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Biography of A. P. Johnson

A. P. Johnson. Among the learned professions there are, probably, none that demand so much tact, judgment, patience, natural executive ability and specialized knowledge as that of the educator. The individual who enters into this field, selecting it as his chosen life work and calling, must be prepared to make many sacrifices, to endure numerous disappointments, to often spend himself for others without apparent return of gratitude, and to give the best years of his life often without the emoluments that equal efforts would in all probability bring in any other profession. It is a vocation for which there are no weights and measures. The material with which it deals is the youth of our land upon which impressions are often eternal and which affords the man who would serve the race an opportunity than which there are none greater. Of the men of Champaign County who have dedicated their lives to this work, one of the best known is A. P. Johnson, superintendent of the public schools of the city of Urbana. Born December 16, 1863, in Sussex County, Delaware, A. P. Johnson, is a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Smith) Johnson. On both sides of the family he is descended from English ancestors, and his ancestors lived for many years in Delaware, where both his parents were born. Benjamin Johnson was a fanner by vocation and in 1873, feeling that the fertile fields of Illinois would yield him a fortune; he came to this state and settled on a farm in Mahomet Township, Champaign County, where the remainder of his life was passed in the tilling of...

Biography of Lewis D. Oliver

Lewis D. Oliver. Bankers and financiers have been happily compared to pendulums of commerce and progress, and it is very true that they furnish the stability and the steadiness chiefly required for the business world. Every financial institution acquires estimation and influence in its community largely through the character and reputation of the men whose names are most intimately associated with the undertaking. One of Champaign County’s most prosperous banks is the First State Bank of Fisher and the success and prosperity of that institution are in no small degree a reflection of the personal integrity and business standing of its vice president, Lewis D. Oliver. Mr. Oliver has been identified with Champaign County many years, and his activities have been of such character as to merit the confidence reposed in him by a large community. He was born in McLean County, Illinois, January 20, 1857. He is the fifth in a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, born to Jackson and Clarissa (Courtright) Oliver. Four of these children are still living. Henry is a retired agriculturist living at Hennessey, Oklahoma, is a Democrat in politics and is married. Leroy P. is a resident of Morristown, Indiana. John W. is an agriculturist, live stock breeder and dealer living at Ottawa, Kansas. Jackson Oliver was born in Ohio in 1817, grew up in that state, was educated in the common schools, and took up and successfully pursued for many years the vocation of agriculturist. He died in 1900. Politically he was a Democrat. It was in 1854 that he removed to McLean County, Illinois, and bought land...

Biography of the English Brothers (Richard and Edward)

English Brothers. Former students of the University of Illinois, where both were thoroughly trained in the technical branches of their profession, the English Brothers, Richard Caleb and Edward Carey, Jr., have for the past sixteen years been general contractors and structural engineers at Champaign, with offices in the Lincoln Building, they have developed a splendid prestige and reputation and their clientage constitutes a business that is one of the largest and most valuable of its kind in this section of the state. Of the two brothers Richard Caleb English, the older, was born March 1, 1873, at Jonesboro in Union County, Illinois, while Edward Carey, Jr., was born November 19, 1876, at Anna, in Union County, Illinois. Their parents were Edward Carey and Marga Ann (Hartline) English, the former a native of St. Johns, Newfoundland, and the latter of Union County, Illinois. Both parents are now deceased. The Hartline family came from Eowan County, North Carolina, and have been residents of the State of Illinois since 1798. It was in 1898 that the English brothers came to Champaign County as students in the University of Illinois. Edward C. was graduated in 1902. In the previous year they had engaged in business together as general contractors and builders, and with maturing experience they have extended their work to cover a large field and they have an immense amount of capital and equipment and a perfected organization for carrying out the most involved contract of construction. Both are practical engineers and have fully deserved their success. Politically they are active democrats and in fraternal affairs are members of the Benevolent and...

