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Collection: Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County Illinois

Biography of James H. Wright

James H. Wright, one of the oldest grain buyers in the County, residing at Arthur, was born near the town of Poland, Trumbull (now Mahoning) County, Ohio, February 6,1827 ,and is a son of James and Mary (Kidd) Wright, who were born near Poland, Trumbull (now Mahoning) County, Ohio, of Scotch-Irish origin. Rev. James Wright (father) received his education for the Presbyterian ministry at the Canonsburg College, and spent most of his life in preaching the gospel, first at Poland, and later at Westfield, Pennsylvania. He died in 1843 at the age of fifty-nine years. His father was Alexander Wright, who was an early settler from the north of Ireland, to Washing-ton County. He married a Scotch girl by the name of Esther Silcox. Robert Kidd (grand-father) was also a native of Ireland, was an early settler in Trumbull County, Ohio, and in religious affairs he was known as a Seceder in that day, now known as a United Presbyterian. James H. Wright was reared in his native County, acid in Pennsylvania, receiving the advantages of an ordinary education. In 1857 he came west and located at Arcola, which at that time contained but three houses, and was for several years engaged in farming in that vicinity. In 1873 he commenced buying grain at Hindsboro, where he continued successfully in business until 1886, when he removed to Arthur, where...

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Biographical Sketch of William A. Wiseman

William A. Wiseman, a well known physician of Camargo, where he has been in successful practice for several years, was born at Waterloo, Lawrence County, Ohio, January 1, 1853, and is a son of Abner and Martha J. (Irwin) Wiseman. His father was a native of Virginia and his mother of Ohio. Isaac Wiseman’s grandfather was also born in Virginia and his maternal grandfather, George Irwin, was born in Virginia. Dr. Wiseman was reared in his native County, where he attended the public schools and subsequently, in 1878, became a student at DePauw University, where he pursued a regular college course for three years and a half. In 1882 he commenced the study of medicine in the office of Dr. C. Patterson and in 1883 went to Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and was graduated there from in the class of 1886. While at Philadelphia he took special courses in skin diseases and also in gynecology and gained practical experience at the Philadelphia Lying-in Hospital. In the spring of 1886 he located at Camargo in the practice of his profession and here he has built up a successful practice. In political opinion the Doctor is a consistent Prohibitionist, and is also a member of the Modern Woodmen and Court of Honor. In 1875 he was married to Miss Emma C. Carrel, of Dennison, Ohio. They have three children: Eva C.,...

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Biography of Charles W. Wilson

Charles W. Wilson, editor and proprietor of the Tuscola Review, was born fourteen miles west of Plainfield, Indiana, February 15, 1856, and in 1865 located in Tuscola. He attended school more or less up until fourteen years of age. In 1872 he entered the office of the Tuscola True Republican as office boy. The paper was owned by Charles Smith and was Democratic in politics. Later he entered the office of the Tuscola Gazette, which was edited by Hon. Leander B. Lester, now of Washington. Mr. Wilson remained here about one year when he went to the Review, then owned and edited by Converse & Park, who founded the paper July 23,1875. In 1876 he went on the printing force where he remained for some years. Converse & Park were succeeded by the well-known writer, Col. Phecian, who was the editor for six months; the latter was known as one of the wittiest writers the newspaper fraternity afforded. During this time he wrote a great deal for the Inter-Ocean, which kept him away a great deal, and this forced Mr. Wilson to take charge of the editorial tripod. Howard was succeeded by Major Asa Miller, who managed the paper up to December, 1892, when he sold out to Charles W. Wilson, who reconstructed the plant throughout, buying new machinery, and today issues every Friday one of the newsiest, wittiest...

