HIRAM C. ULMER
Of Coleta, Whiteside Co IL
Hiram C. Ulmer, hardware merchant at Coleta, is also a dealer in agricultural implements and harness. He was born November 24, 1839, in Lancaster Co. PA where his father Abraham Ulmer was a farmer. The latter was descended from German ancestors and he married a lady named McCoy. She was born in Lancaster County of Irish parents. They are both living in Genesee Twp. and are aged respectively 82 and 81 years. Mr. Ulmer is the oldest with one exception of four sons and four daughters. he has a sister and a brother still living. Abraham lives in Columbia OH, Elizabeth resides in Whiteside County. When he was 18 the parents of Mr. Ulmer removed to Columbia Co., Ohio. He was married Feb. 9, 1862, in Lawrence Co., PA to Sarepta A., daughter of James and Martha (Gibson) Harrah. Her father was a native of PA, the former being of English descent and the latter of Scotch extraction. The father died in Coleta in May 1878; the decease of the mother took place in Ohio in March 1869. Mrs. Ulmer was born June 25, 1842 in Columbia Co. OH where she was reared and married. To her and her husband, six children have been born in the following order; William L., Oct. 27, 1863; Francis S., Oct. 6, 1865; Charles A., Sept. 13, 1869; N. May, Nov. 24, 1875; James H., May 15, 1878; Harry D., March 4, 1881.
Soon after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer located on a farm of 80 acres on section 15, Genesee Twp. The place was under some improvements at the time it became their property, and it is now in excellent condition, created of the best quality of effort and judgment in its management. The homestead farm now contains 130 acres and is supplied with first class farm buildings. In March, 1885 he moved from his farm to Coleta, where he owns three acres of land with a good residence and he has another in process of erection. He established his business as a merchant in October 1884, investing $3,000 in stock, which is at present largely increased. Mr. and Mrs. Ulmer are active members of the M.E. Church, and the former is Steward and Class-leader in the society. He is a decided and prominent Republican and has held the offices of Collector and Assessor of Genesee Twp. [Portraits & Biographical Pg 509]
Of Prophetstown Township
David Underhill is a native of Jefferson county, New York, and was born in 1814. He came to Illinois in 1837, remaining for a while at a place above Rockford, on Rock river, and in September of that year rowed down Rock river in a canoe to Prophetstown. He made his first claim on Benton street, adjoining the village, and in 1839 opened a farm at Jefferson Corners where he resided several years. He now resides on his farm near the school section. Mr. Underhill married Miss Ruby Warner, in 1841, the children of the marriage being: John, who married Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, and lives Prophetstown; Mary, wife of Alonzo Wilkinson, living in Hume; D. Storrs who married Miss Hannah Tubbs, and lives in Hume; Alonzo, who married Miss Dolly Renslow, and lives in Iowa; Sylvester, also living in Iowa; and Perry, who lives in Prophetstown. [Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County]
Of Portland Township
Hiram Underhill was born in Dorsett, Vermont, in 1794, and came to Portland in 1838, remaining in the village of Portland until 1839, when he made a claim near Jefferson Corners. He married Miss Martha Washburn in 1813. Their children have been: Horace, who married Miss Irene Wellington, and is now dead; Julia Ann, who first married Benjamin Dow, and after his death, Jared Hurlburt, and now lives in Oregon; Abram, who married Miss Olive Marvel, and lives in Oregon; Jane, wife of Ezra W. Hill, living in Prophetstown; and Mary, wife of George Coon, living in Iowa. [Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County IL 1877]
LEWIS C. UNDERWOOD
Of Portland Township, Whiteside Co IL
Lewis C. Underwood was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, and came to Illinois in 1832, settling at first in Rock Island county, and in 1846 located in Portland, He married Miss Eliza Gillett. Their children were: Elias, who married Miss Delilah Teats, and lives in Portland; Lewis C., living in Indiana; A. Bruce, living in Portland; Eliza Rose, who married William P. Teats, and is now dead.; Elizabeth, who married Moses Harmon, and is also now dead; Mila B., wife of Millard Paddock, living in California, and Electa , wife of L. A. Simmons, living in Portland. [Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County]
ELIZABETH (NEWCOMB) and ELI UPTON
Eli Upton, retired farmer, residing at Morrison, has lived in Whiteside County since He was born Sept. 28, 1811, in Peterboro, N. H. His parents, Eli and Abigail (Snow) Upton, resided in the farming community in the Granite State, and consequently their son was brought up on a farm. Before he reached his majority he had acquired a thorough knowledge of the trade of machinist and passed 14 years in its pursuit. He operated ten years in Massachusetts and in Dover, N. H., with satisfactory results. In 1840 he went to Sonora, Mexico, where he passed four years in the construction of a cotton factory, which he put in complete running order. In 1844 he determined on an entire change in his mode of life. He therefore came to Whiteside County and bought a farm in Lyndon Township, on which he resided and was occupied in its improvement ten years. In 1854 he transferred his residence to a farm on section 32, in the town of Mt. Pleasant. His original purchase there is still in his possession and he is the owner of 800 acres of land in the township, which constitutes one of the most valuable homesteads in Whiteside County and is all improved and perfectly equipped. Among its attractions is a valuable and elegant farm residence, built at an expense of $7,000. In the spring of 1882 Mr. Upton entered upon a life of retirement at Morrison. Associated with his son, he is the owner of three imported French Norman horses, each of which cost $2,000. They own, besides, one valuable animal of half Norman blood and a trotting stallion. Mr. Upton and his son take great satisfaction in their valuable and beautiful horses, and are justifiable in so doing, as they have added materially to the value of that variety of property in Whiteside County.