Biography of Benjamin Franklin Harris

Benjamin Franklin Harris. Love of land, of peace and industry, cardinal virtues in the lives of men and nations, were ever present influences in the long life of the late B. F. Harris of Champaign County. To say that he left “a good name” as a legacy to his family, is to state only part of the truth. It was a strong name, one that is vital today, and the memory of it has an inspiration to all those who have the resolution and the will to labor in order to secure worthy places in their respective spheres. Without disparaging the remarkable material achievements associated with the name in Champaign County, there is need to emphasize the wonderful virility of the family stock and its permanence. America, and this is particularly true of the Middle West, can show comparatively few families who can take root and grow and flourish generation after generation in one spot. In fact mobility in population has been exalted in some quarters almost to a virtue. Of the Harris family five generations have lived in Champaign County, beginning with the father of B. F. Harris, Sr., and coming down to his great-grandchildren. More important still, each generation has amplified and expanded the interests of the preceding. The word virility is as applicable to the family today as it was when Champaign County was on the frontier. In 1916 there was held a simple ceremony at the University of Illinois, which attracted wide newspaper publicity even at a time when politics and a world war were the absorbing topics of conversation.. This was the hanging of...

Biography of Henry Hickman Harris

Henry Hickman Harris, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer and cattle feeder, and who, accepting the character and principles which his father had introduced into the First National Bank of Champaign at its founding, took it upon himself to apply these principles and broaden them for forty years, was born on the Sangamon Paver farm in Champaign County, where his father first settled. He was born on April 27, 1844, and lived seventy useful years, passing away July 15, 1914. Henry H. Harris was a stalwart citizen and under his skillful hands the fortune of his father had greatly increased and he had managed his varied interests and affairs, including the First National Bank in which he succeeded his father as president, in such a way as to justify his stewardship, and all that came to him in the way of fortune and influence. His good judgment and wise administration carried the bank successfully through several financial panics. He was one of the organizing members of the Illinois Bankers Association and served as its president in 1908-09. He was for many years a member of the city council of Champaign and to his aggressiveness and good judgment the city is indebted for many of its best improvements. He served for a number of years as president of the Champaign County Fair Association and established that organization on a sound financial basis, having taken it in a bankrupt condition. While he was a man of decided opinions and a patriot, he was of a rather retiring disposition, never accepting any political office and refused some possible opportunities...

Biographical Sketch of Newton M. Harris

Newton M. Harris, vice-president of the First National Bank of Champaign, was born in that city July 27, 1872, a son of the late Henry H. Harris and a grandson of B. F. Harris, Sr. He was liberally educated, being a graduate of Yale University with the class of 1895, and for fully a quarter of a century has been actively identified with the interests of the Harris family as farmers, stock raisers and bankers. During his father’s life he shared the responsibilities of vice-president with his brother of the First National Bank, and still fills that post. Newton M. Harris married Mary Bruce Burnham, of the well known Burnham family of Champaign County elsewhere referred to. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are members of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, respectively. Their three children are Bruce, Barbara B. and Mary Julia. Mr. Harris is a member of the Sons of American Revolution and is a thirty-second degree Mason and a...

Biography of Thomas M. Lyman

Thomas M. Lyman gave many consecutive years to the management of an Illinois farm, and through hard work and intelligent management obtained the financial competence which enabled him a few years ago to retire from business and enjoy the comforts of a good ‘home in the city of ‘Champaign. Mr. Lyman was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, February 6, 1866. His parents, Bernard and Mary (McLennan) Lyman, were both natives of Ireland. His father came to America as a young man about 1854, lived for a time near Eaton, Ohio, and subsequently removed to Vermilion County, Illinois. He farmed a few years near Ridge Farm and made his farm in Champaign County the scene of his productive labors for many years. He died in Champaign County in 1904 and his wife passed away in 1902. Their children were: Lucinda, wife of John Martin, living in Adams County, Nebraska; John, a retired farmer in Champaign; Mary Jane, who died in childhood; Bridget, who married John W. Early, both now deceased; Thomas M.; William, deceased; Catherine,’ deceased wife of James B. Hagan; and Mary, wife of William McMahon, of Champaign. Thomas M. Lyman was born in Vermilion County but was reared and educated in Champaign County. The country schools supplied his early instruction. He lived in the wholesome atmosphere of a farm and that was the vocation he took up when ‘he started to make his own way in the world. Mr. Lyman was a progressive farmer until April, 1914, when he retired and removing to Champaign bought a fine home in that city. He was married January 29, 1895, to...