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Biography of James A. Williams

James A. Williams, who has won his own way in the world and reached a degree of success beyond the average of men at his age, was born in Monongahela City, Washington County, Pennsylvania, August 1862. He is a son of John S. and Elizabeth (Van Vorhis), natives of the same County. James Williams wedded Nancy Van Allen and they were among the early settlers of Washington County, the latter having been born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Abram Van Vorhis, was one of the early farmers of that section and also traded in stock considerably. He was of Holland extraction. James A. Williams grew to manhood on a farm and never attended school after he reached the age of thirteen years; at that age his mother died and he was thrown upon his own resources. In about 1885 he decided to try his fortunes in the west, and after arriving in Illinois settled in Tuscola Township, where he became a farm hand; at this he continued until he was twenty-two years of age. By industry and good management he now owns two hundred and forty acres of well improved land in Douglas County, for which he has been offered eighty-five dollars an acre. Subsequently he bought the store at West Ridge, which he sold to W. H. Fry in December, 1899. He previously owned one at Allerton,...

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Biographical Sketch of George White

George White, the well known implement dealer and auctioneer of Newman, was born near Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, August 18, 1842, and is a son of M. L. and Mary (Biby) White. Middleton White was born in Barren County, Kentucky and moved to Edgar County, Illinois, where he was married. His wife was also from near Glasgow. Kentucky. ‘They are both dead and buried in the Paris cemetery. George White came to Newman and located in business in about 1874, since which time his business has steadily grown until he is known as one of the most successful and extensive implement dealers in the entire County. He also handles the Mitchell wagon and several makes of buggies and carriages. His sales run from $25,000 to $35,000 annually. In 1844 Mr. White was united in marriage to Miss Della Clark, who is a native of Kentucky. They have two children: Henry W., who will graduate from the Chicago Homeopathic School of Medicine in March, 1901, and Fred, who is in business with his father. George White has here held the office of township supervisor and while he resided in Edgar County held the same office. In 1861 he volunteered in Company E, Twelfth Illinois Infantry and served through the entire Civil war. During the month of February especially his services are in great demand as a public auctioneer. He is...

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Biography of W. L. Watson

W. L. Watson was born Vermilion County, Illinois, on the 22d of December, 1837. His father was William D. Watson, in his early life an itinerant Methodist preacher who traveled extensively through Indiana, having been born in the neighborhood of Vincennes, and in Fountain County, of that state, married Mary Low. His health finally failed him, and coming to Illinois, he located above Georgetown in Vermilion County. William Watson, the grandfather, was born in Kentucky, and when a young man settled in the vicinity of Vincennes, Indiana. W. L. was the oldest son and second child of the family. His father came to Douglas County, then Coles, in 1839, and located first on Brushy Fork, a short distance west of Newman. After a residence here of a year or two he moved to Camargo, and afterward to section 35, in Township 16, range 9, where he resided till his death, which occurred in October, 1858. His wife survived him till April, 1866. They had nine children. W. L. Watson was between four and five years old when his father located southeast of Camargo. At this latter place he mainly received his education, partly under the instruction of his father, who taught school at Camargo and was one of his first teachers. The old log school house stood about one hundred yards north of Alonzo Lion’s store, on the road...

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Biography of Albert W. Wallace

Albert W. Wallace is president of the First National Bank of Tuscola, one of the leading banking institutions of central Illinois. The First National Bank was organized in November, 1869, with a paid up capital of one hundred and thirteen thousand dollars. Its first president was William P. Cannon (a brother of Congressman J. G. Cannon) and W. H. Lamb was the first cashier. Mr. Cannon remained president until 1872, when he was succeeded by Henry T. Caraway, who remained president up to January 1, 1898, when he was succeeded by Mr. Wallace. Mr. Lamb remained cashier up to July 1, 1898, when he was succeeded by the present cashier, F. H. Hammett. The bank was reorganized in the fall of 1890 and the capital stock reduced to sixty thousand dollars. The directors of this bank arc among the wealthiest men of the County. A. W. Wallace, who has been connected with the First National Bank for years, is a son of Andrew G. Wallace, whose death occurred in July, 1878. The ancestry of the Wallace family is traced back to Scotland. Andrew G.’s grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, and from there to America, settling in Pennsylvania near where the three states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania came together. He had five sons, three of whom moved away from their Pennsylvania home. One of these was William Wallace,...

