DANIEL GAFFNER, dealer in leather, findings and hides, is a well-known and successful business man of Olney, and one of the early settlers of that city. He was born in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, July 7, 1831, and is a son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Garber) Gaffner. His parents were also natives of Switzerland, and both are now deceased.
Our subject was reared and educated in his native country, and there served a regular apprenticeship to the making of fine sewed shoes. In 1854, after urgent solicitation, his father consented to his coming to America, and gave him at his request only $75. He crossed to Havre, France, and shipped from that port in a sailing-vessel for New York, where he arrived after a voyage of forty-one days. He came to Illinois and settled in Highland, reaching his destination January 13, 1855.
There he worked at his trade until 1858, when he came to Olney, Richland County, and the following year opened a shoemaking shop. He carried on that business successfully until 1862, when, his health becoming impaired, he traded for a farm in Edwards County and engaged in agricultural pursuits for three years. Then having regained his health he worked in a shoe store in Albion, the county seat of Edwards County. After two years spent there he returned to Switzerland to pay his parents a promised visit. This was in 1868, and he spent three months very happily with his father, mother and friends, but notwithstanding every inducement offered to keep him in the Old Country he returned to America, the land of his adoption, for which he had acquired a warm affection.
On his return to Illinois, Mr. Gaffner continued in Albion but a short time, when he again settled in Olney, which has since been his home. Once more he embarked in the shoe business and was thus employed until 1882, when he changed to the hide and leather business, which he carried on for two years. He then sold out, but in 1890 he resumed trade in that line and has since continued it to the present time.
Mr. Gaffner was married in Olney, August 28, 1859, to Susanna Schniter, who was born in Berne, Switzerland, and is a daughter of Abram Schniter. She emigrated to America in 1850. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Gaffner, but a son and daughter are now deceased. Robert married Emma Gissler, and is a druggist of Olney; Eddie died at the age of nineteen years; William Tell wedded Tillie Eggler, and resides in Silverdale, Wash., where he has a general store; Charles Harry is with his father; Clara died at the age of two years; Walter Benjamin is at school.
Mr. and Mrs. Gaffner were reared under the auspices of the German Reformed Church and belong to that society. In politics he is a Republican, and socially is a Knight-Templar Mason, a member of Olney Lodge No. 140, A. F. & A. M.; Richland Chapter No. 38, R. A. M.; and Gorin Commandery No. 14, K. T.
Mr. Gaffner is a stockholder and Director in the First National Bank of Olney. He has acquired a valuable property, owning two business houses, five good dwellings and some inferior ones. He also has fifty-five acres a mile out on the State Road, being a part of the southwest quarter of section 36, town 4, range 10; three hundred and forty-seven acres in Preston Township; forty acres in Denver Township, Richland County; eighty acres in Bond County, and twenty acres in Clinton County. On the first-mentioned tract of land, the first white baby in the locality was born. Mr. Gaffner has accumulated a large portion of this property by his own efforts, for while his father was well off in the Old Country and offered his son financial assistance whenever he might need it, he preferred to depend on himself from the start.
The Gaffner family is of French origin, many generations remote. There is a well-grounded tradition in the family to the effect that in the time of Louis XIV. of France, two brothers by the name of Gaffner, who were Huguenots, were driven from that country on account of their religious opinions and sought refuge in Switzerland, where they married and settled. From one of these brothers our subject is descended. Mr. Gaffner is thoroughly Americanized and is intensely patriotic. He is in the fullest accord with the theory of this Government, and will yield to no one in his admiration of and devotion to this country and its institutions. He is a most worthy citizen, enterprising and public-spirited, and his posterity may well look on the record of their common ancestor in the New World with respect and pride.
[Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.350 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
MARTIN UTTERBACK, who carries on general farming on section 26, Preston Township, was born in Kentucky January 31, 1827. His father, Elijah Utterback, was also a native of Kentucky and was of German descent. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Mildred Snyder, was likewise of German lineage. The family of this worthy couple numbered fourteen children, but the three eldest, Dica, Sylvester and Ebsworth, are now deceased. Jane is the next younger, and was followed by Martin; David is also deceased; Willis and Martha are next in order of birth; Louisa died several years ago; Gilla, Thomas and Felix have also departed this life; and Harvey and Catherine complete the family.
The subject of this sketch was born and reared upon a farm, and with his parents he came to Illinois in 1829, being then only two years of age. The family made the trip Westward by team and located in what is now Claremont Township, Richland County, but was then a part of Lawrence County. The father died in this county in 1876, having survived his wife a number of years. Her death occurred in 1864.
Martin Utterback in his early youth attended the subscription schools of the neighborhood, which were held in a log house, but his privileges in that direction were quite limited, and he is largely a self-educated man. To his father he gave the benefit of his services until he had attained his majority, when he left home and went to Claremont, where he worked for two years, serving an apprenticeship to the blacksmith's trade. He then established a blacksmith and wagon shop of his own in Claremont. and carried on business in that place until 1874. On selling out he purchased an interest in a drug store in Claremont and devoted his energies to that line of business for four years.
It was in 1857 that Mr. Utterback was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Burgess. By their union were born seven children, as follows: Alfred, Edwin, Margaret Lena, Walter M., Bertie L. (deceased), Paul W. and Rufus A. The mother of this family was called to the home beyond November 11, 1882, and her remains were interred in St. Paul's Cemetery in Preston Township. She was a member of the Lutheran Church and was a lady whose excellencies of character endeared her to her many friends.
Since its organization Mr. Utterback has been a warm supporter of the Republican party and takes a warm interest in its growth and success. He has held the office of Township Clerk, but has never been an aspirant for official honors. In religious belief he is a Lutheran. In 1878 he took up his residence on the farm which has since been his home and is now engaged in the cultivation of his eighty-five acres of arable land. He also raises some stock. Almost his entire life has been p: in this County, whither he came at a time when there were only two frame houses in Olney Trading was done at Lawrenceville and the family had to endure many of the hardships and trial incident to frontier life. In the work of developing the county he has ever borne his part and taken a just pride in its progress and well deserve representation among its honored pioneers. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.356 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
GEORGE J. WAGNER, one of the extensive land-owners of Richland County, his possessions aggregating four hundred and five acres is living on section 2, Bon pas Township. He also owns property in the city of Olney. He was born near Sarbrucken, on the Rhine, in Prussia, July 25, 1841, and is a son of Jacob and Theresa (Wahrech) Wagner, who were also natives of the same country. In 1847, the family crossed the broad Atlantic to America and located in Summit County, Ohio, from where they went to Stark County, Ohio, where the father engaged in coal mining. In 1857 he brought his wife and children to Richland County, and carried on farming in German Township. During his last years he lived a retired life in Olney, where his death occurred in February, 1874. His wife survived him several years and passed away in Jasper County, February 19, 1893. Their remains were interred in the Catholic Cemetery of Olney. Of their fourteen children, eight died in childhood. The others are Jacob, now deceased; Philip, of Jasper County; John, deceased; George J., of this sketch; Andrew, also of Jasper County; and Mary, wife of H. Spangler. The parents were devout members of the Catholic Church, as are all their children with the exception of our subject. George Wagner received but limited school privileges in his boyhood, but after his marriage, with the assistance of his wife, he acquired a good business education, and is now an intelligent and well-read man. At the age of sixteen he left home and worked in a sawmill in Wabash County. Later he went to Pittsburg, Pa., and subsequently, after traveling through Ohio, he took up his residence in Lawrence County, Ill., where he rented a farm.
