The following data is extracted from Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois.
John Whitaker was born in Vigo County, Indiana, March 12, 1833, and is the son of William and Elizabeth (Taylor) Whitaker, who were natives of Kentucky. His father was born in 18o3 and died in 1846. John Whitaker came to Douglas County in 1856, located on section 13, Bourbon Township, where he bought a farm of eighty acres, on which he lived five years ; this property he then sold and purchased eighty acres later on. At present he owns in all two hundred and forty acres; this farm he has improved with buildings at a cost of about two thousand dollars. He has been Township commissioner for about five years. In 186o he married Hannah Davis, who was born in Vigo County, Indiana. She died and he subsequently married Mrs. Yeager, of Arcola. In 1898 they commenced the construction of the Douglas hotel and on April 19, 1899, it was swung open to the general public. This hotel is by far the best in every way of all other public inns in the County.
Source: Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois