulton County. Prior to that time, in 1854, he and his partner, made a trip to Texas driving two colts, and returning in the month of November. The next fall he again visited the Lone Star State, going there to pilot seven families, and remaining there one winter, engaged in work. He was taken sick and came home, via the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River. In 1856, he went to Virginia to revisit his old home and remained there one winter, then coming back, once more engaged in farm labor. He is an extensive traveler, and made a trip to Dakota in 1882, and again in 1885. During the latter year he also visited Portland, Ore.
In 1863, Mr. Yerion having been very successful in agricultural adventures located on his present farm, which he then purchased, arch here he has since been actively engaged in raising grain and stock. He purchased the original eighty acres of his homestead for 13,300 and has since added ten acres to his landed possessions, buying a small tract of land on section 28. His place is well fenced and has on it fine buildings, including a roomy house and good barns; also a fine orchard and good springs of water. He has horses for general purposes and uses two teams of draft horses in his work; he has full-blooded cattle and hogs, buying and feeding swine in addition to raising them.
Our subject is very happy in his domestic relations, his wife filling in a perfect measure the duties devolving upon her, in her position as his helpmate and the mother of children, of whom they have two living-John M. and Flora M. Two children are deceased, Letta V., who died at the age of one month, and Varina, who died when four years old. Mr. and Mrs. Yerion were married by Judge Follett February 17, 1864. Her maiden name was Maria Stookey, and she was born in Timber Township January 30, 1840. For parental history see the biography of her brother, the Hon. D. B. Stookey, on another page of this volume. As a man of unblemished character and fine reputation, our subject is an important member of this community, and every scheme toward its advancement, religiously, educationally or materially, finds in him a liberal and able promoter. He has been School Director for years and for a period of nine years was Commissioner of Highways in this township, fn his political views he is a strong Democrat. He is one of the foremost members of the Presbyterian Church at Brunswick, of which he is a Deacon.

[Portrait and biographical album of Peoria County, Illinois; Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1890, pg 769-771 - Candi Horton]


Kasjens & Entwistle are successfully engaged in the operation of a plumbing and heating plant at 421 Hamilton boulevard, Peoria, where they have been located since establishing their business on the 1st of January, 1909. They are both skilled mechanics and practical business men, whose general experience and thorough training in their line well qualifies them to undertake the development of an enterprise of this nature. They make a specialty of installing steam and hot water heat and pneumatic water supply in country and suburban residences and are being favored with as many orders as they are able to fill with their present force. Although they have only been engaged in this business for three years, it has been their fortune to be awarded some very good contracts, which they have filled so satisfactorily that one order resulted in the next. Their work has been satisfactory and they have every reason to feel encouraged.
Theodore KASJENS, senior partner of the firm, was born in Peoria, on July 27, 1879, and is a son of Jacob U. KASJENS, a car carpenter, for many years employed at the corner of Pekin and Union streets. In the acquirement of his education he attended the old Douglas school until he was fourteen years of age, when he entered the blacksmith department of the carriage shop of William HUPE to learn the trade. Three years later he withdrew from this position and found employment in the Holdas box factory, remaining there until 1898. In the latter year he became identified with the plumbing and heating departments of the brass foundry & Heating Company, continuing in their employ until 1909. Here he was given the advantages of a very thorough training and excellent experience, the value of which was greatly increased by his previous connections. On the 1st of January, 1900, he withdrew from the service of the latter company and became associated with William H. ENTWISTLE in purchasing the plumbing department of his employers, which they have ever since conducted with constantly increasing success.
Mr. KASJENS is not married and makes his home with a brother. Fraternally he is identified with Baker Camp, No. 843 M.W.A., and in politics he is a republican. He is well known here, being connected with some of the city's early pioneers, among them Theodore GARLINGS. Who is his uncle and one of the oldest residents of Peoria. Mr. KASJENS is a man of sound principles and the highest integrity, who from day to day strives to discharge his duties to the best of his ability and his efforts are being crowned with corresponding success.
William ENTWISTLE, the other member of the firm of Kasjens and Entwistle, was born in Peoria on the 12th of April, 1882, and is a son of William ENTWISTLE, an old resident of the city and for many years a locomotive engineer in the service of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company.
Reared at home, in the acquirement of his education, William H. ENTWISTLE attended the public schools until he was thirteen years of age, when he became a wage earner. Until 1897 he was employed in the store of Schipper and Block. Leaving their service he worked for a year in a bicycle manufacturing shop and at the end of that time became identified with the Brass Foundry & Heating Company. He first entered their plumbing department, going from there into the machine shop while he was later transferred to the brass department. Having mastered the details of each of these departments he was put in the office remaining there until the 1st of January, 1900, when he and Mr. KASJENS purchased the plumbing department of this company. Mr. ENTWISTLE, like his partner, is a skilled mechanic of much experience and is in every way well qualified to successfully operate the business he has acquired.
In this city on the 10th of September, 1904, Mr. ENTWISTLE was united in marriage to Miss Margaret DILLON, a daughter of Matthew DILLON, and they have become the parents of two sons, of five and three years respectively.
Fraternally Mr. ENTWISTLE is identified with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America and he votes with the republican party. He is an ambitious and enterprising man of progressive ideas and sound judgment who is making a creditable record in his business and is justified in taking pride in his achievements, both as a workman and as a representative of the local industrial interests.


From the Chillicothe Reporter:
Reprinted in two parts in the Henry Republican, November 28, and December 12, 1878
Transcribed and Contributed by: Nancy Piper

A Chillicothe Pioneer
Sketch of the Venerable John Hammett


The subject of this sketch is the oldest living representative of the race that settled the northern townships of Peoria county, having come to Chillicothe, 48 years ago. He was born June 14, 1803, near Bowling Green, Ky., and resided there until his emigration to this state in 1830. His father was originally from Georgia, was a blacksmith by trade, a hunter from choice and a farmer, perhaps, from necessity. He had a large family, and a desire to see them settled around him prompted a removal from the "dark and bloody ground" to the new and fertile state of Illinois, then the center of attraction of emigrants. The surviving soldiers of the war of 1812 had been granted liberal land bounties by congress, and a "military tract", covering several of the finest counties of the state had been set apart for their occupancy. Mr. Hammett, senior, became the possessor of a couple of these warrants, and in 1825 journeyed west on horseback to locate them. His visit was so satisfactory and the country so enticing that in 1830 he resolved on a removal.
His son John was 27, tall and well built, straight as an arrow, a good shot with the rifle, an expert chopper, and one whose superior physically, is seldom found. Three years previously he married Elizabeth Sumner, with whom he has lived for more than a half century, whose mind at three score and ten is bright and active, her eye undimmed, her memory tenacious, and her step light and active.
The outfit for the trip consisted of two stout Pennsylvania wagons, or prairie schooners, built after the style of a Japanese junk, with high projecting bows and sterns, propelled by three yoke each of oxen. Into these were piled their scanty household gear, and families, consisting of Hammett, Sr., and wife, six young children, two married children and their consorts, and two grandchildren, making 14 in all.
They left home on the first day of May, crossed the river at Shawneetown on the 8th and reached Fort Clark (Peoria) on the 10th of June, having been a little more than 30 days on the road.  The fame of this place (Fort Clark) extending a long distance, and their expectations concerning it were raised in proportion. What the reality disclosed as they stood upon the opposite side of the river and gazed upon it Mrs. Hammett shall tall in person:
"Instead of the fine city I expected to see, there were about a dozen log cabins, black, dirty and mean looking, occupied by half bred French and Indians." A single frame building covered with "shakes" adorned the place; and a man named Bogardus had a stock of goods in it suited to the Indian trade, the heaviest item of Peoria commerce then as now being whiskey. Stephen and Harry Silliumn (sp?) kept a store in a log building, these two being the only business houses in the place. The pickets of the old fort still remained, but the buildings had been burned down several years previous. The ferry was a primitive affair, propelled by oars and poles, and the crossing was effected without risk, after which the party went into camp just above town. (Note: At the end of Part II the author writes: "In our former article the population of Peoria in 1830 was said to have been composed largely of French and Indians. This is an error. The whites largely predominated, and though there were numerous half breeds they were in the minority.")
A loss of their cattle compelled a delay of a couple of days, after which they journeyed up the river and camped where the Union church now stands, 4 1/2 miles west of Chillicothe. The only settlers in the vicinity were Frank Thomas, Samuel Reed and __ Hallock, from whom the township derives its name. These men welcomed the new comers with all the ardor of frontiersmen, and volunteered to go with them the succeeding day and point out good localities. The broad fertile bottom where John Moffit resides impressed them favorably, and the senior Hammett selected a location on section 16, just above the railroad bridge, and built him a cabin. The place had been the site of an Indian village, and several untenanted barn wigwams still remained. John went father up the bottom, and selected a location on section nine, where he built a cabin and removed into it August 1, 1830.
Mr. Hammett, senior, improved his place, and lived upon it until his death in 1839. His wife survived him two years, dying in 1841. Their cabin was made of rough unhewn logs, and their furniture and conveniences for housekeeping were of the scantiest description. A stone fireplace, with trammel pole, on which was suspended the iron pot used in cooking, a skillet for baking, and a few dishes composed their "lay out"; rude benches served as chairs, a few boards were found from which a table was improvised, and some poles driven into the logs with proper supports answered the purpose of a bedstead. But they possessed stout hearts and willing hands, they were industrious, and necessity made them economical. They came to subdue the wilderness and make them a home, and by the grace of God they would do it.
There lived in the vicinity a Mr. Lupton, and out by the bluffs on the edge of the prairie lived the other parties we have named. West of them a few scattered families had made claims along the road from Peoria to Galena, but LaSalle prairie had not a single inhabitant, the future towns of Rome, Chillicothe and Sparland had not even an existence, and along the bottoms there were but two settlers from what is now Sparland to Peoria.
For subsistence, Mr. Hammett depended largely on his rifle. Some corn was obtained from below, and with the game he killed there was no lack of provisions. Occasionally Indians were seen, but they were never molested. They would ride up to the cabin on their ponies, getting the occupants with a guttural "How! How! Or quietly raise the latch and enter unbidden, seating themselves by the fire place and smoke in silence or gaze upon the blazing logs with stolid indifference. They seldom begged, and never stole, but brought fish, venison or coon skins if they fancies anything and asked "How you swap?"


The Indians belonged to the Pottawattomie tribe, and their logs numbered as we have said some 20 or 25. The sign of amity displayed by their chief brought them from their wigwams and they crowded round their visitors exhibiting the liveliest interest and curiosity. Their guns, horses, clothing, etc., were critically examined. The creek running through the place was much deeper than now, and was a effectual bar to the horses of the village which were kept on the south side. At suitable places crossings had been cut, and protected by poles. The corn was in splendid condition, and planted in large hills about six feet apart. Each hill was nicely rounded up, and some 20 or more stalks grew in a hill, planted in concentric circles, with one in the middle. Later in the season they visited the village and the corn was nicely harvested and suspended on poles to dry. When in fit condition it was shelled and placed in caches or holes dug in the ground lined with bark. How it was kept from sprouting is what Mr. Hammett could not understand.

The Indians were improvident, and their cooking was in keeping. Nothing came amiss, from a deer to a dog, from a fat turkey to a skunk, and all parts even to the entrails were utilized, these being wound round a stick and held in the fire until roasted. Turtles were split open and then set up before the fire, when they were nicely cooked in their own shells. Corn was boiled and eaten "hulls and all." Honey was always plentiful. The woods were full of bees and the Indians plundered them regardless of stings. They were expert climbers, and no trees in the forest were too large or too high for them to mount. When reached, the hole was opened with their hatchets and the honey passed down.