In November, 1861, Mr. Wagner enlisted in Company H, Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, for three years' service during the late war, and when his term expired he re-enlisted as a veteran. He received his final discharge July 21, 1865. He participated in many engagements, the most important of which were the battles of New Madrid, Island No. 10, Point Pleasant, Corinth, Iuka the second battle of Corinth, Farmington and Mission Ridge. He was ill for a time in the hospital at La Grange, Tenn., but escaped without wounds. During the latter part of his service he was employed in guarding prisoners. He proved an efficient soldier, and was always found faithful to his duty and the Old Flag.
On his return from the war, Mr. Wagner rented his father's farm for a year, and then bought land near St. Marie, Jasper County. On the 4th of June, 1867, he wedded Margaret Klepper, who was born in German Township, Richland County, and is a daughter of Kasiner Klepper, an honored pioneer of this county. Mr. Wagner then devoted his energies untiringly to farm labor, but after ten years, owing to failing health, caused by his services in the army, he sold out and removed to Olney, where he lived a retired life for some time. About 1886, he bought a portion of his present farm and the remainder in 1892. This farm has a great variety of resources and is being rapidly improved by Mr. Wagner. Nearly three hundred acres are under cultivation. There are found not only good buildings, but the latest improved machinery as well, and all other accessories of a model farm, together with some fine grades of stock.
Mr. Wagner is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has voted the Republican ticket since attaining his majority. He may truly be called a self-made man, for he started out without capital, save his own energy and determination. By judicious investments and speculations, he has accumulated a comfortable fortune, the result of a busy life. He is an independent thinker, and uses his own judgment in all transactions. He now rents his farm and is living retired, resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.362 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
CHARLES SHULTZ, a dry-goods merchant, is the oldest merchant in his line in Olney. He established business here in August, 1860, and with the exception of three years during the war he has carried it on continuously since. He was born in Berlin, Prussia, June 28, 1837, and is a son of Christopher and Dorothy (Hasslet) Shultz. The first thirteen years of his life were spent in his native land, and he then came to America in 1850. He landed at New Orleans, and with his parents started up the river. During the trip the father died of cholera, and three years later the mother died of the same disease. The passage across the Atlantic had been a very stormy one, and all of the rigging of the vessel was carried away. After the death of the father, the mother continued with her children to Evansville, and in the spring of 1851 went to West Salem, Edwards County, where she entered one hundred and sixty acres of land. Her death occurred in Ohio, in 1853. Of her family only two are now living: Charles, of this sketch; and Andrew, who is a farmer of Olney Township.
When our subject was fourteen years of age, he began life for himself, and has since been dependent upon his own resources, so that whatever has been his success, it is due entirely to his own efforts. He worked on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad until its completion, after which he came to Olney with Mr. Darling, and was connected with an eating-house in this place for five years. In this way he acquired some capital, after which he opened a grocery store. Since that time he has been prominently connected with the business interests of Olney, and is recognized as one of its representative citizens. In the fall of 1861, he enlisted in the service of his country, and was commissioned sutler of the regiment, which position he held for about three years. During that time he made $40,000, but lost one-fourth of it.
On the 30th of March, 1861, Mr. Shultz was united in marriage with Miss Sarah E. Gaddy, who was born in Lawrence County, Ill., and is a daughter of David Gaddy. Eight children were born of their union, who are yet living, and they have lost two. Ida May, the eldest, died at the age of nine months; Nettie is the wife of Edward Fence, a jeweler of Olney; the others are Charles, Bertha, Annie, Winnefred, Edward (who died at the age of fifteen months), Arthur, Harry and Cleveland. Mr. Shultz is a member of the Lutheran Church, and his wife holds membership with the Congregational Church. He is a Democrat in politics and has served as Alderman of the city for two years. He has also held other offices, the duties of which he has discharged with promptness and fidelity. Socially, he is a Knight Templar Mason, and belongs to the various Masonic bodies of Olney. He now carries on a seed store, which is situated near the Ohio & Mississippi depot, and is doing a good business. Besides this he owns some good land, including one farm of eighty acres and another of forty. Mr. Shultz has long been a resident of Olney. and has been an eye-witness of much of its growth and development. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.364 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN HILL is the owner of one of the best farms in Preston Township, Richland County. It comprises one hundred and __ eighty acres of arable land on section 35, and the neat appearance of the place indicates the owner to be a man of thrift and enterprise. He claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred near Springfield, Clarke County, on the 19th of December, 1857. His father, George Hill, was born in England, but when about twenty-eight years of age came to America, crossing the broad Atlantic, and landing in New York. The family located in Ohio, and there Mr. Hill worked as a farm hand by the month. His business career was a successful one, and he gained a comfortable competency. Before leaving England, he married Sarah Jackland, also a native of that country, and unto them were born eight children, as follows; Sarah, Mary, Annie, Rebecca, John, William, George (who is now deceased), and Hannah.
It was in 1865 that the father of this family came with his wife and children to Illinois and located upon a farm in Preston Township, where our subject now resides. He there made his home until his death, which occurred on the 17th of March, 1886. His remains were interred in the Mexburg Cemetery, in Preston Township. His wife, who survived him a few years, passed away March 1, 1889, and was laid to rest by the side of her husband. A beautiful monument has been erected to their memory. Both were members of the Free Methodist Church, and were highly respected people.
Our subject spent the first eight years of his life in the Buckeye State, and then came with his parents to Illinois, where he grew to manhood. He attended the common schools at intervals until he had attained his majority, and then started out in life for himself. He now owns the old homestead where his father first located, and it is now a well improved and valuable farm. The fields are well tilled. There are good buildings upon the place, and all the accessories and conveniences of a model farm of the nineteenth century. In connection with the cultivation of his land, Mr. Hill is also engaged in stock-raising.
In his political views, our subject is a Democrat, having supported that party since he has attained to man's estate. However, he has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, nevertheless, he manifests a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding, and gives his support to all enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit. His thorough understanding of his business in all its details makes it a successful one. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.366 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN HIGGINS GUNN, Police Justice, real-estate, insurance, loan and collection agent of Olney, is one of the very oldest of the surviving pioneer business men of this city, and one of its most highly respected citizens. A native of Ohio, he was born in Portsmouth, Sciota County, on the 3d of June, 1826, and was the sixth child of Havilla and Delia (Higgins) Gunn. His father was born in Waterbury, Conn., in 1786, and was a son of Samuel Gunn. The Gunn family of which our subject is a member is one of the old and representative families of New England. In his youth Havilla Gunn removed to Virginia and came thence to Illinois in 1806. He located in Wabash County, but soon afterward removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he was married in 1820 to Miss Delia Higgins, a native of the Genesee Valley, N. Y. He was engaged in the tinware business and continued to reside in Portsmouth until 1835, when he removed to Wabash County, Ill., and effected a permanent settlement at what is now the village of Lancaster, of which he was the founder. He opened a general store at that place and carried on an extensive business for many years.
Mr. Gunn's family consisted of seven sons and four daughters, of whom four sons and two daughters are living, namely: John H., of Olney; George, a merchant of Flora, Clay County, Ill.; Daniel, Postmaster of Sulphur Springs, Tex., where he has resided and held the position for the past twenty years; Mrs. Maria Stanley, of Bone Gap; Amanda, wife of John H. Roberts, of Olney; and William, who was a soldier in the late war and is now in the railroad employ in Emporia, Kan. Those deceased were Zinas, Stephen S., Samuel H., Mrs. Hannah Smith and Elizabeth.
