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Biography of William A. Meese

When that evil day shall come whereon William A. Meese exchanges his 7 1/8 derby of commerce for the starry crown of heavenly reward, doffs his conventional haberdashery of the Mississippi Valley for the celestial cerements of eternal bliss, Moline will pause in its onward march to industrial eminence, consider well this life-time of devotion to the city’s interests, drop a tear of affection for a departed comrade and wonder with apprehension where the half-dozen men are to spring from to take his place in the struggle for civic improvement. He has been for a half-century the loyal friend of his town, the unwavering champion of Moline’s claims to consideration, her press agent, advocate and guardian spirit. This esteem is mutual and reciprocal and the constant plea of Moline is that William A. Meese may long be spared to serve as her envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. His list of activities for the good of his city before deliberative and legislative bodies and as a member of organizations which have built the city into its present proud condition, spiritually, morally, educationally and industrially has not been written. The record is long, honorable and fortunately incomplete. William A. Meese was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, February 1, 1856. It has been a subject of regret that he was not a native of Moline, but this error, not his own, he repaired as speedily as possible by bringing his family to the village of promise in the garden spot of the Mississippi Valley at the age of two. His father, Henry Bruno Meese, and mother, Johanna (von Thielde) Meese, were natives of...

Biography of Colonel Elhanan John Searle

Soldier, jurist and publicist, a man of many attainments and widely diversified talent, was Elhanan J. Searle, the subject of this sketch. He was born January 18, 1835, at Royalton, Ohio, coming to Rock Island County with his parents when about two years of age, and died at Rock Island, August 18, 1906. Colonel Searle, or Judge Searle as he was perhaps more familiar known throughout Rock Island County, received his education at the Rock River Seminary, an institution located at Mount Morris, Illinois, and after completing his studies in that school, which was largely preparatory in its scope, he entered Northwestern University at Evanston; from which institution he graduated with the highest honors of his class; and at the time of his death was the oldest alumnus of that institution. After the completion of his collegiate course he decided to fit himself for entrance to the legal profession, and with that end in view he entered the law office of John L. Beveridge, afterwards Governor of Illinois, at Chicago. He remained in Mr. Beveridge’s office until November, 1859, when he entered the law office of Abraham Lincoln and William H. Herndon, the firm being known as Lincoln & Herndon, at Springfield, and here he remained continuing the study of his chosen profession until March, 1861. Daily association with a character such as Abraham Lincoln’s and the intimacy naturally arising from their relation as student and mentor, must have made a deep impression upon the young man, and doubtless exerted a formative influence upon the whole course of his after life. As we can view it now, such an...

Biography of Mansfield M. Sturgeon

One of the most brilliant and astute attorneys practising at the Rock Island County Bar is Mansfield M. Sturgeon, senior member of the legal firm of Sturgeon. Stelck & Sturgeon, a man whose great ability and profound learning as an attorney has been demonstrated in the trial of many important suits, as well as in sound counsel and legal advice. He was born September 10, 1843, at Letart Falls, Ohio, his parents, being Oliver Hazard Perry Sturgeon and Mary Ellenor (Summers) Sturgeon. The father was born March 14, 1818, at Sistersville, Virginia, the date of the marriage of the senior Mr. and Mrs. Sturgeon being December 25, 1839. The death of the father occurred at Windom, Kansas, in 1902, he being then in his eighty-fifth year. The mother was born in Morgantown, Virginia, June 11., 1819. She is still living, and is in her eighty-eighth year. The grandfather of our subject, William Sturgeon, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was with the land forces at Lake Erie when Commodore Perry won the memorable naval battle there. Hence when his son was born he bestowed upon him the somewhat lengthy name of Oliver Hazard Perry Sturgeon, in honor of his hero. This rather cumbrous cognomen was abbreviated by his boyhood companions to simply “Perry “, and by this name he was known throughout his life. The Sturgeons were of Scotch-Irish ancestry, one of the members of that family settling in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in an early day. The great-grandfather of our subject was born in Uniontown. When a young man he erected a grist mill on the banks...

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