They were good fishermen with the spear, but never fished with a hook. Children were strapped on boards when young, and when visiting the cabins of the whites were left on the outside along with other bundles. They never cried and seemingly never got sick. After death they were laid away in the ground and sharpened posts set round to protect them from animals and sometimes suspended in trees. Grown up people were seldom disposed of in this manner, though many years ago the bodies of three full grown Indians might be seen swinging in canoes in this manner between Chillicothe and Mossville.

As before stated, Mr. Hammett got into his cabin the first day of August. Things looked cheerless enough, and a few days later he took the ague. There were no doctors in the country and no medicines. All they could rely upon were the simple remedies nature had provided and fight it out on that line as best they might. A few days later their child came down, and then Mrs. Hammett. It was indeed a sad time. They shook singly and they shook all together. The disease sapped their energies and took all hope, all desire of living out of them. For six months it continued and they fought it as best they could until it abated.

The weather that fall was the finest imaginable. The frosts were long delayed, the trees wore their gayest colors, the ducks and geese put off their southern journey until Christmas. On the 28th snow began to fall, and did not cease until the whole country was covered three feet in depth. Nor then did it cease entirely, but storms came on at intervals, adding still more to the stock below. Nearly all forest game perished. The Indians slaughtered immense quantities, hundreds of deer starved to death, and wild turkeys, pheasants, etc., were smothered beneath the constantly accumulating snows. Next summer places could be found where the ground was covered with bleaching bones of animals starved and frozen to death. Mr. Hammett got out of corn and was forced to go for a supply, and fortunately made the trip in safety with three yoke of oxen, but he would not like to take the risks he encountered again.

His father was an ingenious mechanic and made a very good substitute for a mill on which to grind the corn. A stone with a certain kind of grit was found in the creek, and this, rounded and smoothed on one side, was imbeded into an upright hollow log or stump; in the center a spindle was inserted as a guide, and a corresponding stone place on top to be revolved by hand. It made good meal and Mrs. Hammett asserts that the bread made from it was excellent - to which we fully subscribe. The first mill of the kind made was afterwards sold to Mr. Bonham, and the stones ought to be still in existence. We suggest they be looked up and cared for as valuable old time relics.

The winter passed off without incident, Mr. H. subsisting his cattle on the tops of trees fallen for the purpose. In October a little babe, their second born, died and was laid away to rest, the first death in the little settlement.

In March the accumulating snows went off, producing a freshet never since equaled. The water came into the cabin of Mr. Hammett, senior, in the night, and when the family was roused the floor and furniture were all afloat. One of the children waded out and notified John, who came in a canoe and took his mother out of the gable window. The water filled the bottom from bluff to bluff.

That season he put in six acres of corn, and raised a very fair crop. No settlers came to the neighborhood that year. There was talk of Indian disturbances, but nothing came of it, and they lived unmolested.

In 1832 hostilities opened in earnest, Mr. Hammett volunteered as a ranger, and was sworn in but at the earnest solicitation of his wife, he allowed a young man to volunteer in his place, and he returned to his family. At one time there was a rumor of an Indain invasion, and Mr. H. with others went to Peoria with their families, but finding them baseless they returned.

In 1833-34 emigrants came in quite freely, and along with others E. S. Jones, who bought the claim of Hiram McLaughlin. About this time Samuel T. McKane built a cabin on the river bank where Hosmer's warehouse stands, and was the first settler in what in now Chillicothe. Henry Cymer, Asa and Ellis Thompson came that year. O. D. Hammett opened the first store, just above McKane's, bringing his goods from St. Louis. Erastus Root was one of the first settlers here, coming in 1834, and marrying a Miss Reed. A little later came the Moffits and the Merrills, one of whom Ashbel, built the first saw mill on Snachwine, one mile above the present railway bridge. William Moffitt built a saw and grist mill farther up the creek not long after.

In 1835 Mr. Hammett built a larger cabin of hewn logs, and the first was turned into a school room, the pedagogueic birtch being wielded by a stray Yankee from Vermont, whose name is forgotten. The first school house was built in 1837. The first sermon in the settlement was preached by the Rev. Zadok Hall, sometimes called, from his fleetness, the "rabbit catcher". The Rev. Mr. Phelps also preached to them.

Mr. and Mrs. Hammett have been almost lifelong members of the M. E. church and all their children but one profess religion. In the course of time six were born to them, who lived to become useful member of society, viz: Zilpha Ann married to L. P. Bates; Hannah to Timothy McLaughlin; Anthony W., living on the old homestead; Emily married to W. H. Miller, and Ellen to Samuel Hosselton.

Mr. and Mrs. Hammett, though living beyond the period allotted to men and women, are in the enjoyment of good health, and with almost every faculty undimmed. The Lord has blessed them in basket and store, in children and friends, beyond that of most people, and we trust their lives may be spared many years.



Clifford Mason Anthony, son of Charles S. N. Anthony and Elizabeth Bulkeley Anthony (nee Emerson), is a native of Washington, Tazewell County. Illinois. His ancestors were among the most notable of the early New England colonists, the names of the Anthonys, the Bulkeleys and the Emersons appearing on almost every page of colonial history, while their descendants have ever since been prominent in almost every field of American enterprise and development.  Mr. Anthony received his education in the public and private schools of his native village and at a military school at Stamford, Connecticut. Upon leaving school he found his first employment as clerk with his elder brother, Charles E. Anthony, who, in company with Henry Denhart, was carrying on a general mercantile and private banking business at Washington, and in a short time he was given a clerkship in the banking department. Later he became a partner with Messrs. Charles E. Anthony, Henry Denhart, Dr. R. B. M. Wilson and Charles A. Wilson in the founding of the bank of Chatsworth, at Chatsworth, Illinois, of which he was made the general manager. While occupying that position he gave special attention to the loaning of money on farm mortgages, which soon became an important feature in the business of the firm and was attended with a remarkable degree of success.  Three years later the firm sold out the bank at Chatsworth, but transferred the mortgage loan department to Washington, where Mr. Anthony became partner and cashier in the bank of  Anthony & Denhart and manager of the loan department. In 1885, Mr. Anthony disposed of his interest in the bank of Anthony & Denhart, retaining to himself the farm loan branch of the business, which, under his personal supervision, had grown largely and had become one of its most profitable features. He then removed to Peoria, where, a few months later, being joined by his brother Charles, the firm of C. E. & C. M. Anthony, Investment Bankers, was established at 424 Main Street, where the business is still carried on. In 1889, they opened a branch office at Omaha, Nebraska. In 1891 the firm was incorporated under the name of the "Anthony Loan and Trust Company," with Clifford M. Anthony as Vice-President and General Manager, and in 1898, Mr. Anthony became President, a position which he still occupies. In 1885, as a branch of the business, "The Peoria Safe Deposit Company" was organized, with C. M. Anthony as President. The safety deposit vaults are of the most approved style and the company is doing a prosperous business.

In all these various enterprises Mr. C. M. Anthony has been a prime mover, and it is to his business enterprise, energy and skill their great success is largely due. As the outgrowth of a business founded thirty-six years ago, the Anthony Loan & Trust Company has become one of the largest and most prosperous financial institutions of its kind in the United States. Through it millions of dollars have been loaned upon farm and city property, and its securities have been sold to all classes of investors, such as savings banks, bankers, trustees of estates, churches, schools, and charitable institutions, as well as to individuals. The high character of its loans as safe investments will be appreciated from the well authenticated fact that, in no instance has a client foreclosed a mortgage made by them, nor lost a dollar on any of their securities; no title approved by them has ever been successfully attacked, and no client has withdrawn his dealings through dissatisfaction. These results have been attained through strictly conservative management and careful personal attention to the nature and character of all securities and investments. Nearly all the stock of the company is owned by the men who founded the business, and through whose management it has been built up to its present proportions.

Through prudent and conservative business methods, strict attention to business and fair dealing in all his business transactions, Mr. Anthony has secured for himself a standing in public, social and private circles second to none in the city. In politics he is a Republican; in religious faith, as twere his parents, he is a Presbyterian. He has attained unto the thirty-second degree in Masonry, is a member of the Creve Coeur Club, and other clubs of Peoria, and of the Union League Club of Chicago. His business has brought him into close relationship with leading business men and capitalists of the country, whose confidence he enjoys in a high degree. Possessed of a fine physique, a genial temperament and affability of address, Mr. Anthony makes his way easily and pleasantly with all classes of society.  On November 14, 1895, he was united in marriage with Miss Flora Thomas, daughter of Dr. D. E. Thomas, of Lacon, Illinois, by whose companionship his life has been greatly blessed. They have one son, Emerson Thomas, born July 9, 1898, a promising lad, in whom they take great delight and in whom they entertain great hopes for the future.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Gilman Willard Avery was born in Greenville, New Hampshire, March 14, 18.35, to Amos and Lydia (Evans) Avery. His father was engaged in the farming business in that country of rocks, where the most earnest effort and economy were necessary to secure a living.  When the subject of this sketch was ten years of age his father re- moved to Jaffrey in the same State. Mr. Avery was educated in the common schools of his native State and at the Kimball Union Academy, located at Meridan.  After leaving the Academy he taught for a time in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, but at nineteen years of age went to Missouri and taught school at Greenfield and in Greene County during the years 1857 and 1858 subsequently starting a high school at Ebenezer, Missouri, which he conducted successfully for a few years. Having left that employment, he started a general store at Lebanon, Missouri, which was. continued successfully until compelled to leave the State on the breaking out of the Civil War, losing all he had. Mr. Avery then went to Brocton, New York, and taught school for a winter. In August of that year he located at Gridley, Illinois, and engaged in general merchandise, but the following fall came to Peoria, and has ever since remained here.

In 1864 he engaged in business under the firm name of Comstock & Avery, dealing in furniture and house supplies. The business was carried on by the firm until about ten years ago, when it was incorporated under the style of the Comstock-Avery Furniture Company. Mr. Avery has been in the management of the Peoria store from its inception and has conducted the business with marked success, enlarging it to meet the growing demands of a growing city. He has always had the reputation of being thoroughly honest and reliable. This fact has done as much to increase his trade and intrench him in business as all others combined.  He still enjoys the confidence of his fellow citizens and his trade, at the present time, is by no means confined to the limits of the city of Peoria. He has always been public spirited and interested in whatever pertains to the welfare of the city. He was at one time a member of the City Council. He has been for many years an influential member of the Baptist Church, and had much to do with erecting the fine stone edifice now occupied by that denomination.

He was married to Ellen Haywood, of East Jaffrey, New Hampshire, January 18, 1859. She died, April 19, 1890. She was a well educated, domestic woman, devoting herself exclusively to the care of her household and the comfort and happiness of her family—a woman of a gentle, happy, sunny disposition.

Mr. Avery married, for his second wife, Alice J. Sawyer, at Peterboro, New Hampshire. Three children were born of the first marriage, namely: Frank E. Avery, Preston A. Avery and Fred H. Avery. The oldest and youngest still survive. The second son died in 1864. Mr. Avery, while an active church member and strictly temperate in all his habits, has never been narrow or bigoted. He is, and always has been, willing to concede to every other man or woman the rights and privileges he claims for himself.   His word has always been regarded as good as his bond. His reputation for integrity and uprightness has never been questioned, and his business career furnishes a good example to young men about to enter into the active business of life.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Probably no city in the United States owes more of its development in wealth and population to the manufacturing enterprises with which its history has been identified, than does the city of Peoria. This is especially true of its manufactures of agricultural implements which, in extent and variety, equal, if they do not surpass, those of any other city of its size in the country. For a generation Peoria has been recognized as the center of this great industry so intimately connected with the growth and development of one of the richest and most prosperous agricultural regions of the American continent; and the demand and source of supply have kept pace with each other, until now the products of Peoria manufacturing establishments are found in almost all the markets of the world. This has been due not alone to the advance made in the methods of cultivation and harvesting the products of the soil within the last two or three generations, but to the skill and enterprise of individual inventors and manufacturers in meet- ing the wants of the agriculturist and in pointing the way to new and profitable lines of production.