The marriage of Mr. Upton to Elizabeth A. Newcomb took place in Enfield, Conn., June 15,1844. They have had four children, all sons, three of whom are living. They were born in the following order: George Y., John E., Joseph S. and Franklin A. The oldest is a farmer and is associated with his father in the ownership and management of their valuable horses. The second son is not living. The younger sons are farmers in the township of Mt. Pleasant.[Portrait & Biographical Pg 213]
OF Ustick Township
Henry Ustick, for whom the town of Ustick was named, was born in Washington county Pennsylvania, December 3, 1789. Upon leaving his native state he lived for a time in Ohio, and from that state moved with his family to Whiteside county, and settled in Union Grove township, his claim embracing the farm now owned by Edward VENNUM. In 1845 he went to Ustick, and settled on section 34, where he resided until his death, which occurred on the 16th of Jun 1855. He was married April 14, 1812, to Miss Nancy SMILEY, who died May 27, 1820. Mr. USTICK afterwards married Mrs. Abigail BRYANT, whose death occurred November 19, 1862. Children: John, now residing at Earlville, Illinois; William who died December 1 1834; Jacob Y who died in the army, August 30 1863; N M Y residing at Dallas Center Iowa; Henry, a resident of Morrison, Whiteside County Illinois; Elizabeth Y wife of Fosket H LOOMIS; Abner who lives in Gowrie, Webster county Iowa; Edward P who died March 3, 1843 and Daniel B Y who died October 8 1862. [Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County Page 471]
Of Sterling, IL
Dr. Henry Utley, physician at Sterling, was born in Oneida Co. NY June 23, 1822. His parents were Henry & Sarah (Morse) Utley, natives or RI and Conn., who died in Oneida Co NY. His father was by occupation a tanner and saddler.
At the age of 16 years the subject attended school at Whitesborough and then the Clinton Institute. In 1846 he traveled through the Southern States, mostly in Alabama and Louisiana, for his health. Recovering it, he returned to Rome, Oneida, NY where he continued his medical studies (which he had begun), in the office ofDr. pope. He then attended a course of lectures at the Yale Medical College at New Haven, and another at the NY Univeristy and the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, where he received his diploma. He commenced the practice of his chosen profession at Turin, Lewis Co NY, continuing eight years, when he came to Como, this county, and practiced medicine there for six years. Receiving then an appointment as surgeon of the 75th Reg. IL Vol. Inf., he proceeded to Louisville KY, and to Perryville, where he had charge of the hospital two months. Next, he had charge of the hospital at Danville KY, where he received an injury to his left leg which laid him up and compelled him to resign. Gov. Yates gve him a commission promoting him and permitting him to remain at home until he could return to the field when his health was regained; and, although the Sanitary Commission of Sterling sent him to Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tenn., his health continued so poor that he had to return home to remain. Since then he has continued the practice of his profession at Sterling, with marked success. He is one of the leading physicians of this part of the country. In his political views he is a Republican.
May 4, 1868 he married Miss C.S. Butler, Daughter of Ezekiel Butler of Rome NY and they have three sons; J.F. who married Cora Richards of Sterling; H.B. who married Mattie Harden also of Sterling and W.P. who married Lida Howland of Rock Falls. [1885 Portrait and Biographical of Whiteside Co Pg. 773]
JOSEPH FRANCIS UTLEY
There are men who, by reason of public service, figure prominently in public regard. There are others whose extensive business interests claim attention and admiration; but the man who is long remembered is he whose good qualities of heart and mind endear him to his fellowmen, winning warm friendships and unqualified trust. Such was Mr. Utley, of Sterling, whose well rounded character brought him into close connection with the business, the political and the social interests of his city, and who at all times commanded the trust and warm personal regard of his fellowmen.
He was born in Turin, Lewis county, New York, on the 18th of April, 1851, his parents being Dr. Henry and Caroline (Butler) Utley, who for many years made their home in Whiteside county, and were of that type of American citizens who ever uphold the legal and political status and promote the intellectual and moral progress. It was in the year 1859 that Dr. Utley, making his way westward from the Empire state, took up his abode in Como, where he engaged in the practice of his profession until 1866, and then came, with his family, to Sterling. Here he lived until his death, which occurred July 9, 1906, and was a prominent representative of the professional life of this city.
Joseph Francis Utley spent the first eight years of his life in the Empire state, and then came with his parents to Whiteside county. He was a youth of fifteen at the time of the removal to Sterling, and here he made his home throughout his remaining days. His education, which he had been pursuing in Como, was continued in the public schools here, and he entered business life in connection with the drug trade, joining his brother, H. B. Utley, in the ownership and conduct of a drug store under the firm style of J. F. & H. B. Utley. He was also the oldest employe in point of service of the International Harvester Company. For thirty-five years he represented the McCormick Harvester Company and the International Harvester Company as general agent, although he entered that employ in the capacity of salesman and collector. His ability and fidelity soon gained recognition in merited promotion, and from that time on he was connected with the original company and its successor, and was regarded as one of its best agents. As he prospered in his undertakings he made judicious investments in real estate and became the owner of a number of valuable pieces of property in Sterling. His business integrity was ever above question, and in the development of trade he employed only such methods as would bear the closest investigation.