In 1841 Havilla Gunn opened the first store in Olney and placed it under the care of his sons, Samuel H. and John H. In the spring of 1858 he removed to Olney. where he passed the declining years of his life. He and his sons established and carried on several different mercantile houses at the same time in various towns in southern Illinois, and also carried on an extensive business in buying and shipping farm produce. They also killed and packed pork and bought dressed hogs for packing. In early days all their produce was shipped south by flatboats, principally to New Orleans. On the completion of the railroads in this section of the State, shipments were diverted to the North and East.
Mr. Gunn, Sr., was a Whig in early life and later a Republican. He and his wife, with many of their children, were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife died in 1870 and he passed away in 1867, when nearly eighty-two years of age. He was a man of great enterprise, possessed superior business ability and enjoyed the reputation of an upright, honorable man, with a wide circle of acquaintances.
John H. Gunn came to Olney in 1841, when but fifteen years of age, and was associated with his older brother, Samuel H., in the management of their father's branch store in this place, which was carried on under the name of Hagen & Sons. In 1853 Samuel H. withdrew and the business was carried on by three brothers, Stephen S., Zinas and John H., but under the original firm name until 1866, when, the father having died, the name was changed to Gunn Bros., and so continued until 1876, when business reverses overtook the house and it went into bankruptcy. After the affairs of the firm of Gunn Bros, were settled up, John H. Gunn formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, John H. Roberts, as general merchants, under the firm name of Roberts & Gunn, which connection continued until 1886, when it was dissolved by mutual consent. On retiring from merchandising Mr. Gunn engaged in his present business.
In April, 1888, he was elected to the office of Police Magistrate to fill a vacancy, and having served until the close of that term he was reelected in April, 1891, for a term of four years, being the present incumbent.
On the 19th of November, 1847, Mr. Gunn was united in marriage in Danville, Ill., with Miss Leah B., a daughter of Thomas Rowland. She was born in Crab Orchard, Ky., and came to Illinois in her youth with her parents, making her home at first in Champaign County. Mr. and Mrs. Gunn lost six children in childhood and have two daughters yet living. Sarah Adeline is now the wife of W. C. White, who is engaged in merchandising in Shawneetown, Ill. Fannie is the wife of H. C. Victor, of Lincoln, Neb.
Our subject and his wife and daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has been actively identified with that church nearly all of his mature life and has been a member of its Board of Trustees for forty years, the greater part of which time he has been Chairman of the Board. In 1876 he was a delegate to the General Conference in Baltimore, Md. He has also been prominently identified with the Methodist Sunday-school, of which he has served as Superintendent for upwards of thirty years and has been influential in its successful management. Socially, Mr. Gunn is a prominent Mason and has taken the highest degree, the thirty -second. He is a charter member of several of the Masonic bodies of Olney, in which he has served officially. He belongs to Olney Lodge No. 140, A. F. & A. M.; Richland Chapter No. 38, R. A. M.; Olney Council No. 55, R. & M.S.; Gorin Commandery No. 14, K. T.; also to Salem Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; and to Olney Chapter No. 100, O. E. S. Mrs. Gunn is a member of the last-named lodge. Our subject is also connected with the Ohio Southern Consistory of Cincinnati, the highest body known in Masonry, and is a member of the Illinois Masonic Grand Chapter, of which he has been Grand Chaplain three years. Mr. Gunn has been long and prominently connected with the business, social and church interests of Olney and is recognized as a man of sterling worth, to whom the highest respect is due. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.367 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
EDWARD SPRING is the senior member of the firm of Spring Bros., of Olney, dealer in wool and seeds. He is a native of this city and the eldest son of Henry and Caroline A. (Mount) Spring. His birth occurred on the 30th of July, 1852. His boyhood days were quietly passed. He was educated in the public schools of his native city and was thus well fitted for a practical business life. At the age of twenty years he engaged in the general produce business, in company with James Hollister. They formed a partnership under the firm name of Hollister & Spring, and that connection was continued steadily until May, 1888, when our subject bought out his partner's interest in the business and formed the existing partnership with his younger brother, Harry B. On the 25th of December, 1873, Mr. Spring was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Kat Ravenscraft, a daughter of the Rev. W. E. Ravenscraft. Three children blessed the union of this worthy couple, of whom two are yet living, son and daughter, Lawrence E. and Ethel Madge. Helen, the third child, died at the age of two years. The parents are well-known people of Olney and hold an enviable position in social circles.
In his political views, Mr. Spring is a supporter of Republican principles, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests. Socially, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and the Modern Woodmen of America, holding membership with Marmion Lodge No. 52, K. P.; he also belongs to Olney Camp No. 383, M. W. A.
Harry B. Spring, the junior member of the firm of Spring Bros., and the youngest surviving son of Henry and Caroline A. Spring, was born in Olney, on the 18th of November, 1860. He also attended the public schools of his native city but later became a student in the Illinois State University, in Champaign, where his education was completed. He entered upon his present business in 1888, when he formed a partnership with his brother Edward, as above stated.
On the 17th of June, 1880, Harry Spring was united in marriage with Miss Victoria Eckenrode, who is also a native of Olney. Our subject exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and is a member of Marmion Lodge No. 52, K. P. The gentlemen comprising the firm of Spring Bros, are enterprising and energetic business men, and by their industrious and well-directed efforts have succeeded in building up a good trade. They are now enjoying a liberal and constantly increasing patronage, which is well deserved. Upright and honorable in all their dealings, they have the confidence and respect of the entire community. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.379. Submitted by Judy Edwards]
HON. LEWIS W. MILLER, one of the early settlers of Richland County of 1856, now a prominent farmer residing on section 3, was born in New Berlin, Pa., September 6, His parents were Christian and E. (Ritter) Miller. His father was a native of Germany, and with his widowed mother he crossed the broad Atlantic to the United States in the early part of the present century. In Pennsylvania he met and married Miss Ritter, who was born in the Keystone State, and was of German descent. When Lewis was a lad of eight years, the family removed to Richland County, Ohio.
That community was then but sparsely settled, and amidst the wild scenes of frontier life, our subject grew to manhood, spending the days of his youth upon his father's farm. In the common schools he acquired his education. On attaining his majority, he began life for himself as a farmer, and has engaged in agricultural pursuits almost continuously since. Desiring to seek a home in the West, he made his way to Illinois in 1856, locating in Richland County upon the farm which he still owns. Within its boundaries are now comprised one hundred and sixty-four acres of valuable land, which yields to him a golden tribute in return for his care and cultivation. He has also given forty acres to his son. In 1872 he built a pleasant and commodious frame residence, and has made other good improvements, all of which stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. His time and attention he devotes to general farming.
As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, Mr. Miller chose Miss Susan Stentz, daughter of Philip Stentz, of Ashland County, Ohio. Their union was celebrated December 1, 1842, and was blessed with a family of nine children: Simon P., who died in infancy; Mrs. Anna Parker, now deceased; Mrs. Mary Shields, who has also passed away; Hattie A., deceased; Susan A., wife of J. S. Howe; Benjamin; Frances, wife of W. A. Bodlett; Mrs. Jemima Smith; and William A. The family is one widely and favorably known in this community. The mother is a member of the Methodist Church.