To the above Robert H. Avery contributed his full portion. He was the founder of what is now known as the Avery Manufacturing Company. Born in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois, January 21, 1840, he grew up as a farmer's boy, receiving a common school and academic education in his home town. Like thousands of the patriotic young men of his time he had barely reached his majority, when the war for the preservation of the Union having come on, he entered the army as a volunteer, serving for three years, about eight months of this time being spent in rebel prison-pens. It was while confined as a prisoner at Andersonville awaiting the time of release, that he devised his first farm-tool—a cultivator—and, while he was deprived of the means of perfecting his invention there, at least in the construction of a practical machine, he did afterwards complete it from the plans which he had there designed, and thus began an industry which has grown to such large proportions in connection with the Manufacturing Company of which he afterwards became the head.

The Civil War over, the youthful soldier and inventor returned to the farm, but not to remain. In 1869, taking his brother, Cyrus M. Avery, as a partner, he built from the plans devised in the Andersonville prison, his first culti- vator. known as the ''Avery Cultivator." The followed the Avery Stalk-Cutter and the Avery Planter, both of which have come into extensive use and received the approval of the most enterprising and progressive agri- culturists, as shown by their wide sale at the present time. In 1882 the Avery brothers removed their establishment from Galesburg to Peoria, and during the following year the partnership of R. H. &. C. M. Avery was organized into a stock company and chartered under the name of the Avery Planter Company. of which Robert H. Avery continued to be the President during the remainder of his life. Around this establishment in the next few years, grew up the flourishing village of Averyville. now a suburb of the city of Peoria near its northern border. The products of the concern embrace many devices required in the cultivation of the soil and the harvesting of its crops by machinery—including corn-planters, check-rowers, stalk-cutters, cultivators, stackers, threshing machines, etc. Its output, amounting in 1883 to $200,000 and employing 150 men, has increased in less than twenty years to one and a quarter millions annually, furnishing employment to over 750 men, and finding a market in both hemispheres.

The first ten years after the removal of the Avery Manufacturing plant from Galesburg to Peoria not only saw its success assured, but its business vastly increased. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Avery was not destined to witness the still greater development of an enterprise to which he had devoted so many years of persevering and assiduous labor, backed by the intelligence and mechanical genius of the inventor. His death occurred in the very zenith of his successful business career while on a trip to California, September 13, 1892, at the age of a little more than fifty- two years. Mr. Avery was a man of rare integrity, in his every act considerate of the interests of others—an inventor of absolute originality, he was never accused of appropriating the ideas or labors of others. His intimate friends were few but well-chosen, and those who knew him most intimately valued his friendship most highly. Surely, if "He is a public benefactor who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before," Robert H. Avery proved himself by the results of his life-work a benefactor of his race.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Oliver Joseph Bailey was born, September 6, 1846, in Arcadia, Wayne County, New York. He was a son of Morrison and Mary Bailey and the eldest of six children. When he was two years old his father removed to Illinois and located government land in Will County, about sixteen miles southwest of Joliet. In 1852, selling to good ad- vantage the farm he had improved in that county, he removed with his family to Blackhawk County, Iowa, on the frontier, locating at Waterloo, a town then existing only in name. He was a man of high character. He served a term in the Legislature of that State, and, in 1862, having enlisted in the Thirty-second Iowa Volunteers, was made Quartermaster of his regiment, serving throughout the war. At the age of thirteen years Oliver left the farm to enter the store of Nathan S. Hungerford, where he remained for five years, ever enjoying the full trust and confidence of his employer, in whose family he is yet thought of and cherished as a son and brother. After the close of the war and his father's return, so that the mother and children were no longer his special care, Oliver, following a strong inclination for the study of law, returned to Illinois, securing the position of Deputy Circuit Clerk and Recorder of DeKalb County at Sycamore, and at once entered upon his studies with General F. P. Partridge, an able lawyer. The hard life of a farmer's son on the prairies of Iowa, in those early days, had limited his educational advantages to the common schools, but Mr. Bailey is only one of many of our prominent men who have made up for the lack of early schooling by a study of Blackstone and the English Common Law. Given a sturdy ancestry, a farmer boy's good health, a resolute will, high moral purpose and a diligent study of the great under- lying principles of law, as explained in the lucid English of Blackstone, a young man, although conscious of deficiencies in his school training, will, nevertheless, have acquired a habit of exact thinking, a discipline of mind and a preparation for future success that will always stand him in good stead in the business affairs of life. The successful business career of Mr. Bailey in our city affords a striking illustration of this fact. Mr. Bailey was admitted to the bar in 1868, and at once, and with good success, entered upon the practice of his chosen profession. In 1872 he entered into partnership with James H. Sedgwick, an able lawyer practicing at Sandwich, and the firm removed to Chicago, where  they built up a successful law practice, but later came to Peoria. In 1875 the Aetna Life Insurance Company consolidated at Peoria its Springfield and Peoria investment agencies. The Peoria agency had been under the able management of Mr. B. L. T. Bourland and the business had grown to large proportions. Mr. Bailey was at this time given the position of General Attorney for the company in association with Mr. Bourland as Financial Agent. This was the origin of the firm of Bourland & Bailey, one of the most widely known, successful and honored firms in Central Illinois. The legal interests of the company in charge of Mr. Bailey have carried with them large responsibilities in municipal bond litigation, regularity of titles and proceedings in the issuing of securities and many other intricate points of law, demanding the utmost care and vigilance, combined with legal acumen and good judgment. Outside of his law business, which has been mostly in the Federal Courts—having been admitted to the United States Supreme Court in 1878—Mr. Bailey has been a successful business man. He has faith in Peoria. and his investments here made with farsighted shrewdness, have resulted in placing him among the wealthy men of the city, one of its leading and most highly respected financiers. He is President of the Central National Bank, of the Title & Trust Company, of the Board of Trustees of Bradley Polytechnic Institute, of the Peoria Young Men's Christian Association, the Cottage Hospital Association and the Training School, and is Vice-President of the Dime Saving Bank.

During the past sixteen years Mr. Bailey has been a member of the Peoria School Board, and to his prudent finan- cial management as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board, the city owes a greater debt of gratitude than any but a few are aware of, in gradually paying off a heavy indebtedness and in keeping the Board out of debt. It hardly need be said that, in all that concerns the welfare and prosperity of the city, materially, morally or educationally, he is a sympathetic, broad-minded, public-spirited citizen, generous with his time and with his means in the support of every good cause. In politics, Mr. Bailey is a Republican; in church relations, a Congregationalist. He was married in 1865 to Miss Mary E. Needham, of Geneva, Illinois. Their children are Ralph Needham and Edna Lilian.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Peoria has no more widely known member of the editorial profession than he whose name heads this article. Mr. Baldwin is a native of the staid old "Nutmeg State," which will account for his strong Puritan proclivities. His birth- place was Watertown, Connecticut, where he entered upon his mundane career on December 1, 1840—the son of Stephen and Julia (Pardee) Baldwin, who were natives of the same State. Stephen Baldwin came West in 1818, stopping for a time at Shawneetown, Illinois, and going as far South as New Orleans, whence, a year or so later, he returned to his home in Connecticut. The elder Baldwin, we are informed, "was a Deacon in the Congregational Church," as was his father before him. Hence we have the testimony of the son that he was himself "brought up on a strict diet of Calvinism. He read the Bible through twice before he was seven years old, and this mental diet," as we are assured, "powerfully contributed to give his mind that religious cast that is perhaps, his strongest characteristic. His father was a builder by profession, and he conceived the idea that he was designed by an overruling Providence to devote his life to the construction of churches. He removed to the western part of New York, and instructed his son, at an early age, in all the mysteries of the carpenter's trade. One of the earliest recollections of the latter is that of being propped up. while an infant, and holding a candle at night while his father carved some enormous capitals that were to adorn a Presbyterian Church in one of the small towns in the  Genesee Valley.  When not engaged at the labors of the bench, it was the delight of the elder Baldwin to teach his children the 'Shorter Catechism,' the Gospels and Psalms , 'Watts' Hymns,' 'Baxter's Saints' Rest,' and Jonathan Edwards 'Call to the Unconverted.' " None will be prepared to estimate more accurately the depth of the impression made upon the infantile mind of the younger Baldwin by this early training, than those most intimately acquainted with its subject.

Again, in 1855 or '56, the elder Baldwin came West bringing his family with him, and finally settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Eugene attended the Milwaukee High School, intending to fit himself for the vocation of a teacher. In 1860, young Baldwin went to Clinton County, Illinois, where he engaged in teaching; in the fall of the same year, entered the State Normal School at Bloomington. but in the following spring, rejoined his father's family, then living at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and there resumed work at the carpenter's bench. The War of the Rebellion having commenced about this time, he enlisted in the Twelfth Indiana Volunteers, but was captured by the Confederates at Richmond, Kv., bringing his military career to a close, in the fall of 1863.  The hardships of the campaign broke him down physically, and he was discharged from the army as an invalid, when he returned to Normal to resume his studies; was soon after engaged as a teacher and Principal of the schools at Chillicothe, Peoria County, which he successfully conducted until he was employed as Principal of the First Ward School in Peoria. A year later he accepted the position of local editor of the Peoria Transcript, remaining three years, when he became political editor of that paper, occupying this position one year. He then resigned his place on the Transcript, and bought the El Paso Journal, but the next year returned to Peoria and, in company with A. R. Sheldon, afterwards of the United States Court for Arizona, established the Peoria Review, which they conducted for three years. His next experience was upon the Rock Island Union, which he edited for a few months, when he purchased his old paper, the El Paso Journal, with which J. B. Barnes was soon after associated as partner. In the fall of 1877, they removed their plant to Peoria and established the Peoria Journal, which they conducted until 1891, when Mr. Baldwin withdrew, and, in company with Charles H. Powell, started the Sylvan Remedy Company, for the purpose of dealing in patent medicines. This they operated for several years, but financially it proved a failure, according to Mr. Baldwin's frank statement, leaving "the two partners without a dollar in the world." Having determined to start anew in the newspaper line, they began the publication of the Peoria Star, the first number being issued, September 27, 1897.  Quoting again from Mr. Baldwin— "Neither partner had any money. They bought a press on credit, and so poor were they that, when it was shipped down to them, they did not have the $21.00 necessary to pay the freight."  They fought an up-hill fight but, in the last four years, the paper has grown steadily in circulation and influence, until it now has confessedly the largest circulation of any paper in the State outside of the city of Chicago.

As every successful newspaper man must be, Mr. Baldwin is a hard worker, putting in, when occasion requires, sixteen hours of labor per day, and, with his partner, Mr. Powell, as business manager, they have carried forward their great enterprise without a break. One secret of their success is the fact that they do not allow one day's work to interfere with another. Everything is taken up and finished at the time appointed. Mr. Baldwin has done con- siderable other literary work, being the author of several pamphlets, a novel, and a work on hypnotism, although his work in this line, of late years, has been confined to lectures and speeches. He was also one of the projectors and builders of the Grand Opera House, erected some twenty years ago, which still continues to be Peoria's most popular place for high class entertainments.