On the 18th of October, 1876, Mr. Utley was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Barrett Richards, a daughter of Hon. Daniel and Frances G. (Barrett) Richards, who were natives of the state of New York and early settlers of Whiteside county. The paternal grandfather, Paul Richards, died in the Empire state. The maternal grandfather, Theodore Sedgwick Barrett, a native of New York and a farmer by occupation, came to Whiteside county, Illinois, in 1853, and remained for a short time in Sterling, after which he removed to a farm in Galt, there dying when about eighty-six years of age. Daniel Richards, becoming one of the early settlers of Whiteside county, engaged in business as a hardware merchant in Sterling, and afterward practiced law for a number of years. He was prominent in official life, and in fact was one of the distinguished citizens of Whiteside county, whose record reflected credit and honor upon the people who honored him. He died at the age of fifty-three years, and is still survived by his widow, who is now seventy-six years of age. Extended mention of them is made on another page of this volume. Their family numbered three daughters: Miss Ella G. Richards; Mrs. Caroline Utley; and Grace F., now the wife of C. E. Windom, of Sterling.
Five children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Utley: Florence Richards, now the deceased wife of Frederick Alpheus Schmoeger; Edward, who died in infancy; Pauline Caroline, who is attending a business college; Mildred Josephine, a student in the Sterling high school; and Theodore Henry, who at the age of nine years is attending the public schools.
Mr. Utley attended the Congregational church, of which his wife is a member, and he was prominent in Masonary, holding membership in Rock River Lodge, No. 612, A. F. & A. M.: Sterling Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M.; Sterling Commandery, No. 57, K. T.; and the Mystic Shrine. His political allegiance was given the republican party and in its work, growth and success he was deeply and actively interested. He was several times called to represent the second ward in the city council and exercised his official prerogatives in support of many practical and progressive measures. He was also the republican state central committeeman from his district for several terms and had a wide acquaintance among the distinguished political leaders of the state. Governor Deneen offered him a trusteeship of the Watertown hospital for the insane, but private business duties prevented his acceptance.
Perhaps no better estimate of his life, the character and the work of Mr. Utley can be given than in the words of the Sterling Gazette, which at the time of his death wrote: "Frank Utley, as he was known to nearly every man in Whiteside county, was a man of absolute and unswerving honesty, fearless in every act of his life and thoroughly conscientious in every duty, He was outspoken to the verge of harshness at times, but his was due to his innate honesty of purpose which caused him ever to speak his mind fully and clearly and straight to the point. He was a charming conversationalist and those who knew him best felt for him a friendship which is the privilege of only such gentlemanly natures as was his." [Source: History of Whiteside County, Illinois; By William W. Davis, M. A., Vol. 2; Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Co., 1908]
W. P. Utley, residing on West Third street in Sterling, is one of Whiteside county's native sons, his birth having occurred at Como on the 25th of December, 1857. His parents were Dr. Henry and Caroline S. (Butler) Utley, natives of Oneida county, New York. The paternal grandfather, Henry Utley, was born in Rhode Island but for many years lived at Westerville, Oneida county, New York. In early life he was a tanner and saddler and later engaged in the harness-making business. He married Sarah Morse (a niece of S. B. F. Morse, of telegraph fame), who lived to be ninety-three years of age, and he was also a nonagenarian at his death. The Utley family is of English lineage. The maternal grandfather of our subject was a native of the Empire state and he and his wife, Mrs. Eunice Butler, were among the early pioneer settlers of Whiteside County. Both lived to an advance age, Mrs. Butler's death occurring when she had reached the age of ninety-two. Their family numbered three daughters and five sons.
Dr. Henry Utley, who devoted his life to the practice of medicine and surgery, served his country as a surgeon in the Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteers in the Civil war. He was born at Westernville, New York, June 22, 1822, and was reared to manhood in Oneida county, New York, where his wife spent her girlhood days also. Following their marriage they lived at Turin, New York, and in 1856 came to the middle west, settling in Como, Illinois. There Dr. Utley practiced his profession until 1868, when he became a member of the medical fraternity of Sterling, where he continued throughout his remaining days, passing away in April, 1905, at the age of seventy-four. His wife died at the home of her son, H. B. Utley, in Chicago. Both were members of the Baptist church and Mrs. Utley took a very active and helpful part in the church work. In their family were four sons, of whom Edward died in early childhood. Joseph F., also deceased, was born in New York in 1850 and came west with his parents in 1856. He married Caroline B. Richards and their children were Mrs. Florence Schmoeger and Edward, both deceased; Pauline; Mildred; and Theodore. Henry B. Utley, the next of the family, was also born in New York in 1854 and was therefore but two years of age when the family located in Como, Illinois. He now resides in Chicago, being manager of the purchasing department for the International Harvester Company. He was married at Sterling to Martha Harden and to them were born five children: Edith, who died in infancy; Mrs. Bessie Oliver; John; Paul and Margaret. William P. Utley, of this review, completes the family. William P. Utley was reared to manhood in Sterling and attended the public schools, being graduated from the second ward high school under Professor Albert Bayliss, afterward state superintendent of instruction in Illinois. He next entered the Northwestern University at Evanston and when his education was completed Mr. Utley spent one year as local editor with the Sterling Gazette, after which he engaged with the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company as general agent, with headquarters at Mason City, Iowa, where he remained for over two years. On returning to Sterling he spent five years in this city and then went to Chicago, where he engaged in the Wholesale coal business for about seventeen years, making his home during that period in Oak Park. In 1903 he returned to Sterling, where he now resides.
