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The Honorable Samuel S. Guyer was born at Lewistown, Pennsylvania, December 26, 1814. In his early manhood he was a contractor in New York City and in the construction of the Pennsylvania Canal System. In 1839, with his mother, sister and two brothers, he removed to Peoria, Illinois, from which base he engaged in the business of building flat boats and carrying cargos of merchandise to trade with the planters between Natchez and New Orleans. In the great tornado at Natchez in 1842, he lost all his possessions and barely escaped with his life. Returning to Peoria he studied law and qualified for the bar in the office of Mr. Knowlton, father of our former townsman, William S. Knowlton. In 1843 he came to Rock Island to practice his profession.
He was appointed by the Court to defend the Redings, indicted for complicity in the murder of George Davenport, and he succeeded in securing their acquittal. In 1847 he was elected Sheriff of Rock Island County, which office he held for two terms.
He was one of the incorporators of the Coal Valley Mining Company, and of the Rock Island and Peoria Railway Company, which road, then built only as far as Coal Valley, was under his management until 1861 when he sold his interests to the late P. L. Cable. In this enterprise he had been associated with Charles Buford, Holmes Hakes, N. B. Buford and Ben Harper.
He secured the charter for the Chippiannock Cemetery Association, of which he was a director until his death.
After disposing of his mining and railroad interests he became a member of the firm of Hakes, Guyer & Company, in the operation of a paper mill on the present site of the Standard Oil Cloth Company. This mill was several years afterwards bought by Mr. Hakes and moved to Rock River. In 1871 he was elected Judge of the County Court and reelected in 1873.
He was married June 3 1847, to Annette Holmes, daughter of the late George E. Holmes, of Port Byron, who, together with his son, Edward H. Guyer, and his daughter, Annette, now Mrs. James R. Kimball, survived him.
He died at Rock Island, February 20, 1883.