On April 23, 1866, Mr. Baldwin was married to Miss Sarah J. Gove, a lady of New England birth, whose intelligence and refinement have won for her, in a high degree, the respect of the community in which she resides. Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin have had three children: Ethel (deceased), Frank Eugene, and Mildred. As for Mr. Baldwin himself, we have his own modest assurance, that "he is now spending a serene old age, happy in the feeling that, in the language of the English prize-fighter, he has "bested as many fellows as ever bested him." Gifted with a  remarkable fluency both as to tongue and pen, he takes as keen delight in "scoring" an enemy as in lauding a friend.  Probably his greatest passion is a fondness for satire, which a long journalistic experience has developed in a marked degree, while an original acumen, combined with a retentive memory, has placed him in possession of a rare fund of fact, fancy and anecdote, which he does not fail to draw upon for the confusion of his opponents when circumstances may seem to require.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Gardner T. Barker was born in Moriah, Essex County, New York, January 10, 1814, the son of Gardner T. and Harriet (Lyon) Barker. He received a public school education, came west in 1838, and associated himself with the then but dimly outlined fortunes of Peoria. His almost immediate success presaged, in no measured terms, a future in which he should be regarded as one of the strongest, most substantial, wisely conservative and reliable members of the community. He engaged in the general mercantile business with Almiran S. Cole, under the name of Cole & Barker, the business afterwards being carried on under the firm name of Barker & Steams, and ultimately by Mr. Barker alone. He advanced rapidly to the front in the affairs of the city, and in 1867 engaged in the distilling business and various public enterprises, which netted him large returns for capital and labor invested. His devotion to business, evinced in his constant personal attention to the same, won for him conspicuous success. He continued in active business until 1887, when he retired, devoting his attention to the care of his property and to his duties as President of the Commercial National Bank. He was also President of the Allaire-Woodward Chemical Company. With innate discernment and wise business sagacity, he mastered the surrounding opportunities and directed his efforts into channels of permanent and logical results. As one of the wealthy men of Peoria, he took up the bonds when the city borrowed large sums of money, and negotiated them in New York.

Mr. Barker was, for many years, prominent not only in business, and in business circles in the city of Peoria, but also in politics. He was always an active, stanch Democrat. In 1852 he was a member of the City Council, was Mayor of the city in 1862, and elected a second time. serving in 1870 and '71. His management of city affairs, and particularly the finances of the city, was attended with the same success that had marked his personal business career. He always prided himself upon his strict business habits, upon his integrity and his honor as a man. His word, when given, could always be relied upon, whether in business or politics. August 20, 1840, Mr. Barker was married to Helen White, of Champlain, New York, daughter of Elial and Mary B. (Lewis) White, natives of Massachusetts, the former born at Medway, December 21, 1794, and the latter at Amherst February 9, 1799.   Of interest is the fact that Mr. and Mrs. White, the grandparents, were married by the Rev. Daniel Morton, father of Vice-President Levi P. Morton.

Mr. Barker left his fortune to his son, Walter, who succeeded to the business formerly conducted by him, and also succeeded him as President of the Commercial National Bank; to his daughter, Ellen B. McRoberts, and her two sons., Walter and W. G. McRoberts, and to his grand-son, Jesse, who was the son of the youngest daughter, who had died while Jesse was an infant. The latter was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Barker. Mr. Barker died October 26, 1894, leaving the record of a busy honorable upright life as an inheritance to his descendants. Mrs. Barker's death preceded that of her husband by about three years.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Amos P. Bartlett was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire. May 14, 1812. He was the son of Samuel C. and Eleanor (Pettengill) Bartlett, and the brother of Reverend Joseph Bartlett, a prominent Congregational minister in the East; Dr. Samuel C. Bartlett, late President of Dartmouth College, and William H. Bartlett (deceased), a member of the Supreme Bench of New Hampshire.

Mr. Bartlett received an academic education at Salisbury and Derry, fitting for Dartmouth College, but declined to enter College, choosing to follow a business life. He commenced the dry-goods business for himself in Brockport, New York, in 1832, remaining in that place until 1836, when he came to Peoria and formed a partnership with the late Moses Pettengill in the stove and hardware business. Prior to coming to Peoria, on October 4, 1836, he married Sarah M. Rogers, of Dansville, New York, who still survives him.  He continued in partnership with Mr. Pettengill for five years.  In 1843 he entered into partnership with Leonard Holland and continued with him for a period of five years, afterwards conducting the business on his own account until 1861. when his cousin, P. C.  Bartlett, became a member of the firm. Mr. Bartlett continued in the business until 1877, when he retired from the dry-goods trade and became interested in the business of his sons, Samuel C. and and William H. Bartlett, doing a grain and commission business in the city of Peoria, under the name of S. C. Bartlett & Co. He continued with his sons until about eighteen months prior to his death, which occurred at Peoria on April 11, 1895. His two sons subsequently removed to Chicago, where they established the firm of Bartlett, Frazier & Company, an extensive grain and commission firm, of which Mr. William H. Bartlett is the senior member. The business is still continued in Peoria, under the old firm name. Samuel C. Bartlett, the senior member, died in Winnetka, Illinois, in March. 1893.

Mr. Bartlett early identified himself with the cause of education in the city of Peoria, bringing with him the New England ideas upon that subject. He came of an educated ancestry, prominent in politics, in law, in medicine and in business, and, although declining a college-education, he believed in it to the fullest extent, and actively interested himself in establishing a school system in Peoria. which resulted in the organization of the "Peoria Academy" for girls, and the "Peoria Academy Association," for boys. These were stock or subscription schools, and were practically the beginning of public education of the boys and girls of Peoria. They continued for four or five years, until about February 15, 1855, when the Board of Education of Peoria was organized by act of the Legislature. Mr. Bartlett was a member of that Board and. for five years, its President, actively interesting himself in the establishment of the free-school system in this city. He was instrumental in bringing educated young men and women from the East as teachers in the public schools. When these schools became firmly established he declined longer to serve upon the Board, but continued his interest in the public school system to the day of his death.

His sons were both graduates of Dartmouth College; his daughters were graduates of the Peoria High School, and his youngest daughter was a graduate of Abbott Female Seminary, Andover, Massachusetts, and of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She took a post-graduate course at the latter institution, and received her Doctor's degree.  She also studied abroad three years, and was connected, for a time, with Newnham College, Cambridge.  She is now Dean of the Women's Department of the Bradley Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Bartlett thus exemplified, in his treat- ment of his own children, his belief in the value of a thorough education. During his life in Peoria he was identified with all that pertained to the growth and the best interests of the city.

Mr. Bartlett had no ambition to be an office holder, but was always active in local politics in the interest of honesty, morality and good government.  He believed .in and advocated a high standard of civic and social life. He was the active foe of all that was low, unclean, immoral and dishonest. He lived to see the small country village become a commercial and manufacturing center—a city of cultivated homes, churches and schools, second to none in the country, largely through the active efforts of himself and his associates.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


It has been said that a man is not to be blamed for his ancestry, nor is he entitled to any particular credit for their characters or careers; but that man is fortunate who can point to a long line of ancestry with pride and satisfaction.

The subject of this sketch, Peter Colcord Bartlett, can go back over his ancestry, step by step, and find nothing of which any descendant should be ashamed. He was born, February 13, 1826, in Salisbury, N. H., to Peter Bartlett  and Anna (Pettengill) Bartlett. His father was an educated, prominent physician and removed to Peoria, Illinois, from Salisbury, New Hampshire, in 1836. He died, after residing here for a short time, of over-fatigue and exposure in the discharge of the duties of his profession. Dr. Bartlett belonged to the Bartlett family of New England, prominent in the legal and medical profession.  The names of the family are found prominently identified with the educational institutions of New England, and have an honored place in the records of the bar and medicine.

Mr. Bartlett was employed as a clerk for a time in a general store in Peoria, and then entered the employment of Pettengill & Bartlett, who were also engaged in the selling of general merchandise—the last named member of the firm being a cousin of the subject of this sketch. P. C. Bartlett established himself in Peoria in the retail grocery business, which he conducted with fair success for a period of twelve years, and then engaged in the dry-goods business with A. P. Bartlett, formerly connected with Mr. Pettengill. This firm was dissolved in 1877. A. P. Bartlett retired from business, and P. C. Bartlett entered the revenue service in 1878, in which he continued for seven years. He then engaged in the retail grocery business, which he is still conducting with success.  November 12, 1851, he married Abigail Thompson by whom he had four sons.  She died September 2. 1861.  One son only, Henry T. Bartlett, survives, and is now cashier of the Peoria National Bank. He married for his second wife Margaretta Culbertson.  Five children have been born during this second marriage, namely: Sue Herron, Nancy Culbertson, Edward Peter, Lucy Ellen and William Culbertson Bartlett—all of whom survive and are an honor, comfort and credit to their father and mother. Edward P. is in business with his father : Sue H. is a prominent teacher in the Peoria High School; William C. has an important and responsible position with the Acme Harvester Works; Nancy C. and Lucy E. are at home.

Mr. Bartlett is peculiarly happy in his domestic relations, and no man has a pleasanter home, or a wife and children of whom he can be prouder, or in whom one can find more satisfaction. Mr. Bartlett has always maintained a reputation for the strictest integrity and uprightness. and bears an honored name in the city of Peoria, where he has resided and been in active business for so many years. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, but broad, charitable and catholic in his views, always ready and willing to concede all rights to another which he claims for himself.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Mark Mitchell Bassett was born in Schuyler County, Illinois, March 27, 1837, a period of stress and hardship for early settlers in Illinois. For years prior to that date there was a dearth in his family of everything but labor for the necessaries of life. Beyond the fact that his father's people were Kentuckians, but little is known of his paternal ancestry. His earliest remembrance is of a widowed mother, who, with "little Mark," shared the home and meager fare afforded by some relative for such return as could be rendered by a delicate woman crippled by rheumatism — chiefly knitting.   Thus his childhood was spent, at times a nearby school-house affording a few weeks "schooling," where lessons were learned from Webster's Spelling book. An only sister, ten years his senior, having married when Mark was about seven years old, shared her home in Fulton County with her mother and brother almost continuously so long as the mother lived. Under the direction of a thrifty farmer, he assisted in reclaiming many acres from the hand of Nature, and thus acquired habits of industry, energy and perseverance which— based upon an inheritance of strict honesty and integrity, the ruling characteristics of the Carlocks of Virginia, from whom the maternal side of his house was descended—made strong the foundations on which his after-life was reared. In such hard but wholesome experience as clearing and tilling the soil, and rafting logs to the St. Louis market, were gained that tenacity of purpose and those powers of endurance which served him so well in after years.