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Biography of T. W. Swigart

T. W. Swigart, the leading harness dealer and one of the most successful business men in Newman and Douglas County, was born in Carroll County, Maryland, in sight of A Westminister, July 3, 1831, and was a son of Joseph Swigart. When nine years of age T. W. Swigart removed with his parents to Seneca County, Ohio, where he spent a large portion of his life on a farm. From the years 1848 to 1851 he devoted his time to learning the trade of harness maker at Bellefontaine, Ohio. He was a young man of good habits and of splendid mechanical turn of mind; he learned the trade thoroughly and soon became a first-class work-man. In the year 1852 he removed to Attica, Indiana, where he resided and worked at his trade successfully up to the year 1870, when he went to Princeton, Illinois. There he met Miss Sarah Jane Martin, who, in 1871, became his wife. In the same year he came to Danville, Illinois, where he followed his trade until the month of February, 1873, when he came to Newman and succeeded Speelman & Ogden in the harness business. During his residence in Newman he has become one of the most successful business men in the city and has accumulated quite a lot of property. In politics he is thoroughly independent and there is very little of...

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Biography of Isaac Skinner

Isaac Skinner was born in Vermillion County, Indiana, January 5, 1829, and is a son of Joseph Skinner, who was among the earliest settlers in the neighborhood of Newman, coming, in 1839, from Vermillion County, Indiana, and settling along the timber a mile and a half southwest of where Newman now is. There were no schools in the vicinity when he first came to the County. He worked for his father until of age and then engaged in farming on rented land. In about 1853 he had saved money enough to enter one hundred and sixty acres of land. His mother, whose maiden name was Polly Gaston, was a daughter of Thomas Gaston, who lived in Meigs County, Ohio, and probably was a native of Canada. His father, Joseph, was born in Maine. His grandmother, Sarah Gaston, was born on the St. Lawrence River, while her parents were held captives by the Indians. Isaac Skinner was reared on a farm and received the limited school advantages that were common in that day. He was first a Whig and since the birth of the Republican party has been identified with that organization. He has been three times married. First, in February, 1859 he married Miss Mahala Drake, who died in 1865. His second wife was Mrs. Mary Hill, whose maiden name was Lewis; her death occurred in 1869. His third...

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Biography of Stephen Redden

Stephen Redden was born in Bracken County, Kentucky, April 14, 1818, and was a son of James Redden, who, leaving a large family of children growing up, resolved to give them a better chance by going west. Consequently he made a flat-boat, and, with his family and several of his neighbors and their families, he embarked on the Ohio river for what was then considered the far west. Stephen Redden was at that time four years old. At Louisville they would not trust the flat-boat to carry them over the falls, but were put ashore and either walked or were conveyed in some other manner to Portland, just below the falls, where the boat landed and took them on board. They landed at Evansville, Indiana, sometime in the fall of 1822, and after disposing of the flat-boat and investing in an ox team Mr. Redden and family started for the land of promise, the Prairie state, while the other families cast their lot with the Hoosier state. It was no uncommon thing for them to meet bands of blanketed Indians and see droves of (leer, or to be “lulled to sleep” at night by the “music of the wolves,” on their journey from the Ohio River to the small village of Terre Haute, Indiana, which at that time consisted of a tavern, a few saloons and stores, and a...

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Biography of James L. Reat, M. D.

James Lee Reat, M. D., one of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons of Illinois, and who has been long and honorably connected with the professional and industrial interests of Douglas County, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, January 26, 1824. The Reat ancestors are traced back to Scotland, where the name was pronounced in two syllables, with the accent on the last. Two brothers emigrated to this country during the war of the Revolution, one of whom espoused the cause of the rebels, the term by which the patriot colonies were then known, and served through that struggle with Washington’s forces. The other brother sided with the Tories, in consequence of which the two brothers became alienated and a total separation occurred between the two branches of the family. Dr. Reat is descended from the one who cast his fortunes with those of the patriots and who, after the war, settled in Frederick Town, Maryland. At this place James Reat (father) was born and subsequently found his way to Ohio, where he married Susanna Rogers, a Virginia lady, and with her settled in Fairfield County, Ohio. When our subject was five years old, his parents removed to Coles County, Illinois, where the father purchased a farm on which they resided for a time, then removed to Charleston and lived there up to the time of his death, in...

