Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Biographical Sketch of Leo H. Bireline

Leo H. Bireline, one of the youngest business men of Champaign, is successfully engaged in the metal roofing business, an industry which he learned during his youth, his father being also connected with the same line of business. Mr. Bireline was born in Danville, Illinois, June 19, 1894, a son of Henry and Emma (Diehl) Bireline, both of whom were also natives of Danville. His parents are still living at Danville and his father conducts a roofing and sheet metal works in that city. There were five children in the family: Catherine Ellen, wife of W. A. Meek of Danville; Robert, who is associated with his brother Leo in business at Champaign; Leo; Florence and Emily, both at home with their parents. Leo H. Bireline grew up in Danville, attended the city schools, spent two years in high school and finished his education in Brown’s Business College at Danville. There he took a bookkeeping and general business course, and with that equipment and with the experience he had acquired under his father he came to Champaign to take charge of the local branch of the sheet metal and roofing business. This business in its subsequent growth now requires all his time and active attention. The headquarters of the business is a large building 25×125 feet, with ample facilities for a perfect service in their particular line. Mr. Bireline married Ruby Bodine, a native of Kingman, Indiana, but reared in Danville. They have one child, Margaret. Mr. Bireline is a Republican in politics, is a thirty-second degree and Consistory Mason, and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. He...

Biography of Peter Peterson

Peter Peterson. For many years the late Peter Peterson was a resident of Champaign, was a quiet and industrious business man, acquired considerable property and made his name influential and honored in this community. A native of Sweden, Mr. Peterson was born in 1848. He was twenty-one years of age when he left his native land and came to America in 1869, soon afterward locating in the city of Champaign. He had received his education in Sweden and was well fitted for a life of activity. He engaged in the dray and transfer business at Champaign, and conducted that actively for nearly forty years. He was in the full vigor of his powers almost until the last, and his death occurred in Champaign in August, 1909. He was married in 1871, at Champaign, to Marian Christina Olson. She was born in Sweden and came to Champaign in 1870. Mrs. Peterson is still living, but an invalid and has lost the power of speech. She has one of the comfortable homes of Champaign, owns considerable property, and her constant attendant in her declining years is her daughter, Mrs. Sophie J. Parr. The only son of Mrs. Peterson, Charles J. Peterson, lives in Chicago, Illinois. Mrs. Sophie J. Parr was born in Champaign. She is a highly educated woman and has long been identified with public school work in Champaign. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 1893, and for sixteen years has been a successful teacher. For the last three years she has been principal of the Colonel Wolfe School at Champaign. Mrs. Parr is the widow of the...

Biography of William H. Zorger, M. D.

William H. Zorger, M. D. For thirty-one years Doctor Zorger has practiced his profession in DeWitt and Champaign counties. He is a talented physician, has the advantage of long and thorough experience, and has been trained in the best schools of this country and by extensive observation and study here and abroad. His able assistant and partner not only in life but in his profession is his wife, who is one of the pioneer women of the state to take up medicine as a profession and is one of the best equipped specialists in Champaign County. Doctor Zorger was born in DeWitt County, Illinois, September 5, 1860, a son of Jacob S. and Margaret (Miller) Zorger. His father was born in York County, Pennsylvania, and in 1833 removed to Monticello, Illinois. He established a mill, which for a number of years was the only mill to supply flour and meal to a large section of country. The mill was sold to Mr. Collins in 1858, and he in turn sold it to Mr. McIntosh, and for many years it was known as the McIntosh Mill. Jacob S. Zorger died at Weldon, Illinois, in 1902, and his widow is still living there. Of their ten children five are living, and Doctor Zorger was the fifth in order of birth. Doctor Zorger spent his early life in his father’s home, had ample comforts and. had the advantages of the common schools, but his preparation for his profession he had to acquire largely through his own efforts and earnings. Three years he taught in the district schools of DeWitt County. He then...

