Collection: Stephenson County Illinois Biographies

Stephenson County Illinois Biographies

The following 17 biographies represent just a small glimpse into the history of Stephenson County Illinois. Stephenson County is one of the northern tier of Illinois counties, and is the second county east of the Mississippi. The surface of Stephenson county is made up of gently rolling prairie land, with here and there small groves and belts of timber along the streams. Flowing across the surface of the county are a number of streams which afford abundant natural water and drainage facilities. The first permanent settlement in Stephenson County was made by William Waddams, in West Point Township, at...

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Biographical Sketch of John F. Hineline

John F. Hineline, son of Hugh B. and Rebecca (Lattig) Hineline, was born in Fremont, Ohio, April 7, 1855. His parents were both natives of Easton, Pa., where his father engaged in merchandising until the spring of 1854, when he removed to a farm at Fremont, Ohio, and resided there until his death in 1871. His wife survived until 1891. They were the parents of fourteen children, nine of whom are still living, as follows: Anna, wife of Jacob Ruth, of Fremont, O.; C. M., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Elizabeth, widow of Charles Richards, resides in Fremont, O.; William H., resides in Fremont, O.; Alinda, widow of John Furry, lives in Woodville, O.; Thaddeus, lives in Lansin.-, Mich.; Emma, widow of John Speller, lives in Fremont, O.; Sarah, widow of John B. Cole, resides in Fremont, O.; John F., our subject; those deceased are Jacob, Able, Simon, Hugh, and Augustus. Mr. Hineline received his education in the common schools finishing at the Western Reserve Normal at Milan, Ohio. In 1874, when nineteen years of age, he came west locating in Freeport, and taught in the neighboring country schools in winter, and worked at the carpenter’s trade in summer, until 1892, when he abandoned teaching and devoted his time to his trade. He is well known throughout the county, having taught in six different townships. In 1891,...

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Biography of Michael Stoskopf

Michael Stoskopf,  Freeport,  is one of the most prominent members of the  Stephenson county bar, and takes high rank among the leading lawyers of the northwest. He is thoroughly rooted and grounded in the fundamentals, understands profoundly the great principles of justice and equity on which human society rests and sees with the eye of a master the application of these basic principles to all the details of business and commerce. He knows what he has to say before he is on his feet, and when he stands before a jury there is an energy and a force in what he says that comes only from knowledge and belief. He has a clear and analytical mind, and reasons out a proposition in law with all the clearness and force with which he would demonstrate a theorem in Geometry. Step by step he leads the way, and the jury cannot refuse to follow. As an orator he is convincing and wins his case, not only by mastery of the law and argument, but by his candid and earnest manner. Leonard Stoskopf, the grandfather of Michael, was a blacksmith and farrier by trade and spent his entire life in his native Alsace, then a province of France. He taught his business to his son, Valentine, who was born in Engenheim, Alsace, March 8, 1817. Valentine attended the local school until he...

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Biographical Sketch of T.V.E. Sweet

T. V. E. Sweet, was a native of the city of Freeport, where he was born August 3, 1849. He derived his education from the public schools of the city, and in the more advanced branches of learning from the Northwestern University at Evanston, where he was a student two years. He worked at the printing trade until 1870, and in 1875 entered upon that clerical career in in which he has accomplished so much good, as a local preacher in the Rock River conference. His first religious work was at Thompson, ‘Illinois. At Shirland he was local supply, and was ordained to the full ministry in 1879. His first regular ministerial charge was at Dundee, where he spent a year. He was two years at Seneca and Marseilles, at Kankakee one year, LaSalle one year, Warren one year, Amboy one year, Morrison three years, Princeton three years, Joliet three years, Austin two years, and at Embury church in Freeport two years. In 1895 he was appointed presiding elder and was re-appointed to that delicate and responsible position in 1899. Elder Sweet and Adelaide Goodrich were married December 29,1875, at Pearl City, Illinois, where Mrs. Sweet was born, being a daughter of Hiram and Susie (Gable) Goodrich. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob and Elizabeth (Machamer) Gable; the former is still living at the age of ninety-six, while the latter...

