Herschel Volany Teel

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Illustrated 1908,  Volume II, Schuyler County, by Newton Bateman, LL.D. and Paul Selby, A.M.,  Edited by Howard F. Dyson, page 941-942, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Teel, Herschel Volany - The distinction of being the youngest native son to wear the judicial ermine in Schuyler County is emphasized by the efficient and painstaking service of Herschel Volany Teel, during his eight years as County Judge of Schuyler County.  Judge Teel, who represents one of the earliest and most substantial pioneer families of Illinois, was born in Rushville Township, Schuyler County, March 3, 1868, the second son of James A.  and Elizabeth Smith Teel.  Descended through both ancestral lines from German-Irish stock, he inherited the solidity, frugality, perseverance and thrift of the former, combined with the frank, ardent, pertinacious and courageous elements of the latter, which characteristics have made that sturdy strain, whenever planted, foremost in hardy undertaking and adventurous enterprise.  His forefathers were not cradled in luxury; they were essentially the rugged, vigorous pioneers of civilization, who assisted in the making of the early history of our county; Captain John Teel of revolutionary fame, being the founder of this branch of the family.  His son, John Teel, belonged to the regular army and served in the War of 1812.  These two patriots resided in New Jersey; Henry P. Teel, son of John Teel and grandfather of Herschel Teel, resided in Pennsylvania, but in 1833 he followed the tide of Empire and moved his family west, finally locating in Schuyler county, then very sparsely settled.
  The history of the maternal ancestors of the subject of this sketch is not so easily traced; it is only know that they settled here at an earlier date than the Teels, and it was upon the land cleared practically by the unaided efforts of his grandfather.  Jonathan Smith, that Herschel Teel first saw the light of this mundane sphere.  Here his youth was passed in the hard labors of the farm.  Its comparative isolation inevitably created within him the spirit of the boundless prairie and fostered that freedom which knows not the restraint of aggregated humanity in cities.  Heredity endowed him with a robust physical constitution and vigorous mind, while his early environment developed his innate powers of industry, perseverance and self-reliance to a very marked degree.
  Eager for knowledge, he assiduously utilized every opportunity offered by the rural schools; in 1890 he graduated from the Rushville Normal and Business College; in 1894 from Eureka College and in 1895 he received his diploma for the Law Department of Northwestern University, was admitted to the bar and began the practice of his profession in Rushville, where he still resides.  In 1898 he was elected County Judge on the Democratic ticket and again in 1902.  During his tenure of office, several appeals were taken from his decision to the higher courts, and it speaks well for his ability as a jurist that in every case his decision was sustained by the superior court.  As a lawyer he is a close student, a sagacious and conscientious counselor, and merits and receives the high regard of the members of his profession and of his clientele.
  Judge Teel evidences a marked predilection for the social and general, as well as professional, opportunities of life, and is a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of America, Knights of Pythias and Mutual Protective League.  He is also one of the directors of the Bank of Rushville.  To him have filtered the ambition and purpose which animated the pilgrimage of his pioneer ancestors and which, exercised in widely differing grooves of human achievement, already are maintaining their mission of securing the greatest justice and the greatest liberty to the society of mankind.
  The basic principle of Herschel Teel's character is integrity, not  only of thought but of word and deed as well.  He is known for his sturdy independence of character, his devotion to his friends and his recognition of the equality of all men who are honest and upright, without regard to their social position; no man so low but feels he is a brother, and none so high but feels he is a peer.

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