In August, 1857, Mr. Bassett was induced to leave the plough, and, with a partner—but with no other capital than an intent to be honest—to engage in the management of a store, which was operated successfully until he bought his partner's interest. Later he conducted the concern alone and profitably, doing a considerable business in grain and stock, besides managing the farm, until December, 1861, when he enlisted in the war for the preservation of the Union, and was assigned to Company E, Fifty-third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The story of heroic endeavor and endurance which followed is gathered, not alone from Captain Bassett's memory, but from the diaries of comrades-in-battle, comrades-in-prison and comrades-in-escape, and from the most tragic pages in our national history, as also from the letters of Union men in North Carolina and East Tennessee who afforded them shelter, a hiding-place, food, clothing and a guide to the next point of safety nearer the Union lines. The record of the Fifty-third is only partly told in the battles of Shiloh and Corinth, and Hatchie (where Lieutenant Bassett was ordered to take the insignia of rank from the lifeless body of his superior officer, First Lieut. Armand Pollisard, of Kankakee) ; in the siege of Vicksburg and the battle of Jackson, Mississippi, of July 12, 1863, in which last engagement, in a charge by his brigade upon the rebel breastworks, orders ignorantly given but faithfully obeyed, sent many a gallant soldier needlessly to his death, and hundreds of others into the hands of the enemy as prisoners -- among the last being Lieutenant Bassett who was leading his company in the fearful onslaught, thus winning the commission as Captain which was issued while he was a prisoner. Capt. John D. Hatfield, of Company H, now living at Neligh, Nebraska, was Captain Bassett's close companion in the long months of im- prisonment in Libby Prison which followed, and his fellow-toiler in digging the famous tunnel by which, with 107 other prisoners, they succeeded in escaping on the night of February 9, 1864. Having been recaptured on the fourth night out when near the Union lines on the Pamunkey River, Captain Bassett was thrust into an underground dungeon and kept on bread and water—if a composition of corn, cobs and husks ground together could be called "bread."   After the battle of the Wilderness, through fear of the capture of Richmond by Grant's army, came the removal of the prisoners from Libby; first to Danville, Virginia; next to Macon, Georgia—where another unsuc- cessful attempt was made to escape; then to Charleston, and and finally to Columbia, South Carolina. Here they were held in an open camp called "Camp Sorghum"—but no sweeter as a home on account of its name. On the night of November 10, 1864, just before the completion of a stockade around the camp, a squad of nine made a third attempt at escape by running the guard. After being out thirteen nights, the blood-hounds with which the Con- federates were pursuing them got on their track, when the fugitives separated into groups of four, three and two. The four having soon been overtaken, were shot where they surrendered ; the two were recaptured and taken back to their prison-pen, while the three—consisting of Capt. A. S. Stuart, now of Osceola, Missouri; Lieutenant Tom Payne Young, since deceased, and Capt. Mark Bassett—set their faces towards the west and north and, after wandering fifty-two days and nights among the mountains of the Blue Ridge, reached the Union lines at Sweet Water, Tennessee, and Knoxville on January 1, 1865. They were not alone, having been joined in the mountains by other escaping prisoners, Union men who had deserted the rebel ranks and others who had become separated from their commands.   The picture of that ragged group of twelve, taken at Knoxville on that Happy New Year's Day, is one of the cherished relics of a historic past, which the Captain could not be induced to part with. The appearance of the same picture on page 130 of Vol. Ill, of "Lossing's History of The Civil War," as a group of "Union Refuges," illustrates the errors which sometimes creep into "history." Another relic highly prized by the Captain is a lithograph of a highly embellished chart containing the names and rank of all the prisoners in Libby at the time, the original having been prepared with pen and ink by Capt. B. F. Fischer, of Cincinnati. It would be difficult to conceive anything more thrilling than the reminiscences related by these heroic comrades of their experiences of prison-life, and their terrible suffering in mind and body while attempting to make their escape. These eighteen months of hardship and peril left Captain Bassett physically unfitted for a return to duty; so, at the expiration of his leave of absence, on the order of the Secretary of War he repaired to Camp Blair, at Jackson, Michigan, where he received his discharge, April 12, 1865, three days after the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. Having spent a year and a half on his farm and in buying and selling grain, he engaged in the study of law with Capt. A. W. Bull, at Pekin, Illinois, (under whom he enlisted), later with Hon. B. S. Prettyman, and, within the next two years, in the face of many difficulties and meager educational advantages, he was admitted to the bar, thus realizing his early ambition to become a lawyer. In 1872 Captain Bassett moved to Peoria and has at different times been associated with some of the leading lawyers of this city. As a Republican he was elected to the lower branch of the General Assembly in 1884; four years afterwards was advanced to the State Senate, and, in 1898, was elected Probate Judge of Peoria County, which office he still holds discharging its duties honestly, faithfully and acceptably. Judge Bassett's family—though there are now none left to bear his name—includes all deserving young people of his acquaintance in whom he takes a practical interest, which is shared by his wife. Although not identified with any church organization, his "religion is of the life, and the life of his religion is to do good."

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


William Henry Binnian was born, January 29, 1857, at Peoria, Illinois. His grandparents were William and Ann (Jasper) Binnian, and Charles and Ann (Allbut) Walford, born in England. His parents, Henry and Elizabeth (Walford) Binnian, were born in Kidderminster, England, where they married and came to Peoria in 1852. They were of sterling English stock and of high character.  They were upon the right side of every question involving public and private morals.

W. H. Binnian was educated in the public schools of Peoria and graduated from the High School. His public career and that of many others in recent years, testify to the high character and efficiency of the public schools of Peoria. After graduating from the High School he was employed in the wholesale leather and shoe-finding business conducted under the name of Burnham, Binnian & Company, his father being a member of the firm. Later he entered the employment of James T. Rogers & Company, lumber merchants, as bookkeeper. In 1880 he became a member of the firm and so continued until 1889, the firm doing business as Rogers & Binnian. They did a very large and prosperous business, extending over a large portion of the country. In 1889 Mr. Binnian sold his interest in the business to his partner, James T. Rogers, and entered largely into real-estate, buying land in the vicinity of Peoria, laying it out into lots and selling it to settlers. In this business, which was carried on with his usual spirit and energy, he was very successful.

In 1890, in connection with the late William E. Stone and E. C. Foster, he built and equipped the Peoria Straw- board Mill, the second largest in the world, and was elected President of the company. The successful operation of the mill was very largely due to the energy, foresight and business skill of Mr. Binnian, who had become one of the best business men in the City of Peoria; always enjoying perfect health he was full of energy and untiring in his devotion to business.

In the fall of 1890 he joined with William E. Stone in the purchase of what was known as the Acme Harvester Works, operated in Pekin, Illinois. by A. J. Hodges & Company. They organized a company known as the Acme Harvester Company, and Mr. Binnian became its Vice- President and general business manager.  In 1894, upon the death of Mr. Stone, he became President of the company.  Mr. Binnian's peculiar business traits, his energy, industry, courage and foresight have borne marvelous fruit in the development of the business of the Harvester Company, which has grown from small dimensions into a world-wide reputation and has required a very large increase of capacity. To meet the growing demands of the trade the company purchased sixty-one acres of land for its plant at Bartonville, with a capacity four times as great as the old works at Pekin. The company purchased forty-seven acres of land for its factory site, and has already erected buildings covering a floor-space of over fifteen acres. The sale of harvesters made by the Acme Harvester Company was originally confined to a small portion of the Northwest and California, but now extends over the entire range of wheat-growing countries. Its export business to South America and elsewhere is very large. Mr. Binnian keeps well in hand all of these different branches of business in which he is engaged. He is fortunately situated in never allowing anything to discourage him or undermine his courage. He is cool, calculating and carefully plans all his business enterprises, and then deliberately and persistently goes about their execution.

Although still a young man, Mr. Binnian is regarded as one of the strongest and safest business men in Peoria. He has not interested himself in office holding, but has taken an active interest in all that pertains to the good of the city. In politics, he is a Republican. He is a regular and generous contributor to the various charitable and bene- volent institutions of the city, and and stands deservedly high in the estimation of his fellow-citizens.

He has always enjoyed the companionship of good books, and, from the time he was a boy, has regularly added to his library, until he now has one of the choicest and best selected private libraries in Peoria. A recent Trade Journal, in reviewing his success in the manufacture of agricultural implements, says tersely: "He had the will power to grasp opportunities, and the ambition to make me most of them. He was not afraid; he did not hesitate; he did not put off his decision from day to day until some other man stepped in and seized the opportunity.  He acted quickly and with unconquerable determination.   No one could stop him."  This quotation very fitly characterizes Mr. Binnian and his business career in this city and vicinity.

He was married, November 27, 1883, to Elizabeth Ann Babcock, daughter of Colonel William Babcock, of Canton, Illinois. Two sons were born to them; Walter Babcock Binnian, born November 27, 1884, now a student in Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, and Robert Binnian, born July 29, 1886, died January 10, 1887.


from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902



Robert Boal, M.D., veteran physician and surgeon of Illinois, now of Lacon, Marshall County was born near Harrisburg, in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, November 15, 1806, the oldest of a family of four children, his parents being Thomas and Elizabeth (Crain) Boal.  Both of his parents were natives of Dauphin County, but of Scotch descent, their ancestors having come to America at an early period.  The father was a merchant who, having removed to Cincinnati with his family in 1811, conducted his business there until his death, which occurred in 1816.  The son then became a member of the family of an uncle, also a resident of Cincinnati, for whom he was named, and, after receiving a rudimentary education in the public schools, took a partial course in the Cincinnati College.  Having determined to enter the medical profession, he spent a year and a half reading medicine with Dr. Wright, of Reading, Ohio, which he afterward continued with Drs. Whitman and Cobb, who were professors in the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati, which he finally entered as a student, graduating therefrom in 1828.  He then began practice at Reading, but four years later returned to Cincinnati, where he continued in practice for three or four years, a part of the time holding the position of Demonstrator of Anatomy in his Alma Mater.  Meanwhile, in 1834, he made a tour through Central Illinois with a view to settling in the State, which he carried into effect two years later by his removal with his family to Lacon (then Columbia), Illinois, which continued to be his home until 1862, when, having been appointed Surgeon on the Board of Enrollment for the Fifth Congressional District, he removed to Peoria.  His service in this capacity continued until the close of the Civil War in 1865, and, during that period he examined some 5,000 volunteers and drafted men, a large majority of whom were mustered into the service and fought for the preservation of the Union.  While discharging the duties of this office and some twenty-five years afterward Dr. Boal continued in the practice of his profession at Peoria, being a prominent member of the Peoria  Medical Society, and, for a part of the time, its President, as well as a member of the American and State Medical Associations, of the last of these being elected President in 1882.  He was one of the organizers of the Edward Dickinson Medical Club (of Peoria), of whom only three of the nine original members now survive -- Drs. Boal, Steele and Murphy.  He was also one of the founders and original incorporators of the Cottage Hospital of Peoria, of which he served for a time as director.

Dr. Boal, while not neglecting his profession, was an earnest opponent of the extension of slavery during the period following the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and one of the potent factors, in this section of the State, in the organization of the Republican party -- being a delegate from his county to the historical convention at Bloomington, in May, 1856, which nominated the first Republican State ticket in the history of the party in Illinois.  In 1860 he was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago, which nominated Mr. Lincoln for the Presidency for the first time.

The civil positions held by Dr. Boal included those of State Senator from 1844 to 1848, and Representative in the General Assembly for two terms (1854-58) -- during the first of these two terms (1855) being one of the most earnest supporters of Abraham Lincoln for United States Senator, at whose personal request he finally cast his vote for Lyman Trumbull, thereby defeating the hopes of the opposition for the success of their candidate, and contributing to the beginning of the career of one of the most conspicuous members of the United States Senate during the war period, and which was continued for eighteen years.  During the session of 1855, he was appointed upon a joint Legislative Committee to investigate the affairs of the State Institutions at Jacksonville, serving as Chairman of the committee, and, on the accession of Governor Bissell in 1857, was appointed one of the Trustees of the Institution, for the Deaf and Dumb -- a position which he occupied continuously by successive reministrations of Governors Yates, Oglesby, Palmer and Beveridge -- for the last five years of the time being President of the Board.

On May 12, 1831, Dr. Boal was married, at Reading, Ohio, to Christiana Walker Sinclair, their wedded life extending over a period of more than fifty years.  Mrs. Boal was of Scotch descent, and a lady of intelligence and refinement.  She died in June, 1883, leaving, besides her venerable husband, a family of three children -- two sons and one daughter.  Charles T., the older son, is now a business man of Chicago, while the younger son, James Sinclair, studied law, and was for some ten years Assistant United States District Attorney, under various administrations, but died in 1888.  The daughter, Clara B., became the wife of Col. Greenbury L. Fort, who was a soldier of the War of the Rebellion, and afterward served for four terms as a member of congress from the Lacon District.

