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Biography of Col. Ezra M. Beardsley

Perhaps throughout Rock Island County there is no name so often recalled or regarded among old settlers as that of Colonel Ezra M. Beardsley, unless it be those of the late Major James M. Beardsley, or the former’s brother, James M. Beardsley. The life of Ezra was one of incessant activity and brilliant success, and up to the time of his death and since he was highly esteemed as an exemplary citizen, a patriot of the most courageous and pronounced character, and a man whom all were delighted to call friend. Strong as iron, he was a child; gentle as a baby, he was an untamed lion when the question of right was in jeopardy. Ezra Beardsley was born October 14, 1827, at Ashland, Green County, New York, his parents being Elisha and Caroline (M. Marvin) Beardsley. He traced his progenitors back to the early portion of the Seventeenth Century, many of them having served in the Army and Navy during the various uprisings and wars which have made history for this nation. He came to Illinois in 1844, and until 1870, when he removed to Kansas, had been a resident of Rock Island County. In 1855 he was elected Sheriff; was admitted to the bar in 1859, after a thorough course in law; enlisted in the “three months’ service,” and was commissioned Lieutenant in the Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteers. He was promoted to the rank of Post-Adjutant at Camp Douglas, then a military prison near Chicago. His humane efforts in behalf of the unfortunate prisoners of war at that time would of themselves furnish material for a large volume....

Biography of Martin Schoonmaker

Much has been written in this historical work of the banks and bankers of Rock Island and Moline. However, in estimating the financial strength of Rock Island County the banks and bankers of its smaller municipalities are deserving of very prominent mention, for they are the tributaries of larger financial institutions and have an important part in swelling the stream of the county’s prosperity. To the village bank comes the farmer from the surrounding countryside and deposits the golden fruits of his toil. From the proprietor of that bank its customers may ask and receive sound financial advice. He is their friend and adviser as well as their banker. The farm loan, that solid rock of financial investment, is placed with him, or is negotiated through some larger banking institution through his agency. Upon the stability and security of these smaller banks, as well as upon the honor and integrity of those in control of them, rests the whole superstructure of the confidence and trust reposed in them. With these thoughts in mind we are now to consider the life and character of Martin Schoonmaker, the banker at the Village of Reynolds in this county, one of Rock Island County’s most influential citizens. He was born October 21, 1834, in Green County, New York, his parents being Christian and Sylvia Schoonmaker. Both Mr. Schoonmaker’s parents were natives of this country. His paternal grandfather came to America from Germany at a very early date. Martin Schoonmaker received such education as was afforded at that early time in the common schools of his native county, receiving sound instruction in the common...

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