The lady who now bears his name was in her maidenhood Miss Lida T. Howland and they were married on the 20th of October, 1880. Her parents were James an Eliza (Canfield) Howland. Her father was born at Lisle, New York, May 6, 1800, was the son of Consider Howland and was a representative in the sixth generation of the descendants of Henry Howland, who came to America on the Mayflower. James Howland lived at Lisle, Broome county, New York, until 1850, when he came west and purchased a farm in Coloma township. He also purchased land in Minnesota and spent the summer months in the western states, while the winter seasons were passed in New York until 1868. In that year he settled permanently in Sterling. He was an extensive landowner and a man of large affairs. Following his removal to the middle west he lived upon his home farm until his death, a which occurred in 1879 when he was seventy years of age. He was killed by a runaway team that crashed into his buggy from the rear, throwing him out and causing injuries from which he died. His wife was born October 9, 1815, in the state of New York, and there were married December 29, 1833. She died December 4, 1861, at the age of forty-six years. Mr. and Mrs Utley became the parents of four children, of whom James Howland died at the age of two and half years. Frederick Daniel is a graduate of Harvard University of the class of 1908 and is now in the employ of the International Harvest Company of Chicago, in their accounting department. Helen Caroline is attending Ferry Hall at Lake Forest, Illinois; and Ruth Howland is a pupil in the high school of Sterling. Mr. and Mrs. Utley are members of the Congregational church to which all of their children also belong. Politically he is a republican and for four years served as a trustee of the town of Cicero in Cook county while residing at Oak Park. He owns a beautiful home at No. 805 West Third street, known as the old Edson home, built by Simeon Farwell, a brother of John V. Farwell of Chicago. In business affairs his judgment is sound and reliable and his purchases of land have been so capably made that he is today the owner of some of the finest farming property in this section of Illinois. [Whiteside County History 1908]
D.T. VAN ANTWERP
D. T. Van Antwerp, a farmer, residing on section 9, Prophetstown Township, and owning 120 acres of land on the section, is the son of John A. and Martha Anna (Sturtevant) Van Antwerp, and was born in Schenectady Co., N. Y. and his grandfather, Aaron Van Antwerp, was a native of Antwerp City, Holland, and at one time was the possessor of a fortune of several thousand pounds, but lost it, and came to this country. He received a section of land in Glenville Township, Schedectady Co., N. Y., from this Government for his services in the Revolutionary War. Six of his sons were engaged in the war of 1812, and one of them, Abraham, Afterward represented his district in the State Legislature.
D. T. Van Antwerp, the subject of this biographical notice, was reared on a farm two and a half miles from Schenectady. Hi father died when he was six years old, and at the age of nine years he went forth upon the road of adversity to fight the battles of life along. Armed with a firm determination to succeed in life, he engaged as a laborer on a farm, and followed that vocation for some years. In 1854 he came to this county, and brought with him some of the finest carriage horses ever owned in the State. He is a breeder of fine horses, and is noted in this line of business. He bought 120 acres, where he at present resides. He also had land in Iowa, and other parts of this county. He now has a fine farm, comprising 120 acres, with good improvements, and under a good State of cultivation. Starting in the world with no assistance except his own indomitable energy, combined with a firm determination to get on in the world, he has none to thank for his success in life except his own good judgment, energetic effort and the hearty co-operation of his good helpmeet. He is a member of the I.O.O.F.
Mr. Van Antwerp was united in marriage at Prophetstown, Dec. 25, 1861, to Almeda L. Maynard, nee Spencer. She was a daughter of Jefferson and Anna Maynard, and was born Oct. 3, 1840, in Arcade, Wyoming Co., N. Y. They have two children: Mattie, born Sept. 26, 1862, and Charlie D. born Dec. 15, 1866. [Contributed by Marji Turner from Portrait & Biographical History of Whiteside Co 1885 Pg 552]
JAMES VAN DEMARK
James H. Van Demark, general farmer and stock-grower on section 25, Hume Township, Ulster Co, N. Y. Jacob S. Van Demark, his father, was born in the same town and was a farmer and carpenter. The family is of Dutch descent, the ancestral progenitors having come to America from the Netherlands at a period between the two struggles with the Government of Great Britain. Maria (Parker) Van Demark, was born in New Haven, Conn., of pure Yankee lineage. She had her husband were married in Ulster Co., N. Y., and the family were resident there until 1867, when they came to Whiteside County and located at Sterling. The father died there in August 1872, age 70 years. The mother died in the same place in January, 1882, when 78 years of age.