Mr. Miller takes quite an active interest in political affairs, and is a supporter of the Democratic party, the principles of which he warmly advocates. He does all in his power to advance the interests of the party, and has frequently been called upon to serve in public offices. He has filled the position of Supervisor of the township, and other local offices, and in 1865 was elected to represent his district in the State Legislature. Mr. Miller has a wide acquaintance in Richland County, and is a prominent and influential citizen. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.390 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
LEMUEL ODELL, one of the substantial farmers of Noble Township, and a representative citizen of Richland County, resides on section 27. He claims Indiana as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred near Springville, Lawrence County, March 26, 1825. His father, Nehemiah Odell, was a native of North Carolina, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. He married Nancy Bridwell, who was born in Kentucky, and was of English lineage. They became the parents of thirteen children: Emily, Lemuel, Eveline, Abraham and Isaac (twins), Fannie, Jeremiah, Alexander, Caleb, Nancy J.; Cynthia, who died when six years of age; and two who died in infancy.
In noting the boyhood of our subject, we find him a country lad attending the subscription schools, which were held in a log schoolhouse, furnished with slab seats. His educational privileges were quite meagre, but his training at farm labor was abundant. He was early inured to work in the fields, and gave his father the benefit of his services until he was twenty years of age, when he began working by the month on a farm and in a sawmill. He was thus employed for three years, after which, in 1848, he went to Sullivan County, Ind. There he purchased a farm of forty acres of partially improved land, having acquired the capital through his industry and economy in the two previous years. In 1851, he returned to Lawrence County, where he made his home until 1853.
In 1846 Mr. Odell had married Miss Elizabeth Murray, daughter of James and Rachel Murray, and with his family he came to Richland County, Ill., in 1853. For a year he engaged in operating a farm in Noble Township, and then came to the farm where he now lives. It was situated on section 27. In 1850 he had entered from the Government one hundred and sixty acres, for which he paid $1.25 per acre. It was a raw tract, but he built a log cabin and stable and began the work of transforming the unbroken prairie into rich and fertile fields. The boundaries of his farm he has since extended until it now comprises two hundred and seventy acres, which yields to him a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon it. The log cabin has long since been replaced by a comfortable frame residence, and he now has one of the best improved farms in this locality.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Odell were born seven children, as follows: Cicero H., James N. (deceased) Robert, Cora, Fred, Alexander and Lucetta. The mother died December 3, 1867, and Mr. Odell afterward married Mrs. Matilda (Robinson) Long. They became the parents of three children: Lemuel H., and two who died in infancy. Mrs. Odell was called to her final rest August 4, 1872, and our subject married Mrs. Catherine E. Kite, widow of J. Hite. They have three daughters: Mary E., Emily and Eva.
Mr. Odell exercises his right of franchise in support of the Prohibition party, and has been honored with a number of local offices. He served as Commissioner of Highways three terms, was School Trustee and has been School Director for many years. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend, and he does all in his power for its advancement. He holds membership with the Baptist Church. We see in Mr. Odell a self-made man, who started out in life empty-handed, having no capital save a young man's bright hope of the future and a determination to succeed, and he has succeeded. His determination and energy have overcome the obstacles in his path, and his untiring labors have brought him a rich reward, so that he is now numbered among the well-to-do citizens of Noble Township. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.392 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
DENNIS GINDER, who carries on general farming on a tract of two hundred acres of land on section 5, German Township, and who is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Richland County of 1840, is one of the worthy citizens that Ohio has furnished this community. He was born in Columbiana County, May 7, 1836, and is a son of Ignatius Ginder, a native of Germany, who crossed the broad Atlantic to the New World in 1830. He first located in Philadelphia, and from there went to Columbiana County, Ohio, where he purchased a small farm, and carried on agricultural pursuits for nine years. In 1840, he came with his family to Richland County, and, purchasing some raw land in German Township, began its transformation into fields of rich fertility, which would yield him golden harvests as a reward for his labors. His first home was a log cabin, but he afterwards erected a pleasant frame residence and supplied it with all the necessaries and comforts of life. During his last seven years he made his home with the subject of this sketch, his death occurring at the advanced age of eighty-five years, on the 17th of September, 1883, the anniversary of his birth. His wife passed away April 16, 1879, in her seventy-seventh year, and both were buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Dennis Ginder is one of four brothers. The other members of the family are Peter, who grew to manhood and was married, but is now deceased; and Joseph and John, both of whom follow farming in Richland County. One brother and an only sister died in early childhood. Our subject was only four years of age when with his parents he came to Illinois. He played upon the old homestead and when old enough to handle the plow began work in the fields. Daring the winter season he attended the districts schools, but his educational advantages were quite limited. He remained at home until after he had arrived at man's estate, and in company with his brother carried on the home farm.
An important event in the life of Mr. Ginder occurred February 20, 1868, when was celebrated his union with Mary Ochs, daughter of John Ochs, an early settler of this community. The lady, however, is a native of Stark County, Ohio. Unto them have been born five children, Andy D., S. M., Julia, Hattie and Emma, all of whom are still with their parents. They also lost one son, John A., who died at the age of eleven years. The parents and children are all members of the Catholic Church, and in politics our subject has been a Democrat since attaining his majority, at which time he cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas.
After his marriage, Mr. Ginder located upon the farm where he has since resided. He first bought eighty acres of land, of which twenty-five acres had been cleared. A log cabin was the only improvement upon the place, and the family made it their home for some time. As his financial resources increased, an additional eighty acres were added to the first tract, and since then the boundaries of the farm have been extended to include another forty acres. The care and labor which Mr. Ginder has bestowed upon his land, the excellent buildings which he has erected, the orchard he has set out, and all of its other equipments, make it one of the finest farms of German Township. It is located within ten miles of Olney, and is a valuable and desirable place. Its neat appearance and its well-kept fields attest his thrift and enterprise. Everything there seen gives evidence of his labor. Prosperity has come to him, but it is well deserved, being the just reward of a well-spent and upright life. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.392 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN W. FINDLEY, an early settler of Richland County, residing on a farm on section 26, Decker Township, well deserves representation in the history of his adopted county, which recognizes in him a valued citizen. On the 12th of August. 1843, in Jackson County, Ind., his birth occurred. He is a son of Hugh Findley, who was born in Jennings County, Ind., June 14, 1818, but was reared in Jackson County, where he followed farming throughout his entire life. He there married Phoebe Dunn, a native of the same State. In 1855, he removed with his family to Missouri, and in 1858 became a resident of Decker Township, Richland County, Ill. In the midst of the forest he hewed out a farm and to its cultivation devoted his energies for some years. He is now living a retired life with his son in Bonpas Township. He and his wife were both members of the Christian Church. In early life he was a Whig, but since the dissolution of that party has supported the Democracy. The family of this worthy couple numbered three sons: John W., of this sketch; Michael, of Bonpas Township; and Hugh, also a farmer of that township.
Our subject spent the first twelve years of his life on the old home farm in Indiana, and then accompanied his parents to Missouri. When a lad of fifteen he came to Illinois, and has since been a resident of Richland County. He began to earn his own livelihood by working for the neighboring farmers, but in 1862 he abandoned that employment and on the 7th of July offered his services to the Government. He enlisted at Noble, in Company H, Ninety-eighth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. Thomas Johnson and Col. John J. Funkhouser. The regiment assembled at Centralia, went to Louisville, Ky., and on the 16th of March, 1863, the troops were mounted. When en route for Louisville, the train was wrecked at Bridgeport, Ill., and five were killed and seventy-five wounded. Mr. Findley did scouting and guard duty in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, and participated in the battles of Chickamauga, Atlanta, Rome, Selma, Resaca, Dalton and Tullahoma. He went with Sherman to Jonesboro, then back to Nashville to head off Hood, and to Louisville, after which the troops again went to Nashville, then on to Gravelly Springs, Ala., and Eastport, Miss., and by way of Monticello and Ebenezer Church to Selma, which place they succeeded in capturing. After the battle of Columbus, in which they participated, they went to Macon, Ga. Later they were mustered out at Edgefield, Tenn., and returning to the North our subject was discharged July 7, 1865, having been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. For three years he faithfully served his country, ably defending the Stars and Stripes, which now float so proudly over the united Nation.
