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Biography of Isaac E. Hess

Isaac E. Hess. Successful merchandising is a business that is necessary in a community that desires to expand and progress, but all merchandising is not, by any means, successful. When poor stocks are offered to the public and indifferent salesmen reluctantly show the wares, the business is not very likely to interest any one very long, but, on the other hand, the first class store, filled with dependable, up-to-date goods which are brought to the attention of customers by courteous employees and sold at honest prices, is a very helpful factor in building up the name and promoting the prosperity of a town, village or a city. In order, however, to be a successful merchant, a man must have many of the qualities that make for success along any line, and foresight, shrewdness, knowledge of details, good judgment and integrity are some of these. Occasionally the real mercantile spirit descends in a family from father to son and a case in point may be mentioned in referring to Philo, that bustling little city in Champaign County, where the name of Hess has been thoroughly identified with the mercantile business for the past forty-two years. Isaac E. Hess, who is the leading general merchant at Philo, Illinois, was born at Parkville, in Sadorus Township, Champaign County, Illinois, September 3, 1871. His parents were George W. and Erzilla Jane (Dodson) Hess, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Kentucky. In his earlier years George W. Hess was a farmer. Pie came to Champaign County and located in Sadorus Township in 1858 and engaged there in agricultural...

Biography of Charles F. Oehmke

Charles F. Oehmke, assistant postmaster of Urbana, has been continuously identified with the post office in that city for the past eleven years. He was formerly a successful teacher. He is a native of Champaign County, where he was born January 22, 1880. His parents were John Fred and Elizabeth (Schultz) Oehmke, both natives of Germany. John F. Oehmke came to America at the age of seventeen and at once located in Champaign County. He had experience as a farmer, also in the marble works, and subsequently bought a farm, which he cultivated until his death in 1910. His widow is still living in Gifford, Champaign County. John F. Oehmke was honored with several township offices, and was a man of capable work and citizenship in this county. He and his wife had fourteen children: William, of Larchwood, Iowa; Louis Frank, deceased; Fred, of North Dakota; Louisa, deceased; Charles F.; Edward, of Larchwood, Iowa; John, a farmer of Fennel d, Illinois; Henry, of Oklahoma City; Rose, wife of J. T. Michaels, of Oklahoma City; Emma, deceased; Martin, of East St. Louis, Illinois; Walter, of Detroit, Michigan; Minnie, still at home; and Frank, of Pomeroy, Iowa. Mr. Charles F. Oehmke was educated in the common schools and had six months of high school training. He had also nine weeks of summer terms in the University of Illinois. At the age of seventeen he became a regular hand on the farm, and after three years in that occupation took up school teaching. He taught six years altogether, most of the time in the country schools, but during the last year in...

Biography of Charles Frank Van Vleck

Charles Frank Van Vleck. It is not so very many years ago since the first American automobile attracted interest and curious comment as it rather cautiously sped up and down the highways of town and country, and few people had sufficient confidence in the new machine to predict that the time would come when it would practically supplant all other ordinary means of transportation. Its development has been so rapid and substantial that business men in all lines, all over the country, soon found themselves becoming first interested and later concerned with the automobile industry in some way. One of the necessary adjuncts is the public garage, and many men of solid business experience have found that they have made no mistake in investing in enterprises of this kind. One who is doing a fine business at Philo is Charles Frank Van Vleck. Charles F. Van Vleck was born at Philo, Illinois, August 10, 1870. His parents were Charles H. and Jennie M. (Palmer) Van Vleck, the former of whom was born in the state of New York and the latter at Joliet, Illinois. They came to Philo in 1868 and the father embarked in a grain business at this point, in which he continued to be interested for many years. His death occurred at Philo February 8, 1916, his reputation as an upright business man never having been impaired. The mother died at Philo in October, 1872, when their only child was but two years old. He was educated in the public schools and remained with his father and when twenty-one years of age went into the grain...

Biography of Richard M. Franks

Richard M. Franks. One of the representative citizens of Philo, Illinois, is Richard M. Franks, who not only is managing important business interests but is also one of the trustworthy public officials of township and village. Mr. Franks was born in Saxony, Germany, February 7, 1868, to which province his people have belonged for generations. His parents were Frederick and Julia (Wiedeman) Franks. They came from Germany to the United States in 1881 and located at Philo in Champaign County, Illinois. There the father died in 1897, the mother passing away at a later date in the city of Dubuque, Iowa. They were the parents of two sons, Richard M. and Otto, the latter of whom died in Germany. Richard M. Franks was thirteen years old when the family came to Champaign County and his schooldays were about ended. He went to work on a farm and continued to be interested in agricultural pursuits until 1904, in which year he came to Philo village and established a lumber yard here and later a yard also at Sidney, and since then has done a large business in this line. He is also agent for the Ford and Studebaker automobiles. Mr. Franks is a man of unusual business enterprise and in furthering his own business concerns has done well for others in affording employment to a number of men and paying good wages. Mr. Franks was married December 27, 1895, to Miss Alice M. Trost, and they have become the parents of seven children, as follows: Lyman, who lived but two and one-half years; and Royal M., John Edward, Lyle Harold,...