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Biography of John J. Pluemer

John J. Pluemer, for many years a resident of Freeport, is now passed eighty-two years, and has given up all active business enterprises. He has been an active and pushing man of affairs, and has borne his part in life manfully. He was born in Ost Friesland, now a part of Prussia, Jan. 3, 1817, where he attended school until he was about 16. To secure for him a better education his father put him into a lawyer’s office where he remained until he was nineteen. His father was a farmer and dealer in peat for fuel purposes, the latter on an extensive scale, and as John J. was an only son, the business required and received personal attention. When he reached the age of twenty-seven his father retired and turned the entire business over to him. Mr. Pluemer conducted it until 1852, but as he was outspoken in his convictions and antagonized the opinions of the world around him, he sold out and sought a home in the freer world of the new west. Despite his peculiar views and the opposition of the ministers, he had been elected to a position in his German home corresponding to that of supervisor in this country. In March 1852 he sailed from Bremen, leaving his wife and family to follow him the next August. He landed in New York May 1,...

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Biography of Gen. Smith D. Atkins

Smith D. Atkins, who is a lawyer, soldier, journalist and politician, was born on the 9th of June, 1836, near Elmira, Chemung Co., N. Y.; he came with his father’s family to Illinois in 1848, and lived on a farm until 1850. He then became an apprentice in the office of the Prairie Democrat, which was the first paper published in Freeport. He was educated at Rock River Seminary, Mt. Morris, Ill., working in the printing-office and studying during his spare hours, and in 1852 obtained the foremanship of the Mt. Morris Gazette, while he was yet a student in the seminary. In 1853 he became associated with C. C. Allen, who, during the war, was a Major on the staff of Maj. Gen. Schofield; they bought this paper and established the Register at Savanna, Carroll County. In the fall of the same year he entered the office of Hiram Bright, in Freeport, as a student of law, and was admitted to practice June 27, 1855. After his admission he continued to read law for some time in the office of Goodrich & Scoville, of Chicago, Ill., and then entered upon his practice in Freeport, dating his entry into the active duties of his profession Sept. 1, 1856. In 1860 Mr. Atkins made a spirited canvass for the election of Lincoln to the Presidency and one address of his...

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Biography of Charles Betts

Honorable Charles Betts, Freeport, is one of the most prominent figures of the Stephenson county bar, and his long association with legal affairs gives him the colloquial title of “Judge” Betts. He is called the Nestor of the bar, and is now living in an honorable retirement from professional life. He was born in Batavia, Genesee county, New York, June 13th, 1825, and up to the time of his admission to the bar his life was passed in the Empire state. His educational privileges eminently fitted him for the profession of his choice. At all times he has made the most of his opportunities, and endowed by nature with, strong mentality, his advance has been rapid and commendable. While still a youth he began the study of law in his native state with Honorable Heman J. Redfield and Honorable Benjamin Pringle as his preceptors, and completed his course in the office of Hon. Isaac A. Verplanck and General John H. Martindale, of Batavia. The counsel and assistance of these distinguished gentlemen and able attorneys had great influence in moulding his character and educating him to a standard of excellence in the profession before him, from which he has never deteriorated. Honorable, high-minded and faithful through inbred moral principles, he early gave evidence of fitness for that high career that was opening before him. He was esteemed and loved, not more...

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Biography of C.N. Bentley

C.N. Bentley, whose home is on section 21, Harlem township, is one of the venerable figures of the pioneer gatherings of Stephenson county. It indeed has few if any residents whose settlement antedates his own. He knows what it means to open up a new country to civilization, and he is now living in the peace and comfort that follows a long and useful career. Eldred Bentley, the grandfather of the subject of this article, was born in Rhode Island, but spent the greater part of his life in Rensselaer county, New York, and died in Chautauqua county of that state in 1851, at the age of ninety-three. His wife, Nata, was an own sister of that Ethan Allen, who linked his name with fame beyond divorce in the capture of the fort at Ticonderoga at the opening of the Revolutionary struggle. Eldred Bentley, Jr., the father of C. N. Bentley, was born in Rensselaer county in 1793, and died in Chautauqua county in 1843. Mr. Bentley was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, July 24th, 1826, and of his brothers and sisters mention is briefly made. John lives in Winnebago county, and Eldred at Ellington, Chautauqua county, New York. Louisa married Norman Carr, and died in Ellington in 1891. Jemima married Mr. Jeffords, and died in Pennsylvania in 1896. Sarah died at Ellington while still a young girl, and...