About 1893 Dr. Boal removed from Peoria to his former home at Lacon, where, in the ninety-sixth year of his age, with unimpaired faculties and remarkable vitality, he is spending the evening of a busy and earnest life with his daughter, Mrs. Greenbury L. Fort.  His career has been as conspicuous for its usefulness to the State and the community in which he resides, as it has been for its long continuance and the results which have been achieved within the period which it has covered.  Dr. Boal is at the present time (1902) the oldest living alumnus of the Medical College of Ohio -- now the Cincinnati University -- at which he graduated nearly three-quarters of a century ago.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


The reputation of Dr. Bourscheidt as a scholar, chemist, and medical exponent, is undoubtedly largely due to the depth of scientific research required of the German student who would enter the ranks of the professionally great, a consummation rendered practically certain of accomplishment, owing to the luminously profound and philosophical mind of the upper class scholar of Teutonic ancestry. In contrast therewith is the more or less superficial training received in the money-getting atmosphere of many American institutions, and where concentration and singleness of purpose are drowned in a multiplicity of distracting influences. The calm, trained and reflective intelligence of such men as Dr. Bourscheidt is, therefore, of incalculable benefit to any community, and sure of the recognition and appreciation of all thoughtful people.

A native of Cologne, on the Rhine, Germany, Dr. Bourscheidt was born, January 15, 1851, a son of Frank C. and Christina Bourscheidt, the former of whom was a furrier for many years, but has long since retired from business. The parents appreciated the benefits of a thorough education, and their son graduated from the scientific and classical courses at the Gymnasium in Cologne, in 1868. He then spent one year at Dolhain-Limbourg, France, and devoted himself to acquiring a knowledge of the French language. In 1869 he came to America, locating in Saint Louis, where he began the study of medicine at Pope's College, but in 1871 removed to Kansas to practice medicine, and, at the same time, conducted a drug store at Howard City, Elk County. Owing to the prevalence of malaria in the region in which he had located, he came to Peoria in 1874, and accepted a position as clerk in the drug store of W. H. Davis, where he remained for two years. A similar position was afterwards maintained for the same length of time with the late A. W. H. Reen. In January of 1879, Dr. Bourscheidt opened a drug store in the old library building, and conducted the same until he disposed of his interest in the drug business to W. M. Benton in 1885. Desiring then to return to the practice of medicine, he attended Rush Medical College in Chicago for two years, graduating therefrom in 1887. From that period until the present time, he has devoted himself to his chosen profession. While engaged in general practice he makes a specialty of gynecology, or the diseases of women.

In his younger days Dr. Bourscheidt devoted much thought and study to microscopical and analytical chemistry, and was ranked among those who are more than ordinarily proficient in these directions. The knowledge thus acquired has been particularly efficacious in many of his most important services to the State of Illinois, for the best interests of which he has labored long and faithfully. He was one of the founders in 1879 of the Illinois State Pharmaceutical Association, of which he served as President in 1881, and was one of the committee which drafted and helped to pass the State Pharmacy Law. From 1880 until 1800 he was a member of the committee on the revision of the United States Pharmacopoeia—which revision takes place once in ten years, the treatise being issued by official authority, and everywhere accepted as an authoritative standard in reference to drugs and their preparations. From 1899 until 1901 the Doctor was the Health Commissioner of Peoria, and, during his administration, a high order of service was maintained, and more accomplished in the way of systematizing the work of the office and rendering it efficient, than by any other incumbent of the office in the history of the city. Dr. Bourscheidt is Gynecologist, to Saint Francis Hospital ; is a member of the Peoria Medical Society, of which he was President for one year, and Secretary for two years, and is also a member of the American Medical Association.

The marriage of Dr. Bourscheidt and Dora Stewart, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, occurred June 14, 1873, in Kansas, and of this union there are two children, Frank Carl, Jr., and Jennie M. Dr. Bourscheidt is a Republican in national politics, and has ever been an active participator in the undertakings of his party. Fraternally he is associated with the Masons, having joined that organization in 1872. He is affiliated with the Episcopal church. Like the majority of his countrymen, he has derived much consolation from music, which noble art has been a relaxation from the worry and struggle of an unusually active life. He was an active member of the Peoria Choral Union, which was disbanded in 1881, was also one of the organizers of the Peoria Chorus and has been one of its most ardent and stanch supporters. He is a believer in the beneficent and uplifting influence of music, and has earnestly labored to secure its dignified elevation among the residents of his home town. In all ways this disciple of medicine and all-around medical expert has contributed, to the extent of his ability, to the improvement of the conditions of the city, and his purse and counsel are at the disposal of all worthy appeals.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


The Mexican Amole Soap Company of Peoria, of which Abraham Brayshaw is President and General Manager, is entitled to more than passing consideration, for the manner of its conduct, and the excellence of its productions.

From a long line of ambitious ancestors devoted to the manufacture of cloth, Mr. Brayshaw inherits the requisite force of character, tact, and knowledge of human nature, for the management of a concern fast attaining a world- wide reputation. He was born in England, December 21, 1838, and is a son of Benjamin and Anna (Berry) Brayshaw, who were also born and reared in England. It was but natural that Abraham Brayshaw should emulate the example of his forefathers, and, for some time at least, engage in the manufacture of cloth. Of the twelve children in the family he was the one exception who found a larger field of enterprise in America, and he came hither when thirty years of age as superintendent of the woolen mill of James Standring, in New York. At the expiration of two years he came to Illinois and located in Peoria, and until 1884 engaged with varying success in the carpet business. In the meantime, about nineteen years ago, he became interested in the prospects of a company organized for the manufacture of a high-grade soap, and which was incorporated under the firm name of Albaugh's Mexican Soap Company, the president being M. H. Haverhill. The realization of the original promoters falling far short of expectations, and more or less money being lost in a venture at bottom containing. real merit, an emergency was created into which the shrewd business sagacity and common sense principles of Mr. Brayshaw came in recognition of an undeveloped opportunity. When the new order of things was brought about the name also was changed to that under which the firm now conducts its business.

The Mexican Amole Soap Company's products have long since passed the experimental stage, and have stood the test and approbation of several years. At the present time the company does a business amounting to $100,000 per annum, and, judging from the unprecedented increase within the last two or three years, much larger returns may be expected in the near future.  Much of the soap manufactured is composed entirely of vegetable ingredients derived from the Mexican Amole Soap tree, the peculiar qualities of which are utilized by a patent process. Aside from bath and toilet soaps, the latter of which is best represented by the fragrant and refreshing Amoleine, a shaving soap has been perfected by the company which not only gives a fine and lasting lather, but is as well a great skin tonique. The Amole Shampoo is most efficacious for all scalp disorders; the Amole Rose Cream is an excellent balm for the skin, and the Amoleine Washing Powder is unexcelled for the laundry. As evidencing the more than local prominence of the articles manufactured by this enterprising firm, it is necessary only to state that the United States Army specifications for 1901, for supplies to be furnished to the post commissaries of our American and foreign possessions, call for an amount of Amole soap larger than all other kinds combined, the soap specified being the Amole Diamond King. The soaps turned out from this factory, which has the most modern equipments possible, are in demand in all parts of the world, large shipments being made daily to different parts of the United States, Canada and Cuba, as well as frequent consignments to England, France, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. It will thus be seen that, in the war of competition, Peoria may boast an enterprise in this line based upon genuine superiority, and therefore of lasting benefit at home and abroad.

Not long after arriving in America Mr. Brayshaw was united in marriage, May 13, 1868, to Caroline Wilby, who also is a native of England. Mrs. Brayshaw, who is a woman of rare intelligence and social tact, is the mother of three living children: Benjamin W., Walter and Clarence. The sons are all interested in business with their father, and the better to qualify them as practical manufacturers of soap, took special courses in chemistry in the Illinois University at Champaign. Illinois, and at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Benjamin Brayshaw was married, first, to Mamie Le Page, who died April 13, 1897, his second marriage occurring April 25, 1901, to Mrs. Nellie (Zipprich) Haessel.  Walter W. married Florence McIntyre on April 18, 1900, and of this union there is one child, Lena. In political affiliations Mr. Brayshaw is a Democrat, and is a believer in the doctrine of Free Silver. He is a man of broad intelligence, unusual business ability and of unquestioned integrity, and is popular in the commercial and social world of Peoria.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Charles Montgomery Brown was born in Limestone Township, Peoria County, Illinois, March 25, 1859. He is a son of Isaac Brown, for many years conspicuous in politics and business in the City of Peoria. The father and mother of Mr. Brown removed to Peoria with their family in 1864, where Charles M. was educated in the public schools, graduating from the High School in the class of 1877. Soon after graduation he entered the employ of the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railway Company, at Peoria, and continued in the railroad business for eight years, the last three as General Agent of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Company's Fast Freight Line.

In 1885 he embarked in the insurance and loan business, in which he has continued to the present time. He has held several important general agencies of leading insurance companies, at Peoria, and now holds the important position of General Field Agent of the Aetna Life Insurance Company in the States of Illinois and Indiana.

June 2, 1887, he married Netta A. Cole, who is a pianist of rare skill and a women of charming personality.

Mr. Brown has been an active member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church for many years, and for a long time a member of its official Board. He is also interested in and is a Director of, the Young Men's Christian Association and the Peoria Lyceum Association, and is prominent in the Chautauqua work of the latter organization. Mr. Brown is a member of the Peoria Board of Trade. He has been actively connected with the Masonic Fraternity, being a Past Commander of   Peoria   Commandery, Knights Templar.

By his genial manners and uniform courtesy Mr. Brown commends himself to all with whom he comes in contact. His peculiar qualities have proved very advantageous to him in building up a business wherein he has had strong competition. He commands the respect and esteem of all who know him. Now in the prime of life, he has the promise of many years of success in the business world.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Deloss S. Brown, President of Brown, Page & Hillman Company, dealers in pianos and other musical instruments, was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, May 22, 1840, the grandson of William Brown, and son of Hiram and Eveline (Bradt) Brown. His father was born in the "Notch." Cheshire, Massachusetts, October 24, 1707, and his mother at Canajoharie, New York, March n. 1800; the former died at Elmwood, Illinois. October 20, 1891, and the latter at Cummington. Massachusetts, May 4, 1866.  Deloss S. received his early education in the common schools of his native place, and, at ten years of age, began working in a factory in which he was employed in the manufacture of various kinds of wooden implements; was next engaged in making scythe  whet- stones, after which he worked for a time in a sewing-machine factory. In 1863 he removed to Elmwood Illinois, where he opened a wholesale and retail jewelry store, which he conducted for thirteen years, when (1876) he came to Peoria and purchased a half interest in the distillery of William R. Bush, afterwards known as the Bush & Brown Distillery. In this he continued for a period of ten years, when he sold out his interest to the Distillers' and Cattle Feeders' Company. His next business venture was the purchase of the stock of Brown, Page & Hillman, dealers in books, stationery, music and musical instruments, which has been continued ever since under the old firm name,—the business now being restricted to pianos, organs, sheet music and musical goods, which is conducted on a large scale. Mr. Brown's principal business, however, is in the line of Peoria real estate in which he is largely interested. At the present time, in connection with others, he is engaged upon some improvements in East Peoria, which promise to result in the future rapid development of that growing suburb.  His business career has been conspicuously and uniformly successful, due to early acquired habits of application and industry, supplemented by business acumen. His influence upon the business development of Peoria has been as potential as it has been successful from a personal point of view.  Although his business life has been of a strenuous character, he permits no business entanglements to interfere with his social and domestic enjoyments.  His genial temperament and courteous bearing have secured for him a wide popularity, and no really deserving cause appeals to him in vain. Mr. Brown inherited from his ancestors those doctrines in favor of free speech, a free press and free soil for free men, which constituted the essential principles of the Free Soil or Abolition party before the days of the Civil War, and on the organization of the Republican party, as a protest against the attempt to carry slavery into free territory, espoused the cause of the party of Lincoln and an undivided Union with zeal, and has supported it ever since.   Although not a politician in the professional sense of the word, he served his Ward as Alderman for a period of four years.  He has been twice married; first, at Elmwood, Illinois, to Eunice Whiteside, who died in 1866.  On October 12, 1869, he was united in marriage to Frances L. Bush, daughter of his long-time business partner, William R. Bush, and they have had five children: Eveline A., born August 24, 1870, died January 8, 1805; Alice J., born October 8, 1872; Eugene de A., born August 9, 1875; Edna K., born July 22, 1877, now Mrs. William Turnbull, and Deloss S. Jr., born November 4, 1879 —the three first named having been born at Elmwood, Peoria County, and the last two in the city of Peoria.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Isaac Brown was born in South Shields, England, August 16, 1817. His parents were Jabez and Margaret Brown. His father was Superintendent of one of the large collieries near New Castle on the Tyne, England, and was killed in a mine by the falling of coal when Isaac Brown was a mere boy. Soon after the death of his father, in 1835, young Isaac sailed for America, going first to Cape Breton Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, where he remained but a short time, when he sailed for the United States, landing at New Orleans. He removed to Galena, Illinois, in 1836, and soon after traveled over various sections of the country seeking a more desirable location.  He finally settled at St. Louis, where, in 1839, he was married to Anna Mary Catherine Gaussmann, a native of the Province of Westphalia, Prussia, where her father was a well-to-do farmer and land-owner, who, with his family, had removed to the United States about one year before her marriage.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown, with two small children, removed to Peoria County, in 1844, first locating on a farm in Rosefield Township, and afterwards in Limestone Township, and in 1864 came to Peoria, where Mr. Brown died January 30, 1888, and where Mrs. Brown still lives. The married life of the couple was a very happy one. They had five children: William J., who died in New Orleans in 1878; Henry I.; Margaret E., now Mrs. O. R. Clough; Mary E., who married Mr. John R. Schnebly, and died August 9, 1900;  and Charles M.

