Biography of Charles Babb
Charles Babb, while for many years a resident of Champaign County, is a cosmopolitan citizen, has traveled extensively over the New and Old World, and has not only earned hut has learned the wise use of financial independence. He is now living retired in a commodious and beautiful home at Rantoul and is one of the large land owners of Champaign County.
Mr. Babb was born in Staffordshire, England, son of John and Margaret (Whyte) Babb. He grew up in his native country and in the year of the Chicago fire, 1871, came to this country with his wife and three children and located in Champaign County, six miles north of the city of Champaign. His three children were named Arthur, Jessie and Margaret. In Champaign County he engaged in farming, and possessing character and energy, he was soon on the high road to prosperity. At the present time Mr. Babb owns 535 acres of splendid soil in the vicinity of Rantoul.
After he came to America another child was born and was given the name Anna.
The good wife and companion of his early life in America was taken away from his side twenty-one years ago. Her maiden name was Eleanor Bunting, and she was also a native of England. Mr. Babb saw to it that his children had the best of educational advantages, and they attended the school at Thomasboro and also at Rantoul. The son Arthur, who died twelve years ago, married Alice Merchant, and he left two children, Jessie and Florence. The second child, Jessie, married Samuel Little, and their children are Nellie, Arthur and Roscoe. The daughter Margaret married Charles Merchant, and they live in Walnut, Bureau County, Illinois. Their two children are Bessie and Ira.
In 1897 Mr. Babb married Mary Taylor. Mrs. Babb was born in Kincardine, Scotland, daughter of John and Helen (Gordon) Taylor. At the age of thirty-four Mrs. Babb came to America, but she is a world traveler and has always been delighted with ocean voyages. She enjoys the distinction of having crossed the Atlantic thirteen times. Mr. Babb is also a thorough sailor and in 1917 he and his wife had planned another pleasant trip to Europe, but were hindered by the war.
Mr. Babb is a born sportsman. When he goes to England he takes the greatest delight in participating in hunting trips and spends the seasons with some of his friends who own fine estates in the old country. Mr. and Mrs. Babb are active members of the Episcopal Church, liberally support the church causes, and Mr. Babb in politics is a Republican. He believes in supporting the principle rather than the party strictly as a party organization. Mrs. Babb also gives her support to the party which has produced Lincoln, McKinley and Garfield.
Eleven years ago Mr. and Mrs. Babb removed from their farm to Rantoul and have a commodious home a block south of the Illinois Central Depot. Mr. Babb’s former extensive operations as a stock buyer made him widely known over this section of Illinois, and much of his business was transacted through Rantoul. Having worked hard in the prime of his career he is now able to enjoy with satisfaction his pleasant home on Kentucky Street and has hosts of friends in Illinois as well as in his native land. On the walls of their home at Rantoul are hung many fine views of Scotland and England, including representations of some of the large estates which they have visited. One of these is “Lumber Grange,” owned by Mr. Babb’s nephew, Alfred Wood. It is one of the stately old homes of England, has rustic fences covered with rambling roses, and is a place which would delight the eye of the sportsman and the landscape painter. Other views show the estates known as “The Croft” and “Littleover.” Mr. Babb has collected many articles of interest both to themselves and their friends, and they have the parlor of their home furnished with finely carved Japanese furniture.