When the war was over, Mr. Findley embarked in farming, at first operating rented land. By his industry, economy and good management, however, he was enabled to acquire some capital, which he invested in land. It was in 1881 that he purchased eighty acres, the farm on which he now resides. It is under a high state of cultivation, and the well tilled fields and many excellent improvements indicate the owner to be a man of practical and progressive ideas.
On the 24th of October, 1867, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Findley and Miss Maria Gilkison, a native of Wabash County, Ill. Her father, Jonathan Gilkison, was born in Kentucky, and was a soldier in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. He aided in the survey of Richland County, and was one of its most prominent settlers in an early day. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Delilah Tanquary, was a native of Virginia. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Findley has been born a daughter, Fannie, who was educated at Olney and is now the wife of I. M. Henry, a leading and intelligent young farmer of Decker Township, by whom she has one child, Raymond Findley. Our subject and his wife have also reared William L. Carter, who came to them when nine years of age, and is now a young man of seventeen.
Mr. Findley is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, belonging to the post in Olney. His wife is a member of the Christian Church. He served as Collector one term, but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests. He cast his first Presidential vote for Seymour in 1868, and was a Democrat until 1884, since which time he has voted the Prohibition ticket. The cause of temperance finds in him a warm friend, as do all interests calculated to prove of public benefit. He is a public-spirited man and gives his aid to everything tending to promote general welfare. In his business career he has met with prosperity, and, although he began life empty-handed, he has worked his way upward to a position of affluence. His success is well merited, for he has labored earnestly and his career has been a straightforward and honorable one. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.398 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
WILLIAM SNIDER, a farmer residing on section 19, Bonpas Township, Richland County, was born in Woerth, on the Rhine, Germany, October 10, 1831, and is a son of George M. and Elizabeth (Drum) Snider. He received his education in the common schools, and at the age of twelve j r ears began to learn the trade of a linen weaver, which he followed until eighteen years of age. He then took part in the rebellion of southern Germany, and was obliged to flee for his life. Escaping through Paris to Havre, he embarked for America.
On reaching this country, Mr. Snider located in LaFayette, Ohio, where he worked at pump-making until 1860. In that year he came to Richland County and bought a part of his present farm, then wild land. He built a house and cleared about ten acres, which he also plowed and planted. The Civil War having then broken out, he enlisted September 27, 1862, in Company H, Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, and received his discharge in September, 1865. He first did skirmishing and scouting duty through East Tennessee, and was in engagements at Knoxville, Appington, Mosa Creek Station and Jonesboro, also at Dalton, Ga. During the Stoneman raid around Atlanta, he was captured, June 27, 1864, and remained a prisoner until the following December, being incarcerated part of the time at Andersonville, and the remainder at Florence, S. C. While there he and a companion shared their camp-fire with another sick prisoner, a stranger to them. During the night the stranger died. On his person they found three photographs, which Mr. Snider still has in his possession, having never found the owner of them. He and his companion left for Charleston, S. C., next morning, .leaving the body of their comrade where it lay. After being nearly starved to death, Mr. Snider was released on a special parole and returned home. He was soon afterward exchanged and rejoined his regiment and received his discharge.
When the war was over, Mr. Snyder returned to his farm and has since devoted his time and attention to agricultural pursuits. He now owns eighty-six acres of good land all under cultivation. The farm is well equipped, with good buildings, the latest improved machinery and all other modern accessories. He has also bought and sold several tracts of land in the neighborhood, making some advantageous speculations. For many years he was also engaged in breeding horses, but 011 account of failing health he has largely laid aside business interests.
In November, 1856, Mr. Snider married Margaret Augsberger, of Chillicothe, Ohio, and unto them were born five children: Mary, wife of J. Brown; Caroline, wife of O. Holbach; Mrs. Louisa Myer; Anna, wife of J. Shonerd; and William H., now of Los Angeles, Cal. The mother of this family died in 1867, and in December of the same year Mr. Snider married Mrs. Elizabeth (Key) Dodds. Her first husband, Samuel C. Dodds, was killed at the battle of Mission Ridge during the late war. By this marriage were born two children: Fannie, wife of H. Whittaker; and Charles F., now of Greensboro, N. G. Mrs. Elizabeth Snider died, and in June, 1878, Mrs. Eliza Smith became the wife of our 'subject. She is a daughter of Thomas Armstrong, of Wabash County, Ill., and first married Oliver S. Hill, by whom she had two children, Pinkney S. and Thomas C. After the death of Mr. Hill, which occurred September 27, 1868, she married Abner T. Smith, who died in January, 1878, leaving three children, William H., Mary E. and Lewis E. Mr. and Mrs. Snider have three children: James Ira, Myra O. and Cassie M.
The parents are both members of the Christian Church, and socially Mr. Snider is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic and the Knights of Pythias. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and has supported each Presidential candidate of that party since casting his first vote for Gen. U. S. Grant. He has never been an aspirant for political honors, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests. He never attended school in America, but after coming to this country taught himself to read and write the English language, and is now a well-informed man. In 1890 he made a trip to Germany, spending several months in the Fatherland. While there he wrote several letters to the Olney Republican, describing the condition of affairs in Germany, and these letters show thoughtful consideration of the subject and careful preparation on the part of the writer. Mr. Snider has been a valued citizen of the community and one well worthy of representation in the history of his adopted county. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.401 - Submitted by Judy Edwards)
JASPER I. MOUTRAY, attorney and counselor at law, of Olney, has been a member of the Bar of Richland County since August, 1883. A native of Illinois, our subject was born in Wayne County, in 1857. He is a son of James Moutray, who was born in Indiana and was of Irish descent. The paternal grandfather of Jasper was a native of the Emerald Isle. The patronymic was Moultrie and some branches of the family still spell the name in that way. The eminent Moultrie family of South Carolina, which was a prominent one in the struggle for the independence of the Colonies, sprang from the same Irish ancestry. Gen. Moultrie, of Revolutionary fame and for whom Ft. Moultrie was called, was a brother of the great-grandfather of our subject. The great-grandfather, leaving the Emerald Isle, crossed the broad Atlantic to America and settled in Virginia when his son Allen, the grandfather of Jasper, was but a child of three years. From Virginia the family removed to Posey County, Ind., and from there to Wayne County, Ill., where both the grandfather and great-grandfather passed the last years of their lives. Mrs. Moutray, widow of Allen and grandmother of Jasper, was born in England in 1800, and is still living in Edwards County, Ill.
James Moutray was a lad of about thirteen when the family removed to Illinois. There he attained to man's estate and married Amanda E. Heraldson, who was also born in Indiana. Her father, William Heraldson, was a native of Pennsylvania and removed to Indiana in early life. He was a well-educated man and followed the occupation of teaching for many years. He located in Wayne County, Ill., at quite an early day. The parents of our subject are now residents of Litchfield, Ill. The father is a traveling salesman, being employed by the Litchfield Agricultural Manufacturing Company , of that place. The subject of this sketch is the eldest of four brothers. William W., the second in order of birth, is a farmer residing in Litchfield. Mark O. is now engaged in the study of law with his brother al Olney, Ill.; and Van O. is a lawyer by profession, residing in Sumner, Ill. He is also connected with the publication of the Sumner Democrat.