Mr. Brown was for several years a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was for many years active as a Trustee of the First Church of that denomination in Peoria. He was the first Supervisor from Limestone Township. In 1860 he was elected County Treasurer, and was twice re-elected, in 1862 and 1864, and subsequently filled several important offices in the City of Peoria.

Mr. Brown was a man of the strictest integrity, and filled with fidelity every official position to which he was elected or appointed. He was originally a Douglas Democrat, but always a strong Union man. During the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, with Lucius L. Day and Washington Cockle, he served upon the Committee of Public Safety, having in charge the Government's interests in Peoria and vicinity. He was a man of strong physique and marked personality, with a pleasant and sunny disposition, and was universally trusted and esteemed. No man had the public confidence to a greater extent than Mr. Brown. He was careful, frugal and economical, without being parsimonious or mean. He left a name and reputation for his family, unsullied and clean.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


One should scarcely desire a higher position in society than the reputation of a good physician—not "good" alone in the ordinary sense of proficiency in his profession, but in that broader sense, embracing not only qualifications but character and reputation as well. There is some danger, even in the medical profession, of a controlling influence of the commercial spirit so characteristic of the present day. It is to be hoped, for the honor of the profes- sion, that it may be kept from the degradation that necessarily follows the purely commercial aspect of it.

James L. Brown belongs to that class which has not yet departed from the old straight-forward professional course; not yet put a purely monetary value upon his services. He was born at Goshen, Clermont County. Ohio, on January 5, 1841, to Benjamin and Elizabeth (Lafferty) Brown. His father followed the occupation of a farmer. The stock from which Dr. Brown descended came from England before the Revolutionary War and obtained a grant from the King of some three thousand acres of land in the State of Pennsylvania, where the father of Dr. Brown was born. On the mother's side, his ancestors were descendants of the French Huguenots.

Dr. Brown received a common school education at Clermont, and also took a course in Mainville Seminary, in Warren County, Ohio. After leaving- school he taught for a time, whereby he acquired the means for his medical education. He graduated at the Medical College of Ohio, at Cincinnati, in 1868, and began practice in that city, continuing until 1873, when he came to Peoria. where he has ever since resided, continuously and successfully practicing his profession.

The immediate ancestors of Dr. Brown were conspicuous in the War of 1812, among, them being General Jacob Brown, who commanded at Lundy's Lane, and later at Fort Erie. Thus, it will be seen that he comes of good stock, and he has in every respect, during his life in Peoria, honored his ancestry. He has devoted himself assid- uously to his profession and has, with economy and care, provided himself with a reasonable competence, all of which has been done without wrong or oppression, robbery or fraud. He has never hesitated to give his professional services to the poor, as well as to the rich, without compensation as well as for it. He has been free from the petty jealousies and envies that sometimes have marred the reputation of men of his profession. Fortunately, all that is passing away. He has always been regarded in this city as an honorable, upright, high-minded man and a thoroughly conscientious physician.

In politics, Dr. Brown has been a Republican, although he has never taken any very active part in politics, but has in this respect been ready and willing at all times to discharge his full duty as becomes a good citizen.

He married, June 28, 1881, Miss Lida Black, who died January 4, 1883. October 3, 1894, he married for his second wife Miss Margaret Pfeiffer, by whom he has one son, James L. Brown, born August 4, 1895.

Dr. Brown enjoys the respect and confidence of all who know him, and will, to the end, be regarded as an efficient, kindly, charitable physician. He has been for years an active member of the Peoria City Medical Association, having twice been its President, and is now an honorary member thereof by reason of his long connection and his standing as a physician. He is a member of the Illinois State Medical Society and of the American Medical Association. Such men honor the community in which they live and, in dying, leave behind them a monument, in the love and respect of those whom they have befriended and served, more desirable than the most costly marble.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


William Frederick Bryan, the present Mayor (1902) of the City of Peoria, has the distinction of having been elected to the position which he now holds by the largest majority ever accorded to a mayoralty candidate in the history of our city. Mayor Bryan is of Anglo-Irish ancestry, and was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, although his parents had previously resided in Peoria and returned to this city while he was still a child. His father, the late William F. Bryan (see sketch), was a prominent and well-known attorney, who died in 1900, while the mother's maiden name was Jane G. Evans—the daughter of a successful merchant of Lancaster—their marriage taking place at Lancaster in September, 1845. After the return of the elder Bryan's family to Peoria, the son acquired his early education in the public schools of this city, after which he attended college for a time. His first experience in business was as book-keeper in a grain-broker's office, after which he became an active operator on the Board of Trade. He served for several years as a Director, and, in 1896, was chosen President of the Board, but retired from active business in 1897, to devote his time to private interests which demanded his attention.

Mayor Bryan's political career dates from the year 1895, when be was elected Alderman for the Second Ward, being re-elected in 1897, and serving until 1889. During his connection with the City Council he served upon the Finance and other important committees—was also a member of the committee which had charge of the erection of the present handsome City Hall. In 1890 he became the Democratic candidate for Mayor, but was defeated by a majority of less than two hundred votes. In 1901 he was again a candidate for the same office, and this time was elected by the unprecedented majority of 3,000 votes. Mr. Bryan's experience has rendered him thoroughly conversant with the details of every department of the city government, and his administration has proved an eminently successful one. Unhampered by business cares and perplexities, be gives to municipal affairs his individual attention, and, by his devotion to public duty. has won the confidence and respect not only of his own party, but of the entire community. Direct, forceful and strictly impartial in his methods, he has taken rank as one of the most able and far-sighted municipal officers in the history of Peoria. While the administration of his father's estate have made large demands upon Mayor Bryan's time for the past two years, it has not been permitted to interfere with his public and official duties. His reputation as a public-spirited citizen has been well established and has, undoubtedly, proved the basis, to a large extent, of his p-opularity as a public officer.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


William Frederick Bryan was for some years prominently identified with the legal profession in this city. He was descended from Anglo-Irish ancestry. The name Bryan is derived by English heraldry from Bryn, which is the Anglo-Saxon name of a hill. It is now found among old family names of England, buried under titles. Ireland, however, has her familiar O'Brians and O'Briens, and France her Chateaubriands, Brians and Briens. The great-grandfather was Samuel Bryan a native and resident of Dublin, and a prominent shipping merchant of that place. He married a Miss Dennis, who was also born in that locality and brought the pure Irish strain into the paternal ancestry, although France claims title to this name also, through her national Saint Denis, deriving it from Dionysius (Dionese), of Gracca.

George Bryan, their eldest son, and the grandfather of our subject, was born in Dublin, in 1730, and in 1750 crossed the Atlantic to the new world, locating in Philadelphia, where he also engaged in business as a Shipping merchant. He was then only twenty years of age. He not only won the respect and esteem of his fellow men, but also received at their hands high honors, and left the impress of his strong individuality upon the early history of the State. He had acquired a collegiate education and his tastes and ambition soon inspired him to other than a mer- cantile life. From 1764 until his death, in 1790, he was the popular favorite and active recipient successively of judicial, ministerial, executive and legislative honors, and finally, in 1780, won the highest judicial honors within the gift of the people of the State, serving as Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania until the time of his death. In his first contest for political office, in 1764, he was elected burgess over Dr. Franklin and another opponent.  "Franklin," writes the chronicler  naively, "died like a philosopher: his associate agonized in death, and afterward General Reed went over to the British." (Life of General Reed, Volume I, page 30.) "An active political opponent, a Federalist, accredits Judge George Bryan as the author of the first constitution of Pennsylvania, which the Federalist denounces as the inevitable precursor of anarchy.   (Life in Pennsylvania, I, 302.)  An electric flash of sarcastic humor now exhibits Dr. Franklin as an 'oily gammon,' who had discovered that 'oil would smooth the ruffled surface of the sea.' So had he found it most effectual in assuaging the troubled minds of his fellow men. Hence he was claimed by both constitutionalists and antis."

He was also a delegate to the Congress, held in New York in 1765, to protest against the British Stamp Act. (Life of Reed, Volume II, page 481.) As Vice-President and as acting President of Pennsylvania, in 1778, he urged the Legislature to abolish slavery, and in 1779 secured the passage of the first act abolishing slavery in this country.  (Ibid. Volume II. page 173). In 1779 he was appointed, in connection with James Madison and others, to establish the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia, and while so engaged, advised and secured the adoption of the Mason and Dixon line, which was subsequently (1780) ratified by Congress. In 1780 he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and served in that capacity for ten years, when death ended his career. He was married in Philadelphia, to Elizabeth Smith, and they had five sons and two daughters. One of the sons, Arthur Bryan, became the father-in-law of Commodore Turner of the navy.

George Bryan, Jr., father of William P., was born in Philadelphia and acquired a collegiate education. His early manhood was devoted to mercantile pursuits in that city. He was a man of domestic tastes and retiring disposition, and the only public office which he held was that of Auditor General of the State, and at the time of his elevation to the office he removed to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which was the capital of the State from 1799 until 1812. On its removal to Harrisburg, Mr. Bryan took his family to that place; but, on his retirement, he returned to Lancaster, where he carried on merchandising until his death, in December, 1838. He married Anna Maria Steinman, a native of Lancaster and of German (Moravian) parentage. She was educated in the noted Moravian Academy, at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the first school for young ladies in America. Her father, Frederick Steinman, was an active and prosperous hardware merchant and manufacturer, and her mother was Margaretta Sybilla (Mayer) Steinman.