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Biography of Tobias Engle

Tobias Engle, one of the early settlers of Freeport, is a native of Lancaster, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he was born May 9, 1829. He is the son of Jacob and Nancy (Myers) Engle. Jacob Jingle was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In early days he ran a clover huller, later. a grist mill, and afterward took charge of his father’s farm in Lancaster county, residing there until 1851 when he removed to Stephenson county, Illinois, locating in Freeport where he remained two years. Deciding to return to Pennsylvania they started eastward but stopped in Montgomery county, Ohio, where Mr. Engle purchased a farm on which he spent the remainder of his life. His wife was a native of Lebanon county, Pennsylvania. They had eleven children, as follows : Benjamin, who died in Kansas ; Tobias; Jacob, who resides in Montgomery county, Ohio, on the old homestead; Abram, who lives on part of the old farm in Montgomery county, Ohio ; Betsy, wife of Jacob Huntzbiger, both deceased; Annie, wife of Adam Hocker, a farmer in Montgomery county, Ohio; Leah, wife of Jacob Castle, of Montgomery county, a farmer; Martha married Eli Boyer who runs a boarding house in Dayton, Ohio, and three others deceased. Tobias Engle received a limited education in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he worked on his father’s farm until 1851, removing at that time with...

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Biography of John Fosha

JOHN FOSHA, of Silver Creek township, Stephenson county, is widely known as one of the most successful farmers of northern Illinois, and he has achieved his present enviable position solely through his own efforts. He has extensive real estate holdings in Kansas as well as this state, as substantial results of his wise use of brain and brawn, and can congratulate himself that while he is still erect and vigorous he has accumulated such a property and stands so well in the business world. Frank and Anna Maria Fosha, the grandparents of the Silver Creek farmer, were born in Lippe-Detmold, Germany. He was a common laborer, and died in America in 1860, aged ninety-one years, ‘seven months and twentynine clays. Frank Fosha, the father of John, was born in the ancestral home in 1805, and died March 5, 1879. He was a linen weaver in Germany, and came to this country in 1836. He sailed from Bremen October 30th, and was seventeen weeks on the water. It was a stormy passage and terminated at Baltimore after many almost unendurable hardships. He found employment in a store at Frederick, Maryland, and was then employed in a fulling factory at Chilcott in the same state. He went to Shepherdstown, Virginia, where he made his home for a number of years, and worked in a cloth factory. In 1848 he made his...

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Biography of William A. Horan

Rev. William A. Horan, late pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, at Freeport, Ill., was born in Pierce township, DeKalb Co., Ill., on Feb. 2nd, 1851, and is the son of the late Patrick M. and Mary (Hanaghan) Horan. Patrick M. Horan was a native of Ireland,, and was born in the year 1800. When a young man he removed to England, where he served in the British army. In 1839 he married Mary, a daughter of Malachy Hanaghan, of county Mayo, Ireland, their union resulting in the birth of twelve children, five of whom are still living. In 1849, in company with their parents and other members of their family, they emigrated to the United States intending to land at New Orleans, but on account of the cholera were not permitted to land but sent up the river and made the first landing at Beardstown, 111. They went directly to DeKalb, Ill., where the father-in-law purchased a tract of 160 acres of fertile farm land in the township of Pierce. Mr. Horan passed away in Aug., 1897, having survived his wife, Mary, twenty-four years. William (our subject) attended the public schools of his native town and the High school at DeKalb, from which he graduated with honor, at the age of fifteen. During the following two years he remained at home on the farm, but, determining to...