Jasper I. Moutray, whose name heads this record, grew to manhood in his native county and obtained his early education in the schools of his native county. This was supplemented by a course of study in the Fairfield graded schools. In January, 1881, he entered upon the study of law in Noble and completed his legal studies with Messrs. Hanna & Adams in Fairfield. He was admitted to the Bar in August, 1883, and on the 3d of December following located in Olney, where he has since engaged in successful practice.
The lady who now bears the name of Mrs. Moutray was in her maidenhood Miss Priscilla L. Fritchie. By the union of our subject and his wife has been born a daughter, Madeline Louise. Mr. Moutray is a member of the Blue Lodge and Chapter of the Masonic order. His first official position was that of United States Commissioner of the Southern District of Illinois, to which he was appointed by Judge Treat in 1885. At the November election of 1888 he was elected State's Attorney on the Democratic ticket, receiving a majority in every town in the county. He acceptably served in that capacity for four years. He was appointed Master in Chancery in 1891 and occupies that position at this writing, and was Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee in 1889 and 1890. In his early professional practice Mr. Moutray was associated with R. N. McCauley, which partnership was dissolved when he was elected State's Attorney. Although having practiced ten years, our subject has won excellent success, secured a liberal patronage and gained a high reputation among his professional brethren. He possesses fine legal attainments, is a successful lawyer and an enterprising and progressive citizen. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.402 - submitted by Judy Edwards]
GEORGE A. KELLER, of Olney, is the efficient Clerk of the Circuit Court of Richland County, to which position he was elected at the November election of 1892, succeeding Thomas Tippit, who had served thirteen consecutive years. Mr. Keller is a native of this State. He was born on the 9th of September, 1865, near Lancaster, Wabash County, where his grandfather had located many years ago, becoming one of the pioneers of that community. His parents were Lewis and Hester (Slanker) Keller, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Bridgeport, Ill. Besides our subject, they had a daughter, Emma, who is now the wife of J. P. Robards, a plasterer and contractor of Olney. Lewis Keller died when our subject was but a few months old. Subsequently Mrs. Keller became the wife of John Slichenmyer, and soon afterward the family removed to Olney Township, settling on a farm which is still in the possession of Mr. Keller's mother and her family.
Mr. Keller spent his boyhood days upon a farm, receiving a limited education in the public schools of Olney. At the age of fifteen years he left home and became self-sustaining, and from that time on got no pecuniary aid from any source, except what he acquired by his own labor. He worked as a farm hand in the interior part of the State for about three years, and then went to Nebraska and spent about five years near Beatrice, working and attending school. By industry and rigid economy he saved enough from his earnings to enable him to take a two -years course at Doane College, in Crete, Neb., and while there he established quite a reputation for fine penmanship, an accomplishment that serves him to good purpose in his present situation. After leaving college he turned his attention to business interests and was for two years in the railroad service in Denver, Colo. On leaving that city he went to Salt Lake City, where he was for a time employed in a dry-goods house.
In 1890 Mr. Keller returned to Richland County to take charge of and settle up his mother's estate. In December, 1891. He entered the law office of R. B. Witcher, of Olney, and began the study of law, but before he completed it was induced to accept the nomination for Circuit Clerk. His well-known fitness for the position, and his popularity as a citizen, prevailed against his strong opponent and he was elected by a handsome majority. It is but justice to say that Mr. Keller will eventually resume the study of law, his intention being to make the legal profession his life work.
Mr. Keller is a young man of good habits and excellent ability, possessing much natural talent, and is acceptably filling the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court. Socially, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in his political views is a supporter of Democratic principles. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.405 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
WILLIAM H. McMURTRY is a farmer of Noble Township, Richland County, residing on section 31. He owns one hundred and sixty-four acres of rich land, and his farm is considered one of the best in the township. It is improved with a good residence and other buildings, has a fine orchard of forty acres and the well tilled fields and neat appearance of the place indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner.
A native of Indiana, our subject was born in Warwick County, December 22, 1833. His father, James Union McMurtry, was the first boy born in Union County, Ky., and thus obtained his name. The date of his birth was 1815. The grandfather, James McMurtry, was a Kentucky farmer and became a pioneer of Richland County, Ill., where his last days were passed. The father of our subject went with his parents to Indiana, and married Elizabeth C. Angel, who was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, and with her parents also went to the Hoosier State. Four children were born in Indiana, and in 1849 Mr. McMurtry came with his family by team to Richland County, locating on the farm winch is now the home of his son William. He secured five hundred and twenty acres of land, purchasing most of it from the Government. A log cabin was built and in true pioneer style they began life. In 1867, Mr. McMurtry removed to Noble, where his death occurred October 8, 1892, at the age of seventy-six years. His wife passed away on the 13th of February previous and they were laid side by side in Noble Cemetery. They were members of the Baptist Church. Mr. McMurtry was a Whig in politics until the organization of the Republican party, with which he then became identified. He was a prominent early settler and aided greatly in the upbuilding and development of his adopted county. Soon after his arrival he built a flatboat and loaded it with corn on the Big Muddy River, and ran it down the Mississippi River to market, and that was the only boat ever run out of the Muddy River.
William H. McMurtry is the eldest of the family; Mary died in 1867; Lewis is a merchant of Noble; John follows farming in Noble Township; Alfred died in childhood; Lucy is living in Texas; and Ida is the wife of William Shaffer, of Texas.
Our subject was only six years old when he came to Illinois. In his youth he attended the common schools, where he acquired a fair education. On the 14th of May, 1864, before he had attained his majority, he enlisted at Olney, in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, under Capt. James St. Clair and Col. Fred Johns. The company assembled and drilled at Centralia, and then went to Columbus, Ky., where the troops did garrison duty. Later they were ordered to Chicago, where our subject was taken sick. He was then taken home and received his discharge November 8, 1864.
A marriage ceremony performed in Noble in 1873 united the destinies of Mr. McMurtry and Miss Louisa, daughter of Hiram and Louisa (Montgomery) Green, who came to this county in 1865, from Gibson County, Ind., where Mrs. McMurtry was born. Her father was born in Fleming County, Ky., April 6, 1809, and removed to Indiana in 1825. Unto our subject and his wife were born two daughters: Ruby, wife of John Nichols, a grain-buyer of Noble; and Elizabeth, who is engaged in teaching in the public schools of Richland County.
In his social relations, Mr. McMurtry is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Grand Army Post of Noble. He has lived upon his present farm since 1873, and has made his home in the county since six years of age. He has therefore been an eye-witness of much of its growth and progress, and is numbered among its early settlers. He is well known and is held in high regard by all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.410 - Submitted by Judy Edwards)
MICHAEL EYER, who is engaged in general farming on section 19, German Township, is one of the pioneer settlers of Richland County. His residence, covering a period of fifty-four years, dates from 1 839. He has therefore witnessed the growth and development of the county since the days of its early infancy. Helms seen it a wild and unbroken tract of land, with only here and there a settlement, and has watched its transformation to one of the leading counties in southern Illinois, with churches, schools and homes thickly dotting the landscape, with here and there a village or thriving town, and all the innovations and improvements known to the civilized world. It is certainly an honor to have seen this development, but to have aided in the work of progress and upbuilding, as Mr. Eyer has done, is something of which one might well be proud.