W. F. Bryan was born in Lancaster, August 28, 1810, and, when only two years of age, was taken by his parents to Harrisburg, where he began his education. He afterwards studied in his native city, the family returning there on the father's retirement from office. He pursued a regular college curriculum in private schools, and soon after laying aside his text-books, he was sent to Washington, D. C.. to learn the art of printing. His father had a wealthy cousin who had retired from an active and successful career of politics and journalism, and was then enjoying the fruits of his labors in an elegant country villa near that city. The ultimate object of this choice of a profession, as he afterward learned, was to equip him for the higher career of editor; but setting and distributing type became monotonous to him and he returned home. While preparing for the bar in the city of Lancaster, he realized, in his small way, though incognito, his father's aspirations for him by assuming the editorship of a weekly political paper. His residence there was enlivened by weekly visits to the hospitable mansion of his relative, Samuel Harrison Smith, and there he was often brought in contact with many distinguished statesmen of the time, which, of course, had its influence upon his life. After his return from Washington, Mr. Bryan was sent to Chillicothe, Ohio, to be initiated into the vocation of merchandising; but the business pursuits selected for him by others did not accord with his tastes and temperament, and he ultimately drifted into a profession more in harmony with his tastes and desires. It was while in Chillicothe that he became a member of a debating club, where he frequently met Allen G. Thurman, afterward the distinguished Senator from Ohio, and the eminent lawyer and jurist. From that time the bar became the pole-star of Mr. Bryan's ambition.  He bent all his energies toward reaching the goal, immediately returning to Lancaster, where he began the study of law.

In due course of time he was admitted to the bar. About that time the cry of "Westward, Ho!" resounded through the land, and, on the tide of emigration steadily drifting toward the setting sun, he made his way to Illinois. The journey was made by stage to Pittsburg and thence by the Ohio and Illinois Rivers, stepping from the steamer to the levee at Peoria in the spring of 1839. For many years thereafter he engaged in the practice of law and secured a large clientage.  He was a close and diligent student and gained a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the science of jurisprudence. He won some important suits, yet the theory and the science of law were ever more attractive to him than the contests of the forum. His cases were prepared with the greatest thoroughness and precision, and his arguments were logical, forceful and convincing. Possessed, however, of an extremely nervous organism, he was in a measure unfitted for the exciting scenes of the court room, yet the court records indicate, by the many leading cases which he won, his marked ability and talent for the law.

In September, 1845, Mr. Bryan was united in marriage to Miss Jane G. Evans, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her father, Robert Evans, then deceased, was a successful merchant and left his family in comfortable circumstances, and the mother, Anna Margaretta (Gundaker) Evans, being most devoted to her children, provided them with the best educational privileges. She was a member of the Lutheran Church until her marriage, when she joined the Presbyterian Church, to which her husband belonged. Her daughter, Mrs. Bryan, who completed her education in Philadelphia, was a most cultured lady. To our subject and his wife were born six children, namely: Anna Margaretta, wife of Arthur H. Rugg, a resident of Chicago; George, of Peoria, who married Eugenie M. Steele, of Romulus, New Yoirk and has two children—Margaretta and George; William Frederick, who is now Mayor of the City of Peoria; Edward Arthur, who married Lucy Gibson of Peoria, and, with his wife and son, William Frederick, reside in Chicago; Robert Evans, who died in early childhood; and Jennie Logan, who resides in Peoria.

Largely on account of his nervous temperament and studious inclination, Mr. Bryan always preferred the retired life of the scholar to the active one of the politician or society man. He never sought or desired political preferment and held no public office whatever, except in scientific and literary societies to which he belonged. He carried his research and investigation far and wide into the realms of literature and science, and delighted in the companion- ship of his favorite authors, who were to him true and tried friends of long years' standing. At all times he commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow men, and well deserves mention in the history of the Illinois bar, at which he won high standing. He died August 27, 1900.—From "Bench and Bar of Illinois."

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


The subject of this sketch, Nelson Burnham, was born at Crown Point, New York, September l, 1826. The family was of Scottish descent, and, coming to this country, settled in Hartford, Connecticut. His father, James Burnham, went from Hartford to Saratoga County, New York, and later to Lake Champlain, where Nelson Burnham was born. The family consisted of three boys and one girl, Nelson being the youngest of the family. His father was a lumberman upon Lake Champlain, and for many years conducted the business with great success, but finally failed, while Nelson was quite young. The latter received a common-school education only. In 1850, with that enterprise and courage which characterized many young men of ambition and force, in that section of the country, he went to California and engaged in mining on the Macausmo River, where he was very successful, and. in a year or two, returned to the States with sufficient funds for a good start in life. Prior to going to California he had learned the carpenter's trade. Having returned from California he settled at Farmington, Fulton County, Illinois, working at his trade to some extent, and investing money in lands. He has, from that time, made a specialty of investments in farmlands, and became the owner of large tracts in Kansas and in Stark County, as well as in other places in the State of Illinois. In 1869 he moved to Peoria and engaged in the milling business with Richard Gregg, in which he continued for about five years. Since that time he has devoted himself altogether to investments in farms and carrying on a farming business. In 1875 he purchased sixteen thousand acres of land in Allen and Morris Counties, Kansas, much of which he still owns. He is also the owner, at the present time, of considerable tracts in Missouri and Stark County, this State.

For the past few years he has taken life somewhat easily, and has been an  extensive traveler, having twice gone around the globe. He spends his winters in California, where he finds relief from a troublesome bronchial difficulty which has annoyed him for several years. He has been, and still is, a stockholder in the Peoria National Bank, and has made other investments in Peoria and its vicinity.

In 1852 Mr. Burnham married Emily R. Sloan, who died in September, 1897. He has always been liberal in his religious views, and has been, and still is, a Republican in politics. Maintaining the highest character for personal integrity, he has very little patience with trickery and dishonesty in business or politics. He has been liberal in his charities and in his attempts to assist deserving persons needing assistance. He has been remarkably successful in his business career, is a good judge of men and of values, and his success may be attributed largely to his sound judgment and strict integrity.

While never having had any children of his own, he has always been interested in the children of others, and is the friend and helper of all little children, so far as possible.

Mr. Burnham's career well illustrates what a man of purpose, energy and character can accomplish in this country of ours. He has the respect of all with whom he is acquainted.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


A man successful in business, through individual energy, intelligence and uprightness, is a benefit to the community in which he lives.

William R. Rush, the subject of this sketch, belonged to that class. He was born at Moores Hill, Dearborn County. Indiana, July 18, 1824. His father's name was John Dean Bush, and his mother's maiden name, Elizabeth Winings. In his earlier years, his father learned and followed the trade of a carpenter, but subsequently became a minister and devoted himself to that calling to the end of his days. He was an earnest student of the Bible and thoroughly familiar with it. In his calling as a minister he moved from place to place along the Ohio River. Both the parents belonged to long-lived families, and both lived to advanced age. There were born to them eleven children, who, leaving the old home, settled in different parts of the country, and engaged in various callings with reasonable

William R. Bush had but little opportunity for education, and it was one of the serious regrets of his life that his opportunities had been so limited. He was obliged to educate himself throughout his life, which he did by reading and by keen observation of men and things. When a mere boy, he left home with some other lads, and started down the Ohio River with a view to supporting himself, and in the hope of making a fortune. He met with many disappointments and misfortunes, but, on the whole, considered this adventure the foundation of his subsequent successful business career. He came to Peoria in the '30s. and engaged in brickmaking, establishing a yard of his own, became interested in coal mines, and, subsequently, went into the distilling business at Fort Madison, Iowa, which he carried on for several years.  Then returning to Peoria, he engaged in the same business with C. C. Clarke, under the name of Clarke & Bush Distillery Company. This business he continued for some years, but subsequently established a distillery of his own in South Peoria, which was operated successfully, under the name of the Bush & Brown Distilling Company. In this business he was very successful and accumulated quite a fortune. The business carried on was that of the distillation of spirits and alcohol. The company did not engage in the manufacture of any finished goods for personal use.

Mr. Bush always interested himself in the development of Peoria; was one of the few men who constructed the Main Street car line. He also erected several buildings in the city in addition to his pleasant home upon the bluff. The later years of his life he spent in traveling and acquiring information, thus becoming familiar with all parts of his own country. He never united with any church, but always was liberal in his theology, and believed in all that was good in the churches and in the schools, and did what he could to foster these institutions in the City of Peoria, believing that, through them, the moral and intellectual standing of the city was elevated. In politics, he was a Democrat of the somewhat liberal stripe, and not so influenced by his political views as to prevent him, on all occasions, from voting in municipal affairs for the men he believed best fitted to discharge the duties of the positions for which they were nominated.

He was married, in 1846, to Melvira Kindred, by whom he had two children: Frances L. Bush (now Brown) and Edna J. Bush. His wife died, and, in 1856, he married, as his second wife, Annie B. Brush, to whom four children were born, two girls and two boys: Harriet A., Lucy I., William C, and John D. His second wife was descended from the Choate family, a name famous, particularly, in the legal and literary world.

While Mr. Bush was in business, he devoted himself earnestly and conscientiously to it, and in every branch of business in which he engaged, he was a success.

He was fond of companionship, genial and pleasant in his disposition. kindly in all his instincts and acts. He made and retained people as his friends, and died regretted by all to whom he was well known. He loved Peoria, the city of his adoption, becoming more and more attached as time went on. and often expressed himself as living in as delightful a spot as fell to the lot of man. Unlike some others, he was loyal to the city and anxious for its improvement and development. He always encouraged capitalists and business men to settle here, believing in the future of the city. Mr. Bush died January 8, 1889.

from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


Augustine Andrew Bushell was a native of Dublin, Ireland, born August 30. 1833, and in 1841, at the age of eight years, came with his parents to Canada. A few years later his parents removed to Newburg, New York. where most of his boyhood was spent, and where he learned the tinner's trade, in the meanwhile receiving a common- school education. In 1852—his parents having previously removed to Peoria—he came to this city, but two years later returned to Newburg where, on November 13, 1854, he married Miss Ann T. Callahan of that place. The following year (1855) he returned to Peoria, where he established himself in business as a tinner, and also engaged in gravel-roofing, making Peoria his home for the remainder of his life. His place of business was on Washington Street, where he built up a large and successful trade, not only in the roofing business but in the manufacture of roofing material, to which he added various kinds of tiling and artificial stone-work. He was succeeded by his son, John W. Bushell, who, under the firm name of A. A. Bushell & Son and the Bushell Manufacturing Company, has built up a large and prosperous business at 1317 to 1323 South Washington Street. It is a tribute to the founder of this industry nearly a half century ago, that his name is still retained in the title of the firm which he established. In addition to his private business, Mr. Bushell served for twenty consecutive years as Sealer of Weights and Measures for the City of Peoria, and was also the first Oil Inspector who ever held office under the City Government.

Mr. Bushell took a deep interest in matters connected with the art of music, was an expert performer on the bass tuba and bass viol, and one of the organizers of the famous Spencer's Band so intimately identified with the history of Peoria of thirty to forty years ago. When he first came to Peoria he established his home at 204 Harrison Street, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred October 29, 1888, as the result of dropsy by which he had been affected for some time. His funeral, celebrated at St. Mary's Catholic Church two days later, was an imposing event, representatives of the various musical organizations and bands in the city taking part in the ceremonies. In politics Mr. Bushell was a Democrat, and, in religious belief, a Roman Catholic. Of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bushell, six are still living: Charlotte M., now Mrs. Frank Kimmett; Robert E. : John W., married to Catharine Donnelly and of the firm of A. A. Bushell & Son; Monica, married to James E. Bennett: Mary Emma; and Ruth E., married to Dr. W. F. Whalen—all of Peoria. Mrs. Bushell still survives and represents her husband's estate in the firm of A. A. Bushell & Son.


from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902




Home  |  Biographies

Peoria County, IL Genealogy Trails
© 2006 - 2011 by Genealogy Trails

All data on this website is © Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.