Biography of David G. Fisher

David G. Fisher, now living retired at Champaign, began farming in this county nearly half a century ago. He realizes as few men still living do the difficulties and the handicaps to which farming was subject in those early years, and he has also realized along with extensive experience financial independence and the success which is the object of all ambitious men. Mr. Fisher was born in Fulton County, Illinois, December 3, 1839. His parents, Frederick and Sarah (Fouts) Fisher, were both born in Clark County, Indiana. When they went to Illinois in 1833 they passed through Champaign County, but sought what to them seemed a better location in Fulton County. There they lived prosperously the rest of their days as farmers and both of them died in that county. Their children were: Jacob, John, Henry, Cynthia, all now deceased; Mary, who still resides in Fulton County; Sarah, wife of Marion Kimberland, of Missouri; David G.; Clara, deceased; Isabel, living at Canton in Fulton County, widow of Jacob Fouts; Elizabeth, deceased; Ellen, wife of Thomas Beets, of Kokomo, Indiana; and Fred L., of Canton, Fulton County. David G. Fisher was reared and educated in Fulton County. He left home at the age of twenty-four and bought a farm of 140 acres near Canton and was busy with its cultivation and management until ill health compelled him to give up his enterprise in the country and remove to town, where for three years he conducted a livery business. On selling out his interests in Fulton County Mr. Fisher came to Champaign County in the month of February, 1868. Land was...

Biography of William Tomlinson

William Tomlinson. One of the oldest residents of Champaign County is Mr. William Tomlinson, whose home is at Penfield in Kerr Township. Mr. Tomlinson has experienced more than the average trials and ordeals of existence and he is well entitled to the esteem and respect that he enjoys in his community. Mr. Tomlinson was born in the Village of Franklin, near the City of Indianapolis, in Marion County, Indiana, a son of Robert and Rachel (Sheets) Tomlinson. His parents were both born in Indiana and his Grandfather Sheets was of German descent. Mr. Tomlinson was one of eight children, seven sons and one daughter. When he was a child his father died and a little later his mother passed away at Carlyle on the Mississippi River. William Tomlinson came to Vermilion County, Illinois, with his uncle, Elisha Crawford, in 1849, when ten years old. He came to Champaign County in 1852, and arrived here a poor and friendless boy with no money and with nothing except his own determined ambition to stand him in good stead while making a way in the busy world. For a year he worked for a farmer at $6.50 a month, and his hours of employment were from sunup to sundown. When Mr. Tomlinson came to Champaign County there were no railroads and very few towns. The nearest market place for mail and other supplies was Danville or Urbana. The young man had instead of money a boundless supply of push and energy, and he has used his industry to secure the living which he believed the world owed him. At the age of...

Biography of Albert C. Burnham

Albert C. Burnham. Even the most casual visitor in Champaign is accustomed to associate the name Burnham with that city, where two of its most prominent institutions bear the name. It is true in a broad sense that the good or evil men do in their days lives after them, but seldom does this continuing influence take a better form of concrete benefit than in the Burnham Athenaeum Library and the Julia F. Burnham Hospital in Champaign. They are memorials with a purpose, and a reaction for good day after day upon the lives of thousands in the community which the late Albert C. Burnham did so much to enrich and improve. There was little significance attached at the time to the quiet advent of Albert C. Burnham into the law office of J. B. McKinley as a student in the spring of 1862. He was “practically unknown, but a’t the end of thirty-five years of labor as a lawyer, banker and business man his work was firmly entrenched in the esteem and the business fabric of the community. Albert C. Burnham was born at Deerfield, Michigan, February 20, 1839, and died at Champaign, September 13, 1897. He had the training of a Michigan farm boy. His early education was from the public schools. During the years 1860-61 he taught school during the winter months in Iroquois County, Illinois. He possessed a studious, thoughtful nature, and he began life with a solid foundation of practical knowledge and integrity of character. After completing his studies with Mr. McKinley at Champaign he was admitted to the bar and became junior member...

Biography of Judge Joseph Oscar Cunningham

Judge J. O. Cunningham. The publishers and editors of this work feel that only a meager tribute can be paid to the memory of Champaign County’s most beloved citizen in the following brief review of his life. Judge Cunningham was a great historian. He contributed liberally to historical literature, was himself the author of a History of Champaign County, and in the closing months of his life he gave generously from the riches of his great collection and from his experience and memory in an advisory capacity to the compilation of the present work. Joseph Oscar Cunningham was born at Lancaster in Erie County, New York, December 12, 1830, and died at his home, 922 West Green Street, Urbana, on April 30, 1917, when in his eighty-seventh year. He was a son of Hiram Way and Eunice (Brown) Cunningham. Some of his early life was spent in northern Ohio, where he attended Baldwin Institute at Berea and also Oberlin College. In June, 1853, at the age of twenty-two, he came to Champaign County, and from that time forward his home was at Urbana. He had previously taught in the village school at Eugene, Indiana, but a month after his arrival at Urbana became associated as one of the proprietors and editors of the Urbana Union. He was a member of this firm of Cunningham & Flynn until 1858, and in August of that year became associated with J. W. Scroggs in the publication of the Central Illinois Gazette at Champaign, a village then known as Western Urbana. In April, 1855, Mr. Cunningham was admitted to the bar. In 1859...