Our subject was born in Bavaria, Germany, February 16. 1827. Ten years later, his father, Jacob Eyer, emigrated with his family from the Old Country to the United States, and became a resident of Stark County, Ohio, where he bought a farm. Two years later he sold, and again traveling Westward, cast his lot with the early settlers of Richland County. He entered from the Government three forty -acre tracts of land, and in a primitive log cabin began life in true pioneer style. With the assistance of his sons, he cleared the land, plowed and planted it, and in course of time gathered abundant harvests as the reward of his labors. He built a good two-story log house and in that home spent his last days, passing away in 1850, at the age of fifty years. His wife long survived him, and died in 1888, at the age of ninety. They were highly respected people and in their deaths the community lost two of its best citizens.
Our subject spent the first ten years of his life in the Fatherland and then made the voyage across the briny deep. When a lad of thirteen, he came to Illinois and was reared upon the old home farm, being early inured to the arduous labors of developing wild land. He gave his parents the benefit of his services until after he had attained his majority. He first left this locality in 1852, with three others starting for California. They left home in April and arrived at their destination the following August. Mr. Eyer at once made his way to the gold mines. He spent eight years on the Pacific Slope and on the expiration of that period returned home, in November, 1860. Soon after he purchased the old homestead and has since devoted his time and attention to farming. He has extended the boundaries of his land until he now owns one hundred and forty acres, comprising a valuable and highly improved farm.
On the 1st of January, 1863, in Richland County, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Ever and Miss Arena, daughter of Joshua Cotterell, of Kentucky. Her entire life has been passed in this community. Two children grace this union, namely: George Washington, and Franklin Hosea. Both are under the parental roof and aid in the labors of the farm. They also lost three children, Margaret, Jacob and Mary, all dying in early childhood.
Mr. Eyer was called upon to serve as Commissioner of Highways for six years, his faithful and prompt discharge of duty leading to his frequent re-election. He has been a member of the School Board for the long period of twenty years and has done much toward advancing the standard of the schools, which find in him a warm friend. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, and himself and wife are members of the Lutheran Church. He has been the architect of his own fortune and has builded wisely and well, and while gaining a competency he has also won the respect and esteem of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. . ." [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.413 - Submitted by Judy Edwards
CHARLES E. DAILEY, of Olney, although one of the younger members of the Bar of Richland County, has already become well known in the profession. He was admitted to the Bar in Mt. Vernon in 1889, and although the years of his practice are few, he has already won an enviable reputation. He is now associated in the prosecution of his profession with H. G. Morris, the present State's Attorney of Richland County, the firm being known as Dailey & Morris.
The subject of this sketch is a native of Richland County and was born in the township of Olney on the 9th of October, 1865. He belongs to an early and well-known family of this locality. His father, James M. Dailey, was formerly a resident of the State of Indiana. On his removal to Illinois he located upon a farm in the township of Olney. which has since been his home. He is a well-known citizen and highly respected by a large circle of friends and acquaintance. He is numbered among the early settlers of the county, and has been a witness of much of the growth and development of this locality.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who spent the greater part of his boyhood days on the homestead farm and was educated in the public schools of Olney. He did not care to follow the occupation to which he had been reared, but desired to enter the legal profession, and in consequence began the study of law in 1886, under the direction of Thomas R. Cobb, a prominent lawyer of Vincennes, Ind., now deceased. He continued with Mr. Cobb until his admission to the Bar, when he located in Olney and embarked in the practice of his profession, which he continued alone until May, 1891, when the present partnership with H. G. Morris was formed.
Mr. Dailey is the younger of two sons born of the second marriage of his father. His brother, Dr. James H. Dailey, is a practicing physician of Birds, Lawrence County, Ill. Our subject is a Democrat in his political affiliations. He is a young man of enterprise and energy, possessed of good business ability, and will no doubt steadily work his way upward. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.415 - Submitted by Judy Edwards)
GODFREY RUNYON (deceased) was born in Rockingham County, Va., November 22, 1833, and when quite young was taken by his parents to Ohio, the family becoming pioneers of the locality in which they settled. Godfrey spent the days of his boyhood upon the home farm in the Buckeye State, and during the winter season attended the common schools. He also studied at nights to further perfect his education. With the family he came to Illinois in March, 1853, locating in Noble Township, Richland County, when the section all around was an unimproved tract of prairie land. On attaining to man's estate he started out in life for himself, securing sixty acres of land, a part of that which his father had entered from the Government.
At the age of twenty-two Mr. Runyon married Miss Emily Morrison, who was born in England, February 11, 1838. Her parents, Lewis and Lydia (Tullock) Morrison, were both natives of the same country, and there remained until 1840, when they bade adieu to their old home and crossed the Atlantic to the New World. They made a location in St. Louis, where the girlhood days of Mrs. Runyon were passed. Her education was acquired in the public schools of that city. Her father was a well-educated man, and served as a book-keeper and telegraph operator. In 18 He came to Richland County, Ill., and from the Government purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land in Decker Township. It was all wild and undeveloped, not a furrow having been turned or an improvement made, but he located thereon and began transforming it into a good farm. Subsequently he sold out and removed to Olney, where he spent seven years. Before his death he returned to England, but again came to America, and died at the home of his daughter in El Paso, Ill., about twenty-five years ago. His wife had passed away several years previous.
In the Morrison family were five children, as follows: Mrs. Runyon; Mrs. Eliza Barney, of Kearney, Neb.; Mary, of Woodford County, Ill.; Mrs. Lydia Barney, of Kearney, Neb.; and William H., a telegraph operator and grain buyer in La Fayette, Ind. The father of this family was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a highly respected citizen. In politics he was a supporter of the Republican party.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Runyon were born the following children: Lewis, whose sketch is given below; Francis, who is at home; Amy, wife of John Somer, who is living on a farm near Wynoose; Minnie, who died at the age of sixteen years; and Bessie, who completes the family.
Mr. and Mrs. Runyon began their domestic life upon a farm, to the development of which he devoted his energies throughout life. It was a timbered tract, but he cleared and improved it, and the rich and fertile fields gave evidence of his thrift and enterprise. In politics he was a Democrat. He was a faithful member of the Christian Church, to which his wife also belongs, and he took an active part in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. He aided in establishing the first school in this district and his wife was among the first teachers. This worthy couple were prominent in everything pertaining to the best interests of the county, and ranked among its leading and influential citizens. Mr. Runyon passed away October 6, 1886, and his death was mourned by many friends. His wife, a most estimable lady, is still living on the old homestead.
Lewis Runyon, the eldest son, was born on the old home farm, March 5, 1858, and was educated in the public schools. In the early days he had to go two miles to school across the prairie, where the grass grew higher than his head. He was early inured to the arduous labors of the farm, and remained at home until twenty-six years of age.
On the 13th of February, 1884, Mr. Runyon married Jodie Junkins in Decker Township. She was born in Ross County, Ohio, and during her girlhood came to this county with her parents, David and Mary Ann Junkins, who are now living in Dakota. They have two children: Morrison, born December 6, 1885; and Ernest, born August 28, 1887. They also lost one child, Clarence, who died at the age of two and a-half months.
Since his marriage Mr. Runyon has lived upon his present farm on section 22, Noble Township, where he owns forty acres of land. He also operates an additional tract of eighty acres. In politics he is a Democrat, and is now serving as School Director. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Bethel. Mr. Runyon is recognized as one of the enterprising and progressive young farmers of the community, as well as a worthy representative of one of the leading families, and it is with pleasure that we present this record of his life to our readers. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.418 - Submitted by Judy Edwards)
WILLIAM THOMPSON SHELBY, a resident of Olney, is one of the well-known pioneers of Richland County, his residence here covering a period of forty-eight years, for the date of his arrival is April, 1845. He was born in Edwards County, Ill., December 17, 1820, and is a son of Jonathan and Susan (Thompson) Shelby, natives of North Carolina. The great-grandfather of our subject emigrated from Wales to America long before the Revolutionary War. Like many others, he left his native land that he might secure religious freedom in the New World. The mother of William T. Shelby was a daughter of William Thompson, and was of English descent.