Biography of W. R. Cole

W. R. Cole is one of the former prominent business men of Champaign County now living retired. He and Mrs. Cole occupy a very attractive home on Belle Avenue in Rantoul. Mrs. Cole is a member of an old and prominent family of Champaign County, and is a sister of one of the foremost physicians and surgeons in the world, Dr. D. A. K. Steele, one of the founders of the University of Illinois medical department. Mrs. Cole and her brother both taught in the school at Rantoul and they are of a family of teachers, preachers and lawyers. A native of Canada, W. R. Cole was born at Adolphostown, a son of Conrad B. and Sarah Ann Cole. He was only an infant when his mother died. He grew up and received his early education at Nappanee, Canada, and at the age of twenty-six, in 1870, came from Kingston, Ontario, to Rantoul, Illinois, to visit his brother, L. B. Cole, who was at that time a coal, grain and lumber merchant. He assisted his brother in the business for several years. In 1872 Mr. Cole married Mary E. Lavinia Steele. She was born at Grandcote in Perry County, Illinois, daughter of Rev. Daniel and Mary Leatham Orr (Anderson) Steele. Her parents were natives of northern Ireland. Rev. Daniel Steele came to America in 1851, locating in Ohio, and in 1868 removing to Rantoul. He was a Presbyterian minister and for a number of years filled a pulpit in Rantoul. As the result of a run-away horse he sustained an injury which crippled him through his later years. He...

Biography of Joseph Fultz

Joseph Fultz, now living retired at Rantoul, has had a career filled with labors and ministrations of kindness, and has done what good he could as he went through the world. The practical side of his career has been as a farmer, and for a number of years he served as a local minister of the Methodist Church, a work of inestimable value which cannot be measured by any ordinary human standards. Mr. Fultz was born in Washington County, Indiana, a son of Frederick and Mary Fultz, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Indiana. Frederick Fultz was twice married, had eight children by his first wife and seven by the second. Joseph Fultz was the youngest of the first family. He was carefully reared, had a common school education and became a farmer even before he reached his majority. At the age of twenty-one Joseph Fultz married Mary Bottorff, daughter of James and Lydia Bottorff, both of whom were born near New Albany, Indiana. James Bottorff was of German parentage. After their marriage Joseph and Mary Fultz began their wedded life on a farm in Washington County, Indiana, and farming was the work which Mr. Fultz pursued in order to provide the advantages and home life of his growing family. Eight children were born to them, Lewis B., Herman, Ernest, Elsie, Orval, Grover, Goldie and Vesta. All were students in the district schools of Indiana. Herman Fultz married Anna Oliver, located at Salem, Indiana, and had seven children, named Gertrude, Audrey, Ina, Helen, Ruby, Everett and Fred. Lewis B. Fultz, who lives at Mount Pleasant,...

Biography of Samuel P. Atkinson

Samuel P. Atkinson. Perhaps Champaign has no more sturdy and progressive citizen than is found in Samuel P. Atkinson, manager of the S. P. Atkinson Monument Company. He is a thorough American, with a backing of colonial ancestry and Revolutionary stock; and is a veteran of the great struggle which prior to 1914 the people of the United States has called the saddest page on the world’s history. Mr. Atkinson is a vigorous and able business man, but he is much more, for he has the true welfare of his city at heart and is zealously working to advance movements that will be of the greatest permanent benefit to the whole community. His entire life has been a busy, useful and interesting one. Samuel P. Atkinson was born in Central Ohio, November 26, 1844. His parents were Peabody and Marenda (Elliott) Atkinson, both of whom were descendants of Revolutionary heroes and natives of New Hampshire. The old Atkinson homestead situated ten miles from Concord, New Hampshire, was the cause of a pilgrimage made by Samuel P. Atkinson in 1916, and in the vicinity, with other kindred of generations gone, rest the ashes of his grandfather, Joseph C. Atkinson. To Peabody Atkinson and wife seven children were born, namely: Henry and Mary, both of whom are deceased; Joseph, who is living in Ohio; George, who is deceased; Samuel P.; and Annie and Nettie, both of whom are deceased. The father of the above family died from an accident in August, 1863, and the mother passed away in 1866. Samuel P. Atkinson completed his junior year at Marietta College of Ohio,...
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