Biography of William W. Earnest

William W. Earnest. Firmly entrenched in the American heart is the public school system, which, while not perfect perhaps, is continually being improved, largely as the result of the efforts of conscientious, intellectual leaders. The city of Champaign in its superintendent of schools has a well qualified, constructive man, a graduate of the University of Illinois and a thorough teacher as well as executive. He is William W. Earnest, who has occupied this responsible office for the past nine years. William W. Earnest was born in Mississippi, October 1, 1863, one of a family of three children born to his parents, who were John W. and Julia J. (Woolley) Earnest. Both parents were natives of Illinois, the father born in Sangamon and the mother in Greene County. Both are now deceased, the death of the father occurring in 1902. He was one of the Argonauts who, in 1850, went to California in search of gold, of which he found enough to pay for his time, and he had many interesting experiences and adventures. From California he returned to Illinois, but afterward went to Mississippi and was engaged in managing sawmills there at the outbreak of the war between the states and found it impossible to escape from a situation embarrassing to a northern man until the opening of the Mississippi and Yazoo mines in the spring of 1864. Later on he followed the peaceful pursuits of agriculture in Macoupin County, Illinois. William W. Earnest attended the public schools of Greenfield, and after completing the high school course and a college course in the Valparaiso University he was engaged for...

Biographical Sketch of Egbert Davison Burnham

Egbert Davison Burnham is the only surviving son of the late Albert C. Burnham, long prominent as a pioneer lawyer and banker at Champaign and whose career is more fully noted on other pages. Robert Davison Burnham learned banking with his father, but for many years has been actively engaged in the farm loan business, with offices in the First National Bank Building. He was born in Champaign, February 19, 1872, one of the five children of the late A. C. Burnham and wife. Three of these children died in infancy. Mr. Burnham was the oldest and the second in age was Mary Bruce, now wife of Newton M. Harris. Mr. Burnham was liberally educated, though he did not complete a university course. He attended the University of Illinois and also the famous college preparatory school at Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He left school to take a position in his father’s office in the Burnham, Trevett & Mattis Banking Company. He was well trained in the details of banking, but in a short time left his father’s office to form a partnership with his brother-in-law, Newton M. Harris, in the farm loan business. Mr. Burnham has the public spirit of his honored father, has been a member of the Park Commission of Champaign, and is now serving on the Public Library Board. He is a member of the Episcopal church. December 4, 1895, he married Miss May Wilcox, a native of Champaign. Their three children are Robert D., Jr., Sidney Wilcox and Albert...

Biography of Edwin S. Swigart

Edwin S. Swigart, a former mayor of the city of Champaign, is a thorough business man, and his reputation as a successful manager of large and important interests was one of the chief reasons why the people of Champaign desired him as their mayor. A native of Illinois, he was born near Farmer City in DeWitt County, December 11, 1861. His parents, Jacob and Rebecca (Davis) Swigart, were both born in Ohio. Jacob Swigart, who was born in 1827 and died in 1907, removed to DeWitt County, Illinois, in 1847. Rebecca Davis was taken to DeWitt County in 1837, when a small child, and she is still living, being now one of the oldest settlers of that county. Jacob Swigart followed farming during his active career, and became well known in politics and business affairs. In 1868 he was elected a member of the State Legislature. In a family of nine children, Edwin S. Swigart was the sixth in order of birth. His early advantages were those of the common schools of DeWitt County and for three years he was a student in Lombard College at Galesburg. He had considerable experience as a farmer, and after his marriage in 1885 he remained on the home place for a year. Mr. Swigart was one of the organizers of the Creamery Package Company, then located at Morrison, Illinois, and for a time he gave this business his entire time and energies. The company has since grown to very large proportions, and now has its main offices in Chicago. For six years Mr. Swigart was associated with his father in the management...
Page 2 of 4912345678910...2030...Last »

Pin It on Pinterest