Mr. Van Demark is the second in order of birth of seven children, and he remained a member of the parental household some time after reaching maturity, receiving a good common-school education. He had obtained a fair knowledge of the occupation of a carpenter, working with his father as opportunity served. He was married in Olive Township, Ulster County, Jan. 12, 1854, to Judith Winchell. They had three children: Delia is the wife of h. H. Chapin, of whom a sketch is to be found elsewhere; Watson, born March 10, 1860, was married Jan. 176, 1883 to Lou E. Wilber. She was born Sept. 6, 1863, in Ogle Co., Ill., and resides with her husband in Hume Township, on the homestead of his parents. Her father and mother, Edwin B. and Harriet (Collar) Wiler, reside in Hume Township. She was brought up to the age of 15 years in Linn Co, Iowa. Utilla is the youngest child, and she was born Aug, 25 1862. She has been educated with care and resides at her father’s home. Mrs. Van Demark was born in Olive Township, Ulster Co., in 1831, and was the daughter of Josiah and Phebe (Boice) Winchell. She died in Hume Township, July 23, 1883. Her father died when she was young. She was the oldest of three children, and her brother Jacob and sister Elizabeth are still her survivors. After his marriage Mr. Van Demark lived with his parents form some years, following his trade and working on the farm. In 1867 he removed his family and interests to Sterling, where he pursued his mechanical calling and superintended the construction of some of the most important buildings at Rock Falls. In 1867 he purchased 120 acres of land in the township of which he has since been a resident, and where he has devoted much of this time and energies to its improvements. He build a school-house within the first year after his change of base, and has followed his trade to some extent in conjunction with his farming. He is now the proprietary owner of 360 acres of land, all under advanced cultivation and with creditable and valuable buildings. Mr. Van Demark is Republican in political sentiments, and is active in local and in general affairs. He has officiated as Township Treasurer between seven and eight years. [Contributed by Marji Turner form Portrait & Biographical History of Whiteside Co 1885. Pg 392]
JACOB VAN DEMARK
Jacob M. Van Demark, farmer and stock-raiser, section 3, Tampico Township, was born in Olive Township, Ulster Co., N.Y., Dec. 18, 1832. His father was J.S. Van Demark, a mechanic, of whom a sketch is give elsewhere in this volume. He worked with his father in mechanical pursuits until of age, receiving only a limited school education, but a good training in the art of house-building. After he attained his legal age, he worked four years for Martin Acker, an architect, and then, in 1858, he came West and located upon 40 acres in Yorktown Township, Henry County, this State, and followed his trade. In 1859 he came to Tampico Township, this county, and helped to organize that division of the county, being elected the first Township Clerk. He has since served also as Road Commissioner several years. In 1866 he settled on a farm of 80 acres on the section he now occupies. At present, however, he owns an aggregate of 220 acres, all finely improved, the county ditch passing through his farm. His farm buildings and equipments are also first-class, and he exhibits every evidence of a No. 1 agriculturist. His cattle are of high grade of Short-horns. He votes the Republican ticket. Feb. 19, 1857, in his native township, he married Miss Mary A. Lane, who is also a native of Ulster Co. N.Y., where her father Cornelius Lane, was a farmer. Her mother's maiden name was Catherine Elmendorf. Her parents now reside in Hume Township. Mrs. Van Demark received a good education and before her marriage, taught school. Mr. and Mrs. V are the parents of two children, namely; Fred, born Oct. 25, 1863; and Irma, born Sept. 12, 1870. [Portraits & Biographical 1885]
PETER VAN NEST
Peter Van Nest, deceased, was a pioneer of Whiteside County. He came to the township of Albany in 1837, and settled in the township of Garden Plain in 1853. He was born March 11, 1812, at Dutch Neck, Mercer Co., N. H., and was the youngest son of John and Ida (Bergen) Van Net. His parents were both descendants of the Hollanders who settled on the Atlantic seaboard during the early history of the American continent, and his father was a well-to-do farmer. The latter died when the son was ten years old. Peter Van Nest learned the trade of a blacksmith from an older brother when he arrived at a suitable age, and followed the business in the place of his nativity until his removal to Illinois. In 1837 he set out by stage and crossed the Alleghany Mountains to Pittsburg, whence he came on the rivers to Albany. He established the first blacksmith shop at that place, and was one of the original proprietors of the present site of the village. He became interested in the establishment of the Congregational Church at that place, before he became a member, and in 1846 he joined the communion. He was soon after elected a Deacon and discharged the duties of the position until March, 1885, when he transferred his membership to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Soon after coming to the county he made a claim of land on the east half of the southeast quarter of section 31, in Garden Plain Township, and also on the east half of the southwest quarter of the same section. When the land came into market he secured his title. In 1853 he took possession, living at first in a log house. This soon gave place to a commodious brick dwelling, which his family have since occupied. He made extensive improvements, setting out trees and varieties of small fruit, with ornamental shrubs. He grew prosperous and added more Land to his estate, until he owned 240 acres, all under excellent improvement. Afterward he also bought 80 acres of land in Audubon Co., Iowa, in 1879. In his political proclivities he was a decided Republican. His death occurred May 21, 1885.