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Biographical Sketch of J. W. Phillips

Of the many leading and successful business men of Tuscola who have fought their way successfully through life and who have been the architect of their own fortune in the true sense of that term is the subject of this sketch. He is a dealer in poultry, produce, fish, etc., and is also interested in the ice business. He founded his present business in Tuscola in 1896, constructing a building 80×20 feet, and one and one-half stories high. This building burned ill August of the following year, and he immediately erected on the same site a more commodious one, 120×30 feet. It is safe to say that Mr. Phillips’ poultry business is one of the very largest in the state outside of Chicago. He has about twenty-five men traveling and buying poultry and produce throughout the year. For fifteen years previous to his coming to Tuscola he was engaged in the same line at Arthur. Mr. Phillips was born in Clay County, Tennessee, April 18, 1861, his parents removing when he was quite young to Hawkins County, some fifty-five miles east of Knoxville, in the same state. He is a son of William Phillips who was a native of Hawkins County, Tennessee. William married Miss Emily Phillips (no relation, though bearing the same name). The father died in 1863, and his mother in 188, aged seventy-seven years. In February,...

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Biographical Sketch of W. W. Pepper

W. W. Pepper, a popular lawyer and a successful young business man, was born on a farm seven miles south of Newman May 24, 1866, and is the eldest of seven children born to Dudley H. and Nancy Liston Pepper. His father was a native of Kentucky and resides at Oakland. Mr. Pepper received his early education in the public schools of Oakland and afterward took a three-years’ course in the University of Illinois in Champaign. After leaving the university he took a two-years’ law course at the Northwestern University at Evanston and was graduated with honor in 1893, shortly afterward being admitted to the bar. On June 28, 1890, Mr. Pepper married Miss Nora Hinds, of Hindsboro. In March, 1894, Mr. Pepper located in Newman and commenced the practice of law. He became at once deservedly popular and in May, 1895, was chosen city attorney, which office he filled with due honor until the expiration of his time. He was re-elected to the same office, but resigned to look after his other business. It can be truly said of him that he is a man peculiarly after his own style. He has no model and seeks after none, save that which is the creation of his own mind. Starting out in life as he did, without means, perseverance and energy constituted his only capital. He entered his profession...

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Biographical Sketch of William H. Newport

William H. Newport of the neighborhood of West Ridge, and one of the most successful farmers in Douglas County, was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, February 9. 1840, a son of John and Susanna (Rensberger) Newport, natives of Ohio. He has resided on his farm of several hundred acres for thirteen years, and while he has always been a tenant he has been most successful. In 1862 he was married to Miss Fannie Mishler, who was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. To their marriage have been born five children, Charley, Israel, Eli, Otis and Grover Newport. Mr. Newport is a member of the I. O. O. F. fraternity, and is now serving as one of the road commissioners of his town-ship. He is liberal and benevolent toward all enterprises for the betterment of the community in which he...

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Biography of Ira M. Mulliken

Ira M. Mulliken, junior member of the well-known firm of Barr & Mulliken and one of the rising young business men of Newman, was born in Champaign County, Illinois, December 17, 1865. His father, James W. Mulliken, was a native of Johnson County, Indiana, and removed to Champaign County in about 1852. His mother Catherine was a daughter of Rev. Samuel F. Miller, who was horn in 1815, and at present resides in Arcola. (See sketch of W. H. Bush, of Hindsboro.) In about 1868 the father of I. M. Mulliken removed to a farm near Hindsboro, where the latter remained until he arrived at the age of twenty-one years, when he went to Arcola to reside, and there worked at the carpenter’s trade. He attended Lee’s academy at Loxa, Illinois, for six months, then subsequently attended the embalming college at Indianapolis. From 1893 to June 1, 1896, he was a member of the undertaking firm of Mike, Miller & Co., at Charleston, Illinois. In the latter year he removed to Newman to accept a partnership with James Barr (see sketch). On September 4, 1893, he was married to Miss Ida A., a daughter of John W. Allison, of Arcola. They have one child, a daughter, Frances Marie. He is a member and noble grand of the I. O. O. F. elder iii the Christian Church, and superintendent of...

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