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Biography of Bernhard Huenkemeier

Bernhard Huenkemeier, an old and honored resident of Freeport for more than half a century, is deserving of a prominent place in these pages, not only for the energy and ambition he has displayed in the development of the commercial and social interests of this part of the state and the upright and manly character that he has fashioned in the sunshine and shadow of life, but also for his friendly and sympathetic nature.. He is a man of broad sympathies and generous impulses, and during the long years in which he has been connected with very important interests in Freeport, he has made a host of friends who rejoice at every stroke of good fortune that has befallen him, and will gladly peruse this sincere tribute to an honorable man, a public-spirited citizen, a kind friend and neighbor and a gentleman in every social and domestic relation in which he may be found. Mr. Huenkemeier was born in Lippe-Detmold, Germany, August 19, 1822, and is a child of Bernhard and Sophia (Schilling) Huenkemeier, both life-long residents of this ancient German principality, where the family maintained its home until after the death of the husband and father in 1853. The bereaved widow and mother then crossed the ocean and became an inmate of• the household of her son Bernhard for a short time, after which she established a home...

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Biography of Jacob Krohn

Jacob Krohn, Freeport, is the president of the Second National bank of that city, and his careful and conservative management has made it one of the solid institutions of the North-west, for its name and reputation extend far beyond the limits of city or county. Mr. Krohn was born in Pyritz, Pomerania, Prussia, February 22, 1832, exactly one hundred years after the birth of Washington, and received his early education in the schools of his native city. When he was twenty years old he left his Prussian home to found another under more kindly auspices on the soil of the New World. He embarked on the sailing vessel ” Gutenberg,” leaving Hamburg in October, 1852, and after a long and perilous voyage of some four months landed at New York early in the following year. The vessel was much tossed about by rough and stormy winds, and came into the harbor bereft of the greater portion if not all of its sails. He was glad enough to press his foot once more upon the solid earth. He had learned the trade of making cigars, and found employment in that occupation in the cities of New York and Saugerties for some two years. He came to Chicago in 1855, and very shortly after to Freeport. This city pleased him, and he determined that his home should be here. He rented a...

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Biography of Adam Miller

Adam Miller, retired blacksmith, and one of the pioneer settlers of Stephenson county, is a native of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, where he was born March 13, 1826. His parents, Ludwig and Barbara (Klein) Miller, both of the same country in Germany, came to America in 1851 with his entire family and located in Freeport, where he worked at the blacksmith’s trade until his death about 1885. His wife died at the age of 66 years. They had six children, as follows: Adam, Catherine, widow of Joseph Nix, resides in Ridott Township, Stephenson county; Charlie, who died in 1896, was a farmer in Iowa; Barbara, wife of John Dilly, a farmer, lives in Ridott Township; and two others who died in infancy. They were all educated in the common schools. Adam Miller learned the blacksmith’s trade which he followed until the age of fifty years when he retired from active business. In June 1854, he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Dilly, a native of Germany, born Jan. 8, 1830. She was the daughter of Johan and Dortha (Schmidt) Dilly, both of Germany, who emigrated to this country Oct. 13, 1853, and settled on a farm in Ridott township, Stephenson county, where they both died aged 86 and 88 years respectively. Mrs. Miller died Sept. 25, 1897. She was the mother of eight children, five of whom died in...

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Biography of Henry H. Mynard

Henry H. Mynard, retired farmer, who has been a resident of Stephenson county since 1863, was born in Greene county, New York, November 3rd, 1822. After marriage his parents, Elisha B. and Persis (VanHorn) Mynard, both of Columbia county, New York, moved to Greene county where they resided until 1841 when they removed to Cook county, Illinois, and there engaged in farming until the death of the former in 1845. He served in the war of 1812. Mrs. Mynard died in Lee county, Illinois, in 1865. They had six children, two of whom are now living- Henry H., our subject, and Francis V. H., a retired farmer, now living in Blue Island, Cook county, Illinois. William H., George W., Julia Maria and Mary Eliza are deceased. Henry H. Mynard received his education in the common schools, after which he began farming in Cook county, Illinois. March 13th, four children, three are living. Edward F. is a fireman on the St. Paul road. George is a clerk in Walton’s store and Florence is a student at the State Normal school at Normal, Illinois, fitting herself for the teacher’s vocation. In 1845, he married Miss Caroline C. Cool, who was the daughter of Benjamin R. and Lois Cool. Her father was a farmer in Cook county where he and his wife both died. Mrs. Mynard died January 25th, 1885, leaving one...

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