Peter Van Nest was married Dec. 21, 1842, to Nancy, oldest daughter of Cheney and Annie (Walker) Olds. (See sketch of Warren Olds.) She was born Aug. 19, 1824, in Sturbridge, Worcester Co., Mass. Their ten children are recorded as follows: George D. became a soldier when 18; he was a drummer in the 93d Rgt. Ill. Vol. Inf., and was with Sherman in his route to the sea and through the Carolinas, serving through the war and participating in the Grand Review at Washington; lives at Laurel, Marshall Co., Iowa; Henry B. lives at Grinnell, Powesheik Co., Iowa; Ida is the wife of Herbert Simpson, of Garden Plain Township; Louisa O married John Nicewanger, also of that township; Sarah E. married James Coyne, and they reside in Audubon Co., Iowa; Walter C., Willis W. and John F. live with their mother on the homestead. Contributed by Marji Turner form Portrait & Biographical History of Whiteside Co 1885. Pg 621
WILLIAM A. & REBECCA (TURNER) VAN OSDOL
Hopkins Township, Whiteside Co IL
William A. Van Osdol, one of the most extensive farmers in Whiteside County, residing upon section 7, Hopkins Township, is a son of John and Nancy (Gibson) Van Osdol, natives of Pennsylvania. They married in Ohio Co., Ind., but finally settled in Dearborn County. Mr. Van Osdol died in February, 1870, in Ohio Co., Ind., where all of William's grandparents settled about 1820, coming from Pennsylvania. His wife, and the mother of William A., still survives and resides in that county. They had a family of 11 children, of whom William A. was the eldest. He was born in Ohio Co., Ind., Aug, 17, 1827. He passed his boyhood days and grew to manhood in that county and continued to reside , there till 1856. He received a good common-school education, and for a time was engaged in mercantile pursuits at Aberdeen, Ind. In May, 1856, Mr. Van Osdol came to Whiteside County and located in Hopkins Township, where he has since lived, closely and largely identified with the interests and welfare of the community. He is the owner of 120 acres of land in this township, 500 acres of which is in a tillable condition. He also owns 440 acres of land in Ida Co., Iowa, all under cultivation and managed by his eldest son. This vast estate has been accumulated by Mr. Van Osdol in a very brief time, be it said to his credit. When 22 years of age he possessed only $37.50 of property, which was in a note given to him by his father. The secret of his splendid success, besides possessing good business ability, is industry and frugality. Young men about to enter upon an active business career might read the record of his life with no little profit. Mr. Van Osdol was united in marriage in Dearborn Co., Ind., Nov. 20, 1850, with Rebecca Turner. She was a native of Pennsylvania, born of Irish parentage, and the seventh of a family of nine children. Her parents were Robert and Martha (Woods) Turner. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Osdol have been born six children; John M., Sarah E., William S., Ida M., Robert R. and Frank A. John M. and Sarah E. are deceased. While never aspiring to public position, Mr. Van. Osdol has held many of the minor offices of his township. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in political views is identified with the Democratic party. As a truly representative agriculturist and a worthy citizen of Whiteside County, we place Mr. Van Osdol's portrait in this volume in connection with this sketch. It is engraved from a photograph taken about 1878 [Portraits & Biographical, 1885, Pg 233]
NICHOLAS G. VAN SANT
Nicholas G. Van Sant, one of Illinois' native sons, is well known in Sterling as a banker, business man, lawyer and citizen who cooperates in many measures that have direct bearing upon the welfare, progress and upbuilding of the community. While giving close and earnest attention to his business and professional interests, he has yet found time to devote to those interests which work for the uplifting of humanity, and is particularly well known as an exponent of the temperance cause and of the work of the Young Men's Christian Association. His natal day was November 22, 1846, and the place of his birth Rock Island, Illinois.
His great-grandfather, John Van Sant ; was born in New Jersey and was one of the heroes, of the Revolutionary war. After his military experience he engaged in boating and ship-building and reached the very venerable age of ninety-four years. His wife was Mrs. Rebecca Van Sant. His paternal grandfather. Nicholas Van Sant, lived at Lower Bank, New Jersey, and when death claimed him his grave was there made. He was of Holland Dutch descent and was a boat-builder by trade. His business interests, however, were interrupted as a soldier in the war of 1812. He died when more than ninety years of age and his wife, Mrs. Mercy Van Sant, was also over ninety years of age at the time of her demise. Their family numbered twelve or thirteen children.
John Wesley Van Sant, father of our subject, was born in New Jersey, there acquired his education and became a ship carpenter. He was likewise connected with steamboat interests and in 1837, coming to Illinois, settled on the banks of the Mississippi river, where he lived for sixty-five years. He made his home at Rock Island from 1837 until 1860 and then removed to Le Claire, Iowa, where he spent his remaining days, passing away in 1903, when he was ninety-three years of age. His wife survived him until March, 1905, and died in her ninety-fourth year. She was a daughter of Elias Anderson, a native of New Jersey, who came of a race of sailors, but who identified his interests with agricultural pursuits, owning a large plantation and a number of slaves. He died in New Jersey at an advanced age, while his wife, Mrs. Penelope Anderson, passed away when more than ninety years of age.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. John W. Van Sant were born four sons and two daughters, of whom four are yet living: Adam C., who is conducting a commercial college at Omaha, Nebraska; Hester A., the wife of Captain Thomas Harris, of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, now at Los Angeles, California; Samuel R., who was president of the Johnson-Van Sant Mortgage Company, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Nicholas G., of Sterling.
In taking up the personal history of Nicholas G. Van Sant we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known. He lived in Rock Island until he had attained his majority, attending the public schools there and later continuing his studies in Knox College, at Galesburg, Illinois, prior to entering Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa. He was graduated from the last named in 1870 and thus by liberal educational advantages was well fitted for life's practical and responsible duties. In the meantime, however, he had military experience as a soldier of the Civil war, enlisting in 1863 as a member of Company A, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, with which he served for two years. He was in the battles of Guntown, Tupelo, Old Town Creek, Pontatock and the last battle of Nashville. He served as a private, ever loyal to the cause which he espoused and after the war he resumed his education. When he had graduated from Cornell College, Mr. Van Sant turned his attention to the boat business in connection with his father on the Mississippi river. After two years, however, he sold out and removed to Rock Falls, Whiteside county, where he conducted a lumber business for a number of years. On the expiration of that period he disposed of his yard and entered the law department of the John B. Stetson University at Deland, Florida, where he carefully pursued his studies for two years. He next entered the law department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, and was graduated in June. 1905. In October of the same year he was admitted to the bar and at once opened an office in Sterling, where he has since continued in practice. Although one of the more recent additions to the Whiteside county bar he is well qualified for the profession and in his trial of causes has shown clear reasoning and logical deductions, together with correct application of legal principles. He is, moreover, well known in financial circles as president of the State Bank of Sterling, which was organized in 1905, with a capital of fifty thousand dollars and has done a large business from the start. He is thus recognized as a leading factor in financial circles of Sterling, founding his business upon a safe, substantial basis and pursuing a conservative policy that wins uniform confidence and gains a liberal patronage. He is also identified with the Johnson-Van Sant Mortgage Company, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in business matters his judgment is sound and reliable.