The parents of our subject emigrated from their native North Carolina to Tennessee, locating near Nashville, where they resided about three years. In 1817, they carne to Illinois, settling in Edwards County. The father passed away July 5, 1837, at the age of forty-nine years, and his wife's death occurred a few years previous. They left a family of five sons and five daughters, of whom William is sixth in order of birth. He and two sisters alone survive. Orpha, the older of the two sisters, is the wife of D. Nicks, of Missouri; and Celia is the wife of Brants Madden, a resident of Richland County, Wis.
Mr. Shelby of this sketch remained at home until seventeen years of age, or until the death of his father, when he entered on an apprenticeship to the trade of wagon-making at Albion, Edwards County. From 1845 to 1858, he carried on the business of wagon-making and was the .first to engage in that line in Olney. As already stated, he came to this place in 1845. In the month of May, following, he returned to Albion, and was united in marriage with Miss Eunice Calkin, daughter of Joel Calkin. Her mother died at the birth of her daughter. Mrs. Shelby was born in White County, Ill., in 1825, and died in 1882, leaving four daughters. In the family were also three children who died previous to the death of the mother. Of these, George Oliver, their only son, died at the age of seventeen years. The three daughters living are: Minnie, wife of Harry May, of Olney; Martha, wife of George G. Morey, of Chicago; and Eunice, at home. Ella, the second daughter, grew to womanhood, married O. C. Palmeter, and died in 1882.
Mr. Shelby has spent many years in official life. His first official position of importance was that of County Treasurer of Richland County, to which he was appointed in 1851, and subsequently three times elected. During this time, he was ex-officio County Assessor, and assessed the county six times. During the administration of President Buchanan, he was Postmaster of Olney for about a year and a-half, succeeding by appointment to the office on the sudden death of Josiah F. Reed, for whom he was bondsman, and by virtue of which fact he obtained the position. He subsequently received the appointment from President Buchanan, but resigned after eighteen months' service He was then elected Sheriff and served two years. In the fall of 1861, he was elected County Clerk for a term of four years and after an interval of four years, during which time he was engaged in merchandising, he was elected and re-elected, until he had served in that capacity for seventeen years, a longer period than any Richland County office has ever been held by any other individual. In 1882. He voluntarily retired from office and has since that time been Justice of the Peace.
Mr. Shelby and his wife journeyed together through life for thirty-seven years. Since the death of his first wife, he has married Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Smith, who was born in Posey County, Ind., and is a daughter of Jacob Whittaker, an early settler of that county.
In his political views, Mr. Shelby has always been a Democrat but never a strong partisan. He always gives his support to those interests calculated to benefit the community, and Olney finds in him a valued citizen. His long official career has always been characterized by the strictest integrity and he has ever possessed the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens. Born in Illinois, his early life was passed on the frontier, for such was the State during his youth. He has lived to see her take her place in the front rank in the sisterhood of States in wealth and importance. (Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.422 - Submitted by Judy Edwards)
WILLIAM D. SPENCER
After a residence in several states and varying fortunes in a number of different pursuits, William D. Spencer, of Mesa county, one of the progressive and successful ranchmen and fruit-growers of the Western slope, finds himself comfortably settled on a fine ranch of ninety-three acres four miles northeast of Fruita, and pleasantly occupied in a general ranching business and the cultivation of fruit, bees and other products incident to an agricultural life. He was born on December 7, 1833, in Richland county, Illinois, and is the son of William and Miriam (Dee) Spencer, the former a native of Kentucky and reared in Indiana, and the latter a native of Vermont from where she moved to Ohio with her parents when she was twelve years old. The father was a farmer and one of the pioneers of Richland county, Illinois. In the spring of 1835 he moved to Grant county, Wisconsin, and there also he was a pioneer. Twelve years later he moved to Vernon county in the same state, then known as "Bad Acts," a name given to it by the Indians. There the father died at the age of eighty-three. His life had been a useful one wherever he lived, and in all places where he was known he was highly respected. In his young manhood he was a soldier in the war of 1812, and throughout his life he took an active and earnest interest in the affairs of the locality of his home. The mother died at the home of her son William at Saguache in this state in 1884, aged seventy-nine. They were the parents of five daughters and three sons, all of whom grew to maturity, William was the third in the order of birth and is the oldest of the four now living. He was but little more than a year old when his parents moved to Wisconsin, and reached manhood in that state. The country in which the family lived was new and undeveloped, and while the demands for the labor of every able hand were exacting and unceasing, the opportunities for schooling were correspondingly limited and the school methods and appliances were primitive. He remained at home until he was twenty-two, then went to Minnesota and took up a tract of land which he afterward sold. In June, 1857, he started with ox teams overland for Kansas, reaching Beatrice, Nebraska, in July, just after the town was started by colonists. He concluded to remain there and in the fall took up an abandoned claim of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the townsite. Of this he fenced forty acres and broke and cultivated twenty. The Pike's Peak gold excitement in the spring of 1860 induced him to abandon his claim at Beatrice and come to Colorado. The Nebraska town has since grown over the greater part of his land, and so he lost an opportunity for fortune there. On his arrival in the vicinity of Pike's Peak he spent two years mining and prospecting without success. During the next six years he was employed on a ranch near Denver. In 1868 he moved to Saguache county, and there he again took up land which he improved with a good dwelling and other buildings, living there until 1890. He then sold out in that section and took up his residence in Mesa county on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres which he bought. Of this he has since sold forty-seven acres, and has greatly improved and developed the rest. He does a general ranching business with good results, and makes specialties of fruit and bees. Seven acres of his land are in choice fruit trees which are yielding good returns for his labor. And the portions of the ranch under cultivation are responding liberally to his faith and persuasive husbandry. It was all new and undeveloped land when he bought it, and whatever it now shows in the way of development and cultivation is the result of his well-applied industry and skill. On May 3, 1870, he was married to Miss Mary A. Ashley, a native of Kentucky. They had one child, their daughter Grace. Mrs. Spencer died on December 29, 1901. In politics Mr. Spencer is a pronounced Prohibitionist. He is a member of the Baptist church in which he was ordained deacon more than twenty years ago.
In concluding this brief mention, it may be stated that from boyhood Mr. Spencer has enjoyed a reputation as a hunter, being an unusually good rifle shot. At the age of fourteen years he killed his first deer at the first shot. The following year his father presented him with a gun and from that time on while he remained at home he saw to it that the table was well supplied with meat. Since that time he has invariably carried off the honors in every hunting party with which he has been connected. During the winter of his seventeenth year he accompanied a party of men on a hunting trip to the west branch of the Kickapoo river, in Vernon county, Wisconsin. The only boy in the party, he was also the hero of the crowd. During its first seven days they killed fourteen black bear, six of which were trapped by one man in a cave in the high bluffs along the stream. Of the remaining animals the subject killed three, being so close that their fur was powder-burnt. He also killed more deer and other game than any other man in the party. Several times well-known hunters have come to the San Luis valley with the avowed intent of "doing him up" on the hunt, but he has always maintained his well-won reputation as a crack-shot and successful hunter. (Source: "Progressive Men of Western Colorado", Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)