Biographical Sketch of Charles W. Reed

Charles W. Reed is a farmer and successful stockman with home in section 16 of Philo Township. His rural mail delivery comes from Tolono on Route No. 48. Mr. Reed was born in Marshall County, Illinois, March 11, 1869, son of John Caldwell and Mary (Bell) Reed. Both parents were born in Virginia and in early life moved to Illinois. In 1879 John C. Reed came to Champaign County, locating on the farm in section 16 of Philo Township where his son Charles now resides. Both parents are now deceased. Their five children were named: Charles W.; Henry K., deceased; Mary Bell, wife of Professor E. H. Wells, of the University of Nebraska; John, of Ligonier, Indiana; and James, of Philo Township. Charles W. Reed grew up and received his education in Champaign County and at his father’s death took charge of the farm for three years. He then went to Lincoln, Nebraska, bought eighty acres in that part of the state, but after a year went to Denver and in the fall of the same year returned to Philo, Illinois. In the spring of 1906 he entered upon his duties as manager of the old homestead of 160 acres, and has steadily and profitably directed the operations of that fine farm for over ten years. He raises the staple crops and also handles good live stock. On December 24, 1895, Mr. Reed married Miss Abbie Jane Huhn. Mrs. Reed was born in Maryland. They have one son, John Ralph, a volunteer member of Battery B, Third Illinois Artillery. Mr. Reed is a Republican in...

Biography of Jesse Newton Dick

Jesse Newton Dick. The communities which do not have the proportion of intelligent retired farmers, many of whom are capitalists, as residents lack an element that may be one of great importance. The farmer’s life leads to thought and contemplation and a man who through his own toilsome efforts can acquire a competency and retire to enjoy it while yet in middle life must be possessed of excellent judgment, which should be a valuable addition to community life. He should be a man with clearer views concerning many things and more able to give sensible advice and offer practical suggestions in regard to the everyday problems that have to be settled when interests clash, as they do in congested sections contrasted with the larger freedom of country life. In the pleasant town of Philo may be found fine examples of the retired farmer who have become exceedingly useful members of this community, and one who was held in general esteem was Jesse Newton Dick, who was called from this life on the 10th of August, 1917. He lies buried in the Maharry Cemetery near Wingate, Indiana. Jesse N. Dick was born in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, December 7, 1857. His parents were Eli H. and Jane P. (Maharry) Dick, the former of whom was born at Baltimore, Maryland, August 15, 1822, and the latter in Indiana, February 10, 1829. They came to Champaign County in 1878 and settled on a farm in Philo Township which Mr. Dick had purchased in 1876. He carried on the usual agricultural industries here during the rest of his active life, and died at Philo...

Biography of Carl Odebrecht

Carl Odebrecht. Some of the finest farms in Illinois are to be found in Philo Township of Champaign County. This also means that some of the ablest exponents of the art of agriculture are in the same locality. One of the men who have been especially successful in transmitting the resources of the soil into material benefit is Carl Odebrecht, whose operations as a farmer are carried on in section 28 of that township. His entire life has been spent in Champaign County. He was born in Raymond Township, August 20, 1877, and is a son of Charles and Sophie (Raver) Odebrecht. His parents were both born in Germany. His father arrived in America December 1, 1873, and for several years lived near Winchester, Ohio. In 1877 he came to Champaign County. He was at that time poor in purse though with experience and a steadfast ambition. Locating in Raymond Township, he lived there as a renter one year and for six years rented land in Philo Township. The slow accumulations of his industry then bore fruit in the purchase of eighty acres in section 28 of Philo Township. His prosperity has been steadily on the increase. He bought 120 acres more in the same locality, acquired forty acres in Ohio and finally forty acres in section 28 of Philo Township. The home farm has been brought under cultivation and has been put in a measure in a magnificent state of improvement. The good wife and mother died here October 20, 1910. She was the mother of three children: Erne, wife of Herbert Krumm, of Philo Township; Carl P.;...

Biography of David A. Silver

David A. Silver is one of the men who claim Champaign County as their birthplace and the scene of their substantial activities. Mr. Silver has found in farming both a congenial and profitable occupation. The management of well tilled fields, the care and superintendence of good stock, the task of winning a living and at the same time increasing and improving the value of his farm, and the duties of good citizenship, have occupied him for many years. His home and farm are in Philo Township in section 3, and his mail is delivered on Rural Route No. 11 out of Urbana. Mr. Silver was born in Philo Township, September 22, 1867, and is a son of Wallace and Mary D. (Karr) Silver. His father was born in Warren County, Ohio, and his mother in New Jersey. Wallace Silver arrived in Champaign County October 23, 1854. He had come overland from Ohio, bringing household goods, and cattle. Locating in Philo Township, he bought in 1855 eighty acres in section 3, and proceeded forthwith to its development and improvement and followed farming successfully there until the last twelve years of his life, which he spent retired in Urbana. He died June 10, 1914, and his widow is still living in Urbana. The only child of his parents, David A. Silver grew up on the home farm, attended the local schools, and at the age of twenty rented a tract of land for his own purposes. In 1891 he bought eighty acres in section 10 of Philo Township, and in 1902 increased his farm by the purchase of eighty acres more...

Biographical Sketch of Clarence L. Williams

Clarence L. Williams is an enterprising farmer of Philo Township and is now living in section 25, on the land where he was born August 7, 1875. The family is an old and prominent one of Champaign County. His parents were Elias and Hannah (Peterson) Williams. Both were born in Franklin County, Indiana. Elias Williams came to Illinois in early manhood and located in Champaign County during the early ’60s. His first possessions here were eighty acres and he subsequently added another eighty acres and had the farm well improved and under profitable operation long before his death, which occurred June 19, 1914. His widow died May 22, 1917, at Philo. Their three children are: Clark E., of Bluffton, Indiana; Ella M., at home; and Clarence L. Clarence L. Williams grew up on the homestead, attended the district schools, and at the age of nineteen began his independent career by renting a home place of eighty acres. He has since bought the entire farm of 160 acres and has it under splendid control. Mr. Williams is a Republican in politics. His interest in local schools is indicated by the fact that for the past fifteen years he has served as director of his home district. He and his family are members of the Presbyterian Church. He married Catherine Churchill, who was born in New York State. Their four children, all at home, are Nellie, Roy, Dorothea and...

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