On the 17th of November, 1870, Mr. Van Sant was married to Miss Ella A. Golder, a daughter of Joseph and Prudence (Goodrich) Colder. They are pleasantly located at No. 601 Second avenue, and the hospitality of their home is much enjoyed by their many warm friends.
Politically Mr. Van Sant is an earnest republican but without aspiration for office. He maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in Will Robinson Post, No. 274, G. A. R., and is also an exemplary representative of Rock River Lodge, No. 612, A. F. & A. M. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and he is serving on the official board. He has been particularly prominent in his work for local option and is a strong prohibitionist. He regards intemperance as one of the greatest evils of the country and puts forth every effort in his power to check its course, further indicating his views upon the subject by his ballot, giving loyal support to the prohibition party. He is one of the most earnest and able workers in the local Young Men's Christian Association and, moreover, has lectured for the organization: His influence is always found on the side of right, reform, truth, justice and progress, and his position upon any question of vital moment is never an equivocal one. His interest in the welfare of the city along material, intellectual, social and moral lines is manifest in many tangible ways, and in citizenship he displays the same spirit of loyalty which characterized him when as a boy soldier he fought for the defense of the Union. In fact he stands loyally and courageously in support of every cause or movement which he believes to be right, and the principles which have governed his life are those which work for honorable manhood. [Transcribed by Christine Walters; Source: History Whiteside County IL. From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908 By William W. Davis M.A. The Pioneer Publishing Co.]
Of Union Grove Twp.
Edward Vennum, a leading agriculturist of Whiteside County and a highly esteemed citizen of Union Grove Township, has been a resident of the county since 1842. He was one of the officials chosen at the first township meeting of Union Grove, which was held April 6, 1852. He was born Sept. 16, 1818, in Morris Township, Knox Co., Ohio. He was a quiet boy, of reflective and naturally studious nature, but his proclivities found little encouragement in the public schools, which, like everything else in the place where he passed from childhood to youth, were in the imperfect condition of a pioneer period. He gathered such education as was possible, and formed a determination to avail himself of the first opportunities to add to his store of knowledge sufficiently to become a teacher, for which vocation he had an ambition.
A little before he was 18 years of age, he went to Newark, N.J., and engaged as salesman in a provision store, where he was employed three years. He had studied as he could, but ill health impelled him to abandon his cherished plans, and he came in 1842 to Whiteside Co., Ill., where he spent two years, operating alternately as a teacher in the seasons of winter, and pursuing farming on his own account on a rented farm. In 1851, having concluded that his health depended on a line of activity in the open air, he bought 172 acres of land on section 2, and began farming in earnest, as the vocation of his life. The place included 60 acres, which had been “broken,” and was supplied with a log cabin. On this he resided 18 years, putting the entire acreage in excellent condition for profitable agriculture, and erecting creditable farm buildings. At the expiration of the time named, he made additional purchases of land and removed to section 11, where he established his homestead. He is, at present writing, the owner of 412 acres of land in the township of Union Grove, which is all situated on sections 2 and 11, and is all under tillage.
Mr. Vennum endorses the principles of the Republican party, which he adopted on its organization. He has never been aggressive in the promulgation of his views, but has adhered to his sentiments with the quiet persistency which is one of his characteristics. He cast his fist Presidential vote in 1840 for Harrison, and was always a decided Abolitionist. He was united in marriage Feb. 20,1845, in Mt. Pleasant Township, to Susan, daughter of Aaron C. and Charity A. (Young) Jackson. They have had seven children, of whom two are deceased: Albert B. was born Dec. 4, 1845, and was married Nov. 28, 1882, to Laura Shaub; Phebe A. was born Jan. 25, 1848, and was married April 10, 1866, to P.S. Bannister: she died June 23, 1874; Aaron J. was born Dec. 11, 1849, and was married Oct. 11, 1881, to Rhoda Gallentine; Columbus C. was born Oct. 31, 1851, and was married July 1, 1880, to Florence Twining; Edwin P. was born Oct. 26, 1853, and was married Feb. 12, 1880, to Linda Reemer; Abbie T. was born July 3, 1856, and died Dec. 18, 1873; and John G. was born Dec. 6, 1864. All the sons, with the exception of Edwin P., are business men in Exeter, Fillmore Co., Neb. The latter is at home pursuing a course of commercial study.
Mrs. Vennum, the mother, was born Feb. 13, 1827, in the township of Wayne, Knox Co., Ohio. She and her husband are members of the Presbyterian Church.
John Vennum, the father of Edward, was born in Washington Co., Pa., Oct. 4, 1784. He went in young manhood to Knox Co., Ohio, where he married Phebe Jackson (Photo at right). She was born June 23, 1784, in Rockaway, Morris Co., N.J., and is the daughter of Benjamin and Abigail (Mitchell) Jackson. Her parents went to Knox Co., Ohio, in 1814, after the first and second struggle with Great Britain. In the War of the Revolution he served with honor and held the rank of Major. John Vennum and his wife lived in Ohio until 1846, when they removed to Union Grove Township. The former was then past 60 years of age. He located on a farm on section 3, where he died Feb. 12, 1858. Three sons were born to him and his wife,--Edward, Columbus, and John N. The latter is a farmer in Rhinebeck, Grundy Co., Iowa; Columbus died Jan. 5, 1849. Mrs. Vennum is still living, and is 101 years of age (1885). She is probably the oldest person living in Whiteside County. She was born when the Republic was in its cradle, and five years before Washington was made President. She has lived through 96 years of the history of this country under the federal government. It is a marvel that she lives to see her portrait gathered into the same volume with those of all the Chief Executives of the Nation and State of Illinois, reaching prominence through the fact of her great age. Only seven of the Presidents were older than herself, and only two Governors of Illinois, which has been a State 67 years, were her seniors. She has lived a quiet, uneventful life; and although she has seen more than a century in years, she is erect in figure, dignified and free from the feebleness and tremulousness of extreme age. She is slightly deaf, but still reads the newspapers and her Bible. She has laid aside the work which occupied her hands until she was more than 98 years old. Her interest in household events is still alive, and she sometimes proffers assistance in some light labor. Her mental faculties are undimmed, and her memory is clearer than that of most people who are from 50 to 20 years her junior. She can be relied on to state the dates of events all through the years of most her life. Her tenacity of life is partly an inheritance, her progenitors having been long-lived, though she has outstripped them all in number of years. Though a woman of strong will, she is of singularly equable temperament, uniform in habits, and has been noted for the sweet spirit of content which has pervaded her whole life. She spends about eight hours in the 24 in bed, sleeping quietly and refreshingly. She was fond of society in earlier years, and was a delighted listener to the conversation of others. She has never had an illness in her life, and has never taken more than half a dozen doses of medicine. June 23, 1884, a large party of the people of Morrison, Mt. Pleasant and Union Grove Townships, gathered to celebrate the year in which she reached the age of 100. Among the numbers of visitors, aggregating about 200 persons, 11 States were represented. She received her guests in the calm dignity which characterizes her, and those who were of the company remember the occasion as one of solemn interest. To those who meet her she seems a creature of some other world. The portrait of Mrs. Vennum, which is presented on a preceding page, was taken on the day referred to at her home. She wrote the autograph which appears below it in 1871. [Biography transcribed by Christine Walters - Portrait & Biographical 1885 Pg 387; Memoriam Photo contributed by Karen Vyock]
Among the residents of Whiteside county of foreign birth who, loyal to public interests, are today numbered among the stalward American citizens, is Nicholas Vock, a native of Germany, born May 26, 1862. The parents were John and Anna Vock, also natives of Germany. Thjey had a family of nine children, namely: Nicholas, the subject of this review; Barbara; Phillip; Lizzie; Margaret, deceased; Lawrence; George, who has also passed away; George, the second of the name; and one who died ininfancy.
Nicholas Vock remained under the parental roof until eighteen years of age, and then came to America. This country, with its miles upon miles of broad prairie, its rich mining districts and great forest tracts, has been the land of opportunity for thousands of opeople who have come from the old world, and, moreover, it is the land ofopportunity for character development as well, where theindividual is not hampered by caste of class, but makes his way by reason of realpersonal merit. After landing on eastern shores Mr. Vock continued hisjourneyinto theinterior of the country until he reached Whiteside county. Here he began working by the month, and that he was faithful, reliable and capable is indicated by the fact that he was employed by one man for eight years. He then married and bean farming on his own account, cultivating a tract of rented land for six years, during which time he saved from the proceeds of his sales of crops a sufficient sum to enable him topurchase a farm in Whiteside county. He then lived upon his original place for seven years, when he sold that property and bought two hundred acres of land on sections 1 and 2, Montmorency township, whereon he took up his abode in 1902. The fields have been brought under a high state of cultivation and good farm machinery is used in carrying on the work. He also raises and feeds stock, and this adds materially to his annual income.
In 1889 Mr. Vock was united in marriage to Miss Sabine Billinger, who was born in Sterling in 1864. a daughter of John and Johanna (Reichet) Billinger, both of whom wre natives of Germany. They came to America in 1858, the father working here as a laborer. He died in the year 1895, and the mother, who still survives, now makes her home with a daughter in South Dakota. Mrs. Vock was one of a family of five children, and byher marriage has become the mother of ten children: Edward, Clara, Frances, Eva, Marie, Helen, Anna, Joseph and Albert.
In his political views Mr. Vockis a republican, his study of the questions and issues of the day having led him to give stalward allegiance to the grand old party. He has been a school director for nineteen years, has been road commissioner for seven years and drainage commissioner for seven years. In these positions he has discharged his duties with a promptness and fidelity that none question, and which have led to his long retention in office. He and his wife are communicants of the Catholic church, and he is a member of the Knights of Clumbus. When he arrived in Whiteside county his capital could almost literally have been contained in a nutshell, for he possessed but one dollar. Today he is one of the substantial and prosperous agriculturists of the community, and what he has accumulated has been won through hard work day after day. None question his thrift nor his honesty, and his example may well serve as a source of inspiration to others, showing that success is not a matter of genius, but is the outcome of clear judgement, experience and indefatigable labor. [Whiteside County History 1908]
BACK -- HOME
© Copyright Genealogy Trails